A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Goannaray

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)

Hello again... Launceston!

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

Launceston

  • Accommodation

After previously staying at a hotel/motel in Launcesten when we first arrived in Tasmania, it was now time for us to find a campground instead. Looking through the travel brochures we had for options on where to camp in or near Launceston, we noticed there was a Discovery Holiday Park in Hadspen, just west of Launceston. After experiencing this chain of caravan parks in Devonport and liking what they had had on offer there, we decided Hadspen would be the spot to be if they also had ensuite sites available. They did, as well as a good playground, cool bear birdhouse, herb garden for patrons to use, and indoor kitchen (screen door though, so still cool!) and laundry. We arrived early enough for Sonia and Kaden to be able to take advantage of the playground while tea preparation and clothes washing got finalised. Plus a quick trip into the IGA next door for some groceries.

A two second tour of the Hadspen Discovery Holiday Park, brought to you by Miss Sonia Hehir.

'Me!'

'Me!'

'Mine Dad'

'Mine Dad'

'White plug'

'White plug'

'Birds'... 'Bear'

'Birds'... 'Bear'

'Mine Mum, Dista'

'Mine Mum, Dista'

'Mine boots!'

'Mine boots!'

This then turned out to be one of those nights where I was very glad that I'd brought my big warm sleeping bag. Rather cold, and in the morning we woke to a rather heavy frost.

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The first stop for the day was the Launceston Cataract Gorge. In summer, this would be a great place to spend a decent length of time to enjoy the playground and go for a swim (pool or river!). As we were there in winter, and it'd been raining on and off for a few days, the water level was up and over the lower walking tracks. Resulting in quite a few track closures. The Alexandra suspension bridge and Cataract Walk along the cliff face between the Cataract Gorge Cliff Grounds and Kings Bridge were still open though, so that's where we headed.

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Unfortunately, Clancy's inguinal hernia was acting up fairly badly, so by the time we got over the suspension bridge and around to the Cliff Grounds Reserve, he decided it was time he needed to lay down for a bit. So Sonia, Kaden and I continued along the cataract walk while he slowly worked his way back to the van for another sleep. The cliff grounds were really nice, with quite a few peacocks meandering around the restaurant there, catching both Sonia's and Kaden's attention.

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The cataract walk allowed great views of the cliffs and the South Esk River. It also seemed to get a lot of local traffic utilising it as part of their exercise route. Mums with prams, and others walking or running. One group of mums and prams we passed were very helpful, informing us they'd seen a sea lion or seal (unsure which!) in the river from a viewing point along the track. It was still there by the time we got there, and Sonia and I enjoyed watching it move up and down the river for quite some time. It appeared to be playing in the river's current, swimming up in the calmer water beside the opposite cliffs, then crossing directly into the current to float downstream a ways beside the lookout point, before repeating the whole process over and over again.

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The return trip back along the cataract walk to the Cliff Grounds confirmed the reasoning behind why the signs had said this walk was suitable for wheelchairs with assistance. There was a reasonable uphill gradient to push against. Sonia and Kaden's weight in the pram and buggy board was ok, but I reckon I would've had fun if I was trying to wheel myself along in a wheelchair without help! Could have done it, but it would've given my arms and back a work out!

Returning to the other side of the basin, we wandered into the little information centre below an entrance to the chairlift (the other end/entrance is below the restaurant at the Cliff Grounds). The chairlift was built in 1972, and claims to have the longest single chairlift span in the world of 308m. We'd considered going on the chairlift when we first walked past it on the way into the basin area, but decided we didn't need to spend the money on it if we were going to walk around to the other end anyway. It would've given a totally different perspective of the gorge and basin though.

The information centre had a large number of really interesting photo's and stories on the history of the gorge and Duck Reach including the numerous floods over the years. There was also a letter from a lady who'd lived there as a child in the very early years. Sonia and I spent quite a while looking at the photo's and other memorabilia there (Kaden had fallen asleep in the pram), before Clancy woke up and came and found us. Wanting to keep moving onto the next activity for the day.

The only real downside we found to visiting this area, was having to pay for parking

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I found the Duck Reach Power Station museum or interpretation centre very interesting. We parked on the West Launceston side of the gorge near the old workers cottages and manager's residence. Then Sonia and I walked (jumped in Sonia's case!) down the steps and over the bridge to the old power station buildings.

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As we went over the bridge, we saw two people kayaking down the gorge. It made me rather envious, as I would have loved to have been able to join them. However, I don't think my skill level would've been up to what was required for that level of water!

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Reading all the information signs, both in the parking lot and down in the power station, provided a great sense of all the different things that'd happened there over the years. Development, floods, using the flying fox, rebuilding etc. Being in a picturesque location as well seemed like an added extra bonus. Making the whole area well worth the visit.

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When we first told our neighbours that we were planning to head to Tasmania for a few weeks, one of the first things they said we shouldn't miss if we were going through Launceston, was Cataract Gorge, and the monkeys at City Park. I was a bit dubious about finding monkeys in a regular cold/hot climate city park, but after completing some research... I had to agree with them, and added it to our wishlist.

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Once again, we found parking to be a bit of an issue, as it was lunch time, and it seemed like quite a few others had the same idea as us. A picnic lunch in the park. We were lucky this time though, and managed to get a free spot (2hrs only), fairly close to the park.

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It was an excellent park. With a great playground (especially for toddlers), picnic facilities, ducks, fountains, monkeys, conservatory, and plenty of other gardens/plants and lawn space to run around in. But yes, I definitely have to say that the monkeys were the main highlight, followed very closely by the playground. Especially from Sonia's viewpoint!

