A Travellerspoint blog

October 2013

Tasmazia

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

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As they state on their web page, 'The world of Tasmazia is a crazy complex located in the wonderfully named town of Promised Land in the heart of Tasmania's beautiful Cradle Mountain and Lakes District.' And yes, it is in the town of Promised Land, complete with postcode and post office!

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It's well suited for all ages from young children to grandparents. With eight mazes (some mazes within mazes!), strange and interesting model villages, yummy pancake parlour, and fun gift shop, we found it well worth the entry price of about $25/adult ($20/seniors, $12.50/child, Free/under 3, disabled, wheelchair). It was pram and wheelchair friendly, (excluding the balance maze, and lookouts), and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the windy, cold, wet weather.

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On entry, you're given a basic area map, with a fairly large list of fun things to find if you're up for the challenge. We decided we'd aim to complete all mazes, but leave the list and just see what we happened to come across in our wanderings. It took a while for us to fully complete all the mazes as we'd get sooo close, yet sooo far! We'd often be right next to the goal and able to see it, but have a hedge or wall between us and it. Could get rather frustrating in a fun way! Sonia loved running around, being able to choose which way to turn and finding all sorts of different random things. ie, steps, cubby's, tunnels, pots of gold, doors, cottages, pictures on signs.

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The Great Maze was as it's name states 'great'! With heaps of cool sayings and all sorts of random things to find. The goal for this maze was The Three Bears Cottage. This maze contained numerous other mazes including the Cage Maze, the Irish Maze, and Balance Maze, so we often got side tracked in our efforts to get to the bears cottage. It also contained a secret passage way, Cubby Town, Crackpot Correction Centre, cricket pitch, and much, much more!

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The Hampton Court maze was designed after the maze at Hampton Court Palace in the United Kingdom. Make sure you don't take the temptation to cheat on this one! Sonia led the way, and took me straight to the goal of a central viewing platform where we were able to help provide instructions to another family lost in the maze. If it'd been me choosing which way to turn, I think we would've been just as confused as the family we managed to help!

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Attempting to help someone through the Confusion Maze however, is a totally different story. Clancy stood up on the complexes main tower lookout platform, and attempted to help me get to the central tree, which was the goal of the confusion maze. From the angle he was at, it often looked like I should have been able to turn left or right, but in actual fact, there was a hedge blocking the way. I don't know how many times I traipsed through the same section of that maze, attempting to get in, and then out! And then Sonia realised I'd done one without her (she'd been looking at the village buildings), and wanted to do it to! I didn't think I'd be able to do it again in a quick enough time frame, so we moved onto the next maze instead.

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The Village of Lower Crackpot is a model village built to 1/5th scale, with each building connected to real life people or things/ideas. ie, Cathy Freeman Sports Centre, Channel 7 station, Coastal FM radio station, University for Lateral Thinking, Liberal Party GST house. The residential area of town is at Upper Lower Crackpot, which is also the fairy tale Yellow Brick Road Maze, specifically built for toddlers and young children. And older children too, as Clancy and I still enjoyed it. Looking out from the tower, we were able to see the next installment to the maze which wasn't open yet. Another model village, but this time covering well known sites/buildings around the world.

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The Pancake Parlour next to the entrance and Gift Shop, was nice and warm, and provided some rather yummy nourishment to hungry tummies! There must've been a rowing competition at the Lake Barrington International Rowing Course nearby, as the parlour was packed with old and young enjoying the food and drink, and talking about the mornings rowing experiences. Over lunch, I managed to have a look through the list of things to find, and realised we'd inadvertently found quite a few of them without even trying to. There were some things that we hadn't found yet that I thought would be fun to find, so while Clancy and the kids finished off their hot chocolates, I dashed back into the Great Maze to see if I could find them before having to continue our journey. I managed to find some without too much hassle, but gave up on the others as it was time to go.

Righto, I've had enough! Where's the food?

Righto, I've had enough! Where's the food?

So yes, you can just about complete it all in half a day. But to give it it's true justice, I'd definitely suggest a longer time frame. Especially if you can sometimes be directionally challenged!

