On Sunday we took the ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania. We were very fortunate because during the night before a gale was passing and we were worried the seas would not be favorable. But, as we departed the harbor the sun was coming out and the winds had dropped. The winds and seas were also aft of our beam so the ride was relatively smooth (although it wouldn’t have been in our much smaller boat). The Spirit of Tasmania ferry is the size of a cruise ship and carried hundreds of cars, trucks and camper vans. It also had many lounges, restaurants, casino games, and stores.
We were in the company of some sailing buddies of ours. The crew of s/v Worrall Wind (Russ and Roz) joined up with us in the Melbourne Holiday park a couple of days earlier. We spent the whole day on the cruise ship hanging out with them and learning how to play “Fiji Rummy” – a variation on rummy they had devised while visiting Fiji last year. The game took up at least 4 hours of our afternoon.
We arrived at Tasmania just a couple of hours before sunset, and we could see this island would be beautiful already. But, first we had to spend 90 minutes waiting for our turn to get our vehicles off the boat, and then going through a quarantine inspection point. Fortunately, our campground was only a short drive away and we quickly set up our tent. Then we all piled in our car and went to grab a bite to eat in Devonport since no one wanted to cook dinner.
The Worralls are staying for a month in Tasmania, so we said goodbye to them in the morning since we only have 4 days to see this large island. We had an ambitious day of driving over 200 km. The weather was perfect! Sunny and warm clean dry air. We stopped dozens of times to take pictures along the way. We saw some dead animals on the road. One we thought was a tasmanian devil, but after looking at the photo we took I realized it was a possum. We also saw several dead wallaby and many birds and rodents along the road. Evidence of a lot of wildlife. Later we saw a live Echidna walking slowly across the road (he made it!).
We drove through beautiful farm country with orchards, cattle, sheep, and many crops. We saw valleys, mountains, beautiful forests, forest nurseries, and visited a gorge. We went to the second largest city of Launceston. We took back roads several times and really enjoyed some beautiful sights. We went on some very curvy mountain roads which I enjoyed immensely in our nice little sports car. Then, we reached the east coast and drove down along beautiful rocky and beach-lined coastline. The Tasman sea had beautiful blue and turqouise waters.
We ended up the day driving down to the Freycinet National Park to a town called Coles Bay. What a beautiful place! The sun was getting low in the sky lighting up these immense mountains on the tip of the penninsula. We were at a campground just a couple of kilometers from the base of the mountains and with a beautiful beach off the bay. After picking our tent site we grabbed the cameras and walked up the beach and took some pictures. On the way back we stopped and spoke to an older couple who were watching some birds. There was a strange sea bird with a wicked colorful beak. We both thought at first it was a kind of albatross, but we aren’t sure what it is yet. We ended up talking quite a while with this couple who were very interested in our travels as they are also yachties.
We finished the day drinking some beers while cooking dinner at the campground and a beautiful sunset. What a day!
Here are a few photos from the day…they barely speak to the wonderful scenes we saw.
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