Category Archives: Australia – Tasmania 2021

Commencing on the 6 March to sometime in June 2021 when we return home

Day 81 – Sunday, 23 May 2021

We had intended to do the historic walk around Bicheno today, but Russ woke up with a migraine, had his breakfast, took some more medication, and went back to sleep for a while to see if he could get rid of it. 

It is another beautiful day with the temperature getting to 19 degrees. The breeze is mild but nippy. 

I hung the washing out on the line first thing this morning as I had washed the towels and clothes last night. I had a lazy day reading until the Pies game started at 3:40pm after cutting the steak for the casserole and turning on the slow cooker. 

The Pies put up a gutsy effort for a change and went down to Port Adelaide by a point. Apparently, Eddie Maguire was hosting a group of Americans who had come to watch the game, and the match was terrific so they shouldn’t have gone away too disappointed with the spectacle of Aussie Rules Football. 

All the clothes had dried on the line except for the mat, and the casserole was tasty and tender to eat. Neither Russ nor I are enjoying Tasmanian potatoes and are looking forward to some real tatties when we get back to Victoria. 

Did I mention previously that there are no emus in Tasmania? I have meant to do so on several occasions but then forgot. The early settlers hunted them to extinction as a meat product. 

The Caravan Park has been very quiet for the last couple of days, and we are the only van on site. 

Day 80 – Saturday, 22 May 2021

We went out to explore all the beaches and Conservations Areas for today’s excursion. We went as far south as the Mayfield Bay Conservation Area which is past Swansea. It was a beautiful sunny day with the temperature reaching 19 degrees, The Weather Gods have been very kind to us for most of this trip, and we won’t complain about the couple of insipid days we had. 

Cressy Beach is just around the corner from Webber Point, on the southern side, south of Swansea. It is about 500 metres long and is part of the Cressy Beach Coastal Reserve. Vehicle access is off the A3 Tasman Highway and it has a picnic area at the south end of the beach itself. It receives waves up to a metre in height, and usually has two rips flowing across the sand bar. It is an unpatrolled beach, so swimmers are on their own if they get into trouble. As you round the bend in the walking track you can hear the surf as it thunders onto the beach. It is a very pretty area. We didn’t get to see any of the migrating whales which are often sighted along this beach, but we have been told it is very early in the migration season. As you look out across the water you can see the outline of Freycinet National Park. 

Our next stop was Spiky Beach Conservation Area, and it is another Tassie gem with pristine sand and bright blue water, although the surf is not as loud as we heard at Cressy. There were no whales passing by here either, but the landscape is stunning. The beach is part of the Great Oyster Bay area. 

Just a tad down the road we come to Spiky Bridge. It’s another convict bridge, but it is really cool. The top of the bridge walls has the rocks pointing upwards, hence its name. The sides of the walls are very low. Apparently, there is no actual history of why the rocks point sharply to the sky, but some of the theories are that it is set in the lime mortar to strengthen it, or at was made spiky to keep the cattle from falling over the sides, or another has it that it is an idiosyncrasy of the surveyor and civil engineer, Laferelle, who was the Assistant Superintendent at Rocky Hills Probation Station. 

It was built by convicts in 1843 and it abruptly pops out of the landscape as you approach it, and unless you stop to investigate, it just baffles the passers-by with its odd design. The bridge is no longer in use and there is a car park on the roadside for everyone who wants a closer inspection. 

It was made from field stones laid without mortar or cement except for the actual top of the railings. There are also remains of the governor’s cottage on the hill overlooking the bridge, but we couldn’t see anything. 

The bridge was built to connect two small, but burgeoning districts, Swansea and Little Swanport. Workers were not in abundant supply in the area until the Rocky Hills Probation Station was constructed in 1841. 

The construction of the bridge was approved after a local man, Edward Shaw, gave the prison superintendent, Major de Gillern, a ride home over the barely kept road, apparently at some speed which made for an extremely uncomfortable ride, and prompted the initiation of building of the crude bridge. It was constructed with little but a small stone arch at the bottom to allow water to pass beneath it. 