Posted by Goannaray 16:58 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania sign sculpture maze toddlers tasmazia 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Sheffield to Devonport

Via Railton and Latrobe

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

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The views we got of Mt Roland as we drove from Tasmazia to Sheffield, were amazing. As were the murals we got to see around Sheffield. We parked behind the IGA, where there was a good playground, but didn't end up using it as the kids remained asleep. Clancy got some grocery shopping done while I kept an eye on the kids, then we swapped places so Clancy could sleep, and I could walk around to get photo's of as many murals as I could. Clancy could appreciate them, but wasn't as interested in them as I was. Kaden had woken up by this stage, so I popped him into the Ergo baby carrier, and utilised our large umbrella to shelter us both from the wind and rain as we walked around.

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Considering the wet weather and the fact it was getting late in the afternoon, we just wanted to get to Latrobe and set up camp for the night (hadn't yet rung ahead to book though), so decided to have the camera ready to try and get photo's of the topiary as we drove through the town of Railton. We saw quite a few different ones in all stages of development, but only really succeeded with a few ok photo's. If you want to really enjoy the topiary, I'd suggest you stop, and walk around!

The entrance to the caravan park was all fenced up with construction style fencing when we got there... so... after a quick call to the Devonport information centre (who was surprised to hear the Latrobe park was shut), we managed to secure a spot at the Devonport Discovery Holiday Park. Good thing we rang when we did too, as it was close to 5pm, and closing time for both the information centre and caravan parks.

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The park had an awesome set up for what we wanted. Ensuite site (including small verandah, handbasin, toilet, shower, and washtub) for only a few extra dollars, big indoor camp kitchen, and close to the beach for a quick walk in the morning. It was a rocky beach, but that didn't worry Sonia or Kaden, as they both enjoyed playing with, and attempting to collect stones!

Posted by Goannaray 15:06 Archived in Australia Tagged winter paintings tasmania murals topiary campground sheffield devonport toddlers railton 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Yay! Finally... a meeting with the ever elusive platypus!!

Devonport to Deloraine

all seasons in one day
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, this day turned out to be a rather enjoyable highlight of the trip. With Sonia and myself finally being able to see a platypus in the wild. And for a decent length of time too, not just a quick glimpse!

But before we get to that, we couldn't leave Devonport without a visit to Mersey bluff,... and go through Latrobe again, without a return visit to the Anvers Chocolate Factory and Cherry Shed!

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We hadn't originally planned to stay in Devonport, and wanted to keep moving relatively quickly, but didn't want to miss out on something iconic to that area either. So on leaving the Devonport Discovery Holiday Park, we asked the reception staff what they'd recommend that was quick and simple to see/do for toddlers around Devonport. They recommended the Mersey Bluff lighthouse. It was an interestingly painted lighthouse, with distinctive red stripes facing out to sea. We held Kaden, and had to keep an eye on Sonia with the cliff edges being so close, but she enjoyed being able to run around the lighthouse and look down on the crashing waves. The view across the mouth of the River Mersey wasn't too bad either.

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There was no way Clancy would let us drive past this place again without picking up some more extremely yummy chocolate! After visiting it for the first time during the Latrobe Chocolate Winter Festival, we found this visit to be much more relaxed and enjoyable. Less people, easier parking, different things being made etc. We also found another rather fun children's activity available, that we previously hadn't seen. A bouncy truck. The truck was on springs, and Sonia really did not want to leave it! We finally managed to coax her out of it to go and taste some different chocolate samples at the Anvers Tasting Centre. Took a while to decide what we'd buy, and ended up choosing a mixed box of truffles. We'd previously bought a mixed box of pralines. Both very yum!

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As with the Anvers Chocolate Factory, we couldn't bypass the Cherry shed again without restocking our supply of chocolate coated cherries. While Clancy picked up the desired treats, Sonia, Kaden and I went to have a last play and look out of the big cherries.

