A Travellerspoint blog

October 2013

Week 4 - LAUNCESTON

Catching up with my brother, Paul, in Launceston

semi-overcast 6 °C

The Spirit of Tasmania 1 entered the River Mersey at 6.15 am on Sunday 20 October. We had a fairly uneventful crossing. Last time we had cruise seats and Colleen tried to sleep behind a very loud snorer. This time we booked a cabin. This was so much better. Here are some pictures of the Spirit of Tasmania pulling into the River Mersey at Devonport.

6.15am arrival in Devonport, Tasmania (5)

6.15am arrival in Devonport, Tasmania (5)

We set off for Deloraine as a breakfast stop.

View near Deloraine (3)

View near Deloraine (3)


Panorama View near Deloraine

Panorama View near Deloraine

There was not a lot open on a Sunday morning so we turned around and went back to the Raspberry Farm where we had an excellent breakfast.

The place was busy as a European car Club contingent had also stopped there after coming over on the Spirit of Tasmania.
Breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm

Breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm


Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (3)

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (3)

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (5)

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (5)

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (7)

Car club at breakfast stop at The Raspberry Farm (7)

Paul was at home to greet us after we dropped our caravan off at the Treasure Island Caravan Park at Glen Dhu. We were staying with my brother Paul but as he lived on one of the steepest streets in South Launceston it was not a suitable parking place for our caravan.

Paul at home in Launceston

Paul at home in Launceston

Colleen at home in Paul's kitchen in Launceston (8)

Colleen at home in Paul's kitchen in Launceston (8)

Colleen at home in Paul's kitchen in Launceston (6)

Colleen at home in Paul's kitchen in Launceston (6)

View of Launceston from Paul's house (2)

View of Launceston from Paul's house (2)

Launceston is a city in the north of Tasmania, Australia at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers where they become the Tamar River. Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania after Hobart. With a population (greater urban and statistical sub division) of 106,153, Launceston is the ninth largest non-capital city in Australia.

Settled by Europeans in March 1806, Launceston is one of Australia's oldest cities and is home to many historic buildings. Like many Australian places, it was named after a town in the United Kingdom – in this case, Launceston, Cornwall.

Launceston has also been home to several firsts such as the first use of anaesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere, the first Australian city to have underground sewers and the first Australian city to be lit by hydroelectricity. The city has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons.

We have had a fair bit of rest and relaxation in Launceston. Yesterday we wandered around the CBD. Here are a few photos.

Launceston street view

Launceston street view

Launceston Mall

Launceston Mall

As Saturday is another rest day, we had a leisurely start and went with Paul to do some house hunting as he is looking to downsize. We went up past Cataract gorge to the old hydroelectric station on the South Esk River which started operation in 1895. Duck Reach Power Station was the first publicly owned hydro-electric plant in the Southern Hemisphere, and provided the Tasmanian city of Launceston with hydro-electric power from its construction in 1895 to its closure in 1955.

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This picture shows Paul and I on the lookout with the hydro station at the bottom of the Cataract Gorge. In the background are workers houses built a century ago.
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There were some magnificent photo opportunities driving back down to Launceston.

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We had planned to leave in the morning but have decided to stay one more day. On Monday morning we will travel north east to Scottsdale and then north to Bridport. Our first camp will be at Waterhouse Point Camping Area about 40km north east of Bridport in the Waterhouse Conservation Area. We plan to stop for three days before heading for Cape Naturaliste south of Musselroe Point on the north east coast of Tasmania.

Posted by Kangatraveller 22:07 Comments (0)

Week 3-LAKES ENTRANCE to MELBOURNE

Gippsland to Wilson's Promontory and Phillip Island to Melbourne

SUNDAY
Time to move on to the other side of the Gippsland Lakes to Paynesville. We had mapped out the next week that would have taken us to Melbourne via the Yarra Valley. however, with a bit more reading we decided to travel through Sale to Wilson's Promontory and then to Phillip Island. We plan to be in Melbourne on Thursday to have two days at Ashley Gardens Big 4 Caravan Park. We depart on the Spirit of Tasmania on Saturday night.

Our first stop was Paynesville which is across on the western side of the lakes.

