Cradle Mountain

Well, it’s taken a while for us to get there but we have finally got around to visiting one of Tasmania’s icons, Cradle Mountain. Not that we haven’t been there before. In fact, counting back, we may have been there up to five or six times on previous visits to Tasmania before we moved here but this is the first time since we’ve been living in Tassie. Rod’s birthday seemed like a good excuse to get up there.

You need to allow around five hours to drive from Hobart so it’s not really the place to head just for a two day weekend. We went up on a Friday and were able to stay two nights.

This place is certainly iconic. It’s hard to imagine there would be many visitors to Tasmania who would not include it in their itinerary and, while at 1,545 metres above sea level it’s not a high mountain, even in Australian terms, it’s certainly one of our most spectacular looking.

Cradle Mountain is arguably one of the most heavily visited sites in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Other heavily visited sites include Lake St Clair and the Gordon River accessed from Macquarie Harbour.

The Tasmanian wilderness is one of the three largest remaining temperate wilderness areas in the southern hemisphere.

The area was originally inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1982 with a total area of 1,584,459 hectares. It is one of only 31 World Heritage sites out of the total of 1007 that are listed for both their natural and cultural heritage values and it meets the greatest number of World Heritage criteria of all places on the list.

This is one of the few areas in Australia where the glacial effects of the last ice age, and earlier periods, are on obvious show. It also contains the most southerly known human occupation sites in the world during the last ice age.

Nearby Cradle Mountain is the start of the Overland Track that is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the best 10 treks in the world.

Gustav Weindorfer, an Austrian immigrant, and his Tasmanian wife Kate visited the Cradle Mountain area for the first time in 1909 and fell in love with the place. By the end of 1912 they had built the first stage of their guesthouse ‘Waldheim’ and slowly built up, what was possibly, the first ecotourism business in Tasmania. After Kate’s death in 1916 Gustav continued to actively promote the concept of creating a national park here and by 1922 the Tasmanian Government declared the area between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair as a wildlife sanctuary and scenic reserve, the core of what we now know as the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. Gustav died at Waldheim in 1932 and he is buried in the Park. ‘Waldheim’ remains and while you can’t stay in the original building anymore there are cabins nearby where you can stay, booked through the national park office. More substantial ‘guesthouses’ are found just outside the park boundary.

Some of our more observant readers may have noticed that the title of our blog site ‘A Year In Tasmania’ is perhaps a little inappropriate as we have now been here for just over 15 months! We started out on the premise that Rod had a job for 12 months and then we may be moving back to the mainland. However, Rod has taken the opportunity to retire from full-time work and we will be staying in Tasmania for quite a bit longer yet. We had been thinking about changing the name of the blog and one of our clever fellow bloggers, Kate, whose blog is http://ourtasmaniantreechange.com/ suggested we change it to ‘A Year In Tasmania – Is Not Enough’!

We will be taking a break for a couple of months as we have things to do back on the mainland so this will be the last post you’ll see from us for a while. When we return we’ll give some thought to what we will do next.

We hope you’ve been enjoying our blogs. Stay tuned for what comes next!

Rod and Lynda.

Welcome to the World Heritage area

Welcome to the World Heritage area

Sublime Cradle Mountain reflection

Sublime Cradle Mountain reflection

The start of the famous Overland Track

The start of the famous Overland Track

We saw wombats grazing

We saw wombats grazing

Weindorfer's Waldheim Chalet

Weindorfer’s Waldheim Chalet

The pristine waters of Dove Lake

The pristine waters of Dove Lake

Tolkien-like forest on the way to Lake Lilla

Tolkien-like forest on the way to Lake Lilla

One of the cabins you stay in

One of the cabins you stay in

Wombat Pool and Cradle Valley in the background

Wombat Pool and Cradle Valley in the background

A young pencil pine in the foreground and a much older one reflected in Wombat Pool

A young pencil pine in the foreground and a much older one reflected in Wombat Pool

Lake Lilla in the foreground with Dove Lake in the background

Lake Lilla in the foreground with Dove Lake in the background

Snow remnants in button grass

Snow remnants in button grass

Walking on the Wild Side

Regular readers of our blog will know that we have mentioned several small walks we have done including a couple of walks nearby our house https://ayearintasmania.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/its-all-a-matter-of-perspective/

We have also been able to get out to some more ‘remote’ locations for day walks which, while not full-on wilderness challenges, have been able to get us to some pretty spectacular country.

