Norm’s Tasmanian Trek 2019 – Episode Three

The scenery improved as I got closer to Port Arthur and, for me, is much more appealing than the likes of Scamander or Bicheno. My cottage is a water-view one. And to be able to sit in the sun on the balcony with a well-earned cup of coffee and take it all in was as good an after-drive recovery as I could wish for.

View from my balcony, Stewarts Bay Lodge, Port Arthur, TAS
11 March 2019

Once myself again I toddled down the path to the beach so that I could get photos not only of the beach but my own little “log cabin” as well.

A view of my cabin from the beach – the closest one on the right
Stewarts Bay Lodge, Port Arthur, TAS
11 March 2019

Photos: My visit to and stay at Stewart Bay, Port Arthur – 11th March 2019

I opted for seafood again for dinner tonight at the on-site restaurant “Gabriel’s on the Bay”. The fish of the day was Trevalla again, so I chose the scallops, described as follows, “Panko Crumbed Tasmanian Scallops served with Chips, Salad, Pickled Ginger & Wasabi Mayo”.
Lamentably, neither the meal or the service lived up to what I had experienced in St Helen’s. The scallops were tiny possibly as a result of shrivelling with fear in the deep fryer. But did I eat them? You bet. Because, after all, it was a long time since breakfast.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

As forecast, it rained overnight, and I woke with the need to turn on the heating before returning to bed until things warmed up. It looked cold and miserable outside, so I took the advantage of having a washer and dryer to keep up-to-date with the laundry.
With washing all dry, the sun came out and I was off exploring. First stop was the Tessellated Pavement, where I got a few photos, but I have to admit that what I saw didn’t appear as attractive as the promotional photos depicted it. But for what it’s worth, here’s one:

Tessellated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck, SE TAS
12 March 2019

Next stop was Maingon Bay Lookout and Blowhole. From the number of cars, and campers in the carpark it looked as if I was going to have to battle the crowds to see anything. I didn’t have to because most of them were there to partake of the offerings of “Doo-lishus”, donating what they didn’t eat to a flock of waiting seagulls.
It did mean however that I did get good views of both bay and blowhole – even if I am bound to say as so many amateur photographers do, the photos don’t do either justice.
Probably because the tide was low, the blowhole was not at what I would presume would be it’s geyser-like best.

From Maingon Bay Lookout, Eaglehawk Neck, SE TAS
12 March 2019

The final port of call for the day was the Port Arthur Historic site. The Visitors’ Centre is new since I was last there and really quite impressive. I was able to book for the 3:00 pm 30-minute ferry ride from Mason Cove so had a good hour and a half to wander about on my own. The whole site is a credit to the PAHS management Authority both for its evident care of the grounds and buildings and the friendly welcomes of the reception staff and ferry crew.
The manicured lawns were looking a little drought affected. But the gardens were flourishing, helped I know by the lashings of odorous manure being applied as I trod the path between the gardeners dispensing it.

The ruined Church was as I remembered it and no less moving than it had been on both my previous visits.

The Convict Church, Port Arthur, SE TAS
12 March 2019

The ferry was much larger than I had expected and very modern – and, again, well maintained. We voyaged past the Dockyard, and two islands, the first the location of the “Point Puer Boys’ Prison”, the second where the cemetery was located, the “Isle of the Dead”. Although the many Asian visitors on board probably didn’t understand a word, the commentary was excellent. And as if that wasn’t enough, the fare was included in the cost of entry.

I am so glad I returned even if it meant I missed out on going to the Coal Mines Historic site recommended by the receptionist here. I tried not to make it too obvious what I thought about coal mines and mining.

It was seafood night again at “Gabriel’s”. The fish of the day, I’m not sure what, was nothing to write home about with a too heavy batter and dryish fish. While I would recommend the Stewart’s Bay Lodge as a lovely place to “chill out” I would not recommend eating there.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

A nice early start after my maple syrup muesli bars and coffee breakfast. It was a bracing 9° when I left Stewarts Bay and had only got to 17° when I pulled into the Shopping Centre in Kingston called, I know not what, but where there is a Supermarket and a BIG W. And, almost as importantly, a BWS so I could replenish my McGuigan Red supply. The two I bought with me lasted until last night, so I’ve been doing well.

The drive over from Eaglehawk Neck is a really lovely one and the traffic was reasonable until I got close to Hobart. It was a slow slog through Hobart but once through Eksy5 got the bit between her teeth to attack steep climbs and descents that she must have been built for. Although I must have driven this way before, I have no recollection of how hilly it really was – but we both enjoyed the challenge.
While in Kingston I also took the opportunity to take a peek at the Wellington Vista Retirement Village, one of the few villages that offer rental units. The village itself is quite modern and looks to be well maintained.
It is run by, wait for it, Christian Homes Tasmania, who are Kingston based. They have a number of other villages but of the rental ones, this looked the likeliest if I took that path.
I’ll also take a similar peek at the Dover Cottages across the road from the RSL and run by the Huon Valley Council. I have no doubt that both will have waiting lists, but I wanted to take a gander at them before I add myself to any list. Obviously, the Dover ones have more than a little appeal because of their propinquity to Surveyors Bay, where Carolyn and Tony’s property is located.