Posted by Goannaray 19:51 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges monkeys parks winter wildlife history tasmania river launceston campground toddlers cataract_gorge 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Tamar Valley Experiences

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

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Unfortunately for us it was a little too late, and the kids were fast asleep when we quickly stopped at the Tamar River Conservation Area on our way up through the Tamar Valley towards Beauty Point. From 1 April to 30 September, they shut at 4pm. I had about 5 minutes to quickly run along the boardwalk to the information centre, grab some photo's and information brochures, then run back to the van. From the little bit that I did get to see, I think it would've been really nice to have been able to have the time to go for a leisurely walk through the wetlands. It would've worked really well with the pram too. Being a wetland however, this area did look and feel rather different to what we'd previously seen in our travels around Tasmania.

This tourist park is nicely situated right beside the Tamar River, and for those who're camping, has hedges around each site to help improve privacy. We were lucky and got given a site beside both the amenities and rivers edge! As we'd arrived before it got too dark, there was no way we could avoid a walk down to the waters edge. Or in our case, where the water's edge had been! The tide was out, leaving quite a long stretch of muddy beach to traverse before you could actually get to the water.

Sonia had fun running along the dry sandy strip between a sandbank and 'beach' finding all sorts of interesting things that caught her eye. While Kaden enjoyed crawling or walking with help, as far as we would let him go. Plus getting as much sand, rocks, sticks or whatever else he could grab into his mouth before we finally managed to stop him! Just about the time we decided it was time to head back and start the evening routine, Sonia decided it would be more beneficial to start walking out towards the water. Wasn't too bad until one of her thongs got stuck and she fell face first into the thick sandy mud! It was then rather funny hearing her squarking and carrying on about her stuck thong, rather than all the mud that she was now covered in! So yes, after the thong's timely rescue and some calming reassurances, everything went back to normal and the evening routine was allowed to continue!

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Platypus House and Seahorse World are situated right beside each other between the Tamar River and a bend in the West Tamar Highway (A7) near Beauty Point. By purchasing a triple ticket covering Seahorse World, Platypus House, and Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, you're able to save a fair bit on the entrance fees. As I think I've mentioned before, both Clancy and I have already seen and experienced a fair bit of mining stuff before, so we only got a double pass to see the platypus's and seahorse's. If the kids were a bit older, we might have done all three for their benefit.

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At the Platypus House, there were four platypus and three echidna's that we were able to see. Considering Sonia and I'd already been able to see a platypus in the wild at the Warrawee Reserve near Latrobe, this visit was more for Clancy and Kaden's benefit. Sonia and I still thoroughly enjoyed it though, and we all managed to pick up a lot more information about the animals.

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A short documentary style video was shown before we went through to see the platypus. Then after spending some time attempting to get photo's and video's (not very succesful unfortunately), we were taken through to see three echidna's being fed. As soon as we walked in, the echidna's walked right up to us to smell our feet. Sonia was a bit nervous of them at first, but it wasn't long before both she and Kaden were trying to touch them and follow them around!

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There were lots of different seahorses to see (tropical, Tasmanian, other), as well as a fair variety of other fish and sea life. Clancy and I really enjoyed learning about their breeding process, and how the Seahorse World staff slowly got them ready for the live trade industry to become pets all around the world. If you're ever interested in having one as a pet, this would be the place to contact!! Sonia could've spent hours going between the different tanks, watching them all.

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  • Not enough time!!

Unfortunately for us, having spent an extra day travelling through Latrobe again, we now had to miss a few of the extra things we'd wanted to see in the Tamar Valley (ie, Low Head penguin tours, pilots station and museum, Narawntapu National Park, numerous vineyards), to start heading for the Ben Lomond National Park. If you haven't already figured out, to really experience Tasmania properly (as with anywhere really!), you need a lot of time! Especially with young children in tow!!

Posted by Goannaray 03:29 Archived in Australia Tagged children wildlife tasmania seahorse mine platypus launceston toddlers tamar_valley echidna 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! northern_central_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Fun with snow, wind and rain at Ben Lomond National Park

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

Clancy, Sonia and I had been looking forward to this day. Being able to once again head up into the mountains to enjoy some fun in the snow. Clancy and I weren't exactly sure how Sonia and Kaden would like it however, as we expected it to be rather windy, cold and wet. When we'd previously been up to see the snow on Mt Wellington near Hobart, Sonia hadn't minded it too much, while Kaden grizzled a bit more than normal in the fairly accommodating weather. Only way to find out was to remain positive about it and go find out!

The day prior to heading into the Ben Lomond National Park, I'd rung the company that operate the village and all snow sport associated activities on the mountain - Ben Lomond Snow Sports, to gather some information. They were extremely helpful and recommended we make use of the landcruiser troopy shuttle they provided (call the given number once at the departure/drop off point near the ranger's hut) and layer the kids as much as we could, plus bring an extra set of clothes each.

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  • Camping

The drive across from where we'd once again camped at the Hadspen Discovery Holiday Park was rather picturesque. We missed seeing the sign for the road into the National Park, but figured it out quickly enough and were soon on our way up. Not far in from the National Park boundary, we came across the entrance into the small camping area and decided we'd have a look. It was pretty good, with decent toilets and shelter shed available. We could've quite easily camped there the night before if we'd known more about it and wanted to. Had to admit to myself though that I had enjoyed my nice hot shower and warm dry bathroom the previous night! The view from the lookout at the campsite area was pretty good to.

