Tassie winter roadtrip

The weather wasn’t great for the start of our family campervan trip down the East coast, to the South of Tasmania. We’ve been to Tas plenty of times, yet the kids have never seen these areas. Our first stop for the kids to stretch their legs was Avoca – home to perhaps the worlds smallest police station. I’ll share the photo later, the office looked less than 3 metre square. The highlight for Myles and I was being able to warm our bums with the public restroom’s hand dryer. The rain had started, and the temperature was already cold.

On the next stretch of road we saw lots of colours, but they were mostly shades of grey.

People in charge of roads in Dubai should come to Tasmania to learn a thing or two about dealing with water on roads. Altho UAE only deals a week or so of rain each year, the roads flood terribly from a few mils, and it doesn’t disperse for weeks. Here in Tassie we’re experiencing >20 mils and there are seemingly swimming pools and swimming pools of water all over the land. Yet the road seems almost waterproof.

We stopped for pancakes at the famous Mount Elephant Pancake Barn. We risked the $2.20 surcharge for rowdy children they have up on the chalk board. Lady asked where we were headed as the police had called her to advise they were closing the road going back the way we had just gone through. Perhaps the Tassie roads aren’t magical afterall,

Went thru Elephant Pass Rainforest. When I saw a couple of kookaburras fly away I did my best imitation of their famous laughing call. It mustn’t have been good, Myles let me know there are no monkeys in the forest. Although I’m sure my impersonation could be improved, the fact is the boys may not really know about this iconic Australian bird. Lewis even struggles to say it properly, now when we ask what kind of bird it is, he calls it “kookabugger” – which is much funnier.

Day 2 we left for further down the coast.
We spent some time at a kids park at Coles Bay. It had swings and activities which I haven’t seen since 1981. Elle had been going there as a kid – probably since 1981 – and informed me they have all been there unchanged since then.

We went to the jetty where a dog did a wee on our tyre. I think it was showing off, it was so chilly I couldn’t imagine weeing anything but ice.

For a change we had lunch in a pub, the Iluka Tavern. We were one of 6 people in the entire establishment. Their chicken parmy was superb. Loved their sign on the way out, “We encourage people to drink in moderation, PARTICULARLY if you are driving”. Hopefully that kind of encouragement is enough.

We stayed the evening of 09th of August, 2011 in the Mayfield Beach Conservation Park. I mention the date cause it’s significant, it’s the night of the 2011 Australian Census. Although we’ve been living overseas for more than two years, we’ll coincidentally be counted and archived into Australian history. I think it’s sort of interesting that in 100 years, people can learn that we were staying in such a “dwelling” as this campervan at a tiny place on the East coast of Tassie. As a former forms designer I must say I was disappointed with the census form. Ours is completed and sealed, but I remember it didn’t cater for work location for people working overseas, nor did it allow for non-salary workers being on a holiday for Elle. And if I’m being really pedantic, their use of followup questions and not applicability was inconsistent and inefficient. And I’m no authority, but I hadn’t heard of Salvation Army as a religion before Regardless of such issues, we’re recorded though. And it was a bit if fun for Myles. He was quite proud when I told him I recorded the task he performs daily in his job is to talk about gross stuff.

We had the luxury at our camp to make a camp fire. As a Queensland boy, this is a very unexpected activity, it almost felt like something stuck in the days of my childhood. It may also be part of the reason why I struggled. Things were all resolved once we figured out it’s simpler to use almost an entire box of fire lighters rather than the few scraps of kindling we could muster.

The next morning when we woke it was surprising to see the cut up apple we left was untouched, yet Lewis’s spilt satay beef and basmati rice was devoured. I wonder if Mayfield’s possums have been run out of town at the hands of some Asian critters.

Today we saw a few nice natural sights. When walking through the bush at Archers Knob or Devils Kitchen, Lewis was helping Elle in the search for wombats in the little tracks just off the path into the bush. He had no luck – the boys inadvertently made enough noise to make sure of that. However as we were coming to the end of the path, he suggested to Elle that maybe we have a wombat in our van, then even more curiously added – and I quote – “maybe there’s a box of them”. So perhaps Lewis had something other than a wombat in mind.

After a while Lewis tired of nature, saying I don’t like these trees.

We stayed the night at the well-eqipped Port Arthur. The park has always been a popular place – maybe even more popular given the museums raised profile due to the atrocity in 1996.
The manger informed me in the summer the park gets up to 600 guests staying. Now in winter there’s only about 10-15 of us scattered around the campervan area. The manager only took over the place less than 12 months ago, and he said this has been the areas coldest recorded winter since 1968. He didn’t have to explain that to us it was freezing!

Place was scattered with potteroos, wallabies, and many friendly rosellas. The place was seemingly infested with small hopping animals. The manager said there’d be enough wallabies to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools – which provides an interesting visual. The kids liked the animals, although Lewis was selective with the potteroos. He only wanted to feed the ones he decided weren’t bad. He warmed to them all by the end, even sharing his Milo with one of them. This sadly ended with Lewis trying to be helpful by throwing the cup at the poor animal. Once he noticed they were interested in the cup, I had to intervene as Lewis thought it would be a good way to catch one.

All in all, a great trip. Now we just have to go through our few 1000 pix across four cameras. And there could be more tales to share.