I turned off the Huon Highway and took the Esperance Coast Road to get my first look at their block of land. Again, with so little traffic, it was easy to take it slowly and take in the views. What a gorgeous part of the world.
I didn’t time my arrival at 49 Dunn Drive very well though, as no sooner I got there, the heavens opened up on me. I did take a couple of photos but with the Lot Numbers not showing on the “Sold” ones I’m not sure I got the right one.

Carolyn and Tony’s Block, 49 Dunn Drive, Surveyors Bay, Huon Valley,  TAS
13 March 2019

I’ll do some more Google aerial searches before I return tomorrow. However, whichever lot it is, what a wonderful site for their “rooms with a view”.

I arrived at the Driftwood Cottages in Dover at about 2:30 pm to a warm welcome from Laura – much warmer than the 13° despite the sun having come out again. Each of the waterfront studios is named after one of the Tasmanian woods that feature in their construction.  Mine was, appropriately enough seeing I’m in the Huon Valey, “Huon”. And what a view?
Although I was told that the underfloor heating was on, I’ve had to lift it a notch or two to warm things up a bit. I’ll certainly be turning on the electric blanket.

I drove up to the RSL at about 5:50 for dinner only to find that they were fully booked. I must have looked truly forlorn because they kindly found me a spot between the gaming room and the smoking chamber where I was able to enjoy my seafood basket.
As Carolyn had said and Laura had confirmed, the Club serves good honest and good value pub food. Half the price of “Gabriel’s” offering and at least twice as good. I’ve booked for tomorrow night.

Thursday 14 March 2019

A slow start to the day, more because the blackout curtains worked as well as they should have than I was in need of a sleep-in. A leisurely breakfast of my crunchy maple syrup rolled oat bars washed down with a Nespresso coffee was a good start again, however.

Then it was off to Dunn Drive and Big Roaring Beach. While it started cool and cloudy by mid-morning it had turned into a very pleasant and almost warm day. I scrambled through the elasticised gate entry and tackled the slope. I do believe it is steeper in parts than Kamali’s drive on Carolyn and Tony’s property in Berrico, NSW that challenges me every day.  But in three stages I did make it to the back fence, from where this panoramic photo is taken:

A panoramic view overlooking Big Roaring Beach from 49 Dunn Drive
Surveyors Bay, Huon Valley,  TAS
14 March 2019

Up there it was difficult to determine where the side boundaries were and look as I might I was unable to find any surveyor’s peg that might have helped. It really is a magnificent block of land and, if I got the house site location about right, the next view would be the one they should get from their front veranda or balcony or whatever:

Probable view from Carolyn and Tony’s Abode towards Big Roaring Beach
14 March 2019

It was then time for my walk on the beach. I parked at what I assume was a proper spot at the northwestern end and off I went. I turned left so that, if I was going to walk from end to end there was to be no shirking.
At that end, I found a pair of what I thought was a pair of sculpted sea eagles but there was no signage to confirm my thought or why they were there, so I had to settle just for a photo or two or more, only one of which appears here:

Sculpted Sea Eagles, Big Roaring Beach
14 March 2019

I have just learned from Laura, who came to replace a blown light globe in the dining area, that they are a memorial to a twenty-year-old who was killed in an accident at the Huon Aquaculture plant just up the road.
At the start of my westerly leg I came across this bit of artwork, unlabelled also, but I took a photo of it anyway. It seems to have an aboriginal art feel, but who knows?

Unlabelled Piece of Artwork, Big Roaring Beach
14 March 2019

I thought it was a good walk and it was – not least because I found out after I got back to Driftwood that the beach is 1.4 km long. On the easterly return leg there was another photo opportunity, but this time of the sky which I thought worth capturing:

The sky above Big Roaring Beach
14 March 2019

Photos: My visit to and walk on Big Roaring Beach, Surveyors Bay, Huon Valley – 14th March 2019

By now it was well past my lunchtime. But the beef pie I had at the “Coffee Tree” in the Southgate Shopping Centre had the richest and meatiest filling I’ve had in a pie in many a long year – including Ridgy Didge. Here I also checked out the IGA Express which has a much broader range than I had expected and not just of typically supermarket items.
My last excursion for the day was to hire a launch to explore Port Esperance but as you will see, it was not a success:

Evidence in Port Esperance, Dover, of my lack of seamanship
14 March 2019

At the RSL I was treated to a reserved table by the window tonight – Table No 1, no less.
Here I thoroughly enjoyed the view as well as my ginormous pork loin fillet with apple/walnut/blue cheese topping, salad and chips. It was really very good, even if it was more a Tony-sized serve than mine. And the schooner of light ensured I drove home safely and rounded out my Dover visit with a glass or two of McGuigan’s Red.

The view of Mount Hartz Mountains from my Dover RSL Dinner Table
14 March 2019

I’ll be sorry to leave Dover in the morning. It really is a lovely little place and suitably wind-chill or just plain chill-prepared, a place I’d be happy to live in.
As it is not that far to Hobart, my next stop, I plan to go via Cygnet and around the coastal road through Verona Sands, Kettering and Margate before hitting Kingston again. The forecast is for cloud rather than rain so I might get a few more photos for the collection on the way.