NOW: FREYCINET PENINSULA AND HOBART
Even if you’re not a wine drinker you have to stop in at the Devil’s Corner Winery just south of Bicheno. They have a multi-storey lookout built out of shipping containers with views across Moulting Lagoon and The Hazards. Sounds quirky and it is but with the sound of voices from people tucked out of the wind, sunny decks, wood fired pizza, local seafood and beautiful wines – great place to visit!
At about 9.00pm we saw our first fairy penguin duck into the scrub as we walked along the Foreshore Track in Bicheno. As we sat on the rocks nearby two more penguins waddled up from the surf and huddled under a ledge. When we moved up further from the water they waddled up where we’d been sitting. Not the easy way up but apparently their preferred route. The coastline here is dominated by huge rounded rock platforms and wild seas. The calmest spot was The Gulch where fishing boats anchor and you can buy a lobster fresh from the sea.
In the Fingal Forest the Mathinna and Evercreech Falls were running nicely. The old tree ferns were metres high and the gums known as the White Knights were standing tall. There are lots of little villages, once bustling timber towns, dotted along the road. St Mary’s, Cornwall and Fingal were all having a quiet Saturday afternoon.
South of Bicheno on the Freycinet Peninsula the surf was breaking well and local surfers were out in their long wetsuits on The Friendly Beaches. There’s good camping here as well in amongst the coastal heath and protected from the wind.
At Coles Bay we had a day on the Tasman Sea and around to Wineglass Bay. Some of the rocks had the red lichen for which the Bay of Fires is famous but we were a long way further south now. Despite its exotic name Wineglass Bay was not named because of its wine glass shape but because of the blood red colour of the water during the whaling days when whales were slaughtered in the bay. Now it is a white sandy beach in the Freycinet National Park.
With a hearty breakfast under our belts we climbed up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout with a lot of other tourists for company. The view of the bay from up high was actually better than the previous day on the water. We could also see the rocky range named The Hazards.
After a good walk we’d earned a nice lunch at the Marine Farm Shed. It was a bit like our experience at the Lobster Shack in Cervantes Western Australia a couple of years back. The car park was bustling, people were queuing and hundreds of people were eating oysters, scallops and Atlantic Salmon at picnic tables outdoors with a beer, soft drink or wine! Great fresh food in entree size serves so you could have a taste of everything!
Some days in Tasmania have 9 seasons in one day and the day we left Coles Bay was one of those days. At 7.30am it was 25 degrees and sunny. An hour later at Swansea it was 15 degrees and blowing a gale with sticks, bark and leaves flying through the air and horizontal rain. The wind followed us into Hobart but the rain eased to showers and 14 degrees. At the top of Mt Wellington we could see the city of Hobart and the Derwent River when the clouds parted. It was 4 degrees, windy and sleeting.
The wind eased for our day at the Salamanca Markets where we met the maker of the world’s best gin which he makes from the sheep cheese whey on the family farm. He is the only person in the world making gin from whey. On our way into the market he was waiting for a call from the World Gin Competition in London as he was in the final three of the Best Gin Category. On our way out he’d had the call – Best Gin in the World!
The market was a whole day out and we tried local berries, gin, scotch, sausages, pizza, salmon and cheese.
Before leaving Hobart we visited the historic village of Richmond which has the oldest convict built bridge still in use in Australia and lots of craft shops.
NEXT: BRUNY ISLAND
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David