Black swan at Paynesville

Black swan at Paynesville


Paynesville (2)

Paynesville (2)


Paynesville

Paynesville

We arrived with the rain so decided to do our washing at a laundromat, then have fish and chips and a coffee at a very fine bakery with a well patronised fish shop beside it. After lunch, we thought we would move on as the rain had really set in. We headed for Sale and set up camp at the Sale Showgrounds.

MONDAY

This morning we travelled on the South Gippsland Highway through many quaint dairy farming and grazing towns to Wilsons Promontory. The Wilsons Promontory National Park is the second most visited in Victoria. People have to enter a ballot in peak seasons for camping spots and cabins. The park caters very well for school groups, hikers and campers. Tidal River is the main Visitor Centre and also provides access to Norman Beach. Here are some photos of the area.

Road view into Wilsons Promontory National Park (6)

Road view into Wilsons Promontory National Park (6)


Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)

Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)


Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory

Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory


Norman Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory

Norman Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory


Norman Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)

Norman Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)


Australian Commandos Memorial at Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory

Australian Commandos Memorial at Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory

We stopped at Squeaky Beach for lunch. One of the Prom's iconic locations, the rounded grains of quartz make a 'squeak' when walked on.

Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory (8)

Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory (8)


Squeaky Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontor (7)

Squeaky Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontor (7)


Squeaky Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory

Squeaky Beach, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory


Squeaky Beach (3)

Squeaky Beach (3)

The 30km drive in to Tidal River has quite a lot of wildlife close to the road. We saw a koala, kangaroos, emus and an abundance of birds.

Large Emu near Darby River, Wilsons Promontory

Large Emu near Darby River, Wilsons Promontory

There were some amazing views from Glennie Lookout and from the beaches towards Mt Oberon.
View from Glennie Lookout, Wilsons Promontory (5)

View from Glennie Lookout, Wilsons Promontory (5)


Panorama view from Glennie Lookout, Wilsons Promontory

Panorama view from Glennie Lookout, Wilsons Promontory

Mt Oberon,  Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)

Mt Oberon, Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory (2)


Mt Oberon, Wilsons Promontory (2)

Mt Oberon, Wilsons Promontory (2)

TUESDAY
We arrived at the Big 4 Phillip Island Caravan Park early and booked in and set up. The main town on the island is Cowes, a very lovely little community. We had lunch and a wander down the main street. At dusk we set off for the Penguin Parade. We are not that into animals especially zoos, but we both enjoyed seeing the Little Penguins come ashore. The best part was seeing them walk alongside the boardwalk on their way to their burrows. Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade is the only commercial venue in the world where you can see penguins in their own environment.

Penguin Parade Centre

Penguin Parade Centre


Penguins coming ashore at Phillip Island

Penguins coming ashore at Phillip Island

WEDNESDAY

As we bought a three park pass for Phillip Island we visited the Koala Conservation Park this morning. We walked around the elevated boardwalks and were amazed to see nearly all the Koala population in the trees. They were well camouflaged and were a little difficult to see at first.

The Koala Conservation Centre is dedicated to koala research and conservation and allows the opportunity to view koalas in their natural habitat on treetop boardwalks.

Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Churchill Island Heritage Farm


Australian Koala Conservation Centre (2)

Australian Koala Conservation Centre (2)


Hello Boing (as our granddaughter Mia says)

Hello Boing (as our granddaughter Mia says)


Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (6)

Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (6)


Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (12)

Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (12)


Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (17)

Koala at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre (17)


Bird at Koala Conservation Park (3)

Bird at Koala Conservation Park (3)


Wetlands at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre

Wetlands at the Australian Koala Conservation Centre

Later in the day we visited the Churchill Heritage Farm. Here are some pictures from this historic centre.
Churchill Island Heritage Farm (6)

Churchill Island Heritage Farm (6)


Sheep at Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Sheep at Churchill Island Heritage Farm


Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm (2)

Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm (2)


Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm (5)

Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm (5)


Rogers Cottage at Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Rogers Cottage at Churchill Island Heritage Farm


Peacock at Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Peacock at Samuel Amess House at Churchill Island Heritage Farm


Churchill Island Heritage Farm (3)

Churchill Island Heritage Farm (3)

Of course we had to have a look at the site for the Australian National Motorcycle Grand Prix which starts tomorrow.
Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island (5)

Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island (5)


Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island

Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Phillip Island

THURSDAY

This morning we strike camp and set off on the short drive to Melbourne where we will stay for the next two nights at Ashley Gardens Big 4 caravan Park in the inner suburb of Braybrook.
Entrance to Ashley Gardens (2)

Entrance to Ashley Gardens (2)

FRIDAY

After doing the usual chores of washing, filling water tanks and breakfast, we took the 220 bus into town to do some shopping and have lunch.
Here are a few photos we took along the way.

