The Northern Coast of Tasmania

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
1
7
30
Trip End Apr 15, 2013


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Where I stayed
Pier Hotel Comfort Inn
What I did
Bric-a-Brac Shop and Bookstore
Halls Falls
George Town Harbor
Chinese Cemetery - Trail of the Tin Dragon
Weldborough Pass Rainforest Walk

Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Tuesday, March 5, 2013



I got up a bit earlier this morning and tried to get organized.  I took my shower and checked my drying sox and underwear - not yet dry.  I boiled some water for instant coffee, moved my things around, checked outside for birdlife and took a few photos of the trees.  I didn't really accomplish that much and soon it was an hour later and Doreen was up.  She was ready before I was - I carried out all my bits and pieces and we checked out of Queechy Cottages.  We then drove into town, got some gas and went into the bakery next door to the gas station.  Doreen pointed out a special cake - hmmm, cream something, which was a shortening of some longer name.  It derived from women trying to extend the life of stale spongecake so they put whipped cream between slices of the sponge cake.  It was good and sweet and I was filled about 3/4 the way through it.

After leaving St Helens, our first stop was the primo tourist attraction - the Bric-a-Brac shop and bookstore.  They advertised Tasteful T-shirts and had some interesting ones.  There were lots of old books - a bunch on Tasmania, but I found them a bit steeply priced and a lot were hard cover - too heavy.  Doreen was surprised that I only came up with 2 postcards to buy.  She had found a good buy in a hardcover book and maybe something else too.  We were keeping an eye out for the Chinese cemetery, but the next stop ended up being Halls Falls.  We followed a dirt road to the trailhead.  I was confused as to which would lead to the falls, but Doreen picked the one with the small logs across it because it looked more heavily used.  She was right.  We got to a lookout with the falls themselves 100 meters down a path.  We debated whether to go to the falls or the rock pool.  I suggested we try the rock pool - the path looked less dangerous for me in my crocs - and then re-evaluate whether to do the falls.  The trail was lovely through the trees and rather dense foliage.  The rock pool was in the midst of the stream just below a small falls.  The rivers in Tasmania are very scenic - usually dark, narrow - perfect for canoeing I think - except for all the waterfalls - or at least that is the way they look.

Coming back from the rock pond, I got behind - taking photos as usual - and lost Doreen.  She waited for me at the lookout where the paths converged but probably out-of-sight because when I got there and looked for her, I didn't see her.  Faced with a decision, I thought I should press on in case she went back to the car, otherwise I would waste time if I checked the falls trail.  I got back to the car and she wasn't there.  So I waited and a couple who had emigrated to Tasmania 20 years ago from Melbourne chatted with me and gave me some recommendations of places not to be missed, or at least worth checking out.  When Doreen emerged from the trail, I told her about the couple's recommendations and she was willing to check them out.  First we tried the Anchor Stamper trail because they had said they saw a platypus in the pond off the trail.  We drove up the road and looked for the sign for the tin mine location but only found one that was blocked off as being dangerous.  We followed it anyway only to find that the path ends when the ground falls away from it into a large depression with nothing that looked like a pond.  So we went back to the main road and drove on toward George Town.

We did find their next recommendation:  the Rainforest trail with the myrtle trees.  They had said that this was exceptional since it was rainforest in East Tasmania.  There is a lot of farmland here and not so much old forest but here were cycads and old, old myrtle trees.  I need to read the signs I took photos of to remember, but these trees are from the dinosaur age - if not these specific ones, this species.  Again, this forest walk was beautiful - even more magical than the falls trail because this one had that mystical lighting when the sun breaks through the thick forest.  There was lots of bright green moss on the dead tree trunks, fairy holes in the tree trunks and giant, giant trees with huge girths as well as being extremely tall.  The ground was soft and spongy with years of leaves, needles falling beneath the trees.  This was supposed to be a 15 minute round trip but I probably took longer with all the photos.  Undoubtedly longer.

