TASMANIA RE-VISITED Part 1 - Nov 2009
Before his scheduled Radical Prostatectomy in early December, my MOTH wanted to enjoy a pre-op pain-free holiday so with the doctor’s blessing, we went ahead with our plan to re-visit Tasmania to check out the places of interest that we had missed during our first trip. By mid-October, we were ready to rock and roll… Look out, Tassie, here we come again!
Day 1 OCT 30:
I woke up early this morning to make a dozen lamb curry puffs for our lunch before the MOTH drove Just Trip’n home from storage in the warehouse so we could re-stock the food supplies and throw in our clothes and other bits and pieces associated with a long road-trip. By 4.30pm we were on the road to Station Pier to join the boarding queue to sail on the Spirit of Tasmania. As it was on our last trip, this road-trip also coincided with the National H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) Rally scheduled to take place in Tasmania (this would be their 19th rally) from 6th to 8th November. Similarly, there were many, many Harley owners waiting to board with their machines, several of them accompanied by their chicks/partners, eager to get to Tasmania to begin the celebration. (H.O.G. rallies are held around the globe to celebrate Harley-Davidson motorcycle riding. This year, over 2,000 members from all parts of Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and as far away as Alaska, USA, gathered in Launceston to take part in the Thunder Run, a scenic ride through the northern part of the island.) During the waiting period, we munched on KFC chicken that we had bought earlier while we surveyed leather-clad Harley owners mingling happily amongst themselves. After an orderly and smooth boarding procedure, we immediately went to check out our twin cabin - small but comfortable and furnished with twin beds and a couple of chairs. What a cool set-up – complete with our own toilet, vanity unit and a shower to boot! The porthole offered a view of the water so we were quite pleased about that. Next, we made our way to Deck 7 where I headed for the gaming room while the ever-practical MOTH went to the tourism information centre to look into the business of getting a pass for entry to the many national parks that we will be going through during our stay. It must have been my lucky evening as within 20 minutes I had won $50! Woohoo!!! Wary of being too greedy and thus in danger of feeding all the coins back into the poker-machines, I decided to quit while I was ahead and much to his surprise, I joined the MOTH on one of the observation decks where he was enjoying an icy cold beer while airing his armpits…
We wandered around on Deck 7 for a bit and had a snack of a meat pie each from the bar instead of having dinner on board as neither of us felt like a full meal. After polishing off our meat pies, we sauntered over to the theatrette and watched “17 Again” amidst a couple of annoying brats climbing on the poles and a few ignorant foreigners talking rather loudly in their native tongue. About ¾ of the way through the movie, we felt the Spirit beginning to sway, just before the announcement came over the PA system advising everyone to vacate all the observation decks as they were locking everyone in. We were sailing straight into a thunderstorm in the middle of Bass Strait! That was kind of exciting as after the movie, we got a cup of latte each from the bar and tottered our way back to our cabin to watch the lightning play as it lit up the water each time a lightning struck. We finally gave in to sleep to be awoken by the wake-up call at 5.40am for the scheduled 6.30am arrival at Devonport.
Day 2 Oct 31:
While waiting for the announcement to go down to Vehicle Decks 5 and 6 to prepare for disembarking, we enjoyed a piping hot cup of latte each. Excellent timing on our part as no sooner had we finished our coffee, the announcement came so we joined fellow travelers in making our way to our respective vehicles. We drove out of the Spirit, went through the quarantine business of getting checked out in case we were importing the strictly forbidden fruit and veggies. Over the bridge we went in search of a supermarket which, from memory, wasn’t too far away. Didn’t buy any fruit and veggies as after a shudder at the exorbitant prices, we by-passed the fruit and veggies section and got a loaf of bread, a tube of toothpaste and a three-pack special of canned spaghetti. Declining the MOTH’s offer of breakfast at Macca’s (McDonald’s), we drove west, heading for Stanley. On the way, we noticed a road sign that boasts of Penguin Market as we approached the township of Penguin. “That‘s worth checking out,” we decided, as we followed the signs right through the town centre where it all turned to s**t - no more signage and after driving around for a bit and not seeing anyone around on an early Saturday morning, we came to the conclusion that it must have been an invisible market for a privileged few that did not include us. Not to worry, we drove onwards through Burnie following the scenic coastal route, by-passing Table Cape, etc, until we reached Stanley where we stopped to do a tour of the historic site of Highfield homestead. (We found out the following week when we passed through again that the Market is held every Sunday.)
