Snow! reaching the most southern point by car!

Trip Start May 16, 2011
Trip End May 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Dylan's in Lenah Valley, Lake St Clair Lodge Caravan Park, Cockle Bay
What I did
climbed Mt Rufus, lots of different walks, lots of photos, to the top of Mt Nelson, the southern most point of australia by car

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 194 F 25/11 Spirit of Tasmania Ferry

We slept in a little this morning then packed up the camper and set off for Melbourne around 10am. We have decided that the fault is in the batter for the Camper as the WAECO Thelma gave up the ghost again last night. We went into Colac chasing a replacement battery but were not successful. They directed us to Geelong which has a few specialised battery places available. We drove through to Geelong along the Princes highway, the first battery place we came to did not have the batter we needed as they had run out. They directed us on into Geelong itself where there was a Battery World which would have the required battery we needed. We eventually found the place after going through the centre of Geelong; it was quite a small office with very little parking requiring us to park across a business's driveway to gain access to the shop itself. It was quite a busy place given its size and they were very helpful fitting us out with the required battery. Peter changed the battery there and then so that Thelma would work properly. We then continued on to Melbourne stopping on the freeway itself to pick up some diesel at a freeway Service Centre and arrived at the wharf around 2.30pm. It was far too early to board so we parked in the street, walked to the Spirit of Tasmania Terminal to check on a few things prior to boarding and then went and had coffee at this lovely little café which was across from the Tram. The trams were very modern and new and had a regular service going. At 4.45pm we left our parking space and joined the queue to board the Ferry, there were around 120 Coffin Cheaters also boarding with us and they pushed ahead of everyone else to ensure they were boarded first and able to get off first. It took us until after 7pm to get the car loaded on board and we then had to find our recliners for sleeping. After this we went up on to the top deck at the back of the Ferry to watch as we left Port. There are a lot of bars on board, a casino games room, a restaurant x 2 (one serving smorgasbord and the other set meals), a cinema and the usual tourist shop. It was all very exciting watching the Ferry leave the port, it was not quite dark so you could not see all the lights yet but you could see the skyline. We had a pie with sauce for dinner with a few beers and after this I retired to the recliner. Peter stayed up until after the Ferry had cleared Port Phillip Bay which was around 10pm before he also retired. It was very cold where we reclined, we were beside the exit, we did have good views out of the back of the ship though and an extra blanket made it bearable but not comfortable to sleep. As you can imagine, we both did not get a very much sleep but we were glad to get somewhere to rest.

Day 195 S 26/11 Staying with Dylan Lenah Valley Hobart

The Ferry personnel had us up by 5.45am this morning as we were going to be able to disembark at 6.30am. This was to give us time to have breakfast at one of the restaurants if we wanted and to give us time to get down to the car decks. We were in our car by 6.30am and waiting for the ok to drive off when we heard a big thump, then there were people running everywhere as the cars to the left of us were able to disembark. As it became our turn to get off, I looked over to the left and saw a man down spewing blood and holding his arm which was at an awkward angle. He looked to be one of the bikies and he had been hit by one of the cars as it was disembarking. The man had come out of an open doorway without looking and stepped straight in front of the car, he looked to have some broken ribs and possibly a broken arm as well; he did not look to be in too good shape. The staff on the Ferry kept everyone moving though and when we came up to the quarantine area, we saw it was all cordoned off with Police and they were checking out the bikies quite thoroughly. There were even sniffer dogs checking all the cars for fresh vegetables or other quarantined items. We got through all right though and we picked up our gas bottle and Peters Buck knife before leaving the wharf area. We drove through to Perth and picked up some breakfast which consisted of a lovely hot bacon roll with sauce and an iced coffee. We then headed off towards Hobart stopping along the way at various towns. First stop was Campbell Town for the wood sculptures and old buildings, then through to Ross for the historic bridge and buildings. Then it was through to Oatlands for a look at the old Carrington Flour Mill and Lake Dulverton. From there we went to Kempton where Peter lived for so many years checking out his old place which has now been resold. They have set it up as a little shop (when Peter had it, it was called Titmouse Cottage) and Peter called in to give the history and background of the building to the new owners. We then went to visit Dave and Ellie who live around the corner and happened to be sitting on the porch when we drove past, they gave us a lovely cup of coffee. We then went to the local pub to catch up with Pat Tankard, he is the publican. We stopped for a few beers and lunch of potato wedges with sour cream and sweet and sour sauce and requested of Pat to look after the camper whilst we visited Dylan as he would not have enough room to store the car and camper at his home. Pat kindly allowed this to occur so we had one less thing to worry about. We continued on to Hobart finding our way to Lenah Valley and Dylan's place, we had not been in a rush to get there as Dylan was out playing a round of golf this morning so we arrived around 4pm. Dylan made us homemade pizzas for dinner which was really nice, he made the bases of the pizzas himself. We chatted and caught up on things watching a little TV before retiring for the night.

