A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

Hobart to Devonport

Day 1 - Saturday 11 May 2013

We arrived at the caravan park at about 10:45 am and carried out some final checks before we left - checked the tyre pressures and pumped them up to their travelling pressures, pumped up the Navara's airbags to the towing pressure of 45 psi, and checked all the wheel nuts with the torque wrench.

At 11:45 am we were finally on our way. We stopped for lunch at the Ross Bakery - Di had a Cornish pasty and David had a peppered steak pie - delicious as usual. While we were having lunch a small Asian wedding party were wandering about taking photos outside the Bakery. The Bakery and its Inn are a popular destination for Japanese and Asian tourists because of a perceived association with a Japanese cult movie "Kiki's Delivery Service" that is believed to have been made at the Ross Bakery Inn. The myth is now self perpetuating with many Japanese and Asian tourists making the pilgrimage to Ross.

Lunch stop at Ross

Lunch stop at Ross

The Ross Bakery

The Ross Bakery

We stopped again for fuel at Perth and shock horror we had to pay 156.9 cpl, we have been used paying 143.9 cpl after our 8 cpl Woollies discount.

We arrived at Devonport at about 4:30 pm and parked on the Esplanade near the mouth of the Mersey River. After having a bite to eat we moved off at 5:30 pm to join the check-in queue and await loading of the ferry. While waiting in the car-park for loading to commence David went for a walk and bumped into Kevin Coates - we last saw Kevin and Maris on the ferry when we came home last year. They are on their way to Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast for the winter and have a couple of children living on the nearby Gold Coast.

Waiting to go and join the check-in queue

Waiting to go and join the check-in queue

Parked on the Esplanade at East Devonport

Parked on the Esplanade at East Devonport

The Mersey River at dusk

The Mersey River at dusk

We were eventually loaded with another 5th wheeler on garage deck 3 - the main truck deck - and were the next to last vehicle loaded. By the time we got to our cabin the Ferry was on its way, about 15 minutes early.

Posted by TwoAces 17:29 Comments (0)

Final Preparations

May 2013

We completed a few last minute jobs on the Fiver in preparation for going away. Our Trip to Port Arthur identified a fault with the DVD player in our TV so we decided to buy a Blu-Ray/DVD player and installed it in the van. Another issue identified at Port Arthur was the Satellite TV dish, which is difficult to keep tuned in strong winds and in fact blew over several times. So we ordered another dish with a folding stand that will be easier to set up and can be easily fixed to the ground with a couple of tent pegs. Two other items were a changeover switch for our batteries so the we can charge either or both batteries together. Last year we had noticed that often one battery was fully charged while the other was not. We also installed an ammeter so as to be able to monitor the charge going into or coming out of the battery.

As for the Navara, it was new tyres and a final service. After getting quotes on a range of tyres we settled on a set of Cooper Discoverer AT3s at $320 each. Provided they are regularly rotated and balanced they are guaranteed for 80,000 kms. By the time we took the Navara in for its final service we were having serious problems - no power on hills. A trip over one of Hobart's steepest hills had us at 2,500 revs doing 40 kms per hour and unable to go any faster. The Nissan would not pull skin of a custard, let alone tow a 3 tonne van over Constitution Hill on the way to Devonport. DJ Nissan eventually identified the problem as an almost fully blocked fuel filter that was starving the engine of fuel. It seems that we probably got a load of dodgy fuel somewhere - perhaps somewhere on our trip last year.

Now that both the van and the Nissan were in good working order we brought the van home for a final wash and clean before loading up the pantry and the fridge with our food stocks for our trip. We returned the van to the caravan park to leave it on a powered site to get the fridge cold for our trip north.

Posted by TwoAces 17:27 Comments (0)

Port Arthur Shakedown

March Long Weekend

Once again we headed for Port Arthur on Friday night for a shakedown trip prior to going away in May - this has become a regular event to ensure that all is well with the Navara and the Fifth Wheeler. This year we had our grandchildren Bronte and Josh with us as Michelle and Craig were going to Melbourne for the weekend. After picking up the kids from school we headed for the Port Arthur Caravan Park at Garden Point arriving at about 6:00 pm with an hour or so of daylight left to set up camp.

While Di and I did a full set up the van with awning and mats, Bronte and Josh pitched their two-person tent. After dinner we lit the fire with some firewood that we brought with us - much cheaper than buying firewood at the caravan park, and Bronte and Josh got out the marshmallows to toast on the fire.

Bronte and Josh's tent at Port Arthur

Bronte and Josh's tent at Port Arthur

Toasting marshmallows on the fire

Toasting marshmallows on the fire

Di with Bronte and Josh enjoying the fire

Di with Bronte and Josh enjoying the fire

An early morning visitor

An early morning visitor

Our camp site

Our camp site

On Saturday afternoon we all did Rob Pennicott's Tasman Island Cruise from Port Arthur to Eagle Hawk Neck. While Di and I had done the Bruny Island Cruise, this cruise had more spectacular scenery and lots of seals, dolphins, and albatross. The cruise starts at Stewarts Bay near Port Arthur and finishes at Eagle Hawk Neck.

