While we were staying at the White Sands Ironhouse Brewery we spent a day exploring the area, driving out to Falmouth, swapping books at the street library and then watching the blowhole while chatting with a local. He reminded us of the blowhole at Bicheno, about 40 minutes down the coast. If the Falmouth blowhole was going off,(and it was!) then the Bicheno one would be a sight to see. We then left Falmouth to drive down the coast to see the Bicheno blowhole in action. We watched the waves crashing over the rocks and along with many other people that day, we all enjoyed the show that mother nature put on for us.
The next day we left White Sands Ironhouse Brewery driving up and over St Mary’s Pass, a very long, steep and winding road to the town of St Mary’s and our next camp. Not quite such impressive surroundings as White Sands but still a good spot, and right next to the golf course so Chris was happy as he managed to get a game in while we were there. From St Mary’s we drove up to the South Sister lookout. A long drive uphill on a dirt road that was full of big potholes. So much so that we decided to get out and walk the last bit. Was the view worth it? I’d have to say no. A small spot through the trees and pretty similar to what you could see from only a part way up the track.
We spent 3 lazy days at St Mary’s before heading on to Fingal, about 35 kms away. This free camp has a couple of spots with power and water and as we were expecting some days of bad weather (again!) we thought we’d settle in there. We were lucky enough to get a powered spot (thank you Fingal) so the cold, wet and windy weather didn’t bother us too much. We read our books, watched movies and enjoyed the plums picked from the tree close by.
As the weather improved we drove out, doing the loop from Fingal, though Avoca then Rossarden and Mangana before getting back to Fingal. We called into the visitor information centre and museum at Avoca where I spotted a tea towel from Norfolk where I was born in the UK. This was part of a collection of tea towels donated by the CWA (country women’s association) We also drove out to Mathinna and did the walk to the falls. We met a couple there who we had seen at St Mary’s, he only had one arm but it seems nothing stops him and he drove like a madman!
From Fingal we headed to Campbell Town where we spent one night. We walked around the town, admired more tree carvings and read some of the bricks that track the paths there, showing names and details of local convicts. Then we moved on to Oatlands, another great spot in a pretty little town. We visited the museum and explored the town by walking around the historic buildings using the key tag provided by the museum to get inside some of the buildings. We found the Op Shop which is open every day except Christmas Day and bought lots of fresh veggies from a stall by the roadside.
We watched the building work being done on and around the old windmill, for yet another whiskey and gin distillery. There seems to be so many of these in Tassie now! Apparently these owners are from Sydney and one of them is named Ibrahim. We wondered if this is one of the infamous “Ibrahim’s” of King’s Cross fame. Probably not!
We spent a day driving from Oatlands to Interlaken and then down to Bothwell where we spent a while in the information centre talking to the local guy who used to live at Currumbin on the Gold Coast but now calls Bothwell home. I enjoyed winding the “Friendship Ball” A huge ball of wool that people are encouraged to wind on. We checked out the golf museum attached to the visitor centre which Chris really enjoyed. We both smiled at some of the amusing golfing jokes and cartoons on display.
Next stop after Oatlands was Kempton and another spot that provides power and water. This was an old caravan park but now it’s on a “by donation” basis which is great for us travellers. I only hope that most people do donate and pay according to what’s on offer. We do, but we also know there are many out there who don’t. They are cheapskates and need to get over themselves!
We found a great street library in Kempton and swapped our books. We took 4 and left 8 so the locals should be happy!
From Kempton we drove to Glenorchy, a suburb of Hobart and we caught up on grocery shopping (We hadn’t seen a Woolies or Bunnings for a while) then had a nice Chinese meal for lunch before returning to our van and packing up ready to leave the next morning.
Our next stop was Triabunna where we stayed for 4 nights. We parked at the free camp by the marina, with our donations to the Royal Flying Doctors Service. We met up with Kay and Dennis, a couple we spent Christmas and New Year with at the Blue Wren in Ulverstone. Like us, they had booked to do the boat trip circumnavigating Maria Island. This was a great full day trip where we saw plenty of wildlife and magnificent scenery. We also spent a couple of hours on Maria Island before heading back to Triabunna and a dinner of fish and chips from the fish van.
The next day we drove out to Spring Beach, just out of Orford, and with beautiful weather we managed to spend a while on the beach reading and sunbathing. Chris even spent some time in the water body surfing. It was good to have some warm, sunny weather at last! (We had planned to return the next day but we changed our minds as the rotten weather returned.) We then drove further along the coast to Rheban Beach, another of the many beaches we’ve seen that remind us of Wineglass Bay.
We chatted with some guys from one of the squid boats at Triabunna marina and asked about buying some squid from them. They said they weren’t going out that night but they were the next night so that next morning we wandered over to find our friendly fishermen. The skipper of the only squid boat there at the time said he was not allowed to sell straight from his boat as he could loose his license so we offered to donate but he still said no. Even better though, he gave us a couple for nothing. Couldn’t ask for more than that, could we? Thanks guys. Chris cleaned the squid and put them straight in the freezer, our friendly fisherman says this helps to tenderise them. When we get them out we’ll cook and pickle them with either sweet chilli or rosemary and garlic which is my favourite.
We then headed to Sorell where we spent one night. We filled up the water tanks, did washing and shopping ready then to head off down towards Dunalley and stay at the golf club where Chris is hoping to get a game, with strong winds I’m wondering how likely this will be.
We based ourselves at Dunalley and head down to the Tasman Peninsula, exploring Eaglehawk Neck with the Tessellated Pavement, the blowhole, Tasman Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen. We watched the blowhole but because of the low tide, this one wasn’t blowing. We drove up to Lime Bay and walked around the Coal Mines Historic Site. The convict cells were tiny and housed six convicts back in the day. We walked along the track following the signs which Chris assured me would take us in a loop back to the car park! This theory worked well until we ran out of signs so instead of risking getting ourselves lost, we decided to return back the way we came. We later drove out to White Beach (aptly named) and saw the fish farm on the other side of the bay. We then went on to the Remarkable Caves. We walked down the newly renovated metal stairway and marvelled at the view through the cave out to the ocean.
Another day we did the scenic drive through Nubeena to Port Arthur. As we had spent a day at the historic Port Arthur site before we decided not to go through it again but when we were there previously we missed seeing the plaque commemorating the people who lost their lives at the massacre in 1996. As we were so close I enquired if we could possibly just walk around to that part and pay our respects. Before I had even finished asking the question, we were told yes, of course. (I’m thinking this is not the first time they have been asked this.) What a beautiful, peaceful spot, now a garden of remembrance that blends inconspicuously into it’s surroundings. RIP all who died at Port Arthur. Gone but not forgotten.