Day 196 Su 27/11 Stayed with Dylan Lenah Valley in Hobart

We slept in to 7am this morning as it was really warm and cosy in Dylan’s bed which was really nice of him to give up to us. I think we were catching up on the night before as it had been an extremely cold night on the Ferry. Dylan made us breakfast of muffins and cereal and then took me to the local laundry mat to get up to date with my washing (I had a real heap to do as well as get dry), he left me there for the hour and I managed to get everything dry before he returned. Once I had put the clothes away, Dylan took us to the Salmon Ponds Trout hatchery where we purchased cups of fish pellets and took a long walk around the hatchery checking out the different types of trout. There were even albino ones and some Atlantic salmon in the ponds. I took quite a few photos as we walked around not only of the fish but the creek and building also. We stopped at the Hatchery and had lunch. Dylan had a Moroccan chicken curry in a pancake and Peter and I had a chicken burger with cappuccino coffees. All meals were well presented and delicious to eat. We left the Hatchery and returned to Dylan’s home calling into Mitre 10 to pick up some supplies to fix Dylan’s cupboards. We returned to watch some movies in the afternoon one of which was the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which was really good. I made dinner of steak, sausages, onions and roasted vegetables with onion gravy. We enjoyed the afternoon with Dylan relaxing and talking before we retired for the night. Dylan is due to get up early tomorrow as he is working at the wharf in the morning before he goes to his day job tying up and setting the moorings for a ship coming into Port.

Da 197 M 28/11 Lake St Clair Lodge Caravan Park

We slept in again to around 7am; we did hear Dylan take off around 5.30am. After breakfast we packed up and set off for our next adventure ensuring the house was properly locked up. We stopped at several mechanical places to pick up oil and other items for the car before we headed off to Kempton to pick up the camper. We picked up the camper but were not successful in raising Pat to let him know we had taken it. We will have to catch up with him over this later as we are hoping he will look after the camper for the next 2 weekends as well. We left Kempton around 10.30am and headed off towards Bothwell where we hoped to stop and pick up supplies before continuing on to Lake St Clair. We picked up diesel, a fishing licence to catch trout and some food and took quite a few photos of the lovely old buildings before we continued on our way. We headed off towards the Great Lakes passing over many hills and some mountains stopping at the Steppe Sculptures (looks a little like Stonehenge). They had some lovely beaten brass sculptures attached to the stones of different plants and animals. From there we went to the Great Lakes driving through Bronte ark to Lake St Clair arriving around 4.30pm. We set up camp and then booked in for the next 4 nights; we also managed to pick up some brochures on the different walks that are available at Lake St Clair. It was then back to camp for a hot shower and then dinner. We talked over the choices we had for walking and have decided to do Mt Rufus circular route tomorrow, it will be an all-day walk as is covers 18.5klms. It costs $1 for 6 minutes to take a shower up here, $2 for use of the washing machine and $2 for the dryer. The shower water is pre-set with level of warmth, it was not too bad, a little bit cooler than what I would have chosen but ok. We spent about an hour writing up the diary to bring it up to date and had hot bacon rolls for dinner (seems to be the easiest and hottest meal to make at this time). Whilst we were having dinner, a huge kookaburra came and sat on a branch close to camp, he was the biggest I have ever seen and puffed up his feathers to make himself look even bigger. I took a couple of shots of him for the blog. I also found a lovely white orchid with a pink hat close to the camp and took some shots of this as well. We headed off for bed around 8pm in preparation for an early start tomorrow for our intended walk.

