Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Wombat Bend to Westerfolds Circuit

When the world is a little topsy turvy, it's nice to have your feet on the ground, exploring the great outdoors. 
One of my favourite places is Westerfolds Park. When my daughter was born, I pushed her around the park in a pram. When she was older, she played on the adventure playgrounds with her brother. Later, I joined a friend for weekly walks after the morning school run. 
These days, we just go there on a whim, knowing we're sure to see something interesting each visit and kids are never too old to go on a swing, a slide or a flying fox at the playground.
Sealed paths cover the entire park, allowing access for everyone on foot or on wheels. A few steep hills get your heart racing and your blood pumping, but you feel  so good afterwards.

From Wombat Bend carpark, a short walk leads to a suspension bridge crossing the Yarra. The river is very wide at this point and home to a platypus or two. The bridge is home to approximately 20,000 cockatoos. 
Just kidding. *wink*

Across the other side, a steel boardwalk takes you towards Westerfolds. A myriad
of paths meander around the place - take your pick which one you choose, as they mostly join on to main tracks.
Birdwatchers will love this place, with so many different types of birds to be found. Here's a few that I've spotted.

Ok, that last pic isn't birds, but it fits on the page. The huge mob of roos moves around a bit throughout the park. Sometimes the young males perform a morning boxing match for our entertainment . Thanks, boys!

The lovely old Westerfolds Manor sits high on the hill, with views for days. A perfectly positioned park bench nearby makes a good stop to rest for a few minutes. 

At dusk, back at Wombat Bend bridge, the cockies have gone to bed...

...but this guy is out looking for dinner and you might see him splashing about near the rapids. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Spirit of Tasmania - Devonport to Melbourne

Up early for a 7am departure from Devonport, on board the Spirit of Tasmania. 
We booked a cabin again for or return voyage and took our supply of ginger ale, ginger biscuits and ginger tablets to our room, just in case we had a rough ride ahead. 
We bid Devonport, and all of Tassie, a fond farewell. 
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Spirit of Tasmania DevonportSpirit of Tasmania Devonport 

Again, we scored a 4 berth cabin right at the front (to look out  for icebergs, whales, crazy solo yachtsmen, etc.) and settled in our bunk beds to read and relax. 
We watched a movie in the twin cinema, ate lunch from the eatery, listened to live music in the bar and played arcade games in the dedicated games room.
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Halfway across Bass Strait, we sailed past our ship's sister, a wonderful sight to see out in the middle of the ocean. 
Spirit of Tasmania Devonport

Homeward bound....
From our room we spied the city skyline coming into view.  We packed up our things from the cabin and headed down to our car, parked in the lower decks. 
Spirit of Tasmania Melbourne

We had a fantastic time on our road trip, saw many wonderful sights, ate our body weight in scallop pies and seafood chowder and tried some wonderful wines.
Station Pier MelbourneArriving in Station Pier, we queued patiently in rows of vehicles, as each deck was unloaded. A parting look at the ferry in the mirror, and we were off to our home, sweet home. It was an amazing trip, that I highly recommend to anyone. 

Spirit of Tasmania Melbourne
 Travel tips from me to you:

  • book the ferry in advance
  • day sail
  • book a cabin for the sailing journey
  • take your car
  • pack all your creature comforts from home
  • pack ginger products
  • buy an RACV personal membership to get discounted ferry and nat parks tickets
  • buy an Entertainment Book membership for even more discounts
  • stay in self contained cabins 
  • eat all the scallop pies and seafood chowder you can
  • give Tassie a big hug for me

Tasmania Travels - Beaconsfield Mine

2006. For almost 2 weeks, we were glued to the tv. Watching, waiting, wanting to hear some kind of news about the miners trapped underneath Beaconsfield Mine. Todd Russell. Brant Webb. Larry Knight.
The miraculous news that followed - Brant and Todd were alive and rescued.
The tragic news - Larry Knight did not survive.

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The mine has since closed down and has been turned into a museum and heritage centre. 

We wandered around the site for a few hours, exploring the interactive exhibits and recreations of the mine disaster.

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The workings of a mine are fascinating and I have visited a few over the years, but Beaconsfield is the most modern mine I have seen. 

Beaconsfield Mine TasmaniaBeaconsfield Mine Tasmania
The views from the 'Monkey Cage' were amazing. 
Beaconsfield Mine TasmaniaBeaconsfield Mine Tasmania

The historic buildings and relics provided a glimpse into the past, when the mines were an even tougher place to work. 

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania
A quick game of Shafts and Ladders and our visit was complete.
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Outside, a plaque sits, paying respects to the many people in the community who helped make Todd and Brant's rescue a success and honouring the memory of Larry. 
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Across the road, in the rose garden where news crews huddled for 2 weeks, another plaque commemorates journalist Richard Carleton, who passed away during the event. 
Beaconsfield Mine Tasmania

Beaconsfield Mine was the last attraction for us to visit on our Tassie road trip and it added a poignant ending to our journey. 
Onward to Devonport for a night before we set sail in the morning.

Tasmania Travels - Cataract Gorge, Launceston

At Cataract Gorge, we boarded the chairlift to the northern station.

Cataract Gorge,Tasmania

Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

At the Gorge Cliffgrounds, we wandered around the shady gardens, spotting wildlife like the glamorous peacocks, with their peahens and pea...babies? Baby Peas? Chick Peas? Whatever they're called, they are the cutest little fluff balls ever.

Cataract Gorge, Tasmania
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

Wallabies hopped around the place, not at all bothered by the tourists...
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

This rock was sitting by the track,  having a salad for lunch...
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

We walked along the river via the Cataract Walk, before taking the footbridge back across the water to our car. 

Cataract Gorge, Tasmania
Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

It was a great place to spend a few hours, and we hope to return one day to do
the river cruise and stay in Launceston for a little longer.
But now, we're off to Beaconsfield. 

T Launceston Tasmania

Tassie Travels - Binalong Bay

From Bicheno, we drove north along the coast to St Helens, where we stayed in a cabin style unit at Kellraine. 

This style of accommodation makes our roadtrips so  much easier, having a kitchen, fridge, washer/dryer or clothes line handy. We're able to make breakfast for ourselves, pack a picnic lunch, sometimes cook a quick pasta or salad for dinner,  and wash enough clothes for the 4 of us, to get us through to the next place with laundry facilities. 
Other times we eat out for breakfast, visit a bakery or cafe for lunch and enjoy the local produce at restaurants and pubs for dinner.

We didn't have a lot of time to spend at Binalong, as we were nearing the end of our holiday. A few hours at the beach was the best we could do. 
Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania
A warm sunny day made the water look very inviting, but we read the colour chart wrong. 
Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania
That gorgeous Tropical Turquoise colour was actually  Antarctic Aqua.

Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania

I'm sure I saw icebergs floating by. 
Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania
Regardless, the kids put on their bathers and splashed about in the water until they were a pale shade of Hypothermia Blue. 
Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania
We dried them off, jumped in the car and headed for Launceston.

Binalong Bay of Fires Tasmania