Highfield homestead was built from 1832-35 as the residence of the Van Diemen’s Land Company’s chief agent, Edward Curr. He lived in a weatherboard cottage erected in 1827 and in July 1832, he claimed the new residence built adjoining it. In 1838, the original weatherboard dwelling was demolished to make way for the construction of new servants’ rooms and kitchen. Highfield remains remarkably intact after the Van Diemen’s Land Company period of occupancy.
After dishing out $10pp entry fee, we were allowed to tour the Homestead at our leisure so we stepped back in time for a general feel of life way back then. We wandered around from room to room, all with period furnishings. After checking out and taking photos of “The Room of Reflection” (master bedroom), “The Room with a View” (possibly a guest room) which provided the viewer with a fantastic view of “The Nut” (Circular Head) at Stanley, sitting room, office, “Rooms of Games & Laughter” (Children’s room), etc, we ventured down to the “Room of Provisions” (the Cellar) and then the kitchen before venturing outside to continue our tour. A two-storey stone building nearby was used as “The Room of Preaching and Piety” (chapel) downstairs and a schoolroom upstairs.
We left the chapel and wandered over to the Funerary monument in the garden erected by Curr as a monument to his daughter Juliana Teresa Curr who died tragically on 24 June 1835 aged 2 years, 11 months and 14 days. [She was playing in a cart harnessed to a dog and when the dog suddenly rushed to fight with other dogs outside the yard, it caused the little girl to hit her head on the fencing.] In 1838, this part of the garden was described as providing a ‘winding, bowery walk’ to a tomb surrounded by honeysuckle and sweet briar in an alcove.
From the monument, we continued on to view the Agriculturalist’s Cottage built for Alexander Goldie, the Company’s agriculturist (c. 1830), next door to the Freeman’s Cottage which is now a private residence. After checking out the stables, the threshing barn in a stoned section of the barn, pig sties and boiling house and the stone cart shed which included a loft for storing tools and provisions, we drove out of the homestead to head to “The Nut”, stopping on the way to snap a photo of what remains of the Convict Barracks built from 1834 and used to house half of the 41 convicts assigned to the Circular Head establishment from 1836. What an interesting tour it has been.
Next we drove to Hursey Seafood Restaurant across the road from Stanley Village motel (which used to be a railway station called Wiltshire in days of old) to pacify the worms in our bellies. We baulked at the price of the crayfish roll ($19) so instead we settled for a feed of fish and chips (Blue Grenadier fillets). Unfortunately, the meal turned out to be rather disappointing – the fish was very oily as the oil they were cooked in mustn’t have been hot enough or perhaps the oil was due to be changed. Oh well, better luck next time.
The MOTH suggested that we spend the night at Arthur River so we could do the Arthur-Frankland River Cruise the next day. “Brilliant idea!” I declared delightedly until we got to the Caravan Park at Arthur River where the sign “NO Vacancy” glared at us as we drove up. Enquiries at the reception revealed that most places had been booked out as it was a holiday long weekend and our best hope would be to try another place up the road, over the Arthur River Road bridge. Failing that, we would have to drive all the way back to Stanley where again, we might not be successful in finding a powered site. Fingers crossed, we went over the bridge and came to the recommended site. With high hopes, the MOTH went in to make enquiries and was delighted when he found out that the owner of the site also happens to operate the A.R. Reflections River Cruise! As luck would have it, he had one last powered site on offer in a packaged deal consisting of a couple of nights’ stay and the 6-hour river cruise that included a rainforest nature walk and a gourmet lunch complete with wine and other beverages… It wasn’t long before some hard cash exchanged hands and we were guided into our site. I was teased by the owner when he saw me munching on pumpkin seeds… I promised not to squawk too much should I decide to spread my wings like a galah and fly around the place. [I quit smoking on Valentine’s Day this year and have since taken up munching on pumpkin seeds instead.]