Day 198 T 29/11 Lake St Clair Lodge Caravan Park

 We were up at 6.30am and it was hard to leave our lovely warm bed as it was cold and drizzling outside. During the night we were visited by some Possums, a dad, a mum and a little bub on mums back that decided that they wanted to raid our kitchen. It required some heavy swatting to get them out and we had to lock up the kitchen altogether to prevent them from getting back in. We lost a potato and the iron man food box was torn open by them. We have decided that we will need to lock the kitchen down every night from now on to prevent this occurring again. We had a big debate over whether to go for the walk of not over breakfast and whilst I prepared for the walk but decided we would give it a go as the weather is so uncertain up here that it is just as likely to clear as to become worse. I had to open up the camper to get out the backpack, ponchos and an extra water bottle to take on the walk. I made cheese and vegemite rolls for lunch and included a pear and 2 muesli bars each as well. We left around 8am signing out on the day walk book stating where we were going in the event we did not return. We started off at Cynthia Bay from the Visitors Centre stating we were going to do the Mt Rufus Circular Walk which would have us returning approximately 7 hours later. There was one other person who signed out at the same time as us so we expected to cross his trail as we headed off. This did not occur and we saw no-one until we hit the saddle prior to the last climb to reach the cairn on top of Mt Rufus. We walked through a Peppermint Gum Forrest, through eucalypt and rainforest. As we climbed higher we went through Sub-alpine forest which is dominated by Snow Gums and Stunted Rain forest. It was still raining when we left and continued on for about 2.5 hours with a light drizzle various times through-out the remainder of the day. The trail was difficult (a level 4) and required us to go upwards approximately 600 metres in height over exposed tree roots, slushing undergrowth, over logs (I managed to fall on one of these) and lots of water patches, moss and peat. The summit is 1416 metres high and gave great views of Frenchman’s Cap, Mt Gell and the King William Range. We had to climb over many different surfaces including wooden steps and stones to reach the saddle before attempting the last part of the climb. We happened to look back and saw a couple trailing us. They caught up with us about 10 metres from the top; they were the walkers who signed out as leaving the same time as us this morning. John and Anne are visiting Tasmania for a holiday for the next 2 weeks, we walked with them for a time across the heath and through to the start of Richea Valley where we parted ways. It was a steep climb up to the saddle, once we reached the saddle we had to contend with very strong winds which tried to push us off the mountain. The winds continued all the way to the top of Mt Rufus and then down the other side until we reached Richea Valley. Once we reached the summit of Mt Rufus, stopped and ate lunch in the lee of the cairn so we cut down the wind a little for a time. There were lovely views from the top which I hope I caught on the camera to show you all. We saw the different Lakes, the different ranges and mountains for 360 degrees. We moved on heading down some wooden board walks through some wind sculptured sandstone formations, through alpine meadows with their sub-alpine pandani communities and scoparia plants that grow there. We left John and Anne whilst they had a break and continued on passing through Richea Valley which had a rainforest, button grass moorlands and snow gums to Shadow Lake and then back to Cynthia Bay to the visitors Centre where we had started. It was tough going all the way down as we were getting a little tired but we did stop to look at the Sweetwater bay and Riversmeet Bridge along the way. John and Anne passed us about 1.30 hours from the finish beating us back to the visitors centre by 9 minutes. We clocked in at 5.14pm so the walk took us a full 9 hours with approximately a 15 minute lunch break in between. Once back at camp we had lovely warm showers and made soup for dinner. Peter had to run the generator until 8pm to get power back into the batter for the camper so Thelma could run for the night. Everything we wore was covered in mud and dirt, our shoes were very wet and muddy also and I found that I had had a leach on my shin during the day that took some blood from me. All in All it was an exciting adventure and one we hope to repeat somewhere else. I hope you all like these photos.

Day 199 W 30/11 Lake St Clair Lodge Caravan Park

We slept in this morning not bothering to get up until 8am. It has rained quite heavily during the night and there was tender and lightening. It is cold outside and everything is wet. I still have sore legs from the climbing of Mt Rufus yesterday so we will take it a little easy this morning. I have spent the time working on the diary and getting the photos downloaded for the blog. Peter has messed around with the generator and the camper. We caught a big fat white worm which Peter is hoping to use as bait later this morning when he goes fishing. In fact, once he saw the worm was easy to catch, he went hunting for more so we have several to take with us when we go. As the day progressed, it seemed to be getting colder and colder. I did a wash and dried the clothes in the clothes dryer (I did have some trouble with the washing machine draining and reported this to the office at the lodge) after Peter helped me to wring out the clothes. The dryer was really good though and went for an hour and a half on only $2 and dried all the clothes as well as the towel. Whilst I was up at the lodge I checked on the weather report as we need to know what to expect in the next few days as it was not very pleasant with the continual rain. The reports advised that we were expecting snow for areas above 800m; our camp site was 764m so we got the lead up to the snow but not the benefit of the actual snow. This weather report was for the next two days. When we eventually got to bed later in the night, it was very very cold and the air was damp and it was difficult to get to sleep but once we settled, we slept really well. Once I returned to camp, we both had a chicken noodle soup with some crackers and decided we would not stay around the camp but would go for a drive. We found a little canal called the Mt Rufus Canal down this dirt track which we followed and it took us to some pipes with water running out of them into these canals which go around the bottom of the mountains to catch water from run off from the snow and rain and direct it to the lakes and catchment areas. We continued on and I saw a lovely white flower on the side of the road. Peter pulled over to let me take some photos of it and when I went to get back into the car, I stepped on an ants nest. Unfortunately for me, some ants go onto my socks and shoes and bit me on the bottom of my foot. It was a really sharp bite and quite painful and left some swelling and a red mark. The ants when I saw one later was really big, much bigger than a meat ant. We took several dirt tracks after that and viewed more canals and different rivers with Peter looking for a suitable spot to drop a line. I managed to get some beautiful pictures of the tracks and some of the snow and stringy delicate gums. We eventually settled for a spot closer to the Lake St Clair lodge road going in on the right side so that Peter could drop a line for an hour or so and hopefully catch some trout (not successful though). I meantime sat in the car and wrote up the diary, did a little walking around and took some photos. We called into Derwent Bridge Garage and picked up some vegemite and cup-a-soup’s as we were running low on these. We also called into the Derwent Bridge Hotel where they kindly made us some lovely hot chips and Peter had a beer. The people were really lovely doing this for us as the lunch hour had finished and they were no longer serving but as the chef was making lunch for the staff, he kindly made some chips for me. During the afternoon, we experienced quite a bit of hail falling, the hail was very small and was nearly small enough to be snow except that it was ice. Driving around in the car was really warm whilst outside it was wet and cold so we were more inclined to remain driving than walking. I did manage to take quite a few shots of different flowers and rivers and such before we went back to camp where I made some beef stew and vegetables for dinner. We had lovely hot showers and put the chairs inside the tent with the gas light which also acted as a heater to warm the tent up. It was really getting cold and a lot more hail was falling along with rain, it really looked as though with this weather that we would get some snow overnight or maybe even tomorrow. We went to bed around 8.30pm after watching a film, it was a little hard to hear as the generator was going and this always makes more noise than we like. We had issues later around 10pm though with another camper as he had not yet turned his generator off and it made it difficult for us to sleep. Peter ended up going over to see him and requested he turn it off stating he should be aware that having a generator was a privilege and as such he should use it wisely between 8.30am to 8.30pm and not run it after these hours as it may upset other campers. He very nicely turned his off within 10 minutes of Peter speaking to him which allowed us to get some sleep.

