Tag Archives: outdoors

The Historic Town of Stanley

I’m going to say upfront and without having seen too much of Tas yet, Stanley is one of my favourite places in Tas to visit. The quaint town is set on a peninsula in Northwest Tasmania and its star attraction, other than being super quaint, is The Nut. The Nut is a rather large volcanic plug that looks like someone took one big hill and stuck it down right on the edge of a peninsula.

The Nut, Stanley

The Nut, Stanley

We drove into Stanley, after having a great homemade pie at the roadhouse, parked and set up Herc (the 4WD). Setting up camp is soooooo boring when you have so much to see and do, but we got it out of the way and finally started our ascent of The Nut.

There are two ways of getting to the top of The Nut, one by taking a paid chair lift to the top, and two by climbing an incredible steep 430mt stretch, which is of course what we took. I hadn’t realised how unfit I am until this point and now have vowed to run every morning.

View of the chair lifts from The Nut

View of the chair lifts from The Nut

Once at the top of The Nut, there is a km or so walk around the summit, super windy and cold, but stunning views of the town, ocean and farm land surrounding the area. Quite unexpectedly on various sides of the summit were different types of flora and fauna. On the less windy side was a strange little forest filled with butterflies. From The Nut I’d also spotted an old cemetery, I know this is a little freakish but I really like old cemeteries, there’s something about the history and the quiet that I really enjoy. So we started the descent down The Nut via the really steep path, rather than the comfy chair lift, and walked off to investigate the cemetery.

Another picture of The Nut because it's so pretty!

Another picture of The Nut because it’s so pretty!

Of the list of cemeteries that I’ve visited (don’t judge!) I’d say this is probably the second loveliest cemetery I’ve ever visited after Waverley Cemetery in Sydney. The Circular Head cemetery in Stanley had the most stunning views overlooking the ocean and The Nut. Lots of old graves with stories, lovely!

Circular Heads Cemetery_Stanley_A Girl A 4WD and A Trailer

As Stanley’s main street was just around the corner, it’s a very small town, we strolled down and read the historic trail information points. Stanley was opened in 1827 as a port and so there are many beautifully restored historic buildings in the town. The historic information points lead us straight into the historic pub with an old cellar, not much there so we made our way to the Pirate Oyster Bar where we ordered oysters and chips of lunch. The oysters were Pacific oysters grown locally in the next town over on an oyster farm. Unfortunately the farm is private and can’t be visited, but the oysters were lovely yum!

By this time is was getting to mid arvo so we headed back to the caravan park. As we were parked in a caravan park with washing machines, we had some domestics to do; however, I won’t bore you with that right now.

Taste the Harvest – Mon’s Style

So Devonport threw a wine and food festival just for me, yay! I tend to be a bit of a foodie/boozie so to have a collection of wineries, breweries and food from around the local area, in one location is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was so excited that I dragged my very patient (non drinking) husband down to the festival as soon as it started at 10:30am.

(Please note that the photos included in this post are not shot with my DSLR Canon, but my iphone5 as i decided that operating heavy machinery while drinking was not advisable!)

As soon as we arrived it started to drizzle, not to be deterred, I bought my tasting glass (rookie error, totally should have thought to smuggle my own it) and started to make the rounds. I won’t go into every single wine and beer I tried, I’ll be honest, there was a lot and I don’t remember all of them. I did however pay special attention to my favs so here they are.

Spreyton Cider

WOW! This unusual cider has not yet made its way up to Brisbane so I haven’t had the pleasure of indulging before and I was blown away by what I tried (which was all of them). Spreyton make the cider in a dry style, perfect with food and not like other sweeter styles on the market. The Cider Maker (??) was there and was very patient with answering all my questions. I learnt that they don’t add any sugar for the first fermentation; however, they do add some into the second fermentation (either in the bottle or the keg) and this makes the bubbles, just like the traditional method of making champagne – very interesting! I managed to get a small taste of the apple juice they make as well and it was a-ma-zing (originally that was what they specialized in was making apple juice and more recently branched into ciders).

Spreyton Ciderery Goodness

Ironhouse Brewery

These guys had 6 beers on tap, all lovely. However, my fav was the Honey Porter, which is Porter with Leatherwood Honey added to it. Leatherwood Honey is produced around the center of Tas and isn’t well known as a table variety of honey due to its stronger flavour and smell.

Seven Sheds

I was able to taste their 5 beers on tap. My favourite was the Willie Warmer, named after one of the owners. Willie used to make this beer as a home brew before starting the brewery. The Willie warmer was a lovely dark beer, all spicy and yummy! I had a good chat to the other owner who was full of information. Did you know that earlier last century Cascade and Boags were part of one company? They bought out all the breweries in Tas and shut them all down. Seven Sheds is the only brewery in Tasmania’s North West to open since 1907. Also another fun fact,  IPA’s are generally more alcoholic as back in the old days, when they were shipping it from Britain to India, to stop the beer from going off on the journey they increased the alcohol content, interesting stuff!