We stopped again - for the Chinese cemetery which really wasn't so much a Chinese cemetery as a regular Anglo-Saxon one - and not that old entirely either - with some gravestones only from after 2000.  There was however a memorial to the Chinese that had been buried there when they died while working in the tin mines.  The tin mines are gone and so are the Chinese - most left to go back to China when there was no more mining work.  The ones left - who died here and were buried - were subsequently disinterred and reburied in China.  It was interesting to learn this bit of Tasmanian history.

We found ourselves in Scottsdale and hungry so we had some lunch at a bakery/sandwich shop.  I had a chicken-camembert savory pie and Doreen had a sandwich.  I have usually not adhered to my usual vegetarian (lacto-ovo-fisho) diet while traveling in order to partake of the culinary heritage of the area.  We continued on toward George Town after that.  Most of today's driving was over narrow, windy roads.  There were forested areas and farmlands.  Some of the fields today were a bright green.  I saw a few horses, some sheep, some dairy cows and some black angus bulls.  As we got closer to George Town, there were some plowed fields over rolling hills.  It is very pretty countryside and reminds me of New York and Oregon - only the kinds of trees are different.

I need to add the part about the road kill that I forgot to mention.  On the roads from St Helens to George Town, particularly the more open ones in farm land between the patches of forest, it was hard to dodge the many bodies of animals left on the road.  There were skin and bones mashed into the road, little humps with crows on them, and bigger humps of recognizable wallabies on the road plus many more bodies and pieces of bodies along the sides of the road.  It is quite sad to see them all - so many.  At Natureworld, the woman park attendant said that in previous years, you would see hardly any roadkill, but mostly because they were eaten by the Tasmanian devils.  Now with the numbers of devils dwindling, there were more bodies left on the roads.

Once arriving in George Town, we drove to the river and looked around.  We also checked Doreen's accommodation guide.  There was a Comfort Inn across the street from where we parked so we checked it and found a vacant villa so we took it.  We have two bedrooms and a kitchenette.  I keep complaining because you can see the river and harbor areas from both ends of our unit but in the front there is a little patio area that runs along the street.  In the back, you see the parking lot in front of you - no patio area - with the river in the background.  They have made no effort, it seems, to take advantage of the location and views.  Oh, well.  We took a short walk around the dock to watch people fish - a man with several of his sons maybe and a young family with 3 small children including a little girl in a pink dress with a pink fishing rod.  Doreen pointed out some oyster shells attached to rocks along the beach running behind the hotel.  Then we stopped at the drive-through bottle shop for some beer to drink while sitting on the grass watching the harbor activity.

Ready for dinner, we debated restaurant vs. eat in.  We walked around looking for a restaurant since we pretty much discarded our hotel as being too expensive.  We didn't find anything except a pizza restaurant and maybe another that looked unoccupied to me.  We ended up at the Woolworth's Supermarket.  I checked out the cheese since we discovered we had left the beautiful brie cheese with the red lip logo wrapping in the last refrigerator.  Major bummer!   As I was looking, Doreen pointed out the Cabernet paste (the price was reduced) that goes well with blue cheese.  I found a blue that was reduced half price so we picked those things up.  When we got back to the room, I went out to take a few late-afternoon-light photos of the harbor and Doreen discovered that the Blue cheese was bad.  At first I didn't think blue cheese could go bad, but it was hard around the edges and discolored.  I volunteered to take it back.

The houses across the street and around the corner are old-fashioned and quite interesting.  Doreen places them as Edwardian - if not Victorian.  They are quainter in style with detailed work around their porches and they have fancier chimneys than later houses.  I admired the houses as I walked past.  I saw the same cashier who rang up our purchases and she said she would take care of me once I found a cheese in exchange for the bad one.  I was almost at the counter when I remembered that Doreen suggested we get some plain or water crackers, so I found some substitutes since I couldn't find any water crackers.  When I got to the cashier and she rang me up, she gave me the new cheese and crackers for free and some change back.  Wow - what a deal!  I came back - over the back wall and into Doreen's room - with the new stuff and Doreen arranged everything on a plate.  We sat out on the patio and enjoyed our eat-in meal until it seemed as if we were getting bitten and it was getting too chilly.  It was a very quiet evening here in George Town harbor.

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