Burnie and Sheffield, Echidnas and Crackpots.

It’s been a busy week work wise. We got a new client, and as is the way of these things, the client is in Tasmania. We arranged to do a site visit later in the week but our current plans didn’t easily accommodate that. Business is business and it’s the Clients that keep us on the road so we changed our plans. Our current road life allows us to do that pretty well.

As we packed up the tent the elusive Yellow Wattlebird that I’d been trying to get a good picture off all week perched, cooperatively for once, near enough for me to get the shot. It’s not a great shot but I was happy I got anything at all as it rarely stops for a second at low levels.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHobart

We had already committed to go to Hobart for a couple of days. We drove the 275 kilometres from Bridport to Hobart and checked into our Airbnb in Glebe for 2 nights. It was a small, narrow and wonderfully decorated and designed townhouse. They really had made a good use of the space they had. Almost like a larger Tiny House and very comfortable. The house was on the side of a serious hill. The road incline was heart stopping, our fully laden little Mazda 3 let us know how hard she was working getting up there. One benefit though was the view of Mt Wellington as a backdrop to the city from just outside the front door.

Sunrise over Hobart and Mt Wellington
Sunrise over Hobart and Mt Wellington

We were in Hobart to meet Maddy. We had lunch and then went to explore, we ended up in a small village called Carleton Beach. Unlike the picture above, on this day it was stormy and overcast.

Storm clouds over Carleton Beach
Storm clouds over Carleton Beach

The storm clouds were magnificent, helped by the smoke of some back burning, fire prevention activities going on in the hills above Hobart.

Storm Clouds and Smoke over Hobart
Storm Clouds and Smoke over Hobart

Our stay in Hobart was short. We were working constantly on the new client project so didn’t explore any more than this. We will be back in a few weeks and staying for much longer then. As our client was back up north we drove 325 kilometres back up to our hotel in Burnie on the north coast.

Burnie

Burnie is an industrial town. One of it’s main activities is to ship wood pulp around the world. Our hotel had an excellent view of the docks, the enormous wood chip pile and the Forestal Diamante Wood Chip Carrier. Sunrise here was a very different view from the others we’ve woken up to in Tasmania.

View from the hotel window
View from the hotel window

You can see the Forestal Diamante on the left of the picture and the huge wood chip pile in the middle.

Forestal Diamante
Forestal Diamante

There is however, a certain type of beauty in the industrial landscape.

We were only in Burnie one night. We checked out, visited our client for the day then drove to our next stopover in Barrington, a small townland near Sheffield, Town of Murals. More of that later.

The drive over the mountains was spectacular. After the industrial scenes in Burnie the beauty of  the countryside of Tasmania was a magnificent contrast. At one point on the road we could see the famous Cradle Mountain in the distance blanketed by cloud.

 

Cradle Mountain in the mist
Cradle Mountain in the mist

Tassie never disappoints.

Return to Lake Barrington

When we were here in March we stopped at Lake Barrington and cooked up our lunch on a camp fire. As it was such a beautiful spot and as we were just around the corner from it we decided it would be great to visit it again and explore a bit more.

We passed the sign that inspired the Suzi Quatro song.

Come alive, come alive! Down in Devils Gate Dam
Come alive, come alive! Down in Devils Gate Dam

Devils Gate Dam forms Lake Barrington. The day we chose to visit was very windy and rained on and off. It was a different view of the lake from the first time we were there.

The Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake

The blue skies and mirror calm water was replaced with grey skies and choppy waves.

The Lord of the  Lake
The Lord of the Lake

It is still a stunningly beautiful spot.

After Lake Barrington we visited Tazmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot.

Lower Crackpot.

Quite a few years ago, in an airline travel mag I think,  I was reading about a guy called Brian Inder who single handedly created a tourist industry that revived the dying town of Sheffield and surrounding district. The district we are staying in.

