19 April 2011

Last map of TAS

Final map of TAS - we did MOST of it!
no roads in south west
we missed some of the middle

Sad to Leave Tasmania

10 April Sunday
We finished up every thing we needed to take care of in Hobart - taxes, laundry, etc. - yesterday. By the time we were ready to leave it was near dark but we decided to push on up the road to Hamilton which was about 70 kilometers. We arrived safe and sound; set up camp; had dinner; and went to bed. This morning we woke up to sunshine but it didn't last long. We decided to head over to Mount Field National Park where there are supposed to be some waterfalls and nice walks and hopefully camping facilities. Along the way we stopped by an 1889 Anglican church and cemetery for lunch.
storm brewing
This cemetery is still active, well cared for, and dates back to the late 1880s.

11 April Monday
We made it to Mount Field in time for a damp walk to the first of three falls and then made camp where we had power and hot showers!
The bottom of Russell Falls - there are about 3 or 4 tiers
Given we were early we decided to do a "complicated" dinner and I made Irish Stew and Trox made black beans. He also got in a short ride and after dinner went for a walk to see the glow worms and try to find wombats and/or platypus. Only thing he found was glow worms. Last night's visitor was very curious and not afraid of people at all.
Our night caller
Our night caller
Our night caller
This morning we fiddle futzed around camp and finally headed out on a walk about 1:00. Three hours later we had seen three waterfalls, lots of fungi, super tall trees, and climbed up about 10 flights of stairs.
top of Russell Falls
Horseshoe Falls
the Units at Horseshoe Falls
neat orange fungus
tall trees
and of course birds
a burnt out tree
still alive
Lady Barron falls
more fungus

Tonight we are a little closer to Strahan.

12 April Tuesday
Autumn has definitely arrived. Mornings are crisp and chilly and the trees are turning.
Autumn is here
On our way to find a place for breakfast we spotted a herd of reindeer which look very out of place here.
In the town of Ouse we found a park for breakfast, a pear tree with yummy wind fall, and a post office to mail Sloany's package. She turns 5 in 2 weeks!!!

A stop along the highway and a short 10 minute walk took us to another beautiful waterfall - Nelson falls. Along the trail were placards that talked about the history of this valley - ice age; covered with sea; tropical; and today - interesting.
Nelson Falls in the rain
13 April
Last night just at dark we found a place to park on the west side of Burbury Lake. We have a beautiful - albeit wet - view of the lake and bridge. We had eaten dinner and were relaxing when the police arrived to be sure we were okay. There had been a small earthquake in Queenstown - a few kilometers further down the road. Small - as in 2.8 on the Richter. They said everyone was up in arms about it because there are so many mines around here that even though it was small it still could have caused land slides or cave ins in the mines. Or it could have actually been caused by a massive cave in somewhere. This morning the clouds are on top of the hills around the lake.
Clouds around the lake
Bunyip at Burbury lake
We are going to head on to Strahan today.

Oh, did I mention it's flooding again? Normal rainfall for Hobart (where we just came from) in April is 55 millimeters and in the last 24 hours they have had 79! So, a half century record falls! We are glad we are no longer in Hobart. We are getting good at having BEEN IN the flood areas.

A side road on the way to Queenstown took us to an overlook of the Mount Lyell mine - an open cut copper and silver mine from the early 1900s.
a rock cut above Mt. Lyell Mine
mine is now full of water
a bas relief in bronze to commemorate the mine
Further down the highway we spotted a waterfall.
a waterfall along the highway
We had been warned that Queenstown is a moonscape because of all the mines and as we approach it that is very evident. As we drop into town it could be any mining town in AZ and then along Main street we found a Gnome house which would be out of place anywhere. We've seen this before but this one was a little over the top.
a gnome anyone?
14 April
We arrived in Strahan yesterday and I wasn't impressed. We heard lots of hype about Strahan so I guess I probably had all these expectations which got dashed once we arrived. I didn't like the town ... the people didn't seem to be very friendly ... everything was expensive ... and so on. Needless to say we didn't stay long and headed out to MacQuarie Heads to spend the night which is where we are now. Trox had a short ride last night and a long one this morning. His ride took him along a wide beach which is one of the longest continuous beaches on TAS.
wide beach along ride
the river has cut a rather deep channel in the sand
a river dumping into the sea
15 April
After breaking camp we drove out to Ocean Beach, where Trox had ridden yesterday for a nice breakfast.
Ocean Beach
From there we went back into town and had a nice leisurely walk up to Hogarth falls.
Hogarth Falls
growing on a tree along the way
Someone told us they had spotted a platypus on the walk but we had no such luck.

