Strahan -The Wall to Hobart

A beautiful breakfast sets up the day.

Then it was onto Queenstown, a mining town with a great railway trip.

The Westcoast Wilderness Railway is a steam train journey from Strahan to Queenstown. We couldn’t book this time. There’s always another trip!

We stopped in Queenstown and went up the lookout. It was a very steep climb up. When we started it was fine and sunny.

We reached the top. The view of the railway was wonderful.

By the time we walked down it was cold and hailing lightly!

Back in the car we headed up and around the corners and wound our way towards The Wall.

Can you believe it. Snow!

If you are in this area of Tasmania you mustn’t miss this place. It would be easy to miss as it’s not widely advertised. But it’s so wonderful.

The Wall. Located in Derwent Bridge, the Wall is a work , started in 2005 by sculptor Greg Duncan. Originally from the Dandenong area of Victoria he came to live in this wilderness area. He has created a masterpiece of sculpture which he continues to work on today. Don’t miss it.

It is 3 metres high and 100 metres long and is sculpted entirely of Huon Pine. It tells of the history of this region of Tasmania. From the beginning when the indigenous population lived in the area, to the pioneers who began harvesting timber from the ancient forests. Following the pioneering era, there are images of the pastoralists, miners and hydro-electric scheme workers, shown along with the many animals found in the area and the horses who worked alongside pioneers.

After being blown away by the Wall we drove down past the hydroelectricity stations, through this fields of Bushy Park past the Oast Houses for drying the hops.

Oast Houses

Onto New Norfolk. This town on the Derwent River is the third oldest town in Tasmania. established around 1870’s

It has some fine old buildings and it’s Willow Court antique market is the largest in the whole of Tasmania. Houses in the series of disused building it has as many things outside it’s buildings as inside.

There are beautiful gardens and quite a few antique shops.

Back to Sandy Bay and a great night with a group of Ginetta & Stephens friends. Perfect end to our road trip round Tasmania.

Tomorrow Steve & I will head to Bruny giving the Rochesters a day at home.

Stanley to Strahan: the Wild West of Tasmania

A windy night. A rainy morning. A good day for travelling the Wild West coast of Tasmania.

We headed out of Stanley in rain and drove through the area known as the Tarkine. This is an area of temperate rainforests, sand and wildlife. It’s popular with wilderness walkers.

It’s quite remote – not many place to stop. Ginetta had us excited about one little coffee donut shop along the way – but it was closed today.

There has been a lot of rain so we saw little waterfalls and wildflowers along the way.

We followed a dirt road for about 2 hours making it to little Corrina for the punt across the quaintly maned Pieman River.

This is small community. Just a few cottages. Some of the cottages are rented by bush walkers making it a base. Others are for the locals living in the community providing the services.

We met a lovely young man who drives the barge. He is from Bundaberg! Hated the humidity loves bushwalking so has relocated here. We asked where he went during his time off. Hobart? Launceston? No he said. ‘I hate cities!’

We loved the sign for the barge.

We decided to eat in the little tavern next to the barge area.

Great steak sandwich!

By now it was raining again. It seems to be 20 mins on. 20 off. Rain then sun.

Onto the barge to cross the river.

And so safely across we continued onto Strahan.

We stopped for a sticky beak at Granville Bay. Very wild off the coast today.

The boy person we saw in Granville Harbour

We stopped in Zeehan to see the beautiful building which are left from the time the town was an important tin mining town.

One of the many murals in the town telling the history of Zeehan

Strahan is a beautiful little river harbour town and gate way to the Franklin Gordon wilderness. You can do a great cruise of Macquarie Harbour and up along the Gordon River.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Risby Cove. It’s by the water and has a slight South American influence. Delicious.

A walk around the river from our accommodation was brisk. The rain kept our walk short!

Exploring North West Tasmania

Over night there was the heaviest rain I’ve heard for awhile. Our little house is right by the water and it felt snug to be inside and warm.

Our cottage accommodation in Stanley
Looking out our bedroom window- a veggie garden and the water.

After breakfast we drove up the Main Street which is lined with lovely heritage cottages and businesses.

The street was featured in the movie based on the book. The Light Between the Oceans.

We continued our drive up hill to Highfields House. It was built in 1826 by convict labour under the watchful eye of Edward Curr, chief agent of Van Diemen’s Land Company. His wife had 15 children! Poor lady.

The house was in great disrepair but has gradually undertaken a restoration. It’s a great example of Regency architecture.

