Monthly Archives: June 2021

Day 100 – Friday 11 June 2021

Russ and I slept exceptionally well and woke up around 9:30am. Learmonth has turned on very fine weather for our first full day back in Victoria. It is very difficult to get back into the swing of wearing a mask. The check in at each business place is not a hassle as we have been doing that all the time we were in Tassie. They have not become too complacent even though there has not been a case over there for six months. 

This will be the last entry into the diary/blog as we once again embrace our everyday mode. The magpies have been corralling since we arrived, and it is wonderful to listen to them. I even had a possum wander over to my feet to say hello as I was bringing back the washing from the dryer. 

We will print this out and send it off and look forward to catching up with people when we get home. 

Up to this point and before the stats I can tell you I have written 102 pages in the diary and the total number of words is 55536. 

Total distance travelled: 

Mildura to Mildura 10,553 kilometres (including the kilometres across Bass Strait- 448 each way) 

Within Tasmania 8363 kilometres 

Adventuring  6259 kilometres (without van) 

Highest Altitude 837 metres 

Longest Distance 228 kilometres while adventuring 

Longest Towing  290 kilometres from Turner’s Beach to New Norfolk 

Most Difficult Trip Ross to Knopwood Hill (nightmares) 

Average Fuel Cost $1.413 per litre 

Average economy 11.98 litres per 100 kilometres 

Total Photos Taken 15,238 

Total Photos 1,136 (Uploaded to Website) 

Day 99 – Thursday, 10 June 2021

Oh brother! What a day. The best laid plans were in disarray for a long time. 

Our last day in Tasmania at Narawntapu was a beautiful sunny winter day. The native hens and the fairy wrens kept us entertained for a while.  

We left for Devonport at 3:30 pm so we would be in line for the start of the boarding process at 4:30pm. The weather behaved during the drive and the roads were in good condition, but you could see the detritus along the sides of the roads from the heavy wind in the days previous. 

We arrived at Devonport just before they began the process of putting us into our loading lines, getting our boarding passes, and then going through the checking process to ensure there were no items that could cause trouble or were banned to be taken abord. We were clean of butane gas, firearms, and any petrol. The diesel is not a problem for transporting as long as it is in the correct containers and stowed, as it has a much higher flash point than petrol or gas. 

We were loaded aboard the Spirit of Tasmania 1 in plenty of time and there were not a great number of vehicles to be processed, probably due to Covid. We grabbed some dinner at The Tasmanian Market Kitchen. Russ had a seafood combination in crumbs with chips and I opted for the roast chicken pieces with gravy, potato and pumpkin. Fairly ordinary fare but easy to have plenty and get more if required. 

We were in our cabin when we finally drew away from the dock and headed down the estuary and out into the Bass Strait. We were informed that we were on time and should dock at 6:30am the next morning in Port Melbourne. However, it wasn’t to be. 

Apparently, Melbourne was in the grip of a fierce storm with gusty winds, rain and fog. The Spirit of Tasmania 2 does not have its own bow thrusters so requires the tugboats (usually three) to move it from the pier and they were unable to get from their position in the Yarra River estuary due to the high winds and high tide. 

So shortly after the first announcement we had a second one providing us with the advice that because Spirit 2 couldn’t yet be moved they were behind their departing time of 7:30pm and therefore, it was expected that we would now arrive in Melbourne at 8:30am. Goody, we all said (including the crew as we were later informed) we can have a sleep in. 

The rest of the evening and night passed without any problems although we slowed from 25 knots down to 19 knots. The seas were running 1-2 metre waves when we began, and these were expected to get to 3-4 metres by the time we entered the heads of Port Phillip Bay. Russ took some travel calm and read for a while before falling asleep and I wasn’t too far behind him. 

At 8:00am the next morning the announcement chimes rang out and it was Captain Watts advising us that Spirit 2 still hadn’t left the dock in Melbourne due to the continuing weather, but the situation was being monitored on a regular basis and he would have an update for us within the hour. Text messages were sent to those who were expecting our arrival anytime in Learmonth, including the Caravan Park, and there was some jocularity about the situation and us swimming to shore and collecting the car and van later, lol. 