Melbourne Star Ferris Wheel at Docklands

Melbourne Star Ferris Wheel at Docklands

Port Melbourne

Port Melbourne

Street scene Footscray, Melbourne

Street scene Footscray, Melbourne

Royal Arcade, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne (3)

Royal Arcade, Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne (3)

Burke and Wills - the unlucky explorers (2)

Burke and Wills - the unlucky explorers (2)

St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

Another of Melbourne CBD'd iconic laneways with cafes and restaurants (2)

Another of Melbourne CBD'd iconic laneways with cafes and restaurants (2)

SATURDAY

This morning we pack up and leave our car and caravan at Braybrook while we go into town for brunch. Later in the afternoon we plan to catch up with my nephew Chris and his fiancée Catharine down at Bay Street, Port Melbourne. They are a lovely young couple who bought their first house together at auction earlier in the day. By 5.00pm we drive onto Station Pier to board the Spirit of Tasmania for our night crossing to Devonport. We finally made it to our cabin at 7.00pm.
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The more we travel, the more we realize what a small world it really is. we caught up with our Brisbane Holiday village neighbours at Ashley Gardens. they are on their way to Perth for Christmas? When we set up in the Phillip Island caravan Park, the next door neighbour said, "You are a long way from Rockhampton." It turned out Bob and his wife knew me from years ago when we went to North Rocky High together in year 9 and 10. Bob's wife's sister went out with my younger brother, Graeme.

Posted by Kangatraveller 00:47 Comments (0)

Shoalhaven, NSW to Lakes Entrance, VIC

Sapphire Coast, South East Victoria

Farewell to Shoalhaven. We had three relaxing days here in a caravan park. This allowed us to get the washing done and to rest up as well as have a look around the area.

We set off for the Sapphire Coast. Our first stop was at Nowra to fuel up. The Woolworths shopping dockets come in handy. We saved $36 on our purchase of 151 litres of diesel. Earlier on we had a docket for 20cents a litre off with a further 4 cents a litre with a five dollar purchase.

Campground at Bodalla Forest Rest Area

Campground at Bodalla Forest Rest Area

Heading south we travelled through Ulladulla and took these pics.
Beautiful Ulladulla

Beautiful Ulladulla

View of a peaceful Main Street at Ulladulla, NSW

View of a peaceful Main Street at Ulladulla, NSW

On the way south to our overnight stop at Bodalla Forest we called into Jervis Bay. Most of the land here is either state national park or commonwealth national park. In fact, Jervis Bay is a Commonwealth Territory. The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915 so that the Federal capital at Canberra would have "access to the sea".
HMAS Creswell seen from Hyams Beach

HMAS Creswell seen from Hyams Beach

Beautiful Hyams Beach -whitest sand beach in the world according to Guiness Book of Records

Beautiful Hyams Beach -whitest sand beach in the world according to Guiness Book of Records

We turned around at the park entrance as it gives access to HMAS Creswell and we backtracked to Hyams Beach, a small village located between the two national parks. What a find! This is a stunningly beautiful little village with magnificent views across Jervis Bay. In fact, we stopped for lunch at a beautiful little park which looked down on pristine beaches and Colleen spotted some whales out in the bay? The wife of a ranger alerted us to them.

We drove onto Batemans Bay. There were once again very beautiful bays, old bridges and lots of bird life. Colleen took these pictures of pelicans lazily floating along in the water? Here is another picture of a Pelican with a Birds-eye view atop a light pole.
Batemans Bay

Batemans Bay

Pelicans sailing serenely by

Pelicans sailing serenely by

two Pelicans on the light pole. this bird was able to swivel his head more than 180 degrees

two Pelicans on the light pole. this bird was able to swivel his head more than 180 degrees