It then didn't take us long to reach the departure/drop off point for the shuttle. The road was a bit wider, with (from memory, so don't quote me on this!) a small shed on the right hand side, and small wooden stand/shelter on the left. Parking was on the side of the road, and we were glad to find that we had enough phone reception to call the given number and wait for the shuttle to arrive. Our 'waiting' however, was more like a mad rush to find all the extra layers that we wanted to put on the kids and us, and get them appropriately dressed, as we'd forgotten to do it earlier in the rush to leave early. Before we were even halfway ready, the troopy had arrived to pick us up. Thankfully, some other people had turned up by this stage as well, so they headed up while we continued to get ready. Note for next time - plan ahead and be a lot more organised!

This road is known as Jacobs Ladder. It's a zig-zag gravel road, which was rather wet and slippery for the time we were there. So it was a very good thing that we didn't try and take our campervan up. It definately would not have made it! Talking to the shuttle driver, there'd been about 200 cars parked wherever they could to utilise the shuttle service a weekend or 2 previous, and two light four wheel drives without chains had slipped off the road and into the gutter (road is sloped in towards the mountain).

It was fairly foggy on the way up, but we were able to just catch glimpses of the surrounding dolorite cliffs. Coming down later though, visibility had dramatically reduced even further which was rather dissapointing for me, as I'd been hoping to enjoy the view of the cliffs that my parents had mentioned, and that I'd seen in photo's whilst researching this area.

  • Snow, Wind and Rain

All the staff that we dealt with in the ski hire building were extremely helpful and friendly. They were very accommodating and understanding towards families with young children, ensuring we could access the heaters, and had everything we needed. There were quite a few other families with kids slightly older than Sonia there as well. We hired a jumpsuit for Sonia (tried to encourage her to get gloves as well, but she wasn't going to have anything to do with that. Her own gloves and gumboots were 'good'!), pants for me and Clancy, a toboggan, and boots for Clancy. All of that plus the cost for utilising the shuttle, and it only came to $90 or thereabouts, which we thought was rather good!

Sonia's turn

Sonia's turn

Uh oh!

Uh oh!

Snowball fight!

Snowball fight!

This way...

This way...

Sonia loved playing with Clancy in the snow. Snowball fights, tobogganing, building a snowman. Staying positive and encouraging her to do all these sorts of fun things helped keep her mind off the wind and her cold hands. Her gloves were woollen knitted ones without the fingertips. So yes, it didn't take long for them to become totally soaked. What surprised me however, was that it didn't seem to bother her as much as I thought it would! I thought we would've very quickly been going back to the hire building to buy some proper gloves or mittens. But no, every time I asked, the response was 'no' 'not sore' gloves good'.

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Kaden on the other hand, absolutely hated the wind. I had him in the Ergo baby carrier underneath my jacket, with another jacket/microfleece over him as well to try and reduce the amount of wind blowing across his face. I found that if no wind got into him, he was fine, but as soon as he felt some wind... that was it, constant grizzling. It didn't take long though before he fell asleep.

Mum's turn too!

Mum's turn too!

I managed to go for a slide on the toboggan with Kaden and Sonia a few times before it was time to head in for lunch at the hotel adjoining the building where we'd stored all our extra gear. We could've brought our own lunch, but figured it was easier to buy something hot there. There was a good fireplace in there too, that we were able to dry Sonia's gloves out on. I, along with some other mum's also put our kids' socks out to dry while waiting for our meals, before realising a while later the sign requesting patrons to please refrain from drying socks on the fireplace. Oops! Oh well, no one complained to us, and they'd pretty well dried by then thankfully!

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The weather had deterioted a fair bit by the time we got back outside again. Raining and snowing at the same time. We completed a few more toboggan runs, hastily built a small snowman, threw a few more snowballs, then decided to call it quits for the day. After returning our hired equipment and saying some heartfelt thankyou's to the staff, we found we only had to change one layer of wet clothing on Sonia (moisture had seeped up her sleeves and pant legs), before it was time to get back in the shuttle and head down Jacob's Ladder to retrieve our van and continue on our way.

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Posted by Goannaray 16:28 Archived in Australia Tagged snow winter cliffs ben_lomond view tasmania road campground toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Scottsdale to Bicheno

Wow!! Did we really do all that in 1 day?!?

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

After leaving Ben Lomond National Park and looking at some of our maps, we decided we'd head up the Camden Hill Road (C405) to cut through to the Tasman Highway (A3) to get to Scottsdale. This was another winding dirt road through forests and farmland with its fair shair of road kill. A nice drive, however the signage was a bit to be desired. We initially missed the correct turnoff for the A3, but finally figured it out when the next turnoff we came to had a sign at the junction explaining various road closures!

Phoning ahead to the number listed for the Scottsdale North East Park camping area in one of the brochures we had, we got the ok to camp there and found out it was a free campsite!! It was located at a really nice Lions park beside the A3 highway heading out of town towards Branxholm and St Helens. There were toilet and shower facilities (pay showers) available, power and water, a playground, picnic tables, shelters, and some short walking tracks. Considering our late arrival, we opted for a hot flannel face/hands/feet wash, and went straight to bed after a quick dinner. There was also a small lake beside the camping area, with quite a few large resident ducks. Clancy got a bit annoyed at them waking him up, but the kids enjoyed being able to chase them around in the morning!

Come morning, we decided to backtrack a bit to check out the Scottsdale Forest EcoCentre that we'd passed on the way into town the previous evening, only to find it didn't open on weekends. So onto the information centre, to find out that didn't open till 10:30am (was then 09:30am). After all that... we figured we may as welll continue on our way to Ralph's Falls via Legerwood.

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Legerwood is a small town not far off the Tasman Highway (A3) between Scottsdale and Branxholm. Even if you're just travelling past on the highway, it's well worth the short detour in to Legerwood to see these amazing memorials to some WWI ANZACS, and read their stories.

