|Cows and rainbows|
Day 4 -An encounter of the weird kind. Slept in Riana last night. It was Saturday night. After
walking three waterfalls (OK, I admit two of them were easy) and wrestling
the car over country roads, I was a bit tired. Riana South still has a real
country store stocking everything from birthday cards to stockfeed and hardware.
Further up the road in Riana proper, there’s also a nice little campground with
hot showers. Yes, you pay here too, but it doesn’t seem quite as mercenary as
some, though it too has gone up $6 since the camping book was published.
was a barbecue in progress when I got there and a roaring fire. It was a
private function – a family reunion, but one of the guests handed me some sausage
anyway. We had a bit of a chat by the fire and then I attempted to turn in. It wasn’t quiet for long. Some of the lads came
to check out the van. ‘Wouldn’t mind a set - up like that,” said one. They tested
out the bullbar by bouncing up and down on it a bit, checked out the fire
extinguisher, opened all the flaps – the water inlet, the power inlet. They were
in high spirits -had had a few drinks, but weren’t belligerent or anything - just trying to stir me up. I pretended not to notice assuming that
they would get sick of it soon and go away. Suddenly "Sproing!” there’s an
unholy racket and the Annexe starts to unravel. I was now wide awake. I’d never used the
Annexe in Tasmania and the one time it was used in Queensland, someone else put
it up. I had no idea how to put it back.
Very sheepish and apologetic, the five
young men spent ages trying to put it back together, but somehow the legs
kept falling out. It became the night’s entertainment. Soon all the other
guests gathered round offering advice. I wouldn’t have minded a bit of company
last night, but perhaps not that much. By the time a mini bus came to take everyone home,
there was only a small bit of Annexe left sticking out, but it seemed pretty
secure. We exchanged addresses in case it caused any further problems. One
offered money, another asked “What’s your favourite shop?” so he could send me
a gift card, but I was a bit over it by this time and just wished everyone would go away. I also prayed that I wouldn’t suddenly
become airborne in the morning.
The shower is surprisingly long for a coin -in -the slot one.
The hot water is still going when I finish, though I don’t trust these enough
to wash my hair. I pay my dues and fill
up and stock up at the South Riana Store.
I like shopping in places like this for several reasons. For a start I
want them to be there next time I come and while sixty dollars may not mean
much to the big supermarkets, it just might help here. It’s also a way of
saying thanks for still offering a bit of hospitality to travellers –
amenities, barbecues and picnic tables, when so many places no longer do. You also
often find unusual things like jaffle irons in places like this. I’ll bet you
could find some sleeve protectors and stays if you looked long enough. I once found
two excellent chambray police shirts with detachable collars in Bairnsdale (Vic) and they lasted for years and years – the shirts, I mean, not the collars.
Usually country stores can’t compete well with the volume purchasing power of
the big supermarkets, but several items here – the coffee and my favourite
muesli, are the same price or less than they are in the city. Then it’s off
overland again. What a shame that so few tourists get to see this part of
Tasmania. They see the major cities and Cradle Mountain and maybe Strahan and
Port Arthur and think “been there, done that.”
|There's a beautiful waterfall on the way to Preston (small Canon)|
There are lovely views going through Gunn’s Plains but I can
also see lots of snow on the plateau. Looks like I won’t be returning via the
Lakes. Soon I encounter another waterfall right beside the road. It’s of the
Class 1 type and very easy to get to – as the sign says, “Preston Falls is one
of the most easily accessible Falls in Tasmania 15 mins return, easy walk” How could I refuse. I’ve made a little plastic hoodie for the big camera and take it
along too. It’s a beautiful high
waterfall that plunges into a deep green gorge. I am now in that nest of roads
around Castra, where I was last April. Castra,
Upper Castra and Central Castra and several other small communities are shown
as large dots on my map. The signs are faded or missing and the only way to
know that you have arrived is because the limit board changes. Seeing signs saying
“Speed Limit 100 Kmph” makes me smile. I feel lucky to be achieving 25.
|Preston Falls - big camera - better picture but it doesn't fit it all in|
|Base of the Falls|
I wouldn’t mind having another look at those falls now that
the rivers are running high, but I’m starting to feel really guilty about not
contacting my family.They’ll be sending the
troops out soon. Not only have I had no signal anywhere since I left home – phone
or computer, but I can’t get anything to charge. Hope I haven’t damaged
anything expensive driving over all those rough roads. Without my phone I don’t
have anyone’s number. Wilmot isn’t too far away down a little used road. Last
time I went through it was an actual town. Maybe someone there will have wifi.
|I can see why this road isn't popular - took me ages to find it. Hope the ban on caravans and trailers doesn't include campervans. Still, it's not as steep as some of the ones at home, like Mellifont Street. Not that I would want to drive up it|
|There are other hazards too|
|Uh Oh! Snow on the mountains. Looks like I won't be going home that way|
The Wilmot Access Centre isn’t open. No one knows the hours.
I read the notice board at the Town Hall listing all the attractions such as the original G.J.
Coles store. When I ask about it – it was here last time, I learn that it has
burnt down. I also notice that there’s a waterfall in this area too. It is
however, of the Class 2 variety requiring a one and a half hour bushwalk. It
starts from a campground about 3 km out of town. I find a couple of walks around
the edge of the lake but nothing else. It rains again. A man who lives nearby
tells me that the walk no longer starts here but up the road and that the track
has not been well maintained. As it’s late now, I cook a meal and give up for
|No, this picture is not upside down. This is the edge of Lake Barrington at dusk|