I was moving fairly quickly across the top of Tasmania, the good thing about this state is that everything is so close together, it doesn’t take long to move around although the roads are generally very small and windy. I’m so glad that I didn’t bring the caravan over here. From the Weld river it was only a short drive of about 30km up to Gladstone where there was a fossicking area for smokey quartz.
The smokey quartz here is a lot different to the quartz I’ve fossicked for up on the mainland, here I wandered up a large old creek bed for about 3 hours picking up bits and pieces along the way. I’m assuming this was the fossicking area once again there were no signs but people had been digging into the bank in numerous spots. Smokies here are rarely transparent, at least not completely, I found only one small piece of transparent quartz with the majority being only partially transparent with many fractures and imperfections. I imagine that many of these will look beautiful after they’ve been polished, most of the smokey dark bits are a deep “coke cola” colour and quite beautiful. I
m tempted to go back there and spend a little more time fossicking before I leave, tomorrow theres meant to be some very heavy rains through that area so I imagine that there will be a lot more material around.
Now it was time to just be a tourist down the east coast, see new places and do some walks. Someone I’d met at a fossicking site had suggested that I visit Eddystone point so I spent a night at the Mount William National park camp site near there and wandered around the coastline for a while. This area is the northern most point of the Bay of Fires and I spent the next day meandering down the Bay of Fires exploring the little settlements and beaches along the way.
Why is it called Bay of Fires? I’d heard somewhere that it’s because of the rocks or rather the brightly coloured lichens growing on the rocks but I’ve read elsewhere that it was named this by an early explorer because of the fires local aboriginals had lit along the beaches as he sailed past.
The rocks certainly are stunning and I imagine that it would have been an area where many aboriginals congregated all those years ago. The coast, especially down the southern end at Binalong Bay is absolutely beautiful, I did a great walk out from Binalong on the skeleton walk trail into the Humbug reserve. The first picture on this blog post is also taken at Binalong bay.
I spent the night camped at a little free camp south of here called Diana’s basin, I think I scored the best camping site in the area right on the edge of the inlet under some trees. I set up my table and got the laptop out, this was a great place to sit back and relax for the afternoon.
You can’t pay for camp sites like this. And as the sun began to set I moved the chair round to the front of the car looking out over the inlet as I sipped on a glass of scotch.
Behind my camp further into the dunes between myself and the ocean there were many campers, one group of 4 or 5 caravans looked like they had been there for a long time judging by the grass growing under the vans, they also had a trailer with large steel cage sides that was filled with rubbish. What a great place to live, their kids were running around and they had a couple of dogs, they spent time all down at the beach in the afternoon and swam in the protected enclosed area of the inlet.
Heading south from here I visited Bicheno bay, a lovely little town based around a small fishing industry and tourism, there was an interesting walk to do here around the coastline and also scaling a couple of the small hills within the town. The town had a great feel to it and one of the nicest IGA’s I’ve ever been into.
There seemed to be one main tourist site in the town, the blow hole, this is it from a distance as I was following the walk around the headland. Yeah, try and get a picture without people in it.
It wasn’t very impressive anyway on such a calm day. The walk was good though and climbing the hills let you see some of the impressive coastal rock formation. Evidently there`s world class diving here off the back of the small island.
And there are more spectacular little bays to be found if you explore the area.
Next stop on the southward journey was Freycinet national park, this area is extremely well known and some of the big Tassie tourist photos come from this area with the spectacular beaches and mountains, especially Wineglass bay. When I arrived at the national park at about 11 in the morning I was told there were no camp sites available and that there was a 2 hour wait to get into the car park at Wineglass bay, I turned around and left, Freycinet will have to wait for another day.
Continuing south through Swansea I stopped at a little place called Spring beach, a magnificent place for a swim and to eat some lunch.
No camping signs were near this beach so I continued on as close to the coast as I could hoping to find a nice camp spot. The road down through here was pretty terrible, although it was marked as a “yellow” main road on the map, it was dirt, with many sections of sharp rocks and some horrible potholes. As the sun was getting lower in the sky the shadows and sun through the trees made it very difficult to see the potholes, it’s even hard to see them in this photo.
And as I said, the rocky bits were pretty horrible as well.
Just as I was beginning to wonder what I was doing on this tiny, horrible, mountainous road in the middle of nowhere.
I run into someone even crazier! I continued on for a few kilometres up and down steep hills on the horrible road before I found a great spot to camp for the night, Marion bay lookout.
I was set up sitting back drinking a glass of wine reading my book when Andreas pulled in on his bicycle. He had started cycling 2 years ago in Sweden and he’d covered 40 thousand kilometres averaging 10km an hour and 70km most day, we spent the night chatting and drinking wine and didn`t get to sleep till after 1 in the morning. I felt like I was living a life of luxury as he pitched his little tent near my car.
We spent most of the next day chatting on top of the mountain and finally at about 3 in the afternoon I told him that he had to go, and so did I. He had a plane to catch in a few days yet quite a bit more to see before going to Hobart, then he was off to New Zealand for a while.