We’re currently on the Great Nature Trail NW Tas’ having taken the Spirit of Tasmania across the Bass Strait. Our first camp was a few days at Forth, in a delightful freecamp 20ks west of Devonport. It is a spacious cricket reserve beside the Forth River with a lovely outlook and a local pub just along the walk that will take you across the river. After the most recent rains here, our world is green and lush, although there is some flooding debris to be still found around the banks. The locals will tell you that the river is still higher than it has been for some time, testament to the awesome force of water that swept down the local rivers in the most recent floods. The camp was one that came recommended as a place to wait-up for the trans-strait ferry. It was one we choose to camp up at, having got off the boat at 6:30pm and I too would highly recommend it. There are of course other spots, some closer, though this one is convenient and spacious and the village of Forth is just a country delight.
Our destination over the coming weeks will be to the Arthur River or the ‘Edge of the World’… yep there is such a place just after the West Point, also a place and an Aboriginal Reserve. This is the Great Nature Trail otherwise known as the Bass Highway in the North Western corner of this beautiful isle. It is about 200klm long and we hope to spend a few weeks along the trail, in that we have given ourselves some months to explore Tasmania.
Before we left the River Forth though we explored some of the local delights such as the Don River Railway Museum where The Man spent an hour or two. Then it was my turn and I chose The Cherry Shed in Latrobe for lunch… and what a delightful luncheon it was. I stocked up on Cherry Tawny Port and an inviting selection of sauces/marinades. They have relocated the Latrobe Information Centre to the Cherry Barn also and here we collected some really great advice from the wonderful volunteer. Latrobe proved an interesting little village and we found a live performer at the Axemen’s Hall of Fame where we whiled away a few more hours in their Sunday craft market. In all it was a great first experience of Tas’.
The season has also opened for the White Bait and there are fishermen all along the river ways trying their luck under special licence. I once tried some of this delectable treats in New Zealand where the white bait run is highly prized and they make for great eating. This run accommodates the larger sea salmon and trout coming up into the rivers to feed so the fishing is promising to be good. Gotta get some more bait though as they customs confiscated my carefully collected frozen baits at Port Melbourne… back the start there.
We were advised early in the planning that a lot of the freecamps in Tas require ‘grey water catchement’ ie.. you must capture all your waste including grey water and I always wondered why? Are they so different from mainland freecamps? Well it turns out that yes they are… many of the freecamps on this gorgeous island have wildlife considerations. Colonies of penguins and platypus that live close by and which would be majorly impacted by wastewater. Truly people… consider that grey water tank and don’t come across the strait without one.
On this same vein we are off bird-watching. Dotted all around Tas’ are precious colonies of the little penguins that nest over the summer months. In many places such as Lillico Beach Conservation Area there are also many precious volunteers who care for and protect these delightful colonies. These reserves are open to the public to freely visit and spending an evening with the local wildlife is one of the best of travelling about Tasmania. And so… our adventure begins on this my first blog about touring Tassy.
Jan is a Traveller and an Author. You can find out more about her books on travel on the page dedicated to Oldies at Large, where you will also find a list of her blog postings in topic.
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