Morrisons Brewery

Quite a new brewery and again I was lucky enough to corner the brewer and bombard him with questions while sampling his beers. The Saison was my favourite and boy was it amazing! Unfortunately as he is new to the game and a small brewer, getting hold of his beers is going to prove challenging so I will need to wait until Launceston to try and get hold of some takeaway.

Morrisons Brewery

Pagan Cider

The label first attracted me to these guys and my favourite cider was the Apple & cherry blend (Cerise) yum yum!

Pagan Cider, great labels

Blustery Banks Vineyard

Grows only 2 varieties of grapes (Chardy and Pinot Noir), has a small parcel of land and all their grapes are hand picked. Add this altogether and you get exceptional wines. The 2010 Chardy and the 2012 Pinot Noir were my picks from these guys.

General observation: A lot of the vineyards at the show were actually the farmers / owners of the vineyards. It seems to be the trend that the task of creating the wines is contracted out to the winemakers who make the wine and then the vineyards sell it.

Also, I’ve noticed that a large number of white wines I tasted are really light, almost like water in colour, strange!

Deloraine Fruit Wines

These guys were just quirky, lovely, but quirky. They use fruits, other than grapes, to make wines and the wine are made in quite a dry style rather than sweet and syrupy. The couple on the stand were quirky and advised us that we needed to go to Zeehan to a theatre where the famous Dame Nellie Melba performed. Now the only reason I know the name Dame Nellie Melba is because Downtown Abbey featured her character on the show so now I need to see this place!

Frenchman’s Cap

Named after a peak here in Tassie, these guys find grapes and then find winemakers to make the wine. They are kind of like a middle man, they don’t actually grow any grapes or make any wines themselves but their wines were lovely. My fav, Frenchmans Cap Pinot Noir

Ghost Rock Vineyard

Had a lovely stand and very knowledgeable vineyard owner. The wines were great and my favourite for the day was the Catherine Sparkling.

Iron Pot Bay Vineyard

The owner has only just bought the vineyard within the past 9 months so only a couple of the wines that she has produced were for tasting, plenty of other wines from the previous owner though. My favourite was the Late Harvest Riesling

Lake Barrington / White Rock Vineyard

Just released a variety that I’d never heard of before called Dornfelder, a red German variety. I bought a glass of this one to finish off my drinking for the day. Man, was it good!

Dornfelder

So even though my day was booze filled there was also some food happening behind the scenes. Tornado Potato, I ate 3 of them. It was a potato slinky on a stick, dipped in batter and deep-fried, kind of like potato scallops, yum!

Dornfelder and Tornado Potato

By about 2pm i’d decided (I meaning my husband) that i’d done my dash and it was time to go. Deciding that I had made a nice dent in the long list of places I’d hope to see on our travels (bonus that they were all in one convenient place), I didn’t make a fuss. So home (caravan park) we went for a big meal of pasta, shitloads of water, a couple of pannies and early to bed for me!

King Island on a Lovely Winter Day

Although I’ve only been living in QLD for the past 2.5 years; however, feel that I’ve acclimated nicely. This means that when the temperature drops below 10 degrees I feel the need to have a bit of a whinge. Since it’s been a fairly mild winter in QLD this year I’ve not whinged too much thankfully 🙂

On a recent glorious winter weekend, Johny and I went for a drive to King Island. King Island is barely more than a raised sandbank off the tip of Wellington Point. It is only accessible during low tide when a sand bridge is uncovered and tourists and locals alike walk over to the tiny island.

King Island JettyOne Saturday we packed a picnic lunch and drove down to Wellington point. We circled the crowded car park a couple of times before finding some empty parks. Hopping out, we sat ourselves down on a grassy area off to the side and looked out over Stradbroke Island. After a mug of vino (yes mug, we were packing light), we walked around the small picnic area and over the sandy walkway.

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As it was such a fine day we had a nearly uninterrupted view of the beautiful surrounding suburbs, headlands and far off in the distance cranes from some industrial areas. There were massive yachts, wind surfers and jet skis and on one side of the bridge, a muddy flat area. We walked to the island and walked back in a little over an hour. A word of warning, barefoot is best.

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This little day trip definitely wasn’t the most interesting trip we’ve ever taken; however, it was a lovely short day trip and fantastic way to spend a warm and sunny winter day in Brisbane.

Washed out of Harry’s Hut

What was meant to be a relaxing weekend for two turned into mud. We decided to take a nice romantic weekend for two up to Harry’s Hut just north of Noosa.

The traffic was terrible as we attempted to leave the city. The intention was to leave early to miss the mass exodus of citysiders leaving Brisbane for the weekend. Unfortunately our planning was for nothing as we were caught in the mass crush of vehicles for over an hour. On top of this a constant rain was coming down heavily, which probably should have been a sign.

Eventually we got free of the jams and entered into more country areas. We drove through tiny pockets of settlements, a number of isolated properties and rolling green hills. I wonder, while we drive, what it would be like to live in these tiny pocket towns so far away from the city and isolated in nature? How do these tiny little towns survive? Where do people work?

