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
aisles

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.

Roma: Queensland not Italy

The road to Roma was great. The landscape is different to the landscape of the past few days.

A coffee break at Mitchell for the best bakery yet kept is going

Today is sales day in Roma. We heard this was a must. And today was to be a huge day of sales.

What an experience.

The cattle are all penned in groups. The auctioneer moves down one side shouting out prices at a cracking pace. The stock agents are on the other side bidding.

Auctioneers.
Agents for the owners bid.
Pen after pen.

The cattle are weighed and priced.

Check out the prices. It is amazing how quickly it all happens.

The interactive centre on site explains everything that happens. Wonderful displays.

I needed to get my cowgirl look happening.

I needed a check shirt,❌ warm padded vest, ❌ jeans ✔️pearl earrings ✔️ sturdy slightly muddy boots ❌ ( mine were too clean ) cattle hat ❌. Mine was a sheep style narrow brim. 😬 cattle hats are wide brim.

Definitely would be identified as a non local. A blow in!

Cattle hat. Wide brim.

Feeling slightly dusty we stopped at the wonderful sculpture exhibition by the side of the road. Local sculptors made some great work. It was up for sale. Between $2000 and &12000.

Loved this wooden one titled Family Tree

Visiting the Roma bush gardens helped us identify local trees.

Though slightly amused when we had to move off the walking track for a police car

Back in the car. Y 5pm for a visit to the Big Rig. Oil & gas show.

The story of gas & oil rigs in Roma
The big rig.

Interesting show interesting story but slightly underwhelming.

Tomorrow we explore the Main Street area of Roma before heading to stay on our friends cattle property at Drillham.

Charleville: Lots to See

Our morning started out very chilly! It was 0% here last night.

First stop was the bakery recommended by Sue, the mental health nurse we met in Thargomindah. She was right. It was great. the Sun was out and we sat and enjoyed both it and the coffee.

Across the road – nothing is far here , we went to the Historic House Museum.

Dating back to 1887 the building was purpose built as Charleville’s first national bank, before it went onto become a private boarding house until the 1970’s when it was purchased by the Charleville and District Historical Society. It then became the museum it is today. Filled to the brim with treasures of yesteryear, some dating back as far as the 1800’s.

I particularly like some of the old magazines. I once wrote a blog post on how to pack for a holiday. This magazine gave timeless suggestions on packing including some hints about gloves. Something I had overlooked!!

Visiting country towns I like to support the arts and crafts done by locals.

When I had young children I did various arts & craft and used to sell at markets. I did screen printed t shirts, mosaics, painted pots, folk art painted timber boxes , watercolour paintings – just to name a few. so I like to buy local.

In the store I bought a wooden truck for my little boys, a painted lady beetle for the garden and a metal chook to guard the cubby house.

Lovely back garden of the buy local shop.

Next stop was out of town. We had booked on the secret WW2 tour. How many people knew there is such a site here in Charleville.

We discovered why over 3500 United States Army Airforce personnel were stationed in Charleville during WWII. Julie our guide led, in convoy, a tour to discover; aviation history, romance stories, living quarters and the extreme measures taken to keep one of the most sought after secrets of WWII, safe.

That secret, still not written about in the brochure was the Norden Bombsite. It is a piece of top secret machinery used during the war to pinpoint bomb sites during the day.

It’s housed in this bomb proof shelter.

And when I show and tell you this you have to keep it secret! Shhhh

The actual Norden bomb site.

From there we stopped at other areas.

A more fun one especially for the local girls.
Particularly necessary facilities

During the tour we got in and out of our 4wheel drives – again we were so pleased we had left our white BMW at home!

The other tourists were mostly caravaners. A man crazy about things military, from Ballarat. A singlet wearing man and his wife with their two dogs , a younger man in the area filming the Channel 7 show Opal Hunters. such a diverse group.

Next stop was the Royal Flying Doctors. Such an interesting museum. They do so much to support the people who live in these remote areas. Please donate if you get the chance.

Heading back to town we stopped at a park which had the most unusual sculptures. They were actually an invention. What do you think they are?

Did you guess? Read the text on the next picture.

What an idea. One that didn’t work.

Back to the motel to read the papers before heading to the Historic Hotel Corones

Built in 1924 it is quite a landmark.
Wonderful timber staircase

Dinner called so we inquired. Bob the owner suggested Malaysian. Not what we expected. They had the usual pub fare. Burgers. Pizzas etc. but he said they were trialing Malaysian curries. We decided to live dangerously.

Not bad at all.

However the lovely people we met on the way in didn’t feel so adventurous and opted for pizza.

We met these two couples from properties in Moree. What lovely fun people.

We’ve exchanged contact details and I’m sure we’ll catch up. They have kids in Brisbane so often come up. Hope so. They were great fun.

We couldn’t spend too long chatting as we were booked at the Cosmos Centre. Back out of town near the Secret WW2site.

After these indoor photos we went out doors and for an hour and used powerful telescopes and learned about and viewed several stars, a nebula, and finally the best view of the moon I’ve ever seen. Quite amazing.

Our guides for this were 17 year astronomy nuts. They were so professional. In the dark it was impossible to see what they looked like but they sounded so knowledgeable. we’ll done to them

By now pretty close to freezing we wanted to get back to the hotel. Tomorrow Roma.

On the road. Thargomindah to Charleville

Why take the short route when you can take the long way and explore this big country of ours.

First stop Noccundra for the second oldest pub in Qld. The Noccundra Hotel is smaller than the Nindagully Pub and much more remote.

A coffee for me. Yes, even out this far you can get a good coffee. AND believe it or not a beer for Steve. At 10.30 in the morning simply because it is the second oldest pub!

There were some campers and fishers enjoying the waterhole. Again it’s very muddy. No blue water here despite the beautiful blue sky.

The landscape here is flat and red

I chatted to the lady at the bar. One of a population of 3! She’s been in Noccundra for 9 years. How on earth I wonder. You’d have to have a hobby that didn’t involve drinking. I think I’d write. Perhaps paint. What would you do?

Actually, it would be like living in lockdown. All the time! With a few visitors a day allowed in.

Next stop Eromanga. Slightly bigger population. Also home to a beautiful metal dinosaur named Knot-o-saurus. It was gifted to this town by former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman after it was centrepiece for the G20.

Eromanga is also famous for being the town in Australia furthest from the sea. Who would have thought ! So I got my map out and was looking at distances.

Down the road – about another 2.5hrs is Quilpie. Slightly bigger with people having a bit of a bowls carnival. So we saw some people. Sunday in small towns you don’t see a lot of people around. Everything is closed.

Arrived in Charleville at around 5pm and it was getting very cool. We chose the Rocks Motel as they have a restaurant and we thought that would be a good option.

When we checked in the young girl, Phoneix at reception told us her family had only taken ownership of the motel a week ago. They found the restaurant staff has been stealing. Cash, meat and alcohol. So they had to let them go. Restaurant closed! Now they need a chef and staff. So hard in small towns

So it was off to the RSL for dinner. All tables seemed to have travellers and workers in high vis vests.

We waved to the motel owners as we left. Even they needed a feed!

It was a quiet and cool walk home.