Back on the Mainland – Part 4

16th March, 2018.

With our fridge now fixed, we had no plan for our couple of days in Mildura so we decided to drive to Wentworth as we had not been there before. Along the way, we drove in to the camping areas at Merbein Common thinking it may be a good place to camp sometime but there really was not a lot of room and the tracks were badly rutted in places. Not somewhere to inspire us. We continued on and spent some time looking around Wentworth.

The town’s main claim to fame is that it is situated at the confluence of the Darling and the Murray Rivers, important river systems in this country. There is a lovely park overlooking the spot where the rivers merge. The Darling on the left and the Murray on the right.

We decided to make the return trip into a loop along a road we haven’t travelled before and found ourselves back in Mildura at lunchtime. The last time we were in Mildura, almost 6 years ago, we had a wonderful dinner at Stefano’s Restaurant and had thought we would go there again. Stefano De Pieri, is an Italian born chef who migrated to Australia in 1974 and later moved to the Mildura area. Some years ago he had a cooking program on the ABC and Erich was quite impressed by him. He certainly has gone from strength to strength in the last 6 years and now has 4 different eateries in the city. At lunch time, our only choice was his cafe and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Next time we return to Mildura we will make sure our timing is right to try out both his Bistro and Spanish Grill.

17th March, 2018.

A beautiful morning at the Winery but it was time for us to move on.

We found a good spot at Lake Benanee just off the Sturt Highway. Unfortuntely, the weather deteriorated and the wind picked up considerably sending clouds of sand through everything, but it did make for some interesting photos.

A White-breasted Woodswallow with lunch.

Striking feather patterns on this Common Starling.

A stunning evening sky.

A White-plumed Honeyeater.

A House Sparrow.

A Yellow Rosella.

A magical sky.

18th March, 2018.

Next day, the weather hadn’t improved and the wind was whipping up dust storms all around us so we set off for out next destination intending to stop somewhere if the wind became too bad. As it happened, the wind was not too bad and we made it to the camp site in Hay but it was really not very pleasant with more dust storms swirling through the camping area.

The evening sky did provide some interest though.

19th March, 2018.

We were heading in the general direction of Wagga Wagga where we will attend the Stone the Crows Festival over Easter but we had plenty of time and decided to make a detour north to check out another Art Silo in Weethalle. Unfortunately, our timing was not so good and the light made it difficult to capture all the detail in the paintings.

An appealing name for a cafe? The food was simple but quite good.

We continued east to West Wyalong and then headed south-east to Temora where we had camped a few years ago at the Showgrounds. I had read much about the new campground provided right in town adjacent to the historic railway station so we decided to head there for the night. It certainly was not what I was expecting – basically a car park but it would do for a night.

More silos begging to be painted.

20th March, 2018.

Our Art Silo trek finished for the time being, we headed further south-east over winding country roads to Jugiong, located just off the Hume Highway. But first there was time for a couple of photos of the railway station in the early morning light.

The camping area at Jugiong is huge and we were able to find a spot along the banks of the Murrumbidgee River well away from other campers. There were hundreds of very noisy Little Corellas in the trees lining the riverbank.

21st March, 2018.

Jugiong is a very small village with just a few businesses which are walking distance from the camping ground. This Catholic Church stands in a commanding position overlooking the area.

There were a few old buildings dating from early days.

The beautifully restored Sir George Hotel, dating from 1845, looked the perfect spot for lunch.

We shared the Ploughmans Lunch with a couple of beers.

The rest of the day was spent quietly around camp.

22nd March, 2018.

Another glorious day. We just love this countryside with its rolling hills and lovely trees. Even though it is so very dry, it is still stunning country. There was a signpost to a lookout leading out from Jugiong so Erich decided to drive up for a look. The following photos were taken from various vantage points along the way right to the end of the road.

Another church in Jugiong.

23rd March, 2018.

Another quiet day in Jugiong, our last here, with just a few photos from close to our campsite.

Bridge across the Murrumbidgee.

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Back on the Mainland – Part 3

12th March, 2018.

While Erich was having his one on one photography tour, I ventured in to the city by bus to have lunch with our daughter Amy. It was a public holiday and the city was teeming with people. I got a bit disoriented trying to follow the map on my phone but we eventually found each other and headed off for a bit of window shopping and lunch in a very busy Chinese restaurant specialising in dumplings.

I’m not sure how Erich and I had missed Melbourne Central during our 5 day trip to the city over Christmas but we did. This Shot Tower, built in 1888, has been well preserved under the glass dome of the complex

Amy doesn’t look too pleased in this photo – I think she had just burnt her mouth while demonstrating for me how I should nibble a bit off the dumpling and then suck out the hot soup inside! Very hard to do using chopstñicks only.

13th March, 2018.