The Parks and Wildlife Service has developed the 60 Great Short Walks guide http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=1315 and it includes a wide range of walks from half an hour to a full day and a sample of Tasmania’s diverse landscapes. They are graded from 1 (the easiest) to 5 and each has a recommended level of kit required that you should carry with you as well as a short description of what you’ll see.

We wanted to tell you about some of those mentioned in the guide we’ve been on – Cape Hauy (pronounced Hoy) and Cape Raoul (both in the Tasman National Park), a combination of walks at Mt Field National Park and in the Southwest National Park as well as numerous isolated beach walks. Pictures of all are below.

The cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula, which are mostly in the Tasman National Park, are amongst the highest sea-cliffs in the southern hemisphere. Two of the walks to Cape Hauy and Cape Raoul provide spectacular views.

The first we attempted was Cape Hauy (grade 4) which is around a 9 kilometre return trip. If you ever thought of buying one of those stair-master machines you see advertised on television to get fit, don’t bother. Just go for a walk to Cape Hauy a few times. This is probably as many steps as we’ve seen on a day walk anywhere and there are some very steep sections. However, if you have a moderate level of fitness it is certainly worthwhile. The walk starts at picturesque Fortescue Bay and takes you through forests and heathland as you get closer to the end of the Cape. Then the spectacular coastline views open up. You can see Cape Pillar to south and north along the coast as far as Maria Island. Then there are the spectacular formations of Cape Hauy itself and the 80 metre cliffs that fall straight into the ocean. Getting near the cliff edge is not for the feint hearted. At the end of your strenuous walk you can take a dip in the turquoise waters at Fortescue Bay beach.

Cape Raoul also held great promise for spectacular views but the day we went there it had been raining. The clouds clung to the landscape but we decided to head off from the car park anyway knowing that within an hour we could at least be at the top of the highest cliffs on the walk. This walk starts in tall forest and is initially uphill as it climbs towards the sea-cliff edge. Along the way we passed the obvious branch track to Shipstern Bluff and made a note of its location so that we could take this option later if necessary. Within 15 minutes from that intersection we reached the cliff top but it was completely clouded in. We got occasional tantalising glimpses as the clouds thin and then closed in again but the sound of the waves breaking on the base of the cliffs 400 metres below us gave us a sense of what we can’t see. Rather than continue the walk in the clouds to the end of Cape Raoul we decided to return to the Shipstern Bluff track as we knew it took us a little lower and hopefully below the cloud base. After retracing our steps to the track junction it was only another 15 minutes to a point where we again came out at the cliff top but now only about 250 metres above the sea. Here we stopped for a snack and were fortunate that the cloud started to break enough for us to see the waves crashing below and the coast to the west. Satisfied that we had seen this much at least we headed back to the car.

Mt Field offers many walks and we have been on a number of them but mention two here – the walk to Tarn Shelf and the combination of a number of shorter walks that include a trip to Horseshoe Falls and the Tall Trees.

In our last post we gave you a look at the Fagus (Deciduous Beech – Nothofagus gunnii) changing colour at Mt Field https://ayearintasmania.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/reprise-of-the-fagus/ but this walk can be spectacular anytime of the year and not just the brief few weeks of the colour-changing Fagus. You park at Lake Dobson at around 1,000 metres and then walk up to about 1,250 metres, firstly through subalpine woodland and then into the alpine zone. The weather was not the best on this day either but we had times when there was no rain, even glimpses of blue sky, but also icy rain and even snow flurries with winds gusting at well over gale force we reckoned. From the car park you could probably do this walk in around 3 hours return but if you want to take your time, as we did, it can take around 5 hours. Be warned though, this is not a place for the unprepared. As mentioned, we encountered freezing rain, wind-driven ice particles and snow. You can’t just go for walk in nothing more than your T-shirt and shorts! Part of the walk is on the road that services the ski-field and there is a lot of new boardwalk sections. This certainly makes the walking easy but can lull you into a false sense of security as when you get to the end of the boards there is a difficult boulder field to negotiate. This can be slippery and confusing in poor weather. Rodway hut at Tarn Shelf fortunately provides some shelter from the elements. Tarn Shelf itself is named after the numerous glacial tarns (lakes) that dot the landscape here.

