Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5 - The End Of 4 Months in Tasmania


Not real sure where this was taken but it was currently being lived in.  Stuart wanted to tell Kylie (our book keeper) that we had just bought a really good investment property in Tasmania but lucky for her we had no internet for a few days and by then the joke was a bit stale.

We got to Strahan after a trip through Queenstown where the road winds up through the the mountains where only 1 meter away from the wheels is a 100 ft drop.  As we went for a drive round the town including down to the football field which was all gravel Stuart asked me if I wanted to stay there for the night.  I said just get me out of there.  After that drive I was a nervous wreck.

We had booked our cruise on the Franklin River out to Hells Gates and a stopover at Sarah Island. 
The boat we went to Hells Gate in and had a stop over at Sarah Island
                       The light house at Macquarie Heads at the inlet to Macquarie Harbour on the West       Coast
We had driven along the beach to get to the other side of Macquarie Head to Strahan to try to get a feel of what the convicts could see coming in through the head
The closer to the opening of the head we got the more Salmon and Trout farms we found
These boats went round each trap and fed them a watery brine of fish food every day
On Sarah Island we were met by actors who re-enacted the convicts life for us.  seen here standing in front of the remains of the huge ovens
Ruins like this stood all over the island.  Unfortunately in the early 1900's authorities came and smashed a lot of the ruins because of the stigma Australians felt about their convict past.
 The cruise was wonderful but the walk around Sarah Island which was a Convict Penal Settlement between 1822 and 1833.  There were  about 1300 prisoners who were all second offenders during the period.  Most prisoners came from the convict settlement on the other side of Southern Tasmania at Port Arthur and to get to Sarah Island they had to pass through a narrow stretch of ocean and each convict knew that what awaited them at Sarah Island would be worse than Hell consequently they called this small gap Hells Gates.
These ruins are just that, ruins but with actors as guides it really brings it alive.

While in the area we took a drive to the Tahune Forrest.  There they have a walk along the tree tops  out to a balanced platform where you can look hundreds of feet down onto the river.
Stuart out on the last panel of the airwalk hundreds of meters above the ground

The view from the side of where Stuart was standing right out on the tip
Lake Gairdner was another pleasant  stay where we met some great people.  It was interesting getting the last 5 klms into the lake which was single lane, as gold had been discovered on property a few kilometres further from the lake and the road was windey and up and down (surprise).  There were a number of passing bays and we had to announce that we were travelling between bays 1 and 2 etc as there were trucks and trailers all day every day carting gold bearing rock out of the mine all the way to Beaconsfield about 140 klms away so each only did about 2 runs a day but they went all day.  It is apparently estimated they will get about 20 million in gold but will cost about 10 to extract it.
Stuart came back with a piece of firewood which really made me laugh as it was so big he could hardly carry it but after he got to it with the chainsaw and axe all was good.
Heading north we went in to Cradle Mountain and walked to the edge of Dove Lake which we visited last time we were in Tasmania about 10 years ago.  Back then there was about 6-12 inches of snow everywhere.  We also did a couple of walks there but  I was more keen to read about the history of the lakes and how they were formed from volcanos.

Cradle Mountain - shame it was a miserable day

Dove Lake
We had about 4 days in Sheffield where they were having a steam festival,  there were about 35 different steam powered vehicles from tractors to bailing machines to saws to everything powered by steam before fuel engines became the norm.  Peter and Maree Cottrell were there with us so we had another great time with this great couple.
At the Steam Festival there was a group who re-enact the Light Horse Brigade from the First World War
They showed how the soldiers trained at the use of swords and spears.

Two of the many steam propelled vehicles and farm implements on display
As our time in Tasmania was quickly coming to an end I was keen to cook some meals over the fire before we got back to Qld where the weather would be too hot for fires.
Tuna Patties Camp style which were amazing

As was the Shepherds Pie and Vegies a few nights later cooked in the Baby Q
After a few nights at Wynyard we came into Bernie where we parked right on the beach almost in town.  There was a display at the Bernie Art Gallery of Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions and really, the man was born about 600 years before his time.  Nearly all of his inventions were the prototype for modern inventions like the helicopter, machine gun, bicycle as well as the humble pulley.  Unfortunately, his Mona Lisa is not travelling with the display.
A hand driven cart
Made from his drawings all those hundreds of years ago.  Complete with a wooden chain
We set a record the other day for the shortest distance travelled from one overnight stop to the other.  We stayed in Somerset for a couple of days and then moved to our next spot Cooee Point in Bernie a distance of about 14 klms. Where we stayed for a couple of nights.
Bernie used to have a very large paper mill until it closed some years ago but they still have a paper making place where tourists can get a hands on feel of how it was done.
Also round the tourist information centre were paper mache figures which looked great.

Would have loved to get the detail in this elderly couple but the window behind prevented me from getting a good photo

For my craft friends, this quilt was in the foyer of the Bernie Tourist Information Centre and looked absolutely beautiful
The detail was incredible.
Looking towards Bernie from our camp spot at Cooee Point
A large freight ship just pulling away from Bernie
Also along the north coast is the little town of Penguin where all the rubbish bins in the main street looked like a penguin on the outside.  This one however wasn't a rubbish bin.
As we meandered our way towards Devonport where we are due to catch the Spirit of Tasmania back to the big island it was with a touch of sadness and regret that we still didn't see all of Tasmania dispite 4 months here.

To make up for this in a small way we travelled up the foodies way and visited a raspberry farm , a chocolate factory, a cheese factory and a strawberry farm.

The cheese factory was a return visit to get a tub of herb and olive marinated feta from Ashgrove Cheeses.  If ever you get a chance to try this you will agree it is the best.

We got to the small town of Westbury about 35 klms east of Launceston and spotted a familiar figure.  It was Claude The Mower Man.  Claude walks round Australia pushing a Victa Lawn Mower raising money and awareness for sexually abused children.  Stuart and I first encountered him in Charters Towers about 2 years ago where he was doing the same thing.  He said he was headed to the Biloela, Bundaberg area soon so look out for him and support his cause.
Claude the Mower Man

Tasmania is now a very happy memory and we are ready to face the next chapter of our life in another pocket of Australia.  However we face it with part of our hearts broken from the loss of our beautiful grandson Connor James Daly who passed away a couple of weeks ago.


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