Time to begin our homeward journey and the first task was to safely negotiate the Melbourne traffic getting out of the city. Our overnight stop was planned for Avoca to the north-west but first we wanted to visit the town of Maryborough, the namesake of our current hometown in Queensland.

Our first stop was at the very impressive railway station. Back at home, we had heard that this railway station building was intended to be built at Maryborough Qld not Maryborough Vic so we were keen to check it out to ascertain if the story was true. We certainly had our doubts when we realised that the tracks along the 100m platform length were continuing through the town whereas the tracks into the now disused station in Maryborough Qld actually came to a dead end. A visit to the town’s Information Centre gave us the full story and what we had heard was certainly not true, although there was quite a fascinating story about how the then small town in Victoria came to have such a magnificent structure. Those who may be interested can read about it here:

The rest of the town had some lovely buildings as well.

We had been recommended by a resident to have a look at the ceilings in this beautifully restored old hotel.

Apparently during the restoration process, four layers of false ceilings were removed to reveal the original.

The sweeping staircase was equally impressive.

A stroll around the town centre revealed a number of well preserved buildings.

After lunch in the Bull and Mouth Hotel, we headed west to our proposed campsite for the night. After setting up at the free camp beside the river right in the centre of town, we picked up a map from the visitor centre to take ourselves on the self-guided walk around town.

The Chinese Garden, built to commemorate the contribution of Chinese immigrants to the area during the gold rush of 1850-1870, was small but impressive and so very peaceful.

This imposing War Memorial stands right in the centre of the town in a park dividing the main road.

This steel silhouette of a bullocky with his team stands at the entrance to the town from the south.

After our walk around the town, we returned to the van and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. There were only a few other campers to keep us company.

The last of the sun’s rays shining through the trees along the river.

14th March, 2018.

A new day and time to explore the Silo Art Trail on our way north. First stop was the small town of Rupanyup and an impressive sepia toned painting.

Next stop was in a district called Sheep Hills, not a town at all. Such a contrast to the last silo, the colours were so vibrant. The artist, Adnate, is a well known Melbourne-based street artist.

Lunchtime found us in Warracknabeal, where the Post Office building was about the only interesting thing to see.

The silos in Brim were the first on this trail to be painted.

Rosebery was our next silo art stop.

The countryside was so dry and dusty but the silos seem to bring a number of visitors to these remote localities.

We continued north to our overnight stop on the shores of Lake Lascelles at Hopetoun. Fortunately, it was not very crowded and we found an acceptable campsite close to the water. Wherever there is water, there are birds.

Despite the water in the lake, the surrounding countryside looked parched.

A White-faced Heron catching dinner.

Almost sunset.

15th March, 2018.

It was a relatively short drive the next morning to our next Art Silo at the town of Lascelles. More sepia toned paintings here and these were very difficult to photograph in the morning light.

Almost a ghost town, the pub looks like the only viable business in Lascelles .

Our next stop was in Patchewollock, a rather more prosperous looking town than some we had visited in the last couple of days.

Patchewollock was the last silo on this Art Trail. More information about the silos and their artists can be found at

Having completed this Art Silo Trail, we continued north to Mildura where we had arranged to have our car fridge repaired by a friend. We set up camp at a Winery and headed off to get the fridge fixed. kA couple of hours later we were back at camp with a working fridge again.

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Back on the mainland – One on One Photography Workshop with Leanne Cole – Part 2

The area of Bells Beach was our next destination. Our first stop at Winkipop found us in the middle of preparations for a big surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro. There were lots of surfers and even more spectators. This wasn’t a place to linger to take long exposure photographs.

Just one shot from Winkipop – this time with a different technique. I used focus stacking to get everything sharp. Unfortunately due to mist in the air, the headland in the distance is still a bit fuzzy.

A few more photos in the area of Bells Beach – at least I think they were taken around Bells Beach. Unfortunately I had an app update for the geotagging application I normally use and it proved to be unusable, so I can’t pinpoint where each photo was taken.

Next stop was Point Addis. Leanne scouting out the next photo opportunity.

Beautiful coast line around here.

Our last stop was at the Lorne Pier – but our subject was not the pier, but the rocky area behind the bluff. Here we got another chance to practice long exposure photography.

All the remaining photos (apart from the last three) are long exposure photographs with exposure times between 6 and 15 seconds thanks to the Formatt Hitech Neutral Density filters provided by Leanne. It was great to see how easy it is to remove the filter holder and continue to take photos without the filters. I am just putting up these photos without much of a commentary. I think they showcase what is possible with Long Exposure Photography.

This is another Focus Stacking exercise.

and two normal photos to show what the sea was like to the naked eye.

Well that was the end of my One on One with Leanne Cole. Well actually, we did stop at the Lorne Pier Seafood Restaurant for a coffee and cake. Then it was a slow drive back to Melbourne as it was the end of a long weekend and traffic was very heavy.

