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  • Shelley Dark

#7. Freycinet

We anticipated a long day at Wineglass Bay, so we set the alarm for 5am.

We drove there, climbed to the Lookout and back, called in on Freycinet Lodge, visited Cape Tournelle lighthouse, nodded at Sleepy Beach, had an ice cream at Coles Bay, did our grocery shopping at Bicheno, stopped at an art gallery on the way home and were back here by 1pm! 

But let's back up and I'll tell you a little more about it.

It's a delight to open the shutters each deliciously cool morning to see sun colouring the clouds pale pink over the ocean. 

It took a little over an hour to drive to one of Freycinet National Park, a granite wilderness peninsula on the east coast. We were headed to one of Tassie's must-dos - the walk to the saddle between two mountains overlooking Wineglass Bay. 

The granite mountain on the left is Mt Amos, one of the Hazards. The one on the right is Mt Mayson. That's Freycinet Lodge nestled into the landscape - an Instagram pal says that the Coastal Pavilions there are nearly her favourite accommodation in the world.

photo credits: The Mercury, Australian Design Review, Qantas

Sadly they were all occupied so I couldn't see one. From these photos they look amazing! 

That's the carpark at the black dot - we thought we'd walk to the outlook on top of the saddle and then make a decision about whether to walk down into the bay itself. The fitter and stronger have a number of options for longer and more strenuous walks. ​

Don't forget to buy a day pass at the dispensing machine - $24 for a vehicle for the day and leave the ticket on the dashboard.

It's a powerful landscape.

There's a well-formed path of decomposed granite up to the lookout, with stone steps and railings in the steeper parts - an eighty-minute round trip. It's not too difficult - we saw several parents with children on their backs. Swarms of big black mosquitoes threatened to carry us away, yet neither of us were bitten. NB: take mozzie repellant.

Fabulous bark on the gum trees, as always...

Interesting rock formations....

 My old mate in the pineapple pants...

Wineglass Bay would surely be prettier from the bottom. But there are 1000 steps down to it, and that means 1000 steps back up. So we decided the lookout was as close as we were going to get.  We girded our loins for the mozzie attack on the way back and descended again. 

Later we called in at Freycinet Lodge for a cup of coffee - this is their jetty. I admired the work of a window cleaner. He asked where we were staying and what we were doing today. 'We're staying at Falmouth, and we've just been up to the lookout,' I said. 'What else do you think we should do?'

Well,' he began, 'Go back towards the lookout and drive up to the lighthouse at Cape Tourville. Then have a look at Sleepy Bay. Then drive back to Bicheno and look at the blowhole. Then go home to Falmouth!'

What great instructions! The lighthouse and the walk around it turned out to be a real winner. 

Loved the lizards - from information on an interpretive board, I think this one is a metallic skink - so quiet I could bend right down to take a close up photo!

Until I got a little too close...

But the view from the clifftop walkway around the lighthouse was amazing...

Standing perilously close to the edge (oh well it felt like it), I held my phone tightly over the railing to take this photo looking downwards. That's such a long way down!  I felt quite weak at the knees.....

A very well worthwhile detour!

In the main street of Coles Bay we found The Icecreamery. Just what the doctor ordered! I've never heard of Hobart's Valhalla Icecream, but apparently it's quite famous and uses only the best Tasmanian cream.

I was highly suspicious of the bright purple lavender icecream, but the girl behind the counter assured me there is nothing artificial in it. (Stop press: the company assured me it does have colouring)

So I ordered a double decker of lavender and macadamia nut. 

The tulip shape tells the story!

On the way home, we did a little grocery shopping at the IGA in Bicheno. (We skipped the blowhole. Was that a mistake?) It's the only IGA I've ever been in where the line waiting to pay stretches right down an entire aisle of groceries. The local pork chops (barbequed with charred capsicum) were as good as we've ever eaten. And you ain't had breakfast unless you've tried toasted Cripps Bakery (established Hobart 1878) Master Turkish Rolls.

New Year's Day

Life in Falmouth continues at breakneck speed. Another glorious dawn...

That's a sauna in that little square building...

We went for a walk through our little backwater town. You'll never guess the most astonishing thing. In the 1850's this town was rocking! It was a shipping port on the main road with two hotels, two stores, a police station, a courthouse, and a flour mill nearby. The main exports were butter, cheese and potatoes.

The most popular route north to the Scamander River was to cross the the creek at Falmouth and wade for about two miles up the western shore of Henderson's Lagoon. Can you imagine?

There were three wet-suited surfers out this morning - one of them later told us that the water temperature is delightful. 

photo courtesy 

When we've driven past, I've been fascinated by this Georgian stye homestead just west of the township. The land was granted to William Steele in 1829. Originally called Thompson Villa, the house is now known as Enstone Park. It was built by Steele's nephew in 1867 at the huge cost of £1740. 

A descendant lived here until his death at the age of 102 in 1968. The following is taken from the Launceston Examiner, Tasmania 1868 (the Corinthian columns inside are still there):

“….another half hours drive brought us to the residence of J. Steel, Esq, whom we were bent on visiting. On a gentle slope, about a half mile from the sea, stands the mansion of our host, known as Thompson Villa. The exterior of the building produces a highly picturesque and pleasing effect. The style is Italian, with projecting roof. The principal rooms open onto a wide veranda, the design of which, as also the balcony, is decidedly ornamental. The interior fittings are of the best character, the entrance hall being divided by Corinthian fluted columns, with pilasters and Corinthian cornice; and well lighted up by a beautiful ornamental stained glass window, which I recognised as the handiwork of our enterprising fellow colonists, Messrs. Ferguson, Urie and Lyon, of North Melbourne…”

photo courtesy 

The shearing shed? Staff quarters? Manager's house?

These days there is a centre pivot irrigator watering pasture for cattle and fat lambs, and perhaps opium poppy (in the foreground of the photo of the house).

An unusual basket weave fence in Falmouth.

Some flowers and bulrushes on our walk this morning.

Today we're taking a break from this frenetic pace...

We're about to go and fire up the barbie for Hobart's favourite sausage!

Tomorrow we're taking you into some beautiful dairy country. We plan to walk to St Columba Falls, visit The Pub in the Paddock (licensed in 1880), taste some Tassie cheese at the Holy Cow Café and do a little shopping at the The Shop in the Bush. Then we'll take you to lunch at the rave-reviews Furneaux, a French restaurant and comptoir in St Helens opened in July 2018, a collaboration between chefs Stefaan Codron and Jonathan Wong. 

Hope you had a great New Year's Eve wherever you were. In the greatest nightclubbing tradition, we were asleep by 9pm! 

Here's to a great 2019 for us all. Until next time buddies, I wait you,

shelley dark, writer 

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