Tasmania 2016 Western Half

Halfway through our Tasmania holiday. 6 weeks down and 6 to go

Camped at Turners Beach in Caravan Park run by Lions Service Club

Drove to Burnie via Penguin along some of the shoreline but access is difficult as a rail line and wild scrub stops frequent access. No beaches either, just rocks

On the way home we took to the country roads again and managed to find some steep pinches again. Getting down to Gunns Plains, pictured below was something else. Pleased we did not bring the van this way

Gunn's Plains

Gunns Plains

Dairy cows

Dairy cows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jude visited the Michelangelo Exhibition at the Burnie Regional Art Gallery. We had lunch with friends at Workers Gallery which is a magnificent building right on the foreshore of Burnie. It facilitates artists in residence and also has a shop and restaurant.

On the way back to Turners Beach we drove into the hinterland via Gunns Plains and a very steep downhill

The next day we drove out to Leven Gorge. It is a 20 minute walk to the apex of the gorge so we gave that a miss. It was cold outside. We drove further down road and then along a narrow mountain  track skirting the Leven River but eventually turned around. We saw a Tasmanian Devil …it disappeared into the undergrowth after running across the road

Autumn is upon us and its getting colder

Leven Gorge

Leven Gorge

Our next adventure took us to Yolla, about 15km south of Burnie, where we went looking for long lost relatives in the cemetery. We found Judith’s Great Aunt Catherine who was buried there in 1931 at the age of 45. We then went looking for her husbands grave  in the Old Cemetery in Wynyard but could not find his grave. Jude managed to take in a market and we went exploring up the Table Cape which is the headland which juts out into the sea north of Wynyard. We made camp at beautiful Boat Harbour for the night quite close to the sea with tow or three other free campers. Did I say it was cold?

I woke  in the early hours to start worrying about getting back up the steep hill at Boat Habour but the Isuzu climbed it in second gear without much strain. We visited a number of beaches from there to the west but settled for Stanley Beach and found a site in the caravan park close-by. The day was hot and cold. We read and Jude cooked with the Baby Q. I had to play numerous ball games with the dog.

Stanley Beach

Stanley Beach

Tuesday

Camped at Stanley…..did Tourist Drive in morning and found other free campsites. Drove to Smithton and did some shopping. Then we drove towards Woolnorth and stopped at the end of the bitumen and turned around. Drove to Marrawah  after reading all about Woolnorth and the Van Diemen’s  Land Company.

Van Diemen's Land Co

Van Diemen’s Land Co

The wind was blowing a gale at Green’s Beach but 100 metres back from the beach there was some shelter and so we parked up…… And decided to stay for the rest of the day.  Read some history of Aboriginal Tasmania and the Mt Cameron West petroglyphs. Going to look for them but will unhitch van.

The road to Marrawah

The road to Marrawah

Splendid Wren

Splendid Wren

 

Wednesday

Plurry cold. Decided to give petroglyphs a miss in the morning. Maybe next time. My brain wants to do it but my body is not up to it. The Splendid Wrens came for a visit and one hopped up on the step. We drove to Arthur River and the Edge of the world. And it was bloody freezing. Jude went on to take photos

Edge of the World

Edge of the World

Arthur River Mouth

Arthur River Mouth

 

 

 

 

T

Then on to The Tarkine and saw old growth forests, new growth forests and burnt forests. One needs to go on specialist tours to see the real Tarkine, I think. It is a special place. Tarkine is pronounced ‘Tar-keen-knee’ by the local Aboriginal clan who hunted in the forests before the invasion of the island by the British in 1803

Julius River Tarkine

Julius River Tarkine

An interesting idea  seems to work to scare Tasmanian Devils away from the road thus saving them from becoming roadkill

Devils grid

Devils grid

We drove back to Smithton to refuel and camped at West Esplanade under the spotlights. Cold with showers of rain. The following morning we filled up with water at a designated tap before setting off again

It was a beautiful clear morning and with great river reflections on the Duck Estuary.

We drove back out past the Tarkine this time, and then skirted it by driving the Pieman and Long Plain roads. Some very steep sections were encountered and it seemed that there were 5 bends in every kilometre for the 200 we drove this day

Tree Ferns

Tree Ferns

Burnt forest

Burnt forest

 

Stopped for lunch at Corinna and watched the ferry operating.

Pieman Ferry

Pieman Ferry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we had a close encounter with a truck and a motorcyclist on the wrong side of the road. Drove on over hills and dales and bends and  camped at Waratah Council Caravan Park. It was wet. Tried camping on the grass but it was a slight rise and even 4×4 couldn’t get us up it was so slippery. So we pushed in on another site and stopped. Bitterly cold.

We were going to stay two nights but decided to push on.

More winding roads. Stopped at Tullah and bought lovely wooden bowl. Info place at Rosebery was closed but we gathered that Montezuma Falls was out of our reach. Pretty town. On to Zeehan. Looked at museum for info. Camping area didn’t excite us and we pushed on over even more hills to Strahan which is set on Macquarie Bay. A very beautiful town. It was raining…thetown reminded us of Coles Bay…sort of upmarketish.

Camped at Ocean Beach. Rough night. Howling gales shook the van. Shearwaters nest there.

Wild Southern Ocean

Wild Southern Ocean

Shearwater breeding grounds

Shearwater breeding grounds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left early for Queenstown over more hills and thick forests.

Queenstown Main Street

Queenstown Main Street

 

Did our washing there and refuelled and then came up THE CLIMB out of Queenstown. We made it in 2nd gear even though it was an extreme climb. Downhill was 1st gear. Saw beautiful water fall from overnight rains. Queenstown town buildings uniquely 1890’s era. Saw lots of older people running businesses and even old people walking the steep streets of the town.Town common very stark from all the mining. We stopped at Lake Burbury in the Thureax Hills. Lake Burbury is the biggest hydro electric dam in Tasmania 4km off the highway and put the awning out. Sun, wind, rain, cold. Put the awning in…played ball. Watched Julie and Julia movie. Sporadic rain and windgusts through the night

The climb

The climb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday….A wet misty morning. We drove on to Derwent Bridge and The Wall. The latter was awesome to say the least. We spent about two hours there.

Then we took to the road again via Miena and Interlaken, backroads to say the least, seeing Tyhe Great Lake, Lake Sorell and others to Oatlands. The rain had stopped by now but the wind did not let up. Along the way we stopped on the side of the road and as Jude got out she came face to face with a Tasmanian Devil. I saw it too before it disappeared into the scrub

What struck me most this afternoon was the waste of timber felled during a different era. White man has been very destructive on this island

Monday saw use meander on to Ross once again and marvel at the bridge built by convict labour and completed in 1836. It spans the Macquarie River

Bridge at Ross

Bridge at Ross

Then we indulged our selves in wool garments at the Tasmanian Wool Centre.

The road now took us to Campbell Town, Avoca, Fingal and back to St Marys where camped for the night at the Recreation Reserve. The sun was out for the first time in a week and we soaked it in.

The following day we made it back to Swimcart Beach on The Bay of Fires narrowly avoiding getting tangled up in Targa Tasmania. Some of the cars were awesome

Swimcart camp

Swimcart camp

 

To be continued…………..

 

 

Posted in 4x4 Travel Stories.