We are now making our way to Zeehan and on towards Cradle Mountain. Two more nights on the road in Tasmania and then one night in Devonport before we head back to Melbourne. The weather has turned beautiful and we're hoping it will last another 72 hours and give us a nice crossing on the ferry.

We spent a night at Montezuma Falls where Trox rode his bike from the carpark to the falls right at dusk. We both had under estimated the time it would take and he got back well after dark - very wet and very muddy but with some great pics!
Montezuma Falls
Swing bridge at the Falls

17 April
Our last day/night in TAS. We leave for MEL tomorrow at 0900. We made it to Cradle Mountain yesterday. Trox rode his bike to the end of the road and I took the shuttle. Once there we walked the 2-hour circuit around Dove Lake. Pretty pretty pretty.
Our first sight of Cradle Mountain
Walking the trail around the lake
Dove Lake at the base of Cradle Mountain
They really discourage people from driving in the park and the shuttles (21 passenger and driver bus) have the right-of-way on a very narrow (1 lane with a few wider spots) windy hilly road. No matter the direction when a bus meets a car the car has to back up 'til they can pull over. One of the ways the control the number of cars is with a set of boom gates (in and out) that only lets X number in. Once that number is reached the in boom gate won't open until the out boom gate opens to let someone out. Very effective - Yellowstone take note!

While in southern TAS we have been playing tag with a family on extended holiday. They were on the shuttle yesterday and we got to talking about cultural differences between Australia and the U.S.. The tween was taking me about "Mom" vs "Mum". She also said first time she encountered "cookie" in a book she had to look it up - they are "biscuits" here. I told her about my confusion about "tomato sauce" which to me is "ketchup". Her response was, "Oh! That's why McDonald's always asks if I want ketchup!". The Mum was telling me about how Americanisms always hit Australia 1 or 2 decades behind the U.S. Her example was when the movie E.T. came out she had never heard of pizza and to have it HOME DELIVERED was amazing. Something we take so much for granted. I told her about Donna and I ordering pizza late at night delivered inside the fence when we were working late. Ahhhh, those were the days - NOT!

Today the plan is to see a park near Devonport we haven't seen yet then spend the night in Devonport. We have now been in Australia 7 months and our 4th circuit trip (from Melbourne to Melbourne) is drawing to a close.

We made it to Narawntapu National Park where we saw lots of wombats Australia's answer to the American Bison - they like the grasslands and are built like Bison - a barrel on four legs. Only difference is that wombats are only about 12 - 15 inches high. We had lunch and spent some time at the north end of the park on the beach.
Minature Bison - wombat
Green Rosellas
Star Fish on Beach
Last Swim off of TAS
Another Wombat
Loading onto Ferry

19 April
Well, we are back in Melbourne and Greg and Chrissy's after a nice smooth crossing on the ferry. Not sure how long we'll be here - maybe through Easter.
Wine label from Ralph and Jane's Vineyard
Left overs from blossoms on a Forest Flax Lilly