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Ralph's Falls are located approximately half - 2/3 the way along the Ringarooma/Pyengana Link Road or Mt Victoria Road (travelling from Ringarooma). It's a winding gravel road that'd only been opened relatively recently in 1998, joining Ringarooma and Pyengana, travelling through the Mt Victoria Forest Reserve. Considering the rather overcast day it was turning out to be, we weren't too sure if it was going to be worth it or not, but decided we may as well enjoy the drive and see how things developed. As it turned out, we ended up not being able to see a thing when we got there due to thick heavy fog.

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The drive itself was interesting enough with some rather nice views before the fog closed in, and despite the extremely cold dampness and occaisional misty rain, I think we all generally enjoyed the short walk to Norm's Lookout. I wouldn't recommend it in foggy conditions, but if it's not foggy, I reckon there would be some amazing views. Once again we had to keep an eagle eye on Sonia, as all she wanted to do was jump off rocks or logs, and run along the wet slippery track. This behaviour was quickly stopped by a firm hold from Clancy as we got closer to the lookout however, as the last 50m or so was a bit too risky for that sort of thing from a 2.5yr old! The track became rather narrow and was very close to the cliff edge.

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Near the carpark area, there was a decent sized BBQ/picnic shelter available, with utensils chained to the walls. Satisfying a toddlers curiosity looking through everything, we came across a Geocache by total accident! Clancy and I had previously enjoyed finding a few of these when we'd been based in Sydney, and hadn't even thought about possibly looking for some on our travels around Tasmania! So after signing the log and replacing the cache, on we continued to St Columba Falls.

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We were glad to find that these falls were below the cloud level that we'd previously experienced up at Ralph's Falls. There were good toilet and picnic facilities availalbe, and the top half of the falls were visible from the start of the track at the parking area. Some rather interesting historical information was available in the small shelter at the start of the track, including the background of the 'Pub in the Paddock', and a story about a lady who went missing for 9 days chasing a lost cow.

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We were expecting quite a few steps so carried Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier, but the walking track down to the falls and viewing platform ended up being quite suitable for a pram. The falls themselves were awesome, and well worth the trip. We were also lucky in seeing an echidna crossing the road. Rather fat and fluffy compared to the ones I'm used to seeing in WA.

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After stopping for some lunch, lollies and information at St Helens, we headed on up the coast to Binalong Bay and The Gardens. The coastal red rocks were great! It would've been even more amazing on a sunny day, contrasting white sand, red rocks, ocean, blue sky, and green trees/bushes. This area is well deserving of the positive reviews it receives.

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Kaden slept through most of the time we spent there, while Sonia thoroughly enjoyed being able to run and jump all over the large rocks and sand. I would've loved to have utilised one of the many free campsites available near the beaches to see the rocks at sunrise, but once again, we had to keep moving. This time it was so we could hopefully get down to Bicheno in time to join a penguin tour.

As we were leaving Binalong Bay, we rang Bicheno Penguin Tours to see if there was any space available for us on the tour that night if we managed to make it down in time. There was, and thankfully, we got there with just enough time to pay for the tour and get on the tour bus, carrying the extra jackets we'd need to combat the cold wind. We weren't allowed to take any video's or photo's on the tour ourselves, but could later email the tour company to receive a copy of photo's that they had.

The kids were understandably hungry and tired, but did amazingly well to stay as quiet and as still as they did for the whole tour. We found it best to carry Kaden, and let Sonia walk (occaisonally carrying her as well). It was really good seeing all the penguins coming up through the rocks and steep banks to camp in all sorts of random hiding places. They were rather noisy, with interesting songs or calls, and apparantly smelt pretty bad when they opened their bowels. Thankfully, we didn't get to fully experience that side of them! The guides were also very excellent. Really knowledgeable, and interactive with all ages on the tour.

We'd organised to stay at the Bicheno East Coast Holiday Park, and had informed them that we could be late (ie, after reception shut, but before 10pm). No problem, just press the buzzer. Following the penguin tour, we ordered pizza from the nearby restaurant (very yum!), and finally got to the campground by about 7:15pm. Reception was obviously shut, so I pressed the buzzer and received a somewhat surprising response. A not very happy lady answered, stating we'd interupted her dinner!! I remained polite and didn't say much, but really felt like saying 'Sorry, but we did warn you, and the person I spoke to (I'd previously spoken to a man on the phone) said that would be fine, and to just push the buzzer when we got here!'

I'm glad I didn't say it, as the rest of our stay there was quite positive. We'd been given a very handy spot close to the bathrooms, laundry and enclosed kitchen, and Sonia and Kaden loved the playground that was available before leaving in the morning.

Posted by Goannaray 20:24 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls birds winter view ocean wildlife memorial tasmania river rocks walk sculpture creek lookout campground bay_of_fires toddlers wood_carving 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Bicheno to Triabunna

Via Freycinet National Park

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Bicheno

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  • Sonia, Kaden and I enjoyed the playground at the Bicheno East Coast Holiday Park while Clancy finished packing up, then off to start the days exploration.
  • Diamond Island:

I'd previously read that it's possible to walk out to Diamond Island at low tide. Unfortunately for us, I later found out when we got into town, that low tide had been at 05:30am or 06:00am that morning. So no adventuring out to Diamond Island for us.

These were great to see (I think the huge rock sitting beside the blowhole is Rocking Rock, not 100% sure though!). With regular, decent sized spouts of water shooting up into the air, and plenty of large picturesque red rocks to enjoy running and jumping on.
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Freycinet National Park

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  1. 1. Friendly Beaches - Nice long stretch of sandy beach, with a few sections of rocks running down to the water. Seemed like there were some good spots available for camping as well if we hadn't needed to keep moving south.