Our last stop was at the Mayfield Bay Conservation Area, which is a free camping spot and has thunder boxes and a picnic area. It is first come who gets the spots available, and when we arrived, we were amazed at how many people were making use of the area. Campers can stay for up to four weeks before they have to move on. 

A thin row of vegetation separates the campground from the long sandy beach area, and the crashing of the waves on the beach is very relaxing. This beach is another that runs along Great Oyster Bay and has a large population of black swans, although we didn’t see them there. 

We took the short stroll along the walking track to find another hidden gem, Three Arch Bridge on Old Man’s Creek, upon which the new highway has been built over the top. 

This is another convict bridge, built in 1845, and hidden from the highway itself. It shows the workmanship of the convict labourers which is seen in so many of the bridges in Tasmania.  

During the probation station period a vegetable garden was established up Old Man’s Creek, and Mayfield was the site of a brick making works. The red bricks were used in the construction of the station buildings and both road and bridge construction. For a long time, Mayfield Beach was known as Brickmaker’s Beach. 

The Mayfield Bay Conservation Area encompasses 26.4 hectares, approximately 5 kilometres of coastline from the Mayfield Jetty to Freeman’s Beach in the north. 

When we finished the beaches, we turned around and headed back towards Bicheno (pronounced Bitch-en-o by the locals who say the way to remember it is the bitch you know, or the bitch you don’t know) and stopped for lunch at The Pondering Frog Café. 

Russ and I both ordered the seafood chowder and garlic bread on the side, and the bowl was so big and full that I began top wonder if I could finish it all. I soldiered on and did so, lol. The chowder was thick and creamy, full of pieces of fish, small strips of calamari, scallops, mussels, corn, peppers and potatoes – yummo! 

We finished off the meal with ice-cream, as it is also an ice-creamery. I had the passionfruit ice-cream in a cup and Russ had the mixed berries in a cone. They were very tasty. 

Our host was Lester who is a very proud Tasmanian and a font of information about the area. He kept producing tourist maps of the local areas and circling the walks, waterfalls and other item of scenic interest. It didn’t take him long to realise we were not the least bit interested in the wineries so ventured onto other delights we could explore. 

We bought a small bottle of Blueberry Fortified Wine, much like a liqueur, and we had a taste of the black current one, but it was only available in a big bottle. He had the most amazing collection of frogs I have ever seen. Unfortunately, they were made in China, so I gave them a miss. 

The ride back to Bicheno was far too short as I was still eating my ice cream while Russ drove. By the time we made it back the temperature was already starting to fall. It is not as cold as last night, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it got very nippy in the morning. And, just to confuse all of us, the heater worked when Russ turned it on last night. Not sure how long it will continue this time so we shall see. 

Day 79 – Friday, 21 May 2021

We set the alarm to get up with the sparrows. Well, not really, but it sounded good. 

The alarm went off at 8:00am. Russ says there was a very annoying whizz-bang making an awful racket until after 11:00pm last night, but I heard nothing. 

He also said that I twitched for a good part of the night, and I know nothing about that either. I thought I had a good night’s sleep. 

To add insult to injury he says that when I finished twitching, he started. So, obviously, he didn’t get a good night’s sleep at all. 

We left Triabunna at 9:35 am and arrived at Bicheno at 11:15am. There were a couple of interesting moments along the way, especially the narrowness of the road where roadworks were set up with lots of equipment and barriers. 

The Seaview Holiday Park in Bicheno covers several terraces and has a good view of the sea and the bay. It only has room for eight vans in powered and water sites, a larger area for tenting and lots of cabins and backpacker accommodation. The driveways, however, need quite a bit of attention. They are gravel with a lot of wash out and corrugations, which made for some Kodak moments while Russ was reversing down the hill to our site. 

Once we had set up the van, we had lunch. Breakfast was but a memory from the tight concentration during the drive, but I didn’t need to reach for my non-existent brake pedal. 

I did two loads of washing and got them out on the clothesline, which is just a hop, skip and jump out the back from our site. We posted the letters of the diary excerpts in Bicheno and grabbed some groceries while we were at it. The apples that Russ got are very big and look delicious. 