From this to ……

It’s on a magnificent site and tells of the history of the house and the Van Diemen’s Land Company.

Down the hill, but not before stopping for a photo view of the town and The Nut – which is the remains of an ancient volcanic plug with a large, mostly flat surface that can be circumnavigated on foot. It’s very imposing and these days when the weather is good you can take a chair lift to the top!

We stopped at Smithton for coffee and enjoyed the towns Street Art.

Then it was off to Arthur River and The Edge of the World. it’s located in the Arthur River reserve.

This place is in quite a remote part of western Tasmania. Today it’s wild and windy & arriving at the car park you walk along a boardwalk and out to the edge.

It is wild & windy

There is a plaque there with a poem written by a local.

The waves are crashing, the wind howling and it doesn’t feel very safe for any water craft. There are lots of timber logs crashing against the rocks.

If you sailed straight out from here the next land you would meet would be Argentina!

With the timber debris behind me.

Driving back through intermittent rain and sunshine we hoped that it would be fine back in Stanley.

The landscape is green. Rolling hills, lots of healthy looking dairy cattle and sheep.

A kelp farm. It’s dried and used as fertiliser

There are cattle on the road

You must give way to cattle.

Lots of little wild flowers along the way. It’s beautiful even without the sun.

Arriving back in Stanley Steve & I got out at the top of Main Street and walked back to our little cottage.

We popped into Providore 24 which was crammed full of Tasmanian products. Both edible & wearable. I bought some lovely pink gloves.

Next stop – the old bank which now houses a small bar which occupies those who don’t want to browse the clothes racks.

The street scape looks like a movie set. Which it actually was for the film all the Light Between the Oceans.

There are little signs outside many of the houses describing the history of the house.

Thoroughly enjoying our rather cool walk we were happy to get home just before the rain started again.

It’s nice on holidays to have a sitting area to enjoy a glass of wine before heading off for dinner.

Tonight we braved very heavy rain to get to the hotel – one of two places to eat in Stanley. It was busy !

I kept to my seafood theme and had a scallop pie with vegetables. delicious.

Tomorrow we farewell Stanley and head to Strahan.

Across the top of Tasmania

Our accommodation in Bridport was excellent. Our host left the ingredients for a very good breakfast. So we enjoyed bbq bacon & eggs.

The sun was out so we cruised along the beaches. I love the big boulders covered with lichen.

We took the road towards Launceston. The countryside is a picture. Green and lush with model cows and sheep with their babies jumping around them.

We crossed the Batman Bridge and followed the road toward Grindelwald. We wanted to stop at Turner Still-house. The owner Justin Turner is from Lodi, Californian – where our daughter in law comes from.

It’s an impressive gin distillery and like many businesses have struggled during covid. Justin made us very welcome and Brett, his distiller gave us a great tasting. It may have been only 10.30 but the hot gin toddy was a perfect substitute for coffee.

The still is from Portland in the US.

We enjoyed our visit very much.

We headed into Grindelwald which has a resort modelled on a Swiss village. A little strange really.

There was hardly a person around.

Back into the car toward Penguin.

We arrived to a pretty town festooned in blue. Their local footy team has made the Tasmania finals. Go Penguin.

Naturally there are little Penguins all over town. It’s a lovely seaside place with mosaics, great public seating and a beach that would be great if it weren’t 12 degrees.

Unfortunately the Penguin market is only on Sundays now.

The weather was deteriorating, so back into the car for the final leg of our journey to Stanley.

Out for a seafood dinner. I had Abalone for the first time. It was cooked in lemon & butter. Not bad at all! I also had some scallops. Steve had crayfish. Hard work but worth it.

Our accommodation is a little house right by the sea. Cosy but not as good as our last stop. As long as it’s warm.

Tomorrow we explore Stanley and go to Marrawah & The Edge of the World!

Bicheno to Bridport

My day started with a wonderful walk on the beach. The sun was shining and it was peaceful. I headed down the steps straight onto the beach.

The surf club is just a few doors along from Ginetta’s house. It’s simple and practical and this morning had buckets of gear in front of it.

Local swimmers had already made their way into the very cool water. I had heard Shane Gould lived here and swam every day.

There in the water I spotted her ( well it looked like her and sounded liked her) she waved and encouraged me to join them for a swim.

If the water temperature was above 22 I would have joined them but 17 is way too cold for me. So I waved and continued walking.

I clambered over rocks and enjoyed the view.

I headed for the headland following the swimmers and hoping to see a whale before walking back through the small town.

