Before leaving St Helens we went out the Lease 65, an oyster farm heading out to the Bay of Fires and purchased a dozen oysters. Then we went off to Skippers Fish Shop to buy a fresh crayfish. The only one cray they had on display we both thought was too small, so asked it they had anymore, which the lady serving us went out the back and bought out another tray of four more crays. They had recently been cooked and she stated they were still warm inside; you couldn't get any fresher. We purchased a larger one and when we inquired about the price per kilo, we were told $65. It was disappointing to hear, that unfortunately the local cray boats are winding down their operations and the guys working the nets are all looking for work elsewhere. This is due to China now not importing our crayfish and that the local demand is not there, therefore it's not viable for them to go out.
Heading along the Tasman Highway we stopped at Halls Falls, which flows from the Groom River. The waterfall and the rock pools were stunning. Just down the road we stopped at the Pyengana Dairy and due to COVID restrictions they currently do not do tastings, so the cheeses we bought will be a taste surprise to us when we finally open them. One cheese, which we didn't purchase, was $100 per kilo.
Just up the road we stopped in at the Pub in the Paddock and had a beer. This pub is one of the oldest pubs in Tasmania, licensed since 1880. Here you can visit and buy Princess of the Paddock, Priscilla, a thirsty beer loving pig a drink. By the time we went across and saw Priscilla we think she might have had a stomach full of beer, as she was snoozing over in the far corner of her sty.
We stopped at the Weldborough Pass Rainforest walk, which is a short walk through a cool temperate rainforest with stunning myrtles and treeferns. Stopping the night at a free camp behind the historical Weldborough Hotel we went and enjoyed dinner, very tasty scallops and a schnitzel.
The next morning we turned right towards Herrick and called into Pioneer Lake were we met a couple from Kettering in their Nissan Civilian, who gave us some local info. We moved on to the Little Blue Lake. The water in Little Blue lake is acidic, high in aluminum and used for Tin mining back in the day. The vivid turquoise colour of the lake is caused when the white clay exposed in tin mining operations reflects the clear blue of the sky. We ventured into the Waterhouse Conservation Area, only to find DABUS could get down the main tracks but not into any campsites, as access was 4x4 only and sandy. Bridport is a beautiful beach town and had a wood chopping competition going on, it was a very busy town. We arrived at 12.25pm on Saturday afternoon, only to discover we had missed buying scallops for sale direct from the boat, b*****, we'll have to find some before we sail home. We headed south at Bridport down to Scottsdale to the free camp. Being the Australia Day weekend, it was absolutely full, so moving onto plan B we headed east and found a free camp alongside a disused railway at Nabowla. We had a nice campfire and creamy Kilpatrick oysters for dinner, made sure our fire was out before going to bed and as we went into DABUS a Coaster bus pulled in near us. It was 10.30 and we couldn't believe people were still driving that late.
We spent the next morning exploring an abandoned railway tunnel, Lilydale Falls, at Beechford we enjoyed a walk through the sand dunes and along the beach. At Low Head we checked out the lighthouse and learnt about the Low Head Fog Horn, which goes off every Sunday at 12pm and can be heard up to 32km away, we heard it when we were down at Beechford. Low Head is situated at the mouth of the Tamar River.
We crossed the Tamar River at Batman Bridge, onto Beaconsfield and stopped the afternoon at York Town. Our site for the night is on private property called Watermill Cottage Campground, we're not surprised to see another 10 caravans here. Once stopped one of us is keeping the blog up to date and the other pulled the awning out, only for our old awning to decide it wanted to part ways with DABUS. We had made enquires to order a new awning only a couple of days ago, we knew it was on its last legs. This area was the first discovery of midges in Tassie, one of us now has a few welts.
In the morning we walked across the road to discover York Town, only to read the first sign of the fifteen minute walk, "stating there is nothing left of York Town, so use your imagination". The walking track was overgrown, so we decided not to investigate the area of nothingness, but moved onto to explore Beaconsfield. Here we both enjoyed and hour and half at the Beaconfield Mine and Heritage Centre. It was interesting reading about the mine rescue of 2006 that put Beaconsfield in the international limelight, for all the wrong reasons.
Driving alongside the Tamar River, stopping at Grindelwald, a Swiss Village and a lookout before driving through Launceston. As we had both been to Launceston previously, it was a town that we didn't feel we needed to stop and explore.
Our destination for the night was at Evandale, a very quaint and pretty town, with period homes, shops, lovely gardens and narrow roads and it rained overnight.
Australia Day saw use rise early, as we had discovered that there was car racing on at Symmons Plains Raceway and we had purchased tickets the day prior. Arriving at the track at 8am, we had paid the extra $10 to take DABUS in with us, which was really handy. As we had our own, food, drinks, toilet etc on board. Our chairs were set up out the front of DABUS but as the day progressed we would either walk down to the track or for two races sat in DABUS for a better view of the track. It was a great day of car racing and for only $25 each, on our seniors card, a very cheap day at the car racing, as we were there until after 4pm. Thanks to Paul who gave Alan the heads up on this event.
After leaving the track we headed to another free camp but with a difference at Bishopsbourne Recreational Grounds. This was our first permit camp, it was easy to obtain the permit, which was done on the phone, after entering our details and email arrived and our permit number had to be displayed on the dashboard.
The following day we stopped at Deloraine and Sheffield (town of Murals) and explored these towns before moving onto Lake Barrington for lunch. At Sheffield we went to the bakery to purchase some scallop pies, but they have gone straight into the freezer. As there was no phone reception we returned through Sheffield and stopped the night at Railton (town of Topiary). Here the guardian of the CMCA park was not in attendance, so we were both happy to stay at the free camp right next door. We were beside the railway line but that was okay, as a train went through about 7pm and then at 6.30am, not throughout the night.
Our last full day in Tasmania and we travelled from Railton to Devonport, arriving about 10am and went straight to the laundry mat, then onto buy some tassie scallops at Strait from the boat, then onto Petuna Seafood, near the Spirit of Tassie ship and purchased, crayfish, prawn & salmon pizza's and more scallop pies, again everything went into the freezer.
Back to the carwash at Spreyton were DABUS got a pretty up, before heading back to Horsehead Creek for the night. Here we met up with Lynda, who had just arrived into Tassie and was travelling with her dog, Mocha, so gave her a few places to visit and she was happy with that.
Up early the following morning after arriving at the wharf, we had about 45mins to wait before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania. We had decided on booking a room on our return trip, to give us a space to be mask free and a place just to chill out. We had room 7000, right at the front of the ship and smack in the middle. It was rough going heading away from Tassie, the waves were smashing up past our large window and washing it. At 12.30 we staggered up to the cinema like drunken sailors, holding onto hand rails all the way. We enjoyed the movie 'Rams' and by the time the movie had finished the seas had calmed down and we were walking normally and not staggering around the place. We docked about 6.10pm and were on the road back home by 6.30pm.
Another holiday and adventure we both enjoyed and we look forward to returning to Tasmania, a state that offers so much, so stay tuned for a sequel.
During our travels of Tasmania Alan & DABUS drove a total of 2900km.