Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Picture this!! ... A photo update

The rugged bush of northern Tasmania .. at a lookout above the Tamar River.
Blogging is a hard thing to keep up with, especially when everyday is full of interesting and new experiences.  Since my last blog we've been to Launceston to visit with friends who were very generous with their time to show us around the area.  Then we've travelled back down to Hobart, provisioned the boat and made a break for the cruising grounds of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.  I've got so much to talk about and so many photos to share and so little time ... which means I'll cheat a bit and do a photo narrative instead.  Here goes ....

We left Hobart on Friday and followed Di and John to their home in Launceston in our car ... The next day they drove us to see the wide expanse of the Tamar river all the way up to their yacht club - Tamar Yacht Club - and towards Bass Strait.  The river is wide and can be navigated down to Launceston .. although it gets shallow and pretty much ends there.

On the way we went through the mining town of Beaconsfield - where two miners were trapped underground for two weeks.  The mine collapse and rescue were covered worldwide by the media.  Today the mine is closed and a museum covering the area and its mining history is open.  We didn't go in but John said the museum is very interesting and worth a visit if we had more time while we're here in Tassie. 

Upon our return to Launceston we were invited to the home of another couple we met in the Louisiades Rally - Rodney and Christine - for a BBQ.  They live in a lovely home built in the 1800's sitting on a commanding position high on a hill looking down on the beautiful little city and the beginning of Launceston's Cataract Gorge.  They also have a pool!  The weather in Tasmania is well known to be - or at least I expected it to be - quite a bit cooler than the mainland of Australia.  To be honest I expected it to be cold - and for much of the time we've been here it has been quite cool.  But this day was hot - up to the low 30's - and perfect for a champagne + pool dip!  I must admit I NEVER thought I'd be in a swimming pool in Launceston ... a great time was had by all!

The view of the Cataract Gorge from the house.  We were told there a some good walks through the gorge and also the Basin Chairlift believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world.  We didn't have the time to explore the gorge but, again, its something we'd like to go back and do another time.

The next day Di and John drove us up to the coastal town of Bridport.  On the way we stopped at the Bridestowe Lavender Estate.  What a place!!  There are miles of lavender fields as far as the eye can see.  They've certainly cornered the tourist market with tours and a shop that unapologetically promotes the Estate and its products - and it's very expensive.  They created a purple teddy bear filled with heat beads and aromatic lavender which they market as 'Bobby Bear'.  The Bear has become so popular that visitors are limited to one only per person!!  They are a destination shop for visiting Chinese people who LOVE the bears.  They can even buy - as their single one - a bear dressed in a Chinese coat - for $10 more!  I thought the place was amazing, the Lavender ice cream delicious, but the prices very over-inflated.  We didn't buy our allotted bear.        Later we had lunch at the Barnbougle Golf Club and I hate that I didn't take a photo while we were there.  The view and the greens are right next to Bass Strait but protected from the wind and waves by reclaimed high sand dunes.  It was a spectacular place. 

These two little west highland terriers are Di and John's best mates!  Mac and Tilly.  It was so good to be around dogs for a weekend since missing our Molly.  Great dogs .. love them.

While we were there the miniature horse boarding on the property gave birth .. we got to see a 2 hour old fold.  So cute and so agile even when only hours old! Special!

We said a huge THANK YOU to our hosts in Launceston and left for Hobart on Monday morning.  On the way we stopped at the historic town of Ross.  There they have two major sites from the cruel transportation days of early Tasmania.  The first is the Female Factory where women, most in their twenties, were kept to work in a form of slave labour to pay for their crimes.  There isn't much left of the site but they've created an area that informs while taking the visitor back to the hardships and harshness of the times.

The historic sandstone bridge over the Macquarie river in Ross.  It was completed in 1836 by convict labour in chain gang conditions.  There are beautiful and intricate carvings on both sides of the bridge on the arches.

While in Launceston John took George to his favourite chandlery so George could stock up on all the things he needed for fishing and catching Tassie rock lobsters.  As we travelled down the channel he caught a small barracuda which he'll use as bait for crays.  Unfortunately we can't put the cray trap down in the channel and the winds are a bit too wild to go on the outside of Bruny Island - where we can trap crays - right now.  George is waiting for the day when he can catch one!!!  He will be VERY disappointed if he doesn't catch anything. 

That's it ... a lot to catch up on and a great weekend!  Last night we spent the night in the "Duckpond" bay in the north of Bruny Island.  This is cruising.

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