NOW: TASMANIA’S NORTH EAST
Travelling east through Bridport and Gladstone we set up camp at Stumpys Bay in Mount William National Park. We’d visited Musselroe Bay and Top Camp first but the wind was howling and we opted for the cover of the trees and the windbreak from the dune.
We’d planned to have a campfire and cook in the campoven but a total fire ban had been imposed due to the strong winds and dry conditions so the gas stove got a workout. Forester Kangaroos are supposed to graze the open plains and we may have seen some in the far distance but the Bennetts Wallabies were constant camp companions.
With some inherited squid for bait we tried our luck with some beach fishing. We had a few good nibbles but couldn’t land anything. Another fisherman felt sorry for us and threw us an Australian Salmon. Since I ‘caught it’, filleted and skinned in a plastic bag it was a pretty good catch! But the catch of the day was definitely the 42-centimetre bream David caught in Musselroe Bay the next day.
Cape Naturaliste was a long walk north along the beach from our camp and we needed a rest on the dune in our chairs when we got back. The next day we walked south to the boat ramp at the next camp which wasn’t nearly as far. It’s all about fishing from the beach and diving for crayfish in this part of the world with keen anglers spending a lot of time watching and waiting. We were very envious when our neighbours started eating crayfish.
Camping in sight of a wind farm suggests it could get breezy and it was at the farm. Luckily the dune and the she-oaks protected us from the wind that stirred up the ocean and turned the turbines. After a windy, rainy last night we headed back to Gladstone with the wallabies enjoying the rain soaked grass on the open plains.
The forest was green and dripping in Weldsborough as we climbed up the hills and through old tin mining villages. In the Pyangena Valley we tasted the artisan cheese, watched the cheese maker at work and visited the ‘Pig in the Paddock’ at the Pub in the Paddock. The pub was once a home and then a guest house as it is on the road to St Columba Falls.
The overnight rain made the St Columba Falls a spectacular sight with mist rising, dripping rainforest and water spraying on everyone on the lookout platform. This cold, wet rainforest seemed very old and almost mystical with mist, lots of tree ferns, massive trees and moss everywhere.
On our previous trip to Tasmania we had so much rain the roads north of Bicheno were closed by flood water so we didn’t get to see the Bay of Fires area at all. We needed to wash, shop and visit a harbourside fish and chip shop so St Helens was the next stop. Then on to the Bay of Fires which gets its name from the red lichen growing on the rocks around the coastline. When you stand on the rocks at the point known as The Gardens you can look right around the bay to Binalong Bay and north to Eddystone Point.
Ansons Bay and Policemen’s Point sit at the northern edge of the Bay of Fires and mark the southern edge of Mt William National Park. It’s all white sandy beaches, granite rocks and clear ocean right up this coast. We camped at Cosy Corner in the conservation area where not only could we hear the ocean, we could see the waves splashing on the red lichen covered rocks and it the camp was free!
We tried our hand at fishing but ended up feeding the baby salmon, but because the camping was free we bought some delicious fresh blue eye trevalla and lobster to eat by the sea on the next two nights. All the campers nearby kept visiting us to see if there were any leftovers. We also visited Tasmania’s most eastern point at Eddystone Lighthouse.
NEXT: FREYCINET PENINSULA AND HOBART
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David