Friday, August 6, 2010

St Hellens to Launceston

Today we headed away from the sea. We didn't leave it straight away. We headed towards a settlement called Binalong Bay which is basically on the bottom end of the Bay of Fires which is a large area of beaches with white sand with many inlets. There are a number of roads to the Bay of Fires but going to there would take us too far out of the way.

Binalong Bay has a some really nice places to overlook the Bay of Fires. There was no explanation as to why it is called the Bay of Fires. It might have been because some of the rocks had a red/orange colour to them. While we were looking around one of the rock y areas Phil slipped down a bunyip hole and hurt his shins. Just a bit of skin off but hurt just the same.

Most of the places around Binalong Bay are places like Sandpiper Point and one which appealed to me, Humbug Point. To get to Binalong Bay we had to return on the same road that we went out on, so once back in St Helens we headed towards Pyengana Cheeses.

Pyengana Cheeses is a cheese manufacturer that uses cows milk to produce their cloth wrapped cheddars. The road to Pyengana leads to a waterfall called St. Columba Falls. The falls are really spectacular and there is a walkway from the lookout leads down to the bottom of the falls. There is no need for refrigeration if you take anything perishable down to there. It was bloody freezing. It was 9 degrees at the top and got progressively colder as we went deeper into the valley. I was glad to make the walk back up to the car park and into the sunshine.

On the way back to the cheese factory we passed the Pub in the Paddock. In 1880 there were six brothers who liked to drink beer rather than farm so they licensed their homestead. They extended it to include their shed so that they could have dances and family get togethers. It is still licensed and there were a number of cars parked when we went past at lunch time today.

The cheese factory has a cafe attached called the “Holy Cow Cafe” where we had lunch. I must say the ploughman's lunch was really nice with locally produced pickled onions, pickled eggs and of course cheese. From the “Holy Cow Cafe” we headed back to the Tasman Highway and on to a small village called Ledgerwood to see some wood sculptures.

Deb was doing the navigating and saw that there was a shortcut between a loop in the Tasman Highway. It was a logging road but it had a good surface. It went through some areas that were being logged. There were some hills that had most of the trees removed and in essence were bare. There were also areas where there were large plantations of Tasmanian Blue Gums that had been planted to replace the trees that had been harvested. The shortcut saved us about 10 kms.

After our sojourn through the forest we went to Ledgerwood where there were some wood sculptures. In the First World War 7 local men who enlisted from the area were killed on the Western Front. In 1918 the locals planted nine trees in memory of these men, one for each of the men, one for Gallipoli and one for the ANZACs. In 2001 the trees were declared no longer safe. The local community was devastated that they might lose the memorial so in 2004 they approached a chainsaw carver to carve the stumps into likenesses of the soldiers so that the memorial could be retained. They are absolutely magnificent.

We are now in Launceston and tomorrow we are going up one side of the Tamar and down the other. Tell you about it in the next blog.


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