It was a great day for me. I learned a lot about long exposure photography, quite a bit about choosing the spot to take photos and a little bit about composition. On top of that, I had a great personalised sight-seeing tour in an area that I am not familiar with.

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Back on the mainland – One on One Photography Workshop with Leanne Cole – Part 1

I have admired the work of photographer/artist Leanne Cole for quite some time and occasionally submitted photos to Monochrome Madness that Leanne puts up for us to participate in.


The way she treats her photographs and her attitude towards the final results appeal to me. She is not after a truthful representation of the subject in front of the camera; she wants a photo that expresses her feelings about the subject.

Leanne conducts various workshops and I in particular wanted to do a One on One workshop with her in the hope that her artistic flair rubs off on me. Some time ago Leanne asked her blog readers what they would do if they won $10000 to spend on photography. One item I put forward was lessons with Leanne. Needless to say I haven’t won $10000 – but I still wanted to spend some time with her.

As we were travelling through Melbourne to Tasmania (you can’t avoid Melbourne if taking your caravan to Tasmania!) I tried to organise a one day workshop with Leanne Cole on the way to Tasmania. However due to various delays, it did not work out. I was determined to get a day with Leanne on the way back, even if it meant staying two nights in a caravan park near Melbourne. This time it all worked out. Leanne picked me up early in the morning and we drove to Williamstown to catch sunrise over Melbourne across the water.

We soon realised that there was not going to be a great sunrise. The sky was very overcast and there was hardly any colour in the sky.

Leanne is well known for using long exposure times to smooth the water and we experimented a bit with that. However with my preferred foreground of sailboats, it really didn’t work for me as the boats were moving constantly and with long exposure they ended up blurry, not to my liking.

The following photo was exposed for 1/5 of a second, long enough to smooth the water just a little bit, but still sufficiently short to render the swinging masts still crisp. I like the way the Melbourne Sky Line can be seen through the masts of the boats.


A last photo before we left Williamstown.

It was quite a drive to our next photography stop at Point Lonsdale – we needed to get a coffee fix at Mc Donalds along the way. At Point Lonsdale we wanted to photograph the pier as well as the lighthouse. As we set up, this big ship approached the pier. Leanne thought it would make a good photo. I took a couple of shots and they didn’t turn out too bad. I know Leanne would have processed them quite differently – I am looking forward to seeing her version.

We now got serious with long exposure photography. Leanne brought a second set of Neutral Denisity Filters for me to use. She is an ambassador for Formatt Hitech so I was able to use the Formatt Hitech Firecrest system with three different strength filters. It certainly is a very well made system – what a difference to the cheap set I bought, used a couple of times and then discarded them as useless. Not sure I would go with Formatt Hitech as there doesn’t appear to be a mount for my favourite lens, the m.zuiko 7-14mm super wide angle zoom. Anyhow the next photo was taken with the 10 stop ND filter attached, which allowed a shutter speed of 50 seconds.

This long shutter speed has smoothed the quite disturbed water and also had an effect on the moving clouds. This is really the main reason why I am interested in Long Exposure Photography. The next two shots are looking at the pier from below. The first shot is with a 15 second exposure, the second was exposed for 9 seconds. Which one do you prefer?

The second shot was taken from a slightly different spot and I also changed the focal length slightly, so that might influence your preference.

This was taken from below the pier as well, but looking along the foreshore.

And this one is a crop from a shot around there, just showing the effect of the long exposure on the moving water.

Next stop was at the Bluff, Barwon Heads. The first photo is a standard photo looking from the Boardwalk down to the surf.

Here is a 2.5 seconds exposure of the waves crashing over the rocks.

Looking towards the Bluff.

Some more photos I took at the Bluff:

To be continued in part 2



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Days 109 – 113 in Tassie

7th March, 2018.

Our 2 day camping limit at Latrobe was over so time to move on. We decided to return to Forth, the very first place we camped at on our arrival in Tasmania. It was a relatively short drive from Latrobe and once set up we headed back to Devonport to buy a few things to restock our supply of spares, such as motor oil.

As it was such a beautiful day, it seemed a shame to just return to camp. I had heard about a great restaurant at The Bluff in Devonport so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch there. The restaurant is located in the very modern Surf Life Saving Club building and has lovely views across the foreshore.

We shared the seafood platter which was all locally sourced seafood and as fresh as could be.

8th March, 2018.

With another glorious day in the offing, it was a great opportunity to revisit a town which we had only previously driven through. Penguin is located on the north coast between Ulverstone and Burnie.

These Art Deco style buildings looked rather out of place.

There were lots of Little Wattlebirds in the trees along the road to and in the Lions Park. I had never seen one pose with its tail in the air like this.

