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Heading up the East Coast to Freycinet - Tassie Day 11

Travelling from Orford to Coles Bay

September 19, 2013
129 km
Overcast, light rain, 11 to 17 degrees
Feel like coming down from the mountain.

Enough of the cloud. Wake up and the cloud has lifted. So that's what the coast looks like. Though still a bit misty.

On the road North up the east coast. This house was on Grand Designs Australia, with an amazing view of Freycinet over the Great Oyster Bay.

Coffee stop (more like a mild chocolate flavoured soup) at Kate’s Berry Farm. Lovely group of little buildings built with rammed earth and slab timber. It seems to be also a major stop for these little mini buses specialising in Asian Tours.
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On through Swansea and some more rain, toward Freycinet, as we discuss our options. With good weather we planned to pitch a tent in the National Park. We were also thinking of trying to go back down to Triabunna on Saturday morning to have another attempt to get to Maria Island – but only if the weather is kind to us.

We checked out the powered camp sites ($16) and looked OK although pretty damp. When we went to the office, the National Parks guy did not recommend camping as “You won’t get the pegs in the ground, mate! You can try if you want.” Seems the sites are designed for use by campervans and are this hard packed sandy gravel surface. So we went back down and I got out my hammer and a peg to test it - and it started to rain again. I finally got one peg in but it was a battle. Not worth it so we headed back to nearby Iluka Caravan Park. (The accommodation centre listing self contained accommodation was way overpriced). We were going to bunk down in the YHA for $60 in a shared dorm, but ended up in a brand new two bedroom cabin for $108.
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Off with the bikes to explore. The bikes are so good to get around the place. They have been in the weather since the trip began and have been pretty exposed to the elements on the back of the car – rain, snow, mud, salt air etc. I noticed a few little spots of rust happening on Pat’s chain, a sure sign that it is too dry. So, in the absence of any chain lube, I gave it a good dose of olive oil. Did the trick. Jackets on in the light rain.

Around the coastal road from Iluka to Coles Bay and then on to the National Park Info Centre.
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Then on through the park to the ’Fisheries’ which is a little section of Freehold beachside land that was settled before the National Park came into being. Amazing place to own property. Lots of short sharp hills that left us feeling it! Spectacular background.
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So we decided to come back via the beach to avoid the hills.

Pat has been checking out the local restaurants and is getting exciting about having a splurge tomorrow night. There goes my early retirement!!!

Tomorrow - The big Freycinet walk - Can't wait. Boots and pack ready!

Posted by peterjday 03:13 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania tassie freycinet kates_berry_farm Comments (0)

Walking in Freycinet Nat. Park - Tassie Day 12

Staying in Coles Bay

September 20, 2013
21 km
Clearing, spells of sunshine. 10 to 18 degrees
Feel like these boots are made for walking.

In the car for the short drive into the National Park to the ‘Walks’ car park. Few Mini-buses already parked. Up the hill to Wineglass Bay lookout.

One of the features of the area is the pink granite which gives off spectacular colours depending on the light at the time.

When we visited here two years ago, (2011), the whole park was closed for two days due to a squad of helicopters doing major construction work on the walk in an attempt to make the lookout accessible to as many as possible. It is a major tourist attraction for Tasmania. At the time it upset a lot of locals and tourists, including us, as some people had travelled from overseas only to be refused access. Luckily we had been able to climb Mt Amos for a view of Wineglass Bay the afternoon before it closed. The construction work was worth it. I would describe the track building as a work of art. It is a steep and hard climb but surface is well constructed and there have been really interesting seats and resting places built at regular intervals.
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The way the track sneaks through boulders and over geological features is impressive.

The view from the lookout is world class. Breathtaking.

We continued down the steep and rough Wineglass Bay track to the beach. This track was much harder and pretty hard on the legs.
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The beach is full of shell art!
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Relaxing on Wineglass Bay Beach. Beats working.

We then crossed the peninsula between Mt Mayson and Mt Graham on the Isthmus Track. On the way we passed through large fresh water wetland of Hazards lagoon.

We popped out on the western side onto Hazards beach with views across the Great Oyster Bay to Swansea.

We then headed back along the beach for a kilometre or so to join the Hazards Beach Track.

By now our legs were pretty tired and we assumed that this track was going to be a relatively easy, flat track along the coast back to the car park. Wrong!!! It was tough in the sense of lots of obstacles, rough rocks etc to walk over.

This 11 kilometre circuit offered lots of variety and amazing views, but was also taxing. Took us about 5 hours of solid walking.

