North West Tasmania

Jenni and I have been exploring Tasmania for nearly 5 months. Even after this quite reasonable length of time there are still quite a few places we haven’t made it to. We’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks but will be back soon to cover those places. However some places we have visited have required a revisit. North West Tasmania is one of those. Lots of pictures in this blog and very few words.

When friends of ours, Carol and Greg from Sydney, arranged to come spend 3 days in Tasmania with us we had no hesitation in deciding where we would take them. We called it the “Insiders Tasmanian Tour”. Most people coming for short trips to Tasmania would go to Hobart, Port Arthur maybe Freycinet. We took Carol and Greg to explore and experience the North West region and stayed in Stanley and Launceston. It worked out pretty well as you will see.

Stanley

Circular Head AKA Stanley and the Nut

We booked for all of us to stay in Stanley for two nights in a great apartment overlooking the bay and the harbour. Jenni and I were driving up from Hobart which, due to a dog leg detour to Fingal to pick up a lost item we left behind us last week, took us 6 and a half hours. Carol and Greg had flown into Launceston that morning and got there before us. We arrived at the Airbnb about 5:30 and immediately headed out for for pre-dinner drinks. Stanley Wine bar, Tasmanian Wine and Food serves platters of local produce accompanied by wonderful local wines and beers. It is owned and run by Michael and Shelley. They are as accommodating as they are knowledgeable about wine. We sat back and let Michael chose the wine for us. We were never disappointed. This is my excited look.

I’m very excited

Jenni had booked us a table at Michael’s Restaurant. Not to be confused with Michael’s wine bar. After a sufficient warm up of great wines and beers and a wonderful cheese platter we left Michael’s Wine Bar for Michael’s Restaurant. The food was great and we returned to our Airbnb full and happy and ready for our weekend of adventure.

Stanley Bakery

One of the “Insider” tips we had for Stanley is to try the crayfish pie at the bakery. The guys had already been there and done that the the day before and were as amazed as we were at the quality of the food. The bakery cook is a 2 hat chef and makes the best tasting food. The crayfish pie is so good we returned for another one for breakfast before our big day exploring.

Crayfish Pie from the Bakery at Stanley

The Tarkine Way

Our plan for the day was to drive round the Tarkine Way which is a circuit around and through the Tarkine forest. We would be stopping at a few key locations along the way. First stop on the trip, West Point Reserve.

West Point Reserve is a place of outstanding natural beauty within an entire region of outstanding natural beauty. This was a special place for the indigenous Aborigines and its easy to see why. Upon arrival in the car park, after a drive down a dirt road, we were immediately wide eyed at the beauty of the coastline. A few seconds later, when we rounded the corner to go down to the beach, and came across a click* of 5 or 6 professional looking photographers sitting with expensive tripods and massive lenses, we realised others had discovered this fact before us. Well, discovered it before us and a long time after the indigenous Aborigines 50,000 years ago.

Serious Landscape Cameraman
A whole SD Card* full of photographers

The surf was up and despite several signs warning us all not to drive on the beach several vehicles were parked there. They obviously belonged to these surfers.

Surfing West Point Reserve
Surfing West Point Reserve
Surfing West Point Reserve

We decided to go for a bit of an explore.

Exploring West Point Reserve
Can you spot Jenni?
Stunning scenery
More stunning scenery

As you may imagine I took many, many, many more pictures of this place. OK, if you insist, here’s one more.

Seen better

Edge of the World

Leaving the beautiful West Point Reserve beach we drove the short distance to the Edge of the World. I covered this place before in this blog.

Formed by the “Roaring Forties” winds that deposits driftwood from around the world on the shore, this is a quite unique place. Hundreds of tonnes of driftwood lie all along the shore. some less than a metre long, many several metres long and weighing more than a tonne.

Edge of the World, Arthur River

The weather was very kind to us this day.

Edge of the World

At the Edge of the World we posed for several “selfies”.

Group shot at the Edge of the World

As expected (again) I took many, many, many more pictures of this place too. OK, if you insist, here’s another one.

Wait for me!!!

Sumac Lookout

Sumac Lookout

When we were here last time Fiona, the lady who ran the camp site, said, “Go to Trowutta Arch”. We didn’t on that trip so accepting the recommendations of the lady with the local knowledge we put it on the list for this trip. Between the Edge of the World and Trowutta Arch was Sumac Lookout, only a short detour off the path. We had no idea what it was, this is what it is.

