A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about launceston

Hello again... Launceston!

semi-overcast
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.

P7247720.jpgP7247708_Stitch.jpgP7247724.jpg
P7230637.jpg

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.

P7247714.jpgP7247715.jpgP7247711.jpg

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.

P7247712.jpgP7247747.jpgP7247723.jpg

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.

P7247732.jpgP7247737.jpgP7247731.jpg

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

P7247793.jpgP7247777.jpgP7247797.jpg

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.

P7247761.jpgP7247765.jpgP7247766.jpg

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!

P7247789.jpgP7247788.jpgP7247785.jpgP7247780.jpgP7247784.jpgP7247790.jpg

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.

P7247759.jpgP7247756.jpgP7247752.jpg

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.

P7247799.jpgP7247803.jpgP7247807.jpg

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.

P7247805.jpgP7247804.jpgP7247806.jpg

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

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

P7247812.jpgP7247816.jpgP7247815.jpg

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!

54C7E44E2219AC681741F55FB4601A54.jpg54C6A6AF2219AC6817DA70958BB75DF9.jpg54C880F32219AC6817E5911B3538E73A.jpg

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.

54C6057E2219AC68171C53E7DFD0AE5E.jpg54C3DCD62219AC6817DCDE780303831A.jpg54C53C6C2219AC68170A64DC3501C156.jpg

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.

54C9E5982219AC681780C0C3B6C4F7DF.jpg54CB41942219AC68171DAA02EB5748B7.jpg54CA9C0B2219AC6817C4957C2D37C405.jpg

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!

54CC2CB62219AC6817E0DB2896B74091.jpg54C94AE32219AC6817F9BF7A09E953CF.jpg

P7257884.jpg54CD73972219AC681713E8B77FDDF551.jpgP7257871.jpg

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.

P7257872.jpg54CCDE5C2219AC6817AE025C40F37FD7.jpg54CE0CE02219AC68170013C22BCBA4F6.jpgP7257866.jpg

  • 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)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]