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Tasmazia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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)

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