After the usual routine of connecting Just Trip’n to the power point when we get to a powered site, we armed ourselves with our cameras and walked over the Arthur River Road bridge to check out the anglers all along the mouth of the Arthur River as we were told the salmon were running. Sure enough, just about everyone young and old were pulling them out of the river. After a couple of photos of waves pounding on Australia Rock, a jagged outcrop standing defiantly in the middle where the Arthur River flow meets the ocean, we returned to Just Trip'n for a little siesta. Our eyelids re-opened at 6pm and after a refreshing shower we sat down to a dinner of Beef Rendang (beef slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices) from home, served hot on basmati rice which the MOTH had cooked in the microwave oven, before settling in to watch a movie on DVD, prior to sweet slumber. We were excited about the upcoming Arthur River cruise in the morning, leaving at 10.15am and arriving back at 4.15pm. The Arthur River was named after Sir George Arthur, Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemens Land between 1824 and 1836. The tiny west coast township of the same name (Pop: 121 in 2006 census) is set at the mouth of the Arthur River which runs through tall eucalypt forests and rainforests out into the mighty Southern Ocean. Early explorers named this awe-inspiring place “The Edge of the World” because the battered coastline and isolated river mouth stand before 15,000km of unbroken, untamed, unforgiving longest stretch of sea in the world (the Southern Ocean), extending all the way to Argentina.
Day 3 Nov 1:
I woke up bright and early to make a few curried egg sandwiches just in case the cruise lunch consisted of ham sandwiches and little else and by the time 9am rolled by, we were all ready to rock and roll. What a glorious day for a river cruise with the promise of plenty of sunshine and just a light breeze blowing. Laden with 15 tourists, Captain Rob took his boat about 15 km up the Arthur River, right up to where the Frankland and Arthur Rivers meet before the turn-around. Captain Rob has some free-flying feathered friends in the form of two pairs of White-bellied Sea Eagles which had built their nests in two separate locations along the Arthur River. We stopped the boat to feed the first pair about halfway up the river and when we reached the part of the river where the two rivers meet, the second pair of Sea Eagles were already waiting in anticipation of a free feed. After feeding the birds, we turned around and came back to Warra landing where we disembarked for lunch.
It was quite amusing watching the smokers hastily leaping off the boat, with unlit cigarettes hanging out of the corner of their mouths and their thumbs poised over the flicking button of their lighters… (I must admit a part of me was rather envious though, as I listened to the harmonious flicking of cigarette lighters). The resident Tasmanian Pademelon (small bush wallaby) (pronounced ‘paddy melon’) and a Currawong (medium-sized black passerine bird) were eagerly waiting for their free feed of mixed fruit and vegetables that the Captain had brought along for them. Naturally, we all got our cameras out and began clicking away before enjoying a very yummy lunch of a variety of sandwiches, (egg, salmon, corned beef, ham and tomato) which was followed by an assortment of cheeses and biscuits, fruit platter of figs, dried mango pieces and fresh grapes and dessert of carrot cake and peach strudel. The lunch was liberally washed down with our choice of wine or soft drinks and orange juice for the teetotallers. After tea or coffee, anyone who wished to go on a nature walk was given a little handbook each with descriptions of the native flora we could expect to see along the walking track. Off we set, the younger ones leading the way with slower old farts like us ambling along at our own pace. Such a pity we didn’t get to see Warra Falls in its full glory due to the shortage of good rainfall…
During our absence, Captain Rob re-loaded all the leftover food and drinks back on board and by the time we got back from our walk, he was ready to give us a free lesson on botany, pointing out a Gunn’s Tree Orchid (Sarcochilus australis), native laurel, Bushman’s Bootlace (Pimelea linifolia) and various Australian native plants growing near Warra Landing. [The bark of Bushman’s Bootlace (rice flower) can be processed into strong string by a traditional method that involves wetting, drying, beating and rolling the strips of bark.] After the learning session, we all re-boarded Reflections and continued on our return boat ride, stopping one last time for another feeding session of the first pair of Sea Eagles. By this time the evening sea breezes had strengthened and whipped up a few whitecaps on the water. We hung on tightly to our hats after we pulled up the zippers of our jackets and it wasn’t long before we were back on dry land. Those who were staying at the Reflections Park walked in single file across the single lane Arthur River Road bridge and every time a vehicle approached the bridge, we all stopped with our backs against the bridge railing and sucked our guts in to let the vehicle go past, exchanging waves as we did so. We did it ten times altogether.
