A Travellerspoint blog

Windermere – Launceston - Port Sorell

Day 257

sunny 25 °C
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Got a late start and headed off to the Wooden Boat Expo in Launceston. It was much easier to see the boats in this marina because of the floating pontoon platforms. But there certainly weren’t as many as there were in Hobart.

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We then set a course to Yorktown. Something we missed when we visited the Seahorses with Wayne & Sharon. Yorktown was the place of the first landing in Tasmania, or Van Diemen’s Land as it was first named, back in 1804. They set up camp along a beautiful stretch of the river. Approx 300 people were residing there. But the worst part was there was 6 miles of mud to climb over to get to the town. There is a mock up of a building there, but its all but gone. Apparently by 1806 they had discovered Launceston and decided to move the settlement there and by 1808 the settlement was actually relocated and Yorktown abandoned. By 1809 Yorktown was a ruin. In early 1900s the town got a new lease of life and was a major orange growing area till the 1970s when all the oranges were removed! We were recommended a fabulous organic fruit & veg place to visit. We found some very well priced items and stocked up the fridge. He seemed to have a really good business. He said he employs 5 full time people and has been going for 15 years. He has built up quite a reputation with local restaurateurs’ who are now using much of his produce. It was great to see someone doing their own thing and making a successful business out of it.

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If you look closely at this picture you can see the crooked lines on the timber. These are the actual edges of the trees used to make the planks. They are about an inch thick too! Amazing. I've never seen these except in Tassie.

We then continued around to Port Sorell just 20kms from Devonport. A busy little holiday spot that reminded me of the Mandurah of old. Lots of little shacks dotted with lots of newer and larger holiday homes.

We drove past this funky little place that I had to photograph. We were taken aback by the simplicity of it, as well as its 7.5* energy rating. Over east (and hopefully the rest of Australia thanks to Bob Brown and his negotiations for the rescue package) Australia will soon have an energy rating on all houses sold. So to be able to sell an old house, you will have to get a consultant in to access the energy viability of your house. So if you have a water tank, you get some points, if you have solar hot water you get points, if you have good orientation on your house you also get points etc. I believe they also look at your electricity bills to find out how much you spend on heating and cooling your home to determine you score. Most states in the program require a minimum of 5 stars for all NEW houses built, but this is the first one I've seen that came at at 7.5* - and it looks good to boot!

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We found a nice quiet spot at the end of a street next to the beach to call home.

Posted by cssc 15:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Deloraine – Evandale - Windermere

Day 256

sunny 25 °C
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Awoke early as Woolworths had deliveries at 7am. Oh well. Had a nice walk into town and stopped at the local café the very popular Deloraine Deli. Its seemed the hoi polloi of Deloraine stopped for Breakfast. Midget refused to like our new friend Buster – a lovely little bitza who was terrified of Midget.

We got off around 10:30am for the Evandale National Penny Farthing Championship. The cute little heritage town. The centre of which was cordoned off and bailed off with lots of hay (for accidents). Have you seen how tall a penny farthing rider sits? No brakes and no way would you get me on one of these.

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There were 62 entrants in the race this year – up from 42 last year. There were entrants from all east coast states. The winner of the 2009 (and 2008 as it happens) was from NSW. There was some stiff competition. The bikes must weight a minimum of 12kgs and you are not allowed to take your feet of the pedals (ie pedal fast then coast) as there is no gears, so you have to pedal fast and you cant stop! Its quite dangerous. The ambos were called to one accident.

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The winner is the bloke in the front of this picture. Doesnt it just look hillarious seeing all their flash lycra suits and snazzy shoes and hats and their sitting on a 100 year old bike! I saw one bent front wheel (not sure if it was the same accident), and another busted handle and a shaken rider (his first accident). The most interesting for me was the crazy woman doing an arabesque on the top of one, while manoeuvring around a corner.

Being a very hot day, and already suffering one case of sunburn, I opted to return to the car as soon as I’d viewed some of the gorgeous classic cars that were also in the parade. It was a well organised event. Well worth a visit if anyone reading this should be down this way. And of course, what event wouldnt be complete without the obligatory Morris Dancers...

