It was grey and overcast this morning when we got up so Russ has got his wish. He says, and I agree, it is much easier to navigate the roads without the constant interaction of light and shadow that makes seeing the surface of the road so difficult. It is nowhere near as cold as previous mornings, and the cloud cover probably has a lot to do with the conditions.
Our idea of starting our travels a bit later is that the extra half hour or so will have some good impact on any patches of ice or frost should we come across any. By taking the longer route we have cut out most of the dangerous sections.
We were all packed up and ready to leave just before the 10:30 time mark and we have turned on the GPS tracker as well as Google Maps to see us on our way. The Navman in the car is not always reliable when you are towing a caravan, plus the Google Maps show indications of roadworks ahead. Of which there were seven sections for the whole journey.
St Mary’s Pass is the only section of road we travel on this route that is extremely narrow and winding. It climbs up to 295 metres at its highest point, a much more pleasant ride than the 900 metres above sea level if we went on the A3 through Weldborough, Derby and Scottsdale.
We did have one vehicle stop coming from the opposite direction which stopped and let us around the corner first, and we stopped for a large truck coming in the opposite direction to let it get around a corner first. Apart from those episodes it was mostly plain sailing (or driving) after we passed through St Marys the township, and the sun came out intermittently for the rest of the day.
We had lunch at a roadside stop just before Avoca and our turn onto the Midlands Highway (A3) heading towards Launceston. The highway passes at the side of Launceston and bypasses Perth completely so there was some traffic, but it wasn’t an unpleasant avalanche of cars and trucks.
On the other side of Launceston, we turned onto the A8 which is the East Tamar Highway and goes all the way up to George Town. We turned off just before then onto the B82 which is the Bridport Main Road. For a B road it was in very good condition as it is used by the trucks carrying timber out of the area. We passed 15 trucks the size of B doubles, and two trucks without the extra carriageway attached. They are biiig monsters and the idea of having to pass one on the Scottsdale Road while towing a caravan is the idea of nightmares.
We arrived At Bridport four hours after we left from St Helens and travelled 259 kilometres. The length of the travel was definitely compensated by the lack of more stress. Russ and the vehicles did good!
Bridport Caravan Park is beautiful. We were able to pick which spot we would like to stay in and when you open the caravan door you can see the waves rushing to shore just down the rise. From our camp spot we can see the remains of the Old Pier, which was built in 1916. It was the terminus of the 28 kilometre Forester to Bridport Tramway, which brought sawn timber to the port for shipment to Melbourne during 1913 – 35.
The pier was partially burned by arsonists in 1938 and finished off by another fire in 1941. The only remnant that remains is the posts in the sea which supported the walking surface of the peir.
The town is a fairly large centre, just 53 kilometres from George Town and 20 kilometres from Scottsdale. The population of Bridport is 1.715 people, and it rests on the shores of Anderson Bay.
During the spring and summer, it apparently explodes with wildflowers and visitors who come to see them. However, they assure us it is a perfect spot to visit all year round. It receives more sunshine than the rest of Tasmania and has spectacular views of Anderson Bay.
Bridport takes its name from the town of the same name in Dorset, England. The local council is called the Dorset Council.
On the way here, about 12 kilometres before Bridport, we passed a place called Bowood, which is the oldest building in northeast Tasmania. It is a handsome Georgian stone, brick and pit sawn timber dwelling and was built in 1938.
The building team comprised of an ex-convict carpenter and an American stonemason who had deserted from his sealing ship. Unfortunately, the house is not open to the public and is owned by a local potato farmer who purchased it in 2005 for the princely sum of $7.75 million. Obviously, there is good money in potato farming!
The coast is full of nooks and crannies that hide white sand beaches, and there are plenty of coastal parks for picnics and BBQs. There are also many bushland nature walks, and we are looking forward to doing some of them while we are here.
Apparently, Bridport is a golf town which boasts the finest public golf course in Australia. In fact, Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course is considered one of the best golf courses in the world. It is clearly understood that when you come here you will visit the reserves around town which contain natural treasures such as waterfalls, sand-dunes, wildlife, birdlife and jaw-dropping coastal views. Time will tell.
Just down the road from Bridport is the Bridestowe Lavender Estate, 265 acres of manicured lavender fields and beautiful gardens. That’s another one we will call into see.
The following is a brief history of Bridport and surrounds.
In 1798 Bass and Flinders passed along the coast where the modern township now lies during their exploration of the Tasmanian coastline.
In 1830 Thomas Lewis, a surveyor, explored the area and became the first European to travel through the district. The first European settlers were Andrew and Janet Anderson who were granted 1,800 acres at Barnbougle in 1833, and Anderson Bay is named after them.
Two years later in 1835 Peter Brewer was granted 500 acres upon which he built the impressive Bowood (the one does not open to the public).
In 1836 James Scott (Scottsdale is named after him) surveyed the future town but it was another 30 years before any of the surveyed land was sold.
By the late 1830s the Chinese Tin Miners had arrived in the area.
In 1855 a jetty was built and continued to operate until it was pulled down in 1917.
In 1859 after blocks of land were sold, a policeman arrived in the district.
In 1869 Lewey Richardson discovered gold at Waterhouse (now Waterhouse Conservation Area to the northeast of Bridport), but the goldrush was shortlived as the area was exhausted by 1875.
In 1875 tin was discovered inland from Bridport which turned the small settlement into a busy port, and in 1876 Captain William Henry Jones built The Forester Inn which sold anything and everything.
In 1889 the economy of Bridport collapsed when the railway line between Scottsdale and Launceston opened.
In 1911 the Forester Timber Mill was opened, and 20 kilometres of railway line and two jetties were constructed to transport the timber. By the 1920s Bridport had become a very popular holiday destination and was called the ‘Riviera of the North Coast’.
The Forester Timber Mill closed down in 1930, and in 1940 a jetty was built near the bridge across the Brid River.
In 1947 Fish Canneries of Tasmania established a processing factory in town.
Today Bridport mixes tourism with fishing. It is also the centre of major scallop, boat building, trout breeding and lobster industries.
By comparison Scottsdale has a population of 2,373 people. It has very fertile soil, a mild climate and plentiful rain, and its industries include potato farming, dairy farming, pine plantations, poppy cultivation and mining.
We look forward to our week of investigating the area more fully.