Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Tasman Peninsula - Day 1

Near Dunally. Not a castle on the Rhine, but built by a German of course, at a cost of $ 11 million.

I know I’ve been home too long when playing house gets tedious and I no longer appreciate the comforts of home. Having days and days of dreary grey or rainy weather doesn’t help either. 

As soon as the weather report promised two consecutive days of sunshine, I was out the door.
This time I headed for that other protuberance on the East Coast – the Tasman Peninsula.
There are two Peninsulas here really -the Forestier and the Tasman, but I spent most
of my time on the one further south. It’s most famous for its stunning convict relics but
also has spectacular geological features, many of which would qualify as Wonders of
the World. Though only about 100Km from Hobart the hilliness and winding
roads can make it a bit of a slog. Much better to have someone drive you, so that you
can appreciate the pleasant seascapes and rustic scenery or at least take your time so
you can call in at some of the little places in between.

Old cannery at Dunally, now a Gallery and Cafe
Sorrell having gone all metropolitan with a Coles Store, far too many round –a -bouts and a traffic
light, I stopped at Dunally this time. This still seems to be a friendly fishing sort of place right at
the junction where the first Peninsula separates from the Mainland. There are playgrounds and
signs on the pub saying something like “RV’s Welcome even if they aren’t customers” which is very
welcome on a demanding road which allows few places to pull over.  I am not a great fish fan, but I
understand that its main claim to fame is the seafood on the pier. It ought to be because the whole
coast in these parts is full of ragged little bays and inlets filled with fishing boats.  It also has a little
history. It’s where one of Abel Tasman’s ships called in – that is to say, the ship’s carpenter swam
ashore in 1642 to plant the flag for the Dutch crown.  ApparentlyPrince Frederick Hendrick wasn’t
all that excited about the news and it was not until the French and British were at war two
centuries later, and the French were taking an interest, that the British decided to claim it to use as
a prison.

Just over the second Isthmus which joins the two Peninsulas together, is Eaglehawk Neck
infamous for its dog line which kept convicts from escaping. You can still see the Officers’
Quarters here, along with other historical artefacts, but today I am here for nature rather
than culture. 
My first stop on the other side  is at the Tasman Blowhole. It’s not one in the traditional
sense, but it does do a reasonable amount of blowing and sucking, even though there is no
giant water spout.
Hear it roar!

Tasman Blowhole

Then I continue on to Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. It's short trip along the same sealed road and
short walk from the carpark. Here too you can marvel at the enormous power of the ocean and wonder
why we aren’t using it to make electricity. Just as our state was among the first to exploit the power of
our rivers, we could do the same with oceans. Not here of course. It’s much too beautiful, but we are
surrounded by them. Just remember, you read it here first. Then the state could sell it to a corporation
and we could buy it back at twice the price, just like we do with our hydro power. But don’t let a word
of this get out.
Tasman Arch
Looking into the maw of the Devil's Kitchen

One small place along the way deserves a brief mention. Called Doo Town, most houses have Doo
in their names, so you get Dr Doolittle, Gunnadoo, Make – Doo, Doo- Drop- Inn, Just Doo It, 
Love Me Doo and so on.  Some of my favourites are shown below. What makes them endearing
even though some places are a bit run down, is that they are mostly unpretentious  buildings  that
remind you of simpler times, of innocent family beach holidays of the fifties.

This one says Doo Little. Maybe this is a little too little
 Waterfall Bay
At the end of the Devil's Kitchen parking area, there is a fairly easy 1.5 Km walk along the
and through woodland to Waterfall Bay.
It’s sunny and the bush puts on a lovely display of wild flowers. Dress code for the season
appears to be yellow and white, but there are a few deviants here and there, showing off in
blue or pink or purple. Glimpses of the coast take your breath away. Afterwards I drive
12 Km down a “good dirt road” – read enormous potholes and corrugations  which make
my van sound like a tinker’s caravan to reach the peaceful Fortescue Bay Campground.

Paterson's Arch

Nameless Pillar

One of several types of Wattle

A type of Guinea Flower

Another Wattle

Not sure what this pretty little shrub is called

There are fabulous ocean views all the way along the coast, but tomorrow I will be heading
for those two pillars on the horizon.

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