Russ and I had our breakfast, cleaned our teeth etc and started reading the news from our phones. This continued on for another hour when the next announcement advised that we were cruising Port Phillip Bay and still waiting for the Spirit 2 to be tugged from the pier. 

Around 11:00 a further announcement advised that the time frame had been shifted to our docking around 2:30pm and Russ and I took screenshots of our little dot in the bay via GPS. We continued to cruise, and we were advised that lunch would be complimentary and thanking us all for our good cheer and apologising for the delays. 

Around 2:00pm we were updated that Spirit 1 was hopefully due to move out soon as the tugs were able to get to them as conditions had calmed somewhat.  

About 2:30 we were told we could all wave to Spirit 1 as it passed us in the bay and we were now heading to dock. We finally were able to move to the car and van at 3:40 pm and start our delayed departure from Spirit 2. There had been lots of texts and telephone calls each time there was an extension to the arrival, but all went okay at the end. 

By the time we got into Port Melbourne suburb heading for Ballarat the weather was sunny but cool in Melbourne, but we could see lots of trees and branches pulled to the sides of the roads from the aftermath of the storm. 

Of course, we were now losing the light and were into peak hour traffic all going home to the far northern suburbs (although much lighter than usual due to Covid restrictions). 

It started a fine mizzle the closer we got to Ballarat and was getting steadily colder the further north and higher we went. By the time we arrived at Learmonth Caravan Park it was almost completely dark, and we were both tired and cranky. 

Laney, (Manager of the Park) asked Mick (permanent resident) to wander over and see if he could provide some assistance, and he was able to help considerably to the extent that we were parked on the site next to the spot we had originally been given but were able to connect power and water and start the heater and something to eat. Laney was fine with the change of site as most of her bookings for the long weekend had been cancelled due to Covid. We thanked Mick for his assistance, and proceeded to send texts to those who needed them, and rang mum to say we were there. 

Day 98 – Wednesday, 9 June 2021

It stopped raining in the middle of the night, and we awoke to a sunny day with strong south-east winds blowing. Maybe it will help us on our way across the pond tonight, lol. 

We have now paid for our overnight stay, and we had a talk with Judith (the lady in the Park’s office) how much we have enjoyed our time in Tasmania. 

We have spoken to the Bennett’s Wallabies, paddymelons, native hens, grey fantails and a myriad supply of blue wrens who have made themselves at home around the van. 

I put out a special mix of bird seed for the wrens and one of them hopped onto my shoe to get to a crumb. Very blessed. And, when walking back from the office we had an immature sea eagle hovering in the wind above our heads. It is a magical place for nature lovers. 

The caravan has been cleaned and we are almost ready to hook up the last of the cables and be on our way. It is sad to be leaving but we are both now very towy until we get aboard the Spirit of Tasmania. Boarding on the ferry starts at 4:30pm and we are about 45 minutes away from Devonport. The ferry leaves tonight at 7:30pm, and we have to go back to wearing masks. 

Our backpacks have been loaded with the items we need on board overnight, and we will double check before we head out the door and lock up. 

Day 97 – Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Today is the worst travelling day we have experienced for our entire stay in Tasmania. The rain has set in and the clouds are very low. 

We left Bridport with the waves crashing heavily onto the shore at 9:50am, and we arrived at Narawntapu National Park at 12:10pm to be informed that the power was out because a car had crashed into a power pole on the highway. 

We passed four Bennett’s Wallabies on our slow meander into the Park. There are very rigid speed bumps along the entrance road and you could do a great deal of damage to vehicle or van if you were heavy footed. 

It was 12 degrees when we left Bridport, and it got down as low as nine degrees during our travel, and it is now back to ten degrees in the Park and feeling very cool. 

We have detached all the cables from the car, put down the stabilisers, and will leave the van hitched to the car while we are here. It will save a lot of time and trouble when we are ready to head off to Devonport. 

We walked across to the Visitor Centre to pay our $16 site fee in the rain, all rugged up in our heavy duty rain gear, but the office was closed due to the power outage. We will go across again tomorrow as we don’t have to leave until the middle of the afternoon. 

I have filled out electronically all the Patient information required at the specialist so we should be good to go. I received an email in reply saying it had arrived. 