Probably the most interesting building along the main street is the Uniting Church.

9th March, 2018.

Time to move back to Devonport in preparation for our departure the following day. Erich wasn’t feeling 100% so we spent the day around camp with just a couple of photos taken.

This White-faced Heron posed nicely in the top of a dead tree in the neighbouring field.

10th March, 2018.

Departure day but we were booked on a night sail so we had the whole day to fill in. We were camped at the local sports ground; it was a Saturday and therefore football matches were being played on the grounds. It became so busy that we decided to go for a drive to check out where we could park in the side streets close to our departure point.

The entrance to the Mersey River looking across to The Bluff.

Having found a good place to park with the van, we returned to the Sports Ground and prepared to leave. As we were doing so, we began chatting with the couple camped in a motorhome close to us. It turned out that they live in the same Over 50s village as my sister and brother-in-law. It’s a small world!

We were checked in and parked in the boarding area by 6.15pm but it was to be more than 2 hours before boarding began and we were one of the last aboard. Needless to say by 9pm when we finally got to our cabin we were tired and hungry. A quick pizza and a bottle of wine and we were off to bed hoping for a smooth crossing.

11th March, 2018.

After a good night’s sleep, dawn saw us approaching Melbourne.

Disembarking was certainly faster than boarding and we were soon on our way to a Caravan Park for a couple of nights. Luckily the site they had earmarked for us had already been vacated so there was no delay booking in and setting up.

The trees around our site were full of Red Wattlebirds making lots of noise and chasing each other.

In the evening we caught up with our youngest daughter, Amy, at a local Thai Restaurant.

That’s the end of our 4 month adventure in Tasmania. We had a great time and were happy that we had enough time to see as much as we did. Will we return? Perhaps but I doubt we will be towing a caravan next time.

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Days 103 – 108 in Tassie

1st March, 2018.

It’s difficult to believe that today is the first day of Autumn in Australia. Just a quiet day around camp and a few photos.

The lovely Superb Fairy-Wrens kept us amused, flitting about amongst the leaves calling to one another.

We haven’t seen a lot of grasshoppers down here.

Once again the skies were threatening but nothing came of it.

2nd March, 2018.

A beautiful Green Rosella, another bird endemic to Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands.

Pied Oystercatchers.

A dainty Silvereye striking a pose.

An immature Pacific Gull.

A mature Pacific Gull.

Lots of Black Swans in Tasmania.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.

A White-faced Heron and Pied Oystercatchers.

3rd March, 2018.

Another lovely day so we drove around to Bakers Beach on the Bass Strait side of the peninsula where there were some lovely vistas.

Looking across Port Sorell to Shearwater.

A Grey Fantail.

A female Superb Fairy-wren

A Pademelon, a relative of the Wallaby.

4th March, 2018.

Another quiet day. The Grey Fantail was still around this morning.

5th March, 2018.

Packing up to move on, Erich managed to get a shot of another Green Rosella before we left camp.

On the way back to Latrobe, we detoured via Shearwater where one of our fellow RVHB residents still has a home, as she invited us to stop by for morning tea. With stunning uninterrupted views across the water, we are not surprised she chooses to spend the summer months there.

6th March, 2018.

With more lovely weather predicted for the day, we set off on a walk over Dooley’s Hill to Bells Parade and then back in to town. The first part of the walk over the hill was quite steep with a number of stairs up and down. Lots of rustling was heard in the bushes and many of these little pademelons seemed to be the cause.

Bells Parade looking across to Pig Island surrounded by the Mersey River.

It was a lovely walk over some grassy parkland and then through thick woodland which in parts was quite muddy due to recent rain.

Our return walk was along the Sheann Memorial Walk which lead us back into the centre of Latrobe. We came across a field where goats were grazing.

It was a pleasant way to spend the morning and showed us another side of Latrobe that we did not discover on our first visit.

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Days 98 – 102 in Tassie

24th February, 2018.

Next morning the weather had improved slightly so we took the chance for a walk around Latrobe. The main street is very long and contains some nice old buildings.

This lovely old home now houses an accounting business.

There were some interesting memorials in the grounds of the Civic building.

A nice stone bridge across a creek in the middle of town but I doubt there is much age to it.

An immature European Goldfinch.

25th February, 2018.

We had booked our car in for a service at Shearwater Mechanical on Monday and planned to stay two nights at the Lions Caravan Park in Port Sorell nearby. It was a short drive from Latrobe and we were soon parked up on a lovely large grassy site. We went for a drive north through Shearwater to Hawley Beach and the end of the road. At an off leash dog beach we had some good views of the estuary.

Looking north towards the ocean.

The beach just a few metres from our campsite.

26th February, 2018.

