Week 54 | Derwent Bridge to Geeveston

Week 54: Derwent Bridge to Ellendale

Last night we had some welcome rain. Nothing like the downpours back home, but rain nevertheless.  It’s quite cool at 11 degrees when we are departing at 9.00am.  My hay fever is driving me crazy this morning.  We’re travelling 94km to a free camp.  It’s quite picturesque today driving over the mountain range with the mist lingering through the rainforest canopy.  There are plenty of logging trucks on the road and we pull over to let one pass us as they travel much faster than what we are over the mountain ranges.  Andrew keeps commenting about the condition of the roads and the speed limits.  There is no way that you could travel at 100km on some of these roads.

Before we know it we’re at the Ellendale Bethune Camp Ground which is perched high up on Lake Meadowbank.  Wow, it is so pretty, it’s free & has toilets and rubbish bins.  There are two areas for camping. One at the top of the Lake and one at the bottom.  We park at the top and take a walk down to the bottom parking area.  It is a little damp after the overnight rain so we decide to stay up at the top.  We spend all afternoon sitting outside taking in the view.  Happy hour is much longer than an hour today.  Parked up beside us is an elderly couple from Bendigo who have been on the road for 10 years and on the other side a couple from the Sunshine Coast.  We love chatting to other travellers to hear about where they’re from, where they’ve been and where they are going to next.

The reflections over the lake changed all day long as clouds came and went.  The first shot above is mid morning, in the middle is an aerial from my drone at lunch time and the final shot is late in the afternoon when the mountain range was refelecting back over the lake.  Today has been an extremely relaxing day.

Wildlife: dead wombat, dead possums, dead pademelons, crows, sheep, cattle, swans.

Day 373: Ellendale to Mount Field

We’re on the road by 9.00am again and it’s a comfortable 16 degrees.  Our journey today is only 29km.  Why didn’t we realise that and stay longer at the lake!  On the way we stop in at the raspberry farm at Westerway.  I am so disappointed.  All the berries look awful.  They certainly don’t look fresh.  You can pay $5 to go in and pick your own berries and then pay $15kg. After seeing the quality of the berries in their shop I decide I’m not going to bother.

We arrive early at the Left of Field Camp Ground.  I phone the number on the sign and we are met by Adrian.  He’s really friendly and takes us in to show us the available sites.  Adrian bought the land 10 years ago and has been progressively working on it.  It’s a unique park.  If you’re looking for something completely “Left of Field” then this is the place to stay.  We loved it.  It is so relaxing and so very rustic. 

The toilet block has a lovely large open cut in the wall looking out over the property.   In a secluded garden is the porta shower.  At the entrance there’s a chain between two stumps.  If the chain is up you know someone is having a shower. The change area & vanity is in the open air surrounded by garden. The washing machine is set up in a horse float.  All the gardens are surrounded with recycled materials.  Wheel barrows with plants on old tree stumps, skeletons hanging from high in the trees.  The sites are spacious and we can drive through which is even better.  They are relatively private with gardens around them.  There’s a golf course with a difference. It’s $40 a night for power & water hookup which is on the expensive side but we think it’s totally worth it for a unique experience in a very rustic bush setting.

After we’ve set up we head up to the Mount Field National Park to view the waterfalls in the World Heritage Wilderness area. There are a few walks that you can do.  We take the walk into the Russell Falls where towering swamp gums align the pathway.  It’s an easy walk along a sealed pathway also suitable for wheel chairs.  The falls are really lovely, although some say there is not a lot of water going over them. 

A further walk in are the Horseshoe Falls.  Quite a few steps to traverse but worth the effort. Further on is the Tall Trees walk through giant eucalyptus trees, some of the largest in Australia.  They are breathtaking.  We’ve had a great couple of hours wandering and have certainly got our exercise today.  Back at the park and time to sit back and relax for the afternoon.  We’ve been chatting to lots of families in the park and they are all enjoying it as much as we are.  With so many kids around, I hide some of my painted rocks and hope that the kids will find them and rehide or take one on their journey with them.

Wildlife: chickens, dead pademelons, dead Tasmanian devil, sheep, cattle, crows, ducks, swans.

Day 374:  Mount Field to New  Norfolk

After a lovely sunset last night, this morning is quite fresh. With the sun shining we decide to take a walk down to the creek.  It borders on the edge of the National Park. The reflections are really pretty along the creek banks and I can’t resist a few more photos and a couple of long exposure shots.  We wander for quite a while before making our way back to the park to slowly get organised for our next day of travel.

