Friday, February 26, 2010

Tasmania's east coast

St Helen's boat harbour.

Bay of Fires.

Campsites along the Bay of Fires. You can see Priscilla on the right hand corner at our Cosy Corner South campsite. We are camped alongside Peter from the Devonport Bridge Club and his wife Viv. We had a game of bridge with them together with a bottle of Oyster Bay merlot last night.

We had run into Peter at the supermarket at St Helens and he told us where they had a dress circle campsite at the Bay of Fires so we joined them. Oh, the power of networking........

Only a few more days in Tassie, alas.

This is the view from our window. The beach is magnificent but not very safe for swimming.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tasmanian sights

Tasmania continues to delight. We have now criss-crossed the island state except for the east coast where we are currently
at Freycinet National Park.

The above photo was taken at the Ashgrove Cheese outlet out side Launceston where these wonderful painted artificial cows await the tourists. The cheeses, as they are everywhere in Tasmania, are superb. Tastings are generous and wide ranging.

It is not often that you see a piglet that seems to be a domestic pet. This former church in Evandale is now a private house and the piglet was grazing on the grass happily making wide furrows in the grass lawn.

A wooden lounge chair on the walking track up to the Wineglass Bay lookout. The lounge chair was designed in 2000 by a couple of architecture students. Nikki is having a little rest, girding her loins for the 10 kms walk ahead along Hazards Beach. The long way back to the NP carpark.

Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet Peninsula. It is supposedly the most beautiful beach on the world. I beg to differ. It is undoubtedly a lovely beach but in my estimation no comparison to the beaches in southern WA around Esperance and around Cape Le Grand.

But we did see dolphins, not just swimming and diving around in Wineglass Bay very near the shore, but actually surfing the waves. That was something to see!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Launceston Festivale at City Park Feb 12 - 14

Human statues at the Festivale. You put money in their hat and they move according to the amount.

Launceston’s annual Festivale held at the City Park went off with great success in 2010. It is a 3 day celebration of Tasmanian food and wine and you can sample the best this small but productive state has to offer by way of taste as well as enjoying musical, dance and theatrical performances and street performers. There were cooking demonstrations by well known Tasmanian chefs as well.

The food is wonderful and ranges from $7 a plate to over $25. We had rosti potato cakes with smoked salmon topping, tempura mushrooms, Cajun calamari and marvellous hot berry pancakes with hot chocolate sauce drizzled over it. These are only a minute sample from a large range of quality food stalls.

All the wineries of the Tamar valley were in attendance and you could taste the wines, purchase a glass of wine for $6 or a bottle for much more. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the two Tasmanian wines to zero in on, and I did.

The 2008 Delamere Chardonnay is to die for and the 2009 vintage is also excellent. Young Shane is the newish owner of the winery and he should go far. His wines are excellent and he is personable, chatty and helpful. Go Shane!

And would you believe, we ran into Kerry and Peter Butcher from the Canberra Bridge Club who had just that morning arrived at their hotel and came to sample the Festivale.

The photos are of street performers rather than of food. This is Betty Brawn fromthe UK lifting two strapping lads.
The Liqueur Flambe who did acrobatic violin playing while standing on each others' shoulders.

Samora Squid the contortionist who was able to dislocate his shoulders in order to squeeze through a tennis racquet

Unfrotunately, I did not have my camera on the Saturday evening when the Pole Revolution was performing. This was THE best of the Festivale. Some athletic girls (5) with marvellous figures did acrobatics on a single pole. I wonder if that is where Pole dancing originated or the other way around. They were so good, I wondered why they did not have it as an Olympic event.

A wonderful weekend.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Tasmania the beautiful continued

This is the Leven River at the foot of the magnificent Leven Canyon at Devil's Elbow. It is near Gunns Plains where the caves are.

Another shot of the Leven River at the bottom of this wonderful gorge.

Swimmers at the small dam on the Cataract Gorge near Launceston. Compare this with the photo below.

Seals at South Bruny Island. Can you see a certain similarity between the two sets of bathers?
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Some Tasmanian whimsies and Cradle Mountain National Park

I had never bought shoes in a delicatessen before but I did in Stanley, at the Providore 24, as the photo above illustrates.

The shop is listed as a delicatessen and it had wonderful sourdough bread brought in from Launceston and baked on the premises, cheeses, confectionary and many other delicacies as well as a wonderful array of shoes made in Maroochydore of all places. I had to resist several pairs choosing this smart little black number. Another lady was also trying on a pair at the same time.

The owner is not sure in which direction to go as the shoes are very popular. How about that for diversification?

These figures are made of papier mache by two artistic ladies on exhibtion at the Burnie Makers Gallery - a gallery devoted to the arts and crafts and industries of Burnie, at the newly built modernistic Visitors Centre.

The Dove Lake Track is a 2 hour walk around Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain. We did the walk and we had both good and bad fortune. Cradle Mountain (in the background) persisted in being enveloped in fog but the track was open and unencumbered. The previous week they were doing maintenance and only half the Lake was able to be walked instead of the complete loop being available. So, we counted ourselves lucky -no view of Cradle Mountain but we could do the Dove Lake walk.

Pencil Pine Falls in Cradle Mountain National Park.

I am resisting the urge to burden our blog viewers with waterfalls. Allow me just one of many.
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Stanley and Boat Harbour Beach

A huge basalt outcrop known as the Nut in the town of Stanley is the core of an extinct volcano and it is twelve million years old. It is 143 metres high and 32 hectares in area, making it one of the most dramatic features along the northern coastline of Tasmania. It has been described as Tasmania’s Uluru.

Visitors can either walk to the summit along a steep path or take the chairlift which operates up and down.

Boat Harbour Beach is one of the most picturesque beaches in a little village along the coast just outside Wynyard. We had our second swim in Tassie here, in the month of January, and it was a magnificent swim too, with wonderful surf. The beach has lovely rocky points and is a safe swimming beach full of locals enjoying the water and surf.

We camped for the night along the grass at the side of the beach. Just out of range of the above photo.

I had a coffee in the café/restaurant overlooking the beach which served wonderful sounding, reasonably priced food (sadly our cooked meal was waiting back in the camper) and then we had a walk along the beach eating an ice cream served from the kiosk. It was one of the pleasantest afternoon/evenings in Tassie. A highlight.
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