09 April 2011

29 March 2011
March is almost gone and we have now been here more than 6 months! Yes, MJ, we are still traveling with 6 more months to go! The last day we were at Fortescue Trox walked out to Cape Huay where he found lots of wind and rain but breath taking scenery. From there we went back to Sorell to dry out and restock. Then back to Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur area where we spent 4 or 5 days.
Cape Huay end of walk from Freycinet
While in Sorell we breakfasted in the local park near a weir and spotted a Great Cormorant that according to the maintenance man lives in the area but doesn't seem to have a mate.
Great Cormorant
On one of the trips to and from Port Arthur we stopped and explored Marion Bay which was pretty but no camping. To get to the beach you had to wade through a river (not very deep) but once on the beach it was nice soft white sand and lots of surfers to watch. This beach is known for the good surfing.
wading across the river to get to the beach at Marion Bay
On the way back to the main highway from Marion Bay we spotted an Echidna who didn't just bury his head when we tried to watch him. They are a very primitive mammal and lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. They remind me of a cross between a porcupine and a hedgehog. Fun to watch
did you know they lay eggs but they are mammals?
hitchhiker in power box
venomous? who knows?
ugly for sure
When we got to the visitor center in Port Arthur on Sunday it was CHOCKED FULL! Ended up they had a special going and tons of people came to visit - we decided not to go that day so headed further into the Peninsula and ended up at Lime Bay where we spent two nights. Trox was able to get two loop rides in. One ended up on another bay (on the other side of the peninsula). Our first night there we were inundated with Opossums coming to see if we would feed them. Young ones along with adults. Also among the opossums was a Pademelon (small Roo) who actually got slightly beaten up by the opossums.
night visitor at Lime Bay on Bunyip's box
climbing the ladder on the back of Bunyip
on the ground
at the end of the beach near Lime Bay
without Trox
Back in Port Arthur we spent the night at the carpark near Remarkable Cave. Trox did a long walk from there up to the top of Mount Brown where he had wonderful views and also access to another bay.
steep sand dunes on Crescent Bay
Crescent Bay from hike to Mount Brown
zoom in to see the Crescent Honey Eater spotted on a walk
From the car park we had a wonderful view of Cape Raoul with tall spires of dolorite. According to a man we talked to in the car park they used to be much higher until the navy used them for target practice during WWII - yish.
Cape Raoul from the carpark near Remarkable Cave
On or final trip away from the Port Arthur area we stopped to explore some of the tourist type places which included Tesselated Pavement and arches and unbelievable rock formations along the beach. Also a blow hole that once was a cave until the top caved in.
Tasman Arch
Dolorite Cliffs
watching the waves crash near Tasman Blow Hole
Tesselated Pavement
When we finally left Port Arhtur we headed into Hobart to get a new house battery and the place replaced our existing one for FREE! We also found an online place that cost $s but has a good connection so we are going to try and get our taxes done - oh, joy! The internet place is a gaming shop and watching the "kids" game makes for fun people watching.

1 April
Hmmmmm April Fool's Day and Happy b-day to PEA! We spent the night half way up Mt. Wellington which towers over Hobart. Then this morning we drove the rest of the way to the top (4300 ft) where we had breakfast while Bunyip rocked and rolled in the high winds.
top of Mt Wellington
Bunyip sitting in the shadow of the radio towers
The outside temp was 6C/43F and the wind was strong enough it was hard to walk into it and with it at your back it was hard to walk slow. It was cold and damp to say the least! When we first got to the top it was enclosed in a cloud which eventually cleared and then we could see forever! What a view. We could see Freycinet and Fortescue and Raoul and Port Arthur and Lime Bay and Tasman Peninsula - all places we've been over the past few eeks. As I write we are heading back to the place we spent the night so Trox can ride.

5 April
Well, bah humbug! I am sick! I have a really yucky chest cold that I picked up somewhere but so far Trox claims he doesn't have it. Hopefully that will continue to be the case.

We spent a day/night near the Air Walk where near dark Trox took a walk along the river. He walked across the Huon River on a swing bridge. This area was a busy logging area in the 30s when they were harvesting the Huon Pine as fast as they could. This pine is used in ship building and is really a nice wood. Although Pine it is classed as a hardwood and therefore grows real slow. There is a tree in the area that is estimated to be the oldest tree in Australia and is in the neighborhood of 3000 years old - pretty old. A quilting group in the area created a quilt and donated it to the visitor center where it is on display. It is really cool with 3D effects using just about every type of stitching and arts using material and threads possible.
phenomenal quilt
swing bridge across the Huon
We are currently south of Hobart on the furthest south road in Australia. We are staying at Cockle Creek and pretty much have the camp area to ourselves. The bay here is Recherche and many years ago was the site of massive harvesting of the Southern Right Whale which is, of course, now protected.
Monument to the Whale
Bay along the walk to Fisher's Point