We spent another quiet night watching DVDs again as there is no TV or radio reception in this neck of the woods. Tomorrow we will head off to our next stop - destination unknown. Roast chicken for dinner tonight followed by coffee and banana cake from home.
Day 4 Nov 2:
We drove out of Reflections Caravan Park a bit after 9am and followed the Bass Highway, heading east for Bridport. About 10km east of the Stanley turn-off, the MOTH made a detour south to the Dip River Forest reserve. He decided that we should check out Dip Falls and what a great decision that turned out to be. First of all, the MOTH had to make sure that the public toilets were in good working order before we followed the 200mtrs beyond the falls to the viewing platform for ‘a couple of photos’. We then walked back to the car-park to descend to the base of the cubic-basalt formed falls. Like a couple of teenagers, we practically skipped all the way down to the base to snap a few more photos. However, we aged very, very quickly as we slowly climbed up 158 steep steps to get back to the car park. After I stopped huffing and puffing, we had our lunch of the curried egg sandwiches that didn’t get eaten yesterday before driving 26km back to the Bass Highway to continue on our way.
When we got to Port Sorell, the MOTH got a tad panicky as we couldn’t locate a petrol station on our side of the road ever since Burnie and the gauge was dropping, dropping… Not only was he getting panicky, he was also becoming rather irritable. Somehow, his optic nerves became entangled with his auditory nerves, thus confusing his senses... He testily reached over and turned the volume of the music way, way down just so his eyes could focus a little better in an attempt to spot a petrol station! We finally stopped to ask for directions from a couple of local teenage girls who cheerfully pointed us in the right direction before bidding us a happy holiday. My MOTH’s mood changed for the better as soon as we got to the petrol station and he even cracked a smile as he filled up Just Trip’n with diesel. He cheerfully made a stop at a roadside orchard stall so I could jump out to get a 2kg bag of Fuji apples and pop $4 into the honesty box. We then continued on over the Batman Bridge to reach Bridport to spend the night at the Bridport Caravan Park.
Bridport is a popular holiday and fishing destination overlooking Anderson Bay. The town was named by the English surveyors who chartered the coast by boat and named many of coastal towns after the coastal towns in the county of Dorset in Southern England. The bay was named after Andrew and Janet Anderson who were among the first settlers that arrived in 1833 after the district was explored by surveyor Thomas Lewis in 1830. The district enjoyed a short-lived rush in the late 1860s when gold was discovered at nearby Waterhouse and tin was discovered along the Ringarooma River. A substantial wharf was built for supplies and arriving Chinese miners and for the great quantities of tin to be transported out. The port declined in importance after the railway line between Launceston and Scottsdale was opened but by 1900, Bridport became a favourite summer resort because of the mild climate, sand and sea. Bridport today has a population of approximately 1,200, swelling to 2,000 - 3,000 over the holiday season. It has a thriving fishing and boat-building industry and many surrounding farms.
As soon as the power was hooked up, we grabbed our cameras and went for a walk along the path adjacent to the water in the hopes of getting some photos of birds but the only photo worth getting excited about was of a yellow wattle bird. I reckoned all the birdies had gone to bed as the day had been rather overcast with possible showers predicted, so we gave up and headed back to Just Trip’n. After a lovely hot shower, we sat down to enjoy our dinner of braised lamb in soy sauce served over piping hot basmati rice. Dessert consisted of a couple of slices of my banana cake to go with our coffee before settling in for the night to watch a bit of TV - yes, there is TV reception in this part of the island!!!
