Heading east we camped at York Town. This was once the capitol of Tasmania, with a thriving port an business centre. Shipbuilding and agriculture soon followed; today there are no relics of these early establishments, only photographs.
Beaconsfield is around the corner from York Town, and the colas mine here was the scene of the tragedy in 2006, where one miner died and two others were trapped underground for two weeks. I remember that quite well- we were all glued to the newscasts every night in the hope of the miners being rescued alive. On the green opposite the mine is a historic village, where the classroom from Flowery Gully tells the story of those early days in teaching - there is even a 'plastic' apple on the teachers desk - couldn't get in at all- locked up.
Greens Beach is a good example of all the beaches along here - breeding ground for terns, pied oyster catchers and other birds. Everywhere we go the roses just take our breath away - cool climate will do that for any garden!
The Tamar Valley is full of little stops for wine and cheese and local produce. All along the roads are shrubs with berries one can pick as you walk - blackberries, raspberries, blueberries. Yum. The bridge over the Tamar river is signed as the tallest 'A' bridge in the world- kind of left u wondering about that statistic...
Bay of Fires and St Helens was our next stop. Beautiful rain forest walk along the way, with ancient myrtle trees and lush ferns. The Bay itself is iconic for the red lichen the grows on the rocks up and down the beaches and they do look impressive. The sea is crystal clear down here - all the shades of blue and turquoise - only when the sun shines though!!
We did lovely walk through a forest with 90m tall white gums and then a nice (small) waterfall. Found an echidna on the road - first time for Noelene, but the little fellow hid under the logs so we could only see his backside!!
Launceston is a beautiful city with many many renovated colonial buildings all in the CBD used as shops and offices. Lovely to see that. Did a short cruise up Cataract Gorge and then up to the Central Plateau around the Great Lake. Cold, wet, windy, arctic vegetation, yet mesmerisingly scenic. Further down we found Liffey Falls - what a lovely forest walk and cascading waterfalls.
Wineglass Bay - such a romantic name for a beautiful beach - named the 2nd most beautiful beach in Australia after White Haven beach in QLD. Well, it is called that with no reference to wine!! The early whaling station there harvested southern right whales for several reasons: its oil doesn't smell like other whales' oil, there baleen was of very high quality, and they didn't sink once speared, making it easy to tow the animals in to the whaling station. And then the slaughtering would literally make the water in the bay red. Gross!!
One species of bird migrates from Siberia to come and breed here in Tasmania. The parents feed the single chick till it is twice their size, by which stage they leave to migrate back to Siberia. The chicks are left to feed on their internal fat, most, and then have to make the journey back to Siberia, on their own! Thousands of birds perish along the way, but every year they come down in their millions to breed again. Quite different to the sea eagle which lays two eggs, and the stronger chick devours the weaker one for survival of the fattest!! What a marvel nature is!!
The boat trip out there and back was a wonderful 4 hour experience - met people form USA, UK, Singapore, Japan - and then of course the countless Queenslanders that are flooding Tasmania - we counted 12 QLD caravans in the park in Launceston! We also saw lots of bottle nose dolphins, and on return some common dolphins. Just beautiful!!