Leaving fabulous Tasmania

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April 20th 2014
Published: April 20th 2014
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The Edge of the world - Arthur RiverThe Edge of the world - Arthur RiverThe Edge of the world - Arthur River

Margaret is sure that she can see the edge...
This will be our last blog from Tasmania, well from home really after getting back a week ago.

Arthur River is known in Tasmania as the Edge of the World as the next landfall to the west is South America, some 15,000 kms away. It is said to have the purest air on the planet as the prevailing winds travel so far without touching land anywhere before hitting Arthur River. We can believe that, and to match the wind there are huge waves constantly pounding the rocky shore line. It would appear that all Tasmanians must like camping as some of the camp grounds that we have been into have been extensive, and the one we used at A.R was no exception (there was also another one on the other side of town just as big). The Parks people had updated the ablution blocks and we were amazed to find LED lighting, flushing toilets and vinyl floors here; it is seriously as far away from anything as you can get.

After getting advice from a very talkative person at the Parks office (we had to pay a little to stay) we did a bit of
Arthur River boat cruiseArthur River boat cruiseArthur River boat cruise

That's Cagey with the rope.
exploring the local area. One of the things that has really struck me on this trip is the ‘beach houses’ in places that you would never expect to find them. Our explorations of the coast uncovered more, some absolutely amazing and others absolute tips, but overall they all enjoyed views/positions where you could easily snuggle down into for the rest of time. Having said that, it was a bloody long way to any services.

We had booked a cruise on the Arthur River for the next day, and it was a very homely affair with ‘Cagey’ the owner/operator and Greg the (university educated) guide giving a very chatty commentary liberally salted with soft expletives! We did get the opportunity to see a couple of sea eagles up close, but the wedge tail eagles and platypus missed the bus and were not to be seen. A bbq lunch was promised and delivered, but as a chef, Cagey makes a great boat captain.

We are now well and truly in our last week here, and the next stop was a place called Montagu Bay, just out of Smithton. It was at first a little off putting
Lake Chisholm sinkholeLake Chisholm sinkholeLake Chisholm sinkhole

The size/height of the trees is amazing.
as a) it was raining and b) on entry to the camping area all we could see was masses of tents and caravans already on-site and most fenced off with shade-cloth. It did not look good, but as we proceeded into the area (to make a turn and exit) we were ‘welcomed’ by ‘Buster’, the convivial caretaker. How could we turn down his invitation to stay? On finding a good little spot and set up, Marg joined me in a spot of fishing off a rock break water. She soon decided that making lunch was a far more exciting prospect and I followed after ascertaining that once again I was in the wrong spot to catch the fish Buster had promised were out there. A fellow who seemed to be a fairly permanent resident saw me walking back empty-handed and suggested a spot where I would have more luck. I went back with the tide on the rise and made a cast into the area he suggested with instant success – a good sized flathead. Alright you fishermen, you might not be excited, but this was only the second fish I have caught on this trip so I was excited. Unfortunately it had swallowed the hook so far down it was almost on its way out the waste disposal system, and it took forever to recover before I could try again. Things were not helped by the seagulls watching every move and when I went to put the beheaded body in the bucket, the bastards tried to make off with the head which was still attached to the line! What seemed like several hours later I was ready to bait the line try again; a couple of minutes later and there was another flatty of the same size in the bucket. The day unfortunately was quickly drawing to a close, and the tide had come in considerably, so reluctantly I had to return to base.

Not having any experience with filleting flatties, one could be excused for thinking I had used a hand grenade to do the job. Margaret could not stand the ineptitude and ‘helped’ – I am not taking all the blame, and fortunately the fish were big enough for us to get a good feed from the disaster. The second fish that Marg filleted was much more successful!

Next day conditions
Lake Chisholm sinkhole againLake Chisholm sinkhole againLake Chisholm sinkhole again

It was an incredibly tranquil spot in the middle of a forest.
were not right for fishing – the tide was out and there was no accessible water, so Geoff decided to gather some wood for a camp fire that evening. There was a stringy bark log nearby and with a great amount of effort with the bow saw he cut 2 x 30 cm lengths from it and proceeded to try to split them with the tomahawk. The technique was to ‘shave’ bits off the side and progressively reduce it to burnable pieces. Unfortunately the tomahawk flew out of his hand and hit his leg, and as is his way he did not want to look nay damage it may have caused and continued with the task in hand. After some time he had to bend down and pick up a piece that had landed near his foot, and with a little dismay found blood seeping through the leg of his track pants and out of his shoe. Time to call Dr. Marg for a band-aid. (He said “do you have a bandaid?” A bloody bucket was what we needed. Patching the leg was easy enough, but dealing with the bloody pants, sock and shoe was another matter. That also marked
Wonders of Wynyard - vintage Ford collection Wonders of Wynyard - vintage Ford collection Wonders of Wynyard - vintage Ford collection

This is a Model A - the display started with this one and went through the alphabet.
the end of any camp fire. We packed up in the rain the next morning, and if there is anything that makes us delirious with joy it is that. It might have been 18 deg outside the car, but it was positively frosty inside.

With the end of the week and departure looming, we were inching our way back eastward towards Devonport. It should be said at this point that we stay at all the best places and next stop was no exception. We pulled into a free camp at Burnie, and unhitched next to a building with “Cooee Point Abattoirs”, believe it or not it was very busy with other travellers, probably due to it having town water and a dump point available. Also (which Geoff forgot to mention) the abattoir was no longer in use. We took the opportunity to explore around Burnie and even look at more camps closer to our point of departure (Devonport), and on our return the abattoir building did not look nearly as bad in the evening light.

Saturday saw us make probably the biggest move of the trip – a whole 18kms closer to Devonport to
Penguin SLSC free camp Penguin SLSC free camp Penguin SLSC free camp

If you look closely you can see an empty car at the bottom and the front of the train in the middle left of the shot.
a place called Penguin, where we camped beside the Penguin Surf Life Saving club-house. Sure there was a little train line between us and the sea, but the view of the bay was terrific. It was not long before we saw that there was to be a wedding on the beach (and reception in the Penguin SLSC). The guests arrived, all looking suitably uncomfortable in collar & tie or high heels and they made their way to the beach The bride and father appeared on horseback from the far end of the beach (sounds like a movie?) and the ceremony started – just in time for the 3.30pm freight train to Burnie with its 3 locomotives rattled through... Best laid plans?

The stop at Penguin gave us the opportunity to test run the trip to the ship, and as a result of which we decided that and early morning start would get the job done. Sunday night, and the van is all hooked up and the alarms are set for 5.45 am. Of course Marg cannot sleep and at 5.00 am she/we are up and having a shower and breakky. It was still very dark when we
Penguin SLSC free campPenguin SLSC free campPenguin SLSC free camp

What a view as the sun went down, and the tide was in.
hit the road at 6.00 am and that was a whole new experience with the caravan, but we made it to the check in and assembly yard and commenced the seemingly endless wait to board. We disembarked in Melbourne and proceeded home in fairly light traffic, which was just as well as Geoff was not looking forward to driving in the dark with Melbourne drivers.

We have been home just under a week and think we have nearly got everything back to normal...


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