Hobart, Tasmania’s Capital City

Oct 18  Arrive Hobart. We meet Matt and Maria and Jim and Maureen, friends from back home who have also come over to Hobart for the Vets golf. Mures is a well known fish restaurant on the Hobart waterfront where we enjoy some fresh seafood.

  

After lunch we head to the top of Mount Wellington with commanding views over Hobart and the Derwent Valley. It is 1,270 metres high (around 4,000 feet) and the views from the top are stunning. Imagine our surprise when we reach the summit and encounter snow !

     

St Helens And The Bay Of Fires

Oct 16  Our last day in the north east with a visit to St Marys which is dominated by St Patrick’s Head, named on March 17th 1774, it is the oldest Irish place name in Australia. The roads leading to and from St Marys were quite intimidating. St Helens is a seaside resort on the shores of Georges Bay, north of which is the Bay Of Fires, so named by Captain Furneaux in 1773 as he sailed past and saw the aboriginal camp fires burning along the shore. The shore line is covered rocks which have an orange coloured lichen.

        

Freycinet Peninsular

Oct 15  Freycinet National Park is world renowned for its stunning coastal scenery, abundant wildlife and the famous Wineglass Bay Beach. We met one of the resident Bennets wallabies with the cutest baby in its pouch. In the morning it was very misty but, fortunately, the mist rose and the sun shone later in the day. We enjoyed some of the walks with beautiful views.

        

Onward To Bicheno

Oct 14  The last stop before Hobart is Bicheno, a lovely seaside town situated half way down Tasmania’s east coast. Bicheno is close to the Freycinet Peninsular with its huge National Park. On the way we pause for coffee at Campbelltown which has a historic bridge (built by convicts in the early 1800’s – most things in Tassie were !!) with some interesting carvings. Bicheno was where we tasted a unique Tasmania Pie – curried scallop – quite nice but doesn’t get close to a meat pie with mushy peas.

     

Launceston – Cataract Gorge

Oct 12  Just 5 minutes from the city centre of Launceston is the Cataract Gorge Reserve. This is where the North and South Esk rivers converge to become the Tamar. There are many walks around the gorge with magnificent views. The Gorge has spiritual significance with the aboriginal people. We spotted some unusual wildlife – see photos.

           

Launceston

Oct 11  Time to check out the Tamar Valley wines. The area is the oldest wine region in Tasmania, with more than 20 vineyards where you can sample some of the best cool climate wines in the world, the area is renowned for its sparkling wine, pinot gris and pinot noir. Brooke Eden and Jansz were 2 wineries we could not leave empty handed.

We travel on the east Tamar to the historic George Town and pilot station at Low Head. Lilydale Falls completes the days itinerary. We take a look at Batman Bridge which crosses the Tamar Valley about half way down (or up).

        

Launceston

Oct 9  Launceston, our next base in Tassie, is the second largest city and lies at the base of the Tamar Valley, famous for its wineries and 19th Century architecture. The Tamar Valley is the sparkling wine capital of Australia.

Oct 10  Beaconsfield, 50kms north west of Launceston is the site of a working gold mine. It was recently in the news when 3 miners were trapped in a roof fall in the mine. Unfortunately, one was lost but the other 2 survived and were rescued after 14 days. The event is documented at the Mine and Heritage Centre in the town.

     

Close to Beaconsfield is Beauty Point, the site of Seahorse World, the world’s first seahorse farm. The fish bred here are sent to zoos and aquariums throughout the world. Did you know that it is the male seahorse who becomes pregnant and gives birth to the babies. Next to Seahorse World is Platypus House, where there is a tour of 4 platypus ponds to see the shy creatures feeding and playing. At the same site there is an Echidna exhibit with a walk through a bush garden to get a close up of the Australian hedgehog like creature.

Platypuses and Echidnas are the world’s only egg laying mammals. When their eggs hatch both (unrelated animals) share the same name for their young – puggles !!

     

Tasmania – The First Week

Oct 8  We finish our first week in Tassie with a visit to Home Hill. This was the family home of Joseph and Enid Lyons, Tasmania’s only Australian Prime Minister. The home still contains the original artifacts from the time of his prime ministership. Solid silver photo frames with signed pictures of the King and Queen of England, a solid silver chalice presented to Joe by the Irish on a visit to Dublin, original invitations to the coronation and silver jubilee.