Weekend on the West Coast

I know I keep saying it but I can’t believe how quickly this trip has snuck up in the last 4 months. Today marks 30 days until we leave and I could not be more excited to hit the road even with the uncertainty of the current COVID situation. Matt and I have put in a few massive weekends of preparation work and with 4 weeks to go I am proud to say that we are basically done. We’ve had some great luck with selling our cars, both went for more than what we thought they would and sold so quickly. The Mondeo went in 4 days and my Ford Festiva was sold in 5 hours which increased our trip savings by $7,000. We also picked up a new spare wheel and two new spare tyres for much less than we anticipated and paid off all of the bills for our rental properties for the next 12 months. To reward ourselves for our efforts we organised one last long weekend away in the van with my mum and dad (who have recently picked up a van of their own). The trip was originally going to be a few days away in Derby, enjoying the trails for the last time in a while but the massive East Coast Low put an end to that and so we drove in the opposite direction.

If you’re not self contained (or happy to spend a weekend digging poop holes and doing bush wees) there aren’t a huge number of campsites available out west which helped decide where we would be staying. Matt and I have no interest in caravan parks, the Queenstown oval site is still closed, and the couple of places we set up on our trip around Tasmania last year weren’t amazing. We therefore ended up deciding on the seaside town of Trial Harbour.

The drive from Hobart to camp was a long one with steep hills and winding roads that made travelling in two vans (one stupidly high (ours) and one so old all the horses have escaped from the engine (mum and dads)) very slow going. We stopped in New Norfolk for petrol, Lawrenny Distillery for a delicious spirit tasting session, and then Derwent Bridge for lunch. The weather had cleared up nicely until we turned off for the coast finding ourselves surrounded by fog and drizzle “Welcome to the Rainforest don’t Complain about the Rain”. The campground at Trial Harbour was surprisingly busy given the time of year with 4 other people already parked up when we rolled in. We found a semi-sheltered spot with a view of the sea and set up our awning and had a cuppa. Mum and I went for a walk along the beach where we met one of the local residents and her very cute dog. After a quick chat she ended up inviting us to the annual local Seafood Cook Off.

Back at camp we relayed the invitation to Matt and dad who were both keen to attend anything involving fresh Tassie seafood so at 6pm we walked into town and wandered the two streets until we found the community hall. It ended up being a fantastic evening with amazing food. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much abelone in one sitting! Mum and dad donated a bottle of wine as part of the people’s choice prize which went down well with the locals. We even got an invitation back to the 2022 event which I’m sure mum and dad will be attending. We went to bed with bellies full of seafood and listening to the ocean on the rocks.

We woke on Sunday morning to find that the drizzle had continued for the rest of the night and our camp had turned into a mud puddle. Fortunately one of the only grassed sites was vacated as we had breakfast so we packed up and shifted the vans to a much better spot. Matt used the side awning to extend our awning to cover a bigger area which worked really well. When the rain started to ease off Matt and dad sorted out their mountain bikes and rode off to tackle a section of Climies Track. I wasn’t feeling very energetic (aka I didn’t want to get wet and cold) so I stayed at camp with mum, we read books, drank tea and went for another walk up the beach where I found a decomposing whale tail and some interesting shells. When the boys got back we were all sitting under the awning having a few beers and I noticed a couple of people up on the rock overlooking the camp. I poked around a bit and found a hidden walking track up the hill. It only took a few minutes to reach the top and the views over the town and ocean were amazing.

That evening was spent playing way too many rounds of Monopoly Deal, going for another beach walk, enjoying yet more beers and I cooked up a chorizo pasta out of my camping recipe collection.

Monday came all too soon and neither Matt nor dad could be convinced to call in sick so we could stay another day so we resigned ourselves to packing up. We had another bit of gear fail during breakfast and for a change it wasn’t due to user error like our first stove (that I got run over) or our water tank (that Matt somehow punctured). A few weeks ago we’d bought a griddle for BBQs, cooked breakfasts etc which has a known fault of cracking and unfortunately we’d managed to buy one of the dodgy ones and it cracked along the right side almost to the middle of the plate. Since that incident I have taken it back to BCF who replaced it straight away so here is hoping that our second one will last more than 2 meals.

Back on the road it wasn’t long before we pulled off so the boys could go mountain biking again at Oonah Hill, my CBF had followed me so instead I walked up the track with my wildlife photography lens and took a few photos of the lads as they went past. On my way back down the hill I was stoked to spot a pair of Southern Emu-wrens in a bush on the side of the track. These birds are pretty rare in Tassie and I’d never seen one before so I was very excited. I’m having such a good year for bird spotting first with a ground parrot and now this. We stopped in at the Empire Hotel for lunch and I did a bit of retail fossicking and bought a nice piece of quartz, something green and black and some peacock ore. Our last stop for the day was Nelson Falls before we made our way back home.

Trial Harbor Campground – What an absolutely incredible spot. Right on the sea under some stunning mountains with a waterfall and creek running around the back and an amazing lookout a short walk away. The toilets were clean and the other campers quiet and considerate. My only gripe about this spot was that a lot of the sites were either way too muddy or too wet to set up in. An unfortunate side effect of the West Coast I guess 7/10.

I’m happy we got to go away one more time before we left as it gave us the opportunity to try a couple more pieces of gear (the new bedding, side awning, my clothes packing system, UHF radios) and I’m feeling really confident about our departure. The organisation, lists and timelines have worked so well to get us to this point. Next post I’ll be on the road! Take Care.

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