Bicheno looks like an interesting town with some history from colonial days. There is also a walking trail which we will do later on.  

Bicheno was named after ‘James Ebenezer Bicheno’ who was born in County Berkshire in England in 1785. In 1843, he was sent out to Van Diemen’s Land to take up the position of Colonial Secretary. 

The first permanent white settlement in the area was made at Apsley (now Apslawn and is a colonial bed and breakfast just before Bicheno) in 1826, by William Lyne and his family. 

Before this, sealers and whalers frequented the area. At times during the 1830s and 1840s, up to four whaling stations operated at the ‘Fisheries’, which is now Waub’s Harbour. Ships were bringing in goods for the farmers and whalers and exporting their produce. Whaling was limited to the winter months during migration periods. 

It was the discovery of coal in the 1840s which led to a permanent settlement at Bicheno. The Douglas River Coal Company shipped coal through Waub’s Harbour. Government officials were brought into the area, and support industries were soon established. The mines were ultimately unsuccessful, and closed eventually in 1858, around the same time as the Convict Coal Mine near Port Arthur. 

In the late 19th century, the commercial potential of the fishing grounds off Bicheno began to be recognised, and by the 1930s the industry was well established. 

Bicheno in its early days was fairly isolated by poor roads, and at that time was not seen as a visitor destination. Travellers who wished to come up to this area had to rely on steamer service or rail and coach.  

In the period following WW2 the tourist industry started to take off on the East Coast, and it remains an important part of Bicheno’s economy today. 

The area has many holiday houses, and it appears that there is a fair amount of money in the community. There is also a lot of older people who have retired here by the look of the people we saw when we were down the street. They are all very friendly, as are most of the Tasmanian we have dealt with on our adventure. 

It will be interesting when we embark on our self-guided tour of the town early next week, and the weather forecast is for mid to high teens. 

Day 78 – Thursday, 20 May 2021

It rained overnight here and there was still a splatter of moisture arriving on the ground when we woke up. It cleared fairly quickly, and there was enough blue in the sky that Mum Ferguson would have said it was sufficient material to make a sailor’s bell-bottomed trousers (which was a sign of the weather fining up nicely). And it did – it turned into a beautiful day with the temperature reaching 19 degrees. 

We headed out after breakfast and showers towards Bicheno with the intention of driving some of the 4WD tracks back to Triabunna. We decided to go as far as Bicheno and see where the caravan park was situated before heading back to the 4WDriving. It always makes it easier if you know where you are going with a large caravan on the back. 

The road to Bicheno is flat for the majority of the way but the A3 Tasman Highway needs a lot of work to be done. It is very narrow and winding for the mountainous section, rising to about 200 metres above sea level before coming back down to the coast. In fact, most of the B roads we have travelled here are in better condition and are wider. There were also sections of roadworks, especially in one place where they are replacing an old bridge with a much wider one. 

We went through Swansea where we stayed in the motel the last time we were in Tasmania and the place has expanded enormously. There are new buildings, both houses and businesses, all over the place. Not sure why it has blossomed. 

We pulled over to the roadside for lunch before we headed to the 4WD tracks. And yes, we were on a B road, and it was in excellent condition before we turned off. 

Our 4WD experience was through remnant forest in gazetted Reserves for the most part, and it was beautiful countryside. The air smelled divine with that fresh, loamy, damp smell that you can rarely find in towns, and never in cities. The track rose to a height of 670 metres above sea level, and most of the drive was above the 500-metre mark. 

When we passed some of the foresters doing clean-up work, they looked at us in amazement as though to say, ‘who would choose to come up this road if they didn’t have to?’ We waved as we continued on our merry way. 

Russ enjoyed himself but also said it was probably the most challenging 4WD track we have taken in Tasmania, and the latter section of the track was very rocky, although there were not too may corrugations or potholes. Altogether it was a very enjoyable outing. 

Day 77 – Wednesday, 19 May 2021

It was not too nippy this morning when we woke up. There was plenty of activity around us as all the caravans and motorhomes bustled to be ready to leave before 10:00am. We were the only visiting can still in the park, along with the two permanents. 

