Thursday 14 February
Bright sunny morning, we just relaxed, fed the goats and chicken, chased the dog around the garden, clothes washing, updated finances, etc.....
We drove into Launceston to a new development on the waterfront, called Seaport and to the Mudbar Restaurant to meet Greg and Debbie. Greg was a very close friend of David, Ruth’s first husband. We had a great time, Greg and Debbie were great fun and the food was really good.
After lunch we were invited back to Greg and Debbies, in Hillwood, northward, on the east side of the Tamar. Lovely afternoon, Ruth reminiscing with Greg and Debbie and swapping photographs. Suddenly it was approaching 7 o’clock and we had the dog to feed! We left and drove back down the East Tamar Highway, skirting the edge of Launceston, up the West Tamar Highway to our house-sit.
Fed dog, had a little supper, bed.
Friday 15 February
Another bright and sunny morning, we drove into Launceston to have a look around, and Ruth wanted to shop! We did find some fun stuff to buy to bring home. Took some photos of some of the historic buildings, but Launceston didn’t really strike us as well as Hobart did.
Back for lunch and a relaxing couple of hours before heading off to Deloraine to meet Leonie again, for dinner. Just off the A7 on a country lane we came across several white wallabies, a bit of a surprise. There were ‘regular’ wallabies and emus in the fields. On and a lovely drive out through farming countryside, up and down through the rolling hills with occasional patches of eucalypt forest. We crossed the Meander River several times before descending into Deloraine. We were early so walked the main road through town. A quant little town, the main road run down the hillside to the river. Another surprise, a train rattled through the bottom of the town, across the river and on out of sight.
Leone had chosen the Deloraine Deli, at the top of the hill, so, we called in and sat, cup of tea (Ruth had a spiced, iced cider!) while we waited for Leonie. Good food, long chat and before we realised it was dark and we needed to get back for the dog. An easy drive down the A1 back to Launceston.
Saturday 16 February
A bit duller this morning, quite cloudy. Into Lonny to visit the museum, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. We discovered, before we went, it has two locations, one the art gallery and the other, in Inveresk, the museum. We decided on the art gallery as it had an exhibit on the first peoples of Tasmania which we wanted to see.
It was a fascinating exhibit telling the story of the first peoples arrival and how they lived, the different clans and their survival of the ice age. Tasmania had been joined by dry land to Australia about 40,000 years ago, but that ‘land bridge’ was flooded after the ice age as sea levels rose and created the Bass Strait. Not much about their encounters with the europeans, which we had learned elsewhere was not pleasant.
The rest of the art gallery was of little interest to us, but there was a small exhibit about Chinese settlement, particularly in the tin mining area in the northeast of Tasmania. Relics from the chinese temples had been rescued as the chinese population in tasmania declined.
So, back for lunch and to clean up the house a bit and pack. Late afternoon we drove back to town once more to look at Cataract Gorge. This time we headed further south and parked at Duck Reach. A lovely walk with Tessa (firmly on her lead, and just as well as several pademelon appeared on the slopes above us, and Tessa loves to chase these!) on the trail above the gorge heading east towards the first basin. We stopped at Sentinel Lookout, a cantilevered platform reaching out over the gorge and the South River Esk for great views.
We turned back the way we had come, it was several kilometres on to the first basin, and dogs weren’t allowed there. I walked down to look at the former power station, across a suspension bridge on the opposite bank. The power station was the first public HEP station in Australia, built in 1895. It and the suspension bridge were destroyed in a flood of 1929 (both were built 12 metres above the usual winter flood level of the river). Both were rebuilt but th epwer station was closed down in 1955 after another dam and more efficient HEP station were built. It was all damaged again in 1967. It is now a museum and there is a big debate as to whether the power station should be reinstated, small as it is.
Nice interesting walk but now back to have dinner and finish our packing. Tomorrow we head for Cradle Mountain.