On the last stretch I started to get a nasty headache. One of those behind the eyes killers! So it was get back home, have a shower, and lay down in a dark room for the next few hours. Pat went to the Coles Bay shop to stock up.

Took a while to get my head together but was able to get myself up to head out to have a look at the sunset.

Then on for a bit of a special treat at Freycinet Lodge Bay Restaurant on
Richardsons Beach.
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We shouted ourselves to a beautiful Seafood Platter to share in a really nice setting ($120). Lots of oysters, scallops, abalone, salmon, muscles, prawns, octopus, pippies, squid and of course fish each cooked in a variety of ways. Everything, apart from the prawns, was fresh local seafood.

Tomorrow – to Maria or not to Maria.

Posted by peterjday 02:01 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania tassie freycinet peterjday Comments (0)

Around Freycinet and a visit to Bicheno - Tassie Day 13

Staying at Coles Bay

September 21, 2013
99 km
Blue skies. 12 to 18 degrees
Feeling my calf muscles - not in a good way.

The continuing saga of Maria Island. After the stuff up with the cancelled ferry transport last Wednesday, we rang yesterday to confirm and book the ferry for today. With $90 fare plus a 3 ½ hour return drive we wanted to make sure that there was going to be a ferry and that we could get a seat with our bikes on it. Couldn’t get an answer on the phone but we did leave a message with ‘Maria Island Ferries’ yesterday. Still waiting for a reply. Really impressed with this mob!!! So to relieve ourselves of any more grief, we decided to enjoy another lovely day in Freycinet and leave thoughts of Maria Island as a bad idea. Maybe next time we visit Tasmania these two unreliable Ferry companies may have their act sorted out.

Beautiful Saturday morning ride into the National Park.

Followed by a stop at Tombolo Cafe at Coles Bay for a top coffee with fantastic setting and great view of the mountains.

Now there is a bit of a story here. Last night at our ‘dining experience’ we were chatting to a knowledgeable young girl about the questionable qualities of Tassie coffee and how we had an enjoyable experience at MONA. She recommended we visit the Tombolo as they actually have an experienced barista and use the same bean as MONA. Good advice.

Back to the car and a ½ hour drive to Bicheno. Or should it be called Beautiful Bicheno.

Now some people visit Bicheno for its spectacular coastal scenery, supply of fresh seafood, reasonably priced and varied accommodation, the motorcycle museum or its several cafes, restaurants and numerous shops – it even has a well stocked IGA!

But we wanted a scallop pie for lunch. We officially rate the Bicheno Scallop Pie as the best value so far in Tassie. $4 and full of scallops. Tip, watch out for seagulls because they like them too.

A relaxing drive back with a few sight-seeing stops including Cape Tourville Lighthouse and lookout.
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Then exactly ½ hour before official low tide we are off to ride the length of Muirs beach.

We wanted to have a look at Saffire Luxury Lodge. This is the place that charges up to $1800 for a night. We couldn’t get in but we did get to share their view of Freycinet.

Is this not the best cycleway in existence?

My Merida 29er - Just love!

Pat suffering for her art.
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Back all the way to Coles Bay then on to the full length of Richardsons Beach.

Maybe there is a way that I don't go back to work???

Pat keeps stopping to look at shells.

Then back along the camping tracks in the National Park and the Coles Bay foreshore.
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We love the way the National Park has organised its unpowered camp sites overlooking the beach.

Tomorrow - Mountains and rail trails - heading for Cradle Country

Posted by peterjday 04:43 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania tassie freycinet bicheno Comments (0)

From the East Coast to Cradle Mt Country - Tassie Day 14

Travelling from Coles Bay to Moina near Cradle Mountain

September 22, 2013
297 km
Rain. 10 to 16 degrees
Feeling like moving on.

So this is the view from our deck of Muirs Beach and Saffire resort. Does that mean people at Saffire are paying $1800 a night just to look at us on our deck?

Today was a travel day. Leaving Coles Bay we momentarily headed south on the Tasman Highway and then North West on the B54 climbing the mountains toward the midlands. It wasn’t long before we left dry road and straight into rain. Reaching Campbell Town, (named after Governor Macquarie’s wife’s maiden name of Campbell - in 1821), we headed north along the Midlands Highway commonly known as the Heritage Highway Region. So much water lying around the countryside and lots of swollen creeks and rivers indicating how much rain has been falling up here in the last week.