Day 200 Th 1/12 Lake St Clair Lodge Caravan Park

We arose from our lovely warm bed around 8am this morning after a long cold night, the cold front was slowly moving over but it was still damn cold. There is still a light hail falling and I think snow is expected down to 800m last night. We stayed inside the camp until it was nearly 10am as it was so cold. When I finally ventured out to visit the ladies, I ran into some other ladies that had just come in from the overland from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair this morning having stopped overnight at Echo Point. They advised that it snowed where they were last night and they tracked through the snow to reach the visitor centre this morning. They had completed this trek within 7 days and were thrilled to have seen snow. This prompted Peter and I to take to the road this morning to see what was out there. What a sight it was all the Mountains were covered in snow, Mt Rufus and the Saddle where we went the day before yesterday was littered with snow. You could see the Cairn quite clearly in the distance on top of Mt Rufus, we continued our drive going to lots of different spots and doing some of the short walks that are available.  We visited Mt King William 1 and the King William Range, Surprise River where they have a lovely steep valley seen from the road way facing towards Mt Arrowsmith. We then went to the Franklyn River Nature Trail to see two Rivers, the Surprise and the Franklyn join together to continue as the Franklyn. There was also the river flowing under the main bridge with a lovely picnic area made available for use by visitors to the park. We went past Frenchman’s Cap walking track but managed to get some good photos of Frenchman’s Cap itself which was covered in snow. We then went on to the Donaghys Hill Wilderness Lookout Walk which went to the top of a hill and gave good views of the Franklyn River Valley and Frenchman’s Cap (1443m). Next was Nelson Falls Nature Walk through cool temperate rainforest to Nelson Falls itself which was raging following the snow and rain of the past few days. We then returned to camp around 4pm after a short stop at the local boat ramp (so Peter could throw in a line). We returned to camp and sat in the car for awhile reading our kindles as it was so cold. We then decided to treat ourselves out for dinner at the Derwent Hotel so we both took hot showers. We closed up the camp as would not return until after dark and headed off for dinner. On our walk at Donaghys hill Wilderness Lookout walk, we met a couple who have been travelling around for the past 3 and a half years and they invited us to dine with them at the hotel but they did not turn up. We ate without them and had a dinner of chicken breast stuffed with cheese, tomatoes and other spices served with roasted vegetables which were really nice along with a Cobb of bread and garlic butter. I had a glass of white wine which loosened my tongue and I praised the cook and spruiked about the good food to all and sundry which increased the meals that were ordered. I was thanked when we left at 8pm as the chef was still taking orders for meals. We returned to camp and went to bed hoping for a nice sunny day tomorrow.

Day 201 F 2/12 Dylan’s Home in Lenah Valley which is part of Hobart

We were up around 8am again this morning; it was a beautiful cold but sunny day with lots of blue sky, just what the doctor ordered. We had breakfast and headed off leaving just after 10am after I had returned the toilet key and thanked the Lodge staff and the Rangers for the help and assistance they had given us during our stay. We then headed off towards Hobart passing the Derwent hotel with our first stop being the Niva River and we saw a lovely stopping spot that had fireplaces and table and chairs under cover with a BBQ as well. There were also outdoor tables and chairs for those not wanting to be under cover. We saw a pumping System using pipes coming into and out of the valley going through the substation. It was a pretty valley and the set up was such that you could camp there overnight (something to keep in mind for another trip). We left there and went through to Tarraleah, Black Bobs and Langloh to Hamilton where we stopped at the Bakery to have lunch. The Baker is exceptional specialising in Different Gourmet pies. Peter had a pepper steak pie and I had a Chicken and Asparagus pie with a slice of lemon which added a little zing to it. This was followed by a vanilla slice each which was really light and fluffy. We were both so impressed that I went back and bought 4 more pies for dinner when we stay at Dylan’s home (chunky steak, sweet chilli chicken, curried chicken and another Chicken and Asparagus pie). From there we went through Pelham and Elderslie Forrest and pasture Land which is the back way to Kempton where we stopped and had a few drinks before picking up the camper and heading into Hobart. We came through the Midland Highway and turning off at the Bridgewater Causeway took the road through Austin’s Ferry, Claremont and Glenorchy where we picked up some beer to Dylan’s home. I took some lovely photos along the way as it was very picturesque. There was no snow though on the mountains down here towards Hobart and Dylan later advised that they had only had one day of rain. We have set up for the weekend now here at Dylan’s home and we will have the left over beef stew with vegetables with toast for dinner when Dylan returns home from work. Hopefully it will not be too late a night as I have a slight headache (possibly from the white wine I had with dinner last night). I am hoping it is not a relapse of the flue which I have just got over as the last 2 days has seen me recover my voice somewhat. I had just a couple of pieces of toast for dinner as I was still quite full following such a large lunch today. We sat up and watched on the computer the photos that I have taken since being in Tasmania to date before retiring for the night.

