Stanley

We’re getting ready to move to the south of the Island, but before we go, thought we’d better take a look at Stanley which is on the west side of the north coast.

Stanley is a little holiday hamlet located on a small peninsula joined to the Island by a slim thread of land. Atop the peninsula sits a huge rock mass, an extinct volcano, know as ‘the nut’. No-one knows for sure how it came to be known as ‘the nut’, but the general consensus is that the rock mass was originally known as ‘the head’, and the slang term for head – ‘nut’, was adopted. Anyway, ‘the nut’ it is.

We headed towards Stanley on Sunday, and spent the first night in a free site camped near a town called Penguin. The next morning it was pouring down and luckily we hadn’t unhitched so were saved from a complete drenching.

We’ve stayed the last two nights at Rocky Cape Tavern and Caravan Park. At $16 a night for a large site with power, water and the use of the ablutions, and located only a short drive from Stanley, it’s perfect. There’s always complaints about Grey Nomads supposedly wanting places to stay for nothing. Speaking for ourselves this is not the case. We have no objection to paying for facilities that make our lives easier. It’s the jumping pillows and children’s playgrounds and associated high insurance costs that bump fees up, and make camping sites smaller – this we object to. If it’s a choice between a free site, and a place with a jumping pillow and playground at $40+ dollars a night, you’d have to be a mug not to park in the free spot. A reasonable place for a reasonable price is all we ask for…..

Time to stop band-standing and get on to the subject of Stanley. With a population of less than 500 Stanley is a very small place. It’s oldest houses are on the eastern side and in the shadow of ‘the nut’, with a small additional spread of slightly newer houses south of ‘the nut’. ┬áMost of the very old houses are now being used as bed and breakfast accommodation or some other form of holiday accommodation. I imagine the population would easily swell to several thousand during the holiday season, as well as coach loads of tourists popping in for daytime visits. To cater for these tourists theres some lovely little shops in the town, including an excellent providore who supplies really good fruit, sour dough bread amongst other things. Trust us to find any supplier of excellent bread….

Apart from a small street of interesting little shops we did a visit to Highfield Historic Farm (ok – but not up to the standard of similar places in the UK), and we took the chairlift to the top of the nut and walked the 45minute circuit with views in all directions. All very nice, but for us that was virtually Stanley in a nutshell. Warmer weather could have seen us perhaps attempting to get a foot into the water, and I’m sure during a hot spell here the two beautiful beaches below ‘the nut’ would have beckoned. Coming from WA though, I doubt there will be many spells hot enough to get us dipping more than our big toe into any water that’s not in a warm bath tub.

One of the beaches dwarfing the small hamlet of Stanley.

One of the beaches dwarfing the small hamlet of Stanley.

We ventured past Stanley today to some famous Tassie gardens south of Smithton, Allendale Gardens and rainforest. They are beautiful.

They have tea rooms in which they only sell Devonshire teas (or coffee), so, of course, we couldn’t pass a good Devonshire tea by. And I’m pleased we didn’t. Tables set with pretty table clothes, pan flute music in the background, a lovely china pot of tea with dainty tea cups, and lovely light scones served with home made blackberry jam, and whipped cream. Both the Devonshire tea and the ambience were delightful.

Pretty Allendale Gardens.

Pretty Allendale Gardens.

Then the walk through the gardens. I don’t know how many acres were there, but it was all tastefully divided into different types of gardens, winding backwards and forwards over bridges across a meandering stream. Their idea in creating the garden was above all to create tranquility. They achieved their desire admirably. Not only were there rose gardens, fern gardens, pretty flower beds and exotic trees everywhere, but they also had dozens of peacocks and peahens everywhere, including white peacocks. Further on from the pretty flower garden rooms a well worn track wound it’s way through rainforest, and a eucalyptus forest.

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In amongst the forest walk they had established a cute little ‘fairy garden’. Fairy ornaments aren’t usually something that appeals to me, but hidden in little nooks amongst towering trees and ferns, and moss covered fallen logs, it was very appealing, and something I may include in my own garden one day.

Tomorrow we’ll head back to Launceston for a final catch up with family before heading to the south of the Island to catch up with friends before our trip to the UK. That’s now less than four weeks away, so we’re getting excited.

Pictures from Bay of Fires, and Pub in the Paddock

After Bicheno we travelled up to the Bay of Fires and camped a night. Gorgeous, but the sand was very boggy so walking on the beach was difficult. For us, beach walks are the main purpose of being at a beach, so nice to look at, but not so great for any long time stays on this occasion. We will give it another try another time, perhaps different tides will compact the beach for better walking.

Bay of Fires.

Bay of Fires.

Next on for our night at the Pub in the Paddock. A fabulous ‘pub grub’ meal at a reasonable price. No new calves to be seen on the way there though.

'The Pub'.

‘The Pub’.

In the Paddock.

In the Paddock.

And us camped there - what a gorgeous view out the back window.

And us camped there – what a gorgeous view out the back window.

We then moved up to Beauty Point on the North West side of the Tamar River and have been here for a week. Kelv has been staying here, so we’ve spent this week with him. We’ve enjoyed his company, and I think he’s enjoyed a week of being looked after by the ‘Jiffy Van’. For those of you who aren’t aware of what a ‘Jiffy Van’ is – Jiffy vans are mobile lunch shops that visit industrial areas in Perth. He’s now had all his clothes washed, and has had a week of home cooked meals, which I’m sure he’s appreciated as he’s been working 11 – 12 hour days. Once a mother, always a mother eh!

The orchard he’s working at is now letting him move his caravan onto the farm so as they can have an older person there supposedly keeping the younger tent back- packers under control. I wish them luck with that, he’s more likely to lead them astray than keep them under control, LOL!!!! He’s moved there today.