As we were heading for a quick stop at the Gourmet Sauce Co. at Evandale we decided to catch up with that previously closed for spring cleaning but highly recommended ‘Ut Si Cafe’ in Perth. A cute old church transformed into a funky little cafe. Crowded - in a small space. We had to share a table with this poor young guy trying to eats his eggs. Nice coffee, Latte art – good sign. Slight bitter taste but brilliant after taste. Just perfect to set us on our way for the rest of the journey.
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Left the highway at Deloraine to head west and a quick stop at Chudleigh for some honey tasting. Extremely picturesque touring country. Then on to Mole Creek to try and pick up something quick for lunch. Not much luck – they wanted $18 for a scallop pie – forget it. Carried on to Sheffield in torrential rain. It’s Sunday arvo, it’s Tasmania, it’s all closed – including tourist info. Picked up a BBQ chook in desperation at the IGA and headed through the rain on a very pretty but windy road through farmland, mountains and forests to an intersection, otherwise known as Moina.

Settled in our lodge at ‘Cradle Chalet Boutique Lodge’.

Very comfortable if not controversial. We had been a bit concerned about what to expect with this accommodation. We actually booked it weeks ago when we were still at home and then discovered some really bad reviews on the internet. The main reason it is controversial is because it is kind of promoted as being in Cradle Mountain – but it is 30 km away. So they charge Cradle Mountain prices and then people – like us – get tricked and pay an inflated price. When you discover the location you find there are strictly no refunds or cancellations. They also promote the lodges as being self contained but cooking facilities are a toaster, jug and microwave with limited equipment. I think that is because they want you to buy meals off them at –‘ inflated prices’. The people running it are also ...... a bit odd!
Hey, but we find it warm, really comfortable and we have our own cooking stuff. It also suits us as we are happy to be out of the national park. It would be great .. at half the price.

And No internet coverage.

Tomorrow – Mountain walking.

Posted by peterjday 00:51 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania tassie cradle_mountain peterjday cradle_chalet moina Comments (0)

Walking in Cradle Mt Nat. Park - Tassie Day 15

Staying at Moine

September 23, 2013
56 km
Cloudy, cold. 8 to 12 degrees
Feeling totally relaxed and up in the clouds.

Great sleep. Off for our 30 km drive up the mountain. After a stop at the Cradle Park Info Centre to get our shuttle bus tickets – which is included in our 2 month park pass - I retreat to the car to put on my thermals. It’s not easy putting on thermals in the car!

Then on to the shuttle bus into the park.
I want one of these buses. 24 seater diesel Toyota. I could take all my grandkids around in one of these – with all their dogs and bikes as well.

The weather is poor and not really suitable for climbing mountain tops, so first stop Peppers Cradle Lodge for a coffee. We ordered our coffee and made our way to the guest lounge - sitting in a luxurious old leather chairs by an open fire.
This is the life although I think the setting made us look a little pompous.
Then disaster!
The guy delivering our coffees placed them on the table and said ‘Please enjoy your coffees, the BEST in Tasmania”. Is this breaking my rule number one? Can I drink it? Too late.
No, not the best!
Some stylish latte art using chocolate syrup which made them more a chocolaty mild mocha but nice anyway and the setting was great.

Out into the cold and back onto another shuttle bus. Love these buses. Up to Dove Lake car park and sign in the walkers’ book. Funny looking at how some of the tourists prepare for mountain walking. One guy got off our bus in a track suit and thongs.

Although visibility is poor (at times down to 50 metres) it is not raining and it is really nice walking.

We decide to do the Dove Lake circuit (6km) in reverse. With the low cloud, definitely no point walking up high.

Back down to get the car and a visit to ‘Cradle Chateau’ (Not to be confused with Cradle Chalet) to look at the shop and gallery. Then on to the National Park Interpretive Centre for look at some displays. Finally, back to that beautiful Peppers Cradle Lodge Lounge - this time with my laptop. Yes, internet coverage, where I could check emails and look up some stuff about the rail trail at Railton. Pat stayed outside unsuccessful looking for platypi in the lake ... again! Rather than travel back and try and cook dinner with our jug and toaster we decided to grab an early dinner here. I devoured a Scotch Fillet and Pat had Rogan Josh curry. Yum. We drove our 30 km home feeling nice and full.

Tomorrow – in search of a rail trail.

Posted by peterjday 00:56 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania tassie cradle_mountain peterjday Comments (0)

Cycling the Railton to Sheffield Rail Trail - Tassie Day 16

Staying at Moina

September 24, 2013
128 km
Cloudy, cold. 7 to 13 degrees
Feel like a bike ride.