Set in a valley at the junction of the Bega and Brogo rivers and surrounded by rich dairy country, Bega is a handsome, historic town with a proud tradition of cheese making. The Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, housed in a faithful reproduction of the original factory, tells the story of the cheese-manufacturing process and the company’s growth. We bought some Bega Heritage cheese which is only available for export and some Tilba pickled onion cheese. Both well worth the price.
Original Cheese Factory at Bega

Original Cheese Factory at Bega

Inside the Bega Cheese Factory Museum

Inside the Bega Cheese Factory Museum

Tathra is another family favourite, with its wide and wonderful surf beach and its historic steamer sea wharf, a popular fishing platform and the only one of its kind remaining on the east coast. To the north of Tathra is Mimosa Rocks National Park, a 17-km strip of coast where crashing waves have carved out sea caves from the cliffs and left towering rock stacks, created by ancient lava flows, stranded in the sea.

Merimbula is a popular holiday spot, spread out on forested hills around the mouth of the Merimbula River, which forms Merimbula Lake at the back of town. Visitors are drawn here by majestic beaches and a variety of water sports. Main Beach is 5 km long, while Short Point and Tura Beach are set among coastal heaths. Merimbula is often twinned with the historic village of Pambula, just a few kilometres south.

Our stop on Wednesday night was the Merimbula RV Park about 6km outside Merimbula. The owner told me about some big oyster sheds on the lake about 1.5 km away. Two dozen freshly shucked super sized oysters fitted the bill. Colleen is allergic to oysters.
View from our Wednesday night stop at the Merimbula Caravan and Motorhome RV Park

View from our Wednesday night stop at the Merimbula Caravan and Motorhome RV Park

THURSDAY
Thursday morning saw us drive a relatively short distance to Genoa just over the border in Victoria. We arrived at morning tea time so we turned towards the coast to do the 23km to Gipsey Point and the township of Mallacoota. These are both really beautiful places. Mallacoota was a real surprise with its services. We did some shopping at the IGA which had prices comparable to woollies in a big centre. We used the laundromat and visited the bakery. Colleen had great difficulty in selecting some bread rolls for lunch as they had an extensive selection of freshly baked items.
Gipsy Point Landing

Gipsy Point Landing


Gipsy Point Inlet

Gipsy Point Inlet


Colleen behind the camera getting a rare photo

Colleen behind the camera getting a rare photo

Panorama of Mallacoota Harbour

Panorama of Mallacoota Harbour

Mallacoota harbour

Mallacoota harbour

FRIDAY
What a beautiful day - clear blue skies and a light wind. We couldn't make up our minds whether to stay or go. As we thought we would have dinner that night at the 100 year old pub, I thought it best we move on. The thought of the uncommunicative barman defrosting our chicken parma was enough for me to say that we should move on.
Historic bridge over the River at Genoa built 1928

Historic bridge over the River at Genoa built 1928

Genoa Campgrounds -freecamp

Genoa Campgrounds -freecamp

We drove through large tracts of forest and through little hamlets before we reached Orbost. We turned towards the coast and travelled beside the Snowy River down towards Marlo where the Snowy River meets the ocean. This is another beautiful little community with superb views of the Snowy River Estuary.
Snowy River Estuary - the Snowy River meets the ocean at Marlo, Victoria

Snowy River Estuary - the Snowy River meets the ocean at Marlo, Victoria


Panorama of Snowy River Estuary

Panorama of Snowy River Estuary

We had lunch at Orbost and then decided to move west to Lakes Entrance. This town has many caravan parks and a very large fishing fleet.
One of many tree sculptures from a grove planted to commemorate World War 1 in the Main Street of Lakes Entrance

One of many tree sculptures from a grove planted to commemorate World War 1 in the Main Street of Lakes Entrance

A very small part of the fishing fleet at Lakes Entrance

A very small part of the fishing fleet at Lakes Entrance

SATURDAY
This morning we called into the Information Centre. The Lakes Entrance Centre was a mine of information. Loaded with new brochures and maps, we headed off to look at the Nyerimilang Heritage Centre. The land that is now this centre was first purchased in 1884 and mostly was owned by the Stuart Family as a base for shooting, fishing and holidays at the Gippsland Lakes. Eventually, the property was purchased by the Victorian government in 1976 and is now managed by Parks Victoria. Here are some pictures Colleen took from the homestead with views to Lake King.