Day 202 S 3/12 Dylan’s Home in Lenah Valley which is part of Hobart

A lovely little lie in this morning and it was dry and warm with not too much noise from the streets. We were up for breakfast and had showers before heading out to the Laundromat to get our clothes up to date again. This took about an hour and then it was back to the flat for a quick cuppa before we headed off for a walk and to see the sights of Hobart. Dylan took us up to Taroona to walk up to the top of Mt Nelson Wireless Lookout and Café. It was a really nice walk but had far too many steps for my liking but we all made it to the top. There were some lovely flowers along the way and I got very hot climbing up to the top and sweated lots and lots. Once we reached the top though it started to rain. There were some good views from up there of Hobart Town and the mouth of the River at Derwent. The signal house was neat; it showed the different types of flags used for signalling and some of the signals which was the communication method in place before all our modern methods of communication. We went into the café and had a lovely hot espresso (Peter), hot chocolate for me and a cold elderflowers sparkling cider which was non-alcoholic for Dylan.  Peter also had a Chocolate and Cherry baked cheesecake and Dylan had lovely hot pancakes with pears and a hot berry sauce which was really nice as it was cold outside. We returned down the same way we came up, through the Truganina Reserve (which is in memory of the last aboriginal in Tasmania). We went to the shops at Sandy Bay beach and I picked up some supplies for the next week then came home. I made a quick trip to the local baker to pick up a fresh loaf of bread and then to the local shop to get some Ham and made both the boys fresh sandwiches with ham, cheese and tomatoes. They both enjoyed this and then went off to play a round of golf whilst I stayed home and wrote up the diary and tried to get some of it onto the blog. We will have the gourmet pies with salad for dinner tonight and the boys will call me once they are on their way home so that I can get it ready. The boys did call but it was to say they would be late as they wanted to finish 18 holes and had completed only half of them so far; they did call and arrived home quite late around 8.15pm. I made them gourmet pies with salad for dinner and we all had an early night as Dylan intends to run tomorrow in the fun run and needs his sleep.

Day 203 Su 4/12 Dylan’s in Lenah Valley part of Hobart

Up around 8am and we all had breakfast and tidied up a little. We watched some TV and then took off out of the house around 10am to the Tasmanian Golf Club to enable the hired golf clubs to be returned. The Golf Club is near the airport and is nicely set up. I watched a young player practicing his swing whilst waiting for Dylan to return from the golf shop. From there we drove to Cambridge to see if the new drive thru Subway store has opened yet as it is a first for Tasmania. We forgot about this once we saw the Anaconda Outdoor store which was set amongst a lot of other stores of similar type. We went in for a look see as Peter and I have been considering replacing our sleeping bags and our mats for the Bibbulmun walk. Our old sleeping mats and bags are too bulky and heavy and we need to consider weight and room when walking such long distances. We met a lovely storeman who is ex-army and full of information to assist us in our choices. We gleaned as much information from him as we could but did not buy yet the replacements. I did though find 2 pairs of shorts made by Gondwana which were originally $59.99 reduced to just $12each. Peter checked out the gaiters for our walk but only bought some hooks and sinkers for fishing. We left there and took a drive to Hobart Harbour so that Dylan could sign up to do the fun run which has been organised by Mark Webber the famous racing car driver who recently won the F1 Grand Prix in Brazil. Once Dylan had signed up and received his complimentary shirt and goodies bag, we returned home as the run was not due to start until 1.45pm this afternoon. Peter and I had some lunch and Dylan had some water (did not want to load himself down before the run) and we returned to the Harbour in time for Dylan to warm up well before the run. We parked near the Salamanca Markets which is open on Saturdays as it was the closest parking to the run and walked across the harbour. We saw some bronze sculptures of seals, penguins and other things as well as the anti-whaling ship used by Greenpeace which is currently in harbour. We passed a police boat and finally reached the starting line and warm up area for the run. Mark Webber was walking and talking to lots of people, they had a person doing a warm up with the competitors before the race started and a mascot Tasmanian devil which the kids all liked. It was then time for the run to begin and they did an introduction to say what they were raising money for with Mark Webber thanking everyone for participating before setting off a siren. The run was on and there were 312 participants. Dylan ran very well and Peter and I watched as he came in 25th with a good time of 27minutes and 32seconds. He even beat Mark Webber! We stayed for the presentations and left around 3.30pm for home where we stayed in and watched movies for the remainder of the day. I made Steak, Bacon, onion and salad for dinner and we retired around 8.30pm to allow for Dylan to have a good sleep as he returns to work tomorrow and we set off for the next trip in our adventure.