Ginetta’s house on the left behind the sandy beach.

Back for breakfast at the outdoor breakfast bar. This is a magic spot.

Morning tea at St Helen’s another pretty seaside town.

Morning tea at St Helen’s

A stop at the Shop in the Bush for a browse of the very well presented collection of jewellery, books, bric a bac. In fact it has everything.

Onto The Pub in the Paddock. A bit of an institution it a character pub set in lovely green pastures.

It features pigs! A bit like the Pondering Frog had frogs. Here there are pigs!

After a cosy lunch in front of the fire we headed to Pyengana dairy. They produce milk and lovely cheeses.

We bought a cheese plate to go with the Aperol Spetiz we are planning tonight.

The Blue Lake was our next stop.

The colour is a result of the minerals from mining days. It’s beautiful.

We detoured into Musselroe Bay along a dirt road through a National park. It’s a quiet fishing community where every house seems to have a boat outside it.

Kangaroos abound.

Last stop as the sunshine came out was Bridport. Another fishing community, it’s a lovely holiday spot. Well maintained parks and playgrounds. Golf courses nearby.

Our accommodation is a little cottage just off the Main Street. A great little place.

Bicheno – a jewel Tasmania

We packed up and headed towards Ginetta & Stephen’s holiday house at Bicheno.

It’s on the east coast of Tasmania and a popular summer holiday place.

It takes about 2.5 hrs to drive there normally! But took us more like 6. We had numerous stops as our friends know the area very well and stopped at local landmarks.

The day was sunny but typical for Tasmania it decided to have another season and turned cloudy. and cool.

We drove to Sorell for coffee then on through green farm land for another stop at Buckland. The Anglican Church, St John the Baptist had a pair of carved wooden statues out the front.

There are so many waterways.

Next stop the Lisdillion salt works. Established in the 1830’s they were producing salt only until the 1840’s and the stone work in the photo are the remains of the salt stores.

We drove onto Swansea and passed the Spikey Bridge which was built by the convicts for a purpose not entirely clear. Perhaps to stop people jumping off!

Then time for lunch. The Freycinet Marine Farm was the perfect spot. We had plump sweet oysters and the most delicious seafood chowder I have ever had! Along with a Rose we sat in the garden covered with rugs to keep out the chill.

We put off visiting Coles Bay and headed onto Bicheno as time was getting on!

Not without another stop at the Pondering Frog. Ginetta & Stephen promised it was the most gorgeous berry ice cream ever. Served by Lester and wife Camille we enjoyed our ice cream as we heard Lesters story of his move from Qld to Tasmania. I think he has made his fortune in selling ice cream and giving advice. One of life’s great characters.

We finally arrived at Bicheno. Ginetta & Stephen’s house is the perfect beach shack. By 5pm it was very cool so we lit the fire poured the Aperol and explored the house and the view.

This is the view looking back towards the beach house. It’s on the Sandy beach on the left. A two minute walk from the town. Perfect!

Day Tripping to Huon Valley

Our friends have made us very comfortable, so we all slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. A beautiful sunny day greeted us.

After coffee, Steve & I headed off in the Land Cruiser to the Huon Valley, south of Hobart.

It’s a pretty drive along the coast.

We drove into Kingston and picked out the houses we’d like to live in. Some lovely timber homes with beautiful views across to Bruny Island.

The local churches are timber and very inviting.

First stop, Willie Smiths Apple Shed. It’s a bit of an institution and now a tourist attraction. It’s quiet on a Tuesday morning, so perfect for a coffee- for me, A hot spiced cider and slice of apple cake for Steve.

Inside there are many tables, a great menu of good & ciders and an apple museum.

Outside there were inviting fire pits, lots of seating and an area for weekend entertainment.

We continued on to Franklin. Quite a boaty paradise.

We stopped at the Wooden Boat Centre.

Steve had heard about this place and was keen to talk to them. You can apply to build your own small boat. A dingy made of beautiful Huon pine. They teach you to build it. It takes 5-6 weeks to do the course and at the end you have a beautiful boat – for Oliver & Leo and any future grandchildren.

We spent quite some time talking to Richard about the course. By the end Steve was ready to sign up! Who knows we might be spending 5-6 weeks here next year. Ginetta said her husband could help build it and we would do some art craft course in Hobart. Sounds good to me!

Franklin is a gorgeous place so try and visit if you get to Tasmania.