In the 1980’s he was a dairy farmer and when he couldn’t make a profit at that he turned to lavender farming. This was more successful. He wanted to build a maze so in 1990 he did and also a model village and a pancake house on his property. It was a tourist draw. Inspired by the story of Chemainus, a small Canadian town that rescued itself from ruin he convinced Sheffield to become the “Town of Murals”.

From an interview with Brian Inder, “We rebuilt the town around the marvellous paintings. Coffee shops and gift shops opened … We gave them a reason to come, to come and see our paintings and our murders and our famous people and all this and our ghosts.”  Through his efforts he revived the entire region. He built more mazes and more models on his property and Tazmazia was formed. It is now one of the most visited places in the state.

When I heard his story many years ago I told myself that if I ever got the chance to visit I would, this day I did.

I took a lot of pictures, here are a few.

One of the Mazes of Tazmazia and the Model Village
One of the Mazes of Tazmazia and the Model Village
The Embassy Gardens
The Embassy Gardens
Fountain of Youth
Fountain of Youth

I think the Fountain of Youth was broken when we visited.

Temptation Pink Gin
Temptation Pink Gin
All the news that's fit to print and other lies
All the news that’s fit to print and other lies

You can see how windy it was by Jenni’s hair.

The Irish Maze was the best, wouldn’t take you to be too offended. In fairness on the way in the lady on the ticket desk said you needed a sense of humour. I said, “Why is it just a straight line?” It turned out to be a very difficult maze, it had one corner. I’m glad Jenni was there to help me through it.

More Model Village pictures.

Embassy Gardens was good fun. I found the Irish Embassy of course.

Irish Embassy
Irish Embassy

But the Intergalactic Embassy was the best.

Tardis and an excited child
Tardis and an excited child

I especially loved the humour of the place.

Global Warming Preparedness
Global Warming Preparedness

One of the many “Dad Jokes” around the mazes.

Can't beat a good Dad Joke
Can’t beat a good Dad Joke

We did the Balance Maze as well. I liked this one.

Jenni making it look easy
Jenni making it look easy
"Could have done it with my eyes closed"
“Could have done it with my eyes closed”

I know Tazmazia is mainly for kids but it was a fun place and well worth a visit, I’m glad we did and added a little to the local economy.

Echidna

On our drive this day eagle eye Jenni spotted Echidna at the side of the road on two separate occasions. It was a massive treat seeing them in the wild. It was our first time seeing one.

Echidna digging for grubs
Echidna digging for grubs

The first one we saw was shy and all we really saw was a spiny ball. The second one, this one, was as bold as you like.

Echidna running away
Echidna running away

He did eventually get a little pissed off by the paparazzi clicking away at him eating and he made a bolt for cover.

Bye Echidna
Bye Echidna

But I just thought, “Screw you, you’re in a public space and you’re famous. It’s fair game.” and chased it and kept on clicking till he made it too far away. Now for a good pic of the elusive Platypus next.

Railton and the Seven Sheds Brewery

Seven Sheds Brewery and Meadery and Hop Garden
Seven Sheds Brewery and Meadery and Hop Garden

The last time we visited this part of Tassie we saw the sign for this place but it was closed, and this time, it was open. We made a detour back through Railton to check out their wares.

I had a 5 beer taster plate and selected two to take away. The Kentish Ale and the Paradise Pale Hoppy Golden Ale.

Me and my new beers
Me and my new beers

As I am writing this part of the blog I am enjoying a Seven Sheds Paradise Pale and very nice it is too.

Sheffield

On our way back to our Airbnb we went through Sheffield. This time I stopped and took some pictures of the famous murals Brian Inder used to reinvigorate the town. Pretty nice some of them are too.

Here’s a selection.

This mural seemed to be one of the most popular as I saw shops selling prints of it.

Dog Mural Sheffield
Dog Mural Sheffield

The last time I saw a place with so many murals I was on the Newtownards Road in Belfast. The subject matter was slightly different there though.

Blog Time Lines

It might be interesting to note the time line this blog covers. Sometimes it can read like its a long time. The start of this blog was last Sunday, it is now the following Saturday afternoon. Just 6 days. We do pack a lot into our Vagabonding journeys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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