Tasmania, been there, done some, need to come back again

Honeymoon Bay, Freycinet National Park.

Hobart to Devonport via Puddleduck Winery and the east coast of Tasmania

Link to a few pictures here:

Saturday 10th Feb : We are camped up at The Lea, a Scout camp near Hobart open to travelers and tourists over the summer months. We have been treated to a reminder of Tasmania’s fickle weather, rainstorms and fierce winds overnight, however the wind was a blessing in disguise as the canvas of our camper trailer dried out early Sunday morning much to our surprise and relief. Packing up wet canvas is a messy business and a task neither Helen or I look forward to in the slightest.

Sneaking into South Hobart on Sunday morning we bought a few tasty local provisions and a couple of bottles of good Tasmanian bubbles for our date at Puddleduck Winery later that day. We then mooched down to Salamanca for a quick look around. Parking the cruiser and trailer in town is a bit of a challenge at the best of times but to our great surprise we found a spot near the Tasmanian Supreme Court and headed off for a quick wander around my old stomping ground nearby the Salamanca Market and waterfront market area.

We returned to find a parking ticket neatly adorned to the cruiser and indignation aside, I guess I should have known better. We are still in discussions with Hobart City Council regarding the ticket – I have challenged the issuance, they are considering my lengthy dissertation that there no "no parking" signs covering these precious pieces of tarmac – we shall wait and see.

Onwards to Puddleduck Winery [ ] via a quick stop at Richmond and it’s famous old bridge for a roadside lunch stop. When we arrived at Puddleduck we were warmly greeted by our camping companions from Mount Field National Park and had a wonderful day and amazing evening with new friends, great wine, good food and good conversation, making for an unforgettable experience on our travels. Zoe & Sophie disappeared and played happily with Harriet and Oliver, feeding chickens, looking at the Guinea Fowl and sneaking off to watch a DVD while the adults chatted. We also met two other travelers [Glen & Alison], we had all been camped at Mount Field National Park at the same time and we have spent a few more days with them as we travelled up the east coast.

On Monday mid-morning, after saying a fond farewell to our gracious hosts, we headed of towards the east coast. Our goal was Freycinet National Park via Orford, Swansea and Coles Bay. The Camping grounds at Freycinet National Park were full and so we were forced to go find another spot, a free camp 10kms out of town. It was just a sandy patch by the water but proved to be a good spot and we stayed 3 nights. We were fortunate with the weather for the first day or so and walked up to the Wineglass Bay lookout and played in the waters of Honeymoon Bay, idyllic settings and a wonderful way to spend the day, Hopefully the pictures help convey some of our experiences.

Juvenile Welcome Swallows, waiting for a feed

Our old friend the howling wind arrived again and threatened to blow our tent down, we tied everything down and endured a torrid 18 hours as the wind gusted wildly from the west.

The wind did subside just enough for me to have a sneaky fish in the bay and I managed a personal best Black Bream [34cm] and a few small Australian salmon – we ate the Bream, everyone declaring it delicious – maybe not at good as flathead 😊 but very, very good.

We again headed a little further north up the east coast, heading for Scamander but got side tracked by a good camping spot at Lagoons Beach where we stayed for a couple of days, enjoying the beach and some more settled weather. The fishing was ok, we caught a few more fish but nothing worth eating ☹

And onwards, up to a spot called Policeman’s Point, where the fishing was described as so good that if you couldn’t catch a fish here – give up. Well we caught a few fish, one good salmon [a personal best] but the wind had returned and ensured we spent a night huddled inside holding the tent down once again, certainly not much sleep for Helen or I but the girls seemed oblivious and slept through like logs.

We had guests arrive, Richard and his friend have been touring on their motorbikes and caught up with us at Policeman’s Point and then followed us to Bakers Point in Narawantpu National Park. It was great to see Richard and listen to his stories [weather, wind, rain, hail and more wind] about travelling around Tasmania, we enjoyed the company for a few days before they headed off for their boat back to the mainland on Wednesday 21st. We couldn’t decide where to go next so did the only thing sensible and stayed put – enjoying the great campsite, beach and pretty good fishing. And to no-one’s surprise, Helen has been catching more and better fish than I have over the past few days, providing us with a good feed of fish for two meals to my one ☹ The really good news though is I now don’t have to persuade Helen we should go for a fish when we reach a likely looking spot, she is now the main provider when it comes to a free feed of fish. I have to say though, my Flathead Curry was a great success, whipped up using ancient recipes and guesswork. Delicious.

And so here we are on Friday 23rd, not under canvas for the first time in almost 5 weeks because the rain came to play, and stay, today and forecast for tomorrow. So rather than pack up wet canvas for the trip home we chickened out and are staying in a bush retreat [B&B]. The girls quickly rediscovered the joys of a good shower [using up all the hot water] and finding the TV remote control, they seemed to recall how to switch channels easily so have not lost any of their city skills 😊

Along the way today, we acted like real tourists, eating breakfast in a café at Beauty Point, visiting both the Platypus and Seahorse attractions before heading into Devonport, Ulverstone and finally hauling up to our bush retreat just outside Penguin.

We have an early start tomorrow, a short drive to the long queue for boarding the Spirit of Tasmania and then an all day crossing into Melbourne. Matthew has promised to have a hot meal waiting for us when we arrive home Saturday evening, [will let you all know how that turns out] but then we have a small mountain of dirty washing to attend to before we head off towards South Australia and our lap of the Australian mainland sometime next week. In theory it will be Wednesday, in practice we don’t know yet as there are a few chores and small repairs awaiting my attention. The good news is Melbourne is forecast to be warm and sunny next week.

Orford Beach

Regards Roy, Helen, Sophie, Zoe

PS - guest appearances by Richard & Matthew.

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