How brilliant is this place! Tasmania just gets better and better. We spent the first two nights in Ulverstone at the Big 4 park there. This is a great campground just across the road from a calm beach, perfect for the kids to swim at… no fish though – well none jumping onto Ben’s rod anyway. After two huge loads of washing and a great start to the next unit of school work we hit the road again and caught up with the Cullen family who we met on the Spirit of Tasmania. The Cullens, from Townsville have been on the road for seven months now, there’s Ben (another one!), Wendy, Bailey, Oli and Josh. Bailey. Oli and Josh are the same ages as Jake, Tobey and Indianna so the kids have had a ball together. We’re sticking with the Cullens and picking up all the tips we can… at least until they decide that we’re stalking them and won’t tell us where their next stop is!!
So, on the path of the Cullens we went into Narawntapu National Park on the western side of estuary of the Rubicon River. Bakers Point Campground is a truly excellent spot (Camps 5 site No 269), right on the beach, drop toilets that get cleaned every day and the services of a Discovery Park Ranger all for the grand sum of $16 per night. William Oliver was the Discovery Park Ranger on duty when we were there and he so happened to be on duty on the Spirit of Tasmania when we crossed, so we had met him before. The rangers run guided walks at various times of the day, so we all joined William after dinner for a wombat hunt. We saw loads and loads of wombats, even with six over excited children on the hunt too and the highlight had to be spotting a baby wombat with its’ mum – very cute. We also saw hundreds of paddymelons (small wallabies) and were on the hunt for a Tasmanian Devil after some other people had spotted one the night before, alas the excited noises of small children must have been too much for it!
Dampened down by the weather again we were back in the car heading east trying to make it to a campsite at Lilydale while enduring the inane banter on the CB between Ben (Cullen) and Ben (Malpass). It’s quite easy to see where the truckies CB lingo originates from! Lilydale (Camps5 Site 2) was a big letdown; it was no more than a parking area for the falls which are a short walk away. There were plenty of people “camped” there, mostly caravans though as there was no access to the grassed areas for tenting. We moved on. We made it into Scottsdale to a free campsite to the northeast of the town called… wait for it… Northeast Park (Camps5 Site 3). The park was named not for its location though, but after the man who first developed it over 100 years ago. It’s a fantastic spot, there are nature walks, a playground, a pond where we saw a platypus swimming, hot showers for $3 and a dog walking track that made a good route for my morning run – a brilliant spot except for the trucks motoring past at all hours!
Keen to be back in a National Park again we headed to the North East coast to Stumpys Bay in Mt William National Park. We have hit the stunning east coast of Tasmania now with crystal blue waters and white white sands. Unfortunately we arrived in the middle of gale force winds and more rain so sat huddled around a fire when it wasn’t raining and huddled in the tent when it was. Thank goodness for movies! We’ve had a couple of movie nights with six kids lined up in the tent staring at a small computer screen, it all has the desired affect though – peace and quiet for a while. We had foraging animals of a different kind at Stumpys Bay – the Forester Kangaroos who we thought were so cute coming up close to the kids as they held out a branch soon turned into right pests, coming into the tent to snoop around if the door was left open and going through the rubbish bins at night.
We’ve had enough of the wet windy weather so with the forecast looking to improve we’re heading on, back through Gladstone and over the Weldborough Pass so we can pop in to see the beer drinking pig at Pyengana and St Columba Falls. What a hoot, that big old pig swigged down a bottle of beer as quick as anything (maybe even a little competition for you Miles!).
The weather has cleared, the wind has died (somewhat) and we are at a perfect spot at Binalong Bay (north of St Helens) at Cosy Corner Campground (Camps5 Site 27) which is really cosy! We are about 20 meters from a white sand beach with boulders and rock pools for exploring and about a minutes’ walk either way to two swimming beaches. Not sure how much swimming will get done though, the temperature has dropped and we’re expecting a high of 19 tomorrow. Another evening huddled around the fire.
We have been on the road for three weeks now and Sydney feels like a lifetime ago. I have very quickly settled into the rhythm of changing camp, it is not as arduous to pack up and move camp as I thought it may be. A two night stay in one place feels like a decent amount of time and with the fairly short travelling distances we are doing between camp sites in Tasmania even a one night stay is fine. This last week of travelling with the Cullen family has been a wonderful adventure for the children, they are off exploring with their friends and there have been very, very few disagreements between them all. Ben and I get a friend too!