A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

Mt Field National Park to Queenstown

Via Lake St Clair National Park, the Wall in the Wilderness, and Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Mt Field NP - Lake St Clair

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  • Nice rolling hills farmland, with forest as you get higher and closer towards Derwent River and Lake Saint Claire National Park.
  • Good to see some regrowth slowly occurring after the previous seasons fires.
  • Interesting detour into Tarraleah to see the canals and penstocks (large water pipes for hydroelectricity).
  • Before seeing the signs for Tarraleah, we drove over a large canal and were rather surprised to see one in that location. Only really used to seeing canals for irrigation purposes before.
  • Watch out for wildlife!! We ran over a wallaby or small kangaroo going down a windy section of road at dusk. No damage to the van thankfully, but reckon we would've killed the roo.
  • Finally got to Lake St Clair well after dark.

Lake Saint Clair National Park

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  • We were hoping there'd be a similar self-service set up for camping here, as there had been at Mt Field.
  • No such luck! All buildings were well and truly shut, with the only real information I could find regarding late accommodation, telling us that keys for cabins would be left in the box provided for late arrivals.
  • Considering we hadn't rung ahead to say we were even coming, there obviously wouldn't be any keys for us! Plus, we weren't wanting a cabin anyway.
  • Another couple in a similar situation to us, said they'd rung earlier, and been told to find a site and pay $50 in the morning. Figured we may as well do the same.
  • The whole campsite area was fairly large, and unfortunately.... all amenities (2 blocks in different areas) were well and truly locked!
  • So yes, bush toilets for us that night. Thankfully, Sonia didn't mind and was quite happy to do her wee's under a tree, despite the cold.
  • Toddlers, cold wet ground, bush toileting under trees... This's one spot where gumboots really come into their own!! Sonia was able to squat without pants on, and not have to worry about getting her pants or feet wet. If wee accidentally got onto her boots, no problem! Just wash it off!!
  • I woke early, considerably feeling the need for a wash. Not really wanting to do a camp style wash in the bush (Couldn't use the van - would've woken the kids and Clancy!), I decided I may as well see if the toilets up near the information centre were open. And yes they were! Yay!!
  • I found hot water available in the disabled toilet handbasin, so with my trusty plug, flannel and towel... a nice quick warm wash was had by me!
  • Back to the van in time to greet waking kids and start the hopefully improved morning routine. (Result = Yes, definitely improved!).
  • Finally, a walk down to look at the lake and distant mountains, then back into the van to see the Wall in the Wilderness.
  • So our hints and tips for Saint Clair National Park Campground in winter...

1. Plan more time - looked like there could be some really nice walks and things to see/do.
2. If you're thinking of arriving late to camp there, and are willing for the possible price tag, Ring Ahead!

Wall in the Wilderness

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  • This was amazing!! The artist's an awesome wood carver.
  • Things looked so real. Clancy and I had to double check ourselves, looking at the long coat he'd carved, hanging up beside the entrance door! It took a bit to realise it wasn't real.
  • You aren't allowed to take any photo's, which is explained really well on numerous signs. But they do have books and other things you can buy if you want.
  • Apparently the artist does not like misbehaved children (stated on numerous signs!), so we had a bit of fun trying to keep Sonia calm and quiet, when all she really wanted to do was touch everything. Understandable for a kid her age.

Derwent Bridge to Queenstown through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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After me Dad!

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and.... Peeka Boo!!

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  • Really nice drive through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, seeing some varying landscapes - dryer forests, grasslands, rainforests
  • We only stopped quickly at King William Saddle and Surprise Valley for some photo's, as the kids were nicely asleep at that stage. From memory, I think you may only be able to stop at the Surprise Valley lookout if you're heading west.
  • Stopped longer at the Franklin River Nature Trail to enjoy the walk through the bush and beside the river, and have some lunch - Picnic tables and toilets available.
  • Nelson Falls are also well worth the time to stop and have a look at. A really nice board walk through rainforest to the wonderful falls. - Toilets were available here as well.
  • Both the Franklin River Nature Trail, and the Nelson Falls Nature Trail, were nice short easy flat walks suitable for prams, and for Sonia to run relatively free.
  • Kids were fast asleep again once back on the road, so quite a few scenery photo's were taken on the move for the rest of the way into Queenstown.

