TRIABUNNA, MARIA ISLAND & PARKED AT THE PUB
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Weather: quite hot, around 30 degrees, sunny
Journey: Hobart (mileage:9847 kms), Sorrell, Triabunna, Maria Island, Swansea (10000 kms)
We left Hobart early afternoon, and stopped off at Sorrell to collect repaired laptop; Pete from Computercount and his wife were very helpful and charged only $66 to get us back online.
The holiday park at the little town of Triabunna could only accommodate us for one night as it was a long weekend that we had been unaware of. On Friday, we drove 34 kms north to check out free camping at Mayfield Reserve which had been highly recommended, but everyman and his dog had already taken over here, so onto Swansea and again no luck until Sunday night so it was back to Triabunna and the Spring Bay Hotel.
We had heard that the publican was happy to have self contained motor homes parked on the empty block at the rear of the pub so Kath tidied herself and approached the front bar where she was told "Yeah no worries', “how much?" “Gold coin donation to the ambos or fireies”. So for 2 nights, we stationed ourselves at the rear of the block with lovely native trees giving privacy and even though we were a little concerned about the noise, it was dead quiet and felt very safe.
The highlight of this sojourn was the mulberry tree on the block; fully laden with ripe fruit that were drop dead delicious. Sheila patiently picked a couple of kilos of the mulberries and we were eating the luscious red berries for days.
Sheila said: “wish we could go back to get more!” and this may turn out to happen (see later development)
Triabunna is a crayfish and scallop fishing town and you can see lots of boats anchored there.
We mistakenly took a dead end road to Gunn’s woodchip mill where there were threatening no entry signs at a big gate and a massive mountain of woodchips close to shore. Wow, we hope they did not cut down old growth trees to get this pile. Apparently this is to go to Japan for paper making; we did hear news recently that the Japanese may no longer buy from Tasmania after successful lobbying by Tasmanian greenies. It was interesting that you never saw the name “Gunns” anywhere around the huge enterprise.
Our reason for stopping off here was to catch a boat to Maria Island to walk and explore the famous Tassie destination.
So on Saturday morning we paid our $50 each and took the 40 minute trip across the Mercury Passage to the island. We had missed visiting the island on our last visit to Tasmania so we were keen to spend a day there this time.
Much is made of its beauty and history but we thought it has been over-hyped and decided that Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula were more interesting destinations. It must be said however that we did not visit the whole island and did not stay over.
There are 4 wheel drive tracks that the only island vehicle owned by the National Park traverses, otherwise it is strictly walking and cycling. We visited the Painted Cliffs and Fossil Cliffs on this bright sunny day.
The island supported an early convict colony, then grazing and farming and at one stage the entrepreneur Diego Bernacchi set up cement works and other developments but he crashed with the Great Depression and farming was resumed.
In 1960 the government bought up the private properties on the island and started to put back at risk wild life such as the Cape Barren Goose and Bennetts wallabies, and in 1972 Maria Island was declared a National Park.
There are no shops or services so campers need to bring everything with them. There is a National Park Information Centre and some old buildings that you can rent if you don’t want to do the full on camping thing.
It is quiet and isolated and offers walks, beauty and peace. The ranger told us that it is not a prized posting for them because of the isolation; his family live in Eaglehawk Neck. Oddly we had met his son and family camping at Fortescue Bay last week; they had joined their dad for a few days on the island and we all had a good old chat.
The historic sites are not really that old but the island has a restful vibe to it. We thought that $50 was a bit excessive for return passage but only one boat does the trip so why not charge big? Unfortunately on the way back our boat connected with some underwater debris and we limped slowly back, doubling the normal trip time!
On Sunday we checked into a crowded site – the last one available on this long weekend- at the Swansea Holiday Park $30 pn; should have stayed on at the pub one more night for $2!!!!! The lady at Reception was lovely and very friendly but she could of course not do anything about our wish for a better site. This situation put a cloud over Sheila’s mood and she cocooned herself in the van to avoid facing the crowds. We have been spoiled with spacious natural camp sites and this was hard to take. On a more positive note,the beach on this sunny afternoon was pretty and relaxing.
Swansea did not thrill us too much as a town but the Loon.tite.ter.mair.re.le.hoin.er Walk across the peninsula offers beautiful vistas of blue ocean and white sandy beaches.
The walk is named after the aboriginal tribe who lived in the area and we never really got to pronounce it aloud. We did reach the 10,000 kms mark on the van’s speedometer here and that was something to celebrate!!
And we did try a local curried scallop pie which was quite tasty.