Friday, 29 June 2018

A Quick Dip at Tomahawk

Our time in the northeast of Tassie was swamped with hot weather, and our visit to Tomahawk necessitated one thing: a swim!

To find the place, simply travel northeast of Launceston, or, if you've been following our tracks, east of Waterhouse Conservation Park.

The town itself is small and quiet. A great spot to kick back and camp with amenities, corner store, and pretty beaches. A top stop for grey nomads to park up for a while.

We only stopped in briefly, but also met a bluetongue on the side of the road. I'm a bit of a sucker for lizards, always rousing on them for lounging around where a car might wipe them out. It was also the first bluey I had seen in Tassie. Going by his thin frame, I don't think he was long out of hibernation!

As you can see in from the photos below, Mr. Bluey quickly scampered away after a stern talking to!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Waterhouse Point

Every year it seems harder and harder to find peaceful waterside places, that aren't packed to the brim, to camp. It's even harder to find such a place that's free, especially with crystal clear waters full of fish. Well, the Tasmanian coast still has plenty of gems for those seeking paradise.

We were told about Waterhouse Point by a friend's father. Visiting the place was one of the nicest night's camping we had. The water was great, and we even had the place to ourselves for most the afternoon!

The place is part of the stunning Waterhouse Conservation Area on Tasmania's north coast. It's pretty much directly northeast of Launceston. Waterhouse is well worth the visit, whether for a day trip, or a night or two.

I love snorkelling and hadn't been for quite a while. The weather had warmed up quite a bit for a few days, and everything was perfectly set for a splash. I was amazed to see just how beautiful the coastal waters of Tasmania were. The water was teeming with life! I honestly feel that the north coast of Tasmania is one of the nicest places on the planet, especially when the weather is warm.

After our dip we went for a wander around the area. Just like in the water, the land had so much life! We saw a bizarre, beady-looking grass that looked just like seaweed, amazing rocky shores, silkworms going crazy, and wombats and wallabies foraging for tucker.

If you camp here, there are no amenities. So, as always, take away everything you bring with you. This place is so magical and clean, it would be a complete crime to ruin it. Another heads up: we draped our wet clothes and snorkelling gear over a bush. Later on, we discovered it was right atop huge nests of giant ants. With the warm weather, the ants cover up their entrances through the day for insulation. Be careful where you leave your wet clothes!

Camping was peaceful. Other than the odd skippy or wombat that trod past from time to time, only one other family shared the place with us that night. Waterhouse is an absolutely stunning area, and I really hope it stays this way for future generations to enjoy!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Over the years Cameron and I have been to a couple of Lavender farms when we are in the area of one. Until now, we have not managed to be there when the lavender is in flower. Flowering times across Australia varies I am sure. In Tasmania, lavender flowers between December and February. This was the first. I arrived in Tasmania in December 2016. Cameron didn't arrive until the end of January and at this time we were busy finding somewhere to live. We didn't have time to go up to Launceston. Visiting Bridestowe Lavender Estate when in flower was something I was not willing to leave Tasmania without having visited. We finally made it in January 2018 on our two week trip around.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate runs over 260 acres and is the world’s largest privately-owned lavender farm. With an estimated 650,000 plants, the lavender rows stretch for about 200 kilometres in total – our guests love to get lost in the purple flowers, clean air and open spaces of our farm.”

There are about 39 species of lavender but Bridestowe Lavender Estate only grows Lavandula angustifolia – the single species suitable for both perfume and culinary use.” - Bridestowe Lavender Estate

Visiting a lavender farm in bloom was everything I had imagined. As soon as we opened the car door we were hit with a beautiful wafting smell of the lavender. Fields and fields of it. It was beautiful. The contrast between the red dirt, and purple flowers made for some great photos. We wandered about the fields, took photos, had a delicious lunch, and did a quick tour of where it is all processed.

Happy travels
- Jeni

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Quamby Bluff


While travelling, I often see a section of coastline, odd point on a map, mountain in the distance, or something that just looks cool that I want to explore. Quamby Bluff was one such location. We were passing through the town of Deloraine, contemplating our next move. Seeing the bluff in the distance, I decided it would be there. A good decision; the walk is stunning!

We camped close to the base of the bluff at a place called Quamby Corner. This is a tidy little campground with beaut amenities and a great open camp kitchen. It's close enough to town for those who need to resupply, but far enough away to make you feel in the bush. At time of writing, camp fees were $9 a person. A bargain for the quality of the place, and we stayed again towards the end of our trip!

The walk itself was amazing! It takes about two hours up to the top, and another two back down. It involves a bit of boulder climbing, but the rocks aren't all that large or difficult to scramble over in dry weather.

During this hike, I discovered the macro function on my new camera. I became slightly obsessive with it, but ended up taking some really unique photos of little critters during the rest of our Tassie trip! We saw some bizarre fungus during our climb, plenty of small lizards catching early rays, and breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys.

The plateau at the top offers panoramic views of mountains, valleys, bush, lakes, plus Deloraine and the nearby farm land. While we were up top, clouds meandered through the valleys, making the peaks and plateaus appear as islands in a sea of clouds. At one point, I almost thought I was standing atop a Kalinga from Necrosanguin!

Being above everything, and seeing such vastness, can be quite tranquil. It's easy to just kick back and relax as you take everything in. Bring a picnic for this walk, as the top is a sweet place to just enjoy the serenity.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Mole Creek, Limestone Caves

When planning our trip around Tassie, a mate of ours suggested we visit the caves at Mole Creek. It is 1 hour south of Devonport, and 25 minutes West of Deloraine. There are plenty of caves around Tasmania. We went to some of the lookouts and walks around town and the mountains at Allum Cliffs State Reserve. It was nice but we found no caves.

We went to the information centre. As it turns out they are limestone caves, the really pretty ones, like at Jenolan Caves, Katoomba, NSW. If you want to see them you join a tour. Tours run every half hour and last for an average of 45minutes, so the website says but I'm sure that ours ran longer. There are 3 underground caves accessible for tours, Marakoopa Cave, Great Cathedral Cave, and King Solomon's Cave.

We went in the Great Cathedral Cave. It wouldn't really matter which tour you do, they would all be spectacular. Beautiful colours, sparkling crystals, glow worms, at times complete darkness, (not while walking), under ground creeks and running water, shimmering stalactites, and stalagmites.

Back before the land became a national park, it was privately owned. The Great Cathedral Cave was sometimes used for church. There is a lot of symbolism. Some stalagmites represent the 12 apostles, and Lot's wife who was turned to a pillar of salt and there are other biblical stories. Pretty cool place for Sunday School. Other events have been held in the caves too over time. Music would have superb acoustics!

Happy Travels
- Jeni

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Topiary Town: Railton

Not far south of Devonport lies the unique town of Railton. The local pub offers a place to set up camp for the night, so we decided to crash out here and enjoy a few beers. Other than a place to park up for the night, we had no idea what to expect. It was topiary.

Topiary, for those who don't know, is the art of sculpting plant-life to resemble non-plant life. The folks of this town really take it seriously! The main street looks like a zoo had unleashed its residents, then turned them into shrubberies!

It's not just animals either, trains, people, wizards and dragons, plus much more can be found while exploring this tiny town. There's even a shop set up where anyone bitten by the bug can purchase frames to start their own topiary creation.

For the super-enthusiastic individual, there is a map in the town park that informs you where all the hidden topiary creations lurk. For those who aren't up for a topiary-hunt, a simple stroll down the main road will offer plenty leafy monuments to enjoy the art.