Saturday, July 31, 2010

In and Around Hobart

Salamanca and Beyond!!!

Today we started the day by visiting the Salamanca Markets which is pretty close to the waterfront. Salamanca Place which runs next to the wharves is blocked off and given over to stall holders. There is all sorts of things on sale from jam doughnuts to leather hats and apples to zucchini. The markets start at 8.30 am and some stall holders are there setting up at 6.30 am. It must be pretty cold at that time because it was quite chilly while we were walking around.

The markets are much the same as most markets you will find on the mainland, however with the unique produce and products on offer they are unique. These markets are held every Saturday. Parking wasn't a problem, there were a few areas of cleared land that were being used as car parks and we were able to stay all day if we wanted to for $4.00. Saved us quite a walk.

We spent about 3 hours from 8.30 to 11.30 am at the markets. After we finished there we came back to our accommodation to have lunch. Phill didn't have any because he had bratwurst on a bread roll just before we left the markets. We had to get some bread etc. before lunch and we went to the local Coles/Kmart shopping centre. It was a little different to what we are used to as each had their own entrance with speciality shops. Bit different to the shopping centres we are used to. We might have to do more research on the topic.

After lunch we went exploring. First we went to the Wicked Cheese Company. Only tasted about 10 cheeses. They had some double and triple Bree and a very nice Camembert. Pat and Phil liked the triple Bree and I liked the Camembert. They also had a really nice soft cheese with chilly in it. It seemed to wait until you swallowed and then hit you from behind. It was really nice. There was also some very nice cheddars as well. I liked the plain cheddar then the smoked, wasn't all that keen on the whiskey cheddar.

We then drove through the south western suburbs to the shot tower that was built in the 1870's. Where it is situated overlooks the Derwent and it is sitting on a sandstone outcrop about 10 metres thick. We had a very good drive back because I found 4 dead ends. I was going to see if I could find 10 but the others wouldn't be in it. It isn't a good sight seeing outing if you don't find at least one dead end.

The scenery down by the banks of the Derwent are really nice. There are quite a few small sandy beaches that look really nice and if the temperature was about 20 degrees warmer I may have been tempted to try it. The temperature today has been hovering at about 16 degrees.
We have completed our adventures for the day and have had our cheese and bickies. Couldn't start that until 5.00 pm.

The entrance to our unit at Graham Court

The main building on Graham Court where we are staying in Hobart.

I'll have another chapter in the Tassie Tourist saga tomorrow.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Queenstown to Hobart

We're in Hobart!

Last night we stayed in Queenstown and this morning we headed off towards Hobart with no plans to get there today, we would if we could.

We headed off to the first stop at Derwent Bridge where there is a Wilderness Wall. The wilderness Wall is going to be 100 metres long and it appears to be about 2 metres high. The sculptor who is doing the work has given himself 10 years to complete the project and he reached the half way mark in March this year. The work is absolutely fabulous and the detail in is fantastic. He has figures of miners and timber getters where you can see the veins in their hands and arms. I don't think I would have anywhere near the patience to do any of it. As you go into the building that has been built for the wall there are some examples of his work. There are leather gloves that he has carved out of a piece of wood that look so real. Will have to go back in 5 years time to see the finished work.

From Derwent Bridge where there is a bridge over the Derwent River we headed towards a town called Hamilton. There was some impressive scenery along the way. There were some areas where there was thick scrub right up to the road, some where it was wide open and very marshy and some with a mixture of everything. About 20 minutes after Derwent Bridge we stopped in the centre of Tasmania for morning tea. There was a shelter with tables where we stopped and Phill went for a walk to stretch his legs and found a cairn set up by the surveyors of Tasmania which in the geographical centre of Tasmania. I suppose I am stretching the truth to say we had morning tea there, actually we were about 10 metres away.

After morning tea we headed towards Hamilton. Where we went was through a lot of country that is being used for hydroelectricity, either for water storage or power stations.