As appointed, we dropped our car at the mechanic and then walked back towards town where we had arranged to meet a lady who has an interest in moving to RV Homebase where we live on the Fraser Coast. We enjoyed a good chat at a local cafe and then wandered back towards the mechanic and settled at a nearby shopping centre to await the call telling us the car was ready to collect. By 12.15 we were mobile again, refuelled and did some grocery shopping before heading back to the caravan park and another walk on the beach.

Our site at the caravan park. The beach is just behind the row of shrubs at the rear of the van.

27th February, 2018.

Another short drive to move to our next camp at Bakers Point in the Narawntapu National Park, across the estuary from Port Sorell.

The tide was well out by the time we had set up camp. This white-faced Heron was foraging for lunch.

Looking back across the estuary towards Port Sorell and our previous nights’ caravan park. This is the same jetty is in yersteday’s photo.

Our campsite is perfect, tucked away among the bushes.

28th February, 2018.

We booked our site here for 6 nights and have no plans to drive anywhere so there won’t be too many photos.

The skies were threatening but I still managed to get my load of washing dry.


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Days 95 – 97 in Tassie

21st February, 2018.

With no real destination in mind, we took to the country roads east of Oatlands.

The once impressive Railway Hotel in Parattah was our first stop. Not for any refreshments as it is firmly closed as is the railway station whose claim to fame is that it is the highest railway station on an active line in Tasmania.

It would be a long wait.

The following few rural photos were taken along the route.

Back in Oatlands, we went for another walk through the grounds of Carrington Mill which has been restored and is once again producing flour.

Lake Dulverton sits below the camping grounds and is home to lots of birdlife. There is a walking path along this side of the lake which continues all the way to Parattah, a distance of around 7.5 kilometres. The donations collected from the campground go towards the maintenance of the walking track.

22nd February, 2018.

Bidding farewell to the lovely town of Oatlands, we headed north to Campbell Town and then onto a minor road to the town of Cressy where we arrived before lunch. The main reason for this choice was to do the drive around the Great Lake. As the weather forecast was for a lot of rain the following day, we decided to do the drive that afternoon. We travelled the route in a clockwise direction, through Poatina and then up a very steep winding road climbing around 1000 metres from the plains below. At one point on a very tight corner, we had to come to a complete stop on a sharp, uphill left hand bend as a logging truck was negotiating the bend. I was very pleased we didn’t try to take the van on this road. Most of the advisory speed signs on bends were 25kph but one was 15kph! Once at the top of the plateau, the road straightened out making for a pleasant drive.

We drove down to the boat ramp at Cramps Bay to have a look. Once again there were what looked to be weekenders for fishermen.

Heading further west, the road runs between Great Lake and Arthurs Lake. There was a camping area at Arthurs Lake not far from the road so we drove down to have a look. Again this looked to be a place for fishermen and the lake couldn’t be seen from the camping area as far as we could tell.

There is a large pumping station adjacent to the boat ramp.

Once we reached the intersection of this road with the Highland Lakes Road, we turned north to drive along the western side of Great Lake. Much of this part of the road is gravel and there was a lot of roadwork going on making it a slow trip. The scenery was nice but there were not too many opportunities to stop for photos.

The next three photos show the view of Great Lake from a lookout after another steep and winding climb.

A little further along the road we found another spot to stop for a view in the opposite direction.


Descending the north side of the plateau and not far past the turn to Liffey Falls which had visited previously, we turned east and made our way across back roads to our camp at Cressy.

23rd February, 2018.

Once again the weather forecast was accurate and we could see rain approaching on the radar. Having seen what we came to see we decided to head to our next stop in Latrobe. It was a most unpleasant drive in the rain but fortunately it wasn’t far. The campsite is right in the middle of town and there was not much room but we managed to slot ourselves in, didn’t unhitch and waited out the rain.

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Days 91 – 94 in Tassie

17th February, 2018.

Time to move on again, heading west across to the Midland Highway, the main north-south artery running through the centre of the island, and then south to Campbell Town. There is a 48 hour free camp within walking distance of the town; no facilities except a few bins.

This historic bridge spans the small river which bounds the western side of the campground.

There are a few well-preserved old buildings in the town and we enjoyed our walk.

More chainsaw carvings in the park beside the bridge.

Lake Leake is located east of Campbell Town and had been recommended to us by a couple of people as a great place to stay. As the weather was predicted to worsen in the morning, we decided to take a drive out there to check it out. We’re so glad we did not take the van out there. Just a tiny camping area surrounded by fishing shacks and not a pleasant outlook at all. On reflection, those who recommended the place to us were fisherfolk so that must have been the attraction for them. It certainly had nothing else going for it.

18th February, 2018.

Needing to get a few things from the supermarket in town, we decided to follow a path along the river which headed in the direction of town but offered no entry into any of the streets until we were at the opposite end of town where we passed this old church.

