Our Tassie adventure starts with the crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania. We have chosen to do the night crossing. We board by driving the van into the hull of the boat then take a few belongings and head up to our allocated room and deck 7 for a feed and some entertainment in the onboard cinema.
The food was fabulous, with almost the entire buffet being gluten free. I had bought dinner and snacks on board for Georgia but they weren’t needed. The weather was looking ok and we were hoping for a smooth crossing and it was all smooth sailing as we pulled out of Melbourne and spent the next few hours crossing Port Philip Bay, one of Australia largest bays.
Just as the movie was finishing it seemed we were crossing out the heads, a very narrow opening also knows as “The Rip” before entering the Bass Strait. That was the end of the smooth sailing! With the girls now feeling very unwell we retired, medicated and eventually got some sleep. By 3.30am we had stopped rolling and crashing away on the seas but it was all too exciting to sleep and the floor was no longer comfortable.
Disembarking in Devonport we drove to Bridport where we set up camp for four nights. The first day we were just shattered, (well I was from only a few hours sleep), and did nothing but hang around Bridport. The weather was a little wet, windy and cold so aside from a little walk and play in the playground, I did the food shopping to restock, (as we had to dump all our fresh food before leaving the mainland) and hunkered down for the day.
The following day we drove to Beauty Point to do tours at Seahorse World and Platypus House. Both were fastinating and an a great education. Out of the 47 species of seahorse 26 our found in Australian waters. Seahorse World is an educational centre as well as a seahorse farm shipping these totally fastinating creature all over the world. Pretty cool. And then Platypus House was awesome getting up close and learning about both the Tassie varieties of Platypus and Echidna. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed both these experiences.
Grabbing a quick lunch over looking the Tamar River, we had hoped to visit the Beaconsfield mine also but ran out of time. With Kenny’s Birthday the next day we drove home to get ourselves organized for an early start.
Rightly so the girls get super excited about birthdays. We started with the usual on bed present opening fun, followed by delicious Keto pancakes, (ok, only Ken and I think they are delicious), before driving through to Derby for Kenny do his birthday experience from the family in the west – a private mountain biking skills session! Epic fun and it gave us a chance to scope out Derby as we are hoping to be camping here in a couple of days.
In the evening we went to Launceston for a beautiful meal at Black Cow bistro. OMG, I’m salivating as I type this. A high quality steak house and it didn’t disappoint. They did their best to accommodate the gluten / dairy requirement and everything was delicious. Tassie has such fine produce and the Cape Grim Beef is mouth watering. The girls really do enjoy these fine dining experiences and it makes it all the more enjoyable for Ken and I. We are very proud of them and grateful we get to share this together.
On our last day in Bridport we enjoyed the stunning coast line and a bit of 4WD’ing on the beach at Double Sandy Point Conservation Area. Ken loves the driving and rolling through the dunes, the girls love sliding down the dunes on the boogie boards and we even had an encounter with some wild life – a Tassie Tiger Snake!
One of Australia’s best golf courses was just down the road and we’d seen some amazing photos but wanted to see for ourselves. Neither of us are keen golfers but it’s a stunning links course that ranks the 11th best golf course in the world. Something about it reminded me so much of Scotland, so I was instantly in love with the swaying tall coastal grasses making there gentle rustling song and the quaint tunnel entrance to the gorgeous coast line.
That’s a wrap for our first camp and taste of Tassie and we are on a high. Next camp spot is a fabulous free camp in Derby for a few days mountain biking. With not too much distance to travel and a hope to get a riverside spot we got up early had breakfast in the car and got ourselves to Derby quick smart. Bingo! The plan worked a treat. Being a Friday I was worried about the weekend crowd arriving and I’m glad we did. We jagged a super riverside spot and were well settled by the time the entire camp swelled to capacity.
What a bueat spot. Just on the outskirts of this grown town. This is a beautiful free camp right on the banks of the River and with the best camp amenities we have ever come across. Derby was an old tin mining town but following a devastating disaster that flooded the valley taking the lives of 14 people the mine was closed and the the town has been dying ever since. THat is until, someone started creating mountain biking tracks everywhere and now it’s a growing and bustle hub for thrill seekers of all ages and stages with visitors and competions from all over the world.
Just last year they put in a new suspension bridge across the river and established some easy tracks for families and beginners. Completing our first track and loving it we were looking forward to knocking a few more off over the next few days. After a few circuits around the pump track it was time for lunch and Lulu to have a sleep. That afternoon Ken took the girls out for another ride which finished them off for the day before trying another different pizza base in the search for the best gluten free pizza and movie night.
The next day was more cycling in the morning and in the afternoon we got the pack raft out to try and spot some Platypus. Our neighbour, Geoff, had plenty of experience doing rapids and encouraged us to give it a go. What a buzz. With Geoff on hand to haul us out if needed and the water not being very deep at all it was all good fun.
On Sunday the local market in the Town Hall supplied us with plenty of locally grown produce and we were set for the week to come. More cycling and canoeing in cool but sunny weather and relaxing to the sounds of the babbling river was just bliss. This place is going to be a highlight for us and we only just arrived.