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Scottsdale to Bicheno

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

all seasons in one day
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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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)

Port Authur Historic Site

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

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

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)

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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