Day 204 M 5/12 Finns Bay Campground at Cockle Bay (the most southern drivable point in Tasmania)

We were both up when Dylan’s alarm went this morning. Peter ended getting up as we did not hear Dylan moving to ensure he had time to get ready to go to work in time. We wore him out over the weekend with all that walking and the fun run I’m sure. Peter saw him off to work and we then had breakfast, packed up our things and set off for the next part of our great Adventure. This time we are heading down south of Hobart to Huonville as we intent to reach Cockle Bay where we intend to stay for the next 4 nights. We passed through Geeveston (it looked ready to rain by this time and it was getting cold), Dover and South Port before reaching Cockle Bay. We drove along the road checking out all the possible sites to camp before settling on Finn’s Bay Campground which has its own beach front. It was a nice and quiet spot with no other campers there when we set up camp for the night. The water was close enough that if Peter wanted to put in the boat he could do so provided the swell was not too rough. Once camp was up we collected firewood and settled around a campfire as it was quite cold and windy. We relaxed the afternoon away and I made Chilli-con-carne for dinner. The fire was not very successful as there was a little drizzle and a bitingly cold wind around so we retired inside the tent to watch some movies on the lap top computer. It was nice and peaceful with just us at the campsite so we were not inclined to move very far that day. We retired at a good hour and had a wonderful sleep.

Day 205 T 6/12 Finns Bay Campground at Cockle Bay (the most southern drivable point in Tasmania)

We slept in this morning until well after 8am and only got out of bed as the sun was beating down on the canvas making the room a little too hot for comfort in bed. The sun was out and warming after the cold and wind of the day before so we made the best of it and enjoyed the sunshine. We got someone else in the camping area sometime during the morning, a man with a child set up a tent campsite at the far end of the campground. Peter and I were a little lazy and sat about the camp planning options for outings but not really serious about making a move for some time. During Lunch we got more campers parking in next to us closest to the road followed by a car of three people who were going from camp to camp to advice of some break-ins that had occurred on the Sunday just past and the week before. The last break-in had been at their campsite and 4 caravans had been looted of lights, food and doonas with other bed items and they were in the next bay to ours. They were unsure of when the break-ins occurred and asked us when we arrived, we told them of course that we had arrived the night before and they were happy with that but they were on the lookout to see if any of the items stolen were around the camps. Peter lit a fire in the afternoon and I made a cake for after dinner. Peter spent some of the afternoon changing the oil in the Diff and gear box and we used the old oil to help us with the fire. A little later we had another camper set up on the other side of us, he was on his own. I meantime made myself known to the Neighbours on our right, Greg and Leanne who were from Franklyn and recently returned to live in Hobart again after spending the last 12 years living in Melbourne. I advised them of the break-ins that had occurred and they offered to look after our camp the next morning if we wanted to go fishing. They were there to get some Black Lip Abalone for Xmas as they had family coming from all over and would be leaving sometime the next day after a last try to add more to the 7 Abalone they had found today. I returned to camp to let Peter know when a red Hilux arrived, they thought we were someone else who regularly stays where we camped and had the same car as us. They were Ben and his mate (did not give his name) who had come up to pick up their craypots that they had dropped off on Saturday last. We got friendly with them and they gave me a Honeycomb ice-cream to eat. They had picked up a box of ice-creams on special on their way through and had some to spare. It was a really nice treat and I enjoyed eating it. They were friendly and we asked them about the safety of the area following what had happened in the next bay, they assured us that they would find out who was stealing from campers and take care of them. They left to set up camp in the Catamaran boat ramp campsite where they had other friends waiting on them to arrive. They were nice people, local and friendly. Peter and I then went for a walk along the beach and on our way back introduced ourselves to our neighbour on the left. His name was Dion and he was really nice. He works as a wine maker for Penfolds Winery in the Barossa Valley SA. He works about 3 months of the year and travels around for the remainder. He also made the offer to look out for our camp the next day should we decide to go fishing as he fishes from the beach and would not be going far from camp. Peter and I returned to camp and had the remaining Chilli-con-carne for dinner and again watched a movie before retiring for the night. It had turned out to be a full day after all and we had not left camp.

