Wombats, Wallabies & Devils
19.10.2008 - 27.10.2008 19 °C
We collected the Camper van at Hobart airport then headed to the shops for supplies on our way to Port Arthur. Stopped along the way to check out Devils Kitchen and Tasman Arch, these are natural rock arches and fallen arches created by ocean erosion. We also stopped for views of Eagle Hawk Neck which is where the land narrows to just 100 meters linking Port Arthur to the rest of Tasmania. We sorted a camping position out then went up to Port Arthur historic site to book a night ghost tour around the old convict prison and community buildings.
We left Port Arthur and headed up the East Coast to Freycinet National Park stopping on the way to gather visitor info and buy a parks pass, there we found out about lots of great free camping locations. It's legal to camp almost anywhere in Tassie so we decided to take full advantage and camped at Friendly Beaches which was a really cool little spot with lots of friendly Wallabies. They came nosing around the van almost as soon as we pulled up, I even managed to pet one of them, she was carrying a Joey too, we named her Muriel. We'd earlier visited the NP Visitor Info Centre so planned to get up early to do the Wineglass Bay and Hazzards Beach walk which is listed in the 60 Great Walks to do in Tassie.
It was definitely the early start, we started the walk at 7am so got up to the Wineglass lookout nice and early before the sun hit. By 11am the walk was done and worth the 4hrs for the amazing views. That afternoon we headed further up the coast to St Helens and the Bay of Fires. We had read about a nice restaurant here and so we booked in for a meal overlooking Binalong Bay, in the Bay of Fires area. We camped at one of our free sites by the beach, as was with the Friendly Beaches we were the only ones there which was pretty cool.
The next day we headed back into St Helens for breakfast consisting of two very fat plate size pancakes with Maple syrup and ice cream. The plan was to head to Launceston and visit the Boags brewery but the tours were fully booked so instead we booked for the day after and headed up to Low Head. On the way here we went to Columba Falls (tallest in Tassie) and stopped at a local cheese factory, samples compulsory. It took most of the day to get there due to the windy roads and hilly landscape. We topped up on supplies and after dinner watched the sunset at Low Head point.
Today we headed into Launceston for the much anticipated Boags Tour, well I was looking forward to it but I don't think Jenna was too fussed. It turned out to be a really cool tour and with beer and cheese tasting after who can argue. They reckon beer is a better accompaniment than wine when it comes to cheese. I of course was obliged to purchase the 6 pack mix of all their beers to sample After the tour we had lunch in Launceston and then headed towards the North West to see The Nut at Stanley. By the time we got into the vicinity it was late afternoon so we found another free campsite with a view of The Nut. The area had quite a depressive feel about it which wasn't helped by the constant drizzle that surrounded us and shrouded The Nut in greyness.
They next day the weather had improved a little and we took a stroll up and around The Nut, for those of you wondering The Nut is a huge rock formation which juts out from sea level about 100 meters and is about 500 meters wide and long, huddled in it;s shadow is the town of Stanley. From below The Nut just looks like a dreary old rock but once up there you are surprised to see an abundance of flora and fauna. After our fleeting visit Stanley and The Nut we headed off for Cradle Mountain. A long and windy road saw us arrive late afternoon, enough time to sort out a place to camp and plan a walk for the next day on the way to the visitors centre we saw a chubby Wombat by the side of the road foraging for food, the first one I've seen in the wild and an unusual site during the day as they are nocturnal like the Tasmanian Devil, sadly the only Devils we saw were the unfortunate ones that were killed by vehicles, there is a lot of roadkill in Tasmania.
After a night of wilderness camping we headed into Cradle Mountain National Park to do a circuit of Dove Lake which gives great views of Cradle Mountain and the Lake. The peaks of the mountains were still snow caped which added to their impressiveness further. By the afternoon we were on our way to the other side to the National park to Lake Saint Clair by way of a 4hr drive stopping on the way at the very redneck Queenstown for supplies, we didn't stay long! Once we arrived at Lake St Clair we booked into the campsite and since we'd been surviving on wet wipe showers for 3 days we treated ourselves to a real shower.
You guessed it the next day we did a walk, this one took in Shadow Lake which was a circuit walk with great views of the snowy peaks of Mt Hugel, Mt Rufus and Little Hugel. It was a long walk at 5hrs, good job we pack some tasty sangers to get us through it. By the time we got back Jenna was ready for a nap and I was ready for a beer!
We left Lake St Clair early in the morning and headed for Hobart, we stopped for Coffee on the way then explored a bit of Hobart stopping for some really nice cakes at Battery Point, I had a Berliner which is basically an exceedingly good custard donut. I got my hair cut at an old school barbers by this 100 year old Croatian bloke. The next day we drove up to the top of Mt Wellington for amazing views of Hobart and the coast line, we could see Port Arthur and Eagle Hawk Neck from our first stop. In the afternoon we had a nice lunch at a winery before heading to the airport for our flight back to Sydney.