Day 5 Nov 3:
It rained all night at Bridport so both the MOTH and I didn’t get a sound night’s sleep. The MOTH managed to dash out between the raindrops to disconnect the power cord before we drove out of Bridport through the slushy main street in drizzling rain. What a gloomy day for sightseeing, grumbled the MOTH as he drove through intermittent buffeting wind gusts that was just about strong enough to topple Just Trip’n over! We couldn’t get out of Bridport soon enough. As we headed south, we noticed with some cheer that the weather was slowly improving and by the time we reached the Pub in the Paddock, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeping shyly through the clouds. We dropped in at the Pub for morning tea - we both had a coffee and carrot cake treat ($12) while admiring the décor and learning a little of the historic significance of this quirky pub. The heritage listed Pub in the Paddock, licensed since 1880, is one of Tasmania’s oldest country watering holes located in a beautiful little valley of Pyengana (an Aboriginal word meaning “meeting of two rivers”). Local yarn has it that the pub was built by a farmer on his property to solve the problem of his sons’ preference of going to the pub instead of working on the farm. A sign by the road advertises “Pub in a Paddock - Come and meet our beer drinking pig". The beer-swilling pig is Priscilla, who can scull a watered-down stubby in seven seconds. Unfortunately, Priscilla was nowhere to be seen when we checked out her pen named Princess of the Paddock, with a sign that says, “Priscilla – Hi! Geez I’m dry – I’d Luv a Beer.” The sign on the sty next to it says, “Priscilla Babe – “I’d luv a drink too!” but again, no porker was in sight. We figured that they both could be nursing hangovers from last night’s sculling session...
When we found out from the bar-maid that St Columba Falls is a mere 10mins drive up Mt Victoria Forest Reserve AND it’s accessible via a bitumen road, the MOTH had no hesitation to go and check it out. Of course by now, the rain had tracked us down from Bridport and Mother Nature gleefully waited for us to get our cameras out before spitting on us… Undeterred, we donned our jackets and with our cameras safely tucked underneath, we set off on the 1km return walking trail which would take approximately half an hour. It was certainly worth the effort as we were rewarded with spectacular views of the falls at the end of the tree-fern lined walking track. Luckily, the rain stayed away long enough for us to get a couple of photos apiece…
Leaving St Columba Falls behind us, we turned around and drove past the Pub in the Paddock to get back on the Tasman Highway to our next destination of St Helens. About 24km before St Helens, the MOTH spotted a sign that screamed out “Halls Falls 1km” so a swift turn of the steering wheel to the left saw us heading for this waterfall that did not rate a mention in the touring map that we had. When we reached the car park of Halls Falls, we read the info board to learn that seeing the falls entailed a 900m (1.5 hours return) walk, steep and slippery in places… Hmmm… should we or shouldn’t we, was the $100 question of the day. As we stood there procrastinating, two young ladies emerged from the walking track and in answer to our question if it was worth the lengthy walk, they both gave us the thumbs up. That gave us the impetus to go ahead and sure enough, it was worth the time and effort. From Halls Falls, it was back on the Tasman Highway to get to St Helens for a delicious lunch of crumbed ling fillets and chips ($15.95pp) from the Captain’s Catch on the waterfront.
No more detours - from St Helens, it was straight on to Bicheno to the Seaview At Bicheno Holiday Park ($22.50 for a powered site) to spend the night, with the intention of visiting Nature World (a few km north of Bicheno) in the morning. Our dinner that night was a can of spaghetti (jazzed up with some home cooked bolognaise sauce) on toast, topped with grated cheese.
Day 6 Nov 4:
We woke up to a glorious morning full of sunshine with the promise of more to come. We left Bicheno just before 9 and got to Nature World at 9.15am. It cost $18.50 for adults and $15.50 for seniors and we think it was worth every cent. We spent almost 3 and a half hours there checking out the native animals from kangaroos to Tasmanian Devils but to us, the main attraction that brought us there was the mention of the walk-through aviaries. We walked and we walked and took gazillion photos of our feathered friends. We watched the feeding of the Tasmanian Devils and the Forrester kangaroos with the free-loading sea-gulls gate-crashing the party when the Cape Barron Geese and Pacific Ducks were being fed. After the 10am feeding session, we were free to wander and roam the nature park at our leisure. Fortunately, it was the mating season for the birdies so we got to see peacocks fully displaying their tail feathers to impress the peahens, roosters cock-a-doodling away in front of the hens, and even the parrots were in courting mode. Having taken our fill of bird photos, we wandered over to the reptile section where we saw numerous enclosures full of tiger snakes and copperheads sunbathing. A few more photos later, we started to feel a bit fangy so decided it was time to leave and get a bite to eat.