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  1. 2. Richardsons Beach - This was easily accessed from the Freycinet National Park Visitor Centre, and provided some nice views over Great Oyster Bay. A short walk that was perfectly fine for a pram.

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  1. 3. Honeymoon Bay - We found this to be a really nice spot to enjoy a picnic lunch, and had it pretty much to ourselves for the time that we were there. Sonia and I enjoyed climbing up onto a soon to be island rock as the tide was coming in, then rejoined Clancy and Kaden to find more rocks that just begged to be clambered on. The water was calm and really clear as well, allowing us to see all sorts of interesting things amongst the rocks under the water.

  • Cape Tourville Lighthouse:

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The boardwalk/track up to and around the lighthouse was wheelchair accessible, and provided some amazing views looking south along the coastline.

  • Sleepy Bay:

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Another picturesque bay with contrasting red rocks, water, and sky. Nice short walk down some steps to the lookout vantage point. The track continues on to Little Gravelly Beach, but lunch was calling, so no visit from us this time.

  • Wineglass Bay Lookout:

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Well worth the time to climb all the steps to get there. The views are just stunning! After completing the Cape Tourville circuit walk and then clambering over a lot of rocks with Sonia and Kaden at Honeymoon Bay, Clancy really didn't think he'd survive the walk to and from Wineglass Bay Lookout, so opted to stay with the kids at the van and watch the wallabies around the carpark area.

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I found that the first third of the track (or there abouts) would've been prammable, before the steps started, and never seemed to stop till getting right up to the lookout. A lot of track work seemed to be occuring while we were there as well, with numerous signs up explaining detours and closures of different tracks. I would've loved to have been able to share the awesome view from the lookout with Clancy, Sonia and Kaden, but ended up returning to find they'd enjoyed themselves just about as much watching the wallabies. The return trip dramatically got shortened for me, as I decided to have some fun and run (well, not really run as such, but more like a child pretending to be a horse!) down the steps! Hadn't really done this since coming down off a mountain with my brother quite a few years ago. Managed to stay on my feet and thoroughly enjoyed it! Reducing the total walk time for me down to about 45 minutes.

Coles Bay to Triabunna

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  • Another really nice, picturesque drive. With views of vineyards, bush, rolling farmland, and never ending coastline.

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An interesting convict bridge off the side of the Tasman Highway near Swansea, with stones set up like spikes on the top of the bridge walls.

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We'd rung ahead, and found that yes, this park was open at this time of year. They were quite happy for us to arrive late, choose a site, utilise the amenities and backpacker kitchen, then see them for payment in the morning. When we asked them in the morning, they highly recommended visiting Maria Island if we were prepared for longer walks and bike rides, as the ferry was free for the short time that we were there. Unfortunately for us, Clancy didn't think he'd be up to that with two young children in tow, so on we continued towards Port Arthur.

Posted by Goannaray 20:10 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges trees view ocean wildlife beach tasmania rocks walk lighthouse lookout blowhole wineglass_bay toddlers bicheno freycinet_national_park 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Triabunna to Port Arthur via Richmond

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Triabunna to Richmond

  • Clancy and I enjoyed reading the names posted beside some of the hilly sections of the road - 'Bust Me Gall' ... 'Break Me Neck'
  • Actually, if you enjoy interesting place names, Tasmania's got quite a few of them we've found! They add a bit of a spark to your day when you come across them unexpectedly.

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Richmond

  • This town reminded me a lot of the Ross and Oatlands townships we'd been through during our first week in Tasmania, with a lot of historic convict era buildings and infrastructure.
  • The Richmond Bridge was amazing, and is the oldest bridge in Australia that's still currently used!
  • The spread of the sites to see throughout the town was also good, allowing us to walk quite comfortably from one to another with the pram and buggy board.
  • There was a good playground and toilets centrally located, which was also rather popular with the local mum's as well as Sonia and Kaden.

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Sorell

  • We initially only stopped for an emergency toilet stop for Sonia, then decided we'd have lunch there and let the kids run around for a bit as well.
  • The first park we found was Pioneers Park, which turned out to be excellent. It had good picnic tables and a great fenced in playground that we could let the kids go crazy on, while we made lunch.
  • The playground was suitable for all ages, from crawling tots to adults (I rather enjoyed clambering all through it with Sonia!).

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Eaglehawk Neck

  • Some of the many interesting sites we managed to visit in this area:

# 1. Tessellated Pavement - Unfortunately, the tide was just over the rocks and the kids were asleep when we got here. Otherwise I think both Sonia and Kaden would've enjoyed looking and running around all the rocks. Clancy and I ended up dashing down to see the rocks and grab some photo's before the kids woke up.
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# 2. Blowhole
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# 3. Tasman Arch - Can drive and park near both the Arch and Devils Kitchen, but it's not too far to walk between the two of them.
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# 4. Devils Kitchen

# 5. Various Lookouts
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# 6. Doo Town - Clancy and I once again enjoyed reading all the different place/house names! 'Doo Drop Inn' ... 'Make Doo' ... 'Gunna Doo' ... 'Dr Doolittle' ... 'Rum Doo' ... etc.

# 7. The Officers Quarters (Saw this on the return trip 2 days later)

# 8. Dog Line (Saw this on the return trip 2 days later)
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Taranna

This was the only thing we stopped to see in Taranna, and then only because the word 'chocolate' was involved! Not only was it a local chocolate factory run and operated by a local family, but also a rather interesting museum including items, stories, maps and photo's from their family's history. There was a good viewing window into their manufacturing area, with several signs up explaining their chocolate making process. However, being winter, they'd stopped making the days chocolate by the time we got there near 4pm sometime.

