Day 12: Fortescue Bay to Freycinet NP
2759 km, 47 hours 17 min

We woke up too a wet morning on New Years Day, but also without a hangover having not had the chance to drink a lot because of the penguin spotting. We managed to pack the tent down in between the drizzle spells and headed to the shelter round the corner from the campsite, by the bay to cook some bacon and egg rolls for breakfast (woo!)

We drove up the east coast to Freycinet NP where we drove on our first Australian dirt roads. I liked these better than gravel as they were generally smoother and nicer to drive on, and probably better for your car too without tons of stones hitting it! We stopped for a picnic lunch at Honeymoon bay by which time the weather had cheered up quite a bit.

After lunch we did the hours walk to Wineglass Bay lookout. It was very scenic with a curve beach shaped like wineglass surrounded by big hills each side. Stories vary about whether the name comes from the shape of the bay or the water which is clear like a wineglass. On the way to the campsite we took a quick detour to the lookout and boardwalk at Cape Tourville lighthouse which again had good coastal views.

Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay

We couldn’t get space to camp in the NP as it’s very popular and booked out months in advanced so we camped just up the road in Bincheno. After finishing the remaining Hunter Valley Cab Sav with dinner we went for a night time walk to see the town and coast. They have another penguin colony there and we were lucky enough to see them! A group of about 20 were on the rocks near the see waiting to waddle up to their nests. I managed to sit about 8m from them and watched them hop over a ledge, make their way up the rocks and then huddle about for a while. I thought they were going straight up the beach but then they started penguin faffing and not really going anywhere which our guide the day before said they don’t normally do. I thought my e I we in their way so I moved really slowly up the bank. They came forward some more but then seemed to change their mind and want to head at me again so I shuffled round some more. I think by this point, after about 15 mins of good penguin watching Matt got bored and came to see me! which scared all the little penguins into the pool near where they were waiting. We headed back to the campsite and heard lots of them chatting on the way back and even saw one waiting by the wide of the the road. We could even hear them at night from the campsite. Hopefully they all got back to their nests OK.

Day 13: Launceston and Port Sorrell
3031 km, 51 hours 50 min

I woke up and actually felt awake oddly early, about 7.30, when the sun warmed up the tent so decided to get up and get on with the day. We were back on the road before 9am, heading towards the second largest city in Tasmania, Launceston. Launceston is inland but does have a big river and gorge which is where we headed for. After a quick ice cream we went for a walk around the gorge and saw lots of climbing routes which Matt obviously got excited about. The gorge was wider thank I thought but still impressive and looked like a mode spot for a swim. We opted out of the sedate cable car ride but did go on the comical free ‘Inclinator’ which took you up and down some steps in a little pod, very slowly!

Launceston Gorge

Launceston Gorge

As the cafe was full we went for lunch in town (Mexican) and then took poor Jeffrey through the car wash to remove all the filth we covered him in from gravel and dirt roads. We headed on no the hour after that to Port Sorrell on the north coast just east of Devonport where the ferry goes from. We indulge in a B and B for the last night, so we didn’t need to pack away the tent before getting the ferry early in the morning. I was hopeful of free port like we had in the Gampians with Phil and Rhiannon (the only other B and B we’ve been to in Oz). Sadly no free port, but we got a wonderfully w arm reception from Rosemary, also an expat who moved from Selsey in the 60s via a 30 day boat trip! The. B and B was in lovely gardens and we spent the late afternoon drinking tea and playing a couple of very close tactical games of chess in the upstairs area overlooking the garden. To regain some cool father that we went to eat take away pizza on the beach!

Intense Chess

Intense Chess

Day 14: Devonport to Melbourne ferry ride
3031km, 51 hours, 50 mins

The ferry ride back was 9 hours and we boarded an hour before departure. The time actually went pretty quickly, something like this: play Ingenious, read book, drink tea and eat Tim Tams, read book, feel a bit sea sick, play Tantrix, go to cinema and watch Eden surrounded by kids, eat lunch, read book, play cards, look round shop, read book, provide tips on Tazzie to my boss, eat hummus, write blog posts on iPod, the end!

We stayed in St Kilda to the east of central Melbourne, on the cost with it hits own Luna Park and scary clown, but more about that in the next post!

Tasmania overall

Overall in Tasmania we had a great holiday. It’s mainly rural with lots of lovely countryside, cool geology and outdoors things which we always like. There is good food and wine to be had and some fun roads although not much opportunity to overtake if you’re stuck behind slow people! Most of all I liked the amount of proper wild wildlife we saw. Included in the count were loads of pademelons, wallabies and possums, about 40 penguins, about 20 wombats, 3 echidnas, a probably harmless snake and a platypus!

There would be plenty more to do and see on another trip including some longer walks, climbing for Matt and of course spotting a wild Tazzie Devil. But first, next year we’re thinking of a winter trip to the centre and the Barrier Reef in November time with our next lot of visitors.

But our holiday this time didn’t stop in Tasmania! We had most of a day in Melbourne and then I carried on the trip by myself with my extra weeks holiday so stay tuned to hear more about Philip Island and the Snowy Mountains!

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