We are parked with another caravan, a camper trailer and a motorhome. The lady in the caravan was the person who told Russ about the power outage. 

Day 96 – Monday, 7 June 2021

Today our dear little great grandson, Xavier, turns one year old. Covid has put a bit of a crimp in the plans for his birthday. 

Russ and I are now slowing down and getting out of the adventure mode and back into everyday mode. 

I knew I should not have finished the dessert yesterday. I paid heavily for it and was sitting up burping last night until after 2:30am before I could lie down and go to sleep. 

It was after 10:00am when I finally woke up. We had a lazy morning listening to the wind howling among the trees while the waves crashed on the shore. 

We had lunch then headed to Scottsdale to fuel the vehicle at the BP Service Station. We have found that we get a better milage from BP fuel in the Navara. 

When we got back, I grabbed a litre of milk from the IGA store in town and then we emptied the cassette ND Russ left me and the two loads of wet washing at the laundry, and returned to pick me up an hour later. 

The wind is still howling, and the surf is still crashing onto the shore. It is a bit colder tonight than it was last night. 

Day 95 – Sunday, 6 June 2021

Noah’s birthday is actually today but my phone has sent out a reminder for the wrong day. We understand he had a great birthday, and his cake was an awesome Minecraft one. 

We slept in this morning again. It rained heavily in the earlier hours of the evening and ther tide was coming into shore with a roar. 

The rain slowed down around 10:00pm but we could hear easily, over the fan,  the surf crashing on the beach. 

This morning it was overcast but clear and the sun came out around lunchtime. Russ and I walked to The Bunker along another section of the Foreshore Esplanade. We were late printing out the diary this week but did it before the walk, and then posted the letters when we strolled past the Post Office. 

We had seafood chowder with toasted sourdough bread and it was very tasty. Russ preferred this one to the other we had at the Pondering Frog. It didn’t have quite as much capsicum in it and a lot more chunks of tasty fish as well as seafood. 

The dessert I had was very ordinary – slow cooked meringue with banana, lemon curd and passionfruit compote, plus ice-cream. It was way too many different tastes with one thing overpowering the other as you ate it. I should have put it to the side and left it, but I hate wasting food, especially dessert, and especially if I have had to pay for it. 

Russ had the sticky fig pudding with cream and ice-cream and enjoyed it. 

We walked back to the van (a total distance of the round trip 3 kilometres). It started to rain heavily shortly after we had changed out the cassette and dumped it and the garbage and recyclables. 

Day 94 – Saturday, 5 June 2021

Happy birthday, Noah. 

The weather here today is very unpleasant. It is grey, overcast and very windy with rain expected. It is not weather conducive to washing. 

We will need to print out the diary today as we did not get it done on Thursday. Sorry about that ladies. 

Mary and Colin Munro have been following our adventure and Mary messaged me to say she enjoyed the lost phone episode. She went on to tell me about her episode of trying to open the wrong white Toyota with Colin standing a few cars away shaking his head. 

We have had a late breakfast and will upload the new pics and blog shortly after printing them. We also have to print out our permission permits to come back to Victoria so we have them available with our tickets to get onto the ferry on Tuesday evening. 

Last night I sent some of our photographs with the eagle, falcon, wombat, Cape Barren geese and a bumblebee from the previous day’s photos to Stef via email. Noah was so excited to be going to see the wombat. 

Stef has also asked if she could have a copy of one of the bumblebee shots to print and frame for her lounge room wall. I told her she could have her pick of the photos when we get back to Victoria and am happily humbled by her request. 

The caravan has had a thorough cleaning – shower, en-suite, floors and mats. We are lucky to be on a lawn area so sand and rocks (little pebbles) have been kept to a minimum. 

We have been recommended to try a meal at The Bunker (part of the local RSL Club) while we are in Bridport so hope to be going out tonight. 

Melbourne really upset the Brisbane Lions last night and has had a remarkable effect on the Mallee CMA Footy Tipping contest of which we are members. Russ is doing very well, but slipped from second to third overnight. Stef is up with the leaders and Jeannie and I are middle of the field. 

Day 93 – Friday, 4 June 2021

We have only five more days to go before we arrive back in Victoria. I must admit that neither of us are looking forward to coming back during a Covid crisis, but thems the breaks. 

