Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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Where I stayed
Freycinet Sanctuary 2 Holiday Rental
What I did
Coles Bay
Spikey Bridge
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden

Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Sunday, March 3, 2013

After getting up and having our yogurt for breakfast, showering and packing, we left the Leisure Inn with trepidation....fearing the drive to the Botanical Garden back through downtown Hobart.  Doreen just breezed through after we went around the block and soon we were alongside the Domain and at the Botanical Garden.  It is the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and quite extensive.  We entered through a large wrought iron gate and first toured the gardener's cottage that had an exhibit on the history of the Domain and the Governor's garden.  I wish I had read and remembered better.  The Domain is the grounds of the Governor's mansion.

There was lots to see - the herb garden was notable for its giant herb trees - I have to remember the first one, but there was also some fennel planted that must have been 8 feet tall.  There were smaller examples of the other usual herbs and some lovely smelling basil.  The herb garden is set near to the brick wall that surrounds much of the garden which also overlooks the bay from its hillside vantage point.  We checked out the cactus garden and finally found the Japanese garden with its secret paths and scenic views.

A definite highlight of the garden was the Subantarctic Plant House.  It had a cold mist over mosses and other subamtarctic plants and piped-in sounds of the animal life of such an environment.  It was chilly but worth the discomfort for sure.  I tried to take a video in order to get the sounds - the wind and birds mostly.

After the Japanese Garden we had another huge part of the garden left.  First we got a little off track after seeing some cycads and went to the lily pond that was closer to the entrance/exit and so we had to circle back to get the Eastern Tasmanian plants and the eucalypt woodland area.  I hadn't realized how many different varieties of eucalypts there are....including ironbark which has a very thick bark.  One thing about these trees and many more in the garden...they are huge!!  I will always remember Tasmania for its big trees.  We also went through the oak section and I saw some Dutch elms there as well.

On going out, we passed through the gift shop where I bought some postcards and a few other, very light things because now I do have to be very, very careful of any extra weight.  We had our picnic lunch under a big conifer tree with some very bristly fallen branches and I lost the lovely little cone I had picked up so I had to go and find some replacements.

Back on the road, Doreen negotiated all the turn-offs with ease.  She drove all the way.  So I will have to take my turn tomorrow - don't want to exploit her by any means.  The landscape along the road was pretty dry - brown and yellowish, for the most part.  There were farms with sheep, some horses, vineyards, some grains I think.  We went through one river valley that was greener and more lush, some forested areas that had dark green trees and shrubs.  All along the way were some of the giant eucalypts with their white or very light trucks and you can see the straggly branches way up high. 

There really didn't seem to be that many major roads in Tasmania.  The Tasman Highway (A3) that we were driving on is the major road on the East Coast and is fairly close to the shore.  We could see some nice beaches at different points.  We stopped at a lookout in a town above one beach and also stopped at Spikey Bridge near Spikey Beach.  Spikey Bridge was built by convicts on the old road between two coastal towns and had pieces of rock stuck in the top of the walls on the sides of the bridge.  These big pieces of pointy rock - hence spikey - were put in place using a concrete with lots of shells in it.

Sooner than I expected - as navigator I was slipping up - we got to the turnoff for Freycinet National Park and Coles Bay where we were hoping to find accommodation.  I think Doreen was a little anxious about finding anything because we weren't certain there would actually be a town.  As it turned out, however, Doreen noticed a sign for accommodation booking and we went in, got a wonderful summer house - each with out own bedroom and a balcony with a view of  Coles Bay.  We were quite excited by this unexpected good luck.  Our next job was to settle our activities for tomorrow and Doreen called about cruises and flights and we ended up with a flight over the famous Wineglass Bay booked for tomorrow at 12:30 pm.  In the am, we can go to a lookout point on the ocean side and do some trail walking.

Next hurdle was what to do for dinner.  I think Doreen was more ready to eat in and I was feeling like getting seafood out.  I guess we will go out to the pub tonight but maybe we can find a place to eat in tomorrow.  We took a short walk along the beach out in front of our place....across the road, but we are very close.  Doreen is washing some clothes in the machine here.  I probably should have tried to find some clothes to wash in the machine instead of always doing hand washing, but couldn't quite get it together.  I am starving again.  Hmmm, you would think I wouldn't be.  Oh, well.  Time to finish up for now...I feel a mosquito around me.

After awhile we drove out to the pub in the town of Coles Bay.  I forgot the pub way of doing things.  You order your drinks and meals at the bar.  Doreen took care of our beer order and came back with two John Boeks - this is a Tasmanian label.  We decided to get the seafood basket because I could then have some oysters.  The separate oysters were quite pricey - this way we would get an assortment and still have some oysters.  It turned out it is spawning season, so no oysters were available and they substituted more of the fish and calamari.  The fish seemed fresh and well-prepared. 

Once we got back, Doreen made herself her evening coffee and we had a bit of chocolate for dessert.  Now she is reading while I work on my pics and blog.  All for today - quite a full day for sure....  Oh, and how could I forget, after seeing quite a bit of wallaby roadkill, Doreen pointed out a wallaby that had run across the road at dusk AND I saw it!!   Plus there was a rabbit hopping across our new yard.  So lots of wildlife today.

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