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Launceston to Hobart...

Via Campbell Town, Ross, & Oatlands

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

A nice frosty morning to leave our accommodation in Launceston for Hobart. We'd stayed at the Village Family Motor Inn and enjoyed our brief stop there. Breakfast included, Playground which Sonia didn't want to leave, Games room for older kids, Heated pool which we didn't get time to test out, and about the only downside for us was the lack of a bath for Kaden. The room did have a big handbasin though which worked perfectly fine for the job.

The drive from Launceston to Hobart along the number one or Midlands Highway, otherwise known as the Heritage Highway, travels though large tracts of pasture and farmland with many historical towns to visit. The ones we visited were Campbell Town, Ross, and Oatlands. Everyone's colds were still going strong, so it was both good and bad that every time we started driving again, the kids would almost immediately fall asleep. Good, in that it made for a peaceful drive and they needed the sleep. Bad, as the stops at towns were relatively frequent and woke them up.

It also seemed to be the day for stuff to fall off vehicles! Between Launceston and Hobart, we saw one truck lose a strap off the machinery he was carrying, one truck lose a right angle plastic guard thing that prevents the fraying of straps going over his load of 1000L water/chemical tank containers, and dodged two small square hay bales before passing the driver of a ute re-tying his load of hay beside the highway.

We stopped to look at the 'Red Bridge' that convicts built in 1838. Sonia and Kaden enjoyed the swings and chasing the ducks, while I managed a closer look at the amazing tree stump woodcarvings near the bridge.
Campbell Town Ducks

Campbell Town Ducks

Red Bridge, Campbell Town

Red Bridge, Campbell Town

Tree Stump Wood Carving, Campbell Town

Tree Stump Wood Carving, Campbell Town

The town of Ross had numerous old buildings to look at, but we mainly stopped to look at the 'Ross Bridge' that convicts had completed in 1836 over the Macquarie River. Well worth the stop to look at. We passed a film in the making on the way through town to get to the information centre and Tasmanian Wool Centre which we all had a quick look through. Rather interesting information and history on things pertaining to that area and Tasmania, and wool in general. I enjoyed it a bit more than what Clancy or the kids did though as I'm more interested in that sort of thing, having grown up and enjoyed working with merino sheep.

I would have liked to have been able to walk out to look at the Female Factory Site, but Clancy and the kids reckoned it was time to keep moving after a detour to have a play on the playground coming back from looking at the bridge.
View from hill in Ross

View from hill in Ross

Old Church in Ross

Old Church in Ross

Ross Bridge Sign

Ross Bridge Sign

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Macquarie River, Ross

Macquarie River, Ross

There was no way we could go past Oatlands without stopping in to look at the Callington Mill. We all enjoyed a tasty lunch there, and I stayed in the warmth of the cafe to breastfeed Kaden while Clancy and Sonia went to play on the awesome playground behind the mill. We then had enough time to walk down to look at Lake Dulverton where we saw a pair of Swans and numerous other birds on the lake, but didn't have time to do any of the walks available. So it was back up to the mill, where Sonia and I went on a tour of the mill while Clancy and Kaden wandered around town, seeing what could be found.
Callington Mill

Callington Mill

Sonia and Wombat, Oatlands

Sonia and Wombat, Oatlands

Playground near Callington Mill

Playground near Callington Mill

Lake Dulverton, Oatlands

Lake Dulverton, Oatlands

Sonia and I really enjoyed the Callington Mill tour. Me with all the information, history, and seeing how it all worked (I'd grown up grinding our own wheat with a home made electric stone grinder), and Sonia with all the climbing up and down steps to get to each floor. She also enjoyed having her own special hard hat to wear! No camera's were allowed inside the mill though, just in case they accidentally fell in, and there was no touching of the grain allowed either. I purposely had to remember this one, as I knew that both Sonia and I would each want to grab a handful when we saw it! (I'm so used to doing this to look at the grain and eat/chew some when at my parents farm!).
Sonia's Hard Hat!

