Day 2 featured more exploring and today we were off to the Freycinet Peninsula, after an evening in Bicheno.
I had headed down to the harbour for fish and chips – I wasn’t wasting an opportunity to eat them by the sea.
The fish and chip shop that I, and everybody else in Bicheno, was heading for was closed… in Summer, high season, on a sunny Sunday evening… what an own goal.
The masses descended on the Lobster Shack – a more upmarket but entirely reasonably priced menu.
The problem for the Shack is that it has a small kitchen and they couldn’t cope with demand. It was an hour before my meal arrived, a wait sweetened by watching a pod of dolphins swim up the harbour.
I followed this with a wander around Bicheno, to the blow hole and up to the boulder overlooking this town.
Just as I was contemplating how Picnic at Hanging Rock this was, I spotted a group who had got themselves stranded at the top of the boulder.
That was the evening’s entertainment sorted.
Having established that there was no alternative route down for the intrepid explorers, I sat back to watch as they made their way down, barefoot.
Note to readers, flip flops/ thongs/ jandals are not appropriate footwear for walking and climbing… but watching other muppets test the limits of their footwear is highly entertaining.
So now on Day 2, with a reminder for appropriate footwear, we were off to Freycinet National Park and I was heading for Wineglass Bay.
As we pulled into the forested National Park, Phil our driver pointed out the Hazards – mountains that guard the view to the Bay.
Many of the place names down the East Coast of Tasmania are French – a result of the 1802 scientific voyage by Nicholas Baudin.
He charted the coast with two ships Le Geographe and Le Naturaliste.
Doesn’t it make a change to hear about somebody other than Capatin Cook?
Freycinet is named for Lieutenant Louis Freycinet. A mountain was named for Baudin in 2002 to mark the bicentennial. He hadn’t named anything for himself.
Something rather modest about that, in my view.
The walk to Wineglass Bay is an up and over – up the side of a mountain and down the other side. Well, they call it a mountain – at just under 500m, Mount Amos is half a mountain, though to be fair it only uses half of the word too.
The path to Wineglass Bay only goes 250m up and the scenery is amazing. What I’ll be taking away from Tasmania is memories of bone white trees against vivid blue skies.
I passed a small boy whose Dad was encouraging him to continue. The boy had clearly had enough of “all of the steps,” as I heard him say.
It was a great workout for long legs but when you’ve only got little legs, it must have been gruelling.
They caught up with me 30 minutes later down at the clear waters of Wineglass Bay and Little Legs recovered sufficiently to chase the waves back and forth.
I wonder if he had been angling to be carried.
After a rest on the rocks in the sunshine (factor 50 suncream is a must, sportsfans), wondering where the hell my actual wine glass was and watching the waves crash on the shore, the only way back to the tour bus was… up and over…
…with a short stop at the Wineglass Bay Lookout to take in the absolutely breathtaking view over the Bay on one side of the Hazards and a glimpse of Coles Bay on the other side.
In the distance, beyond the full red boulders, grey smoke hung low in the sky. Another bushfire.
All present and correct back at the bus, for the drive down to Swansea. The land became a mix bush, vineyards and olive trees.
To the South, we could see vast swathes of smoke drifting across the landscape. It rested on the hills like grey fog – there was no wind to move it.
It covered vast tracts of land, far larger than the bushfires we had seen yesterday and Phil said that, with the increased wind, it was likely the Fingal Valley fires we had seen would have worsened.
The weather is making controlling the fires so much more difficult for the firefighters (or fires as they call them here). The wind reinvigorates the flames. Just when they think it has been dealt with, the fire starts up again – it’s like a cat toying with a mouse.
Our destination was Kate’s Berry Farm at Swansea, further around Great Oyster Bay.
Kate set up her jam making business from a small front garden, producing her own fruit. Business has been good and fruit is produced across Tasmania.
We got to sample the jams – the traditional strawberry, raspberry, the more unfamiliar to me, boysenberry and the possibly made up, mingleberry. All very tasty but it was the icecream that I was there for… blueberry and boysenberry.
Sated with sweet stuff, which frankly was deserved after our exertions, we headed off down the coast to Hobart, hoping to find a beach sheltered from the wind.
Eventually the road took us up a steep, twisting road, a canyon down through the forest on one side.
When we reached the top, I wasn’t too surprised to discover that the name of the area was Break Me Neck Hill.
We continued to drive past dry river beds and Phil talked about water shortages in Eastern Tasmania.
Hobart, our final destination, is growing fast with a population reaching 200,000. It was the second settlement in Tasmania.
This was to be my base for the next three nights while day trips took me around the surrounding areas.
Taking a tour, even at the second day, was turning out to be such a good idea. Other than hiring a car, it would have been difficult to get around Tasmania without this.
Details of my specific tour which is with Under Down Under Tours are here.