Tasmania – Exploring Coast to Coast

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For the busy reader, here’s a selection of out best photos:

  1. The But – Stanley  – Tasmania
  2. Wynyard – Table Cape – Tasmania
  3. Dove Lake – Cradle Mountain – Tasmania
  4. Tasmania – Endangered Wildlife

It was sad to say farewell to our comfortable 19th century cottage in Stanley, a historic fishing village dominated by a rare landform called the ‘Nut’. This time, we resisted the steep climb and took the cable car in both directions. We quickly walked around the 2km circuit at the summit and got the last car down at 5.00pm.

After Stanley, we took the coastal road east and made many interesting stops, including Wynyard, Burnie, Ulverstone and Penguin. For example, Wynyard’s defining landmark is the massive Table Cape, a cliff top patchwork of rich soils and colourful crops high above the Bass Strait – we enjoyed walking the cliffs. Another nearby stop was Boat Harbour and Sisters Beach, picture postcard locations, busy with Australian holidaymakers but we enjoyed a walk in the Rocky Cape National Park. Burnie is one of the biggest towns on the north coast but we did not stop, nor in Penguin which seemed to be just too commercial at the expense of our little friends. We took the coastal road between Penguin and Ulverstone and it was a very pretty drive.

Then we had a delightful surprise. We set the Sat Nav for Sheffield, an inland farming town, where we were to be based nearby for two nights. We followed C-class roads, through a patchwork of greens and browns of busy farms and fat beef cattle lazing in the sunshine. It ranks as one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. We spent two nights in a lovely wooden cottage, surrounded by exceptional views in every direction, 10km south of Sheffield, alongside Mt Roland, on the road to Cradle Mountain. One of the highlights of our trip to Tasmania was visiting Cradle Mountain and walking the famous Dove Lake circuit – despite the high season, we decided to start out early so as to miss the crowds and that worked well. We dined in simple places, serving outstanding local produce and wine, of course but we were careful as we had to drive home.

The next morning we passed the Cradle Mountain turnoff and continued to Strahan, circa 150km through Tasmania’s Western Wilderness. If you look at a map of Tasmania, much of the west is uninhabited by humans, so it’s a haven for wildlife, largely without roads and vast areas are preserved as national parks. We stopped for coffee in Zeehan, once Tasmania’s third largest town with gold and silver mines – these days, tourism is the main industry but it’s still not too commercialized. We then moved on to Strahan, where we spent four relaxing days in delightful accommodation  overlooking the river. In Strahan, we visited the theatre, where we saw ‘The Ship That Never Was’, a comedy about convicts trying to organize the building of a ship to escape from Sarah Island, a penal colony to Chile in South America – it’s based on history. The play had audience participation and Australians are fun-loving and all took their roles so very well. We took a day cruise up the Gordon River into the Wild Rivers National Park, stopping at Sarah Island, the infamous penal settlement that was once the colony’s largest shipbuilding centre, using convict labour. This was a cruel place and punishment was very harsh. One day, we visited Queenstown with its 19th century verandas that line the main street giving it a wild west atmosphere. There are still colonial buildings and even a 19th century theatre that looks a bit tired. This was an early gold mining area too until it ran out and copper was discovered. This area in Tasmania is famed for its Huon Pine and produces World class furniture and wooden crafts.

Tasmania’s Western Wilderness is simply stunning and one of the world’s most important remaining examples of cool temperate rain forest.

Stay with us for our final blog on Tasmania.

One response

  1. Pingback: Farewell to NZ – thank you for the many treasured memories « Discovering the Orient & Pacific

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