It was interesting to see some of the water storage. We went across one of the storage dams that was made of rock fill with a clay core. It was called Binney Dam that held 26 million cubic metres of water. This was only one of a number (not sure how many) storage dams that were in the central highlands. There are large canals the deliver water to the pipes that take the water to the turbines. So much water everywhere. Looked a bit cold to swim in though.
There were quite a few old churches on the way. In the village of Ouse there were 2 beautiful churches, one Roman Catholic and the other Anglican. The Anglican Church was built in 1842 and 43. There is so much old architecture down in this state that it is hard not to see any. We had lunch at the hotel in Hamilton. It was built from 1826 to 1838, first as a shop and residence and in 1838 it was licensed. Very thick walls. In some places when you went through a door it felt like going through a tunnel. The walls were about 400 mm thick.

The trip from Hamilton to Hobart passed next to the Derwent River a lot of the way. We also came across another really old church which was built in 1848. Unfortunately the ravages of time are taking their toll. It has some steel frames reinforcing either end of the building to keep the walls upright. There was also a cemetery at the church with some of the graves dating back to the middle of the 1800's. Interesting reading some of the inscriptions on the headstones.

We are staying at the Graham Apartments in New Town. They are quite nice and we have a ground floor apartment which means no climbing of stairs. It has all we should need for the 5 days we are booked. It has a full sized stove and microwave so will be able to do some cooking for ourselves. Tomorrow we will be heading for the Salamanca Markets which open at 8.30.

It's so cold down here in Tasmania, even the fence posts are wearing beanies.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Strahan to Queenstown

Day 3 - Strachan to Queenstown

We have had a pretty lazy day today. We are all settled in our accommodation in Queenstown and it's just after 4.00 pm.

We had a nice wander around Strahan today and it is quite a pleasant little town. It appears that the main industries are tourism and fishing. Quite a few fishing and work boats similar to landing craft in the bay adjacent to the town.

We were going to go on a steam train trip, however when we checked the prices on the net before leaving home we thought it might not be a good thing for our finances. On the net the price quoted was $189 dollars per person for the five and a half hour journey returning to Strahan by bus. When we checked this morning it was a little cheaper, $111 per person and $18 return bus fare. It would mean $516 for the four of us. Bit expensive so we decided to take some pictures of it instead. I got 40 pictures and Deb took 34. We actually chased the train down the line a little bit. It was a dirt road which got us very close to the train where we could see into the carriages. Very interesting.

We went into some of the forest areas around Strahan and got some very nice photos of the wildflowers that grew in the heath type areas inland from the ocean. The flowers were like small bells, some were pink, some were white and some were yellow. We went into Strahan where we had morning tea near the wharf area. There was a 50 ft Robinson yacht, (I didn't know anything about it, Phill told me) that was registered in Geraldton WA. Nice boat if you like that sort of thing. Me I'd rather turn a key to get my motive power.

After looking around Strahan we decided to head for Queenstown which is across the mountains. While we were at the Wilderness Steam Train Souvenir Shop the lady there told us that the road from Strahan to Queenstown was quite windy and we should take care. The road is very much like the Walcha to Wauchope only longer.

We were looking for somewhere to have lunch and the person at the Tourist Information place recommended the Empire Hotel because of it's heritage value. The hotel was built in 1904 and the staircase was installed in 1908. The staircase is made out of Tasmanian timber which was sent to England to be built. It was returned and reerected in the foyer of the hotel. It is most impressive. We all had the beef in red wine pie with vegetables and chips. All we needed and only $8.00 each.

We thought we might head to Derwent Bridge which is on the way to Hobart, however, the accommodation at Derwent Bridge was very expensive. We have found a very nice cabin for $110 for the night. Very clean with all the things that we need like linen, crockery, cutlery, pots and pans etc..

We have found Queenstown very depressing, maybe because it is raining and has been for most of the day. This is an old mining town with a lot of smaller cottages very close together on the sides of hills that surround the main part of the town.