We then spent a quiet day around camp. There were lots of blackberry bushes lining one side of the campground and passing locals stopped there to pick berries to take home with them. They are nasty bushes though with lots of thorns.

A Yellow-throated Honeyeater, endemic to Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands.

A common House Sparrow I think.

A Grey Fantail.

A New Holland Honeyeater.

19th February, 2018.

With our 48 hour time limit up, we moved south to the historic town of Oatlands which has so many beautifully preserved old buildings and some stunning sandstone structures. The campground is located next door to the Carrington Mill.

In stark contrast to the outside of the bakery, we found lots of movie memorabilia dedicated to the late Errol Flynn, a Tasmanian, Marilyn Monroe and a room dedicated to boxing movies.

20th February, 2018.

We decided to make a day trip to revisit the lovely town of Ross where we had previously stopped for a coffee on our drive back from Launceston to Hobart a few weeks previously. On that occasion we took photos of the historic convict bridge but did not have time to fully explore the town. This time we walked the length of the main street, spent quite a bit of time in the Tasmanian Wool Centre which houses a museum dedicated to the wool industry in Australia as well as an extensive historical museum about Ross and its past.

This impressive church stands at the highest point in the town.

We had lunch at the local pub and then decided to make a loop trip across to Interlaken, between Lake Sorrell and Lake Crescent and then on to Bothwell before making our way back to Oatlands. The dirt road was in quite good condition but was extremely steep and winding and at times I regretted suggesting the drive. But we made it without incident. As it happens, Interlaken is not actually a town, just a locality with lots of weekenders catering to fishermen we assume, although at the moment one of the lakes is closed to fishing.

Our first glimpse of Lake Sorell.

The channel that regulates the flow of water from Lake Sorrell to Lake Crescent.

The boat ramp at Lake Sorrell.

The drive from the lakes down to Bothwell was much easier than the ascent from the other side. We refuelled in Bothwell and then parked the car for a walk around the town to see some of the old buildings.

Leaving Bothwell, we drove back to the intersection with the Midland Highway and then turned north to return to our camp at Oatlands.

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Days 89 & 90 in Tassie

15th February, 2018.

Time to move inland again and the day’s destination was St Marys but first we had to tow the van up St Marys Pass. As we were leaving St Helens we heard truckies talking over the two-way about a broken down car on a blind corner on the Pass. My anxiety levels were already fairly elevated and this news did nothing to alleviate them. Fortunately, just as we reach the base of the climb, the tow truck carrying the stranded vehicle passed us heading the other way. As it turned out the drive was not bad at all as there was very little traffic going down and we had no one behind us until we reached the top of the climb.

The Recreation Grounds were fairly busy when we arrived but we found a spot at the far end.

The Recreation Grounds adjoin the Golf Course so the outlook is pleasant enough.

We had a look around town and a great chat with one of the owners of an antiques and collectables store, Toad Hall. There were some wonderful pieces there and they had done a great job of restoring what had once been an old Bank. Unfortunately, no photo.

16th February, 2018.

Having seen most of St Marys the previous day, we set off to find another waterfall, Mathinna Falls, north of Fingal. Once we hit the dirt roads outside the town of Mathinna, it was a rocky 10km trip with the last 150 metres being a one lane track. Fortunately, the only vehicle already there could see us as we approached the parking area and reversed back to allow us to get in. It was a 10 minute walk to the falls which were absolutely stunning in a beautiful setting surrounded by tree ferns.

Returning to Fingal, we stopped for photos of some of the old buildings and churches.

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Day 87 and 88 in Tassie

13th February, 2018.

Another beautiful day so we headed north to The Gardens, the end of this particular coast road. Words can’t really describe how beautiful it is.

On the drive back to Swimcart Beach, we stopped in at a few more campgrounds and were satisfied that we had chosen well.

14th February, 2018.

A quiet day enjoying the beach close to our campsite. Just a few photos for the day.

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Days 85 – 86 in Tassie

11th February, 2018.

Our time in Bicheno at an end, we headed north to the Bay of Fires.

We were delighted to find the campsite that we had chosen as the ideal on our reconnoitre to be vacant when we arrived. Nice and spacious, tucked in the bushes away from the onshore winds and with plenty of privacy.

The surrounding Banksia trees were teeming with birdlife. This is a Little Wattlebird.

A male Superb Fairy-Wren moulting out of his breeding plumage.

During our short visit to Binalong Bay a few days ago, we had seen advertisements for Bay of Fires Eco Tours. While on a walk along the beach, Erich spotted one of their boats cruising along the edge of the Bay. Very similar boats to those that Pennicott Cruises use at Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula.

I had high hopes that this would be identified as a Tasmanian Thornbill but sadly it was the more common Brown Thornbill.

This is a Beautiful Firetail, the only finch found in Tasmania.

12th February, 2018.

