This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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1999 Travels December 21


We slept in until 8.30. A bit surprising, since we are back in an area of urban noise.

I did four loads of washing, including the bedding, at $1.60 a load. Both the amenities and the clothes lines are up on top of the hill, so I trekked up and down between loads. This place will keep up my fitness! It is hard work with a loaded washing basket. The windy hilltop is great for getting the washing dry.

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Our site at Berriedale Caravan Park – Derwent River in background

Went and bought a paper and read that. John washed Truck.

After lunch, we went for a bike ride, mostly along the suburban streets. We rode 7.5kms, so it was exercise but not a really pleasant ride.

Jon walked across to the bowls club and booked us in to play at 8.15am on New Years Day. That is NOT my idea of a great way to start a new year – and a new century!

John has been drafting letters to the Tasmanian authorities regarding tourism in the State, and his view that caravanners should be encouraged to visit. We have grown to feel that tourism here is heavily B&B oriented, and much more should be done to encourage visitors like us. John thinks that there could be a boat fare subsidy for caravanners who visit for an extended period – maybe two months or more.

When John went to print off his letters, the printer was playing up. After tea (rissoles, potato, salad, and the luxury item of fresh lychees), he decided to re-install the printer program on his computer, so un-installed what was there. Then he found that he’d wiped the printer installation disc clean and stored photos on it! Since we have plenty of blank discs, the reason why he did this is a mystery to all concerned!

That was the end of letter writing activity for the duration.

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1999 Travels December 20


Today was a day of catching up with assorted chores, appropriate to being back in the city.

Firstly it was off to the Glenorchy shops. At the Post office, John completed his passport renewal application. There was some mail for us there – birthday cards for me from H and R, a Xmas card and letter from S, a computer solitaire game that John had sent for. I went to the Library for a fresh set of books. We renewed our Keno ticket; John bought a $50 share in a syndicate for the $21million Tattslotto draw on New Years Eve. Winning that would be a memorable way to see in the Millennium!

Whilst we were in the newsagent, R phoned. She wants to come to Hobart to visit us on 21-26 January. It is pleasing that she wants to come and see us, but the timing is not the best. We will have to adjust our plans to be here at that time. She said she had received her Xmas parcel.

I put two rolls of film from the east coast in for processing.

We did a grocery shop, including a lot of Xmas food, in order to be sure we got same before it was sold out. I ordered a small turkey from the butcher. John did some banking.

All this took much of the day, and we were glad to return to the caravan for a rest.

I had a chat with some people from SA who were a few vans along from us. They are on Long Service Leave and have been right round the continent, including up Cape York. That’s a lot of country to pack into a few short months.

At about 7pm, brother C phoned. Our card and John’s 17 page letter had hit the decks today! C and Z loved the letter and wanted a chat. Then friends E and A phoned for a talk. They were not upset that we had crossed the Simpson this year and had not waited for them. A is somewhat tempted to go back up the Kimberley way next year, so we may yet meet up for travel with them. I enjoyed hearing from them.

In amongst all this, I was trying to cook tea. This was vegie soup and pasta with garlic crumbs. I managed to get it cooked all right, but after phone calls ended up eating mine cold. It was still nice though. We followed with the last of the Tasman Peninsula raspberries. The roadside stall near here charges $5 for a large punnet. I may get some, closer to Xmas.

I read a library book for the rest of the evening.

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1999 Travels December 19


We were up at 7.45am and left the park at 9.45, so it was an excellent pack up of everything.

After studying the Road Atlas, I gave John a choice of routes: the standard way we had been before, down the east coast, through Sorell. On this, he had previously found difficult patches on the narrow river stretch out of Orford and on Bust-Me-Gall Hill, near Buckland. Or he could choose the unknown B route from Cranbrook to Campbell Town, over the Lake Leake Plateau. He chose the latter, for something different, and because coming down from Royal George yesterday, through similar country, had not been too difficult.

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The Hazards and Freycinet Peninsula, across Moulting Lagoon and Great Oyster Bay

The way was a good road, wide and well sealed. There was a steady climb up to the plateau, but it was not too steep or bendy. Up the “top” the forests of closer to the coast had given way to semi alpine timbered country.

We could see glimpses of Lake Leake through the trees.

Then there was a gradual descent to Campbell Town. As we drew closer to this historic farming region, there were some beautiful old houses on the sheep properties.

Then we were onto the main Midland Highway.

