We spent a couple of days in Melbourne where we went to V Festival. On stage were Queens of the Stone Age, Duran Duran, Air and Rosin Murphy. It was good, but not as busy as we thought. I topped the day off by being a little drunk and falling off the train, ending up between the train and the platform with a nasty gash on my leg and being put in the back of an ambulance and patched up!
We left Melbourne early on a Sunday morning and headed to the port where we would be catching the 9 hour ferry over to Tasmania. It was a lovely sunny morning and the view back towards the City was lovely, the bay however was surprisingly full of jellyfish, where ever we looked. We spent the day with a hangover so managed to sleep on a small round chair, eat some food and watch a couple of movies. When we arrived in Devonport we headed straight for a McDonalds and then drove to a small place called Westbury, between Devonport and Launceston, to meet Scott and Kelly. The free camp area was at Andys bakery which is open 24 hours has free internet access and good coffee.
The following day we headed to the North of the island we stopped at Burnie Information Centre to pick up a national park pass which is valid for 6 weeks. We needed one as entry to each park is $22 and as there are so many to visit the pass is better value and I'm sure we will get our moneys worth. Our next stop was Table Cape and the lighthouse, the views were great and the sun was again shining. The one thing that surprised us was how blue the sea was and how clear. We headed to Stanley and the Nut a volcanic plug rising 150 metres, But first we were off in search of some lunch, which you'd assume would be fairly easy, but all the cafes were shuting up and we ended up after an hour of searching in an IGA supermarket, where they made fresh sandwiches they were lovely chicken and salad. Although by the time we had eaten it was about 4pm so we headed for a walk up the nut. A cable car runs up and down, but we decided to be energetic and too the steep climb. The views of Bass straight were wonderful and we even managed to spot a Wallaby. We then drove on towards the West Coast it was just turning to dusk and we started being attacked. At first we thought that Scott, who was in front was sending stones from the road up, which were hitting our windscreen, we slowed right down and it continued. As we were both starting to see what it was we both jumped and screamed as a massive bug hit the windscreen, it was 3 times as big as the biggest bumble bee we had ever seen. It was like something from out of space and they just continued to hit all over the van with loud thumps, odd! We finally reached Green Point campground, which was right on the beach at Marrawah, just as the sun was about to disappear, we lit a camp fire and had a delicious chilli.
I woke early and needing the toilet got up and was lucky enough to catch the sun rise which made some bright colours form over the sea as the area was so quiet it felt very special, I felt like I was the only one there! After breakfast we set off for Dismal Swamp, a giant sinkhole. To get down to the bottom, you can opt to take the 110m tube slide, which is pretty fast. We did it twice, once at the bottom there are lots of pathways that lead you around the fertile swamp and explain how it formed and what animals live there. There are also displays from creative artist who have tried to sum the swamp up in various forms of art. Because of a recent forest fire we were unable to continue down the remote West coast and instead had to back track, although this was not too bad as we got to go to Rocky Cape National Park where we took a walk around the headland and visited the caves. We then drove on through the middle of the Island, it was very remote and very green with lush forest. We stopped for the night at Hellyer Gorge campground, which was by the river and fairly busy a couple of caravans and a massive camper. We had our dinner accompanied by possums and then had toasted marshmallows on our fire.
After pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast we heading along the winding roads and up the mountains. We ended up in Queenstown, a large mining town, it was like stepping back 100 years it felt deserted, barren, tumble down and lunar. We only stopped long enough to get fuel. The drive out of the town through more mountains was particularly scary, the roads were windy and narrow and as the area is so bare you can see right down the edge, there is also lots of rubble on the road and there was a feeling that the rocks could fall down from above us at any time. It was as if the area had been hit by a nuclear bomb, scary and desolate. We stopped at Lake Burbury about 20km from Queenstown, but you felt lie a million miles away, we camped at the lake and settled there for a good few hours, to get some fishing in and to relax from all the driving we had done. We lit the BBQ early and had chicken wraps for lunch. By the end of the afternoon, we were joined by fellow campers in caravans and we kept our BBQ going and had steak and BBQ potatoes for dinner. We then sat around a big fire bin to keep warm, but it rained and we had to go off to bed.