25 March 2011

9 March
Yesterday and today we have been on the trail of waterfalls. Yesterday we made it to Halls Falls in the Blue Tier area. Nice walk included a stop at the falls and then on to a rocky area above the falls and then up to an old weir (dam) which was built as part of the tin mining process in the early 1900s. Whoever built the trail had fun labelling natural objects including a green haired maiden (big rock covered with Kangaroo fern) and my favoite was the "old man of the forest".
Halls Falls
Old man of the Forest
looks like "men" to me
they claim only one man
We also did some exploring around the tin mine area where we found a man made tunnel used to move water. Pretty impressive since it was through granite.
THIS carried water???
spotted on walk
anyone know what it is?
From Halls Falls we drove on to the St. Columba falls which some say are the highest in Tasmania at 90 meters. They were impressive. The walk through the rain forest was amazing.
St. Columba falls
rain forest
We then headed out to Ralph Falls - 20 kilometers away. Good quality gravel road with a few pot holes should have taken about 30 minutes. Wellllll 90 minutes later finally found us at the carpark for Ralph Falls. The road was a good one - when we could see it through the fog and drizzle. Luckily we were able to find a sheltered level spot just behind the carpark to spend the night. This morning we got up and walked to the falls which were the nicest of the three and really neat shrouded with early morning fog. Walking the trail was very eerie since it was still foggy. We later walked the trail again when we got to see the falls in full sun. It was amazing how much the landscape changed on our 45 minute walk.
fog shrouded falls
little guy watching us walk the trail
the landscape went from this
to this
to this
to views like this
the falls in full sun
We spotted this guy watching for lunch on one of our walks. We couldn't believe how close he let us get before taking off.
raptor watching for lunch
We found this really cool memorial park where they had planted trees after WWI - one for each man lost in the war (from the area). A number (10?) years ago the trees had grown and aged to the point where they we unsafe and the city was going to cut them down. Instead they carved them.
WWI memorial trees preserved
Echidna spotted on ride
12 March
So, Trox went for a ride late this afternoon and I was sitting inside Bunyip reading when someone's cell phone started ringing and kept ringing AND got louder and louder. Finally I looked outside to figure out who's bloody phone was playing the gawd awful song and out in the turn around at the end of the road was an ice cream truck! WOW! How cool was that?! AND! it had soft serve ice cream cones! YIPPEE!
spotted this BIG pig (hog?) along the road
he had 2 or 3 chicken friends
17 March
The Ides of March has come and gone and now it is St. Patrick's day. For the last few days (week maybe) we have been dawdling along the central east coast. We made it as far south on the Freycinet Peninsula as the roads go. Trox hiked up to the top and over to the Wineglass Bay. What beautiful water this is on both sides of the peninsula. The water is crystal clear and some beaches such as honeymoon bay have virtually no currents and are like swimming pools (although a little cold). And the beaches are wonderful to walk along.
shells along the tide zone
walking along the water
lighthouse on Freycinet Peninsula
honeymoon bay
Wineglass bay
Last time we were in St. Helen's we met an elderly (82) man traveling TAS by himself. He (John) was a delightful gentelman. Trox and I went out for a wonderful meal at a "fancy" restaurant - The Blue Shed - and John joined us. It made the dinner even more special to share it with him and his stories were wonderful to listen to. He and Trox solved all the world's problems the next morning over coffee.

We are now getting ready to leave the Freycinet National Park and head further south as we work our way down south towards the Tasman Peninsula and from there we may head north again.

Someone warned us that return tics on the ferry were hard to get on short notice so last time we had internet I booked our return tics. First date I could get was 18 April so that's when we have to head back to Melbourne. That leaves us a little over 4 weeks to finish TAS - we'll see.

18 March
We made a detour into Hobart and now we have a generator again! A brand new one in a box!! Hopefully this one will work better than the first one. On the drive into Hobart we stopped at a place called Spikey Beach with a Spikey Bridge built by convict labor.
Spikey Bridge
We are going to leave Hobart and head back east to Sorell and then south onto the Tasman Peninsula towards Port Arthur. From there - who knows.

21 March
We haven't made it beyond Sorell yet but will be heading further south today. The last few days have been lazy - don't do much type days. We spent time doing laundry, shopping, and restocking things like pancake mix. We also found a charming little town - Richmond - that we both enjoyed traipsing around. It is home to the oldest bridge (convict labor) in TAS still in use and some very old churches and buildings and cemeteries. There were lots of birds under and around the bridge.
St. Johns Catholic Church
oldest Catholic Church still in use in TAS
Little Pied Cormorant (we think)
some kind of duck?
this kind of duck came in all colors!
the oldest bridge built in 1823
22 March
Late yesterday we pulled into Fortescue Bay Campground. What a pretty site. The view from our spot last night was nothing great but this A.M. we moved to a site that is up and has a nice view of the bay. We will stay here at least 2 more nights. Last night we had a visitor on our roof who would dearly have loved to come in . Luckily Trox got the roof vent closed before he (a opposum? - probably) found it. The weather is supposed to turn windy and wet later today. Our location will give us a good view as the storm comes in. The new generator works great!