Day 206 W 7/12 Finns Bay Campground at Cockle Bay (the most southern drivable point in Tasmania)

The morning was beautiful, sunny and not too much wind and quite warm to boot. Late yesterday the weather turned and it became bitingly cold and the wind just seemed to slice right through you. This is one of the reasons we chose not to move much from camp yesterday other than the break-ins that had occurred before we arrived. We decided that this would not happen again today so we decided as it was such a nice start, we would go fishing. After breakfast just as we were getting the boat onto the car we got another visit by Ben who brought us some firewood to use whilst we were here, he was on his way home having caught with his mate 3 crayfish and a crab. He gave the crab to Peter to use as bait as it was not properly cooked having been put onto the fire direct and not boiled and so not edible and showed us the crayfish. It is very similar to the ones in WA and he gave us a leg each to try it out. It was sweet of Ben to look out for us and we thanked him before he left. After this I visited Dion to let him know of our intention to go fishing this morning so he was aware to look after the camp for us. We then set off for the boat ramp with some water and fruit in the event we got hungry whilst out. We decided on the boat ramp to launch the boat as the swell was a little higher than expected and we did not want to get wet in the event the wind went icy cold again later. Dion advised us as we left that if we were catching fish to not hurry back which was really nice of him (I think he was hoping for a feed of fish for dinner). Our other neighbours must have changed their minds about staying for the morning as they took off before us to get more abalone and they did not return. We launched the boat without too much trouble with the motor starting without any issues. We set off into the middle of the bay and saw to our delight a pod of 20-25 dolphins coming our way. It looked as though they were chasing fish and they came very close to us going around and under us a couple of times before they took off for deeper water again. We were so enthralled with them that our inattention to the motor resulted in it stopping and we could not get it restarted. We both took turns rowing back to the boat ramp but we did not stop there preferring to continue on up the river to have a fish. I managed to get some lovely photos of the dolphins and the river shoreline which I hope you all like. We were not lucky in catching any fish; we did not even manage to get a bite. By the time we decided to try to go out further into the bay to try to catch some flathead, the water had become too choppy. We pulled into the boat ramp and met an older couple who had been fishing most of the morning, they were scaling 2 painted Wrasse and 7 flathead fish that they had caught during their fishing trip and spoke of getting some oysters in the bay next to the ranger’s office. We packed up the boat and went back to camp and Peter asked Dion if he would like to go and get some fresh oysters, they took off and I stayed at camp and made cup-a-soup for lunch for when they returned. They did not take long coming back with 4 oysters which we later after dinner put on the fire to cook and open the shells to allow us to eat them. They did not look very appetising or look nice to eat so they were not eaten by any of us and were left on the fire to burn. Dion turned out to be very good company and we sat the afternoon away around the fire and talked about our travels to date and what we hoped to do next. I made a roast chicken with vegetables for dinner and invited Dion to join us but he decided he would use the sausages he had defrosted instead. He stayed until around 5.30pm deciding that he was now hungry after watching us eat our roast dinner. Peter and I continued to sit around the fire and read our kindles finally retiring around 8.30pm when it became too cold to sit outside.

Day 207 Th 8/12 Finns Bay Campground at Cockle Bay (the most southern drivable point in Tasmania)

We were up quite early for us lately being woken by Dion who has decided to leave us earlier than planned, he advised he could not sleep and was going to have a look at the Whale sculpture before heading back to the West coast. He ran his bus to warm it up and gave us a whole lot of firewood chopped up to help start a fire later tonight as a parting gift. We said our good byes and well wishes and went back into camp to have breakfast. We decided that we would also go to have a look at the Whale sculpture this morning and maybe do a little more fishing. We heard Dion go past as he left the Cockle Bay area so we knew that the sculpture would not take too long to visit. We left camp around 9am, parked the car near the ranger’s office and took a walk along the beach to the whale sculpture. It was really nice and we had a good view of the bay around us including the mountains in the background. We found out that the mountains often retained snow on the Alps even in summer, no wonder that the wind is so bitingly cold here as it comes from the direction of the mountains. When we left camp the tent camper was still in the camp so we felt confident no one would enter whilst we were gone. We were back by 10am in time for morning tea and the tent camper had gone out. Luckily no one has been at the camp in the meantime. After morning tea, Peter said he would like to go and do some more fishing whilst I stayed at camp to update the diary and the computer ready for the blog but the wind came up and after he checked the bay, he decided he would stay at camp and relax the day away with me instead. We read our kindles until after lunch sitting in the lovely sunshine until around 1.30pm when the sun disappeared and the cold started to set in for the afternoon. We retired into the camp just as the neighbour with the dog came home to update the diary and the computer finishing this around 4pm in time for afternoon tea. The dog down at the other end of the camp had barked most of the morning with just about every passing car and the people in the house near the campground came out several times to shush him with not much success. The dog quieted down with the return of its owner for a while but at around 3.30pm the dog started howling as the owner tied it up down near the beach which was a little bit annoying. We believe the house owner must have said something to the dog owner as when we went out again a while later, he had packed up and left camp for good. We are having left over roast chicken for dinner tonight with some salad. Peter is going to get the fire going and we may sit outside for a while with our kindles to read by the fireside. It is getting quite cool now and the sun seems to have disappeared for the day. Hopefully it will be an early night and then tomorrow we pack up and head back to Dylan’s for our last weekend before returning to the mainland and continuing on our great adventure possibly on the Murray River or somewhere where it is warmer. We did get new neighbours again on our right side, they turned up in a Winnebago, they parked it, got the antennae adjusted for the TV and then sat inside for the remainder of the day, we did not see them again.

