Tag Archives: travel

Freycinet National Park

FreycinetWe drove to Freycinet National Park (pronounced frey sin aye) for the 3 hour Wineglass Bay walking circuit, one of Tasmania’s 60 short walks. We were so lucky to have amazing weather, perfect for photos.

Originally we were just going to walk to Wineglass Bay lookout; however, I really wanted to walk down to the bay. I always see the lookout view photos, but never any of down in the bay.

View of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

View of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

I’m so glad we did! Perfect beach white sand and clear azure waves, paradise! The extra walk down to the bay, and back up again, is pretty challenging which I loved! I will leave hubby behind next time, he did not love it so much 🙂

View from the rocks in Wineglass Bay

View from the rocks in Wineglass Bay

We stayed for 2 nights at the national park campgrounds. Both nights we had noisy neighbours who were up until all hours of the morning. There is nothing worse then camping next to inconsiderate people. Rant over!

On the upside, the campground was right on Richardson beach it was just like having a private beach. After the Wineglass Bay trek I decided to get some colour so I walked right to the end of the beach, over some rocks and onto another empty beach, I could really get use to this!

Cole Bay SunriseI also managed to get a couple of lovely sunrise shots at Richardson Beach. Unfortunately I missed out on the mountains been lit up red from the sunrise just by a couple of minutes. It’s amazing how you can miss a stunning shot just by being 2 minutes late, damn! There was still enough colour for some pics anyway.

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet

Port Arthur

I hadn’t planned on visiting Port Arthur on our trip as I’m not terribly familiar or interested in Australian history. I did however, want to see The Isle of the Dead in Port Arthur. Can’t see one without the other so we went for a day and I’m so glad we did.

I could go on about the history of Port Arthur in this blog; but, really you could research that in your spare time. There were a few things that did really fascinate me while we were here and so I will make mention.

The way the tourists are managed throughout Port Arthur is very well done. I have a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management which really doesn’t get much of a workout. What I do like to check out while at tourist attractions is how the attraction manages the tourists and I thought Port Arthur did this very well. As part of the bronze ticket, the cheapest ticket you can buy, you get an ipod with a self guided tour so you can walk around on your own and have all the information at your finger tips. You are also entitled to participate in an introductory tour which goes every hour and a guide will walk you around and provide you with the information found on the ipod and other relevant stories.

I also found the tour guides and staff in general to be fantastic. They are obviously passionate and very knowledgable about Port Arthur and liked to share stories about the convicts, the jailers and their families to really make the experience come alive for us visitors.

As the main motivation for visiting Port Arthur was The Isle of the Dead tour we booked and went on it first. The Isle of the Dead is a small island off the Tasman peninsula. It was used as the graveyard for Port Arthur from 1833 to 1877. Around 1100 dead are buried here. Basically anyone who died was buried here so not only the convicts but  officials, soldiers and their families. On the lower side of the island the convicts were buried, mostly without headstones in mass graves. It was forbidden to place headstones on a convicts graves; however, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. The soldiers, officials and their families were  buried on the higher north-western corner of the Island, class rules were strictly enforced in life and death for these people.

The tour guide was engaging and obviously loved her job, she told us stories of some of the dead, the grave keepers, families and interesting burial facts.

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The other place I wanted to make mention of in this blog is the Coal Mines Historic Site. Port Arthur is on one side of the Tasman Peninsula and the Coal Mine is a drive to the other. It’s free to see, you just drive up and park. We didn’t know anything about the Coal Mine; but, a guy at the caravan park said that we had to go and see it so we did. We were the only people there at the time so had the whole place to ourselves and it was spectacular.

We had a detailed information brochure and map of the area so we self toured around. It was worth the short drive out to see it.

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

A Foodie / Boozie’s paradise – Bruny Island

Untitled BrunyBruny Island is an island off south east Tasmania. It has a bit of something for everyone, beaches, forests, driving tracks, cruises, holiday shacks, camping, fishing, hiking, restaurants, food and alcohol products. We came over late one afternoon via the car ferry, set up camp ready for exploring the island the next day.

 

Unfortunately our trip over to Bruny Island was cut short due to bad weather. The thought of leaving the comfort and warmth of our 4WD to brave the cold, wet and windy weather that was plaguing the island was somewhat unappealing. Unfortunately that meant that instead of hiking, sightseeing and relaxing for 2 days we spent a day eating and drinking our way around the island instead, it’s a tough life.

 

Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Places we visited:

Bruny Island Providore

We found this place along the way to the berry farm, It wasn’t listed on the tourist map provided to us so we didn’t know it existed until we nearly drove past it. We did stop in though to sample some fudge and OMG! The fudge is all made by hand from local products, a video was playing in the store, very interesting. We bought some choc mint fudge and kept going.

Bruny Island Berry Farm

Our first stop after leaving Bruny Island Providore was the berry farm. Unfortunately berries are out of season; but, they make sauces and jams when the berries are in season and always have that on hand. We sat down to some real coffee (seriously missing good coffee while travelling) and hot scones, just out of the oven with jam and fresh cream. Melt in your mouth amazingness! I sampled some of their Blackberry sauce and had to buy a bottle to take with me.

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

This deserves a small mention as this tiny little cemetery had some rather interesting gravestones that I’ve never seen the likes of before. On a few of the graves were these tiny little cement crosses, about 20cm high just sticking out of the ground. The inscription seemed to just be the name of the deceased, strange.

Bruny Island Premium Wines

A lovely café and wine tasting shed on the other side of the island from the berry farm. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are grown on the island and the Sauvignon blanc and Riesling grapes are grown in another part of Tas; but, all of the wines are made onsite. The wine was fantastic and I managed to walk away with just one bottle, if that doesn’t show restraint then I don’t know what does!

Bruny Island Cheese Company

I tried a couple of their cheeses at the Salamanca markets in Hobart, very pricey for cheese – $16 each for the 2 I purchased and well worth it! We went through a tasting of 5 cheeses on site and I wasn’t disappointed, the cheese is just sensational. You can eat a load of freshly made goodies onsite but I bought a freshly baked sourdough loaf with my cheese to enjoy later.

 

Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Get Schucked

You wouldn’t have thought that I would need lunch at this point; however, there is always room for fresh oysters and wine. The oysters are locally grown and freshly opened which I paired with a glass of Jansz bubbles, felt like I had died and gone to heaven!  A dozen naked oysters and a glass of bubble was about $23, bargain!

Bruny Island Smokehouse and Wine bar

And our last stop enroute to the ferry was the smokehouse where a couple of platters of the locally made products (smoked in the back paddock) were waiting for me to taste, yum! We ended up with smoked chorizo pork sausages and hot smoked salmon.

This was the last stop on our foodie / boozie’s tour of Bruny Island, now off to Port Arthur. I would love to come back again to do the hiking, there is always next time.

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island

 

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!