The walk that takes in Horseshoe Falls and the Tall Trees is a relatively easy walk from the park visitor centre and starts by passing the iconic Russell Falls that we’ve talked about before https://ayearintasmania.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/russell-falls/

To get to Mt Field you have to travel along Strathgordon Road. However, most people heading this way go as far as Mt Field and no further. Only another hour or so drive will take you into the heart of the southwest wilderness (albeit on the road) where you can get tantalising views of some of the iconic places that this part of Tasmania is known for. The road takes you through the headwaters of the Upper Florentine Valley, the site of our recent World Heritage controversy where common sense prevailed and the World Heritage Committee agreed that this spectacular scenery was to be retained in the World Heritage Area after the Australian and Tasmanian governments sought to have it removed.

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful, long, isolated beaches where one can walk all day and not see another soul. We’ve been to many of these and have taken short walks and full day walks. Some of these are within an hour drive of Hobart. Hope Beach near South Arm is one of our favourites. It fringes Storm Bay and in the days following Boxing Day would be a great spot to see the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race contestants sailing past just before they turn to the north for the final leg of the race up the Derwent River. On any other day though the Southern Ocean swell makes this a popular spot for surfers and beach walkers alike. With a total length of about 6 kilometres between Cape Direction and Goat’s Bluff, the return trip makes a great day walk. Bear in mind though that, if the tide is high, the soft sand can make this a strain on the legs that you may not experience on ‘regular’ walks. Don’t forget to take a ground sheet to sit on to minimise the chance of getting sand in your sandwiches.

In future we hope to bring you news of some longer and perhaps more challenging walks.

On the way to Cape Hauy

On the way to Cape Hauy

The safest way to approach the edge of the cliff - Cape Pillar in the distance.

The safest way to approach the edge of the cliff – Cape Pillar in the distance.

At the top of the 400 metre cliffs at Cape Raoul - shame about the clouds.

At the top of the 400 metre cliffs at Cape Raoul – shame about the clouds.

Colourful shrubs at the cliff top at Cape Raoul.

Colourful shrubs at the cliff top at Cape Raoul.

Overlooking Shipstern Bluff.

Overlooking Shipstern Bluff.

On the boardwalk to Tarn Shelf, Mt Field National Park.

On the boardwalk to Tarn Shelf, Mt Field National Park.

A tarn, on Tarn Shelf.

A tarn, on Tarn Shelf.

Lake Seal from Tarn Shelf.

Lake Seal from Tarn Shelf.

Mountain Ash on the way to Tarn Shelf.

Mountain Ash on the way to Tarn Shelf.

Horseshoe Falls at Mt Field.

Horseshoe Falls at Mt Field.

The Tall Trees at Mt Field.

The Tall Trees at Mt Field.

Walking on Hope Beach.

Walking on Hope Beach.

Sculpture in sand, Hope Beach.

Sculpture in sand, Hope Beach.

Neck Beach at Bruny Island is 12 continuous kilometres of sand.

Neck Beach at Bruny Island is 12 continuous kilometres of sand.

Lake Pedder and the Frankland Range in the Southwest National Park.

