Wayne’s parents are friends with a woman who’s son and his family own the Coles Bay Caravan Park (that was a mouthful) so we had heard a little about the place beforehand. Picturesque is an understatement. We had beautiful weather for the 2 nights we were there and Tasmania yet again stunned us with it’s beauty.
Wineglass Bay is the main event of this place and would you believe we didn’t get to see it ? We went to a few lookouts, the Lighthouse lookout being one of them and it was gorgeous, we could see the tip of Wineglass Bay and thought that we’d get to drive there to see it in it’s glory. The fact is, it’s a 2 hour walk (or longer) that isn’t pram friendly and we don’t have a backpack for Frankie. Sarah doesn’t like walking for long lengths of time, and depending on the state of my foot (story for another time, yet a long boring one for those that know me well) determines how long I can walk for too. Given all that, I thought Wayne would be able to do it anyway, but we ran out of time ! Seems so strange writing this, because it’s unbelievable and Wayne didn’t want me to write it, but it’s the truth and our family blog.
We DID however see so many beautiful beaches, the coastline is incredible, the rock formations so diverse in colour, we drove to little towns again and saw different landscapes & had really nice hot chips ! The first night we were there Wayne took the girls to a Penguin tour at Bicheno which was about 45 mins away. The tour didn’t start until 9pm and as per usual no pram allowed as the track is dark and bumpy. Frankie is wide awake in dreamland at that time anyway, so I was happy to stay back while Wayne spent some time with the big girls. The penguin tour (so I was told) was brilliant. Penguins are very routine based and each night when they come out of the water they walk in one straight line until they get to their little igloo huts, and if the tour guides are lucky they place you in the exact spot where the penguins walk. The penguin’s don’t break formation so they will literally walk over your feet.. The girls were pretty excited for this to happen, however not tonight ! They got pretty close though, just not that close. One little Penguin brushed past Lulu’s leg and she was happy with that. They were fairy penguins (smallest in the world) and there were many of them. Unfortunately no camera’s allowed at all, so don’t have any pictures to show, just the memories of the girls. I hope they don’t forget it. It was a late night, home after 11pm and Sarah was basically sleep walking through the caravan door when they got home !
Tasmania is flying by at this point, we’ve been out and about almost every single day and we’re all getting a little exhausted. We found a caravan park in a town called Hadspen which is about a 10 min drive from Launceston. We set up and then quickly went back out to do a short river cruise along the Cataract Gorge. The cruise was perfect for us as it was extremely family friendly and it was a quick 50 mins. Frankie is good when we only have to contain her for short periods of time ! The start of the cruise was pretty nice, we had a nice skipper who was telling us a little history about Launceston and Frankie was running around the boat constantly, not even taking time to stop once she threw up ! About half way through the tour he stopped the petrol motor and we continued cruising just using the electric motor as it was quieter when entering the gorge itself. C’mon Tasmania ! Is there nothing about you that’s ugly ? Cataract Gorge was simply stunning. We had a beautiful day, it was almost 6pm by this stage and the sun was warm, the water looked amazing. I’m quickly running out of adjectives to describe the beauty of a rock basically, but it’s just so bloody beautiful.
The next day, Olivia woke up feeling very excited. When we were still in Perth planning our trip, Olivia came across a tour called HollyBank Treetop Adventures. She had been waiting to do this for months and the day was here ! Originally it was myself that was going with her as Wayne is scared of heights, but due to (My Left Foot) I wasn’t in the best place and Wayne agreed to do it. They had so much fun.. I’ll let Wayne explain now though as I wasn’t there !..(meanwhile back at the van… Sarah, Frankie and I did some washing, we had a picnic, played some craft and watched Tinkerbell).
Hollybank – Wayne’s words – I made the booking the day before and was told that Olivia must be at least 35kg’s to ride alone, and if not, she could ride tandem with me providing our combined weight did not exceed 135kgs. She was relentless, “We need to weigh ourselves, I need to know”. We eventually found a pharmacy with reliable scales, she was to light to ride alone and thankfully I was light enough……..just… for us to ride tandem. She even put me on rations that night to ensure we could ride tandem the next morning.
Olivia and I set out early for our morning ride amongst the tall Tasmanian timbers. She was so excited, she must have told me half a dozen times her stomach was filled with knots and she didnt know how she was going to get through the day…but she really wanted to do this with me. So we get to Hollybank and we are early, this is not good, Im thinking I need coffee and Olivia cant sit still, after a long walk around the grounds, two times through the looped promotion video and a discussion with the assistant as to why the coffee machine wasnt working, the guide calls the group in, about a dozen in all. Olivia is the only child and we are the only tandem.
Before we know we are in harnesses linked together and ready to go. We do a small test platform and set out for the trees. Its a fair walk and we arrive at a circular platform which is clamped to a tree trunk. A couple of cables run to another circular platform into the trees, we had six platforms to travel. It starts of easy we are about 15 metres up and travel about 20 metres to the next platform. So I sit back in my harness, Olivia sits on my lap and away we go. Its awesome, I just wanted to keep going. On the second stage we are suspended mid way for a photo, Olivia is not sure until I tickle her, good photo. Each stage gets longer until we get to the fifth stage, this is a 400 metre run, along and above a creek, at the highest point we are 50 metres up and flying along at about 80km/hr, very cool. The worse thing was the walk back to the shop, but an awesome activity………
Also learnt that theres no such thing as Tasmanian Oak, originally a collection of eucalypts were branded shipped back to the mother country for sale, but it didn’t move. So as a marketing spin they re-branded the timber Tasmania Oak picking up on the English Oak thing and they couldnt keep up with the demand. I guess it just stuck.
Beaconsfield & Grindelwald Swiss Village
Let’s start with the swiss village. I’ve never been to Switzerland, but I hope to one day. The village in Tasmania was disappointing and basically a waste of time. There you go , Tasmania does have 1 bad tourist attraction. I can’t even explain it to be honest, some shops were closed, the ones that were open had limited stock, the coffee was terrible.. however the bakery did make the best sausage rolls we’ve ever tasted. The girls played a quick came of mini golf in the rain and then we left and headed to Beaconsfield.
Beaconsfield seems to be a large town and only really knowing about it from all the TV footage after the mine collapse, it does feel surreal to be standing there and seeing where this actually happened. I remember when Brant & Todd came up from the mine and ‘clocked out’ with their time cards, and we were now standing there looking at that actual spot. Pretty incredible. The museum is good, and full of blokey mine stuff which Wayne loved. The girls had a little activity sheet that the staff had given them so that gave them something to do while wandering around. Frankie wanted to walk up the ramp and down the ramp, up the ramp and down the ramp. We spent over an hour walking around and by this time I think we were all a little tired. We decided to give the Platypus tour a miss as we were told we had missed the guided tour and it’s not certain that we would actually see a Platypus, so we headed back to the caravan park.
Launceston was also where we had our windscreen replaced and that took half a day! Had to be done though… Launceston and the Tamar Valley was truly beautiful and I can see why Rebecca Gibney lived there!