Sonia's Hard Hat!

We finished the tour and Sonia amused herself jumping in and out of triangle shadows made by a wooden gate, while I looked at some more information on the entrance sign. It was then a round about route following Sonia's lead (which she thoroughly enjoyed being able to freely do) through the mill gardens to find Clancy and Kaden.
Triangle Shadows

Triangle Shadows

Callington Mill

Callington Mill

This town was also full of old buildings and interesting shops that I would've happily spent more time wandering amongst like Clancy had been able to do. But it was time to move on and enjoy the numerous different topiary along the main street, and silhouette signs beside the highway heading south. Sonia enjoyed looking out for the different silhouette pictures, before once again falling asleep.
Old Woolpress, Oatlands

Old Woolpress, Oatlands

We eventually got to Hobart, where our first stop was to the neighbours of one of my school friends who lived there. My friend and her family had flown out for a trip back to WA to see family the same time that we'd left for Tasmania. They'd left a bundle of winter gear for us and the kids, plus other things (toys, books, crayons, paper etc.), with their neighbours for us to pick up if we wanted it. We enjoyed a nice quick visit with them, then on towards the centre of Hobart to find our accommodation for the next seven nights.

  • Woolmers Inn, Sandy Bay

Two bedroom apartment which we'd picked up on a special deal through Ezy Flights.
Were able to save money and cook our own meals in the apartment kitchen.
Shopping centre 2 blocks away, and numerous other shops and restaurants very close.
Relatively close for walking to Hobarts central sights/highlights.
Good heating.

Posted by Goannaray 20:40 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges winter tasmania ross toddlers oatlands callington_mill campbell_town 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! central_tasmania_hobart_swtasma interstate_overseas Comments (0)

A slice of Arve Road and the Tahune Airwalk

... and gumboots!

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

This turned out to be one of those days where looking back over it, you think 'There's sooo much more I could have got done'. But then, considering the things that popped up... you actually didn't do too badly!

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Clancy had needed to visit a doctor earlier in the week, where he had been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia and told to visit the hospital emergency department if things worsened. Well things had slightly degenerated since then, so it was decided a trip to emergency was warranted before we left Hobart, to confirm that things were still ok. And clarify what level of physical activity would be recommended or not. Considering we'd planned to do a lot of walks involving carrying both children, this could drastically alter our travel plans. If not destroy them altogether.

We figured going in and being able to act on whatever results were given during regular business hours would be the best thing to do, just in case a total new set of plans were needed to be made. Having experienced numerous emergency room wait times elsewhere, we were pleasantly surprised and got seen rather quickly! The staff member who assessed Clancy was great, and explained things very well. The verdict on how much he was able to do was also rather reassuring. Stating that easy to moderate walks should be fine so long as Clancy took it easy, and didn't try carrying Sonia for any of them! Worked fine for him! I didn't mind too much either, as it meant we wouldn't have to totally change our previous plans. Alter them yes, but not start again from scratch and miss out on many of the things we really wanted to see.

So having gained this knowledge, it was time to get back to exploring Tasmania! And for today... it was the Arve Road and Tahune Airwalk.

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Geeveston

  • We got to Geeveston in time for us to once again enjoy a local bakery's hot food.
  • Clancy then took Sonia to find the towns local playground, while I visited the library to quickly print off some documents and feed Kaden.
  • Looked like there was a nice area of parkland with a creek/river running through it to explore if we'd had the time for a walk as well.
  • There were also many wonderful woodcarvings of local people who'd had an impact on the community.
  • The Forest and Heritage Centre then became our meeting point, where we all enjoyed the museum, tasting different types of honey, and picked up information on Arve Road, and tickets for the airwalk.
  • Sonia really enjoyed the playground and interactive items in the museum

Arve Road

  • This's the road out to the Tahune Airwalk from Geeveston.
  • There were numerous well signed things we could look at or do along the way.

