Thursday, August 5, 2010

Orford to St. Helens

Off this morning after waking up to a beautiful view of Maria Island. I have included a photograph so you can see what it was like.
We headed north around Great Oyster Bay towards Swansea. Our GPS is getting a bit fed up because we are going off the beaten track to see things we want to see. The word “recalculating” seems to come out with a little more force each time she says it. For the information of the uninitiated there are two people in the GPS, Betty who tells us where to go (the female role) and Basil who warns us of schools and speed cameras. We now turn her off when we go off the beaten track and back when we get on track.

After passing through the Rocky Hills we came across a really nice beach called Kelvedon Beach where there were signs warning to be on the lookout for nesting sea birds who nest on the beaches in the sand. Kelvedon Beach is on the shores of Great Oyster Bay. After we saw these signs we saw quite a few others. About a kilometre from here we passed a bridge called Spiky Bridge. There is no explanation why there are heaps of rocks standing up like spikes along each side of the bridge. There is speculation that the spikes were used to keep the concrete together on the ramparts.
Onwards towards Swansea. There are some really nice places along the roads where you can pull off and take photographs. They are indicated by a sign with a camera. We came across one of these in the hills after a town called Cranbrook which overlooked a large lagoon called Moulting Lagoon which is home to 100,000 black swans all year and other migrating birds at other times during the year.

We headed off the beaten track, after we turned off Betty, and headed for a place called Coles Bay where there is a new hotel. It was opened on Monday. We checked the tariff and we decided we would travel on further towards St. Helens. The cost for a double was $2500 for the night.
The town of Coles Bay is adjacent to the Freycinet National Park which has some imposing mountains. There was quite a blow there and the bay was really choppy. There were no pleasure or other craft out but quite a few moored there. The boats were moving up and down at least 2 metres from the movement of the water.

On the way back to the Tasman Highway we took another detour to The Hazards. It is a small village overlooking the western side of Great Oyster Bay. The scenery is spectacular, beautifully blue green water and white sand.

The next town we headed for was Bicheno. We had lunch there and were nearly blown away. We found a really nice picnic area overlooking the bay where there were a few scallop boats moored. The tables were in a nice shelter that was hexagonal with alternate sides walled in. With the wind that was blowing it was impossible to keep out of because it swirled around inside the shelter.

At Bicheno there is a blowhole which we went to see. It is not far from town and with the small sea that was running at the time produced some pretty good spurts into the air. I only took 39 pictures. Some were good, some were not so good and others were of rocks.

We headed from Bicheno to St. Helens where we are staying for the night. We have found some very nice cabins called Queechy Cabins. We went to the Tourist Information Centre and they gave us a list of places which we rang to get the prices. We have a two bedroom cabin with a large living area, kitchen and a large bathroom for $108 for the night. It is much better than the one we paid $110 for in Queenstown.
St. Helens is on Georges Bay which is much more sheltered than other small ports we visited today.

Tomorrow we head over to Launceston and along the way we plan to visit a cheesery and some wood sculptures.


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