Month end Odo reading: 21,302
March 2010 (page 2)
Km's for the Month: 2,108
Odo reading at month start : 19,194
22 March     Distance:  79
Stanley to Wynyard. Staying at the Wynyard Showgrounds  (free), with 4 other motorhomes as well.  The caretaker of the grounds came and chatted to us for about an hour, a really interesting born & bred Taswegian character.
 
We also met a young guy who flies radio-controlled model aeroplanes and choppers, he kindly went home fetched his TRex 700 nitro chopper and treated us to fantastic display of chopper aerobatics - an excellent display topped off with a "on-purpose" dead-stick auto-gyro landing (that's a landing after he cut the motor), a difficult and interesting way of ending his display.
 
A short drive today, we stopped at a few beaches and view sites along the way. The view from the top of Table Cape was quite something.

Very early this morning we were woken by a film news crew, filming a kite surfer (a young woman) take off the beach right in front of our motorhome headed for Melbourne. We just heard on the 6pm news she made it - the wind was certainly strong enough and was a tail wind which must have helped.

We visited the famous Ford car collection in Wynyard, a private collection owned by a local personality.  Amongst the very rare collection of Fords, Cadillac's and a few other marques he has one of only 2 Model A Fords left in the world, built in 1903. Its serial number is 31 and is regarded as the oldest Ford in the world. He also has a mint condition, priceless Ford Model K.

 
 
24 March     Distance:   27

Burnie to Penguin. Staying in a beachfront car park in Penguin - same comments as before, hope we are not moved on. We are parked alongside a railway line, and a train has just driven by - it rocked us and it is bloody noisy!! Maybe we will move ourselves on.
 
Before leaving Burnie we visited the Pioneer Village at the local museum. It was very interesting with 18th century items set in an indoor depiction of an 1850 town, well worth the effort of finding the place, we drove around for ages before we found it down a narrow little road. The museum also had a large collection of WWI memorabilia.
 
Our next stop, Penguin is a really neat little seaside resort. Everywhere one walks one sees models of penguins - it's a bit corny but gives the place a little charm.  Even the rubbish bins have penguins on them, most shops have 5ft high penguins at the entrance door or on the roof above the walkway.  We visited a unique chocolate shop and bought some Tasmanian truffles we tasted earlier on our trip, the are de-lish - as they say here!
 
The beach at Penguin is stunning with many little rock pools for the kids to swim in. We did about a 5km walk along the beach.
 
On the way back we spotted a Dutch windmill in the town gardens - it's not a full size one, probably around 35% scale, but nevertheless quite correct.  Apparently many Dutch people settled in the region in the 1950's and the windmill was presented to Penguin people on behalf of the early Dutch settlers 150 years ago.
 
That evening we met Lindsey & Ann who are also travelling around Tassie, after a few sundowners we visited a local restaurant called the Wild Cafe & Restaurant, where we had a really excellent meal - for some reason steaks in OZ just have more flavour than in NZ, they don't give one steak knives, the supplied "normal" knife cut through the steak like a hot knife through butter.
23 March     Distance:  41
Wyngard to Burnie (Cooee Beach), via Somerset. Staying at the Burnie Holiday Park - it's situated at the back of a motel 
 
Nothing much to see today along the way, but parts were scenic as the road runs along the beachfront. We visited the National Foods Cheese tasting centre but there was nothing remarkable about the cheese, we thought it would be a boutique type cheese factory but it's one of the largest cheese factories in Australia. After that we visited the Ferndale reserve where we hoped to see a platypus, but no such luck, however we saw a(nother) Pademelon.
 
We also visited the Makers of Burnie, which is attached to the Burnie information centre. It's showcase for local artists, a particularly interesting artist was a woman originally from Canary Islands who makes violins.  Her work is really good and her violins are held in very high regard. We also saw paper-mache sculptures, glass-blowing and paper making. Well worth visiting.
26 March      Distance:   16 (plus the ferry trip which is 454 km's)

Devonport to Melbourne on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry which leaves Devonport at 9am.
 
