Tasmania: Northern Central - Day 3

Tuesday, Dec 28, 2004 at 11:06

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

We didn't have a lot of luck keeping any wood dry enough to use for the morning so we settled for cereal for breakfast and accepted a hot plunger coffee prepared on the gas cooker by Colin and Sandy. We don't carry our 2 burner gas cooker any longer, and instead use a single burner that can be easily attached to the top of our gas bottle, which we rarely use as we favour a campfire. For times when we can't use a fire we are trialling a Cobb Cooker, but if just boiling water of course we wouldn't use it. In fact, David leaves the gas bottle tied to the roof rack and boils anything up there - he is tall enough to manage that somehow!

After breakfast, we had a good look around the delightful Lake Gardiner and watched in fascination as the hot tub revellers packed up their gear and moved off early.

The paddock we camped in lies on the low side of a small road with a wood bridge a few metres along. We found another camper on the other side of the road in the area beneath the bridge on a small creek. It's a delightful place and probably just as good (probably better) than Cradle Valley. The Jacka's and Martins abhor crowds and our experience yesterday with the place put us off altogether.

We plan to take things as they come on this trip, however I (Michelle) had prepared a short itinerary to ensure we could circumnavigate the entire island and see the major sites and drives we had ear-marked with enough time to get back on board the Ferry on 16th January. To most people who come to Tasmania, there is a feeling of it being such a small island, but as we had been told (and later discovered first-hand) even the 3 weeks we allowed is not enough to be able to experience all the wonderful 4WD areas around the island.

After leaving Lake Gardiner, we drove along the C138 (Tasmania has a good naming system for roads) and took the turnoff to Mole Creek taking a shortcut via Liena to King Solomon Cave (Gads Hills Rd) near Mersey Valley. We seemed to have timed it perfectly for the next cave tour starting in a couple of minutes (next one in 2 hrs) but the signs indicated we needed to have pre-arranged our tickets in Mole Creek. Another walker however, told me this wasn't the case and if we went to the head of the walk a few hundred metres along we could pay by credit card if they had any vacancies. With kids, cameras, jackets etc to get organised there was a lot of fuss going on at the cars, so I grabbed Colin's hand held UHF and ran down to the cave entrance and radioed back to confirm the status and in doing so we managed to all make it in time. (Note - no flashes or torches allowed in the cave).

After a lunch in the carpark we drove towards the Great Western Tiers area, specifically to the Devils Gullet, which involved a 500m walk in the freezing cold wind with a bit of rain splashed in for added enjoyment to a lookout perched high above a cliff face with extensive views of the area.

Whilst Colin and Sandy enjoyed this walk at a leisurely pace taking many photos and enjoying the wonderful wildflowers along the side of the track David and I took turns to do the walk so one of us could stay in the car with the kids (asleep). I tried to run most of the way, although I was forced to walk in sections as it is a very steep track. Unfortunately, the sky wasn't clear enough to get a wonderful photo either.

Sandy is an obsessed photographer. Nothing living or inane passes without scrutiny from behind her lens, so we have nick-named her "One Eye". Between the delays of waiting for everything in her path to be photographed, my baby needing a nappy change or feed; and David wanting to explore every 'short cut" and faint line seen on the NatMap, we don't make a lot of progress in a day!

We ended up at a fantastic riverside bush camp alongside the Parangana Dam not far from the Devils Gullet. The camp is hidden just off the C171 and we found huge stockpiles of wood. It was a fabulous quiet place, much warmer than last night, and a great view.

For dinner we prepared pepper steaks, mashed pumpkin, potato, tomatoes, Dove chocolate and plunged coffee. Sandy and Colin do not have to create meals that a 4 year old will eat, so they get to enjoy slightly more exotic, spicy dinners and I note my mother has quite a fascination for anything Asian that can be cooked quickly.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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