Day 337: Ulverstone to Arthur River
It’s a beautiful sunny morning even though it’s only 12 degrees when we depart at 9.20am. We’re only half an hour into our journey when the traffic comes to a halt.
We learn there has been a serious accident ahead with two people thrown from there vehicles. It’s a sickening feeling waiting, watching, 4 ambulance come through followed by 2 fire trucks, rescue vehicles and half a dozen police cars. It’s over an hour before one car comes through and the driver stops to tell us that he was lucky not to be hit by the driver who fell asleep at the wheel. We were thankful for all the families that there were no fatalities. It’s a somber reminder to take regular breaks while driving.
We’re heading into the Tarkine Region. The drive into Arthur River is really scenic. Travelling through rolling hills where hay is baled and acres of dairy farms to fields of poppies in full bloom. Smithton is our morning tea stop before arriving at the caravan park at Arthur River. We’ve decided not to free camp as we’ll be doing the river cruise and will need to leave Cinta in the caravan. We’re met by Penny who lets us choose our site and gives us a seniors discount. There is only one other van here and Andrew reverses back in no time. I’ve finally learnt the instructions of right hand and left hand down to get him into a site with ease.
After setting up we head out to the Edge of the World at Gardiner Point. The furthest western point of Tasmania. The wild roaring forties (strong westerly winds) batter the rugged coastline. Wind gusts of up to 200km have been recorded here. It’s reached 18 degrees and it’s a beautiful sunny day. Logs have collected in every nook and cranny and are tossed around as the ocean crashes against the rugged coastline.
The plaque reads:
The Edge of The World
North West Coast Tasmania
I cast my pebble onto the shore of Eternity.
To be washed by the Ocean of time. It has shape, form, and substance .It is me.
One day I will be no more. But my pebble will remain here.
On the shore of eternity.
Mute witness from the aeons.
That today I came and stood At the edge of the world.
Back at the park the temperature is dropping. Time to warm up inside and settle down for the night.
Wildlife: echidna, cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats, duck, geese, Shetland ponies, horses, dead pademelons, dead quoll.
Day 338: Arthur River
The clouds have rolled in. Time to head down to the Arthur river for our cruise. We’re met by Emma and Kaitlin who invite us straight onto the red boat. There are eleven of us on board today so there is plenty of room to move around. Robert is the captain and guide. He’s been on the river for over 16 years doing the cruise and he has plenty of knowledge of the river, flora and fauna. We stop to feed the white breasted sea eagles. There are two of them. The fish are injected with air to make them float on the surface. After several passes the eagle leaves the fish behind. They are not hungry enough today. We pick the fish up to try again on the return journey.
Chugging along the river we come across a blue kingfisher perched on the driftwood, his feathers are iridescent. Its times like these I wish I had a better lense for my camera. Kaitlin is in charge of preparing the BBQ lunch while Robert takes us into a secluded part of the rainforest for a guided walk and talk on the flora and fauna. After lunch we see a wombat scurrying along the riverbank and further along we stop to feed the sea eagle again. He takes the fish on the second pass. We have a long chat with Kaitlin on the return journey and she tells us that she is from a family of 8 and they all moved to Arthur River four years ago and bought the Arthur River Cruises business. The population of Arthur River at the time was 30, she said the township was happy to have eight of them move in!
We dock back at the jetty at 3pm. It’s been an amazing day cruising through the pristine environment of the Arthur River. Back at the park I spend the rest of the afternoon downloading my photos. Rain is slowly starting to fall as the sun begins to set.
Wildlife: wombat, white breasted sea eagle, blue kingfisher, cormorants, ducks, swans,
Day 339: Arthur River to Smithton
It rained on and off all night, however the sun is shining this morning and it’s looking like another beautiful day. We are on our way back to Smithton to stay at a free camp, Tall Timbers. It’s on the grounds of a large hotel with a pretty babbling brook running through the property.
Andrew puts the awning out. The first time in many weeks. It’s so great to be able to sit outside and enjoy some warm weather. We wander around the park, the ducks are waddling everywhere. It’s so peaceful. Time to catch up on some work and then we head over to the pub to have a drink. There is about 12 vans in tonight. The park is for self contained vehicles, no tents allowed or whizz bangers as we call them. It’s disappointing that so many people completely disregard the rules of the park. An elderly couple pull up in a small car & put up their tent. There are several whizz bangers here too. It’s this complete disregard that has free camps close down because people don’t comply with the conditions of entry. There are plenty of other free camps which provide for those who are not self contained. A few more hours outside enjoying the beautiful weather before we call it a night.
Wildlife: ducks, cattle, dead pademelons, crows.
Day 340: Smithton to Somerset
A short journey again today of 77km takes us from the Tall Timbers RV Park to Somerset. Another beautiful day and finally the shorts are out from under the bed again.
Wynyard is our morning tea stop by the ocean and after pulling up an elderly man spots us and comes across for a chat. Sparra is his name and he’s still mowing lawns for elderly ladies and is a town local who likes to chat. Tried to talk us into moving here with no success, but he tried damned hard! The seafood shop sells coffee too so we lash out and have a cappuccino and I can’t help myself and purchase a lovely fillet of Atlantic salmon and ocean trout for Andrew. The fillets were massive but the lady was kind enough to cut off two portions for us. Can’t wait for dinner tonight.