Rolling green hills

Rolling green hills

As the case seems to be with all of our trips, the GPS got us lost. It took us down a road which turned out to be a dead end. There were no sign posts, nothing. I programmed the GPS to find an alternate route which we followed. The total lack of signage ensured that we didn’t know if we were even on the right road or heading in the right direction.

We slid around on a clay packed road (Johny was in 4WD heaven) and then turned onto a forest track. By this time is was getting dark. On either side of the wet pot holed road were tall trees, the scene looked like something out of a horror story. We drove through long vine tentrils hanging thickly down the middle of the road hitting the windscreen as we drove through. Our progression was long and slow going through puddles of unknown depth splashing the windows as we drove through. Always in the back of my mind was the fact that we mightn’t have even been on the right road and there was no option to turn around, we just couldn’t fit!

Eventually in the pitch black we came across a campground. We drove through slowly, no street lights here to guide us, and allocated ourselves a site. Completely stressed out by this stage we managed to set the tent up; dinner was and informal fare of cheese, wine and a few games of Blitz followed promptly by sleep.

It rained on and off during the night. Camping in the rain is an interesting experience. The sound of drops hitting the canvas on and off, hard and soft, in patches or constant; and it is loud, so loud. Thankfully there was no storm, no wind, just heavy rain.

We awoke early, as you do when camping, to the sounds of the bush. Native birds, insects and frogs. People moving about, the camp was stirring. We set up the annex area of the camper; cooked some breaky on our new Weber and took the kayaks down to the river.

Even though we had never been to Harrys hut; we could see that the river had risen significantly as the jetty was completely under water. This didn’t deter us and we took the kayaks onto the river. As we are novices we never take the kayaks far; but, we didn’t have to, we were completely alone. The river looked like a large container full to the brim of water. There were no dry, parched banks; everything was full to the top.

On our return the Park Rangers had arrived. Tewantin, further up the river, had a lot of rain overnight and the water was coming our way. They had been instructed to ask all of the campers to move out. So with a soggy heart we packed up our little campsite which we had just set up and drove ourselves out and back home.

Tree corridor on the way out

Tree corridor on the way out

Flooded road on the way out

Flooded road on the way out

Mother – Daughter Bonding Trip

Mum came up to Brisbane on short notice, which was perfect as I was unemployed. We decided to take a mother-daughter road trip to do some camping and bush walking, something we are both passionate about.

We started off with a couple of nights at the Gold Coast Holiday Park where we lounged around the heated spa, read and relaxed.

After heading back to Brisbane for a couple of days, we drove up to Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterlands. Unfortunately as we got there all of the little shops were closed or closing so we didn’t get much time to do any shopping. I still managed to purchase a 6 pack sampler of MT Brewery’s beers and we bought some homemade fudge.

We left Mount Tamborine early and drove to Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, which is part of the Lamington National Park. The drive took us through some lovely scenery and cute isolated villages with spectacular views. Once we got to Binna Burra we set up and went for our first walk. We got through the Caves Circuit and part of the Bellbird Lookout Track.

Once we got back from the walk we discovered we had neighbours where we hadn’t had any before. A bunch of blokes had set up camp next door. They were lovely and seeing that we were having trouble with our fire (we learnt the wood we had wasn’t great) gave us a box of fire lighters and some of their wood. As a thank you we brought them over some fudge and they invited us to join them. Mum and I shifted our chairs over and sat with them drinking and chatting for the next few hours before heading to bed a little tipsy.

The next morning we got up and left early to do the Coomera Circuit walk, 17km’s of rainforest, creeks, waterfalls and bush. We did it in 6 hours rather than the 7 hours the map told us it would take. We took some lovely photos and once back at camp we ate and retired early.

On Sunday morning we woke up early and went on a short 1.2kw rainforest circuit just to stretch out our aching limbs, on the return we packed and left and headed down south to Mount Warning.

Once we have crossed over the NSW border and had gotten off the Motorway, we found that the area around Mount Warning is simply beautiful. There was picturesque sugar cane fields with the stunning Mount Warning silhouette in the back drop. We drove through the cute little town of  Murwillumbah and onto the road leading up to Mount Warning Holiday Park, which is where we were camping.

The campsite we picked was lovely, completely surrounded by trees and birds. It was really hot, which after Binna Burra was a nice change. Once the sun dropped it got cold quickly but by that time we had a lovely little fire going strong. We had dinner and packed up so that we could just get up and go at 4am to climb Mount Warning to se the sun rise.

All night there was thunder and when we woke up at 4am there was lightning and it started to rain. We went back to sleep and got up at 6am instead.

It was a hard slog up the mountain, especially at the end where you had to pull yourself up by chains to get to the top. Once at the top the view was lovely, when the clouds cleared. We sat there for a while, took some photos and descended. The whole trek took approx  5 hours. Since this was the end of our trip we packed up and came back to the Gold Coast Holiday Park for some R&R before heading back to Brisbane.

We had a lovely Mother-Daughter bonding experience, I cant wait to do it again!