We are heading to Hobart tomorrow. We may get there, however we will definitely be there for Saturday and the Salamanca Markets which are supposed to be superb.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day ONe on the Tassie Trail

Boat Harbour Beach

A Rental Property in Stanley

Looking back over Stanley and The Nut

Irish Town Cemetery

Today we have been doing our tourist thing. We left Burnie at about 9.30 and headed west along the Bass Highway following the tourist route. We had a look through Wynyard and just outside the town is a lookout near a lighthouse. The lookout is called Table Cape. The views from here both east and west magnificent. We went in one way and out another and ended back in Wynyard. Nice country anyway.

From Wynyard we headed further west to a small holiday place called Boat Harbour Beach. You have to drive down a narrow winding road to this fantastic beach of white sand. It has even got a Surf Lifesaving Club. The water looked really good as well. We didn't get out of the car to test the water because it was only 8 degrees with a bit of a breeze. We headed back to the Bass Highway and headed for Stanley and The Nut.

Stanley is a very picturesque village. The population according to the tourist blurb we have is 500. It is hard to believe because the number of the houses in the town would be about that many meaning each house would have only one occupant. The majority of the houses in the town which are all very old are for let during the summer. A lot of the B&B's there were closed because the owners were on their winter holidays. Stanley was very sleepy because most of the occupants were on holidays. We had morning tea in Stanley.

After leaving Stanley we went a short way out of town and found a road up to a lookout. The lookout was on top of a hill and there was a raised platform about 4 metres off the ground accessed by stairs. We got some very good photos from here.

We headed further west to Smithton where we hoped to head to the wind farm at Woolnorth. Unfortunately we weren't able to get there because you had to go with an organised tour which cost about $17 each so we gave it a miss. We turned around and headed back towards Wynyard. We had to do this because we were heading for Strahan and the road to Strahan started there.

On our way we found a sign to a town called Irish Town so decided to take a look. It was a very small town but outside the town on the side of a hill was the Irish Town Cemetery. There were a lot of old graves which belonged to a family called O'Halloran. Obviously it was one of the founding Irish families. Very interesting to walk around.

For lunch we went back to Stanley which wasn't too far off the highway where we got some chips and wedges to supplement what we had for our lunch. Amazing value. Got more than we could eat for $7.00. Fed some to the seagulls who were very grateful and let us know.

The road to Strahan was pretty windy. Nice drive though through some heavily wooded country and close to Strahan there was quite a bit of timber harvesting going on. There are some hills around here that are bare of trees although there is quite a lot of smaller trees in the under storey which would hold the ground together hopefully.

We didn't get here until dark so we haven't had much of a look around. We are staying in a nice little cabin on the way into town. Nice and warm. Deb booked it over the phone while travelling. The lady she talked to said she would not be here when we got here so she would leave the key in the door and put the heater on. When we got here it was nice and warm with a nice little note welcoming us here.

All in all a good day and we have seen some nice country and some nice places.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're in Tassie

View from the front at Burnie

Our palatial accommodation

View from the back at Bernie

There are a couple of Lizzies favourite birds if you look closely.

G'day Everyone

The ship arrived in Devonport at just on 6.00am which was the advertised time. Pretty good considering that there a lots of variables like weather for the ship to contend with. The cars started disembarking at about 6.10, but we weren't in the first group. When they load they have like suspended platforms which they load first and unload last. With us they stuck to the good old union adage, first on last off.

We were off at about 6.30am and once through quarantine inspection were on the road by about 6.45. Don't know how many cars were on board but they had them all off in under 30 minutes.
As you can see we had an early start to the day. Breakfast was pretty good and comparable in price to the McDonalds we had in Wagga Wagga on Monday morning.
We arrived at Judy and Henry's place at about 7.30am and saw Judy, Henry and Cassie before they went to work. We stayed there until about 11.00am and then did a touristy thing and visited a cheese shop and whiskey distillery. Phill had a taste of their peat smoked single malt. It's not like visiting a winery for tasting because it cost $3.00 for a half nip.

Judy and Henry have given Deb a birthday present that we all benefit from. They gave her one night in what can only be called a palace. It is a house with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 3 toilets. As well as this there is a beautiful out the back window. It overlooks the agriculture plot of a high school where there are chooks and other ag type things. We are able to do any washing that needs to be done.

