Tasmania: East Coast - Day 21

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 01:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Departed camp and drove around Forester Kangaroo Drive to plot it, then up to Musselroe Bay etc, nice clean beach and calmer inlet for boat launching etc but camps nowhere near as nice as at Stumpys as they don't have the tall trees or shade.

We then drove to Gladstone and onto Bridport where Member John (Vic) caught up with us. He had also been in Tasmania for a few weeks but hadn't seen us till now as he had been mainly camping in caravan parks and base camping and making day trips.

Part way through the day we came to a group consensus to see if we could find accommodation in a backpackers or similar for tonight in Devonport to ensure we could make the ferry checkin at 7.30am. With our track record this trip we have found it difficult to lift camp any earlier than 10am so we were all nervous that it couldn't be done, well not without significant sacrifice to our sleep.

However, after some phone calls it became evident that everything was booked out and so we agreed a better use of money and time, would be to switch our ferry sailing to tonight, rather than tomorrow morning. I remember when I booked the ferry that they mentioned that changing dates was no trouble so I gave them a call and had it all sorted in a few minutes. This just meant we had to avoid "Exploring" and make a direct path to Devonport.

In many ways we were all glad that we had come to the end of our Tasmania trip as it has been quite a challenge with the kids and the weather. But it had been a fantastic adventure. We all agree that we could easily have stayed another 2 weeks to cover the same itinerary and this would have given us more opportunities to stop for a few days at the good sites we'd found - and there were lots of them as you've just read. Tasmania is a great place to visit - we'd just like to have seen better weather!

In hindsight, it was not the ideal place to take the kids camping. It would have been more comfortable in a caravan/camper but then many of the wonderful places we visited could not have been accessed. Because we like the flexibility of travelling light and being able to camp wherever we end up, we pay the price of being caught out occasionally in the comfort factor. Consistent wet and cold weather is something we don't typically encounter as we usually opt for desert trips so we have focussed our setup for a different climate and one that is predictably dry and warm.

We have also learned some things from this trip - particularly how we cope as a family on such a long haul adventure. With one child it didn't make much of a difference, but with two, we have found that there is no time left to do anything/go fishing, relax, read a book so more time is needed in each area we visit. So, planning single-destination trips to places where we'll setup camp and stay for 4 days is what we'll plan for the future. It would have taken us a year to get to Tasmania if we'd done it that way, so this obviously means we'll only be travelling locally for a while. Luckily, we've seen more of this huge country than most but very little of what lies close to home.

Sounds like the end doesn't it... but our trip is far from over. We are now continuing onto Melbourne on the ferry where we will head into the Great Alpine National Park for some serious High Country 4WDing. We expect to spend about 5 days there and then we have allowed a week to get home to Perth, which we plan to do via the Murray River through to SA, picking up the Eyre Highway but then taking the Cocklebiddy to Rawlinna Track up onto the final stretch of Trans Australian Railway line into Kalgoorlie.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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