We had a lazy sort of day as the sky was overcast for most of it, and the temperature rose to 14 degrees with a stiff, cold breeze. 

Russ downloaded the GPS tracker and it makes a fascinating sight to see them all appear on a map of Tasmania one after the other, in different colours for different days. He also uploaded all the photos and the blog. 

After a late lunch we put our coats on, loaded up with cameras and lens, and took a stroll along the walking track around town, and then onto the Esplanade. It tried very hard to rain but just couldn’t quite get there. 

According to the GPS tracker we walked about 2.5 kilometres and ended up along Mclaines Creek and looking at Dead Man’s Island. 

It is expected to remain overcast tonight and will try to rain again tomorrow according to the weather forecast. Bicheno is wet today but the forecast there for the next week when we will be visiting is for lovely autumn weather. 

Day 76 – Tuesday, 18 May 2021

This morning it was not as cold as it has been, and the temperature climbed to a wonderful sunny 18 degrees.  

The heater didn’t turn on this morning, so Russ has spent some time watching diesel heater videos on YouTube to learn more about them. We have decided that the air conditioner will suffice for the last few weeks in Tasmania as long as we have power and electric blankets. We will replace the whole unit once we get home. 

I did two loads of washing last night so this morning I put up my clothesline and hung the clothes out to dry. They were ready to be folded when we got back to the van later in the afternoon. 

Solly has had her nails clipped and Brett said she behaved herself at the vets but was very talkative in the car all the way home. 

We headed off to the Tasmanian Bushland Garden just south of Buckland after breakfast and showers. It was a marvellous way to spend an autumn day, and the many sculptures displayed along the walks added to the enjoyment. 

The Tasmanian Bushland Gardens is a 20 hectare site which features display gardens and natural bushland with walking tracks. The land was purchased in 2000 and was developed by volunteers with funding from donations and grants. 

Tasmania has over 450 rare, vulnerable or endangered plants, including 30 that are critically endangered. Some plants have already become extinct, mainly through land clearing and habitat destruction. 

The volunteers behind the idea of the gardens is that cultivation of gardens is one way of assisting in these plants survival and to display them for the public may encourage the use of some of the plants at home. 

In the old quarry area are the picnic tables and public facilities, plus several sculptures. 

We had Brian the Dinosaur by James Hanslow and Brian was modelled on a tyrannosaurus rex and an allosaurus. He was made of scrap metal. His tail, head and lower jaw were created using an old kerbside recycling cage, while his teeth are axles from wheelie bins. His shiny teeth are made from an old washing machine drive shaft, his neck spines are garden implements, his backbone is a piece of rail track, and his legs are a combination of steel bars, gate hinges, bus gear levers. His ribs were created using sliced up farm implements while a photocopier chassis forms the tops of his thighs. He was chosen for the garden as his species roamed the landscape at the same time as the dolorite rock around the quarry in the gardens was formed. 

The Eagle has Landed (also by James Hanslow) is an impressive piece that sits atop a large granite boulder. He is made from recycled metal, packing straps, rusty tine for feathers, steel mesh, with wheel brakes for legs and excavator bearings for his eyes. 

Finishing off the ensemble by James Hanslow is the Tasmanian Tiger. The thylacine is a marsupial and Australia’s largest carnivore which hunted smaller mammals. Hunters from the early colony days have reported that their dogs were particularly afraid of this animal, believed too now be extinct. 

As you walk along the pathways among the gardens you can find the Grass Trees by Peter Hodoniczky, made of corten steel. Grass trees only appear on our continent and are a long-lived plant with spectacular long flower spikes. They are resilient to fire and have a special resin that can be used as glue. Two of the Tasmanian species are listed as threatened. 

The Siblings by Dougal Harris is made from Monterey Cypress. Dougal says that in the Nature versus Nurture debate his children attest to him that Nature is the stronger force. The trio of shapes represents his three children and says they arise from the same genetic stock and present so differently in form and textile. 

The Currawong Sculptures were created by Sally Brown but there was no other information available about them. 