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Posted by Goannaray 10:03 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes queenstown rainforest tasmania river creek campground toddlers wall_in_the_wilderness derwent_bridge lyell_highway nelson_falls lake_st_clair 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Queenstown

And its very accommodating laundromat!

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Arrival...

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  • We were wanting to get set up at a campground earlier to do some much needed washing, so passed by numerous old mining towns and the Iron Blow Lookout on the way into Queenstown, thinking we'd get back to them in the morning if we still wanted to see them.
  • The road from Gormanston to Queenstown gives you some interesting views over steep, rocky, rugged hills and valleys, and has many rather tight bends with steep dropoffs.
  • No one was at the office of the campground, but there was a good sign with phone number to ring - Result from phone call - Choose site and leave $30 in envelope with name, and van registration number, in the box at reception before leaving in the morning.
  • Chose a site close to the amenities, then realised we'd need a lot more $1 coins to complete the laundry!
  • Tip for future travellers... Collect and save $1 coins!! It's amazing how many you go through.
  • Back into town for grocery shopping and coins.
  • Found a laundromat that was cheaper than the campground, so while Clancy did the laundry and minded the kids and their toys, I organised the groceries, rearranged the packing of some things, and made up our double bed in the campervan.
  • Very friendly person running the laundromat. Was great with the kids and also gave us a few tips regarding their washing machines and dryers.
  • Takes a while for 3 loads minimum of washing to get done!
  • Finally back to the campground to finish setting up camp, eat tea on top of our bed, hot showers and laundry tub baths, and finally off to sleep.

Overnight...

  • Unfortunately... not much sleep was had by any of us.
  • Kaden projectile vomited atleast 4 or 5 times, all over their bed, plus our bed!!
  • What we thought to be an excessive number of towels, ended up coming in rather handy!
  • They all got well and truly used cleaning vomit, or replacing sheets.

Next day and departure...

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  • Breakfast and back to the laundromat!!
  • We got it all started, then headed off to the library for shelter from the rain, kids entertainment, and internet checks.
  • Was a really great set up there, with 3 or 4 different community facilities all under the one roof.
  • One of them had a large young kids wooden toy train table set up, which kept Sonia entertained for pretty much the whole time we were there.
  • Kaden enjoyed crawling around trying steal Sonia's trains, and attempting (occasionally succeeding depending on how fast I was!) to pull brochures and books off shelves.
  • Clancy did the walks back to the laundromat to check/change clothes into dryers.
  • And finally... all done, no more vomiting... so back on the road again.
  • Decided we'd check out the Iron Blow Lookout. So back up the zigzag road, and out to the lookout.
  • Was very windy at the lookout which Sonia did not like at all!
  • Good view over an old open cut section, and down the valley towards Gormanston though.
  • And once again... back into the van to go down the zigzag road for the second time, making Clancy's motion sickness return (he should've driven that section. He'd been fine driving it the day before), and on towards Rosebery.

Posted by Goannaray 22:47 Archived in Australia Tagged queenstown view tasmania mine campervan lookout laundry toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Dot points - or - Written dialogue.... Readers preference?

Looking back over the entries in this blog so far, I saw that my writing style varies rather dramatically! That got me thinking, what do people prefer? What do they find easier to read? Short, sharp, to the point, bullet style lists... or longer, wordier, more descriptive writing?

I suppose it depends a lot on each individual's own personal preference, and the reason they're reading the blog. I for example prefer the dot point style, as that's just me, and I find it easier to quickly skim through to get the information I need. Plus, as the writer, it's easier for me to transcribe my even shorter, sharper (and a zillion times more unintelligible!) notes, into dot points, than it is into a longer dialogue style.

Others however, may prefer the longer style, for a range of different reasons. Even I prefer this style in some instances, but as yet, haven't really been able to pin down why.

Nonetheless, thinking about it has totally awakened my curiosity, so feel free to honestly comment if you want :)

Posted by Goannaray 22:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Rosebery & Montezuma Falls

The location of Australia's safest mine??