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After missing this attraction during the Latrobe Chocolate Winterfest, I'd been looking forward to having a quick glimpse, but had since forgotten that there'd now be an entry fee involved. So yes, considering Clancy wasn't really interested, I'd already seen a fair bit of this sort of thing traveling around the south west of WA, our time frame, and the cost to go through, we decided we'd skip it this time as well, and push on to see if we could see a platypus instead. So after obtaining more information about the Warrawee Reserve, saying goodbye to the big flying platypus, and picking up some Subway for lunch, on we went in search of a good picnic spot, and the ever elusive platypus.

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The Warrawee Forest Reserve isn't far out of Latrobe (follow Hamilton St, which turns into Shale Rd), with the last section of road through the reserve being gravel. We found a nice picnic spot nestled in a bend of the Mersey River, and enjoyed our lunch with a decent sized flock of friendly Superb Fairywrens or Blue Wrens as they're otherwise known. Sonia and Kaden really enjoyed watching them zip around chasing crumbs or whatever else they could find.

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While I fed Kaden, and waited for Sonia to finish her lunch, Clancy wandered around looking at different things, and found about 22 marbles scattered around the picnic area we were at. Seemed like they kept popping up everywhere! After Sonia had finally finished eating, I took her down to be able to throw some stones into the river while Clancy watched Kaden for a while. Sonia really enjoyed being able to do this, seeing how far she could throw them, and how big a splash she could make. I enjoyed the numerous smooth, flat river stones that were around for skimming. I managed to get one to bounce atleast 10 times, but generally averaged about 5-7 bounces. I thought that was pretty good!

What's down here Dad?

What's down here Dad?

Moving on from the picnic area, we found a boardwalk bridge that'd been removed for some reason. It would've allowed us to cross over the creek that ran between two ponds/lakes, as a shortcut to the main boardwalk and viewing platform. Instead, we now had to walk the whole way round the big pond/lake to get there. Clancy didn't really feel like having to return via the same route round the lake/pond to get back to where we'd parked the van, so decided he'd keep Kaden and stay near the gazebo on that side of the lake.

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Sonia and I continued on around the big lake/pond to the start of the boardwalk, but decided we'd continue on down through the bush beside the following smaller pond, before coming back to check out the boardwalk. Whilst doing this, we spotted bubbles rising in the smaller pond, but didn't think much of it, as we'd seen similar bubbles in the big pond/lake, and nothing seemed to come of them except an occaisonal duck or other waterbird.

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We continued on, following what seemed like an old track round the pond, and came to a sort of causeway across an outlet for the pond to flow back into the Mersey River. We squatted down behind some reedy bushes and continued to watch the bubbles for a while. Much to our surprise, a platypus surfaced, and started skimming across the surface of the pond directly for the causeway!! It changed direction a bit as it got closer, and duck dived to rummage around the reeds, bushes, and banks of the pond leading away from the causway. I managed to keep Sonia quiet, and tried to get as many photo's and videos as possible to take back to show Clancy.

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I didn't really want to move in case we scared it, but this decision ended up being made for us. The platypus seemed to have had enough of scrummaging round the edges of the pond near where we were, and went to climb out and over the causeway! It spotted Sonia and I near the bushes not far away, and quickly dove back into the pond. I decided that would be the best time for us to make an appropriate get away, and leave him/her in peace.

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We headed back to the boardwalk and viewing platform, where we found Clancy had driven our van to wait on the road above it. After getting a few more photo's and savouring the area a while longer, Sonia and I climbed the bushy bank to have fun showing Clancy the photo's and video's we'd taken of the platypus.

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And once again.... another not to be missed chocolate opportunity! Clancy ran in and picked up some chocolate coated raspberries, then stayed in the van with a sleeping Sonia, while I took Kaden for a walk around the lake near the cafe. It was a nice short walk that could have accommodated a pram ok. There were also various interesting signs providing information on the history, and flora and fauna of the area.

