Day 379: Hartz Mountain
An amazing way to spend the first day of the week. After a lazy start (I slept in till 8.00am) we finally got ourselves moving after breakfast and drove out to Hartz Mountain. Whilst it is only 26km from Geeveston, over 10km of the road is gravel and in parts quite windy. Our first stop is at the Waratah Lookout. It’s a short 5 minute walk in to the lookout. There is not a lot of water falling over the Keough Falls and you can barely see them from the lookout platform. The view out over the Huon Valley is quite spectacular. Unfortunately the Waratah is not in flower at the moment. The National Park was ravaged by fire in early 2019 and its encouraging to see the new growth appearing.
Our next stop is the Arve Falls track. The 20 minute return walk takes you along the Arve River through the alpine herb-field and snow gum woodlands. The wind is chilling to the bone as we walk the track. I’m all rugged up and even have my hoodie on and Andrew is actually wearing his (Florrie) beanie today! The reward is well worth it to see the water tumbling over the falls. It’s really picturesque.
Back in the car and further on to the Lake Osborne car park. It is packed. We circle around and get a car park as a family are leaving. We register at the ranger station and take the 45 minute return walk through myrtle rainforest across the Hartz Plateau to the glacial lake. This walk is a little more challenging (classed at moderate) on the National Parks brochure. It got our heart rates up, mine more than Andrew’s. Lake Osborne is breathtaking. It’s blowing a gale. We sit and enjoy the view, but not for too long it’s too cold. Here’s a short video I took of Andrew taking in the view of the Lake, listen to that wind!
The flora along the track is so different to what we have seen elsewhere, some of the blooms are so tiny. Back at the ranger station we sign back in. It’s very clear how the weather can turn so dramatic at any point as we get in the car it starts to rain.
Back at the park and time to sort through all the photos from our day out and take Cinta for a much needed walk before we organise dinner and tuck ourselves up inside the van for the night.
Wildlife: dead possums, crows, robins, cattle, sheep, goats.
Day 380: 28/01 Southport & Dover
This morning I’m catching up on a bit of work before we head down to the southern point of Tasmania more commonly known as the Southern Trove.
It’s 11.00am and 19 degrees by the time we depart and our first stop is only 21km away at Dover. The drive takes us through many apple and cherry orchards. Dover is the southern most town centre in Tasmania where you need to buy your last fuel and supplies if heading further south. Dover sits in Port Esperance Bay and it is incredibly beautiful.
Next stop is Southport. In the early 1800’s it was Tasmania’s second largest town. Known as a bustling convict and whaling station and an international port exporting timber to Europe. Now it is a small fishing township with equally beautiful coastlines and rugged cliffs
When we reach Hastings the road turns to gravel. The next 20km is not as bad as some of the locals have told us. The drive yesterday to Hartz Mountain was far worse. There are 4 free camps before you reach the National Park. Gillams & Finns Beaches, Catamaran Campground & Cockle Creek campground. Each of the campgrounds are located right on the waters edge with spectacular views over the Tasman sea. The most picturesque for me was just near the Catamaran campground. The reflections in the bay where amazing. There were so many different shades of colour in the ocean and the water was so calm. The pictures below really don’t do it justice.
Cockle Creek would be my second favourite with a tiny rocky island just metres away covered in seagulls. A private jetty at the end of the beach was providing some lovely reflections in the calm waters as a light sprinkle of rain fell upon us.
Back at Dover we stopped at the Coffee Tree cafe for a very late lunch. The zucchini slice was amazing and the coffee was very welcome in the drizzly weather. We then took an alternate route back to Geeveston via the coastal road passing through Surveyors Bay & Police Point. The coastline was absolutely stunning. Salmon and Ocean trout are grown and harvested in pods just off the coastline at Surveyors Bay. Some of the pods are in the photo below.
We had a few drinks by the fire after our big day out and an early night.
Wildlife: crows, dead pademelons, horses, cattle, sheep, swans, seagulls.
Day 381: 29/01 Hastings Caves
This morning we are heading out to see the Hastings Caves. The dolomite caves were formed millions of years ago. We saw spectacular subterranean formations including flowstone, stalactites, columns, shawls, straws, stalagmites and the unusual helictites. The cave has 500 steps (return), however with a meandering pathways it really didn’t seem like we had traversed that many steps! Inside the caves the temperature is a very cool 9 degrees all year round.