The Bush Honey by Damon Wills is created from a Huon Pine log and corten steel. Honeybees were introduced to Australia from Europe in 1822. They commonly make large hives in tree hollows around the Tasmanian bush. Early settlers were keen to find the hives and access the delicious honey. 

The Horseshoe Ball and the Worker’s Ball are both by Bruce Wall. The horseshoe ball honours the time when so much of the travel around Tasmania was by horse, and draft horses did most of the heavy farm work. An early convict road used by the horses runs beside the gardens. 

The Worker’s Ball is a collection of old garden and farm tools, and honours a past time when much of the necessary work was done using hand tools. It also pays tribute to those whose labours with hand tools have been responsible for much of the landscaping in the gardens. 

The Frog Went a Wooing is by Steve Davis. This hoptimistic (a belief that things are better with a good craft beer) frog is constructed mainly from rusty barbed wire recovered from fences burnt in the Copping – Dunalley fire of January 2013. He just hopped out of the pond looking for a mate! 

And last, but not least of the sculptures is the Dragonflies by Mark Watson. These two dragonflies are created from welded rusted steel. The dragonfly symbolises Summer and Autumn which is when you get to see them the most in Tasmania. They were one of the first flying insects to evolve, arriving on the scene about 300 million years ago. They have had a long time to perfect their flying and hunting skills. 

Russ spent quite a bit of time in contemplation and listening for frogs to see if he could get another recording of them. 

We returned via a C road into the hills with a lot more scenery to enjoy. The Old Convict Road at Orford was a bust. You couldn’t drive along it and it is now surrounded by many private properties. 

After tea (salmon and mashed potatoes) Russ downloaded the SD cards from the cameras and I selected the best shots to be displayed on the website. 

Day 75 – Monday, 17 May 2021

I forgot to make an appointment for Solly to have her nails trimmed so I had to do this first thing this morning. 

Russ was feeling a bit down today, so we are having some slow time. I cleaned the floors and mats in the van, spent time typing out the diary, and naming all the photos ready for upload to the website later on. 

Russ has ordered a load of wood to be delivered home on Wednesday. Brett says he is down to four stumps, and he has been unable to make any dint in them with either axe or stump splitter. He will have to wheelbarrow the loads from the driveway after delivery as the truck cannot pass through the cat patio area door (which is a bit low). 

A cold wind is blowing today, along with cloudy spells and bouts of sunshine. We will go down to the IGA later to pick up milk and yoghurt. 

It is interesting to watch the Caravan Park fill up as the afternoon progresses – mostly whizz bangs – and then empty out around 10:00am each day. 

Day 74 – Sunday, 16 May 2021

Happy birthday to Kamila on her first birthday. She is such a pretty little lady. 

Today we set the alarm for 8:00am. We didn’t dally over breakfast and showers and were on our way by 9:15am. We have a big day ahead of us. 

We had intended to take the scenic coastal route but only got as far as the start of the gravel road at Shelley Beach (just south of Orford) when we came to a sign advising us the road ahead was closed because the bridge was out. 

So, we turned back to Orford and took the Wielangta Road track south. Russ thoroughly enjoyed his stint of 4WDriving over gravel roads – the gravel roads in Tasmania are actually in pretty good condition, and the scenery was very pretty. 

We rejoined the tarmac road just before Copping and turned due south through Murdunna and Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula, west on to Taranna, through Mayadena and onto the Saltwater Road until we arrived at the Convict Coal Mines main carpark area, then we had our lunch. 

The Convict Coal Mine Circuit was very interesting. Established in 1883 the Coal Mines site near Lime Bay provided a local supply of coal to the Port Arthur colony, the coal previously having been shipped from NSW. 

The Coal Mine Site was used for 15 years, from 1833 – 48, as a convict probation station. It served as a place of punishment for the ‘worst class’ of convicts from Port Arthur. Re-offending convicts from Port Arthur and elsewhere in Van Diemen’s Land suffered additional hardship under ruthless overseers in this isolated work camp. 

The site is of such cultural significance to Australia and to the World that it has been formally inscribed onto both the Australian National Heritage List and UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2010. 

The circuit is a fascinating and informative stroll through gentle bushland where visitors can roam the ruins without cost or crowds and takes in the most interesting sites including underground cells and many building ruins.  