Deb and Judy went out for a coffee this afternoon to catch up with all the news and just enjoy each others company which they both have missed.

I'm going to attach some photos of the house. Hopefully I'll be able to figure how to get the captions I put on the photos to line up. You should get the general idea anyway.
Judy has made a chicken casserole which we now have in the oven. Judy and Henry are coming round and we will all share the meal together.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Across the Sea to Tassie

Station Pier where we embarked

Melbourne Moonlight shot while embarking

G'day Everyone

Second night on the trek to Tasmania. Planned on leaving Wagga Wagga between 8.00am and 9.00am. We were out of the Caravan Park by about 8.30 but didn't get away after breakfast until about 9.15am. Not bad considering.

The trip down from Wagga Wagga to Melbourne was excellent, especially after we got to Albury where we met the Hume Motorway. Absolutely fabulous. The only time I can remember going through 2 cities, Albury and Wodonga, at 110 km/hr. Got to the city and was on a toll-road. Thank goodness for Lizzie's motorway transducer. Beeped about 3 times that I can recall.

Got to Port Melbourne at about 3.15pm after a few detours when Betty (GPS) didn't give us instructions quickly enough. She redeemed herself in the end by getting us here.

Had a ride in a tram into the city to fill in some time. A really good way to travel in the city. Get rid of the cars I say and replace them with trams.

Started the movement of the car at about 6.15 but didn't start the car onto the vessel until about 8.00pm. We were the 5th vehicle into the car garage. Don't know how many were after us but there were 5 lines of cars and each line would have been about 200 metres.

We are now on our way across to Tasmania. We should be passing through the heads to Port Phillip Bay at 11.30pm but I am not staying up to see it. At the present time we should be about half way across Port Phillip Bay. The ship, Spirit of Tasmania I travells at about 27 knots

We disembark at about 6.00am so we will get up early to have breakfast. Prices seem very reasonable for a place that has a captive audience.

Well another day of travelling which has been really interesting. Weather was kind to us today. No extremes, however cold, 3 deg to start the day. I'll close here so that I can upload while I have a mobile signal.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wagga Wagga Beach

These are from Peak Hill - See if you can find the Emus in the right image. They are actually made out branches and ferns

These images are of Wagga Wagga Beach

G'day Everyone

Today is the first day on the road for the Tassie Tourists. We planned on getting away between 7.00 am and 8.00 am. We got away at 7.33 am according to the clock in the car, excellent work on the part of the tour management.

We have had a great day and have gone through a couple of changes in season. It has been quite warm and sunny and cold and foggy with a bit of rain thrown in for good measure.

Tonight we are staying at the Wagga Wagga Beach Caravan Park in the heart of down town Wagga Wagga. Arrived here at about 4.30 pm. It actually has a beach and I am including some pictures to show you. The Life Saver lookout is built on a large stump overlooking the beach. It appears that when the photographs were taken the tide was out. Might be a while before it comes in.

Lunchwas had at a little park in Peak Hill. I had been there before when I went down to Temora Aviation Museum for a flying weekend. Nice place to stop.

Not much more to tell, sitting in the car for about 8 hours needs little description.

Will update tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Post

G'day All

Today we are at South West Rocks. It is the middle of our time here, we are leaving for Gunnedah on Friday afternoon, and I thought I would take thgis opportunity to start the Tassie Tourists blog.

I am going to try and get something up at the end of each day so that you will be able to keep up with our exploits in the Apple Isle.

We will be leaving for Tasmania on Sunday. Hopefully we will get to Wagga Wagga late on Sunday afternoon. It should take us about 71/2 hours to get there which will leave us about 41/2 hours to get to Port Melbourne where the ferry terminal is located. We have to be there 45 minutes before departure at the latest. Boarding starts 11/2 hours before departure. If we stick to out schedule we will be there in plenty of time.

Because my mobile modem is a Telstra one I will be unable to send emails from my BigPond account so I will be using gmail. I will still be able to receive emails on BigPond so keep sending them there. Jusy don't be surprised when you get an email from

Just send me an email if you read the blog.