Lake Pedder and the Frankland Range in the Southwest National Park.

the Upper Florentine Valley. Still part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

the Upper Florentine Valley. Still part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Reprise of the Fagus

Avid readers of this blog may recall that one of our earlier stories was about the “Turning of the Fagus” https://ayearintasmania.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/the-turning-of-the-fagus/

While we still have plenty of new things to write about we couldn’t resist revisiting this as the original story was written, and accompanying photos taken, towards the very end of the “turning” season when the colours were not at their best. At the time, our ability to get to the best collection of Fagus was limited too and so we made a point this time around of trekking to Tarn Shelf in Mt Field National Park (around an hour and a half drive from our place) where one of the best shows can be had. The alternative is to travel to Cradle Mountain which is about a five hour drive.

This was not our first visit to Mt Field of course as we had been on the previous Fagus viewing occasion and for our story about Russell Falls https://ayearintasmania.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/russell-falls/

In contrast with our previous visit to view the Fagus we were actually arriving this time before (we went back in April) the peak in colour, but were able to capture some of the more vibrant colour in the deciduous leaves.

Tarn Shelf is a spectacular place but is one of the relatively easier walks atop the Mt Field plateau with a gain in altitude from the carpark at Lake Dobson to the high point of the walk on the way to the Shelf of around 230 metres (maximum altitude 1270 meters). Despite it having been a mild autumn to that point we had to battle through gale force winds which were driving ice particles into our faces, and a few snow flurries.

There were many other spectacular things to see along the way, as the photos show. We hope you enjoy them.

Fagus colour

Fagus colour

More Fagus colour

More Fagus colour

On Tarn Shelf

On Tarn Shelf

In the Eucalypt forest on the way up

In the Eucalypt forest on the way up

Sheltering from the weather in Rodway Hut

Sheltering from the weather in Rodway Hut

Out in the weather

Out in the weather

A Weekend in the North-east (Day 2)

Before you read on, if you haven’t already seen it, scroll down and take a look at our previous post that is day 1 of this trip.

We hadn’t planned out Sunday in too much detail and knew that with a straight run it would only take us around three hours to get to Hobart. We decided to head north about fifteen minutes to the coast at Bridport and then via the Piper’s Brook wine region (we didn’t stop but will come back one day) to George Town and Low Head. For those of you who know your early Australian navigators’ history George Town (originally known as Port Dalrymple) at the mouth of the Tamar River, is famous as the place that George Bass and Matthew Flinders made landfall in 1798 on what they had just demonstrated was the north coast of Van Diemen’s Land and proving it was an island separate from the Australian mainland.

The original lighthouse at Low Head was only the third lighthouse in Australia (after Macquarie Lighthouse in Sydney and the Iron Pot at the mouth of the Derwent River, which we can see from our house). The current tower was built in 1888 after the original fell into disrepair http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/tas/low%20head/Low%20Head.htm. The Low Head light station is also well known in nautical history circles for its foghorn which is one of only two of this particular type of foghorn still in operation in the world. Amazing what you learn, isn’t it? It’s not used for ship navigation these days of course but the historical society sounds it at noon every Sunday. Luckily we were around to hear it!

Just back down the road towards George Town is the historic Pilot Station http://museum.lowhead.com/. This site, which first started operating as a pilot station in 1805 retains many of the old buildings used to house the pilots and their families and the Tamar River pilot service still operates from here.

It is only around 30 minutes’ drive from George Town to Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest city and on the way, just south of George Town we pass Bell Bay, a major industrial area with shore facilities for oil and gas companies, an aluminium smelter and controversially, a woodchip loading facility and the site of the proposed Bell Bay pulp mill which has been a political football for many years. Bell Bay is also the site of one of the few power stations in Tasmania powered by fossil fuels (natural gas from nearby Bass Strait) whereas most are hydro powered.

Our trip through Launceston was uneventful and we didn’t stop as we had been to “Lonnie” for a weekend only a few weeks earlier. But, having a preference for the road less travelled, we didn’t go rushing down the Midlands Highway towards Hobart. Instead we turned off and went past Launceston airport to Evandale where their weekly market was being held. Quite a busy little place as we expect many locals from the district were attending. Evandale is cute place with some old original buildings and a quaint main street http://www.evandaletasmania.com/. It is notable, amongst other things, as the place where the national penny farthing racing championship is held each year.