Day 208 F 9/12 Dylan’s home Lenah Valley in Hobart

I was up really early before 6am as I had it in mind to catch the Sunrise this morning. I could not take a sunset picture as it was too late  before the sun set still being light around 9pm and also we were parked it was not possible to see past the forest behind us to see the sun setting. It was not very spectacular but was pretty, the bay is very wide and I had to use a wide lens to get all of it in the picture. I went back to bed after I had taken some photos as no one else was up out of bed yet. It was good though as Peter was lovely and warm and we ended up not having breakfast until 8am. By this time the neighbours next door had been up, packed up and moved on. We also packed up but were a little slower to move on not leaving until nearly 10.30am. We travelled from Cockle Bay back through Huonville, Dover and Geeveston where I stopped and picked up some lovely freshly picked Golden Delicious apples for Dylan. They were really nice and crisp to eat. We continued on to Lenah Valley and called into Dylan’s to drop off the fresh fruit and the other items from our WAECO before continuing on  to Kempton to drop off our camper with Pat Tankard who has been really helpful in looking after her whilst we have been here visiting Dylan. We stayed and had a few beers with him and were even joined by the local constabulary who called in for a drink. We are sure that he called in due to the car not being a regular around the area and the officer wanting to check us out. I let Peter have another beer and we left shortly after the officer did. I drove of course until we reached Brighton where Peter took over and drove us back to Dylan’s picking up a carton of beer along the way. We arrived there around 5.30pm and after unpacking the car, I went to the shops and picked up some potatoes to go with the Chilli-con-carne for dinner. I also picked up some raspberry cheesecake for after dinner sweets as a treat. Dylan picked up a couple of movies and we watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes before retiring for the night around 9pm.

Day 209 S 10/12 Dylan’s home Lenah Valley in Hobart

We were not up too late this morning getting out of bed by 7am. I made French toast for Dylan and myself and then Dylan dropped me off to the Laundromat where I did the clothes washing. He then picked me up about an hour later and took me back home where we planned our outing for the day. Around 10.30am we took off to the ZOO DOO to see the new tigers that have been installed there. It was an interesting little Zoo that allowed you to enter all the pens and hand feed the animals there.  We saw and fed wallabies and albino wallabies, Tasmanian devils, emus, camels, lamas, ducks, geese, python snakes, birds of all different types, sheep, pigs, goats and different types of monkeys including all their young. I was the only one that was game enough to hand feed the camels and to hold the python snake. Peter of course could not go and leave anything not working properly; we were feeding the lamas and sheep with a couple of miniature horses when a man with his child came into the pen with us. Some of the sheep tried to escape and got into the next pen. While Dylan was herding the sheep to get them back into the correct pen, Peter noticed that the door did not close properly anymore so he fixed the self-closing door to ensure that the sheep did not escape again. We ended up taking a cart ride to feed the bigger animals before we actually left and this was in itself quite fun as a camel took liberties with Peter and gave him a kiss. The Lions and the Tigers were in their own enclosures and were not very exciting other than they were typical of big cats and I managed to get some close up photos of them. We left the Zoo and went to Richmond to get lunch at the bakery there. Dylan had a Chicken and Camembert pie, Peter had Steak and Mushroom and I had Shepherd’s Pie with coffee and fruit juice. Dylan purchased some bread rolls that were a day old and we went down to the river to feed the ducks. There were 3 small ducklings that were very cute and also lots and lots of other types of ducks; they all crowded around us as we feed them the crumbs from the rolls. I took quite a few photos of the local buildings as we passed through as it is really an historic little town famous for its miniature town built to look like the real town in the convict days. We had also called into the lolly shop on the way down to the river and Peter ate a bag of hot macadamias whilst Dylan and I had some violet crumble squares. We left there and returned home with time to watch the movie Red Dog before going out for dinner at Martizuccos for Pizza. We will have an early night tonight as Dylan has received a call out to go to work on the wharf in the morning at 3.30am for a ship arriving. He is expected home around 6am in time to have breakfast with us before we leave as tomorrow we return to the mainland by Ferry of course.
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chris brown on

hi mum and peter i hope you don't catch cold there lol chat to you later...

spike on

Rho and I stayed at a B&B cottage at Hamilton and in a hotel room at Derwent Bridge, loved it. What a great adventure and well written. Stay safe.

Jean Lewis on

Hi Peter and Maryanne, you seem to be enjoying your holiday, it was nice to catch up with you again in Perth. I am in Karratha now indefinatley as Kerri, Owens wife has had to go back to Wellington to be with her dad as he only has weeks to live as he has cancer through his whole body. I am up here to look after the kids as Owen can't get time off from work and he works a 12 hour day. It is warm up here but I am enjoying the change. Regards to you bothxx

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