While deciding on where and what to eat, we chomped on an apple each before heading back to Bicheno to find a store that sells crayfish (lobster). Yay! We found a butcher that advertises fresh crayfish for sale, so gleefully, we stepped inside only to be told that the last one they had was sold a little earlier. Well, that was that… Somewhat disappointed, we jumped back into Just Trip’n and headed south. As we approached the Coles Bay - Freycinet turn-off, we impulsively swung off the Tasman Highway into Coles Bay Road and drove on to the Freycinet Marine Farm where we had supped on freshly shucked oysters and steamed mussels during our last visit in 2007. We ordered the exact same delicacies and they tasted just as good as we remembered ($14 for a dozen oysters, $15 for a bowl of mussels). Just as we were finishing, a small group of Harley Davidson motorcyclists roared down the driveway, hungry for a meal. We left soon after and got back on the Tasman Highway to get to Lost Falls.
When we finally got to it after driving through over 5km of rough gravel road in almost total silence broken only by the Moth’s occasional muttering of, “By George, how much further is this delightful drive going for?”, we were surprised to find that we were the only two souls there. "Hmmmph… well, we’re here so may as well pushed on," muttered the MOTH, so we went ahead following the non-descript walking track in search of the waterfall. Finally, we reached our destination - what a fantastic view! NOT!!! No bloody wonder it’s named Lost Falls - only fools like us would go looking for it! After a few half-hearted photos just to prove that we’ve been there, we hoofed it back to Just Trip’n and drove back to the Tasman Highway and onwards past Swansea to Triabunna ($25 for a powered site) to spend the night. Neither of us felt like warming up frozen food so we opted for a takeaway dinner of hamburger with the lot (minus bacon) for the MOTH and a steak burger with the lot (also minus bacon) for me. Tomorrow we will head for Richmond…
Day 7 Nov 5:
Woke up to another lovely day and after making a few chicken sandwiches for today’s lunch, we filled up Just Trip’n with diesel and headed for Richmond. On the way there, near the township of Buckland, I got my MOTH to make a stop off the road so I could get photos of Break-Me-Neck Hill and Bust-Me-Gall Hill that I had missed on our previous trip. Break-Me-Neck Hill was supposedly named after an exclamation uttered by a wagoner during his first trip negotiating the steep hill, and the ascent and descent of Bust-Me-Gall Hill were so difficult that in days of old, travellers often had to dismount from their wagons or horses to negotiate it. Camera-clicking over, we got back on the road to Richmond in search of curried scallop pies as recommended by Nina (who came with her students on a school trip in September), to be super delicious and a 'must have'. “If you get to Richmond, you must try the curried scallop pies, no, not from any café but from the bakery. You can’t miss the bakery, it’s the only one and is in the main street.“ Up the main street we drove, but there was no sign of a bakery so we turned around and drove down the main street again. Unfortunately, we still couldn’t find the bakery in question so I suggested to my rather exasperated MOTH that we should find a parking spot and take a walk and maybe ask a local? We drove around the block and just as we spotted a side street which offered a parking space large enough for Just Trip’n, both the MOTH and I simultaneously saw it - THE RICHMOND BAKERY - not in the main street but in the very side street where we were about to park. Yes, we both had a super delicious curried scallop pie each and also bought a loaf of bread and all together they cost us $15.90.
