Mawbanna And Road Home

This is the final day of exploring Tasmania’s north west with my friend Petrina. We visited Blue Hills Honey at Mawbanna and the lady there told us we should go see a waterfall which was just a little further down the road. By the way, the honey farm is a great place to stop for some honey, plenty of products and bee and honey merchandise and honey tastings too. I especially loved the Blackberry honey and the Tarkine Wilderness honey, yum!

Dip Falls was easy to find just as the lady said, and after parking the car, there was a brief walk to a high vantage point to see the waterfall from above.

See all those steps on the other side? Sooo many steps! It was okay going down but took a lot of effort to go back up, especially when it became windy and started raining!

But the view from the bottom was lovely, so worth the sore legs! ๐Ÿ˜€

As the squally weather increased, we hit the road back home, stopping briefly at a pretty spot called Boat Harbour.

We then stopped at House of Anvers Chocolate Factory at Latrobe near Devonport on the way back home. I recommend treating yourself to a few of the hand made chocolates in their display cabinet at the counter, yum!

We then drove through Deloraine and visited Ashgrove Cheese Farm for some cheese tastings and to look at the adorable painted cow statues they have dotted around the property. They have a cafe and a viewing window where you can watch them at work making their products. Their shop is packed with dairy goodness – cheese, cream, butter, milk, ice cream and other gourmet products. I couldn’t help myself and ended up bringing home with me some farmhouse butter, Bush Pepper cheese (my favourite!) and some packets of their crunchy cheesey snacks called AmazeBalls in different flavours.

Our last stop before home was the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm for a bite to eat in their lovely cafe. They also have the most delicious chocolate coated raspberries in their fridge section in the shop part of the farm, just heavenly!

And so our north west Tasmania adventure has come to an end. I’m looking forward to being able to go back there again and do some more exploring. There is heaps to see and do there, definitely recommend a visit to the region if you come to Tasmania.

Here is a map of our route home –

The Tarkine Drive

Continuing with my road trip to Tasmania’s north west, my friend Petrina and I thought we would do the Tarkine Drive, a loop through Tasmanian wilderness with a number of stops along the way. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind to us, it was very cold, windy and raining with small lapses of sunshine (what happened to summer??), but we thought we would give it a go. Another issue we faced along the way was the state of the road. Although it was a sealed road, there were many potholes (apparently from logging trucks), and quite a few very big ones that were difficult to see because of all the water from the rain which caused a couple of heart stopping moments in the car!

The Tarkine Wilderness Area is a hidden treasure, a forgotten wilderness of 477,000 hectares full of unique plants and wildlife. It was inhabited by the Tarkiner aboriginal people, one of three tribes who lived in the north west area, and the region is home to one of the greatest concentrations of aboriginal sites in Australia. Unconfirmed sightings of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, have also been reported in this area.

Shortly after leaving the township of Stanley, we could see the wind farm.

Our first stop on the Tarkine Drive was Trowutta Arch, a beautiful short easy walk through rainforest to the arch and a sinkhole.

My friend Petrina dwarfed by large tree ferns

Next stop was Milkshake Hills. There was a longer walk to a lookout, but we only did the short Forest Walk. Even so, it was quite eerie.

Following my friend Petrina as we walk through a sun shower

 

Driving to our next stop we discovered we were in Tassie devil country!

The next attraction was simply known as Sinkhole. It was a very beautiful spot, especially when the sun came out for a bit. The photos don’t do it justice.

As the rain came hurtling down once more, we made our way to our next stop, Julius River. This was a nice easy walk through rainforest with mostly boardwalk.

My friend Petrina heading to the river on the boardwalk

This picture shows just how big some of the tree ferns can be!

Since it had been a long day full of winding and potholed roads and nearly constant rain and cold, we decided to make one final stop before heading back to our accommodation.

A short walk through some trees brought us to Sumac Lookout, looking a bit gloomy on this particular day.

The Tarkine Drive seems to be a great drive, but since we were touring in my little Honda Jazz, we cut the drive short and only managed to do a few stops because of the bad weather and road conditions, so another trip to do the Tarkine Drive is on the cards for me, but perhaps in an SUV next time!

Here is the route we took (marked in black) on part of the Tarkine Drive.