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We headed on out taking the back roads to Ben Lomond National Park. This is the ski field region of Tassie. It was pretty and also quite remote even though it was just 70kms from Launceston.

Midget had her first encounter with an echidna today. She didn’t seem to like the fact that it didn’t want to put its head up and say hello, but instead just wanted to keep digging looking for ants. She squealed and barked at it. It was very entertaining. I was surprised how much fur the echidnas have on them down here. I hadn’t seen it on the mainland varieties. Must be the cold. Hillarious footage...

We pulled up on the waterfront at Windermere to watch the sun set up the river.

Posted by cssc 14:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Forth – Kindred – Sheffield – Deloraine

Day 255

rain 20 °C

We had a great sleep and awoke to rain. In fact it rained most of the morning. We headed off to Kindred to see a couple of properties we saw. Took a nice walk along the river, but one was awful and too small to use, but was on the river, the other we couldn’t find.

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You may have noticed in the news over the last few years, that Tassie is prime Opium Poppy growing country. We heard it was pretty easy to do, you just have to have a customer signed up and you apply for a licence and they do a police check and then you get it. Of course, your customer cant be a drug dealer (except a legal one like Glaxo Klyne etc). Anyway we thought the picture of the fields were interesting, and also the signs that are on all fences around them...

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Moved on to Wilmot. Home of the first permanent Coles store in 1910 – 1921. It formed the beginnings of the GJ Coles empire.

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The shop is quite unchanged and still houses all the old fixtures around the wall. They could do considerably more with it from a tourist point of view, such as staff that can hold a conversation with a shoelace, but maybe I’m being harsh… The most fun thing about the place is its letterboxes. They must have held a letterbox competition as the town and roads in and out, are filled with fun filled letterboxes from Ned Kelly to Tassie Tigers and its fun to drive by. You can even by a postcard of these letterboxes in the Coles Shop.

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We also passed a street that I couldnt help but take a photo of. Here's one for Steve's brother, Frank:

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We then moved on to Sheffield. This was a bustling little town, but quite expensive being quite well placed between Launceston and Devonport. The town backs onto the fabulously stunning Mt Rowland. This is the most glorious outlook as the mountain is just so rocky and sharp as it comes out of the ground.

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in this photo you can see the cloud rolling over the hills in the foreground. Quite a stunning location.

We were amazed at the fabulous IGA store in town that had a huge light well on top of their magnificent two storey Victorian building. We went in to check it out, but it was all covered over. A worker in the store (possibly the owner) saw us walking around looking up and admiring all the decorative features in the building inside and asked if we wanted help. We said we were looking for the light well and noticed it was now covered up. He then invited us upstairs to have a look. He said he gets asked often as many people can see the fabulous architecture of the building. We walked up the well worn wooden stairs – still all original to the unpolished upstairs floors. All that was housed up there were millions of toilet rolls – all they could be bothered storing up there due to having to walk up stairs. In the centre of the room was an oval shaped thick banister rail held up with about 200 turned wooden posts. Above were the most massive timber trusses holding up the exposed roof and then the beautiful window light. He said that the building was built pre electricity being in the town, so they built it to allow light in to both levels of the building. You can see how effective it would have been. It was so wonderfully warm and well lit (on a cold and overcast day) that you’d have to say they were nuts to cover it in. Anyway it was the original Don Store and they shut down over 40 years ago, but the locals still refer to it as the Don Store not the IGA! Another fabulous piece of history.

Arrived in Deloraine in time for dinner and then a bit of technology catch up. Ended up next to a park that we stopped at on the way in. Anther couple drove up and parked next to us and sat outside till after midnight talking really loudly. I had to leave. Moved back to our Woolworths spot.

Posted by cssc 14:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Devonport – Forth

Day 254

rain 25 °C
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Slept where we’d parked in the carpark, but unbeknownst to us, we were right next to a train line. It looked so small that it wasn’t used, but unfortunately it was. Didn’t get a lot of sleep needless to say.