What a magnificent day we have had. The sun shone all day although the temperature did not rise above 14 degrees. We headed out after breakfast and showers and travelled along the other side of Bridport on the B82 road before turning off onto the C832 road. 

We travelled through lots of trees and they were interspersed with irrigation paddocks, cattle, sheep and lots of farmland. The number of houses during this period of travel were few and far between. Tasmania is an amazing place when you leave the main roads. There is just so much space. Most of this track was on 4WD gravel so Russ enjoyed it immensely, however there are only so many photos of trees and fields you can take before it becomes very repetitious. 

When we reached the little mining town of Pioneer we took a break and had some lunch before moving on headed up the furthest section of the B82 towards Gladstone which is a small timber town. 

However, once we got onto the C844 heading towards Cape Portland the magic of the day began. We saw and photographed white bellied sea eagles, wedge-tailed eagles (one of which sat at the top of a tree about 15 metres from us in the car), numerous Cape Barren geese, a falcon, and blessed of all, a wombat about five metres from us in the car. We were so chuffed with our unexpected good fortune that we practically flew ourselves back to the park. 

We took a slight detour on the way back to investigate Tomahawk on the shores of Ringarooma Bay and found it to be somewhat depressing. There is a caravan park, a long way from the township of houses, with a large number of annuals and permanents. The houses in the township (of which we could not find anything other than a General Store at the caravan park) were all perched atop what appeared to be dunes but there was no way to get to the ocean at all. The toilet block was locked and only opened on weekends and public holidays, 

We got back to the van in time to watch the tide coming into our little beach area and Russ had his afternoon SCAN. 

Tomorrow the weather is expected to be somewhat unpleasant so we will have a catch up day in the van. 

Day 92 – Thursday, 3 June 2021

I did two loads of washing first thing this morning and hung them out on the line to dry. It was 16 degrees today at Bridport, and although the clothes were in direct sunlight, they were still fairly damp when we got back to the van. I then washed the towels and after tea I took everything and placed them in the dryer. Russ drove me over there as it was too dark, and much too far to walk with a heavy load. I took my book with me, my money, my torch and the code to get into the laundry. 

There is a light inside on a timer switch. It was just as well I took the ereader which is backlit as the damn light kept turning off, and there was only one of them near the door. I was seated around the corner near the dryers, and it was frustrating. When the dryer was finished, and I was folding the clothes I had to hold my torch in my teeth so I could see what I was doing. Russ had a bit of a chuckle about that when I rang him to say I was finished, and he came back to pick me up. 

Today we went for a drive of 157 kilometres with a stop at Bridestowe Lavender Estate. We purchased some oil, a heat bag, some lotion, and we had lavender scones with jam and cream for lunch. It was a very interesting stop. 

Bridestowe Lavender Estate is Australia’s oldest and largest lavender farm. It has a Mediterranean climate of cool wet winters and warm dry summers. The lavender plants rely on natural rainfall of up to 900 millimetres per year.  

In early winter the plants enter their dormant phase, and at this time selected paddocks are replanted using healthy root stock. An average of four hectares is replanted annually. 

The curved rows follow the natural contours of the land, which facilitates drainage and reduces soil erosion. 

Hand weeding takes place in spring when the lavender is budding. There are over 650,000 plants on the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. 

During the flowering period in December bees are brought onto the farm to pollinate the flowers, which sets the seed. Greater seed set produces better oil yields. 

French Lavender seeds were brought from England by CK Denny, a London perfumer. He selected Lilydale in Northeast Tasmania to launch a test site due to the climatic similarities of traditional native lavender growing areas. He named the property Bridestowe after the birthplace of his wife in Southwest England. 

After much trial and error he tasted success in 1924 when his first large scale distillation was sent to London for analysis, and tests showed it to be equal in quality to French lavender oil. During the following seven years he developed new harvesting and steam distillation technology which increased efficiency and purity of the oil product. 

CK’s son, Tim was a decorated war hero. In 1947 he launched pioneering research and identified the best five lavender clones from the original farm. By planting cuttings at the new farm in Nabowla, taken from the original farm at Lilydale, Bridestowe Estate is able to quickly populate rootstock, and this method of propagation is still used today. 