 

And here is a map showing the Tarkine area and where it is located in Tasmania.

Map from Wikiwand

 

Little Penguins At Stanley

Continuing on with my road trip to Stanley in Tasmania’s north west with my friend Petrina, one of the things I was most looking forward to was seeing the Little Penguins at Godfreys Beach.

It would be hard not to know there were penguins to be spotted in Stanley when you see these signs!

Penguin road sign in Stanley, Tasmania

In Stanley, there is a special purpose built viewing platform where the public can go and watch the Little Penguins (also known as Fairy Penguins) come ashore at night. There is no guided tour and there is no fee to enter the viewing platform, so you can make your way there when it’s convenient for you. Check the sign out front to see what time the penguins are expected to make their appearance.

There are quite a lot of vantage points for seeing the little penguins up fairly close from the viewing platform and there is plenty of room if it gets busy with people. You’re not allowed to use torches so the only light you have is the soft red glow from the lights along the platform and around it on the beach.

This is what we saw from the viewing platform on our first night just after 9.15pm.

The lack of light makes it difficult to get any decent photos or video, but watching those little penguins come ashore and hearing their calls was a beautiful experience. And as you can see, the penguins came up quite close to the viewing platform.

The next night, and our last night at Stanley, was bitterly cold, extremely windy and rainy, so I had to beg and plead with my friend to get her to come with me to see the penguins one last time, and we were both very happy we did venture out as we saw this just down the road before we even got to the viewing platform!

This was the highlight of my trip and an experience to remember! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stanley And The Nut

Stanley is an historic little village with a population of just over 550. It’s a popular tourist attraction and is also one of the locations where the movie The Light Between Oceans was filmed. The township is located at the base of the The Nut and is commonly referred to as The Edge Of The World (once you have been there, you will understand why!). The famous Nut is actually an old volcanic plug, and you can go to the top of it and see the most magnificent views.

When my friend Petrina and I went to Stanley last December, it was very cold and extremely windy, and it rained on and off all the time, you wouldn’t know it was summer! Because of the extreme weather, some things were not open or operating, including the chairlift to the top of The Nut, so we decided to brave the elements and do the steep walk all the way to the top.

Couldn’t keep up with my friend Petrina! The path up The Nut is very steep!

I had to stop a number of times to rest going up the the steep hill, but the views going up were so worth it!

Part way up the climb was Highfield Lookout. Beautiful views but so windy I had trouble standing still!

View from Highfield Lookout

Further up was Tatlows Beach Lookout, even windier still! Petrina didn’t want to get too close to the lookout, and I don’t blame her, because the wind was so strong it was a bit scary when the gusts hit.

The rain came back as I was trying to stand up properly in the wind to get a quick video. A few seconds filming was all I could get before I got too freaked out by the conditions and backed away from the lookout.

Once we reached the top, there was a walk circuiting the Nut. Part of it was sheltered from the weather but most of it meant we were exposed to the rain and strong wind, and boy was it cold! We only saw a few other brave souls along the way. It really felt like you were at the edge of the world with views like these.

And then came the long steep walk down …

We made it! This was a great experience and I would love to do it again but in better weather conditions. ๐Ÿ˜€

The Nut, Stanley, Tasmania

I am still amazed when I think that I walked all the way to the top and back of this iconic Tasmanian landmark!

Road Trip To Stanley

Last December, a good friend of mine from Queensland, Petrina, came to stay with me and while she was here, we went on a 3 day road trip and explored a bit of the north west of Tasmania.

Our first stop from Launceston was the interesting village of Grindelwald, where many of the houses are built to replicate Swiss chalets, including an over 50s retirement home across the road from a resort.

Part of Grindelwald, a little piece of Switzerland in Tasmania

While my friend grabbed a necessary coffee, I waited by the lake and observed some of the local wildlife.

This adorable duck came up quite close to me.

This was an unexpected but delightful sighting!

Next stop was the town of Devonport and the light house at Mersey Bluff.

Along the way we saw a number of poppy fields in flower. These are actually white flowers and not the red poppies you may be familiar with. These poppy flowers are grown to extract an alkaloid for pharmaceutical use, and include morphine and codeine as well as oripavine used to treat heroin overdoses. Tasmania is the worldโ€™s largest producer of licit alkaloid material, supplying almost half of the worldโ€™s demand!