However, our main purpose for heading this way was to visit a notable property, Clarendon. In our travels in Tassie to date we have seen many old places, some in ruins, some dilapidated but redeemable, others already restored and some grand and others less grand. Clarendon takes the cake though as even our expectations were exceeded from the time we got our first glimpse of the place. Its scale and presence is greater than any other house we’ve seen so far in Tasmania and it is equal to many grand Georgian mansions from other parts of Australia and around the world. While not the size of some of the houses on large historic estates in Europe it has grand proportions http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/tas/clarendon. Clarendon is situated near the confluence of the South Esk River and Nile River, the latter being named by the owner of Clarendon, James Cox, as a joke as it is a very small stream. In contrast with Clarendon, the small village of Nile nearby has a few modest houses and was established as a place for the workers on the estate to live.

As we travelled further south, and from previous travels, you realise that there are many grand private houses in Tasmania, unlike Clarendon which is open to the public. We passed the Vaucluse Estate and it led us to find a book called Country Houses of Tasmania http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Country_Houses_of_Tasmania.html?id=xChXqDfpwSAC that focuses on the grand houses that are still in private ownership. It’s surprising just how many and grand they are.

Our circuit of the north-east closed when we returned to Campbell Town. However, we still weren’t in that much of a hurry to return to Hobart so stopped to check out some of the features of this town that we had not paid much attention to previously. The old brewery is a very industrial looking building right on the highway and seems quite non-descript until you take a close look and realise just how original most of the building is both on the outside and inside. It was built around the 1830s but it’s now being used as a shop and café, which serves very nice food, and you can eat in the dining room in front of the open fire place.

The old brewery is right beside the “red bridge”. This bridge is part of the Midland’s Highway. Every vehicle traveling between Launceston and Hobart on the highway has to cross this two lane bridge so who knows how many trucks and cars travel over it every year and, all that, despite its age. It was built in 1838 and while other bridges in Tasmania like the Ross Bridge (1836) a little further to the south and Richmond Bridge (1825) near Hobart are a little older and more famous, these days they don’t see anywhere near that volume of traffic.

Our last feature of note is yet another set of chainsaw-carved trees. The ones at Campbell Town depict colonial life in the town during the 1800s.

Despite the fact that nothing seems far away in Tasmania the scenic, winding roads of the state do not lend themselves to the fast travel times associated with four lane highways on the “north” island of Australia. So, while a 500 kilometre round trip for the weekend doesn’t seem too far the weekend did make for a long road trip despite the relatively short distances involved.

We were glad to be heading down the highway in the end knowing that we were only an hour and half from home but feeling very satisfied with what we had achieved and seen and knowing that we will be back in the north-east for a longer visit in the not too distant future.

Low Head lighthouse

Low Head lighthouse

The old pilot station at Low Head

The old pilot station at Low Head

Clarendon House

Clarendon House

Clarendon House

Clarendon House

Carved trees at Campbell Town

Carved trees at Campbell Town

The old brewery at Campbell Town

The old brewery at Campbell Town

The red bridge a Campbell Town

The red bridge at Campbell Town

A Weekend in the North-east (Day 1)

One area we have not travelled to yet is the far north-east of the state. We had seen part of it on a previous holiday many years ago with the kids in tow and we had fond memories of the lovely beaches in that part of the world. We’d also travelled the Midlands Highway a number of times in the last 12 months but had not deviated.

We thought it best to get a head start with an early departure from work on Friday afternoon, with our first night destination being Campbell Town on the Midlands Highway around one and a half hours from Hobart and only 45 minutes short of Launceston. This was not the first time we had been to Campbell Town as we had passed through on several other trips we’d made heading north from Hobart. However, we had only paused there previously for a quick pit stop.