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Keogh's Creek Walk

  • A nice short loop walk, with boardwalk running beside and crossing over Keogh's Creek.
  • Sonia enjoyed being able to run free and explore (until she got reigned in by us telling her she had to be able to see us!), and climbing up into the base of a big tree.
  • I carried Kaden in the Ergo carrier, but could have easily used the pram.

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West Creek Lookout

  • This was a nice lookout to see the tops of trees and bushes covering the slopes of a deep steep valley right beside the road.
  • The sign about bushfires, and how some firefighters saved themselves in the fire of 1967 really caught my interest having experienced a few smaller fires myself in farmland.

Arve Picnic Area

  • This area looked really nice beside the Arve River as we drove past

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Big Tree Lookout

  • We actually stopped in to look at this one on the way back out from the Tahune Airwalk.
  • The lookout platform was under repair, however we were still able to see the tree and read the information signs.

Tahune Airwalk

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  • This was a great walk and well worth the cost to go on it.
  • I carried Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier as we weren't sure how many steps were likely to be involved.
  • Following the main walking tracks from the river up to the start of the airwalk platform there were quite a few steps. But the platform itself would've been fine for a pram, and it looked like they catered for wheelchair access as well with a labeled parking area beside the start of the actual airwalk platform entrance.
  • Looking out through, and then over the trees was awesome. Gave you a totally different perspective. Enabling you to appreciate the bush on a whole new level.
  • The view from the cantilever lookout was awesome!
  • Sonia once again loved being able to run free. She also liked the perspex at the end of the cantilever lookout. Totally scaring Clancy as she leant against it to look out!
  • Sonia didn't really want to keep walking after we got off the airwalk platform. Continually asking to be carried. We managed to encourage her to keep walking, counting the number of steps in each block of steps with her, and making Clancy tally them all up together! (Got up to about 67 steps. Started counting part way through though). Plus keeping an eye out for fungi.
  • There were some nice picnic areas beside the river.
  • I would've liked to have been able to do more of the walks available, but once again, kids and time did not allow.

Sonia and her starry pink gumboots!

Sonia and her starry pink gumboots!


On the return trip to Hobart, we decided to finally act on the recommendation we'd been given by my high school friend, and see if we could pick up some gumboots for Sonia. I didn't like our chances of finding anything then though as it was after 4:30pm, with many places shutting at 4pm. Was then rather surprised to find the St Vincents store in Huonville still open when we stopped so Clancy could pick up some take away chicken and chips for tea.

I grabbed one of Sonia's shoes to take as a size sample (she was fast asleep), and went to see if they had anything... nope... smaller, and much bigger... but none anywhere really near Sonia's size. Back to the car, where Sonia'd woken up and I realised the Mitre10 we'd parked in front of was also still open for another minute or two. So in we rushed to find plenty of kids gumboots in army camouflage colouring, or sparkly pink with silver stars. You can guess which one's Sonia wanted! Sorry, Kaden... pink it's going to be when you get older unless Sonia totally wears them out first! Finding the right size was then not as easy as we'd thought it'd be with all the different sizes available. I narrowed it down to 7's and 8's, with 7's looking like they fit really well right then, but 8's looking like they may have been a bit too big, but had better growth room available. Decided on the 8's, and off we went, just as they started shutting up for the night.

The next morning however, when Sonia was having fun running around with her new boots... I soon realised that we probably should've grabbed the 7's. When she'd put her feet into them and stood still, allowing me to squash the toes to see how much room there was, she'd pushed her feet as far forward as they'd go, leaving half an inch or so between her heel and the back of the boot! So yes, that's why the 7's would've felt too small for her toes to grow, and why they would've looked a better fit when she walked. Oh well, she didn't seem to have any issues walking in the 8's (or running and jumping for that matter!), so we kept them, and didn't need to struggle at any time to get them on or off whenever we got in/out of the car or campervan when we had that.

