Tasmania 2011 Part 7 NE - The Final Tas Blog

Saturday, Oct 08, 2011 at 01:11

Navigator 1 (NSW)

It was Saturday 19th February and only 11 days before we were to leave Tasmania. We left the Friendly Beaches and headed 24km north to Bicheno then a further 44km to St Marys up the windy Elephant Pass. The Football oval proved to be a very good overnight stop with a brand new toilet and shower block which we shared with just one other camper.

Carl & Annie’s country block was just a mere 18km away at Upper Scamander and we made it in good time. Absolutely delightful! They had a little timber A-House built alongside a pristine stream. The weather, the day and the evening were all perfect!
The following day we moved onto St Helens where we caught up Exploroz member Evren WA, (Evan & Ren). Evan was back in WA for work but Ren and her young son, Lee, made us most welcome for the night. We left the next morning for the famous Bay of Fires.

The locals like Dora Point at Binnalong Bay but we continued further up the coast exploring all the campsites - Jeanneret Beach, Swimcart Beach, Cosy Corner South and North then Sloop Reef – all delightful! Swimcart proved to be the best option for parking the truck. Caravans and motor homes lined the beach and we were lucky to score a top spot. This had to be one of the best beach areas in Tasmania and a perfect end to our 3 month stay. Gentle waves rolled onto the white sand, fishermen pulled in their catch and campers strolled the length of the beach.

We spent two days on the beachfront before moving north to Policeman’s Point on Anson’s Bay. Camping on grey dirt was a far cry from our last two days in heaven. We made the most of it and took a long walk along the beach – in the wind and drizzle.
With now only 6 days left we ventured up into the far NE corner, skipping Eddystone Lighthouse as we had been there on our previous visit to Tasmania. The road in was corrugated and lumpy. We camped on the grassy area overlooking Ringarooma Bay about 50m back from the rocky foreshore. We were alone once again.

Early in the morning we drove to Cape Portland but there was no access. We continued on past the Portland Wind Farm and on to Little Musselroe Bay to check out the camping areas. All were tucked in behind the small dunes so we were not tempted to stay. We were satisfied with walking to view the absolutely glorious beaches.
We continued on to Gladstone and out to Pioneer Lake – a flooded open cut tin mine which was surrounded by white sand. The weekend water skiers only stayed till 2.00pm and then we had the place to ourselves. Quite a few of these lakes existed in the area. From Branxholm to Petal Point was all a tin mining area. It is now all past history.

Heading west we stopped off at Weldborough Pass Rainforest Walk – The home of the mighty Myrtle Forest where we visited Grandma Myrtle, unfortunately Grandpa Myrtle fell over quite a few years ago. These trees are huge and very old. Their leaves are very small and dainty. After the peace and tranquillity of the forest we revisited a 2003 favourite – Pyengenna Cheese Factory. Eight years on this little business had upgraded to become a real tourist trap. We still bought some cheese, coffee and cake and sat out on the back balcony and watched the quite small herd of cows being milked. We continued on to camp at an old favourite – Myrtle Park. Back in 2003 camping fees were $3 per site/per night. The only facilities then were drop toilets – now, with a new ablutions block -flush toilets and hot showers, the camping fees were ........ $3 per site/per night. Now, you can’t beat that!

Only one more night in Tasmania .... We made our way back to Gravelly Beach, just north of Launceston, where we spent the evening with Graeme and Anna – quite fitting as it was with them we spent the first night in Tasmania at Leven Canyon. After dinner Graeme treated us to his Honkey Tonk music – he is quite a fan!
The last day
We met up with Brian and Sussie (Ted’s Beach, SW Wilderness Area camping companions) at Anvers Chocolate factory where we feasted on fudge and sipped coffee. From here we all went to lunch at the Chinese Gardens in Devonport – a perfect ending to our holiday. At 3.00pm we parted company and parked at the mouth of the Mersey until it was time to board the Spirit of Tasmania at 6.30pm.
When loaded we found ourselves right at the front of the boat – we would be 2nd off when we arrived in Melbourne. We had a great night’s sleep in our cabin and in the morning our level was called 1st. The ramp from the boat was lowered but the ramp on the wharf remained high in the air. We heard cars on the lower deck disembarking – it was quite some time before we were informed that the ramp on the wharf for our level was not functioning. When the lower level was cleared, a whole row of cars, caravans, motor homes etc on our level had to reverse one by one and descend the internal ramp to the lower level before being able to disembark. After one row of vehicles had gone there was room for vehicles, one by one, to turn around and move to the back of the ship and down the ramp and then off the ship via the lower level. There were a lot of unhappy people but really there was no point in getting upset.

So ended a wonderful 3 month holiday in Tasmania. Perhaps it was now time to take Hugo 1, the green truck, home to introduce him to the family.

Total distance travelled: 5,580km
The outback calls
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