We all enjoyed taste testing the different flavours available, and were really surprised that if we'd wanted to, we could have tasted every flavour available! The person who attended us was excellent with Sonia, interacting well with both her and us as parents. After a lot of debate, we ended up choosing three blocks of chocolate for about $5 each. Honey, Stawberry, and Licorice. And then much to my amazement, Clancy decided to save some to share with family and friends back home in WA!!

Port Arthur

We found this campground to be rather large and well set up. But considering the number of visitors I guess they get during warmer months, they probably need to be! There was an amazingly large camp kitchen, numerous sheltered BBQ areas, quite a few ensuites (only available at this time of year if staying for 2 nights), good playground, free wireless, and a proper baby bath available in the laundry! The walk from the campground down to the beach could take a pram, and continued on to the Port Arthur Historic Site approximately 2km away.

Posted by Goannaray 22:00 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges chocolate view history tasmania rocks lookout richmond campground blowhole toddlers port_arthur 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Port Authur Historic Site

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The Port Arthur Historic Site is amazing! Really well set up, and abounding with information. There were plenty of different passes available to choose from, giving different levels of access to different things. Discounts were also available for elegible people/members (health care card, YHA, QANTAS Frequent Flyer, etc.). We chose to get a Bronze Pass which included a walking tour, harbour cruise tour, access to most buildings, and was valid for two days if we wanted.

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On entrance, each of us was given a card with a person's name and picture for the Lottery of Life exhibition. While we were waiting for our allotted walking tour, we went through the interactive displays set up in the lower level of the visitors centre, following the stories of the people named on the cards we'd been given. I'd been given a young boy who ended up being not too bad off, considering some of the stories of others that I followed, out of interest later. The interactive displays and associated stories were excellent. Gaining the attention and interest of all ages. From toddlers, right through to the elderly.

The walking tour went for approximately 40 minutes, and gave a brief overview of the site. It was well worth listening to as it greatly helped with looking around and understanding things better later. Sonia and Kaden weren't to thrilled by it however, prefering to make noise and run around, resulting in Clancy and I only partially hearing the guides explanations. It didn't help that there was a constant cold wind blowing the day that we were there either. No rain though, so that was good!

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The harbour cruise tour on the MV Marana was also really informative, providing close up views of the Isle of the Dead, and Point Puer. Thankfully there wasn't too much of a swell, and after seeing a large group of school children constantly going in and out to the deck of the boat, I finally relented to Sonia's requests and took her out onto the deck for a while as well. She thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the rather strong wind!

We were able to access a database in the museum to see if any of our predecessors had been there. None appeared for the surnames Clancy could remember, however I found three when I searched under my maiden name. Who knows if they're related or not! For lunch, we decided we'd enjoy the warmth of the Port Cafe, and found it child friendly and rather busy. I'd hate to imagine how busy it'd get during the busier warmer months!

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The majority of the buildings were able to be reached with a pram or wheelchair, however access into quite a few of them involved steps. We spent nearly a full day wandering around soaking up the history. Both Clancy and I enjoyed wandering through the fortified stone, convict built buildings more than the staff houses, and found the Seperate Prison particularly sombre. The whole area was presented really nicely like a park, but reading all the signs and trying to imagine what it was like back in the day... it would've had a totally different atmosphere then.

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Posted by Goannaray 10:24 Archived in Australia Tagged buildings parks winter boat ocean history tasmania convicts toddlers port_arthur 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Port Arthur to Hobart

Renee: 'Does it really have to end this soon?' ... Clancy: 'Yes!! Bring on home and a comfy bed!'

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After enjoying two nights at the wonderful Port Arthur Holiday Park, it was time to fuel up and continue on around the rest of the Tasman Peninsula before heading back to Hobart.

  • Remarkable Cave

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At the end of Safety Cove Road (B347) is a great lookout point, and short walk down a fair few steps to Remarkable Cave. A tunnel carved through rocky cliffs by the ocean. We were lucky that it was clear while we were there, and enjoyed the views of the surrounding bays, hills, and even all the way out to Cape Raoul. Clancy had previously seen a photo of the Cape Raoul cliffs and would've loved to be able to see them close up, but unfortunately for us, we didn't have the time to complete the walk (Clancy didn't think he'd survive the walk anyway), and we couldn't afford to pay for another cruise.

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So down to the cave we went, where Sonia enjoyed running and jumping down all the steps (once again testing our stress levels!), and I had fun trying to unsuccessfully get photo's of the waves gushing in and out of the tunnel. Depending on the tide, I'm guessing you may be able to walk into the tunnel itself. Lots of fun, but it most likely would not be recommended!

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This was another well set up site with plenty of interesting information signs available. The following is one of the poems that caught my eye.

Coal for kitchens and drawing rooms
Coal that crackled and spat
Cinders on carpets and crinolines
Sparks on the hearthside cat

Far from the warmth of the parlours
Deep in a gloomy hole
Down on their knees in the darkness
Convicts hacked out the coal

Chris Viney 2002

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On arrival to the main carpark near the toilets, Sonia decided she'd throw a massive tantrum and scream session. So off to the toilets, then finding a spot for her to sit, think, and calm down. We'd been pretty lucky this whole trip, that the occurence of these events were few and far between, but when they did occur, it wasn't in too public a place, or with many other people around. We never did end up finding out what brought this one on! However, after that, she thoroughly enjoyed running around and pushing Kaden in the pram.

So a note for those of you out there with young children, take heart in the fact you're not the only ones that have to deal with these scenarios! And for those without young children... we greatly appreciate it, and thank you for the times when you can accept that these things happen and attempt to ignore the attention seeking behaviour, allowing us as parents to try and work through it with the child as best we know how.