It’s climbed to 16 degrees by 10am when we depart.  Our journey today is only 39km.  There are many orchards along the river banks. It’s great to see everything looking so lush and green again.  On arrival at New Norfolk I notice our water tank cap is missing. A bit of googling and a couple of phone calls later we find a caravan spare parts business and head into Moonah to pick one up.  Andrew is sure it was locked in properly and the guy at the repair place mentioned that with all the corrugation on the roads it’s possible that one of the small clips inside could have snapped off and then the cap would have just fallen out.  It’s not an expensive part but one to be mindful of and check more regularly.  The temperature has climbed to 27 degrees and as we arrive back at the park, the skies open up and it drizzles all afternoon.  The remainder of the day is spent indoors.

Wildlife: donkey, dead pademelons, dead rabbits, crows, sheep, swans.

Day 375: New Norfolk to Geeveston

After a windy, wet night it’s 14 degrees by the time we are packed up and ready to leave.  New Norfolk to Geeveston is only 95km so it’s going to be another short journey today.  We’re travelling through the Huon Valley region and it is particularly pretty along the coastline.  The overcast weather is presenting some amazing reflections from the boats in all of the bays.  I’ve let Andrew know that we need to come back another day to get some great photos of this area.

There are two low cost camps at Geeveston.  We’ve spoken with many travellers who have recommended both.  We decide that we’ll stay at the Geeveston RSL camp ground as it has the best reviews on WikiCamps.  The camp ground area is large and runs alongside the Kermandie River.  The grass is neatly mown and we can see fire pits placed around the grounds.  We park up and walk around the site to pick a spot close to the river.  We are far enough from the large trees so that we can power our solar panels.  It’s $10 a night to camp here with a stay 4 pay for 3 deal, payable to the RSL. Toilets are available with a code after hours.  It’s so peaceful by the river that we decide we’ll stay for 8 days and explore all the area has to offer from this base location.

There’s a caretaker, Dave and his wife Luan who keep the grounds really clean and tidy.  Dave delivers cut firewood for $10 a wheelbarrow with all proceeds going to the club.  He volunteers his time to cut the timber and let me tell you on this Australia Day weekend, he is going non stop!

It’s cold, windy and drizzly all day long, so most of our time is spent inside the van once we are set up and I catch up on some work before the weekend is upon us.  Tonight we are heading over to the club for a few drinks and a meal.  Happy hour is between 6.00-7.00pm and at $9 a shout for a bourbon and coke and a glass of wine, we have a few drinks and get to know the locals.  The kitchen has recently been leased out and the food comes highly recommended.  Andrew is pleased to see his favourite parmi on the menu and I’m pretty pleased to see crispy skin salmon.  The meal was really tasty, all produce sourced locally.

Wildlife: sheep, swans, ducks, seagulls, dead pademelons, dead possums, cattle.

Day 376 – 378: Geeveston

Last night we had more rain.  It was cold and windy dropping to 9 degrees.  We decide to take a short walk into town to see what’s on offer.  Everything you need is here and the local IGA is well stocked.  There’s a great Visitor Information Centre with a gallery upstairs and a local wood turner is also set up inside.  There are some amazing creative people in the area.  I need to come back on my own to have more time to look at all the beautiful artworks.

Geeveston has a strong apple growing and forestry heritage and the local township is full of hand carved timber sculptures of famous locals.

This morning we’re taking a drive into Huonville to pick up some bulk dry food for Cinta.  On the way back we stop off at Franklin to have a coffee and check out the free camp by the river. The drive along the river is so picturesque we stop at Port Huon to take some photos of the boats on the river.

Further along there’s a sign at the Cherry farm so we stop there to get some fresh cherries.  You can only buy seconds or stewing cherries by the 1.25kg bag at $8.  Some of the seconds are split but still edible.  They are plump and juicy.  I’m going to make a cherry crumble for dessert.  I’ve never made cherry crumble before.  It was a winner!

Happy Australia Day!  This morning we are heading over to the Heritage Park (the other low cost camp) for a Community Australia Day breakfast.  Breakfast was put on by the local volunteers from the Lions club, SES, police and firies.  Imagine my surprise when we get to the serving area and there is tassie salmon alongside bacon, sausages, vegie burgers, onion and eggs.  I can’t resist the salmon on two slices of bread for brekkie!  We then head up into the small township for a coffee at one of the local cafes.

We’ve done a lot of walking while we’ve been here at the camp ground.  Everything is so close and we’ve enjoyed many, many walks along the river looking for platypus every day.  Andrew saw two platypus yesterday morning when he walked Cinta at 6.00am.  There was no way I was getting up in the cold to walk at that hour.  We’ve been at lunch time and I finally got to see the platypus foraging around in the clear waters.  We watched them for ages along with other tourists.

As this week comes to a close, we look forward to a further 4 nights here at Geeveston and will venture out through the week to explore more of the area.

Wildlife: platypus, seagulls, geese, ducks, goats, sheep, cattle, swans.

Week 54 total expenses: $786.47 – a little higher than expected this week due to a bulk purchase of dog food for Cinta and a very empty fuel tank and gas bottle!



That’s a wrap for Week 54 of the Lap of the Map.

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