I persuaded John to deviate into the Ross township, as I have never had a chance to stop and look around there. Ross dates from the very early 1800’s, not long after the initial settlement of Tasmania. Governor Macquarie named the Macquarie River and also the future township – after a friend.

Ross was rather like Richmond, but the buildings were not quite as substantial. Nor was it as crowded with tourists! We went to the Tasmanian Wool Centre, where they had some interesting produce – this being the heart of the wool industry in Tasmania.

We bought sausage rolls and pasties for lunch from the bakery.

Took some photos down by the interesting old stone bridge that spans the Macquarie River. This was completed in 1836 and designed by the then Colonial Architect, John Lee Archer. It is unusual in having carved arch stones, showing people, animals and Celtic symbols.

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On the Ross Bridge

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The carved arch stones on the Ross Bridge

We saw a quaint little caravan park, beside the river. It was very open, but has an historic building amenities block.

We continued south, through the various old villages along the way, that date back to the early settlement times.

We went back to the Treasure Island Caravan Park at Berriedale, where John talked the management into a 10% discount if we paid for three weeks all at once. So we paid $266.40, which worked out at about $12.65 a night. Since this is the peak summer period, we were quite pleased with that. It is our intention to stay here until after the first week in January – that should get us past the peak public holiday period, and we will, by then, have a better idea of where it will be feasible to go next. I hope! It will still be school holidays and peak mainland tourist time.

We set up – down the bottom of the hill, as before. Then relaxed.

Tea was tinned fish and salads.

John is so pleased to have lots of TV channels to choose from, and clear pictures again.

12-19-1999 to hobart

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1999 Travels December 18


This was our last day here.

The weather was showery. What had happened to summer?

We had a driving day, to try to explore a little more of the east coast area, because I couldn’t see us getting back up here on this trip.

We drove north to Bicheno, then a bit north of the town, took the road inland to the Douglas Aspley National Park and the Aspley Gorge area.

There, we did the Lookout/Waterhole circuit walk. There was not much water at all in the river, but it was a pleasant short walk. We dawdled, looking at birds. Back in the carpark, John found $4 on the ground.

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Aspley Gorge

Refuelled at Bicheno. 87cpl.

We then continued driving up the coast. Had lunch at Seymour Beach, looking south towards Bicheno along a superb long beach. We’d had to do a bit of moseying around to find a spot to access the beach, as most of the little tracks led to private property, but John found one beach access track.

On the beach, we saw the rare hooded plover again, and a dotterel type bird we could not identify.

Continued driving north, then left the coast road and climbed up the winding Elephant Pass, to St Marys. That road was narrow in places – almost single lane. Fortunately, we met no logging or business trucks on it.

St Marys seemed small and languishing, but with some nice old houses.

We then followed the Esk Highway further inland, through Fingal to Avoca, down the valley of the South Esk River. This was sheep country, though there was coal mining at Fingal.

At Avoca, we turned off for Royal George – quaint name, but a real little backwater. Then took the unsealed track through the forest – the old coach road – to Cranbrook, back on the highway.

Overall, it was a pretty day’s driving, though John was getting tired towards the end. We drove 256kms, which he said was about 100kms too long! But we got to see some varied country, and places I’d not been to before.

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Today’s driving circuit

We decided that all the packing up could wait until tomorrow! It was still very windy at Coles Bay.

Tea was smoked salmon, avocado and salads, followed by raspberries and fruche.

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1999 Travels December 17


This was the day to do the big circuit walk! The weather was supposed to be fine, although there were some clouds about through the day.

The circuit we wanted to walk would take us up to a lookout over Wineglass Bay, then down to the Wineglass Beach, across to Promise Bay, then back around the coast to the car park where we started. It was about 11kms, so quite a decent walk.

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We began the walk at 10.55am – not early starters, us – after driving in to the carpark at the walk start.

From there, the track climbed steadily up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, which gave great views over that Bay and the Isthmus, the narrow neck of land that joins the two mountainous sections of Freycinet Peninsula. The view from the Lookout, though great, was not quite as good as the ones I remembered from the top of Mt Amos, just to the east, which I climbed in 1970. But this one was a lot easier to get to!

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On the Wineglass Bay track

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I hate uphills!

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Wineglass Bay from the lookout

From on top, we descended steadily to Wineglass Bay, which is just so beautiful. The climb up to the Lookout, and the descent to the beach were both steep, but manageable. John did really well.