Had a relatively quiet day. Went for a walk out to the point and discovered a terrific Maritime Museum. They were also the local history museum. They were really friendly and had some great stuff.

We then found a couple of properties in Kindred. On the way we visited a Lions managed park. Tim, the Lions volunteer, chatted to everyone up there visiting the lovely lookout. He said he did it to entertain his dog, but I think they both had as much fun. We talked and then he suggested a great spot on the river to sleep for the night. He drove us down there and show us where to park. We cant believe how friendly and helpful all the people have been in Tassie that we’ve met. We then made use of the freshly mowed lawns and started to pull our van apart to look for our missing house keys. We managed a great clean out and although I’d purchased 3 more books at the Maritime Museum (and donated 1 book and 2 DVDs to them), we managed a really good van cleanout. Alas the keys are still missing…

Posted by cssc 19:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Beauty Point – Devonport

Day 253

semi-overcast 25 °C
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Awoke early and enjoyed a walk around the bay and into town. There were many dogs out being walked, but we found all owners were worried about their dogs getting near Midget. Its quite strange how we’ve found so many dogs, but so many owners unwilling to let their dogs say hello with any new comers.

We then booked the triple bunger; Platypus House, Seahorse House & the Beaconsfield Mine. First up with the Platypus house. Not having ever seen one in the flesh, I was really keen to see one. They were a lot smaller than I’d expected. Also really difficult to photograph as they just don’t sit still. They are still trying to get them to bread in captivity, but they live a happy and fulfilled life in their huge playpens. The males also had a poison dew claw (the only way you can tell the male from the female). This is something to keep an eye out for if you ever see on – let along ever get near to one…

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the only Platypus I could get a photo of sitting still!

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in this photo you can actually see the Platypus' webbed feat. Serious swimming items!

Next we visited the three echidnas. They were hilarious. We walked into their room and they were waiting at the door for our arrival. Apparently they were hungry and waiting for their mix of crushed white ants, milk and honey. We sat around on the floor and they just wandered around. It was really interactive and such great fun. The found their food bowl and dove their little beaks straight in. Their huge long and skinny tongues having a fit trying to lick up all the food as quick as they can. Apparently their tongues are sticky and pick up everything they touch!

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cute little fellas - actually they dont know if they are male of female as there is no sign - have to wait for them to breed - note the fur!

Next we moved on to the tour of Seahorse House. The tour was fabulous. The housed all the Australian endangered Seahorses as well as the local Tasmanian variety that bread like rabbits. They were really flash sensitive so we weren’t able to take photos, except in one part. They then took us into their breading room where they bread their babies. Apparently they will eat their young very easily unless they’re taken straight away, as they can’t tell their young from their food, so they separate them as soon as they’re born, which has given them a great breading supply. Also the males give birth not the females – which is quite interesting. They are reluctantly haven’t been able to release any into the wild as they are all dying due to global warming. The waters are getting too warm. At least they are doing a great job of what they’re doing. I did get to hold a youngster. It was really weird. He was bony and hard and incredibly strong. He was about as long as my had from the tip of his head to the end of his tail. They also have a tail that automatically coils around anything it touches. Quite funning watching them unwillingly touch another’s tail and they’re forces to twine tails around each others’. They are really cute.

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We then moved on to the Beaconsfield Mine. They had recently set up a great mine museum since the collapse and death of one of their employees nearly two years ago. They also had a great section devoted to their rescue including newspaper clippings and TV news excerpts. Steve and Wayne went off with all the engineering feats covered by their museum. I guess it was more of a boys museum. They did have a great social history section upstairs. So much history about this town. The old 1870s section of the old tunnels are now part of the exhibition. Its really well done.

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Given we’d somehow lost a day, and now Sharon & Wayne are leaving tonight, so to see them off in style, we ate at the Irish Pub in Devonport. We parked on the opposite side of the bay to where they boarded and we watched the amazing monstrosity of the boat do a u’ee and head out into the harbour. We waved our good byes and heard Sharon & Wayne waving and shouting out to us. We’ll miss them. It will be strange not knowing what they’re up to.

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Posted by cssc 19:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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