In the time of the convicts all the vegetation was cleared in order to harvest timber, provide land for gardening, and to allow access for mining. It also made for easier surveillance of the convicts. 

At the peak of the population at the station there were 576 convicts, 27 military personnel, 125 civilians (which included 14 women and 90 children). 

We did not venture out to see the adit and main shaft of the coal mining area itself. 

All that is left above ground of the main settlement are the crumbling sandstone walls of many buildings. Below the site a number of punishment cells provide an unnerving insight into what conditions were like below the surface of the station, 

The site comprises of over 25 substantial ruins as well as the remains of coal mining activities. The Prisoner Barracks ruin was originally two large stone buildings that housed up to 170 convicts within a fenced compound. However, underneath the barracks are the remains of 16 solitary confinement cells which created dark, soundproof and poorly ventilated environments. 

The archeological remains of over 100 Separate Apartment cells built to segregate the convicts at night are also evident. 

There was also a chapel, a hospital, bakery, store and officer’s quarters plus jetties and tram tracks for transporting the coal. 

Visiting the Coal Mine Site is a very different experience from the extremely popular Port Arthur Site which has paid entry, guided tours and crowds in large numbers. Port Arthur Site is Tasmania’s most visited attraction. 

Here at the Coal Mine Site, you can stand quietly in one of the tiny, dark cells and reflect on what it might have felt like to be imprisoned here. It feels more like visiting a remote scenic spot in a National Park than a major historic site, but then you remember the pain and suffering experienced by the men who were sent here to what would have been a grim and harsh place. 

The mines were worked by a method of leaving a column of coal to support the roof of the mine, known as the ‘pillar and stall method’. Winding wheels brought up baskets of coal that were then upturned into carts. A system of inclined tramways utilised the natural hills of the landscape to carry coal from the shafts to the jetties and onto the cargo vessels. 

During the operation of the mine, it produced 60,000 tonnes of coal. 

Men worked for two 8-hour shifts a day in the low, hot, damp tunnels of the mine. 

Other convicts were employed in infrastructure development and the operation of the station. Quarries provided sandstone for buildings, and bricks from local clay were made and fired on site. The quarries still show pick marks where convicts mined and extracted the stone by hand for the buildings. 

A lime kiln still exists and provided lime for the mortar used in the building process. 

Shoes were made on site, and pits used for tanning leather are still evident. 

The Coal Mine Site is significant because of its important role in the anti-transportation debate. The Probation Station became infamous for its immoral activities. The colonial administration and the Tasmanian community considered the place as among the worst penal station for homosexuality. 

The Coal Mines were officially closed as a Probation Station in 1848 on ‘moral and financial grounds’ although the mines continued to be worked privately until 1877. 

On the way back we visited several geological sites of interest.  

Tasman’s Arch is a tall, natural bridge in the sea. It is what is left of the roof of a large sea cave or tunnel and was created by wave action over many thousands of years. This arch will eventually collapse, and another Devil’s Kitchen will be formed. 

The Devil’s Kitchen is a deep trench without an arch that has also been carved out by the waves of the Tasman Sea. The eroding rocks in the area are siltstone. 

The Devil’s Kitchen consists of two hollows on top of each other, resembling a face with a giant maw (neither Russ nor I could see this in the structure). Local legends say that the Natives considered the cave to be inhabited by evil, cannibalistic spirits with soot on the outside (black marks we could see) marking the presence of cooking fires – hence the name. 

We also went to see the Blowhole but found this to be a very disappointing experience as there was no hole where water was forced through from below, just the actions of waves in a confined area. 

However, the Tessellated Pavement was another matter.  

The isthmus connecting the Tasman Peninsula to the rest of Tasmania is covered in a pattern of regular saltwater pools. Although these depressions look distinctly man-made, they are the result of a rare type of natural erosion caused by the salt deposited from the waves. 

Occurring near seacoasts on flat rock which has broken into regular blocks, the effect is known as a tessellated pavement for its resemblance to Roman mosaic floors. It takes two forms. 