We had not been alone on the walk up to the Lookout, but no other tourists came beyond that point, so we had the beach to ourselves.

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On the beach at Wineglass Bay – turquoise water and white sands

We walked up and down the beach for a while, just enjoying the place. Then ate lunch, sitting and drinking in the views, to Mts Graham and Freycinet to the south, and to the Hazards and Mt Amos, to the north – the way we had come.

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The Hazards, including Mt Amos,  from Wineglass Bay Beach

Took the track that crosses the Isthmus to the western side of the Peninsula. The track was fairly flat and through scrub, to The Hazards Beach. This beach was much rougher and more open to the weather than Wineglass Bay, and without its turquoise water and headlands of orange lichen-coated granite.

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Hazards Beach looking north – the way we were going

As we walked north on The Hazards Beach, saw several huge shell middens. Clearly, these were the rubbish dumps from the aborigines who used to camp here and feast on the shellfish to be found.

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Shell midden

The walk track followed the coastline back around to the carpark. This was scenic walking – at one point we could see south to Maria Island. I found it very reminiscent of walking on Wilsons Promontory. This coastal section of track was less groomed than the Wineglass Bay one and we had some steep scrambles up and down gullies, so it was quite tiring.

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From the coastal track

We reached the car park about 3.45pm, so it took us near enough to 5 hours to do the 11kms.

It was an excellent walk – not too totally strenuous, but demanding enough to make me weary by its end. In other words – just right! It was a walk I had long wanted to do, and that was satisfying.

It was fish and chip night, too! The local seafood takeaway was mainly a cafe with pretensions, and expensive. John bought fish and chips for himself – a generous serve – for $6. I bought $2.50 worth of chips and went and bought frozen oven-bake fish from the supermarket and cooked myself a couple of pieces of that. I did better than John, at a much cheaper cost – and it was nicer!

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1999 Travels December 16


My birthday today.

It was still blowy and rain was forecast. So, that made it a “drive and explore” day, rather than a long walk day – that is not fun in the rain.

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Places we visited today

We drove to Sleepy Bay, to the east of Coles Bay, on the Cape Tourville road. It is in the National Park. The short walk from the cap park to the bay was a pretty one.

The orange lichens on the rocks around the bay really stood out, in colour contrast to the dull hues of the rocks and background forest.

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Brilliant orange colour on rocks at Sleepy Bay

After that, continued on to the Cape Tourville Lighthouse. There were brilliant views up and down the coast, from here. We could see part of Wineglass Bay, with its distinctive curved beach. The Lighthouse was really just a concrete cylinder, with the light structure on top – clearly a fairly recent build.

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Outlook north from Cape Tourville, with a weather front passing over


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Freycinet Peninsula seen from Cape Tourville. Some of Wineglass Bay just visible distant right.

John was determined to drive the 4WD track from here to Bluestone Bay. This was only a couple of kms, a bit rutted in places, but not too bad.

Bluestone Bay was a little cove, with rounded blue-grey large pebbles and stones – like very large bird, or dinosaur, eggs. When the very strong waves broke on this pebble beach, the stones made a loud noise from being rolled together. It was an unusual place.

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Bluestone Bay

We ate lunch at Bluestone Bay and John made a few fishing casts.

From there, went back the way we’d come and through Coles Bay, taking the main road to the north, then turning off for the Friendly Beaches. I love that name!

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On the Friendly Beaches

From the car park, we did not have to walk far to reach a beautiful, white, long beach. We walked for a while on this, then sat on a rocky outcrop, watching the big waves break – until they started coming a bit close.  So we walked back to Truck.

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Sunny break at the Friendly Beaches

Drove a few kms further south, to the other end of the Friendly Beaches, and walked across the dunes to the beach, again. The outlooks to the north and south were extensive.

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Friendly Beaches southern section

On the way back to Coles Bay, we detoured a little, to try to look for water birds at Moulting Lagoon, a large wetland area supposed to have lots of different wetland species. Unfortunately, it was too windy by now for any sensible bird to be out and about. So we headed back to camp. Managed to drive 78kms today.

Tea was crayfish legs, mixed salads raspberries and yoghurt.

K phoned – good to hear from him.

All in all, a very pleasant birthday!

Maybe Cyclone John will become a nickname in this establishment. There are times it would be appropriate!