One of our aims while visiting this area was to see St Columba Falls, located near Pyangana, west of St Helens. It was a pleasant drive over more relatively steep and winding roads but the falls were worth the effort. Reputed to be the tallest falls in Tasmania, it was difficult to get the entire drop in the photos. A short video that I took on my iPhone probably gives the best impression.

Back at Swimcart Beach the sun was shining but it was very windy so we didn’t envy those camped along the beachfront their spectacular sea views.

Even the birds had trouble against the winds.


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Day 84 in Tassie

10th February, 2018.

A quiet day with nothing planned so Erich returned to the Blowhole for some more photographs in the sunshine. What a difference to the colours the sun makes.

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Days 82 & 83 in Tassie

8th February, 2018.

Our Freycinet Peninsula adventure behind us, we moved on to the seaside town of Bicheno, just a very short drive to the north.

This time we had no choice but to stay in a Caravan Park as there are no freedom camps in the area. Never our favourite places, nonetheless this CP was very good, even though it was almost full we managed to get a drive through site and a 10% discount for a 3 night stay. One of the best features was being walking distance to town, in fact just a hundred metres or so. So after setting up, we went for a walk armed with a map of the town.

Cute little church in the centre of Bicheno.

There is a great lookout right in the middle of town. Whalers lookout offers 360 degree views over the town and out to sea.

Looking north across the main part of town.

A cute little lizard on the path.

On the far side of Whalers Lookout, views over Governor Island.

Another cute lizard.

Coming down from the lookout, we decided to walk to the Blowhole along a track on the foreshore which at times led us over rocks but with clearly marked directional arrows painted to show the way.

The Blowhole was quite spectacular at times but getting the right photo at the right time is quite difficult.

Sooty Oystercatchers keeping their beaks dry.

We retraced our steps back to our starting point and then continued on the path past Governor Island and around to the most easterly point before turning west and walking back up the main street to the Caravan Park.

These Terns were having a bad hair day!

Pelargoniums were growing wild all along the walk.

Looking up at the southern lookout on Whalers Lookout from ground level.

Some unusual wildlife at the caravan park.

9th February, 2018.

Next morning we decided to make a loop drive to the north. We had heard much about Elephant Pass and wanted to do the drive without the caravan. It certainly is not for the faint hearted but I really quite enjoyed it as there was almost no traffic and it was picturesque though very winding and steep and no places to stop for photos. Eventually we got to the town of St Marys where we had a look at the camping area at the Recreation Grounds. It looked like a good spot, although rather crowded at the time. St Marys also looked like a town we would like to explore so we kept driving, making a mental note to have a stopover there once we had finished touring the east coast.

Descending St Marys Pass was another steep and winding drive but only around 6kms so the apprehension was short lived. As we were making good time it seemed a good idea to head further up the coast to check out our next camping possibilities. We have learnt that the opinions of others about suitable campsites do not always coincide with ours and scoping out different areas without the van is working for us on this trip as the distances are relatively short.

Dianas Basin, about half way between the coastal towns of Scamander and St Helen’s, had been well recommended but the reality for us was disappointing. As we approached St Helens we stopped at a park for Erich to take a few photos.

We pressed on past St Helens towards the Bay of Fires. A bit of inattention on my part had us on the road to Binalong Bay where there is no camping but it was a fortuitous mistake as the views were just stunning.

Had the sun been shining, the vivid colour of the algae covered rocks would have been even more impressive.

We headed back to where we should have turned north and checked out Swimcart Beach campground which was completely full along the beachfront but had some nice spots back among the bushes. We also stopped in at Jeanneret Beach, another highly recommended campground which turned out to be very crowded and not really suited to our size rig. Grants Lagoon campground was a big open area with plenty of room but not much else going for it but an alternative should Swimcart Beach be full when we eventually arrived.

After a successful reconnoitre, we returned to Bicheno along the coastal route.

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Days 79 – 81 in Tassie

5th February, 2018.

Our last day in Triabunna was spent quietly around camp so nothing to report.

6th February, 2018.

After breaking camp in Triabunna, we set off for the Freycinet Peninsula and our intended campsite at the Coles Bay Golf Club.

We arrived to find the campground completely empty so had plenty of choice which site to take. Once set up, we drove down to the National Park Ranger Station to get a map of the walks available, some of which we intended to do the next day. A very short walk from the Ranger Station, there was a fantastic view of The Hazards.

Back at the van, the wind was now howling from the east making our decision to put out the awning unwise. Too late to take it down though; all we could do was make sure the guy ropes were firmly anchored in the ground.

7th February, 2018.

Next morning the wind had abated but was forecast to increase again during the day, so before leaving for our exploration of the National Park, we rolled it in. I had read that the car park at the Wineglass Bay walk fills very quickly so we got off to a reasonably early start and arrived at around 9am. Even so, the numerous car parks were already about half full.