In 1950 the Lilydale site is phased out and production increased at Nabowla. Bridestowe Lavender Estate became the main supplier of lavender to major perfumeries worldwide, in particular Yardley’s of London. 

By 1981 Bridestowe Estate produced 15% of the world’s supply of fine lavender oil. After 67 years of Denny family ownership Tim Denny retired and the farm was sold in 1989. After 18 years of being passed between corporate owners and under invested, the Estate was in a poor state of repair. In 2007 the farm finally returns to the Denny family where it receives the focus and attention it deserves. 

It is now a thriving concern and is considered one of Tasmania’s top tourist attractions, It welcomes thousands of overseas travellers each year. 

When we left Bridestowe, very replete we might add, we continued on our journey on the B81 road (sealed) until we came to the C824 road (also sealed) after passing through Lilydale. 

This road brought us back to the A3 Tasman Highway, which was an alternate route that Google Maps suggested when coming from St Helen’s. And we thank all our guardian angels that we didn’t take this one either. It climbed through narrow and winding roads up to 622 metres. The scenery was superb, but we would not have been able to enjoy it while towing the van. At some points along the road the vehicle was over the middle line while navigating the bends. With a caravan attached it would be a nightmare. 

Day 91 – Wednesday, 2 June 2021

A much slower day today as we recovered from yesterday’s long journey. We took our time for breakfast and showers then had an early lunch before heading to Scottsdale, where we got groceries from Woolworths rather than shopping at the IGA but couldn’t find our raspberry and pear cake. Russ dislikes Woollies sultana cake and there is no Coles store anywhere in the district. He settled on Banana Cake instead. We also refuelled the vehicle. 

At Scottsdale in the ANZAC Memorial Park there is another tree sculptured much in the same vein as at Legerwood. It does not name the artist but to my untutored eye it looks like another of Eddie Freeman’s work. 

The main placard states the marble cenotaph is erected in honour of all prisoners of war, and asks that their suffering may never be forgotten, and in honour of all fallen comrades. 

The lights at the cenotaph are in memory of Clarence Charles Heazlewood (called Jim) who was born on 19 January 1910, the 7th son of Arthur and Marion (nee Tulloch) of Hatherleigh Farm in Springfield, five kilometres south of Scottsdale. 

Jim joined the Australian Infantry in Mackay, North Queensland, on 26 May 1940 and was killed in action at Elgazahalla in North Libya on 7 April 1941. He was buried at Elpiete, then re-buried at Acroma in the Cyrenaica War Cemetery in January 1953. 

The land that the Memorial Park occupies was once owned by Jim’s grandfather, Thomas Diprose Heazlewood, who was one of the first pioneers in Scottsdale. The lights and plaque were donated by Jim’s niece, Bonnie. 

The carved tree is in honour of all those who have served Australia in wartime and represents Australia’s involvement in World War 2 and Vietnam. Lest We Forget. 

Each carving on the tree represents: 

Soldier with the M60 machine gun is typical of an infantry soldier of Vietnam from 1962 – 1973. 

Nurse – the important role that nurses played in all wars. 

Sailor – the role played by the Navy in transporting troops and supplies, providing supporting fire for the armed forces and control of the ocean. 

Pilot – the role of the air force in all wars. 

Soldier – the vast role of the army in all wars. 

Helicopter – a reminder of how warfare changed since World War 2 and Korea, and they were used extensively in Vietnam for transport of troops and supplies and providing valuable fire support. 

Spitfire Aeroplane – fighter plane of World War 2. 

Cannon – old weapons used for fighting wars. 

Flag – our forces fought for flag and country. 

After we got back from Scottsdale, we headed pout on a two-kilometre walk along the foreshore. The entire Foreshore Walk encompasses eleven kilometres of walking track which is broken up into four different sections, so you don’t have to do everything at once. It was a very pleasant stroll with information boards about Bridport’s History along the way. 

Towards the end of the day the weather turned very grey, but it was not too cold, and we had rain overnight, so it was lovely to listen to it falling on the roof. A very nice drop for Tasmania who have recorded one of their driest autumns this year but are expecting a cold and wet winter. We have enjoyed the weather for our trip so can have no complaints at all.