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The Melita Honey Farm is located in the small town of Chudleigh, between Mole Creek and Deloraine. It had a lot of fun interactive displays for both young and old alike, prividing a vast amount of educational information. I found the indoor glass beehive rather interesting, being able to see the bees working in the hive. Sonia however prefered to watch the bees coming and going from the regular box hives through the window outside.

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She also enjoyed a display set up where you'd have to look through a small viewing window, to see colourful picture panels moving round at the push of a button. She did need my help to lift her up to the viewing window for that one though. And we all enjoyed tasting the many different varieties of honey and nougat available! We would've loved to bring some different varieties of honey home with us, but would have had to surrender them as soon as we landed back in WA due to quarantine regulations. So nougat it was instead.

Posted by Goannaray 20:21 Archived in Australia Tagged lakes birds chocolate winter view wildlife tasmania river rocks walk pond cherry lighthouse picnic playground platypus latrobe toddlers warrawee_forest_reserve 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Liffey Falls and Pencil Pines at Pine Lake

Using Deloraine as a base

all seasons in one day
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

We camped beside the Meander River in Deloraine at the Apex Caravan Park, and managed to enjoy an early night thanks to arriving a bit earlier, and constantly improving evening routine. This campground had required us to ring earlier to be able to obtain a key for the amenities, which we picked up from the caretaker living across the road and railway tracks. In the morning however, when I went to return the key, I didn't see the board on his front verandah for early morning key drop off's, and woke him up knocking on the door! So for those likely to be staying there and wanting to return their keys earlier, make sure you ask what they want you to do for this, and be very observant!

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It was a bit of a trip into the Liffey Falls State Reserve from Deloraine, with the smaller more bendy access road to the falls turning to gravel not long after leaving the A5 Highland Lakes Road. If we'd had a bigger style motorhome, I don't know if we would've made it round some of the tighter slippery wet bends ok. It was definately worth the trip in though, with a nice easy walk, and some rather picturesque falls.

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The track to the upper cascades was a gentle to moderate downhill walk that we could've easily taken the pram on. There were quite a few steps involved to get down to the bottom of the main falls though (still only gentle to moderate steepness), so we carried both Sonia and Kaden in baby carrier backpacks (Kathmandu and Ergo) to help reduce time. Sonia didn't want to return in the backpack however, so she walked for most of the return trip back up to the carpark and picnic area. Numerous informative signs were posted alongside the track which also caught Sonia's attention, as they incorporated a variety of drawings from primary school aged children helping to depict the written information.

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There were quite a few picnic tables available, including some undercover ones. As we were leaving, driving around the picnic/parking area circle, I saw the sign for the Big Tree. Clancy stopped and stayed with the kids in the van for a while, allowing me to quickly run in to see the 50m tall Browntop Stringybark tree and grab some photo's. Not far from the picnic area toilet.

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I'd read that Pine Lake beside the Highland Lakes Road, was one of the best and easiest spots to see Pencil Pines. Considering it wasn't too far from the Liffey Falls turn off, we decided we'd drive up to have a quick look. The drive on its own was worth it, as there were some really nice views of the Great Western Tiers. There was ice on the rocks beside the road, and with a strong wind blowing over the lake, it made for a rather cold walk. As Clancy wasn't really interested in going for another walk and the kids had once again fallen asleep, I left them in the warmth of the van and ran down the boardwalk to see the trees closer up, and grab some more photo's.

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We got back to Deloraine in time for a picnic lunch at the Deloraine Train Park beside the Meander river. We found this to be a great spot, as it looked to be well maintained, had a fenced in playground for younger children, a bigger open playground for older kids, old train that could be climbed on, decent toilets, and nice views of the river and bridges. We were lucky it was nice and sunny at that time, as both Sonia and Kaden really enjoyed being able to play freely on the fenced in playground. Before continueing on to see some of the sculptures around the town, we went for a walk over the fun bouncy walk bridge across the river. Sonia had a lot of fun trying to get it to bounce with some help from mum!

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Posted by Goannaray 05:46 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls lakes winter view tasmania walk sculpture tiers picnic campground deloraine toddlers liffey_falls pencil_pine 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

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