Category Archives: TAS

TAS travels

To the End of Australia

UntitledWe decided to see how far south we could drive in Tas and this took us on the southern most road in Australia and to Cockle Creek. Cockle Creek is a tiny little southern Tasmanian settlement, one sign saying that population was 3! It seemed mainly consist of holiday houses, no shops or anything and campgrounds surrounded by national park. We followed a dirt road past all of the above and suddenly stopped into an area where you can turn the car around and go back. A bit of an anticlimax but at least we can say we’ve driven as far south of Australia as possible.

View from the whale sculpture

View from the whale sculpture

We stopped and go out of the car for a very quick walk to a giant bronze whale sculpture, sculpted in memory of the area’s whaling history.

Bronze Whale Sculpture, Cockle Creek

Bronze Whale Sculpture, Cockle Creek

A member of the Mott family

A member of the Mott family

We also came across a cemetery. I love old cemeteries and this one didn’t disappoint. A number of headstones still exist scattered through the overgrown area; with a number that have disappeared overtime. The headstones still standing are mostly legible with names and the information board states that a number of the descendants of the original settler families still live in the local area.

Headstones of the Fields family Thomas (killed in a logging accident) and Alice

Headstones of the Fields family Thomas (killed in a logging accident) and Alice

The overgrown cemetery at Cockle Creek

The overgrown cemetery at Cockle Creek

The information board provides some fascinating history of the settlers who lived and died here. Some of the settlers died in mysterious circumstances, in tragic accidents, of disappeared suddenly and their bodies never been found. The conditions must have been very harsh; one family, the Adams, had 11 children with 8 dying before the age of 3. We weren’t able to camp in Cockle Creek this time as we are running short of time before we need to head back to Brisbane. I would love to come back and spend a few days relaxing though, definitely the place for some R&R. Cockle Creek_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-4

My Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ales & Ciders Experience

Two Metre Tall Bar

Two Metre Tall Bar

Before we came over to Tasmania I’d researched into the local produce, that being food and alcoholic products, that were a must see/try on our trip. Tasmania is becoming quite renowned for their microbreweries and whiskies with an already well-established wine industry. One of the breweries on my list was Two Metre Tall in Hayes; about 50 mins drive from Hobart.Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ales & Ciders_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer

The owners and brewers are Jane and Ashley Huntington. They have had a rather fascinating past with Ashley as the senior winemaker of the BRL Hardy owned Domaine de la Baume France where they spent 10 years before returning to Tasmania and purchasing a farm.

The Two Metre Tall Brewery is a working farm with grain, hops, fruit and cattle, you can actually purchase their beef from the bar onsite. Yep, they have turned a shed into a bar with a selection of ales on tap for you to pop to taste, drink and takeaway.

We came in on a Thursday arvo at about 2pm, in the rain, and there was no one else there. In fact Jane was just setting up the bar as Ashley had been fanatically brewing since 4am that morning.

Jane setting up the bar

Jane setting up the bar

We went through all the ciders and ales on offer and she passionately explained where all the different components that make ales and ciders came from with the majority grown onsite, locally sourced in the immediate area and Tasmania.

Jane told us about a local lady with a 100 yr old mulberry tree, she picked over 30kg of mulberries, which were added to a barrel of cider, just one barrel as that’s all there was enough for and It has sold out. A number of batches they make are on a small scale like this.

I decided to walk away with a bottle of their Original Soured Ale. This is a blend of 1-3 year old tank and barrel aged soured ales. Two Metre Tall uses a mixed fermentation technique, which apparently isn’t common, to make their Ales.

We had such a fantastic experience; Jane is so knowledgeable, attentive and personable.  If it hadn’t been raining heavily we would have loved to sit on the benches provided and spend some more time onsite, but it wasn’t to be this time. This just means that we will need to visit next time we visit Tasmania.

Original Soured Ale and Willie Smith Cider

Original Soured Ale and Willie Smith Cider

The Road to Strathgordon and Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

I own a guidebook, which essentially says don’t bother going to Strathgordon unless you have the time. Having visited, I disagree wholeheartedly.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania's wild west.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania’s wild west.

