NOW: DEVONPORT AND THE TAMAR
After Christmas with our family and a quick flit to Melbourne via Mittagong, Beechworth and Seymour we boarded the evening ferry for Tasmania. We cleared quarantine and queued on the dock for some time before boarding and finding our cabin for the night.
I’m not a great sailor so we were pleased to have a calm crossing. When we woke in the morning the Spirit of Tasmania was cruising up the Mersey River to dock at Devonport.
We may have to eat our way around Tasmania. While staying in Devonport we started with huge juicy cherries direct from the orchard, then cherry ice cream made right before your eyes and then local dutch cream potatoes with our barbie dinner.
Traveling east we visited Port Sorell, Railton, Latrobe and Spreyton trying the beer at Seven Sheds Brewery, the cider at Spreyton and the local chocolate truffles.
After an expensive lunch in a trendy cafe in Deloraine we continued on to Myrtle Park Campground on the St Patrick River at Targa. The river is the water supply for Launceston and we’ve seen platypus and trout here on a previous visit but there were a lot of children swimming and playing in the water so wildlife was a bit elusive.
Ben Lomond National Park was just down the road. The road to the Ben Lomond Ski Village is called Jacobs Ladder. It twists up the scree slope with switchbacks and blind corners which you can look down on from the top. In places loose boulders are held with wire cables. It makes you wonder why anyone thought to even build a road here in the first place. The vertical rock columns of the sheer cliffs make thus a truly incredible place to visit.
The bush is low heath on the higher areas with small snow gums lower down the slope. With no trees around the ski village the icy winds must howl through here in winter.
Targa is close to Launceston where we had our new car serviced. While we were home for Christmas the boys test drove utes and were offered a really good trade-in on the trusty Pajero. So now we have a dual cab Ford Ranger with lots of room for throwing stuff in the back without scratching all the interior panels! The cabin of this car is remarkably clean – no red dirt or rattles – yet!
So while the car was being serviced we had breakfast in town and walked up Cataract Gorge. The locals were all swimming in the chilly water as the temperature soared to 40 degrees which is almost unheard of in Tasmania. Lots of peacocks and peahens with their chicks roamed around the reserve with the males showing off their plumage to all the tourists.
Lilydale Falls start up in the hills north east of Launceston and the water eventually finds its way into the Tamar River. Lots of wineries have developed along the Tamar Valley and we tried a few before crossing the Tamar River on the Batman Bridge on our way to Low Head. John Batman, after whom the bridge is named, sailed up the Tamar in 1835 and across to the mainland to determine the site for Melbourne in Port Phillip Bay.
At Georgetown we dropped in for a pub lunch and just happened to be there on Folk Festival weekend. There was free live music on the veranda and in the bistro so we got an unexpected taste of the festival with our lunch.
A few kilometres down the road is the historic Low Head Pilot Station. The boat crew cottages are still in use as holiday houses and the pilot lights still mark the safe harbour entry. People were sailing, fishing and swimming but my toes froze when I tested the water temperature.
Beauty Point is across the bay from Low Head and home to Seahorse World. This is the only seahorse farm in the world. They breed Tasmanian Potbelly Seahorses for aquariums and zoos across the world and you can hold a live seahorse in your hand! David was a bit sceptical but we both really enjoyed our visit to Seahorse World.
With the sun shining and only a very light breeze we enjoyed lunch at the beach in Bridport and after some hot scones with local berry jam, picked our own strawberries. Fresh caught flathead fillets for dinner with a local sparkling rose finished off our day of hunting and gathering as the sun set on the bay.
NEXT: TASSIES NORTH EAST
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David