Don’t bother asking any tourist info in Tassie about places to ride. Tasmania is full of great places to ride. When we arrive somewhere, the first thing we usually do is rock into the local tourist info. And cycling is never on their radar! I found some info on a rail trail cycle ride on the net from Railton to Sheffield. Looked good. But I have been asking along the way and apart from not knowing anything, I have been repeatedly advised to ask at Sheffield Tourist Info. So, after a very scenic drive from Moina to Sheffield, we visit our friendly Tourist Info – Don’t know anything.

“But the rail trail is here!!!

In your town!!!”

In the end I got the lady to look up the internet and she printed off some basic directions. She said that she sometimes walks her dog on part of it – but she didn’t know it was a cycle trail. It is actually a part of the ‘Tasmanian Trail’ which extends from the North to the South of Tassie. People usually either walk or ride horses on it. This section of the trail is 12km through forest, private land and farmland and it is recommended to start at Railton as it is a steep uphill. That way the return is 12km downhill. So off to Railton. But we don’t know where it starts. Into the Post Office. Not much luck. Into the police station – BINGO. The young policeman knows it well – I think he is a mountain bike rider. Very helpful. Even offers to take us down to the start.

We are a bit concerned because there are lots of turns, roads and tracks we have to navigate and we don’t have a map. Just following some basic instructions and the little Tasmanian Trails markers. About 5 minutes into the ride we stopped to talk to a friendly old fella walking down the track. Kevin Norris happens to be the man responsible for the trail. What luck. He gives us lots of advice plus his phone number just in case we have to ring. He even offers to come and get us if we get into strife.

After a few kms of tracks and dirt roads we have to get onto the busy main road and it is a solid, long, steep hill. Not our favourite. A section of about 3 km through a pine plantation is also out of bounds due to logging.

Finally off the road onto the remainder of the track.
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What a great ride. It is so beautiful. Forests. Farms. Bit of mud and slush. Bubbling streams. We had some wind and rain and big smiles on our faces.

Turned around on the outskirts of Sheffield and back we go.
Lunch stop.

Great ride back, downhill most of the way. Wind and rain in our face. Yippee!
Isn't she beautiful. I love my bike.

Back in the car and up to Latrobe to the Cherry Shed to buy some jam. Then the super scenic route back through Wilmot to Moina. This is classic Northern Tasmanian scenery. A stand out!

Tommorow – far North West and checking out guitar creation.

Posted by peterjday 01:45 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania sheffield tassie peterjday railton railtrail railton_sheffield Comments (0)

To the Edge of the World and Back - Tassie Day 17

Travelling from Moina to Stanley with a little bit of Arthur River

September 25, 2013
347 km
Really gusty, mixed blue skies and heavy rain squalls. 7 to 13 degrees
Feeling like we’re near the end ... or is that the edge?.

Driving through more of that breathtaking North Tassie countryside. Around Wilmot people are creative with their letterboxes.
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Along the North Coast to Stanley. Had to stop at the roadside tulip fields at Table Cape near Wynyard.

I am really interested, at some stage, doing the guitar making workshop run by Chris Wynne at Thomas Lloyd Guitars. They are held in Victoria, Tassie and Italy. As it happens the Tasmanian workshop was happening during our stay and I had pre-arranged to call in and have a look at the process. The Tassie workshop is held at historic Highfields House overlooking the Nut at Stanley.

After finding some great accommodation in the main street we took off from the North Coast to the West Coast. My internal compass is not settled.

Lots of rolling green Tassie hills.
Looking north near Marrawah.
You look'n’ at me?

Then, about 9k from the West Coast, it all becomes coastal heath and scrub. Such a stark change.
Driving to the ‘Edge of the world’ at Arthurs River.

I have never seen such a wild surf scene. As far as you can see, breaking waves. It’s overwhelming. The sound is deafening. Story here is that the air comes straight up from the Antarctic passing over no other continent. As fresh as can be.

Really amazing to see all these massive tree trunks being washed up and crunched on the rocks.
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They get piled high on the rocks and beaches. Apparently they are washed out of the North Western river systems – Tarkine Forests.

Back to Stanley to our great granny flat with the ‘Nut’ as a backdrop. The Cow'N'Calf. Our last night in Tassie.

Joseph Lyons historic house.
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Tomorrow – savouring our last day on the isle.

Posted by peterjday 04:08 Archived in Australia Tagged tasmania stanley tassie peterjday arthurs_river Comments (1)

Up the Nut and Bound for the Mainland – Tassie Day 18

From Stanley to Devonport and on the boat.

September 26, 2013
Stanley to Devonport to Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania I
158 km
Gale force - rain squalls – scary swell!. 8 to 12 degrees
Feeling a touch nervous!!!.