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

The trip to Strathgordon is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The 89km road from Maydenda to Strathgordon snakes through some of the most stunning and stark scenery I’ve ever witnessed. It weaves through rainforest, mountains, cliffs of rock, shrubby trees, curls around the headlands of the lakes, flat planes wholly encircled with ranges, and all without a house insight.

The drive takes about 1-2 hours, you would think that 89 kms isn’t much, but when you’re sitting on between 30km and 60km per hour due to the condition of the roads, the weather, other drivers, steep inclines, declines and sharp turns, you would understand why it takes a couple of hours. The benefit to travelling at a slower pace is you do get to enjoy the scenery a little, as long as you don’t take your eyes off the road for too long. For such a remote area I was very surprised as the number of cars we saw along the way, probably about 10 in total and watch the ones with caravans going too fast around the corners, one came inches from taking us out.

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

We had planned on camping along the way to Strathgordon; however, once we arrived at Lake Pedder Chalet, the only accommodation in Strathgordon, and had lunch in the food hall, we became a lot less inclined to leave. On finding out that the motel style rooms were cheap, but basic, we decided to stay overnight in a room rather than a campground for the first time since we left Adelaide.

Strathgordon isn’t much, a few houses and a kick ass indoor heated pool. It was constructed in the 1960’s to house the workers building the Gordon Dam. Now, only a few families remain in the town, usually of workers maintaining the plant or working in the Chalet.

We spent the afternoon lounging and having a few beers, the life, before retiring to bed for a movie and an early night. We are very glad that we stayed in the Chalet as when we awoke in the morning there was a very heavy rain; also it was nice to be able to go to the toilet without getting cold.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Once we checked out of the Chalet we drove another 10 minutes west to the Gordon Dam. The dam was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s it is the largest dam in Tasmania and 5th largest in Australia.

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

It was cold and wet when we arrived. However, the scenery in the area was stunning, all mountains, mist and it felt oddly peaceful, I guess that’s from being so remote. In short it was breathtaking! I’m glad we decided to go out of our way to visit Strathgordon and the Gordon Dam.

Mount Field, The National Park of Waterfalls

On the way from Strahan to Strathgordon we decided to stay overnight in the campground section of the Mount Field National Park. Mount Field National Park is considered to be the most loved national parks in Tasmania.  Some of the activities undertaken here include walking, camping & skiing! No skiing for us this time though 🙂

We hadn’t planned on stopping here specifically; however, our drive to Strathgordon was taking longer than anticipated due to a 4WDing track diversion. This meant that we weren’t going to make Strathgordon without really pushing it so we decided to stop for the night.

Thankfully Mount Field National Park contains a number of waterfalls that I’d planned on visiting so we took the morning to go for a hike.

Mount Field National Park Russell Falls/ Horseshoe Falls/ Tall Trees Walk/ Lady Barren Falls Circuit

Mount Field National Park Russell Falls/ Horseshoe Falls/ Tall Trees Walk/ Lady Barren Falls Circuit

Waterfall 1: Russell Falls – an easy 10 minute or so stroll from the visitors centre.

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Waterfall 2: Horseshoe Falls – another 10 mins or so from Russell Falls. These falls when flowing freely resemble an upside down horseshoe. Unfortunately only one side of the horseshoe was flowing for us today!

Horseshoe Falls, Mount Field National Park

Horseshoe Falls, Mount Field National Park

Giants Walk – a lovely stroll through forest that features some of the the world’s tallest and oldest trees.

Waterfall 3: Lady Barren Falls – Like Russell and Horseshoe Falls, Lady Barren Falls is composed of marine Permian siltstone, faced by retreating sandstone layers. All three falls provide a glimpse of the underlying geology in a heavily forested area where the geology is otherwise hidden beneath vegetation and soils (Tas parks and wildlife website).

Lady Barren Falls, Mount Field National Park

Lady Barren Falls, Mount Field National Park

All up about 2 hours, give or take and is a stunning, and surprisingly easy, walk. There was a set of stairs right at the end that really took it out of us.