The Somerset Beachside Cabin & Caravan Park is old and dated, but clean. It used to be the drive in theatre many, many years ago. Right opposite the beach, can you imagine listening to the ocean while watching a movie? Telstra reception is awful today and my router won’t pick up the wifi signal at all. Luckily they have free wifi, so I’m working from the games room today. The TV is blaring so I try to get my work done as quickly as possible. By the time I’m finished my head is aching. Back to the van for peace and quiet and a glass of red to finish off the day.
Wildlife: dead wombat, dead pademelons, crows, sheep, cattle.
Day 341: Burnie and Penguin
What a difference a day makes. Winter clothes are back on again. It’s going to be 21 but the wind makes it feel so much colder. We’re having a washing day today, followed by a trip to Burnie for our optometrist appointments. New glasses are in store for both of us. My prescription is weaker which surprises me and I enquire why. Apparently it can be a number of reasons, your eyes may have been tired at the previous appointment or as you grow older your eyeball shrinks. Interesting to say the least. I’ve decided to choose purple for my new glasses! Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised with the colour choice. Next up is the grocery shopping on the way home. Time to finish off some work and thank heavens the wifi is working today so I can work peacefully in the van.
When my work is done we take a drive into Ulverstone to see what options are around for Christmas Lunch. There’s a lovely old pub that has a 4 course menu so we’ve decided to book in for that. On the way home we stop at Penguin for coffee. We remembered the bake house from our trip 5 years ago. The bake house has moved to larger premises and it’s an OMG moment when I enter to order the coffee. So many choices… I order the French vanilla slice for Andrew and I have a fig and lemon slice. Andrew says the slice at the Deloraine bakery was better and my slice is so rich I can’t eat it all. Wrapped up and in the fridge at home for later. Cinta enjoys her walk along the beach and then it’s back home again for home made quiche & roast veggies.
Wildlife: seagulls, dead pademelons, cattle.
Day 342: Table Cape, Boat Harbour & Stanley
I’m enjoying my cuppa in bed so much today that I just don’t want to get up. I laze around until 9am watching tele, something I very rarely do. The sun is shining and its going to be 17 degrees today with wind gusts expected up to 50km. Everyone keeps telling us that it’s unseasonal for Tassie at this time of year.
We are taking a drive out to Table Cape, known for it’s tulips. However, tulip season is finished. I’m really pleased that we got to see the tulips in WA, the bulbs are actually from the Wynard region. The rolling hills are covered in poppies. Tasmania grows over half the worlds supply of poppies. I didn’t know that until I googled it. Many fields are amass with white daisies (pyrethrum) which is harvested and processed into a refined insecticide.
The countryside is so pretty. Our next stop is Boat Harbour. Driving over the hill the view is captivating. Aqua coloured ocean and pure white sand. We particularly wanted to stop here as our last house sit owners lived here for many years. We can certainly understand why. Coffee is on the beach watching the nippers go through their drills.
Heading further west our next stop is Stanley. We loved this spot when we visited Tassie five years ago and had to come to visit again. Colonial buildings, bed & breakfast accommodation, quirky shops are all here in this tiny township of less than 500 people. Stanley is home to the Nut, a flat topped volcanic plug standing 150 metres straight up from the waters edge. There is a chairlift to the top but it’s closed today as the wind is gusting at over 50km. It’s unbearable to say the least.
My hay fever is driving me crazy today, even with all the medication. It’s exhausting. Back home and a nana nap is in store for me.
Wildlife: dear, Shetland ponies, cattle, horses, sheep, seagulls, dead wombat, dead pademelons, crows.
Day 343: Somerset to Gawler
Waking up this morning it’s only 9 degrees, however we are heading for a top of 20 and the wind is supposed to be low. Let’s hope so. We are packed up and heading off at 9.45am. We have time to burn today before arriving at our house sit by 4.00pm. We’ve travelled 21km and have pulled into a free camp at Sulphur Creek for the day.
The camp is right beside the ocean and it looks spectacular today. We have all enjoyed a lovely long walk along the beach. It’s too cold for Cinta to go swimming but she does dip her toes in the tiny creek that’s spilling out into the ocean. The rocks are covered in green moss and there are small pools of water collecting everywhere. The seagulls are all sitting quietly alongside the rock pools and the sound of the ocean is mesmerising.
The beach is so clean, too cold to take my shoes off to walk in the sand though. There is always another day…
As Christmas is fast approaching us, we reflect on the many things that we are thankful for. As we head into week 50 of this amazing journey, we are thankful for good health, safe travelling, a new experience every day, meeting fellow travellers and our ever loyal companion Cinta who gives us unconditional love. Our thoughts are always with family and friends at home and we wish each and every one of you a festive Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year.
Wildlife: seagulls, dead pademelons, crows, cattle, finches.
Week 49 total expenses: $1087.17 over budget this week, however, expected due to a lovely cruise on the Arthur River and new glasses for both Andrew and I.
That’s a wrap for Week 49 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!