Next stop was the bakery at Ranelagh. A small place but a very good bakery. Steve had a steak pie and I enjoyed a bowl of chicken soup with sourdough bread.

The bakery had these beautiful flowers in their window.

Another beautiful timber church

Next stop Ninapatina. A homewares shop. It’s beautiful.

Many locally made crafts

I bought our friend Jess a beautiful basket for her home in Huonville.

Jess and Jono are a young couple we’ve known for quite awhile. They have Olive who was born just near Oliver’s birthdate. In fact they were christened together.

She has now had Charlie and they have moved back to Tasmania where they first met.

They have a modern minimalist home with a gorgeous view. Just lovely.

This is Olive’s little house in the garden. Cubby House builder Steve rated it 9.5/10! (Lost points for no lighting!)

After our afternoon visit we drove back through Cygnet, an artsy, crafty place that was featured on the ABC show Back Roads.

Then through Kettering, Margate and back to Sandy Bay

By now it was cloudy but that didn’t spoil the views.

A lovely fish dinner awaited us and we enjoyed some local wines as we planned our trip to Bicheno tomorrow.

Cool Tasmania – with a Very Warm Welcome

Our plane was on time and as we walked down the stairs onto the tarmac we were reminded that Tasmania is much further south than Queensland. So much cooler.

The walk into the terminal seemed rather long for such a small airport. The security guards were ready for us with questions about covid. Have we been in high alert sites? No. Do we have any symptoms? No. Were we carrying any fruit or vegetables? 😅No. They are just as aware of passing germs to their fruit as much as covid to their people.

We were cleared and stepped outside to a warm welcome from Ginetta & Stephen. We haven’t seen them since before their 2020 year spent in France & Italy. We were meant to catch up in Edinburgh last year but no such luck.

We had a little tour of the docks and things are looking beautiful down by the water. Through Battery Point and along the waterfront to Sandy Bay.

Their house is beautiful. Newly renovated since I was last here. After the downstairs flooded they had to replace floors and carpets and have rearranged rooms. It’s lovely. Ginetta is a collector and has lovely pieces from her travels. They also have a library! With a bar and a sunny corner. We might not want to leave here.

After a delicious Italian style lunch the boys went into Hobart to visit the Mawson Hut and the Lark Whiskey Distillery. Ginetta & I had coffee with a friend from ADFAS. The arts society we are members of.

When the two Stephens arrived home it was Aperol time.

Sitting with a beautiful view we are very happy to be in Hobart

Off Overseas! Tasmania here we come.

Amid the covid lockdowns in several states of Australia , we in Queensland are fairly safe so we are permitted to enter Tasmania. At the moment!

We are heading to the island state of Tasmania to visit friends Ginetta & Stephen. They moved there about 5 years ago and love it.

After spending last year in France & Italy dodging covid they are back in covid safe little Tasmania.

We plan to fly into Hobart, spend a day or so there before heading to Bicheno and then progressing in an anti clockwise direction around the island.

We were meant to be driving our MG all the way down. Through NSW, Victoria onto the car ferry and arrive in Devonport. But those states are closed so w we are flying.

Tasmania is beautiful. It’s cold, clean and has great food and wine. So follow on for some armchair travel.

Last night at Dulacca

For the first time this trip we had a cooked breakfast! We’ve been having fruit or porridge in Steve’s case.

Today we went to a big bakery that offered a Country breakfast. Great value with 2 poached eggs, tomato and a heap of bacon. it stopped me but Steve was in breakfast heaven.

Friends had told me to explore Ace Drapery in the main street of Roma. An Aladdin cave we were told.

My word it is. Rows of everything. Like a department store but just shelves littered with things.

Outside Ace Drapery store
Inside one of the

Needing a little tranquility after the chaos of Ace’s we followed the honour avenue of bottle trees. A bottle tree was planted for each man lost in the war. It finished at the biggest bottle tree.

It’s quite a sight. It takes six people holding hands to ring it’s girth.

The tree is situated near the park called Shady’s Lagoon. It’s a pretty area. Very peaceful. It’s also the area where a friend would bring her beautiful mother Valerie to enjoy a coffee and chat. Valerie enjoyed this area till she passed away just before her 100th birthday.

This photo is for Valerie.

Farewelling Roma we headed east towards Dulacca then south to Craigslea, a cattle property belonging to friends.

Steve and Duncan on the quad bike rounding up some cattle

That night the sky was magnificent.

Our country adventure was over. We had a great time and encourage everyone to take time to visit these wonderful country areas.