As we'd previously seen many of the sights around Eaglehawk Neck on the way into Port Arthur two days previous (described in a previous post 'Triabunna to Port Arthur via Richmond'), we decided we'd stop for lunch on the way out and see two of the sights we hadn't seen previously. We found a lovely spot where we could enjoy the sun and also be out of the wind in the Eaglehawk Neck Community Hall carpark (they hold community markets there every second Saturday of the month) for a beside the van picnic. This was only the second or third time that we'd actually been able to enjoy the use of the camp chairs we'd hired with the van.

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Following lunch, we checked out the nearby Dog Line statue, and found it hard to imagine a line of dogs across the small section of land there, and continuing on platforms out into the water. It would have been totally terrifying to see. We then walked over to see the small museum housed in the old Officer's Quarters. It was very interesting, looking through the building, reading the history, and especially listening to the stories of some of the occupants that played out of an old radio. As we were the only ones there at the time, both Sonia and Kaden had fun wandering through all the rooms. Causing our education of the site to be occaisionally interupted by one or the other of the kids testing the boundaries of where they were allowed to roam. I don't think we would've been as relaxed, or enjoyed it as much if there'd been more people around.

  • And finally.... back to Hobart

The drive to Hobart was uneventful, and by this stage I think the 'homing bug' had started to settle in. With all the mixed feelings that come with it. We'd pretty much seen everything we'd hoped to see in Tasmania for this trip, so now just wanted to get home. Yet still felt that the time had flown by too fast, and there should be more to see and do (which there definitely is!). I was looking forward to spending some time with my high school friend and her young family in Hobart before we flew back to Perth, while Clancy couldn't wait to get out of the campervan and back into a regular sized house!

Posted by Goannaray 16:57 Archived in Australia Tagged view ocean beach history tasmania rocks cave poem convicts toddlers port_arthur coal_mines 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! eastern_tasmania interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Tasmania with 2 Toddlers Summary

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

Now that the trip has been well and truly completed, lets go back through some of the original questions we had...

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  • Campervan with toddlers in winter

Clancy:
Silly idea.

Renee:
Generally, it wasn't too bad.
Good that we had the availability to pretty much be able to camp anywhere.
Had some great experiences and created some great memories.

Recommendations:
For a comprehensive overview, see my entry titled 'The Campervan...'

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  • Weather and walks

Clancy:
Miserable weather, bring a raincoat.
Walks were fine.

Renee:
Totally changeable.
We were lucky, and I think for us, the worst weather during a walk was the day Sonia and I trekked in to see Montezuma Falls.

Recommendations:
Be prepared for all seasons (maybe excluding summer!), and be flexible in case a change of plans is needed.

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  • Stroller and walks

Clancy:
Some walks available.

Renee:
Yes, quite a few available.
Including some that probably aren't meant to be utilised that way!

Recommendations:
If it looks like you'll be able to use it, go for it, as it usually makes the walk a fair bit easier and faster.
Just be prepared to take it back to your vehicle, or hide it on the side of the track for your return trip if it becomes too difficult to use.

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  • Keeping toddlers warm and dry during hikes

Clancy:
What my wife says!

Renee:
Pram with good cover if available.
Raincoats and umbrellas if walking.
Child carriers - Raincoat for self, Poncho for child, Umbrella if heavy rain and not too much wind.

Recommendations:
As listed above, plus numerous layers. We were surprised to find their outer layers got rather wet, while their inner layers stayed quite dry nearly every time.

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  • Free camping

Clancy:
If you want to do it the hard way.

Renee:
Plenty of places available if you have your own amenities (toilet/shower).
Still quite a few even if you don't.
I didn't mind it, but have to admit I enjoyed my hot showers!

Recommendations:
It all basically comes down to how much comfort you want.
There's plenty of sites available if you want them.

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  • Accessibility

Clancy:
Plan ahead and use your brain.
You'll be fine.

Renee:
It all depends on the weather and timing of what, when, where, and how you're wanting to access something.
We'd done our research so didn't come across anything much that ended up causing great disappointment. (See entry 'Some Answers to Questions So Far')
We were also really lucky and missed most of the road closures. For example, access to Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake was limited while we were at Latrobe, but was fine for when we wanted to go there later.

Recommendations:
Do your research to make sure places are open during winter.
Listen to ABC Local radio, and contact the local shires or tourist information centres for information on road closures or other warnings.

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  • Booking accommodation

Clancy:
Yes, the earlier, the better.

Renee:
If you know definite dates, then yes, it is definitely recommended to do in advance.
If not, you can ring up the day before, or earlier that morning.
Remember that many places shut by 4pm during winter.

Recommendations:
See above comments.
Will definitely require early booking for the summer months!!

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  • Things closed during winter

Clancy:
Yes

Renee:
Yes, some areas are closed during winter.
See 'Accessibility' above, and the blog entry 'Some Answers to Questions So Far'

Recommendations:
See above comments.

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  • Definitely do/not do with toddlers

Clancy:
If you enjoy your sanity, don't take kids! :)

Renee:
With some research and planning, everything was generally pretty good.
Nothing obvious that I'd recommend not to do.

Recommendations:
Even a little research and planning helps to make the whole trip go a lot smoother.

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  • Highlights

Clancy:
Snow
Being cold!
Chocolate places (not so much the Cadbury Chocolate Factory though. No tour.)
Cherry Shed
Raspberry Farm
Platypus House
Seahorse World
Waterfalls
Greenery - Not a desert like WA!

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Renee:
Everything!!
I thought it was all pretty good, and find it rather difficult to pin point specific highlights.

