Friday, February 28, 2014

Tasmania Part 2

After stocking up on supplies we left Bicheno & headed for the historic town of Port Arthur via Freycinet National Park & Wineglass Bay.  I'd been telling Plumbing Boy I was ready for whales, or dolphins every day since we'd left & luckily for me he turned them on when we reached Wineglass Bay!!!

There was a 15 minute uphill hike followed by 45 minutes downhill to get down to Wine Glass Bay, the walk was rated as easy.  I tell you what, I don't think my parents would call it easy!!  We worked up a massive sweat coming back up the downhill.  I think I counted 110 steps straight up in one very steep section!  It was beautiful when we reached the beach & to find a pod of 20 - 30 dolphins lazily cruising the length of the bay made it all the more spectacular.  I do believe I was the most excited person on the beach.

Told you we were sweaty!!  Although I think half of PB's is from spilling water down his front!  We continued on our way to Port Arthur & thankfully for me it was drizzling & quite late in the afternoon so we got to stay somewhere nice instead of camping!!

It was so nice!!  Doesn't look much from the outside, but inside was beautifully done & the view was outstanding!!!  I still had to cook dinner, but it was in a kitchen with an oven & the bath tub was divine!!!  Big enough for two :-)

The next morning we were up & ready for an adventure @ Port Arthur.  You can read about the history here.  It was a penal settlement, then the Separate Prison was built, as well as the Asylum.  I wasn't that keen to go originally due to a massacre that happened there in 1996, but had been informed by numerous people that there was so much more to the place than the memory of the deranged gunman.

Plus while we were in Bicheno, I'd heard a second hand account of what had happened that day; how it had affected the local community & how much they relied on the historic site as a source of employment, so I figured I'd better go.

Both of us were so surprised at the site having really no knowledge at all of it.  The grounds were just beautiful.  We probably could have stayed another day & done the cemetery tour & the ghost tour amoungst others.

I didn't take any pictures of the memorial garden, but I'm glad I left it until last to see.  The entrance was very subtle & we almost missed it.  But it was a moving tribute to those who lost their lives: I shed a few tears.

Next stop was Bruny Island.  The ferry ride over took 15 minutes & again as we arrived late, we arranged accommodation.  The only thing available was a cabin in the Adventure Bay caravan park, it had two bedrooms at opposite ends of the cabin, but I could still hear the snoring despite my ipod & two pillows over my head from the other bedroom!!! 

We visited a historic lighthouse on our way to the Jetty Beach camping ground in Cloudy Bay @ the bottom of the south island.

Found this guy wandering the path on our way back to the car: Blue Tongue, minus his tail.  Continued on our way & set up camp with me spending the rest of the afternoon alternately reading & snoozing on the beach.  

We were up bright & early the following morning to go for a decent hike.  How long it would take us was very unclear.  There were 3 x boards referring to the walk we were planning on.  One said this:

Labillardiere Peninsula Circuit - 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours return

The track starts at the Jetty Beach campground and does a circuit around the peninsula. The track can be walked in either direction but for unobscured views of the magnificent coastline it is recommended commencing the walk on the western side.
The next sign 5 hours & the last 6 - 8 hours "depending on how long you stayed on the beach for".  

We'd spoken to the ranger the day before & some how ended up speaking about the local salmon farm which he assured us we would be able to see the pens of, from the hike.  Apparently most fresh salmon sold in Australia is from here.

We made it to the beach in an hour & a half - a little to early to stop for lunch & neither of us were really interested in having a swim, so we continued on the length of the beach, then back onto the trail with magnificent views of the south west end of South Bruny Island.

We made it home in 4 hours & 21 minutes not bothering to stop & eat lunch until we were back at camp.  There were some very steep hills & walk was rated intermediate in terms of difficulty.  I think the only thing harder about this walk over Wine Glass Bay was that it was longer (& perhaps the number of hills)!!

Spent the afternoon again chilling out on the beach while I finished ready my second book.  Tonight was to be our last night camping & no-one was more surprised than I when a baby tiger snake slithered under my chair across our campsite while I was washing the dishes!!!  It was not one little bit scared of us & I gawked at him open mouthed as he wandered off into the bushes.  I don't really like snakes much at all, but don't have a serious phobia.  I was more worried about where his mamma & pappa were, to be honest!!!

We did see 2 Echinda's while at Jetty Beach, but I didn't get any photo's; we saw plenty of dead wombats, possums & kangaroo's on the side of the road.  I did see 2 live possums that night raiding our rubbish which we hadn't tied up properly it seems.  They weren't too scared of me either when I went out to rescue the rubbish - my brave companion used his nakedness as the reason I had to do it!!!!!