The park and the campground was lovely, clean and well set up for day use visitors and overnight travellers, we really enjoyed it!

Hogarth Falls, Strahan

Hogarth Falls, Strahan

Hogarth Falls, Strahan

On the way out of Strahan today we stopped in to do the Hogarth Falls walk. A short 40mins-ish return walk was a lovely way to start the day. The walk itself is very easy as you wander through lovely alpine rainforest with lots of ferns and a little creek that flows next to the walk way. This walk is also part of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.

Hogarth Falls, Strahan

Hogarth Falls, Strahan

Hiking Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake Circuit

Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake Circuit

We were disappointed that we weren’t able to four wheel drive in western Tas as we had planned; however, our next stop, Cradle Mountain, made up for it. We decided to splurge out and pay a steep $36 for an unpowered site at the Cradle Mountain Holiday Park, the only campgrounds nearby. You do get what you pay for, lovely wooden hot showers, huge wood fires in the stunning camp kitchens and even wood fire pizza ovens!

As we arrived late, we decided not to attempt any hiking, instead we sat ourselves down in front of the wood fires, made pizza and had an early night. The temperature was predicted to drop to 6 degrees, I don’t know how low it got but, nonetheless we didn’t take any chances, a hot shower, thermals and our extra sleeping bag. Thankfully we did as it rained and stormed all night.

We awoke the next morning and unfortunately the weather hadn’t abated; but, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like freezing cold rain get in the way of hiking. We donned our wet weather/ freezing cold weather gear after a nice warm breaky, decided to extend our stay by another night so we could have another hot shower and made our way to the information centre to catch the shuttle.

Cradle Mountain_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer-2

TIP: thankfully someone advised us the vehicle pass we purchased for entry into the National Parks also acts as shuttle bus tickets so we didn’t need to pay more for the shuttle.

The Boat Shed

The Boat Shed

We hopped on the shuttle and were dropped off at the Dove Lake Circuit carpark. The Dove Lake Circuit is approx 6kms long and was to take approx 2-2.5 hours. The track itself is actually more of a boardwalk, all wooden planks and chicken wire (as non slip) so the circuit is in great condition. We were warned that as Cradle Mountain is in an alpine area we should expect 4 seasons in one hour and we weren’t disappointed. In the two hours we were there it rained, hailed, sunshined and was foggy, we got the full spectrum.

Waterfall, Dove Lake Circuit

Waterfall, Dove Lake Circuit

The walk itself was stunning though. Even hubby, who isn’t a great walker, really enjoyed himself! The lake is gorgeous and the views of Cradle Mountain were fantastic. The rain was also a bit of a blessing as they haven’t had rain here since late December and so the rain got the waterfalls flowing, great for pictures.

Once we completed the Dove Lake Circuit, I really wanted to check out Waldheim Chalet. Back in 1912 – 1920 an Austrian / Australian couple Gustav and Kate Weindorfer took a shine to the area, bought some land (stopping it from getting logged completely) and built the chalet. It is due to Gustav’s vision and passion that the area became a National Park.

Waldheim Chalet - Replica

Waldheim Chalet – Replica

After we checked out the replica chalet and Gustav’s grave, we headed back to the comfort of the wood fire in the kitchen for lunch and afternoon drinks. The end to a lovely day!

Nothing is Perfect & You Can’t Win Them all

We have just stayed in Arthur River a couple of nights in the Prickly Wattle campground and had planned to take off 4wding through the Arthur Pieman Reserve. We headed into town, just to check the long range weather forecast for the area and to make sure one specific track we wanted to visit would be accessible.

Unfortunately it was bad news. The rain had started today and the forecast predicted it would continue for the rest of the week. The track we wanted to go down was filling with water and shouldn’t be attempted without a group, we only had us, and the track down to the next town we wanted to visit was closed.

What did this mean? Refund of our 4wd pass and backtracking all the way back to Burnie to be able to get to Rosebery, via Cradle Mountain.

Needless to say we are very disappointed! I guess you can’t win them all!

View from Arthur River

View from Arthur River