6 April
Last night we had a visitor to our campsite that took some research to figure out what he was. He was bigger than a opossum and had a really long tail and SPOTS! We thought he might be a Bandicoot - after all we have no idea what a bandicoot looks like. Ends up he was a Spotted Tail Quoll - a carnivorous marsupial! COOL! We have now seen a mammal neither of us had ever heard of before. Also spotted a bat in the dunny after dark.
Spotted Tail Quoll
a bat in the dunny
Trox did a long walk yesterday - about 20 kilometers - across the peninsula to another bay - South Cape Bay - where once again Mama Nature performed at her best.
viewscapes along walk to South Cape Bay
some rough shores
As we explored around Cockle Creek area last week we found another cemetery that could use a little tender loving care. There seem to be lots of crumbling cementeries here - I sure hope someone has photographed and recorded all the information!
Cockle Creek
Cockle Creek Cemetery
8 April
The first week we were in TAS we met a local couple at Hellyer Gorge - Jane & Ralph - who told us to look them up when we got south of Hobart so yesteday we did just that. They invited us to park Bunyip in one of the their driveways just 20 meters from their vineyard. Jane was in Hobart for the evening but Ralph was a wonderful host. He helped us set up where we would have a wonderful view and we invited him to dinner. He provided us with steaks which Trox cooked and along with all the fixings from Bunyip's larder we had a wonderful dinner. Ralph's steaks were from his own steers which are a cross between a Holstein (dairy cow) and Angus. He also brought fresh strawberries from his garden and a bottle of Wombat Springs Pinot. Wombat Springs is their vineyard.
The morning view of the fog over the river
Checking out the vineyard from the lanai
Raplh is a wealth of knowledge and I got lots of my questions answered. We have noticed that many of the vineyards have roses at the ends of the rows and have wondered why. Ends up, according to Ralph, the roses are llike the canary in a mine. Grapes are susceptible to mildew and so are roses. In fact the roses get it before the grapes so as long as the roses are healthy so are the grapes. The other thing we've noticed here is that the vineyards (and orchards) net their crops and we figured it was because of birds but weren't sure. Ralph says his vineyard will stay netted from the time the grapes start to ripen through harvest (about 6 weeks). If they don't net the starlings will wipe out the crop. The nets are put on and taken off mostly by hand with the help of a tractor. It takes 2 people and each net (at least at Ralph's) covers three rows of grapes. We went out after dinner last night looking for wombats. No wombats but lots of wallabies and pademelons. Along the walk we encounted a long haired cow with HUGE horns. He was a Highland Long Horn.
A young Highland Long Horn
What the Young'en can expect to be!
On the way into Hobart from Wombat Springs we passed a gorgeous waterfall falling over what I thought looked like a wall of Obsidian. No name but I think it might have been Silver Falls.
Water fall
Tonight we are meeting a man that Trox hooked up with about a week ago while riding. Going out for Thai! Yum!

Saturday 9 April
Taxes are FILED!

Dinner last night was wonderful! We met up with Tony and Kerry and her Mum at a little quiet Thai restaurant in Bellerive. The chef/owner is a friend of their's and they promised wonderful food and DID they deliver! I had Drunken Scallops with basil and chilli. I asked for it spicy and it was perfect. Trox had Mie Goreng - stir fried egg noodles with chicken and it was also wonderful. Then an order of Kaeng Phed Pak - red curry vegetables was ordered for the table to share. It was a nice sweet red curry with a hint of hot. All the dishes were beautifully presented and it was fun to meet the chef. So, if you find yourself on the east shore of Hobart check it out. Tell the chef that Tony & Kerry's American friends sent you :)

Darjoh's Asian Cuisine
60 Cambridge Road
Bellerive TAS
6244 6002

We thoroughly enjoyed Tony and his family and hope to see them sometime in the future!