(6/2/2018 – 22/2/2018)
Travelling along the Bass Highway towards Launceston, we stopped at Anvers Chocolate Factory, Museum and Cafe at Latrobe for some chocolate sampling and coffee!!
Anvers confectionery was established as a cottage industry in November 1989, by Igor Van Gerwen, who came to Australia from Belgium. Igor has found the Tasmanian cream and butter to be the richest in flavour of any in the world. He believed the reason for this is that the pastures in Tasmania’s pure environment stay green almost all year round, eliminating the need to feed the dairy cows on grains.
There is a small museum of chocolate where you can see and learn the process of producing fine chocolate. There were also viewing windows so you can see how they make their chocolate.
Oh and of course, we bought some chocolate!!!!! Our usual salted caramel milk chocolate and white chocolate!! Yum!! Gosh, putting on a bit of weight with eating all this chocolate!!! LOL
From there we travelled south to our next camping spot called Old Macs Farmstay & Fishery. Nice bushland setting and yet it was only about 10-15 minutes from Launceston city. We only paid $10.00 per night (best to be self contained – quite a walk up the hill to public toilets near the Stonesthrow Cafe). It was very busy too, must have about 60 sites here.
We met up with Adele and Wayne from “Caravanning With Kids” and we had “happy hour” (which actually led to many hours of drinking!!!!) with them for 2 nights. We are a member on their facebook page and it was lovely to meet them in person. We also met another couple, Emma and Chris who had been travelling for a year too but were finishing up that week and returning to a new home (moving from Vic to Qld).
One day we drove out to Cataract Gorge Reserve which is on the South Esk River and is a unique natural formation just minutes from central Launceston.
The Gorge has walking tracks, swimming pool, the world’s longest single span chairlift, a restaurant, cafe, a suspension bridge, waterfalls, plunge pools and cascades. The gorge has panoramic lookouts with spectacular views.
On the southern side of the river is First Basin, is where the swimming pool is and an open area surrounded by bushland. Here you can have picnics and BBQs. You could also pay and take the chairlift across the Gorge but we decided to walk around the area and across the footbridge.
Another day we took a drive out to Lilydale Falls which was about a 25 minute drive from Launceston. There are 2 waterfalls not far from each other and it was an easy 10 minute walk through Lilydale Falls Reserve. Not much water running at all.
Launceston is Tasmania’s second major city and one of Australia’s oldest cities. A landscape of mountains is the backdrop to Launceston. Its early Colonial and Victorian buildings gives the city a wonderful historic character. We made a few a trips into Launceston and the old historical buildings were beautiful.
After a week in Launceston, we then had to wait out a huge storm for a day. We packed up the following morning and travelled further south to Hobart. On the way down to Hobart we stopped at Ross.
Ross was a lovely village to stroll around with lots of historical buildings. We popped into the Tasmanian Wool Centre. The Tasmanian Wool Centre offers a substantial retail area of high quality woollen garments. The Centre also houses an informative Heritage Museum with an interesting collection of memorabilia and artifacts connected with Ross’ past. As an awarded wool growing district, there was a Wool Exhibition area showcasing the area’s fine Merino Wool, trophies and shearing equipment.
After lunch at the Ross Bakery, we then continued down to Hobart and checked into the Big 4 Hobart Airport Tourist Park for 4 nights.
Skyline of Hobart with Mt. Wellington in background
One day we drove out to Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Highway which was about 2 1/2 hours north of Hobart, another beautiful drive through the countryside.
Here we visited “The Wall”. Wow, this was so amazing. It consisted of 100 hand sculpted timber panels. The panels which make up the Wall are mostly Huon Pine. It is still a work in completion. The artist, Greg Duncan, says that the Wall will span 100 metres once completed. The carvings were truly incredible and it tells a story of Australian history to now. The detail was superb. We thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition. No cameras, no videos and no phones allowed inside, so no photos to show.
Another day, we took a drive to Richmond which was about 20 minutes away. We spent the morning at ZooDoo Wildlife Park and is spread over 220 acres. It is a hands on safari and native animal park. Andrew and Mitchell got to feed a lioness.
We went in a safari truck and we got to feed zebras, emus, camels and donkeys, that was pretty cool and something different. There were all your usual animals and Reptile House but we also got to see the Tasmanian Devils. Some of the zoo was looking a bit tired and old but on the whole we had a good morning out there.
After the Zoo, we drove into Richmond town. We had a walk around, another town with beautiful historical buildings. That particular day, there was a Classic Motor show and Markets on.
On our last day in Hobart we took a drive up to Mt. Wellington, yet another scenic but very winding road up!!!! One of the worse weather days we had in Hobart, unfortunately not the best for views to Hobart. Hobart was a city similar to Launceston in that it is surrounded by a mountainous landscape including Mt. Wellington. Unfortunately by the time we got to the top it was starting to fog over and rain. Since we couldn’t see much and it was very cold and windy, we didn’t stay there for long and drove back down to Hobart. By that time the weather had cleared. We had a drive around Hobart, stopped at a couple of parks for Mitchell to have a play, popped into the Maritime Museum and then we met some friends, Stephen and Sue, for dinner at a restaurant at Constitution Dock.
We packed up in the morning and drove down to Kettering to get on the ferry for Bruny Island. We lined up for quite awhile but getting on the ferry all went smoothly. The ferry ride over took about 20 minutes.
We spent 3 lovely days on Bruny Island. We free camped at Cloudy Bay Campground on the North Island for 2 nights and 1 night at The Neck Campground which is on the South Island.
Bruny Island – a little treasure island itself!!! It’s over 50 kms long. Lots of attractions and activities to do, dining, wineries and fresh produce in abundance!! It also provides general services and plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets. There are beautiful beaches and bays and many walking tracks on the island.
Whilst Andrew had the drone up, I got to drive on the beach to Cloudy Bay Campground which was lots of fun!!! Woo Hoo!!!
Andrew did some beach fishing (no luck in catching anything!!!). Upon driving around the island, we stopped for an ice cream at Bruny Island Berry Farm, looked at Bruny Island Honey (didn’t by any – far too expensive), bought some oysters from Get Shucked Oyster Farm (Andrew cooked up some great oysters Kilpatrick!!) did some cheese and beer tasting at Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co and we did a walk up to Bruny Island Lighthouse.
We also went to The Neck which is a strip of land between the North and South Island and climbed the 279 steps to a platform for views of both ends of the island. There is also a timber walkway which crosses the Neck to the beach on the other side.
After our 3 nights of free camping, we left in the morning and got the ferry back to Kettering and then drove around to Port Arthur.
(6/2/2018 – 22/2/2018)