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Rosebery

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  • After rewashing and drying everything for the second time in Queenstown (following a full night of projectile vomiting from an 11month old boy), we managed to get to Rosebery in time for lunch.
  • Didn't think we'd be able to make and eat lunch, then walk to and from Montezuma Falls before nightfall, so delegated that for the next day.
  • Good parking area in town with playground and skate park nearby for kids to play in while I made lunch.
  • Both parks looked to be getting a good workout by the local kids despite the wet, windy weather.
  • Found a nice cafe opposite the IGA to get the hot chips that'd been promised for when lunch had been fully consumed. Seemed to be the local hangout for quite a variety of different age groups too.
  • Then on to the Rosebery Cabin and Tourist Park - Signs up saying check in preferably after 4pm when office opens, but feel welcome to choose a site and see staff after 4pm.
  • By the time we'd chosen a relatively sheltered spot and organised the van ready for the evening, it was 4pm.
  • Paid for the site, then went for a walk to see Stitt Falls which were just below the caravan park, and continued on a loop past the town pool and oval, through some bush up to the townsite, and back around past the local mine to the campground.
  • Stitt falls hadn't been on any of the maps we'd seen, but they seemed pretty good to us.
  • Thought the sign at the entrance to the Rosebery mine site was pretty good too: 'Australia's safest mine? Not yet - we're working on it!'

Montezuma Falls

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  • Getting there and preparation

Rain continued on and off all night, and into the following morning. Not quite what we were hoping for... but it was either do the walk and see the falls today, or forget the falls and keep going. Decided we may as well try it and see how we went.

Not far out of Rosebery on the way towards Queenstown, is the turnoff to Montezuma Falls and Williamsford. It was bitumen for most of the way in, before turning to gravel to go down the hills past the old Williamsford cemetery and town site, to the start of the Montezuma Falls track (Approx 6km from main road into walk carpark). There was a decent sized gravel parking area, with two creeks flowing nearby. Some picnic tables, and a toilet not far into the start of the walking track.

I was starting to wonder, did I really want to do this? It was raining constantly, and Clancy wasn't feeling too well, so really didn't want to do the predicted three hour walk. Finally decided that Clancy would stay and have a sleep with Kaden, while Sonia and I went in to see the waterfall.

A 22 seater bus arrived at the carpark not long after us, with a group tour. I asked their guide, who said he thought a pram should be able to get through to the falls ok as there were a few steps, but no really bad sections that he could remember. Well.... it was ok for me. I did it with the stroller and Sonia, but wouldn't really recommend that method for anyone else unless it's good dry weather! The pram and I were totally soaked and muddy by the time we got back. Sonia managed to sleep for most of the trip back too, despite the bumpiness.

I'd read the track was an old tramway and therefore fairly level, and had been debating between the pram and Kathmandu child carrier backpack. I didn't really want to have to carry Sonia in the backpack by myself for 3hrs, with her constantly wanting up/down. It would've totally killed my back and hips by the end of the walk, and so therefore, with a bit of confidence from the guide, decided on the pram with raincoats, and whatever we could fit in our pockets. ie, water bottle, mandarines, muesli bars, and camera.

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  • The Track

The track into the falls is mostly one joined track, but there are atleast 2 sections where the track divides for those walking, and those with bikes. The bike sections ford across rocky creeks on a 4WD track, where as the walking sections often involved some steps, and a narrower bridge. We chose the walking sections, as the creeks were too high for the pram at that time.

Clancy and Kaden walked the initial 10-15mins in with us before turning back for the campervan. Not far past the toilet, you go down a steeper section to the first wooden bridge, and then up another steeper section with rocks as steps, to get back to the main tramway track. Sonia walked these sections while I carried the folded up stroller heading in, and I figured she could do the same on the way back out. In regards to the correlation between track and pram.... there were both good and bad patches of track.

- The Good: Wherever the track was rocky or like rough gravel, basic wooden 4WD bridges, walking bridges.

- The Bad: Deep mud, fallen rock slides, tramway sleepers where there wasn't a better walkway beside them.

- For walking: The only bad was the mud!

