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Peter & Joan's Adventures
15th Oct 2017 - 22nd Oct 2017 - Adventure before Dementia Tour
Tasmania - Week 1 - NW Coast.​

We arrived at the Devonport Discovery Caravan Park about 7:00pm Saturday evening and had the van set up on a large level site well before dark. Disembarking the Spirit of Tasmania was straightforward, worming our way along the wharf and associated car parks with only a cursory inspection by Tasmanian bio-security officers as we edged towards the exit gate. The Discovery park turned out to be a good choice with modern clean amenities and friendly staff. We ended up staying here five nights.

Sunday Joan was still feeling a little unwell from motion sickness or perhaps a bug she picked up crossing Bass Strait, so we had a quiet day around the van only venturing out in the morning for a walk along the beach. Late afternoon we did the customary drive around town to get our bearings and find the Information Centre. It was closed so we ventured to Don and checked out the Don River Railway and their steam trains. We also took the opportunity to drive out to Don Heads

Monday we hit the Information Centre and thanks to a very helpful volunteer emerged with an armful of brochures and rough itinerary for the next few days. We immediately drove to the  Mersey Bluff Lighthouse known as 'The Hat' and walked around the clifftops. On the way back into town we visited the Spirit of the Sea statue- Neptune. After a grocery shopping to refill the refrigerator and pantry we retired back to the van as I was cooking something special today - slow cooked beef bourguignon. Haven't mentioned it previously but one of the other benefits of caravanning is it is giving me a chance to cook more and experiment in the kitchen. Joan is supportive and helpful and of course it gives me a chance to make up for all the years that Joan was the head chef. Glad to say that Monday night our van was the one with the food aromas making all the other campers envious. The leftovers were also great for lunch on Thursday.

Tuesday was a sunny morning so we made a beeline for Wynyard or more specifically, the Tulip Farm at Table Cape. What a magical colourful patch quilt landscape the many flowerbeds made stretched out across the landscape with Table Cape Lighthouse in the background. We spent a couple of hours walking through the flowerbeds enjoying the sights and perfume. A photographers delight. We had seafood for lunch on the wharf in Wynyard, calling into Penguin on the way home.

Wednesday was another big and sunny day. We ventured to Latrobe in the morning visiting and walking Pig Island, upstream on the Mersey River. We then headed for the Tasmanian Arboretum in Eugenana. Second arboretum in 2 months and what a day. A beautifully laid out Park with a lake and to our delight home to some very active platypus. It was the first time we had seen them in the wild and to say it was exciting would be an understatement. To top the day off we visited Lillico Beach after tea and had the privilege to watch little fairy penguins emerge from the sea and return to their burrows for the night. Another first and a really delightful evening. Wow, platypus and penguins, all in the wild and all on the same day.

Thursday was very wet and windy so we had a quiet day at home. I spent a couple of hours at the library (free wifi) updating apps and carrying out general iPad and photo maintenance. Friday we packed up camp and drove west to the lovely little fishing village of Stanley, nestled at the base of the Nut.

Friday, usual drill, found the Information Centre and then explored the town to get our bearings. Only difference this time is we did it on foot as not large enough to justify driving around. It is a beautiful and historic town, with an abundance of B&B's, coffee shops, craft and art shops. The beaches are sandy and they also have fairy penguins.

The main attraction though is the Nut which dwarfs the town; a sheer-sided bluff - all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug. A 400m walking track climbs to the summit (143m) of the Nut, or there is the option of a chairlift. We elected to do the walk. Half way up it threatened to rain but we reached the top without getting wet and then, as we are starting to experience in Tasmania, the sun came through and we spent the next hour doing the 2 klm circular walk around the top of the Nut taking in great views of Bass Strait, Stanley and Highfield House Historic Site. Highfield House, an imposing Georgian home was once the Van Diemen's Land Company's Managers' residence. It is open to the public and overlooks the town below. Stanley was the administrative centre for the Van Diemen's Land Company, a royal charter company, formed in 1824 during the reign of George IV. 

As luck would have it Highfield House was hosting a Garden Spectacular on Saturday, so after lunch we got to visit and view the gardens, the historic house and associated buildings. We also got to watch a bullock team at work and enjoy some local wine and boutique beer.

Sunday, Joan was up early and did a brisk walk/jog up, around and down the Nut. As it was a sunny morning I jumped in the car and went on an early morning photo safari. The remainder of the day was pretty lazy though we did go for a drive after lunch around the district. It's all very green and picturesque. Next week we will venture a little further into the north western extremities of Tassie.

Next: Tasmania - Week 2 - NW Coast.
Previous: West Wyalong - Devonport

Diary Photos

Don River Rail Museum

The Hat, Mersey Bluff Lighthouse

Neptune, mouth of the Mersey

Tulip Farm, Table Cape

Flowerbeds with Table Cape Lighthouse


Joan, Penguin

SOT sailing out the Mersey River enroute to Melbourne

Pig Island, Latrobe

Platypus, Tasmanian Arboretum

Penguins, Lillico Beach

Penguin eggs, King's Park, Stanley

The Nut from H.A. Lamb Memorial Lookout

Fishing Fleet, Harbour, Stanley

'Back in the day' View of the Nut from upstairs Highfield House

Gardens and fair, Highfield House

Highfield House, Stanley

Convict building, Highfield House, Stanley

The Nut from Trethewies Lookout

Joan & The Nut, Stanley

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