Sumac Lookout

Trowutta Arch

The road to Trowutta Arch was a rough dirt road through a managed forest which had just been harvested. It was not pretty. It must be recognised that if we did this same trip in 5 years time the view along the road would be 2 metre high trees as far as the eye could see.

Trowutta Arch

The short walk from the car park to the arch was interesting enough also. Huge fungi growths clung to the trees and barks.

Tree Fungi
Tree Fungi

Intriguing forest fungi covered the forest floors.

Forest Fungi
Forest Fungi

The Tarkine Forest is full of wild shaped trees and roots.

Vibrant colours and wild shaped tree roots
Not sure how this got like that?
Massive Tree Ferns everywhere
Greg spots a fungus

Then we got to main attraction, Trowutta Arch itself.

Trowutta Arch
Jenni and Greg under the arch

The arch was formed with the collapse and creation of two sink holes. This area has many sinkholes and is part of the Trowutta Caves State Reserve.

Looking back up into the forest

The sinkhole was deep, full of water covered in a film of bright green algae.

Trowutta Sinkhole

After we left Trowutta Arch we drove back to Stanley, on the way we passed through Irishtown. Being from the Emerald Isle I had to stop and get a picture.

Where the Irish go in Australia

We did stop on the way back into Stanley so Greg could take a picture of the Nut.

Stanley and the Nut (the mountain, not Greg)

That night we went back to the Stanley Wine Bar for some more nibbles and good wine and cheese and to say cheerio to Michael. Then we had dinner in the pub. It was a fitting last night.

Launceston

The next morning we were up early and drove to Launceston where we were to be for another couple of days. Our first exploration point was the Gorge.

Cataract Gorge

I don’t think I have seen anyone swimming in the river before. It was very cold, they build them tough in Tassie.

Swimming in the Gorge

At the top of the gorge is a restaurant and this music pavilion dating from 1896.

Music Pavilion at Cataract Gorge

And the worlds creepiest playground.

Horror movie set

We were going to walk up the Duck Reach Power station and back but took the long way round. We expected it to be 30 minutes out and 30 back. We had already walked nearly 30 minutes when we came across this sign.

Sign to Duck Reach Power Station

So we turned around and walked back. That night we went to the Grumpy Piper Whiskey Bar. We met a piper but he wasn’t grumpy, he wasn’t too talkative either.

They had an excellent selection of whiskies though.

Grumpy Piper Whiskey Bar Launceston

All too soon the day was over. Carol and Greg were flying back the next night but we had another “Insider Tassie” day trip planned. First up the next morning, a trip to the park to see the monkeys.

Then we took a walk around the Conservatory and the gardens.

Conservatory
Flowers in Bloom

Our next port of call was Low Head Lighthouse. Jenni and I visited there a few months ago and luckily arrived at 12:00pm on a Sunday and heard them set off the huge fog horn. It was Sunday and that’s what time we had planned to get there today.

Low Head Lighthouse and Fog Horn

We got there with time to spare. We took a look around the headland and the workings of the machine. As an ex-engineer I find this sort of thing very interesting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Low Head

At 11:58am, just as I was stood in front of the fog horn, (taking the picture three pictures up), thinking I had a couple of minutes to spare, they set it off. I nearly soiled myself. It is very loud. My left ear was sore for a while afterwards. It is best to stand behind it. Even then its very loud.

Still a bit loud from behind the shed

After having our ears blown off we went to the Leaning Church Vineyard for lunch.

Leaning Church Vineyard
Postcards

The place was very beautiful. They have an area where they hold weddings. Jenni had other ideas.

Leaning Church Vineyard

Next stop, Clover Hill.

Clover Hill
Clover Hill
Clover Hill
Clover Hill

Final stop Delamere Vineyard. A much smaller place but the host was very knowledgeable. We bought a few of his wines.

Delamere Vineyard
Delamere Vineyard.

We drove back to Launceston and then it was time for us to bade Carol and Greg farewell.

We are leaving Tassie in a few days and spending a few weeks on the big island. Mainly around Sydney for work. We’ll be seeing Carol and Greg again shortly. Till next time.

PS I don’t think there is a collective noun for a group of photographers so made up a ‘click’ of photographers. An ‘SD Card Full’ of photographers doesn’t really work.

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