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1999 Travels December 15


We slept in a little, and so did not leave White Beach until about 10.30.

At Dunalley, stopped at the fish place where we bought some smoked salmon and a crayfish – these were very expensive luxuries because tomorrow is my birthday.

Today’s drive was a BIG one, in Tasmania! We opted to stick to the main, sealed roads, so went towards Hobart, as far as Sorell, then took the standard route up the east coast. More direct, shorter routes would have seen us on dirt roads of unknown quality, and we just wanted to play safe and get to our destination in good time.

Stopped to eat our packed lunch at Buckland, where we were able to pull off the road beside the Prosser River.

Just south of Swansea, we stopped to photograph the Spiky Bridge, which was convict built in the 1840’s. It is unusually topped with jagged pieces of rock, perhaps to stop cows from falling over the edge, as it is otherwise quite low.

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Convict built Spiky Bridge, near Swansea

We went back to the Iluka Holiday Village – and even back to the same site we were on last time! It cost $14.40 a night, after discount.

There were gale winds forecast, which was not so promising. Apparently these were somehow related to the influence of a huge cyclone that was due to hit the WA coast today or tomorrow. The system was Cyclone John – its namesake was rather chuffed that it was the strongest one on record – a Category 5, with winds in excess of 295kmh.

Our site here seemed fairly sheltered, but the van was still rocking about a bit.

I made lobster thermidor with mashed potato for tea. John likes crayfish done that way – it was his idea. I think I prefer them eaten fresh and chilled, plain. Raspberries followed – never get sick of those!

V phoned in the evening, to find out where we would be for Xmas mail, and to wish me happy birthday. She has a job with the Commonwealth Bank and now thinks they will settle and defer any further travel. In the absence of the current family matriarch – me – she has assumed the traditional family Xmas role and is organizing a Boxing Day BBQ for a family get together.

John kept me up till midnight, to ensure he didn’t forget my birthday this year! He gave me two books – Bryce Courteney’s “Jessica” and the latest Patricia Cornwall one. Both should be good reading and I will appreciate them.

12-15-1999 to coles bay

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1999 Travels December 14


This was our last day in this lovely place.

We took all the Xmas mail to the PO. The parcels to the offspring cost about $7 each to send. They contained T-shirts, calendars, and zircon earrings for the girls.

We played social bowls in the afternoon – it was a pleasant enough time. The day was quite warm – enough so for me to wear shorts.

We did some packing up of the camp after getting back from bowls. Got diesel on the way back, too – 86cpl.

Tea was steak, mushrooms, potatoes, beans, with raspberries to follow.

We would be leaving the Tasman Peninsula without having visited the Port Arthur ruins. We had talked about this, and for some inexplicable reason, neither of us really felt in the right mood to revisit this tragic place. The whole area is so beautiful, I guess, that we preferred to focus on the natural environment.

We had decided to have a quick trip back up the east coast, as far as Coles Bay, to explore that area a bit better, before the school holiday crowds. By the time the holidays ended, we should be heading towards the west coast, so this was really the only chance to spend any time on the east coast.

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1999 Travels December 13


The weather improved again today.

We had a big burst on the Xmas card printing and John’s letter and got all finished. John did have some problems with the printer and with his computer, but despite all the frustrations, it all happened. It was a long and wearying day.

We drove around to the fruit and veg shop and stocked up a little.

Late in the afternoon walked along the beach – we really needed to get out of the van!

The shape of the beach had changed – it had become much wider after the gale.

I made fish cakes for tea, with salad, followed by raspberries.

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1999 Travels December 12


We had gale force winds all through the night, and today. The van fairly shook at times, and we made sure the awning roof was tied down very securely. The weather certainly kept away most of the weekend visitors.

The Saturday Age arrived today – I was surprised it got through at all.

John worked on Xmas card creation, trying out a number of variations. It will be a better and clearer reproduction, this year, but I was not as pleased with the photo range – not sure it would mean a lot to most people without an accompanying letter to relate to the photos.

After lunch, John bowled, with C. He was very pleased that John was still here. Think he must be quite lonely, a lot of the time.

The day was quite cold, but John enjoyed his bowls, despite the still high wind.

Tea was cold lamb, mashed potato, and raspberries.

After tea I went off as usual to have my evening shower, got ready, put the requisite 40cents in the slot – and nothing happened! I had no more coins with me. So I had to get dressed and retreat back to the van – unwashed and definitely unhappy.