On arrival at the Devonport ferry terminal we were informed the ferry would be late, as it turned out we left Devonport 2 hours late, which meant we only checked into the camp in Melbourne just before 9:30pm. There were 100's of motorhomes lined up to catch the ferry back - certainly the most motorhomes we have seen at one time in Australia, the majority were returning after attending the 7-day rally at Carrick.
 
The crossing was surprisingly smooth, even though the wind was very strong as we left Devonport and for the first 6 hours or so.
27 - 31 March     Distance:   52

Melbourne. Staying at Ashley Gardens Holiday Park (Big4)
 
On the advise of Keith & Kay who we enjoyed happy hour with in Launceston, we again did a detour to the very picturesque historic village of Evandale - practically the whole villages comprises pristine century-old houses and trading stores, it was well worth the extra 40kms.
 
From there we travelled to the supposedly Swiss Village of Grindelwald. Although the Swiss shopping centre was interesting the town has absolutely nothing Swiss about it, so it was a bit of a disappointment.
 
We continued northwards along the western side of the large and wide Tamar River, through some beautiful small riverside towns and past many vineyards. A little way past Rosevears we crossed the Tamar River via the very high free span Bateman Bridge.  (saw a fantastic rest area on the west side of the bridge, where many motorhomes were free-parked). After crossing the Tamar we headed for George Town, the 3rd oldest settlement in Tassie, built for troops to prevent a French landing party.
 
A few kilometres further north is Low Head where the 1888 lighthouse is situated. While we were there the 70-mile radius fog horn was blown a few times - it sounded like the roar of a 1000 elephants. The fog horn in no longer in full time service but the lighthouse is.
Reliquaire shop, La Trobe
1905 "Flying 15" Darracq (French)
Paper-mache sculptures
One of the queues of motorhomes waiting for the ferry
1903 Model A Ford
Penguin's penguins
Weird clock tower, Ulverstone
Dutch windmill, Penguin
Pioneer Village, Burnie
25 March      Distance:   72

Penguin to Devonport, via Ulverstone & La Trobe. Staying at Devonport Discovery Park (Big4/Discovery)
 
On the advice of Lindsey & Ann we decided to go back to La Trobe to visit Reliquaire - a shop that sells the most amazing things, it reminded both Yvonne & I of the toy shop in the movie, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium - we have never seen a collection of really interesting things, ever - not even in the 'states. There are 11 theme rooms, each with specialised toys, puzzles, electronics, genuine venetian masks and much, much more. A must see - it's only 11kms from Devonport. Unfortunately one is not allowed to take photos or videos of their shop, for pics check out their website: www.reliquaire.com
 
We are now back in Devonport having completed our circumnavigation of Tasmania. Without any doubt the highlight for us is the North West coast, from Stanley back to Devonport. There are many very interesting and charming villages along the way, each one with its own character and soul.
 
I spent a couple of hours after checking into our camp in Devonport washing every nook  cranny of the motorhome, including the engine and engine compartment, the generator and every locker, it's like a new pin. Reason for this, other than it was a little dirty, is Melbourne has water restrictions so I won't be able to do it there.
 
It's blowing an absolute gale again today (not too unusual in Tassie), so tomorrow's ferry trip should be lively again.
 
Tassie is a really great motorhome touring destination, the RV Friendly towns really go out of their way to make one feel welcome, the free parking (camping) is pretty unrestricted, the rule for us became, if there was no sign saying "no overnight parking" or "no camping" we felt comfortable spending the night without too much fear we would be moved on. Most towns have a council toilet dump for cassette toilets, so one is able to go around Tassie and never stay in a camp if one so pleases. I think if we had a bigger fresh water tank we would have free camped for as many as 5 or 6 days at a time. It's now back to the mainland!
Penguin freedom parking