From the bakery, we went to Zoo Doo Wildlife Park, a park that was also recommended by Nina. It cost me $18 and the MOTH $16 as he flashed his Senior Card. We spent a delightful two and a half hours seeing cute baby animals in the nursery, chuckling at the sight of some funny-looking fancy poultry wandering around the place and taking photos of several species of our feathered friends, some of them roaming freely throughout the park. We also hopped on the open shuttle bus on a feeding tour of the park, feeding alpacas, emus, goats, ostriches, chickens and the two camels, Matilda and Clementine, all the while entertained by the running commentary of the friendly, humorous driver for the duration of the 20 minutes ride. We sauntered around for a few more minutes before it was time to view the feeding of the lion and see the tigers having their afternoon siesta. One last look around and we finally departed for our next destination, a wildlife sanctuary Banarong Wildlife Park in Brighton. Upon enquiry, I found out that the only birds they had there were a couple of cockatoos and a kookaburra recovering from injury. My interest in taking a tour of the place quickly dissipated so we saved on the entry fee of $16pp and drove on to New Norfolk to spend the night. We got to the New Norfolk Caravan Park ($25 for a powered site) on the Esplanade by the Derwent River in the early afternoon and went for a walk along the Derwent River following a walking track with several steep steps that took us to the top of the walk offering splendid views of the Derwent River and some of its surrounds. Dinner tonight was the fresh bread we bought earlier, dunked in the lamb curry from home. Tomorrow will be spent in the Mt Field National Park to check out a couple of waterfalls…
Day 8 Nov 6:
Woke up to another glorious day in this island paradise and after breakfast of coffee, we emptied the black water from Just Trip’n in the disposal pit of the caravan park, before heading off for our destination of Mt Field National Park with the intention of re-visiting Russell Falls and also take in Horseshoe Falls and the Lady Barron Falls, the two waterfalls that we did not visit the last time we were in the area. On the way there, we saw a sign which drew our attention - Salmon Ponds Heritage Hatchery and Gardens so we zoomed down the track and into the car park. After parting with $14 ($8 for me and $6 senior rate for the MOTH), we purchased two tubs of fish pellets ($1 a tub) and wandered over to the ponds to feed the salmon and trout before visiting the
Museum of Trout Fishing and the Tasmanian Angling Hall of Fame. We then strolled along the Riverside Walk which meanders alongside a section of the Plenty River before returning to the booth to purchase another couple of tubs of fish pellets. We did another lap of the grounds stopping by the different ponds to feed the Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Albino Rainbow Trout, Tiger Trout and Atlantic Salmon. That done, we retired to the Pancakes By The Ponds Restaurant/Café for a delicious serve each of Lemon Butter Pancakes served with whipped cream and ice cream, decoratively presented with a light dusting of icing sugar. It was the pancake of the week costing $7 a serve.
With satisfied bellies, we jumped back into Just Trip’n and continued on to Mt Field National Park Visitor Centre. We walked for 10 minutes along the tree-fern lined track, passing Glow Worm Grotto on the way to view Russell Falls. Night visitors wishing to see the twinkling glow worms along the track must switch off their torches and let their eyes adjust to night vision. Neither of us expressed an interest to return at night for the experience, so we continued on to Russell Falls. From there, we intended to follow another track that would take us to Horseshoe Falls (30 minutes walk away - one way) or the 1 hour 10 minutes walk to Lady Barron Falls. Unfortunately, the tracks leading to the other two waterfalls were closed for repairs. Bummer!!! No choice but to just do the 1.3km circuit walk that took us back to the Visitor Centre. We enquired at the counter for an alternate route to see the two remaining waterfalls and were delighted to learn that by driving about 2 km up the road, we could park in the Tall Trees Walk car park and get to the respective waterfalls that way.
We had a chicken sandwich and a drink each at the car park before walking for 30 minutes on the track that led us to Horseshoe Falls before back-tracking to the junction to walk for another 35 minutes in the opposite direction to view Lady Barron Falls. By the time we finished taking a few photos of Lady Barron Falls, my knees were starting to ache at the mere thought of the uphill walk back to the car park… However, the thought of being left behind wasn’t an appealing one so I soldiered on, huffing and puffing all the way. We spent 3½ hours at the Mt Field National Park before coming back to New Norfolk Caravan Park to spend another night there. Dinner tonight – another tub of Beef Rendang served over basmati rice.
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