Tasmania:- North West

(28/1/2018 – 5/2/2018)

TASMANIA!!!   WOW!!    What an awesome adventure we had in this fantastic little state packed with so much to see and do!!!   We had originally booked 4 weeks but we decided to extend for a further week here but we could have spent a few more weeks!!!!  I can understand how people can easily spend a few months in Tassie!!   And being Summer it was certainly very busy with travellers!!

Tasmania was extremely scenic with wild and beautiful landscapes, farming and agriculture, mountains, wonderful fresh produce, chocolate shops, lots of wineries, berry farms, oyster farms, scenic winding roads (yes, many a winding road here in Tasmania with not very good signage at times!!!!), rainforests, waterfalls, sparkling beaches, caves, so many cities and towns enriched with incredible history and wonderful free or low cost camping!!!! Oh, and a mixed bag of weather – (all seasons in one day sometimes!!!!).

When we arrived in Tasmania, we decided to head West from Devonport.   Since it was too early to check into our caravan park, we drove to Ulverstone and had breakfast.  Mitchell had a play in a nearby park and then we drove back to Turners Beach.

Turners Beach
Turners Beach

Turners Beach (or O C Ling Memorial) Caravan Park (we stayed for 2 nights) is located between Ulverstone and Devonport.  The caravan park is located immediately adjacent to a beach with fishing available nearby.    It was a nice quiet park and the beach was lovely.   One night we met up for dinner with one of Andrew’s old school friends in Ulverstone and when we got home we actually had to put the aircon on as it was so cold!!!! Hang on, I thought it was Summer!!

We left Turner’s Beach the next day and continued west along the coast road and stopped in at Penguin, such a quaint and picturesque seaside town with a very pretty esplanade. Lovely sunny skies today!!!

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After a stop at the Info Centre and then grabbing our morning coffee, we travelled to Boat Harbour.   Well, what a beautiful place this was.   It was such a gorgeous sunny day and the water sparkled.   Who needed to go to an overseas island when we have beaches like this right here at our doorstep.

The camping area was so packed, obviously a very popular spot, with these water views who wouldn’t want to stay here but there was absolutely no room for our caravan!!!   We had a walk around and went down to the beach, the water looked so inviting but was too cold for swimming.   We had lunch at the Boat Harbour Beach Surf Club Café and then after lunch we continued on the coast road to Stanley.

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Boat Harbour

We arrived at Stanley late afternoon and found a great low cost camping spot near the beach ($8.00 per night).

After setting up, we then hopped on our bikes and went for a ride around town.  The whole town has a captivating, pioneer-village atmosphere, with many restored and historic cottages and buildings.  There are various small boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.

That night we took a drive into town to a penguin viewing area at the beach and we did manage to find just a few sitting in the bushes – so cute!!!

The next day we went to ‘Seaquarium’ in the morning.  It is a local attraction located at the Dock in an old Crayfish processing shed.  It highlights the local marine life and local marine history.  There were various fish species, seahorses, octopus, sharks, southern rock lobsters and Tasmania’s giant crabs!!

After our visit to the Seaquarium we then we took a drive around the Stanley area.

We visited “The Nut”.    The Nut stands 143 metres above sea level and is a stump of an old extinct volcano.   It is a distinctive landmark in Stanley.

The Nut was first called Circular Head when it was discovered by Bass & Flinders in 1798.  The region that surrounds the Nut has since been called Circular Head.  It depends who you talk to on the origin of the name the Nut.   Some say it is a shortened version of the Aboriginal name for it which was Moo-Nut-Re-Ker. Some also say the name came from when the breakwater was built in 1892. The side of the Nut was packed with explosives to construct the breakwater, once detonated nothing happened and no rocks fell from the side of the Nut.    Apparently most of the crowd that gathered to watch the event, agreed that is was a “Hard Nut to Crack”.

We took the chairlift up.   It travels a distance of 250 metres and rises 95 metres.  It took about 5 or so minutes to ride to the top.   There were amazing views of the brilliant bays and the surrounding countryside.   The walk around the top was about 2 kms.

The Nut
The Nut
On the Chairlift going up to the Nut

The Nut has been declared a State Reserve.   We saw lots of different birds and cute little pademelons on our walk around the top of the Nut.

After 2 nights camping at Stanley we packed up in the morning and we continued west to our next stop at Smithton.   We set up at a free camp in the grounds of the Tall Timbers Hotel.

From here we did a half day trip on the “Tarkine Drive”.     We stopped at the Trowutta Arch which was a short 30 minute return walk through the rainforest.   Trowutta is quite a stunning and rare geological feature.    There were numerous lookouts, walking tracks, BBQ and picnic areas along the Tarkine Drive.   It was beautiful scenery but its a very winding road and I got car sick so we couldn’t complete the entire drive!!!

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Trowutta Arch
Trowutta Arch

Tarlne-map

We packed up in the morning and headed east along the coast road back towards Burnie where we stopped and set up at Cooee Point Reserve, another free camp spot along the beach.  How great is it to have these beach views for free!!!!

Cooee Point

The next morning we drove down to Cradle Mountain!!! Sunshine and blue skies for our big hike!!!!    It was about a 90 minute drive to the Visitor Info Centre.  From here we caught a shuttle bus to Ronny Creek.

Cradle Mountain is Tasmania’s most visited National Park in the heart of Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The walk we did was from Ronny Creek to Dove Lake (via Crater Lake, Boat Shed, Wombat Pool and Lake Lilla).    This was about a 6 km circuit.    We climbed to the spectacular Crater Lake surrounded by 200 metre high cliffs and then we walked down towards Wombat Pool and then on to Lake Lilla, finishing at Dove Lake.    Mitchell was terrific in hiking all the way on his own and it took us about 3 or so hours to complete.   From Dove Lake we got a shuttle bus back to the Info Centre.   Huge amazing day with spectacular scenery.

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The next morning, well, I wasn’t as sore as I thought I would be after such a big hike yesterday, so that was good!!!   We packed up and continued east to Preservation Bay, near Penguin.   This was another free overnight camp spot near the beach.

Preservation Bay

After we set up, we then drove south down to Gunns Plains Caves.   We arrived at the caves for an afternoon tour and there were 5 of us altogether plus the tour guide.

Upon entry there was a steep flight of 54 concrete steps into the caves and then from this point the pathway throughout the caves was fairly level.   There was a 10 step ladder to climb down and there were some low points where we had to duck down.  The tour route through the caves was 275 metres long.

The caves had magnificent formations, colours, sparking crystals, stalactites and stalagmites.   There was even a glow worm display!!!!

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When we got back to the caravan, Andrew and I went blackberry picking.   They were growing wild everywhere and we picked a large bowlful – they were so yummy!!
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Andrew then took Mitchell down to the beach and had a fish (caught nothing – again!!!).   Next morning we packed up and continued east.
(28/1/2018 – 5/2/2018)

 

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