Such a stormy night. Wind and rain was so strong it sounded like we were surrounded by a factory in full swing. However, we slept well - cosy in our accommodation in the flat out the back of the Cow‘n’Calf Gallery. This has been the least expensive place on the trip - $85 – and one of the most comfortable. The Cow’n’Calf is a gallery run by David Murphy, a landscape photographer. Really nice bloke and good host.

Pat was upset that we didn’t climb the ‘Stanley Nut’ yesterday when we had relatively clear weather – but it was getting late in what was already a long day. The power of positive thought. I kept thinking, “it will clear”. Our goal today was to climb the Nut, cycle a circuit from Stanley up to Highfields House, out to the Old Cable Station and back around to Stanley through beautiful countryside. Then head to Devonport where we would ride the Devonport cycleway before boarding the ship. Well, I saw a little patch of blue sky, and some clear weather came across, in the howling wind. The wind was so strong that birds were taking off and going backwards for a while until they had built up enough speed to go forward. Looks like they were pretty skilled at it.

Before breakfast, we quickly put on our walking boots and headed up the track. It was super steep.

There is a chair lift to the top and at first I thought, “what a cop out!” But after the first section of the climb I could see how many people would not be able to do this. It was hard work, if not a bit slippery and dangerous when so windy and wet.

The track has lots of little Paddy Melons grazing.

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Great views of the surrounding area. On a clear day you would be able to see all the way up to Cape Grim.

When we finally reached the top we did the 2 km circuit with lots of vantage points.
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By the time we got back to the top of the chairlift we sheltered from yet another rain squall with horizontal rain. Damn, too wet and getting too late for a cycle around Stanley. Down the slippery path for breakfast, packing up and on the road. Wanted to buy some scallop pies to stick in the fridge and take back home for the kids but no luck in Stanley.

Next stop Table Cape. The plan is to see lots and lots of fields of tulips like we saw next to the highway yesterday. They’ve all gone!!!

We stopped at Wynyard for some lunch and to buy some travel sickness pills. The weather report is not good. Then on to Devonport where the wind was so strong that it was hard to even open the door of the car. No way we can cycle. On the news, parts of Melbourne were really getting hit. The wind was so strong the last Spirit to Tassie was in lock down when it arrived and people were delayed getting off. The Melbourne Show was closed down. So we parked the car by the Mersey River looking over at the ship, sat in the car, had a cup of tea, listened to the radio and watched the clouds whizzing through the sky. I was thinking very hard, “It is going to get better.”

With a bit of time to kill we went for a stroll through central Devonport looking at the shops.


Then we went for a short drive around the Devonport waterfront. To suck up more time we then drove 11km to nearby Latrobe and strolled around the shops until it was time to go back and get some dinner at a Noodle Bar. I bought a carton of Cascade First Harvest to take home and try. Then onto the boat.
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The news isn’t great. When we came over we had a really rough trip with swell up to 3 metres. The forecast is now predicting gale force winds, up to 100 km/h and swell up to 5 metres. Our plan is to take our little sea sick pill and get to sleep as quickly as we can. The ship left 15 minutes early and it wasn’t long before we felt it. The captain warned of the weather and closed all access to outside decks. That didn’t make nervous smokers very happy. Pretty hard to walk around anyway.

Tomorrow ... Dry Land .... I Hope!

Posted by peterjday 03:12 Archived in Australia Tagged nut stanley devonport peterjday bass_strait Comments (0)

Safe and Sound Heading for Home – Tassie Day 19

Rough night in Bass Strait to home.

September 27, 2013
Stormy to Sunny 7 to 20 degrees
Feeling homeward bound!!!.

We survived – stomachs intact. It was very rough but we probably slept better than the trip over. Maybe cause we were getting used to it. Off the ferry and on the road by 6.40am. We were planning to take two days to get home and make it as relaxing as possible but we cleared Melbourne so quickly. Breakfast stop just out of Melbourne, coffee at Glenrowan and we were over the boarder by 11am. Lunch stop at Tarcutta and, although feeling tired, we decided to push for home. Revive with a cuppa at Wendy and Brian’s and, after 4285 km, we arrived home just short of 8pm.

Missing Tassie already.

Posted by peterjday 03:18 Comments (0)

Cycling down Jacobs Ladder - Video

Link to Vimeo

This is a link to a GoPro video of our visit to Ben Lomond Nat. Park on Day 4.


Or you can cut and paste the link above into your browser or you can google Vimeo, then do a search under peterjday and you should find it.

Posted by peterjday 16:28 Archived in Australia Tagged ben_lomond tasmania cycling tassie gopro peterjday jacobs_ladder Comments (0)

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