Tasmania - week 1

Link to a few pictures here:

Monday 22nd January, off to Tasmania for us via the Spirit of Tasmania, Melbourne turned on some typical summer weather with some low fog hanging around the city and Port Phillip Bay making our departure from mainland Australia somewhat forgettable. If I was poetic I could wax lyrical about the unusual atmospheric ambience, but it looked overcast and grey to me.

An uneventful crossing saw the girls meet new friends, get some temporary tattoos and face painting done to help pass the 10 hours as we crossed to Devonport, Helen spent a fair chunk of time lying down feeling somewhat seasick with the gentle 2-3 metre swell across the Bass Straits. We disembarked, found our way off to a free camp site for the night and enjoyed our quiet first night in Tasmania.

Our first week here has passed quickly with stops at Peggs Beach, Arthur River, Trial Harbour and now Strahan down the west coast of Tassie, trying to free camp or stay in National Parks / Conservation areas wherever we can.

Peggs Beach was a lovely little spot, at the mouth of the Black River, the girls mucked around in the sand and the shallow waters while I walked up and down with a fishing rod, only managing one small yellow eyed mullet for my efforts. Talking to some other fisher people we were told the secret bait was chicken – so the next day we fished along the same stretch of river with the magic bait; of course Helen out-fished me 8:1 and caught us a good feed of fish. The girls were intrigued as we cleaned and gutted the fish, no real squeamishness from anyone other than me 😊

After Peggs Beach we stopped at Stanley to climb the Nut, before heading down to Arthur River for the Australia Day celebrations. The west coast of Tasmania is known for its wild windy [edge of the world] weather, with nothing between this coast and the coast of South America. For the 3 days we were there it was almost perfect – warm, sunny and just enough sea breeze to be comfortable as we explored a few bays, beaches and rock pools. We fished at the mouth of the Arthur River, again using our secret bait (chicken) but to no real avail. I fished down the coast at Couta Rocks the next day and caught heaps of small fish [mullet, wrasse, Australian salmon and a small flathead ] before one last change of location to catch a good sized flattie that went home and became dinner – delicious.

We packed up and left Arther River on a very hot, humid day. Driving down the dirt road towards Corinna and the punt barge across the Pieman River. Spectacular scenery all the way down as we passed through this rugged part of western Tasmania, we arrived at Corinna with the temperature at 36c and so a quick drink and lunch in the small pub at the side of the river seemed the best way to deal with the heat, it would have been better if they had air-conditioning but live and learn 😊

After a quick dip in the river to cool down we made our way down towards Zeehan and Strahan. We got a little side tracked and ended up checking out Granville Harbour and the staying the night at Trial Harbour, a free camp with a billion bugs to keep us company. The heat of the day final dissipated around 4am when a cool change and rain came through, it was a pretty uncomfortable night for all and so we quickly packed and headed out to Zeehan.

Breakfast was cooked at the side of road in town much to the amusement of people passing by, and Zeehan is pretty much a ghost town these days now the mine is shut and there is little other work around. It looks a little sad seeing the town so quiet, the grand old Post Office a sign of better days gone by, the heritage museum struggling to attract visitors as they pass by (like us) on the way to Strahan or Queenstown.

We had a delightful little stop by the Henty River on the way into Strahan, just us and the river, no bugs and only the lightest of passing showers to remind us the weather had changed back to west coast normal after the warm sunshine of previous days. The rain followed us into Strahan but we discovered a great camping spot down at the end of Macquarie Heads, costs a massive $7 a night and we have a private little spot, a campfire and a glass of wine to keeps us company.

The weather is much better this morning but with rain and showers forecast for the rest of the week we know we need to enjoy the days as they come. Today – maybe some fishing off the ocean beach just around the corner before finding a spot with some mobile reception to log into the education system so Zoe and Sophie can start school tomorrow 😊 ☹

It's a Pademelon. lots of them in Tasmania :-)

Regards Roy, Helen, Zoe & Sophie

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