The Colours of Spring

Spring saw us in Tasmania to see the tulip display at Table Cape with the waterfalls being a bonus. We started by visiting the bathing boxes in Brighton, Victoria while we waited to board the Spirit of Tasmania. They are certainly very colourful and bring lots of people to see them.

We went straight to visit the tulips but we were too early and so spent a week chasing waterfalls before returning to an amazing display of colour and well worth taking a special trip to Tassie.

The Tasmanian coast provides lots of opportunities to create colourful photos with rocks covered with vivid orange lichen or bright green algae or just beautiful patterns. Sunsets and rises are often special when there is nothing to block your view and you can never beat blue water and coloured rocks.

Springtime brings out the blossom and unsettled weather especially on the west coast. We took some walks in the fresh, green forest and discovered the magical Japanese garden at the Hobart botanic gardens.

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Return to Bruny

Our now annual trip to Tasmania began with the trip on the Spirit of Tasmania – in a cabin this time as we feel we are past using the recliners for the overnight trip. We headed through the Central Highlands with our usual stop at Liffey Falls, our favourite waterfall in Tasmania. We also scrambled up the scree at Quamby Bluff for a hard climb but little reward due to cloud cover.

We timed our visit to Hobart with the bi-annual Wooden Boat Festival though it was entirely unintentional. The handiwork is amazing and the boats seem too beautiful to put in the water. The sail past was a great display of sail.

The weather was against our plans for walks in the mountains so we retreated to the much more pleasant climate of Bruny Island to complete some of the walks we had missed last time. We began at Cloudy Bay with a walk to East Cloudy Head where we found we could have easily driven along the beach to the very nice Cosy Corner camping are instead of making do with the more accessible Pines. The walk gave views back on Cloudy Bay but unfortunately not the impressive cliffs of the headland. We then moved to the lovely camp at Jetty Beach where a new water tank has been added. We visited the lighthouse where I took the tour to the top between showers and appreciated the magnificent views. We walked the Labillardiere Peninsula the next day, an easy walk showing the contrasting sides of the peninsula.

We headed for Adventure Bay where we revisited the best views of Fluted Cape.  I took the Bruny Island cruise while Ray went to set up camp at the Neck. The views of the cliffs from sea level were even more dramatic and many more features were revealed. We spotted caves, zoomed between rock monuments and were wet by spray from an undersea spout. At the Friars we watched the fur seals basking in the sun and frolicking in the water while a pod of dolphins joined us for part of the trip back.

The Neck campground gives views from both sides of the isthmus and turned on a spectacular sunrise. We returned to Hobart via pretty Snug Falls.

Ocean Grove

We recently had the opportunity to stay in a house at Ocean Grove for a change of scenery. Ray grew up taking holidays in the area so he wasn’t enthused but it was quite new to me. Friends joined us and we checked out the Surf Coast walkway. We chose an interesting leg from Bells Beach to Point Addis that gave us the opportunity to see the high cliffs. There weren’t as many sea views as we would have liked but the bush provided some spring wildflowers.

On our own again we headed for Anglesea where we were fortunate to be at the time of the Wildflower show. Though we were too late for their walks, the bush was marked with tape so we could spot the orchids. I had a lovely time with the camera.

Point Lonsdale was just down the road providing a photogenic setting at sunset. The tide was out allowing me to walk around the point and find the best angles as it got darker. We returned again in the morning for different light.

A circular trip around the Bellarine Peninsula reminded Ray of how flat and uninspiring the countryside is but the beaches provided some relief and we were lucky enough to see the steam train operating for the school holidays. Lunch at Portarlington Bakehouse was lovely. A final trip to watch the floodwaters racing under the Barwon Heads bridge to cap a great few days away.

Wilson’s Promontory lighthouse

Wilson’s Promontory. A name to conjure up magical images for generations of Victorian campers – images of wide, sandy beaches; tents sitting cheek by jowl with their neighbours and gentle walks through the heathland. For our family it also provides memories of the circuit walk and a different, enchanting beach to swim and camp at each night. However, this walk was to be different.

A group of us were walking to the historic lighthouse with the advantage of not having to carry tents and cooking gear. The disadvantage it was 19 kilometres of mostly road bashing. As we were setting off the drizzle started falling and didn’t let up for most of the day. Halfway Hut was a welcome sight where we could squeeze in out of the rain for a break. We finally got a break from the rain for the last 3 kilometres of walking track which gave us views of the lighthouse. We struggled up the last steep hill and were welcomed and shown to our rooms by the rangers to change into dry clothes and have a very late lunch.

Our time at the lighthouse included lots of weather watching as brief rain squalls could be watched approaching along the coast from the grand view at the kitchen table in hut 3 (not ours unfortunately but our friends shared their view while we enjoyed the superior comfort of the head lighthouse keeper’s cottage!)

We had a tour of the lighthouse led by our ranger and then a second one as the wind was too strong for us to go outside on the first visit (it was still strong on our 2nd visit and very bracing!). We also visited the historic displays on the light’s history including its use as a secret radar station in World War Two and the two fires that almost wiped out the lighthouse in 1951 and 2009.

We also visited the landing place on the eastern side of the point and Skull Rocks (rumoured to have been blown apart by a practicing explosives expert in WWII.)

We’d hoped to see whales especially after the previous group had seen some but had to make do with lots of ships, one seal, lawn munching wombats and lots of wildflowers. The walk out gave us the opportunity to use the track from Roaring Meg camp instead of the road and see the brilliant spring display and save our weary feet from the road.

I would recommend anyway visiting the lighthouse as we did take 2 nights there to give you the chance to relax and enjoy the unique surroundings remembering that your payment helps keep this operation afloat – only just covering costs.