The tourist group that'd arrived in the bus not long after us, comprised mostly of Asian girls, some wearing very good neat casual clothes, heels, and wedges. Not quite what I would've thought appropriate clothing for that track on that day. But then again, who am I to judge. I was taking a 2.5yr old toddler through the same rain and mud in a pram! And at a fairly fast pace too considering the conditions. I passed the tail end of the group on the way into the waterfall, and then again on the way out as well.

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  • The Waterfall and Suspension Bridge

The waterfall, creek, suspension bridge, and history was amazing! Well worth the walk in good weather. The walk would be much nicer then too! Others may not have thought it worth the struggle, but I was glad I battled my way through the rain and mud with toddler and pram to see it all. There's quite a lot of spray from the waterfall that comes out over the viewing platform near the base of it, so trying to get good photo's was interesting. Water droplets on the lens from not only the continuing rain, but also from the waterfall's spray got rather annoying! Sonia and I enjoyed the food and water we'd brought along as well. Talking to the group's tour guide, we found out he knew one of our neighbour's from when I used to live on a farm in Toodyay, WA!

The suspension bridge was a lot of fun! Sonia and I really enjoyed it. It gave a totally different perspective and view of the falls and valley. Only two people were allowed on the bridge at one time, and I made sure I hung on to Sonia's hand like crazy the whole time we were on the bridge. I also made sure I had my camera well and truly secured to my wrist!

  • The walk back

Heading back, Sonia wanted to walk and run, so she walked, jumped, or ran down the tramway sections while I carried the pram. That was much easier than on the way in where I'd bumped the pram around or over the tramway sleepers. She did end up totally soaking her shoes and feet in the mud and puddles, but that was unavoidable, so oh well. Once we got through the tramway sections (they're all mostly at the waterfall end of the track), Sonia got back into the pram, where I then proceeded to pull her backwards for the rest of the way on the back two wheels only. This was much easier, especially through the bad sections. And with the hood fully pulled down (Valco stroller hood fully pulled down nearly covers the whole seat!), and a raincoat covering from the hood to the footrest, she soon fell asleep out of the wind and rain.

I was expecting to have to wake Sonia so she could walk through the steep sections and first bridge close to the beginning of the track, but the group guide had walked back to check on the tail end of his group, and helped me carry the pram through instead. Very much appreciated!!

Got back to the campervan, where Clancy and Kaden were stirring from a good sleep. We woke Sonia up so she could get into some clean, dry clothes, and found that only her outer layers were wet! All her internal layers were still nice and dry! I grabbed the big umbrella and a change of clothes to go change in the toilet, while Clancy cooked up some nice hot two minute noodles for a late lunch for everybody.

Timing from the start of loading the pram, to getting changed and dry... we'd managed the walk in about four hours. Considering the conditions and everything else... I reckon we did pretty well!! When I got back to the campervan, I felt like I could have kept on walking with Sonia in the pram as she was at the end, for another hour or so. If I'd had her in the backpack, I reckon I would've had badly aching hips by the time I got to the waterfall, let alone the return trip.

  • Recommendations

So, after successfully completing the walk with the pram this way, my recommendations are...
- If Dry: Go for it however you want. Walk, baby/child carrier, pram... whatever.
- If Wet: Gumboots!!! Umbrellas/good rain gear, pram if prepared for mud and a rough trip! Baby/child carrier if it's not going to affect you physically.
- Whatever the conditions: Enjoy the walk, the suspension bridge, and waterfall!!

Posted by Goannaray 21:15 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls rain tasmania walk mine toddlers pram rosebery montezuma_falls 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Cradle Mountain and Gowrie Park

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View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

  • Cradle Mountain Accommodation

Considering the volume of wet gear we had from splashing our way to and from Montezuma falls, we decided we'd pay a bit extra that night and camp in one of the cabins available at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village. They'd come up the cheapest after a quick call to the Sheffield Information Centre. Doing this would hopefully allow us to wash the mud out of everything, and then get it all as dry as possible... including the pram and our shoes/boots! Washing everything in the shower, then hanging everything in front of heaters overnight, we partially succeeded. We managed to get the pram dry enough to use the following day, but both my boots and Sonia's shoes still needed a bit more dry heat. So onto the van's dashboard in the sun (as much as we were likely to get!) they went for the next few days.