We planned only to walk to the lookout as the return trip to Wineglass Bay itself was beyond us. Halfway up, we stopped for a breather and photos.

Looking back towards Honeymoon Bay.

Chatting to a fellow walker.

This rock reminded us of a hippo’s mouth.

Lots and lots of steps still to go.

This seat was beautifully crafted.

The view from the lookout was worth the effort.

Wineglass Bay on the left and Promise Bay on the right.

Sitting on a rock, this was my view of the view.

Beautifully coloured bark of a Eucalypt.

Finally back at the car park, we were greeted by this little fellow.

Next stop was the Cape Tourville Lighthouse, a 15 minute drive across the peninsula.

Beautiful views along the circuit walking track.

The lighthouse itself was not overly impressive, having been built in 1971 and never manned.

On the drive back we stopped at Sleepy Bay for a few more photos.

Having worked up an appetite for lunch, we stopped at the Freycinet Marine Farm and had a lovely light lunch of pan-fried Abalone, something we had not eaten for many years.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for more of their delicious mussels, so I bought a kilo and a half of unbearded specimens, a bargain at $10 per kilo. They were very clean and didn’t require scrubbing and the de-bearding was an easy job. I cooked them up for dinner with spicy chorizo, tomato and white wine. Yum!

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Day 78 in Tassie

4th February, 2018.

The cruise around Maria Island was our 5th boat trip in Tassie and, while they have all been wonderful and unique, this was, in our opinion, the best. If one can only do one boat trip in Tassie, this would be our choice. Of course, it was the most expensive!! But, it was a full day trip and a wonderful lunch was included.

Our boat being prepared for the trip.

With a full load of passengers and almost perfect weather, we cruised across Mercury Passage and anchored in Darlington Bay on the west coast of Maria Island where we enjoyed our morning tea with views across towards the remains of Darlington township, once the site of a penal colony and later of a cement works.

The original Commissariat now serves as an information portal for day trippers and campers who arrive by ferry as well as those like us aboard private vessels.

The Magistrates Cottage.

This tour company offers two different cruise options depending on the weather. When it is too rough on the exposed ocean side of the island, the western side is explored in more depth and includes a fur seal encounter on Ile Des Phoques some 18kms north of Maria Island. However when the weather is good a full circumnavigation of the island is undertaken. We were happy to hear we would be seeing the whole island as we had had enough of fur seals on the two Pennicott cruises.

We cruised in a clockwise direction exploring close to the amazing cliffs.

This sea cave does not look very large and we couldn’t quite believe that the skipper was going to take the boat right inside.

The view from inside the cave aboard the boat looking back to sea.

The colours and patterns of the limestone rock were stunning.

A screen shot of our location in the cave.

Further along, the coastline changed to dolerite cliffs.

More sandstone at Fossil Cliffs.

Amazing patterns.

I think these are Shearwaters which are commonly known as Muttonbirds.

A Buller’s Albatross.

After cruising down the eastern coast and exploring Riedle Bay, which rivals Wineglass Bay for beauty, we rounded the bottom of the island and anchored in Shoal Bay, directly opposite Riedle Bay across a very narrow isthmus.. Whilst enjoying our buffet lunch, we were entertained by lots of sea birds.

A White-bellied Sea Eagle.

An immature Pacific Gull.

The common Silver Gull.

An immature Silver Gull.

Following lunch we cruised up to the Painted Cliffs where we spent quite some time marvelling at the amazing colours in the rocks.

Next we berthed at Darlington where we wandered around for a couple of hours checking out the former penal settlement and some of the buildings dating from later commercial undertakings.

There were lots of Cape Barren Geese.

Tasmanian Native Hen.

Beautiful flowering gum trees.

Some amazing old gnarled trees.

Lots of wombats.

About to reboard our boat for the trip back to Triabunna.

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Days 76 & 77 in Tassie

2nd February, 2018.

Next stop Triabunna, a small fishing village which is the gateway to Maria (pronounced Mariah by the locals) Island, another fairly short drive. Two camps to choose from. One behind the pub and one opposite on a vacant block of land owned by the local take away shop. We opted for the vacant block which allows only self-contained vehicles, no whizz bangs, cars or tents, not because we are snobs but we have found these sites to be more peaceful. When we arrived we were pleased to see Stephen and Carol, whom we had first met at Smithton and subsequently at Old Macs Farm and Sorell, plus our neighbours from Sorell both set up there. That was a good enough endorsement for us as Stephen is very particular about where he camps and has been known to pack up and leave if the generators become too much for him. We aren’t quite that selective.

Later in the afternoon, we set off for a walk around the town using a mud map supplied by the Visitor Centre; first along the esplanade and past Dead Island before circling back through the main street.