This morning Trox went for a walk and spotted a green Rosella who was happy to pose for his picture. The other day in Hobart he managed to photograph a whole flock of Eastern Rosellas feeding on something yummy on and under a log.
yes, I'll pose (a Green Rosella)
two of 'em!
Eastern Rosellas feasting on something
THIS is a Robin!
We had a visitor this morning to our new site. We aren't able to identify one type of wallaby from another but the Pademelons are easy to id. Their face is a little different than the wallabies and they are tiny - a litle bigger than a bunny.
Wallaby visitor

10 March 2011

26 February - Saturday
Wandering around the area of Launceston we discovered Cataract Gorge. WOW! The walk is right along the river near the bottom of the gorge.
the gorge
Launceston at the mouth of the gorge
met him at the beginning of the gorge walk
The river is high or low depending on the tide and we started our walk during low tide. Two nights here we spent in Evandale - a very cute quaint town. Day before yesterday we headed north and spent that night in a little city park along a river. We met a man, Ralph, traveling Australia via bicycle. He is from NZ and has been here for 6 months or so. He joined us for morning coffee and we spent a nice few hours getting to know him. From there we continued on north to Low Head at the mouth of Port Dalrymple. Explored around the light house and along the beaches.
Low Head lighthouse
Trox has been finding us magnificent campsites and that night was no exception. We parked in a car park set back from the highway and right on the water where we watched the sun set while fixing dinner. No one told us to leave by the time we were done so we settled in for the night.

The battle with the generator continues and we still don't know if they will replace it but we are hoping. Here on TAS we really haven't missed it but when we return to the mainland that WILL change.

1 March - Tuesday
MARCH! Finds us in Mount William National Park. First night after Low Head we stayed at Waterhouse Point. We were just a few meters from the beach but didn't really have a view and the beach was yucky - covered with drying seaweed and no nice sandy areas. So, we spent the night and then headed further east to where we are now. We are about as east as we can go in TAS. This is a beautiful area with huge spans of white squeaky beaches and essentially NO people. We have spent two nights here and unfortunately due to poor planning on my part we must head back to civilization today unless we plan on eating only beans and rice for the rest of the time we are here. So, as soon as Trox returns from his ride we will head towards Scottsdale (TAS not AZ).

Yesterday we actually walked further than we drove. We did a nice hike out along a fire road to a gorgeous white beach with huge granite boulders and the mouth of a river. We saw roo tracks near the river but no roo. We did have a visitor at our campsite who stuck around for quite awhile.
Trox met this Wombat on a ride
and this lizard on another ride
We also had a pair of green rosellas who made themselves at home just outside our door. It was fun to watch them eat the nuts out of the cones from the She Oaks. I'm not sure why they are called Oaks - they look like pines to me.
Green Rosella
6 March - Sunday
4 weeks in TAS! Yikes - this state is little and it has taken us 4 weeks to less than HALF!
lots more to go!
walking the beach
chatting up a local fisherman
We didn't make it to Scottsdale but instead headed more south to St. Helens. The past 4 nights we have been along the east coast where the beaches are unbelievable - not only because the water color is amazing and the sand is white (and squeaky) but the many miles of long stretches are empty! The Bay of Fires is as beautiful as all the brochures say and we had an amazing campsite (Trox at work again).
cartwheels on the beach at Bay of Fires
We knew there were other people but couldn't see them and we had views of the water and beaches from 3 sides of Bunyip.
our lanai
the view from our lanai
have I mentioned the sunsets?
they are gorgeous!
The water is cold but Trox has braved it a number of times. The past few nights we have been north of the Bay of Fires back in Mount William National Park but on the south end of the park this time. Yesterday we hiked from the light house to a little secluded beach where the water was calm and crystal clear.
the lighthouse at Eddystone
our own private beach
the orange is lichen
Our campsite is next to Deep Creek a couple hundred meters up from where it dumps into the Tasman Sea. It is really fascinating to watch the creek level change as the tide comes and goes.
high tide
low tide
Today the plan is to move inland for a little while. We have WON the battle over the generator and they are replacing it! We will be able to pick up the new one the end of this week (they have to ship it from the mainland).

7 March - Monday
Last night Trox had a great single track ride along a water race that wandered in and out and around beech trees. This morning he is making muffins with the black berries he picked yesterday. Once the muffins are done we will head out but haven't decided if we are heading east towards St. Helens again or west towards Scottsdale.
Trox' ride