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.