There is also a thermal springs pool at the Visitor Information Centre, however, we didn’t choose to have a swim as it wasn’t as appealing to us as the springs at Mataranka and apart from that the outside temperature was too cold anyway. While we were waiting for the tour, the guide pointed out an echidna foraging in the rainforest. He was so close and I was lucky to be able to take a short video of him.
This afternoon we took a walk back down along the platypus pathway and I was finally lucky to see two platypus playing in the water.
Wildlife: sheep, goats, horses, cattle, swans, seagulls, dead possums, dead pademelons, echidna, platypus.
Day 382: Huonville
This morning we’re off to Huonville to stock up on groceries, alcohol, fuel and gas. We’ve been camping at the low cost camp at the back of the RSL so it’s a good week to stock up on everything. It’s 29 degrees today and the wind is blowing an absolute gale. I’m also having a haircut at the local hairdresser in Geeveston.
The remainder of the day is spent working in the heat! The wind is so strong this afternoon that Andrew has taken in the awning. By the time we are ready for bed the wind has died down and the temperature is quickly dropping.
Wildlife: swans, seagulls, dead pademelons, sheep, cattle, horses.
Day 383: Geeveston
After such a hot day yesterday this morning is quite fresh at 13 degrees. We’re heading for 39 degrees today and I have a full day of work to get through. The awning is back out and by 3.00pm the heat is so unbearable that my inverter is running non stop trying to cool itself down & the nighthawk router is showing a battery overheating message. Even the table my laptop is on is burning to touch. I decide to call it quits. Not a great day to be working when you are free camping! It’s our last night at Geeveston so we decide to support the RSL Club and have dinner and a few drinks. As I write this blog the rain is beginning to fall and the temperature is finally dropping.
Day 384: Geeveston to Snug
Our journey today is only 57km heading north to Huonville and then east to Snug. After free camping for the past 9 nights we are both looking forward to a long hot shower. Showers have been limited over the past 9 days to conserve water. Water was available at Geeveston and we regularly filled up milk bottles to use for our washing up and boiling for drinking. The solar power did really well over the 9 day stay even with a few days that were overcast and drizzly.
We are on the road by 9.30am and its a pleasant 21 degrees. We’re staying at the Snug Beach Cabin & Caravan Park which overlooks North West Bay and across to Bruny Island on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. We’ve got a large drive through site on grass.
Once set up, we take a walk out to have a look at the North West Bay. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the bay so we take the river walking track. They bay and river are so picturesque. There are families swimming and kayaking in the protected bay.
Back at the van it’s time to get the turbo oven out and bake another fruit cake. It’s also time to catch up on the washing. We’ve been hand washing most days at Geeveston but it’s time to do the towels and sheets.
Wildlife: sheep, goats, horses, cattle, seagulls, water hens.
Day 385: Snug
Another sleep in for me till 8.00am. We stayed up late last night catching up on some Netflix serials. Andrew was up early and walked Cinta along the river in the cold. When he arrived back at the van he has put the heater on as the temperature is under double digits again. He’s making pancakes for breakfast this morning before we head out for a drive. We’re expecting a top of 17 degrees today and tonight it will plummet to 8 degrees again.
We’re taking a short drive along the Channel Highway to Gordon, passing through the coastal towns of Kettering, Flowerpot and Middleton. The drive is of particular interest because of all the scarecrows that adorn the highway. Middleton runs a scarecrow competition each year raising much needed funds for community projects.
It started to rain while we were out, so some of the photos are not terribly good as I had to take them through the windscreen while we were driving. The temperature dropped from 17 degrees to 11 degrees in minutes. Back at Snug and it’s an indoor day doing the weekly budget and finishing this blog while the wind and rain is buffeting the van.
We’ve had quite a busy week exploring the Southern Trove, equally as beautiful as the north and next week we look forward to heading over to Bruny Island for a few nights. Make sure you keep an eye out for next weeks blog to see what we get up to. The weather forecast is not looking particularly favourable!
Wildlife: sheep, goats, cattle, horses, seagulls.
Week 55 total expenses: $904.77 – it’s right up there this week, but we’ve stocked up on a lot of items while the camping costs were low.
That’s a wrap for Week 55 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!