Next for us is a visit to Stanley on the North Coast.

Land of milk & honey, and apples & blackberries

We’re currently on the East Coast staying at Bicheno. Bicheno is a lovely little coastal holiday town with the prettiest of beaches.

We’ve taken several road trips from here, North, South and East. The coast line both north and south is equal to any I’ve seen on the mainland, perhaps with the exception of Broome’s Cable Beach, and the beaches nearby to Broome. The drawback though of course is that Broomes beaches are tropical and easy to swim in. We’re yet to venture into the waters here, although today we were tempted. Tomorrow maybe if it’s as hot as it was today.

A few days ago we took a drive North to St Helens, and then East towards Bridport. Leaving the coast and heading inland was like driving into a totally different country. The road twisted and turned up and down steep hills with cool rain forest on either side. The tree ferns were huge, and lush, and green, and at least rivalled those in Northern Queensland for beauty. When the rain forest stopped, the greenest pastures took their place.

We drove in to a famous Tasmanian pub, ‘The Pub in the Paddock’, and yes it’s just that, a pub in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a huge paddock. We had a drink there whilst enquiring about camping options. It seems free camping is common in the field at the side of the pub providing one has a fully self contained vehicle. The field looks out onto beautiful hilly pasture land. So, next week we’ve promised ourselves a night there after we leave here.

On the way back to the main road we called into the Pyengana Dairy to sample some cheese and home made ice cream. The cheese was delicious so we bought two types, and we each bought a leather-wood honey flavoured ice cream. It really did have undertones of both leather and wood – and was really nice and very different. I don’t know if Leather-wood honey is available elsewhere in the world, or on the mainland. If it is I’ve never noticed it. It seems to be a bit iconic here.

Then, almost one of the best ‘almost experiences’. Across the road from the dairy a few people had gathered to watch the cows in a field, so we wandered across with our ice creams to see what was so special about a field of cows. It turned out to be a small paddock which seemed to be set aside for calving, and a calf had just arrived. The cow was cleaning it as it tried to find it’s feet. We watched it for nearly an hour as it struggled to it’s feet, only to give a bit of a drunken stagger towards the teats and topple down again. And then, another cow came up to within a couple of metres of the fence and went into a very zoned out state. It was clear another calf was about to make it’s entrance to the world.

We watched as each contraction hit the cow and rippled from her front legs, across her belly and she haunched her back legs in giving a bit of a push. Myself and another lady laughed when we realised we both tensing up and pushing along with her. We watched for around an hour, but we had such a long drive ahead of us and there was no way of knowing how close the birth was going to be, so sadly we had to leave. The new born had found it’s feet, but hadn’t quite found the teat yet, so seeing a calf have it’s first meal, and witnessing an unborn calf be born wasn’t to be for us that day. Paul had to almost leave without me…. I so wanted to stay.

Anyway, we’re going back that way again next week, and if any new calves are as obviously on their way into the world, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to witness the whole thing.

I’ve spoken about the milk and honey. Now about those apples and blackberries. We went for a walk along a beach walking track yesterday. Growing on public land next to the track was an apple tree full of ripe apples, just hanging there waiting to be picked. So, we took just one each to munch on as we walked along. It was sweet, crisp and juicy. We had no sooner finished that when we came across heaps of blackberry brambles choc-a-bloc full of plum, ripe blackberries. We picked a hand full each to nibble as we walked along.

Things like blackberries and apples on public land aren’t unusual here. It’s amazing. Tomorrow I’m heading back to the apple tree and will pick enough for a few days.

Tassie is getting a reputation for being a ‘foodies Island’. It doesn’t disappoint.

Wineglass Bay work-out

Kelvin joined us at Deloraine caravan park and we spent almost a week there together. We did a little bit of touring in between his job hunting. On one of the days we took a trip up to Cradle Mountain and did the 2 – 3 hour hike around Dove Lake, a pleasant walk, but unpleasant reminder of how unfit I’ve become.

Kelvin has now found work driving a tractor in an apple orchard in the Tamar Valley, so has settled himself in at the Beauty Point Caravan Park. Having spent the past month or so catching up with friends and family, we’re now ready for some ‘us time’, time to do some touring, hiking and exploring this lovely little Island.

We left Deloraine for the East Coast yesterday and have booked into a caravan park in Bicheno. Bicheno is well situated for us to explore the full East Coast, so we’ll spend the next eight nights here.

The Hazards  at Freycinet National Park (rocky hills)

The Hazards at Freycinet National Park (rocky hills)

We started our exploring today with a repeat of a hike that we did 20 years ago, over the Hazards at Coles Bay to the look out onto Wineglass Bay. My heart and lungs certainly had a good work out, and perhaps my muscles will groan a bit tomorrow. It was worth it. The day was a glorious 20┬║, and I’m pleased to say we managed the walk in the recommended time of 1 1/2 hours. I’m also pleased to say even though it was tough, it wasn’t as tough as Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain was, even though it was supposed to be a harder walk. We have been walking a bit since then, so I guess it’s paying off. The ambience and the view from the look-out was superb.

View of Wine Glass Bay

View of Wine Glass Bay

The most comfortable seat in the middle of nowhere.

The most comfortable seat in the middle of nowhere.

Next was a short walk over the rocks at Honeymoon Bay.

Pretty Honeymoon Bay

Pretty Honeymoon Bay

Then a third walk which although short was quite challenging to a little place called Sleepy Bay. Had to call it quits for the day though after this one – I was knackered!

Lichen covered granite at Sleepy Bay

Lichen covered granite at Sleepy Bay

It was a lovely day.