View from Jemmies Point, Lakes Entrance

View from Jemmies Point, Lakes Entrance

Panorama from Jemmies Point

Panorama from Jemmies Point

Nyerimilang Heritage Centre 6km outside Lakes Entrance

Nyerimilang Heritage Centre 6km outside Lakes Entrance

Black Swan on King Lake

Black Swan on King Lake

Boats on King Lake

Boats on King Lake

Rose Garden at Nyerimilang Heritage Park

Rose Garden at Nyerimilang Heritage Park

Late in the afternoon we walked along the Esplanade then crossed over to Main Beach via the Cunninghame Arm Footbridge.
Cunninghame Arm Footbridge provides access to the Main Beach on Bass Strait

Cunninghame Arm Footbridge provides access to the Main Beach on Bass Strait

90 Mile Beach at Lakes Entrance

90 Mile Beach at Lakes Entrance

Life Savers on Main Beach

Life Savers on Main Beach

Esplanade, Lakes Entrance

Esplanade, Lakes Entrance

Posted by Kangatraveller 23:47 Comments (0)

HEADING SOUTH

Brisbane to Melbourne via the Princes Highway

semi-overcast 8 °C

Tuesday 1 October saw us up early and on the road south. This was to be Day 1 of our four month trip to really get to see the beauty and splendour of Tasmania. Our plan was to take a leisurely trip down to Melbourne via the Princes Highway south of Sydney and arrive in Melbourne on Friday 18th October in time to catch the Spirit of Tasmania across to Devenport on the 19th October? our plan was to arrive on the morning of the 20th and to breakfast at Deloraine and then leave our Quantum off-road Caravan at the Treasure Island Caravan Park at South Launceston for a week while we caught up with my brother, Paul Curran, who resides on Launceston or "Lonnie" as it is known by the locals.

We really didn't have any plans except to stay with Paul for the first week then take off to the West coast, if the weather was clear! or go down the east coast if the weather wasn't being kind to us. We had a few other thoughts such as crossing the pieman river by ferry in the Tarkine forests of the North West and going to the End of the Road at Cockle Creek way south of Hobart. other ideas was to be in Launceston for Christmas and back in Hobart for the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

So to start our journey we decided to take two days to bypass Sydney and arrive on the south coast of New South Wales. Our first night was a free camp at Coopernook State Forest which is north of Taree. We travelled 586 km that day and were pleased to arrive at an idyllic forest camp site with at least 20 other campers. The camp had pit toilets and little else.
Old stockyards at Coopernook

Old stockyards at Coopernook

We were on the road early to refuel at Taree and we ended up outside Bowral in the Southern highlands to camp at Mackey VC rest Area. This was a lovely setting but had the disadvantage of being close to the Illawarra Highway and constant traffic noise. The alternative was a camp site not too far away in the Belanglo State forest.

On Thursday morning we visited the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Centre. This is highly acclaimed attraction and rightly so. We enjoyed three hours or so in this remarkable museum before having a roadside lunch.
Information Board at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Centre

Information Board at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Centre

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Bradman's childhood home at Bowral 1912-1924

Bradman's childhood home at Bowral 1912-1924


Later in the day we arrived at Kangaroo Valley at a very heavily patronised bush setting on the Kangaroo River. As it was the long weekend there were several hundred campers of all ages. We set up camp on the high ground and left soon after when some nearby young people started their loud doof doff music. As the campgrounds are set out along the River we found the perfect spot close to toilets and on high ground up from the River.
Campground at Kangaroo Valley

Campground at Kangaroo Valley

Kangaroo Valley Campground

Kangaroo Valley Campground

The campgrounds were home to a large number of wombats and kangaroos.
Wombat at Kangaroo Valley

Wombat at Kangaroo Valley

After our two night stay we travelled down to Shoalhaven to stay at a caravan park for three nights. This break allowed us to unhook the caravan and take a drive up the coast to Shell Harbour, Kiama and Gerrinong. This is a very green part of the state. There are magnificent beaches and a number of wineries.

We walked along the Main Street at Kiama up to see the Blow hole but it was not cooperating on the day? still, this place is a beautiful part of the world.
The Blow Hole at Kiama

The Blow Hole at Kiama

We are going to upload a new blog every week. Next Tuesday will see us somewhere around Lakes Entrance on the south eastern coast of Victoria.

Posted by Kangatraveller 03:05 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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