Thurs 9th. We awoke to rain and increased winds and surf activity so Chris and I went off to find the laundromat and did the washing and drying before returning to the van. By evening the rain had eased and the winds too, so we headed off to view the Little Penguins (previously known as Fairy Penguins). We were advised to be there just after 8 but the tour started at 8.45pm with a talk about the Penguins and then we wandered along the boardwalk to view some of the chicks and then the parents coming in to feed them. It was an arduous journey up the rocks for the parents but the young were waiting for them and calling. At 10pm we headed back to the van.
Fri 10th I was told by some of the other campers that there were Little Penguins that came in on the other side of the camp grounds so we decided we would go for a walk tonight and see if we could find them.
Today though we went out to Table Cape to view the Tulips (unfortunately they had finished flowering and been harvested – but there were Liliums being picked).
There were lots of Poppy fields out this way. Some still with a few flowers and almost ready to be harvested.
We then went back into Wynyard and the Visitor Centre. They had two great displays here. One of old vehicles and the other was photography.
We then went to the café for a very late morning tea and Chris went to post parcels to family.
We then drove out to Hellyers Gorge via the A10 and through Yolla
[an Aboriginal word meaning Mutton Bird] – twisting, turning, up and down road. The Gorge was not at all what I expected. I was thinking a deep gorge but it was just ?? a small bank with a small/shallow/narrow river running through it. There were four motorhomes parked there taking advantage of the free area.
After this we travelled on to the area known as ‘Fingerpost’ [because of the posts with ‘fingers’ pointing to all different places] and then up the B18 back to Burnie. Chris decided that if we had the choice she would rather travel on the B18 with the van as it was straighter and more gradual climb/descent as opposed to the A10. This may be one of the straighter roads we will travel on over the next few weeks. On arrival back in Burnie we found a park in town (everywhere is pay parking) and then toured the streets. We stopped at Hudson Coffee for a coffee and then up the street and down along the oceanfront and then back up to the car before returning to the van.
Sat 11th. We moved on to Arthur River today as we are booked in for a River Cruise tomorrow. We camped in the Manuka Campground for $13 per night with fresh water available and toilet amenities. We drove out to ‘Edge of the World’ Lookout and witnessed all the timber washed up on the shoreline and rocks. Apparently this is the aftermath of the floods last October – so much timber and such big trees.
We then drove down Couta Rocks and back up. There are rubble strips across the road in certain areas to try and deter the Tassie Devils, Pademelons and Wallabies from nearing the road. Pademelons are very small wallaby type animals. Tassie Devils are on the ‘endangered list’ – so every effort is being made to try and slow the decline of the animal. Unfortunately, there is also a cancerous mouth tumour which is starting to affect the animals.
During the afternoon, we have had squally showers and high winds with some heavier rain.
Sun 12th we headed in to the cruise at 9.45am. The wind was blowing and the seas were up. (We were told that there were 3metre waves out the front). 9 passengers were on the white boat by 10am to witness the red boat leave on their tour. The skipper had taken off from the jetty and left his deckhand on the Jetty. (The deckhand is also his wife). We saw him bring the boat back in bow first to the jetty and she attempt to climb on and nearly fall into the river. He then reversed the boat out into the river and down toward the bridge before bringing it back in to the jetty at a 45-degree angle, and two of the male passengers came out, in the rain, and helped pull the deckhand onto the boat as she clambered over the bow. The waves were coming in at a rate of knots and the wind was blowing at about 30knots whilst all this was happening.
We moved out from the jetty at 10.15 am and made our way up the river, as we went around the first bend, the wind eased and the waves were decreased. As we travelled up the river we witnessed White-breasted Sea Eagle being chased by Black Wedge-tailed Eagles and then being fed by our skipper – Rob Chandler.
Rob pointed out different vegetation, damage by the floods, different rock formations and local camping spots along the river. He kept an eye out for the blue Kingfisher but we didn’t have any luck. We travelled 15km up the river to the junction with the Frankland River before turning around and heading back to his jetty. Rob and his wife Kaye own 50acres along the river and have built boardwalks, shelters and a lovely spot to have lunch. During lunch, we had the pleasure of seeing two adult Pademelons and a joey come in for some feed from Rob. After lunch we then did a tour up along the creek to the waterfall before returning to the boat. The ‘old man ferns’ grow at a rate of 1 metre every 150 years. Some of the ferns we passed were greater than 5 metres tall.
The weather remained good for our lunch stop, but once we returned to the boat we encountered another squally rainstorm followed by brilliant sunshine and then drizzle. As we were approaching the second to last bend in the river, Kaye rang to say the seas were up to 7metres high and the winds at 50knots, so everyone had to come into the cabin and be seated for the docking at the jetty. As we docked at 4.15pm, there was another squall come through and the waves were pushing the boat up against the Jetty. Once we were secure we sat and waited for the squall to pass before heading for the car. Once we were safely in the car, we headed out to ‘Edge of the World’ but it was so wild and woolly out there that we didn’t leave the cars but went back to the vans.