The night before we left we had jumped on the internet and looked for a B&B to stay at. Without any recommendations we settled on a place called Ivy on Glenelg http://www.ivyonglenelg.com.au/ because it is an historic house. On arrival around 6pm we were warmly welcomed by the owner, David, who offered to make a dinner reservation for us. This was at Zeps, a café we had already read about and David also recommended. The meal there was great. Have a read of our reviews on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g504287-d2386687-Reviews-Ivy_on_Glenelg-Campbell_Town_Tasmania.html and http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g504287-d2238072-Reviews-Zeps_Cafe-Campbell_Town_Tasmania.html

Saturday started with a delicious breakfast at our B&B and a quick tour of the main house which had been lovingly restored by David and Irene. We departed amongst heavy fog but we were optimistic it would clear as we headed east along the Fingal valley towards the coast. After a short drive the fog did start to clear but it was still patchy for another hour or so as we drove through Avoca and then Fingal. Fortunately the fog did clear at opportune times so we could take in the glorious rural views of the Fingal Valley with vistas to Ben Lomond National Park that contains Tasmania’s second highest peak, Legges Tor at 1,572 metres.

We continue to be fascinated by the history that appears at every turn in Tassie and Fingal had a number of historic buildings, some that had been restored and others that were in ruin. We saw many “renovator’s delights”. If only we had the time and money.

Only a further 20 minutes down the road we came to St Marys and it was an opportune time for morning tea in a nice little picnic area by the river. Given it is a quiet time of year there were no other fellow travellers, or locals for that matter, in the park. As we were taking out our vacuum flask to make a cup of tea (is this a sign we are showing our age?) we were immediately swamped by every conceivable type of duck and goose that inhabited the nearby watercourse. However, we stuck to our guns and did our best to ignore them and didn’t toss any samples of our morning tea their way, despite some assertive moves by the waterfowl. They eventually returned to grazing on the grass.

Onward from St Marys we were into new territory as we chose to travel to the north-east towards the coast. The alternate route, which we had taken on our previously mentioned holiday many years ago, takes you to the south-east and to the coast south to Bicheno. We were heading to Scamander and St Helens.

The beaches here are fantastic and reminiscent of those from further south, in fact even more spectacular than most of the other long sandy beaches we’ve seen in Tasmania, and that’s saying something! Given the time of year there were very few people at the beach but we imagined the place really rocks during the summer. The north-east coast of Tasmania has slightly warmer waters than further south as it is reached by the southern extent of the east Australian current that brings warmer water from the tropics. This also has an effect on the weather with this part of Tassie being the sunniest, driest and warmest on average.

The drive north ran parallel with the coast for a while, past the eight kilometre long beach centred on Scamander and the child friendly lagoon where the Scamander River meets the Tasman Sea, and then onto St Helens, a fishing port at the head of a deep inlet. The proverbial fish and chips from the local takeaway were enjoyed under the opportunistic scrutiny of the silver gulls. By this stage we had calculated that we would likely spend Saturday night at Scottsdale and concluded that we had time for a detour to Binalong Bay, a little further to the north along the coast.

We had long heard about the Bay of Fires and it has become world famous in recent times due to the well promoted glamping walk that is provided there http://www.bayoffires.com.au/. While the $2,400 four day, accommodated, guided trip is wonderful I’m sure, you can enjoy the beaches and water for free. Binalong Bay is at the southern end of the Bay of Fires.

This is one of the most gorgeous places we’ve seen in Tasmania. If it was in the tropics it would have probably been over-developed years ago. It’s temperate climate and relatively cool water has been its saving grace we suspect. We have picked out our spot to return to in summer! The water is so clear it’s like glass and so blue it’s hard to tell where the water ends and the sky starts.

We would have loved to stay here forever but knowing we had to be back in Hobart Sunday night, and that we still had plenty to see, we could dally no more than the 30 minutes we spent there.

Back on the Tasman Highway we headed away from the coast through the rolling hills and dales towards dairy country and a stop at the well renowned Pyengana Cheese Factory http://pyenganadairy.com.au/. The retail outlet is based in the Holy Cow Café and upon arrival we were immediately offered a cheese tasting. They make a variety of hard cheddars and we got to sample the range of ages as well as the Devilish cheddar, infused with chilli. We purchased our favourite for consumption later that evening but, before we left, had a tub of their real ice-cream made on site!