The depressions are known as pan formations when the saltwater wears away the centre portion of the stone into pool areas. 

The opposite effect is known as loaf formations when the edges of the stone are worn away leaving a rounded crown that resembles rising bread. 

Tesellated pavement formation is extremely rare and found in only a few places on Earth.  

The geology involved is not related to either The Giant’s Causeway in Ireland or Fingal’s Cave in Scotland, which were formed as basaltic lava cooled and fractured. 

Tesellated pavement occurs as sedimentary rock erodes. 

We took an alternate 4WD track home trough Nugent and Wattle Hill, and then onto the Tasman Highway. This way we avoided having to go through Sorell and heavy traffic and some roadworks. 

We came back to the van for a cuppa, Russ to have his SCAN, and then headed to the Fish Van for tea. Russ chose the Seafood Basket and raved over every mouthful. I had grilled flake with chips, and it was both fresh and tasty. 

We have a very cold breeze blowing but it was mostly sunny for the day. However, when talking to mum on the phone for our weekly catchup it started to rain. The heater is on and working well. 

Day 73 – Saturday, 15 May 2021

Today is the anniversary of our engagement 40 years ago. 

We did print the diary after breakfast and showers, but what a schemozzle we found! We discovered while getting the diary ready for the printer that I had doubled up on one day, so we had to fix the diary before we could print it, and Russ will have to fix the changes in the blog. We posted the letters at the Triabunna Post Office on our travels around the large township of Triabunna.  

The weather was very cold last night so the electric blankets were turned on to warm up the bed, and then turned on again in the early hours of the morning. 

Once all that was done, I changed the sheets and doona, washed them, the towels and the clothes. Russ put the awning up halfway for me so he could attach a clothesline to string out the bed items, and I was able to get the sheets, doona and pillowcases dry in the sun (although with a very cold wind blowing) but the towels and clothes I put into the dryer. It took two hours to dry them properly, so it cost us $10. I also cleaned the ensuite. 

Triabunna is much larger than I remember it to be and has a lot more moneyed people in the community if the large houses and the amount of boats at the marina are anything to go by. 

Collingwood lost to the Swans. I did watch it but only the first half was any good. Lots of work needed to be done with the team – and still no Mason. 

Day 72 – Friday, 14 May 2021

We left Mornington at 10:13am and carefully edged our way down the steep driveway without any problems. I told Russ he was a champion, and thanked all the angels who had been watching over us. 

We managed to negotiate the crossing of the freeway without too much of a hassle, but it is not what I term a safe road in any way, shape or form. 

We encountered lots of roadwork along the way. They are doing major works at Sorell and again further up the Tasman Highway. At least they have lots of overtaking lanes in Tasmania so you don’t feel pressured to speed up with the van so others can do the speed limit. 

Today it is cold and cloudy. It was very nippy last night, and I snuggled into the doonas with the fresh air flowing in from the window. We didn’t even have to open it very far! 

Triabunna is a little caravan park but quite pleasant. We set up without any problems and as soon as I had power and water once again, I caught up with washing three days of clothing. The dryer is $5 but it does go for one hour, so I figure that is fair, and the washing was all dry at the end of the hour. 

The footy (Pies vs Swans) starts at 1:45pm tomorrow so we will print out the diary excerpts first thing in the morning and take a leisurely drive around Triabunna and port them on the way. 

I spent time this afternoon booking into caravan parks for the remainder of our adventure. 

It has, once again, been through some changes from the original schedule: 

Bicheno – Seaview Holiday Park for one week. IN 21/5 and OUT 28/5 – $33 a night 

Then we go to Big 4 St Helens, which is up near the Bay of Fires, and they have a winter deal of Stay 4 and Pay 3.  IN 28/5 and OUT 1/6. 

Bridport (without a ‘g’) Seaside Caravan Park for 8 nights. IN 1/6 and OUT 8/6. We got a winter deal here also. 

Then onto Narawntapu National Park for the last day and night in Tasmania. We will have power but no water here, but the facilities are just across from where we camp. No booking required here so first in, best dressed. When we leave here we will be on our way to Devonport to catch the night ferry back to Melbourne.