Broke camp early the next morning & packed up for the final time planning to head back to the mainland of Tasmania & spend the day sight seeing, however at the last minute, Plumbing Boy decided he did want to do the cruise having read it was in the top 10 or 100 nature tours in the world.  This of course didn't start til 11am so we had a few hours to kill in Adventure Bay.  Having finished my book I bought a newspaper from the only shop (milkbar/fuel/mini supermarket) & completed the crossword puzzle while I waited.

The boats were lots of fun - fast & powerful & we certainly got a different perspective of the coast line looking back at it from the ocean.  My favorite part though was seeing the fur seals!!  There were a bit whiffy & thankfully the only person who'd been seasick had stopped puking by the time we got there, as I recon the combined smell of the seals & someone else's spew probably would have made me hurl!!!

With the tour over, we headed for the ferry via very quick stop at Bruny Island Cheese  where I managed a small tasting plate while PB scoffed a pizza.  Divine.  Alas, no time to shop as we had to get to the ferry!

We were undecided as to where we would spend our last night - my only request was somewhere nice, with a hot shower & somewhere nice to go out for dinner.  PB decided he wanted to drive back up the coast where we'd already been, so he could then cut across to Scottsdale, where apparently the best road & dirt bike riding was to be had.  He could have possibly done this when we were an hour away from it camping at Swimcart, but you know.........

We stopped at Swansea, 20 minutes before Bicheno & ended up at the local motor in as everything was booked out & we were too late by now to have enjoyed any sort of fancy accommodation anyway.  PB was "right, lets just get dinner & then sort the accommodation".  I'm like "are you serious? I haven't had a shower for 3 days.  Having a nice dinner OUT means showering & changing into clean clothes & possibly doing my hair & make up if we actually have time!!!!"

He was happy to go in his torn t-shirt & well, anyway you get the idea.  We managed to check in, shower, change & look semi decent with time to walk to the Mill with 5 minutes to order before the kitchen closed!!!  In the end the meals were a bit ho-hum & I felt it was all a bit of downer to end our trip on :0(

The motel had free wifi, so I decided on our return to check my emails etc, it was soooooooo slow everything kept crashing before it could load, so I gave up.  Kind of a good thing I guess.  That was the first time I'd been near the computer or work in the whole time we were away, so while I wasn't super refreshed (lack of sleep) I did feel mentally free of work as I could not tell you the last time I went 2 weeks without checking emails every second day & doing a quote or 10 while on leave.

Spent our last day on Van Diemens Land driving the rest of the way back up the east coast to St Helens, then across to Launceston via Scottsdale to Devonport & the Spirit of Tasmania.  I did manage to get PB to stop at the raspberry farm on the way & we also smashed another kg of black cherries.  They were so so so good!!!!!  I think we ate something like 5 - 7kgs of them while we were over there!

The trip home was uneventful & the water like glass.  Very smooth sailing!!  We arrived in Melbourne to a hot north wind & 30+ degrees @ 6am!  It was hard to get a clear pic, while we were sailing slowly, the wind was buffeting my camera!!

All in all it was a good trip but we need to do something about the snore factor!!!  I'd like to go back & do a foodie trip; he'd like to go back & do a dirt bike trip - perhaps we each need to take a like minded friend to do the activities we each want to do & meet up for a night or 2 at beginning & end!!!!!  We had planned on going all the way around Tasi & going to cradle mountain - I think we were somewhat over ambitious.  There is so much more to see regardless of dirt biking or foodie touring, so I am very sure we'll be back :-)


Memphis Steve said...

Oh my God, I came here with my blogroll showing you had posted a Wordless Wednesday and instead I find this HUGE, HUGE post about Tasmania! This must have taken you forever to put together. And what a cool looking place! The photos of the fort and all the surrounding areas reminded me so much of San Juan, Puerto Rico. They couldn't be further apart, but they look so similar. So now I need to visit Australia, pop over to Tassie, and then hit New Zealand. How am I going to manage all this? I need to win the lotto or something.

AlleyCat said...

Thanks Steve :-) yes it did take a while to compile!! Lotto could help!!!!

Wanna_B_slimmer said...

Ahhhh the even ambitious traveler thinking they can do Tassie in two You are two up on me though... I have never been to Wineglass Bay or Bruny island!

AlleyCat said...

2 years might be required!!!!