Monday 26 March 2018

Stanley and Surrounds

G'day everyone. You've probably forgotten who I am since it's been an age since I wrote a blog post. Last year it was a bit difficult as I worked away from home doing 10 on 4 off, and we had only one lappy. I've got no excuses now though as we are house sitting, and have a second lappy, meaning Cameron can write his stories, and I can write some posts. Over the next few posts we are playing catchup of our time in Tassie from 2017.

The last post Cameron wrote gave you some pictures of winter. Let me just extend a little as it will lead to this post. I worked at a beautiful place called Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, and we rented a house in Queenstown. Winter was very cold, wet, and at times snowy. At Lake St Clair it rained from about May all the way through until the end of September, with the occasional snow fall, the heaviest being the first week of September. Some nights were below -7°C! The sun finally came out to stay on the first week of October. Queenstown rained most days annually. By August most people I worked with had cabin fever. While I still had to venture outside during work hours, my off hours were spent hiding away from the weather. The wind was horrible, but add a little sleet or icy rain to the mix, well you get my drift.

So, cabin fever... When the sun shines, take up the opportunity to soak it up, and replenish the lost vitamin D stolen from deep within. The sun came out on one of my weekends off. Road trip time! Whenever we visited the town of Burnie, the sun was shining, but we hadn't gone any further. We decided to visit the town of Stanley an hour west of Burnie.

Along the way we stopped at a number of places:

Henty Glacial Erratics State Reserve and Mount Dundas Regional Reserve, not far from Queenstown,

Guide falls near Ridgley, a lovely spot for families to have a picnic,

Wynyard: Table Cape Lighthouse, and Fossil Bluff,

By the time we had reached Stanley Cabin and Tourist Park we had driven past many accommodation signs advertising spa rooms. All winter I had been dreaming of having a nice hot bath to defrost. Off the cuff we asked if they had any spa cabins. They DID! So we jumped at the opportunity to take one, (there was no way we were planning on camping in the Troopy in winter in Tas, the spa was just a bonus). We made use of it after dinner, and again in the morning before we left.

After checking in, we went for a walk up 'The Nut'. We forgot to get photos of The Nut, (photo taken from google), but we did get some from the top. Basically, it is a small version of Uluru, except that it is on the coast, and the geology of Uluru is far easier to understand. The Nut, in summary, it was the base of a volcano that eventually got blocked, then cooled. It stands at 143m. You can walk to the top or catch the chairlift ride, although, closed from first Thursday in June until 4th September. The walk to the top takes 10-20 minutes. It is extremely steep so beware. The circuit at the top takes about an hour as you soak in 360° views of the ocean and town.

One great thing about Tassie was how good the seafood is! For dinner we treated ourselves with a tasting plate from Hursey Seafoods.

Stanley has many accommodation options, cafes, and all round good food. For breakfast we visited Moby Dick's Breakfast Bar for some Eggs Benny!

The following day before heading back to Queeny we visited Dip Falls, a lovely big cascading waterfall, just as nice as Nelson Falls, a bit off the beaten tourist track, so not as many people know about it.

We also saw 'The Big Tree'. Now... Tassies love to exagerate. I think they feel that they have to in order to get the tourists to visit something worth seeing. A sentence usually goes like this “[Subject] is the biggest/ brightest/ tastiest/ longest/ tallest/ greenest/ etc. in the Southern Hemisphere.” We heard sentences like the above from so many Tassie locals in the year we were there. Now, that may sound impressive to people who live in the Northern Hemisphere who may be visiting the south for the first time, and where Tasmania is their first destination. But, the Southern Hemisphere is more than just Tasmania, more than just Australia. It includes New Zealand, Antartica, South Africa, South America, just to name a few. To hear that something is the biggest etc. in the Southern Hemisphere on repeat every time we went to a new destination, got a bit tiresome, particularly as we are travellers and have been many places in the last 5 years. I think to many untravelled locals, the Southern Hemispere is only Tasmania, and the rest of the world is Northern. Why am I rambling? During our stay at Stanley, Dip Falls was recommended to us. The lady also suggested The Big Tree, in the same recreational grounds, 5 minutes drive. Her words were, “The Big Tree is the biggest in the...” Yes, folks, she was about to say Southern Hemisphere, but as she was saying it she looked outside and saw the Troopy, must have heard our Aussie Accents and trailed off what she was going to say, doubting herself. It was a big tree, but even the sign said that this particular one was not as big as they get. It was 62m tall, and 17m around the base. It is not the tallest tree Tasmania has to offer, but it is one of the widest known trees, bearing in mind there is much forestry and wilderness in Tasmania, the tallest may not be known, hidden away with the Tasmanian Tiger.

Despite the constant exaggeration, Tasmania is a beautiful place, and the hospitality is great, and food and drinks are delicious. I hope I can convey this over the following posts.

Happy Travels

- Jeni