Saturday, 26 February 2011

Monkeying Around in Tassie and Victoria

After Launceston we headed inland intending to walk the Walls of Jerusalem but low cloud prevented this so a return to the coast put us at Baker's Beach within easy reach of Devonport for a trip to the cinema to see Sanctum in 3D - good film but not sure about 3D. Watching the ferry to Melbourne leave at sunset was impressive given the narrow channel available out to the stormy seas.

A return to the hills and some excellent bush camping at Lake Rowallan enabled us to do our planned walk despite the unusual fall of four inches of snow overnight. We met another Swiss couple on a round the world trip and at dusk saw a spotted quoll nosing around outside.

Sarah enjoyed a days riding in the forests around Lake Barrington before we headed off to the coast for our return sailing to Melbourne. A group of suicidal bikers nearly caused grief on a series of tight hairpins - two came off in spectacular fashion but seemed uninjured despite the damage to the bikes.

On a fast stretch of road whilst heading for the ferry we experienced a sudden and alarming loss of power so pulled off to inspect - all seemed well but we could not get the revs up so limped slowly in to town where I replaced the fuel filter and all was well again.

The ferry crossing was very enjoyable with Tasmania retreating in to a glorious sunset and Melbourne appearing lit up at dawn as we again crossed Port Phillip Bay.

We are now exploring the Victorian goldfields with beautifully preserved heritage towns and villages, warm weather and empty camping areas. We will head down to the Great Ocean Road after the weekend and then to inland to the Grampians over the next week or two.

Pics are here - hope you enjoy the new feature on the blog - a slideshow of other pics we have taken which will change at each new posting.

Locations once again here - we have noticed that Google must have photographed the area during the drought as many of our campsites are unrecognisably greener after the January rains.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Top notch Tasmania

Cape Huay at the southern tip of the Tasman Peninsula provided superb views to the seas way below and after the absorbing remains of the convict days at Port Arthur we headed back through Hobart and followed the east coast north. Freycinet was we felt rather over done and we found scenery and isolation more to our liking on the north east tip of the island with wonderful coastline, camping areas empty now that the schools are back and a large high pressure system ensuring that we have enjoyed the views in their best light. Some conservation fishing off the beach ensured that we enjoyed pork chops cooked on the gas barbie supplied at Stumpy's No.4 campground - it is amazing the free provision of facilities to enjoy life outdoors in the most remote of places.

An afternoon snorkelling revealed hidden treasures beneath the blue sea followed by a remarkable sunset which rounded off a perfect day in the Waterhouse Conservation Area.

We are now in Launceston to enjoy a couple of museums and the impressive Cataracts Gorge before heading inland to the mountains for our final week or so.

We met up briefly with one of the Swiss couples I had met back in October who are engaged in a similar tour and have come away with some good ideas for onward travel plans.

Photos here and updated locations here

Sunday, 6 February 2011

More from Tassie

The island continues to amuse and enthrall us as we continue to enjoy good weather with sunny skies and fresh conditions. Having a dongle here in Oz has so far proved invaluable especially as much of the info about walks and wildlife is available online and downloadable.

It also means we get to post more often although I guess coverage will drop off once we head west in a month or so.

After a rewarding walk in the Hartz NP we headed inland to stop at historic Oatlands which reminded us of stone built Cotswold villages and had a free camping spot overlooking a lake which reminded us of villages in France. This put us conveniently in position to enjoy a combined day at the Tasmanian Cattlemen's Association annual get together and Ross Rodeo with both events providing spectacular displays of horsemanship and stockmanship in very much a no nonsense atmosphere. H&S, fears re liability and an aversion to risk seem to have knocked the stuffing out of similar rural events at home so the approach here was very refreshing.

We have now moved on to the Tasmanian Peninsula once guarded at Eaglehawk Neck by ferocious dogs to prevent convicts escaping the penal colonies of Port Arthur.

The tessellated rocks were fascinating but the blowhole somewhat benign given the current calm sea conditions. Quiet Lime Bay nature reserve is our base for tonight and a daring red necked wallaby has already inspected our set up. The chances of seeing a Devil are slim but we will probe the woodlands with a light after dusk.

A few photos here and the recent locations here which update daily , regards to all.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Edge Of The World

South West Tasmania has rewarded us with stunning scenery, a variety of wildlife and reminders of an inglorious past.

The ingenuity of man was impressively portrayed at Lake Gordon hydro scheme where the 140m high dam held back Australia's largest freshwater body of water. Nature hit back with the wilderness of the World Heritage listed South West National Park where we barely scratched the surface at Lake Pedder.

Bruny Island provided good walks, sea eagles, albatross, tiger snakes, echidnas, dolphins and stunning cliff scenery before Hobart's impressive architecture and dark history filled a very wet day.

Cockle Creek to the south was as far in that direction as we can go in this country with a walk to South Cape Bay emphasising how far from anywhere else we were. The spectacular bay with churning seas was more than half a world away from the next land mass - South America's narrow southern tip.

Sunny but cool weather has been ideal for us and we have met some interesting people perhaps most notably a couple from Devon on a year long trip and just about to head to New Zealand. We now head north briefly to a Cattlemen's event before returning to Hobart to continue our circuit via the Tasmanian Peninsula and the east coast.
Pictures Locations updates daily