But in summary of the Arve Road and Tahune Airwalk day... we really did manage to see and do a fair bit. Especially considering the late start we'd had to the day. What with the much shorter number of daylight hours, and experiencing a day at Bruny Island, a day to do the Tahune Airwalk, and a future day to do the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, it was really confirming that being able to stay more local to see and do what was available in an area, would've dramatically improved a lot of things in general.

Posted by Goannaray 00:44 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges trees tasmania river walk creek playground toddlers geeveston arve_road tahune_airwalk 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! central_tasmania_hobart_swtasma 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)

Bicheno to Triabunna

Via Freycinet National Park

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

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

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)

Weekend Getaway 1: South West WA - Busselton Jetty

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

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

Looking back to shore

Looking back to shore

We arrived into a very busy Busselton just before lunch time on Sunday, and were rather unsure how far we'd end up having to walk to get to the Busselton Jetty due to parking issues. We were pleasantly surprised and found a fairly well shaded spot really close to the jetty and information centre. Zipped into the information centre to pick up whatever information we could find (specifically a list of available campgrounds in the area, and what there was to do surrounding the jetty), then onto the jetty itself to purchase tickets to the Underwater Observatory (UWO) and have a quick look through the museum.

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The first available tickets were for in 3hrs time and also included a return trip on the Jetty Train. This worked out really well, allowing us to enjoy a relaxed lunch and swim. We got a few interesting looks over lunch, having a picnic around the back of our dual cab hilux. We'd parked reversed up to a carpark island with pine trees in it providing plenty of shade, so laying the tailgate down for a table, Clancy sitting on one end of it, Sonia clambering all over the baggage in the tray, Kaden in his pram, and me on a camp chair... we enjoyed a quick, cheap, make as much mess as you want (within reason!), picnic lunch! Only thing we forgot was to take a photo!

Window 2

Window 2

Fish!

Fish!

Going for a swim, we found the water rather cold at first, but soon got used to it and rather enjoyed it. It was nice and calm while we were there, so mixing that with the gentle slope of the beach, it made for a rather fun and enjoyable, kid friendly experience. Clancy wasn't too enthused on getting wet, so Sonia and Kaden took turns begging Mum for 'spin/swing' out in the deeper water. Some older folk enjoying a relaxing swim nearby pointed out a decent sized crab slowly scuttling away in the water, not far from where I was spinning/swinging the kids. I'm glad they did, as not only did I not want to get nipped, but it was interesting to watch as it slowly continued on it's way.

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To get to the end of the 1.8km jetty, you can walk, take the train, or possibly even ride a bike. We decided to take the train considering it was included with the UWO ticket, and would let us get away faster to head to our camp for the night. As it was a long weekend with rather warm weather, there were plenty of people enjoying the jetty. Fishing, walking, swimming, jumping/diving off the jetty... people everywhere! The train was well and truly at full capacity as well. One group of people who arrived a bit later during the boarding time ended up having to find individual seats scattered throughout the length of the train, rather than being able to sit together which they weren't too happy with. But yes, it was an enjoyable ride for all, and made the trip to the end of the jetty a fair bit faster and less strenuous than walking.

End of Busselton Jetty

End of Busselton Jetty

Busselton Under Water Observatory

Busselton Under Water Observatory

Window 1

Window 1

The Underwater Observatory was great! It's basically a huge 9.5m diameter pipe or chamber with stairs slowly spiralling down around the inside of the walls. Windows at various levels allow you to look out at the fish and coral of the artificial reef growing underneath the jetty. Sonia and Kaden enjoyed looking out at all the fish and coral, but I think the stairs were a bit more enticing to them. Constantly wanting to run up and down. It's about 8m down to the ocean floor, and after listening to the guide's explanations on the way down the stairs, you're able to stay down there nearly as long as you want. Bearing in mind, if you miss the return train trip, you'll have to walk!

Window 3

Window 3

More Stairs!

More Stairs!


Posted by Goannaray 20:33 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges ocean wildlife beach walk western_australia busselton weekend_toddler_adventures_wa south_west_wa wkend_adventures_swregion other_sw_wa_areas Comments (0)

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