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We woke to a lovely clear morning, and headed into the information centre to see what we could feasibly do that day. As we had a regular sized van (length and width), and two young children (one close enough to still be considered a baby), they said we could take our vehicle through the boom gates and all the way up to the Dove Lake carpark. Otherwise we would have had to leave the campervan in the parking lot at the information centre, and catch the shuttle bus service.

Understandably so as we found out on our return trip. The road in to Dove Lake is rather narrow (mostly single lane) with plenty of blind corners, and few wider areas for passing. Some really nice scenery and views to see along the way though. Going in was ok, as we were relatively early and nearly all traffic was also heading in to the lake at that time. Coming back out... there was a lot more traffic going in both directions causing you to constantly be on the lookout for oncoming traffic, and also places to pull over to allow each other to pass. It would've been crazy if we'd had a wider or longer vehicle.

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Interesting stones

The view across Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain is stunning! We were very lucky with only a few clouds in the sky for the time that we were up there. Reading the signs and maps detailing the walks available, and standing at the edge of the carpark looking towards the mountain, we decided that walking to Glacier Rock would be the best option for us. A shorter, flatter, easier walk. The pram once again got delegated to Kaden, while Sonia managed the distance walking there and back reasonably well. There were some steps leading up to and past the rock, which Clancy, Kaden and the pram handled ok (plus a few hints from me after the Montezuma Falls walk experience!), but otherwise a nice short, easy walk for all involved.

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As soon as we got near the rock, I once again made sure Sonia's hand was held especially well. All she wanted to do, was jump in puddles, and jump off any slightly higher point. Not quite the safest thing when there's a decent sized cliff nearby! Despite this, the views were once again amazing! Definitely worth a return visit for longer walks if we ever get the chance.

  • Walks near the park entrance

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Come on Dad!

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Starting at the bridge between the park entrance and Cradle Mountain Lodge, is the Enchanted Walk. A boardwalk well suited to young children and prams. It meanders along beside the Pencil Pine River, with a few side detours involving fun tunnels and pictures for kids (and kids at heart!). I enjoyed seeing the differences in vegetation types, and managed to spot a wombat in the distance, and several wallabies near the track. No platypus sightings for us in this river either unfortunately. But yes, a nice, well thought out short walk.

The track to Pencil Pine Falls, and Knyvet Falls starting opposite the Cradle Mountain Lodge, is also a boardwalk, but involves quite a few steps after the initial viewable flat section. We took Kaden in the pram down to Pencil Pine Falls, but then folded it and left it beside the track for the return trip, before continuing onto Knyvet Falls.

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Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin passed us on the way down to Pencil Pine Falls, where we met up again and swapped camera's for family shots with the waterfall, before they continued back along the track to Knyvet Falls. I wouldn't have recognised them if Clancy hadn't said anything to me later. And no, we didn't acknowledge to them that we knew who they were, figuring they might like some anonymity.

The boardwalk section between Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls was also really nice with numerous little rivulets and waterfalls running down the nearby slopes and under the boardwalk. This resulted in frequent pointing and cries of 'Wart Fall' from Sonia! She also enjoyed being able to run along the zig-zag walkway, jumping up and down the frequent steps (even after accidentally sliding off the boardwalk at one stage!).

  • Gowrie Park

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We were hoping to explore Tasmazia the following day, so after looking at a map, decided we'd camp at the Gowrie Park Wilderness Village that night. On the way, we detoured in to the dam at Lake Cethana, and then up to the lookout point on Olivers Road beside the Mount Roland Regional Reserve. Where we were rewarded with a nice view over the surrounding hills and valleys.

On arrival to Gowrie Park Wilderness Village (we hadn't rung ahead), we were informed that we were in luck. Apparently the campground would normally have been shut at this time of year, but this year was different. More tourists continued to trickle through, warranting them staying open for longer into the winter season. They had a small but decent enclosed kitchen, the cheapest laundry we'd seen so far, pademelons hopping around everywhere, and pay showers.

Posted by Goannaray 22:04 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes trees winter view wildlife tasmania panorama cradle_mountain toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! western_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

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