As we travelled along the winding, scenic road we climbed higher up on the tablelands and the vivid green of the dairy pastures gives way to the dark green of the rainforest, dominated by myrtle trees, and the Weld River valley (not to be confused with the Weld River in southern Tasmania). It is then you realise that the whole region was dominated by this myrtle forest, of which only a small remnant remains, as it has given way to the dairy country and eucalypt plantations. Apparently the Weld is known for the sapphires it produces as well as being a good trout stream but we didn’t have the opportunity to experience those delights.

Edging towards Scottsdale we realise that there is still plenty to see and we hurry along before it starts to get dark. This was the 21st of June after all, the shortest day of the year. The area between Weldborough and Branxholm was worked over by tin miners in the 1800s and, like most mining opportunities around the world in that century it attracted a lot of Chinese hoping to make their fortune. There are a number of memorials to the Chinese and other miners in the area and an interpretive trail and visitor centre at Derby that goes into quite a bit of detail. The area has many remnants of the mining past with obvious mullock heaps and water diversion works. Derby itself is a quirky little town but has many buildings dating from the mining era including the old National Bank of Tasmania building, the oldest timber bank building in Tasmania, but now a B&B.

A quick detour off the Tasman Highway to Legerwood takes us to a unique war memorial of chainsaw-carved trees, each depicting scenes of servicemen and women undertaking wartime activities. These aren’t the only carved tress in Tassie though as we were soon to discover.

As the sun was starting to set we arrived in Scottsdale and, not having organised anywhere to stay, we scouted around. There didn’t seem to be too much going on in town but we found Anabel’s of Scottsdale http://www.anabelsofscottsdale.com.au/. It is a lovely period house at the main site and was surprisingly busy. They informed us that they also had Bella Villa and Belle Cottage with the cottage being available for that night so we went for that http://bellecottage.com.au/.

Stay tuned for Day 2 in our next instalment.

The Avoca post office

The Avoca post office

St Thomas' Anglican Church at Avoca c 1840

St Thomas’ Anglican Church at Avoca c 1840

Rural splendour near Fingal with Ben Lomond in the background

Rural splendour near Fingal with Ben Lomond in the background

Scamander Beach

Scamander Beach

The sign says it all

The sign says it all

Crystal clear waters at Binalong Bay

Crystal clear waters at Binalong Bay

Interesting geology at Binalong Bay

Interesting geology at Binalong Bay

Pyengana dairy country

Pyengana dairy country

The Holy Cow café, Pyengana Dairy Company

The Holy Cow café, Pyengana Dairy Company

At the Holy Cow café Pyengana

At the Holy Cow café Pyengana

The mining interpretive display at Moorina

The mining interpretive display at Moorina

The memorial to Chinese miners and the Chinese funerary burner (for burning tributes to the dead)

The memorial to Chinese miners and the Chinese funerary burner (for burning tributes to the dead)

The old National Bank of Tasmania building at Derby

The old National Bank of Tasmania building at Derby

Carved trees at Legerwood

Carved trees at Legerwood

All fashionable sheep in St Marys wear pink gum boots

All fashionable sheep in St Marys wear pink gum boots

A History in Brick and Stone

Our post today is simple and brief. Tasmania is known for many things and this includes its historical structures. Amongst the most famous is Port Arthur, the penal settlement established in 1830, and while Port Arthur’s global significance is reflected in its World Heritage status, Tasmania has thousands of lesser-known old buildings. Many have been lost to ruin while others have been demolished to make way for other things. Fortunately though, many remain, either because their locations have been bypassed by so-called ‘progress’ or because their value was recognised and preserved and, in many cases, restored. They range from humble homes to grand mansions and public buildings and commercial, rural and industrial premises. Being in them and touching the fabric, soaking in the patina, hearing the stories, brings the past back to life – indeed, in many cases, it remains a living history and is part of modern Tasmania. We hope you enjoy the photos.
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