  • Final Comments

I've generally enjoyed this whole process. Planning the trip, exploring Tasmania, and now finishing this blog. I have to admit that yes, sometimes I did get rather frustrated and annoyed at various things, but over all... it was pretty good. Undertaking new exploits and creating many fun memories in the process. And from what I can gather, I think Clancy (despite his occasional pessimistic outlook on things) and the kids enjoyed it too. So now, I hope this has been helpful in some way to others, and all the best with your planning and exploration. Enjoy the new experiences and creation of many new memories!

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Posted by Goannaray 04:57 Archived in Australia Tagged children winter travel tasmania trip questions answers tips planning summary toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! preparation_hints/tips_summary interstate_overseas Comments (0)

Weekend Getaway 1: South West WA - Harvey

Saturday - Monday: Harvey... Gnomesville... Donnybrook... Busselton Jetty... Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse... Ngilgi Cave

sunny
View Wkend Getaway 1 - South West WA (Mar 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Leaving mid Saturday morning of the March long weekend, we arrived at Harvey in plenty of time for a climb up to the top of the Big Orange located at the Harvey River Bridge Estate Winery. Before heading to the information centre and surrounding parkland for lunch.

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I can do it Dad

I can do it Dad

1... 2... 3... 4... 5... ... ...

1... 2... 3... 4... 5... ... ...

Entrance to the Big Orange was by gold coin donation, and we were rewarded with decent views over the citrus orchards and surrounding countryside, and some interesting historical photo's and information about the orchards and Harvey Fresh.

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After having a good look through the information centre and picking up some brochures and information on camping sites (all close national parks and bigger townsite campgrounds totally full for the long weekend!) Clancy got lunch ready, while I took the kids to see a bit of the gardens and find some ducks in the nearby Harvey River.

One section of the information centre was set up to exhibit information about the areas and homesteads that got swallowed up by one of the local dams. Showing photo's, and even part of one of the homesteads walls. Out behind the main information centre is Stirling Cottage Tearooms set in the Stirling Cottage replica. Known to be the home of May Gibbs (author of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie) during 1885 - 1887.

I found the 'Box of Water' rather interesting - engineered to measure volumes of irrigated water for this south western area. I think the kids were less interested in the ingenuity of it, and more in the availability of being able to climb and have fun with the water!

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The surrounding gardens were really well maintained, and I had fun trying to keep Sonia and Kaden from interupting a wedding that was occuring in one section of the gardens. Not too much of an issue once Kaden found the ducks however!

After lunch, we paid a $5 deposit (returned when Key returned) and picked up a key to access the Internment Camp Memorial Shrine about 200m up the hill. Both Sonia and Kaden didn't seem to mind the walk too much, but then weren't too impressed with us constantly telling them not to touch once we were inside looking at the shrine, and trying to read all the displayed information surrounding it and its history.


Posted by Goannaray 21:41 Archived in Australia Tagged history monuments fruit western_australia harvey weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion other_sw_wa_areas Comments (2)

Weekend Getaway 1: South West WA - Gnomesville

Saturday - Monday: Harvey... Gnomesville... Donnybrook... Busselton Jetty... Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse... Ngilgi Cave

sunny
View Wkend Getaway 1 - South West WA (Mar 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

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Hot air ballooning gnomes

Hot air ballooning gnomes

Princess Gnome!

Princess Gnome!

The information brochure for Ferguson Valley that we picked up at the Harvey Information Centre, turned out to be very helpful. Showing a more detailed map of the area, which allowed us to get off the main roads, and see more of the picturesque hills and valleys of the area. It reminded me very much of where I spent much of my childhood in Toodyay.

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Gnomesville itself was amazing! Showcasing some rather creative ideas from numerous different people and groups. I can't think of anywhere else that has such a showcase of gnomes. Definitely worth taking the detour to have a quick look. Which then, depending on your appreciation of gnomes... may turn into a bit more than 'just a quick look'!! Who knows, you may even want to add to the population!

Wait for me Kaden!

Wait for me Kaden!

Smurfs

Smurfs

Country music gnomes

Country music gnomes

Gnomesville PCYC Windmill

Gnomesville PCYC Windmill

Gnomesville School Bus

Gnomesville School Bus

Gnomesville School Bus

Gnomesville School Bus

Gnomesville Detention Centre

Gnomesville Detention Centre

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Posted by Goannaray 15:16 Archived in Australia Tagged western_australia gnomes toddlers gnomesville weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion collie_area other_man_made_things Comments (0)

Weekend Getaway 1: South West WA - Donnybrook

Saturday - Monday: Harvey... Gnomesville... Donnybrook... Busselton Jetty... Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse... Ngilgi Cave

sunny
View Wkend Getaway 1 - South West WA (Mar 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

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Uh oh!!

Uh oh!!

I'm coming...

I'm coming...

The main drawcard for us to Donnybrook was the amazing humongous playground! The abundance of fruit in certain seasons (namely apples and pears) would be another good drawcard for many too.

Donnybrook Playground

Donnybrook Playground

On the way out of Donnybrook, heading towards Capel, we pulled into Ironstone Gully Falls. A small gully/stream that would have a rather picturesque waterfall in wetter months. Considering it was the beginning of March, it was rather warm, and bone dry everywhere. So instead of an interesting waterfall, we enjoyed some dark red/brown rocks and radiating heat. Sonia and Kaden enjoyed running around and jumping on the rocks till we decided they were a tad too close to the edge of the dropoff where the waterfall would start, and headed back to the car. During cooler, wetter months, this site would make a rather nice free campsite.

Posted by Goannaray 21:46 Archived in Australia Tagged creek playground western_australia campground toddlers weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion collie_area parks/playgrounds Comments (0)

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