Day 4 – Across the North East Coast

Day 4 – Across the North East Coast

Last night was by far the coldest that we have had this trip with the mercury dipping down to 1 degree. Fortunately I have the ability to produce insane amounts of body heat and could still warm up the bed but I woke up with my head under the covers so it must have been chilly. Matt got up and made us coffee and the sunrise lured me outside into the cold. With a blanket on my legs and a coffee warming my hands we watched the sky change colour and the orange light cover the earth.

On our way out of Mussleroe Wind Farm we spotted the Tebrakunna Visitor Centre with a turbine blade next to it. I absolutely love wind farms, not only because they’re an amazing source of energy but the installation and engineering of the turbines fascinates me. We looked around, took some photos of the van being dwarfed by the blade and then got back on the road.

Because of the unplanned nature of this trip we keep finding ourselves in increasingly out of the way towns and today was no exception. We ended up having morning tea in a place called Tomahawk which the town sign proudly declared was “Tassie’s best kept secret”. It wasn’t an uninteresting place with it’s own island, river, and beach but the stillness that comes with having a population of 48 was a little bit off putting, as were the abandoned sheds and houses on the way in.

Yesterday we had been tossing up whether we would camp at Petal Point or a site further west called the Waterhouse Conservation Area since we were in the area we decided to also swing in there and have a look around. It turned out to be a really interesting environment with plants that neither of us had seen before in Tasmania. It was wetlandy and swampy but also near the beach. I looked up some more information on it and found that it is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna including the smallest flowering plant in the world. We visited a Ramsar Convention listed lake where we watched a sea eagle searching for food. The campground was quite small but directly on the beach and would certainly be a good place to stop on a future trip.

We reached Narawntapu National Park just as the visitor center was closing. Unlike Freycinet we couldn’t book ahead and just hoped that there would be a spare spot with the low season in full swing. Sure enough there was only one other couple there so we were able to pick a beautiful grassy site and set up our home for the night complete with power so we could run the heater and be certain we wouldn’t freeze in the night.

Once we were organised we went for a walk on the beach and enjoyed the sunset and roos bouncing around everywhere. There was some very nice jasper and a couple of pieces of petrified wood on the sand but I upheld the rules of national parks and left them where they were…so hard to do that.

Campground Review

Narawntapu National Park – Another $16pn powered site but so much more private then Freycinet. Nice flat grassy/gravel spots, basic toilet block, and more wildlife than you could shake a stick at 8/10.

Day 3 – Wind Farms with No Wind

Day 3 – Wind Farms with No Wind

I woke up this morning excited and looking forward to the day ahead. While the last two days were new places for Matt today was the first day I felt like I was getting to explore. We sipped our coffees while Fairy-wrens hopped around our feet. I spotted a Beautiful Firetail in the She Oaks and some young Green Rosellas eating the cones.

Because we were in the area we quickly popped up to The Gardens. The water was way too beautiful for me to resist and I ended up having a bit of a paddle in the freezing ocean while Matt looked at me like I was a moron. It would be the most perfect spot in summer.

Rather than taking the fast route up the coast we drove inland and into dairy country. We decided to stretch our legs and take the 1.3km walk to Halls Falls. Photographing waterfalls on a sunny day is an absolute pain in the bum but I was pretty happy with the images I captured.

When in one of the best milk producing areas of the state there is one thing you have to do which is eat some dairy. We stopped at Pyengana Dairy for morning tea, ate some ice cream, grabbed some cheese, and sat in the sun to watch the cows. After a snack we were both still in the mood the see waterfalls making our way to one of the tallest in the state, St Columba Falls. The recent heavy rain made the 90m high cascade hugely impressive and it showered us all with a fine mist.

Against my better judgement rather than heading back out the way we came in Matt suggested that we go down Forest Lodge Road and then up and over the top of the hill to Ringarooma. If you are in a van, that isn’t a 4WD I can not reiterate this enough Do Not Take That Road. It is honestly beyond me how Matt avoided putting the van into a huge pothole or significantly damaging something on the underside of it by hitting a massive rock. We reached the Ralphs Falls carpark in one piece much to the amazement of a couple of families in 4WDs.

We rolled back down the other side of the mountain and reached a smooth gravel road that I could have kissed after having every bone in my body shaken for 20km. Our hunt for lunch was oddly challenging to the point where we ended up stopping in all places, Derby. As two avid mountain bikers it was completely bizarre being there without our bikes but it did give me the time to reflect on the incredible things mountain biking is doing for these little towns in Tasmania. I had nachos which were great!

Our final touristy stop for the day was the aptly named Little Blue Lake. A favourite for people on the gram this toxic blue lake is the result of mineral leaching from the rocks after the alluvial tin mine was abandoned and left to fill with rain water. After having a look around there briefly Matt let me stop in the Gladstone Fossicking Area and have a hunt around for minerals while he had a nap (I say “let” because he isn’t very supportive of my rock collecting ways 😉 ).

The campground we selected for the evening was Petal Point which is almost as far North and East as you can get in Tasmania and it was a good example of how WikiCamps can lead people astray. The spot where we pulled up was only given 2.5 stars but it was spectacular. There wasn’t a breath of wind and we had views across to the wind farms and over to Cape Barren Island. I took a walk on the beach before settling into the van for the night.

Campground Review

Petal Point – I think this is one of those sites which is either amazing or horrific dependent on the weather. A lot of the other reviewers talk about the horrible wind but what would you expect camping in the same place as a wind farm? We were blessed with complete stillness and were amazed at the beauty of this campsite. I would have happily stayed another night to watch the sun rise and set over the water. There were no showers and basic but nice drop toilets 8/10.