Poppy fields seen from the main highway in north west Tasmania

Our next stop was the charming small town of Penguin.

The iconic Big Penguin in the town of Penguin, Tasmania
A Doctor Who TARDIS public book lending library on the main street in Penguin
Public rubbish bins on the main street in Penguin

Back on the road again, who wouldn’t enjoy a scenic drive along this highway!

Coming into the township of Stanley, you can’t miss seeing the famous Nut!

In my next post you will see more of this Tasmanian icon and views from the top!!

Below is a map of Tasmania showing the route we took.

Liffey Falls (Short Walk)

Liffey Falls is one of the 60 Great Short Walks of Tasmania and is situated near Deloraine in the Great Western Tiers.ย  There are two walks you can do here, the short one, which we did which is a well formed track and takes about 45 minutes to complete, and there is a much longer track not as developed which we hope to do another time.

Walking through the rainforest you will see massive tree ferns, tall eucalypts, myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood trees, and you will hear the twittering of forest dwelling birds, but good luck in spotting them among the trees or trying to get a photo! I got to see my first pink robin here but it was too quick for me to get a picture.

Can you see a face?

Liffey Falls is said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tasmania.

At the falls you will also see a side track with a sign to a “big tree” and is definitely worth checking out. It has to be one of the biggest eucalypt trees I have ever seen!

Liffey Falls is a must do when visiting Tasmania, and is best seen after some rain. The short walk is quite easy and there are some viewing platforms along the way providing good photo opportunities.

Winifred Curtis Scamander Reserve

On the east coast of Tasmania there is a small town called Scamander and there you will find a 75 hectare nature reserve called Winifred Curtis Scamander Reserve. The reserve is named after Winifred Curtis who is well regarded for her studies in botany and who also wrote the six volumes of The Endemic Flora of Tasmania.

The walking trail is easy and mostly flat, with lots of wildlife, even on a day with changeable weather conditions as was the case when we visited there in January this year. What I really appreciated about this walking trail was the frequent signposts with a map and options to go different ways to shorten or lengthen your walk.

We saw quite a number of pelicans, looking like graceful sailboats even in choppy water from the wind.

I couldn’t get a better photo but I think this could be a Dusky Woodswallow.

There were plenty of Black swans too.

And Little Pied cormorants.

And a Little Black cormorant.

And Pied oystercatchers.

The trail changed as we headed inland towards a lookout.

Honey bees found something sweet!

We were almost at the end of the trail when this blue tongued lizard made a brief appearance.

Before heading home, we checked out the little coastal town of Scamander and its main beach.

If you’re ever on the east coast of Tasmania, make sure to stop by Scamander and enjoy a little relaxation while soaking up the beautiful views, and check out the river, beaches, lagoon and reserve with all its wildlife. Definitely worth a visit! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ–๐Ÿฆข

Notley Fern Gorge State Reserve

About half an hour’s drive north west of Launceston in Tasmania, is a lovely spot for a forest walk at Notley Fern Gorge State Reserve.

A scenic drive brings you to a little car park from which there is a walking track taking you past tall eucalypts, tree ferns and mossy scenes, and crosses a creek a number of times. The path is a mixture of boardwalk, natural path and steps with some inclines, and the walk takes around 45 minutes on a looping track and has the occasional little sign post highlighting trees and ferns of interest.

We went for a walk there in March just before the coronavirus lockdown, and visited there again last weekend as some of our restrictions had lifted and we were once again able to get out a bit more.

I managed to spot a pademelon not far into the walk.

We quite often saw this little fern growing on the tree ferns, called common filmy fern.

We also came across this interesting plant called a kangaroo fern.

Here it is growing on one of the trees in the forest.

And here is a close up of one of the fern fronds. Can you see how it resembles a kangaroo paw?

Along the way we spied a number of different species of fungi.

I also had my first sighting of a scarlet robin!

The scenery is quite beautiful in this reserve, it felt lovely and cool and fresh, with the sweet chatter of tiny little birds in the trees, tantalisingly close but difficult to spot.

If you go there for a visit, don’t miss Brady’s Tree, a large tree with a burnt out hollow that legend says bushranger Matthew Brady and his gang hid in during the early 1820s!