A WET WEST COAST, SISTERS BEACH & STANLEY
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Sunday March 7 2010
Mileage 12548 kms
Weather: 17 degrees at 10.30. overcast and deteriorated to wild and woolly
Journey: Hellyer Gorge, Wynyard, Sisters Beach, Rocky Cape, Stanley
Morning came and our group at Hellyer Gorge all went their separate ways and we headed to Wynyard, a coastal town of 4000+, through firstly forest plantations and then small farming towns.
We checked in with the Information Centre and were advised that accommodation in the area was all full but we just needed to confirm motor home free camps and not wanting to set up in the Wynyard Show Grounds we set off for the Rocky Cape Np and the nearby Sisters Beach overnight stop over; it was not much more than a car park at a fully fitted out park and play ground.
We communicated with 2 groups of campers who confirmed it was a great spot, safe, quiet and Oceanside. One of the groups, 3 women were celebrating the 57th birthday of their friend and were well and truly throwing down the alcohol early afternoon. It was all innocent fun and we kept abreast of their celebrations until the rain came. The night was extremely windy and there were heavy downpours, apparently part of the weather pattern that washed over Melbourne causing huge hailstones and property damage.
Earlier in the afternoon we took a long walk on the beach up to the boat ramp. The rock formations along the beach were so colourful and spectacular that we wished we had taken the camera with us. Oh well maybe on the way back through this way the weather will be sweeter!
We watched with astonishment as the tide rushed into the tannin stained creek so fast that it caused waves and the clear and stained waters met.
A restless night because of the ferocity of the weather but once again the van was water tight and we cuddled warm and safe from falling branches and flying debris. We noticed that parts of the park had flooded but we were on hard ground and easily set off after breakfast. No walking however as the rain was still about.
Next stop Stanley!!!!!!
When we left Sisters Beach it was still raining but cleared as we reached Stanley, a small tourist town with mostly cottages and bed and breakfasts to accommodate the visitors. The town is dominated by the Nut, a very extinct volcano that a chairlift will get you to the top of. We preferred to walk the steep path to wander around the top and look at the views. From here,the mutton birds can be seen and heard ( we heard- too wild and wet to see) returning to their nests after a day at sea to feed their young.
Our two days here were marred by cyclonic winds and really, you could hardly walk against their power. This is getting close to the wind farms at Woolnorth and the Roaring 40's so we guessed it was windy a lot. According to weather reports winds were around 35-40 knots, about 110kms ph.
Highfield, just above our camp site is a very impressive homestead, in great condition from the early days of Van Diemens Land company developing wool farming in 1824. Sheep and cattle still roam the land today.
We found a lovely free camp on the grassy edge of Godfreys Beach, just 5-10 minute walk to town and admired the beach whenever the skies cleared a little. The little penguins could be heard but not seen scurrying over the shore to their burrows next to our camp site; "lets get up and look" we said but could not brave the rain and wind to torch the tiny creatures. Next time!!
We had a delicious serve of fresh flat head from Hersey Seafoods on day 1, and relished a meal of local steak and calamari at the Stanley Pub on day 2 after being generally confined to the van to escape the wild weather.
We slept as the winds whipped around the van and the night was very cold. The ocean was wild and noisy; this is north west Tasmania