This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2000 Travels January 30

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SUNDAY 30 JANUARY     DOVER

The day began grey and continued that way throughout.

We decided to visit the Hastings Caves today. This was supposed to be quite spectacular.

The cave site was about 40 kms from Dover. We took the Huon Highway south, almost to the town of Southport, then took the Hastings road – unsealed – then the Caves Road off that. The road through Hastings is also the access road to points further south, so we would be coming this way again.

We aimed to reach the Caves in time for the 12.15 tour. One must do the guided tour to access the show cave – the Newdegate Cave. It cost us $10 each.

The Caves are in a really pretty forest area, although it has been logged in the distant past.

On the five minute walk from the carpark to the cave entry point, because we were early and ahead of the crowd, we heard – and then saw – a lyrebird. We had just been commenting that it was unusual for someone to be using a chainsaw, here, on a Sunday. Then saw the bird and realized that the totally realistic chainsaw noise was coming from him! He was doing much chattering to himself, too, and making a whole range of really interesting noises – one hell of a repertoire! I had not heard a lyrebird perform, ever before – it was wonderful.

The cave tour group was really too large. It was not a great idea of ours to come on a Sunday. There were some quite young children there, too, who were rather noisy and intrusive. There was also one very showy, loud, attention-seeking girl in her 20’s, with an entourage of three men for whom she was really performing – but she went really quiet when we got underground!

The cave was really spectacular, and in parts were caves within a cave. I do not like being underground, but made an exception to my usual rule because this was supposed to be so good. I liked it even less when the guide pointed out areas that flooded!

01-30-2000 Hastings Caves backlit effect.jpg

Inside Newdegate Cave

We went down hundreds of steps, with the way fairly dimly lighted by electric light. Within the cave, strategically placed lighting highlighted the best of the formations. And they were brilliant. This is a dolomite limestone cave formation, which is fairly unusual. It was like being in a type of fairyland. The variety of stalactite and stalagmite structures was fascinating.

01-30-2000 hastings caves mites

Stalgmites and stalagtites

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Intricate flowing veil effect

The tour took nearly an hour. I was relieved to be above ground again, but really pleased I’d done the tour.

01-30-2000 hastings caves

Lighting enhanced the multitude of fascinating formations

We ate our picnic lunch beside a small river in the forest, then took the unsealed road Forest Drive back to Dover. This followed the Old Hastings Road, then what we assumed were main logging access roads through the forests. Eventually we crossed the Esperance River and the road followed this down to Dover.

There was much evidence of logging and its accompanying wastage, but it was a pleasant enough way to drive. The Esperance River crossing looked an attractive place to bring a picnic lunch out to, if we are ever at a loose end one day.

Back at Dover, we continued driving around the coast road, past the caravan park, as far as Police Point, which is up into the Huon estuary. Came back the same way – a really scenic and lovely little drive. There were great views across the Channel to Bruny Island, and across the Huon to the other side.

We had noticed salmon growing nets in the bay near Dover and there were more up near Police Point.

Back at the van, John took his fishing gear and walked up to the jetty to try his luck. No bites.

Tea was cold beetroot soup, cold pork and potato. I thought the soup was very nice but don’t think John was so sure!

I phoned K to let him know our location – left message on the machine. I had to use the phone box at the park – the mobile phone does not work down here.

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