The Tasman Island cruise boat about to load passengers

The Tasman Island cruise boat about to load passengers

Bronte checking out the cormorants

Bronte checking out the cormorants

Cormorants on a rock shelf

Cormorants on a rock shelf

A sea eagle's nest

A sea eagle's nest

A pair of white breasted sea eagles

A pair of white breasted sea eagles

Waves breaking in a sea cave

Waves breaking in a sea cave

Sedimentary rock cliff-face

Sedimentary rock cliff-face

Another sea cave

Another sea cave

A three metre swell breaking on the rocks

A three metre swell breaking on the rocks

Dolerite cliffs

Dolerite cliffs

A wave breaking in a sea cave

A wave breaking in a sea cave

Tasman Island under low cloud

Tasman Island under low cloud

Southern end of Tasman Island

Southern end of Tasman Island

Albatross making a pass

Albatross making a pass

Tasman Island landing stage, flying fox and haulage way

Tasman Island landing stage, flying fox and haulage way

A seal enjoying a shower

A seal enjoying a shower

Drowned Sea Cave

Drowned Sea Cave

Cape Pillar

Cape Pillar

A wave breaking in Drowned Sea Cave

A wave breaking in Drowned Sea Cave

The Totem Pole at Cape Huay

The Totem Pole at Cape Huay

The Candle Stick at Cape Huay

The Candle Stick at Cape Huay

A playful Dolphin

A playful Dolphin

A sea cave at Eagle Hawk Neck

A sea cave at Eagle Hawk Neck

Inside the sea cave

Inside the sea cave

Tasman Arch from the water

Tasman Arch from the water

Sea Cave at Eagle Hawk Neck

Sea Cave at Eagle Hawk Neck

On Monday we met Craig and Michelle at the Dunalley Pub so as to return Bronte and Josh to their rightful owners. We were joined by Paul and Lee Chapman who spent the weekend at Port Arthur, and Brendan and Lyn Scarr who spent the weekend at Connelleys Marsh. We all had excellent meals and it was just as well that we had booked a table as the Pub was packed - even turning people away. After lunch Di and I returned home to get some missing pieces for the satellite dish so we could watch some TV as the local free to air has poor reception in the caravan park. We also collected more fire wood to keep us going for the rest of the week.

On Thursday Di and I went to Safety Cove to try a bit of fishing, but no luck!

Di on the beach at Safety Cove

Di on the beach at Safety Cove

Tasman Island in the distance

Tasman Island in the distance

Looking north from Safety Cove

Looking north from Safety Cove

On Friday we drove to Fortescue Bay intending to walk part of the Cape Huay Track, which had been upgraded last year. The track climbs almost 200 metres and includes a few thousand steps, which are very tiring. We made it to the highest point on the track which was about half way and enjoyed having our lunch with spectacular views. Having spent an hour getting to that point we decided that the rest of the walk could wait until next year.

The Cape Huay Track - 4 kms and 4 hours return

The Cape Huay Track - 4 kms and 4 hours return

The Fortescue Bay boat ramp from the start of the Cape Huay track

The Fortescue Bay boat ramp from the start of the Cape Huay track

Canoe Bay from the Cape Huay Track

Canoe Bay from the Cape Huay Track

Di on the Cape Huay Track

Di on the Cape Huay Track

Cape Huay from the highest point on the Cape Huay Track

Cape Huay from the highest point on the Cape Huay Track

The highest point on the Cape Huay Track

The highest point on the Cape Huay Track

Looking across Fortescue Bay from the Cape Huay Track

Looking across Fortescue Bay from the Cape Huay Track

Posted by TwoAces 17:24 Comments (0)

Travel Plans for 2013

Draft Itinerary

Our ferry bookings were made some time ago as it is becoming more difficult each year to get large rigs on the truck decks of the Spirit of Tasmania. We leave Devonport for Melbourne on 11 May 2013 and return on 14 September 2013 (election day). After a brief visit to the Trailblazers factory for some minor work we plan to travel north via the Kidman Way and the Matilda Highway as far as Normanton. This will give us a taste of the NSW and QLD outback, and we will do a few side trips to Lightning Ridge and St George, Thargomindah and Quilpie, and Lawn Hill/Adele's Grove.

From Normanton we will head east to the coast before going north as far as Wonga Beach, before heading south generally via the coast with a detour to Glen Innes and Inverell. Some of the detours will allow us to do a bit of fossicking on the way - we caught the bug last year at Gemtree in central Australia. From Inverell we head back to the coast and follow the Pacific Highway and Princes Highway back to Melbourne.

Posted by TwoAces 17:23 Comments (1)

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