A Travellerspoint blog

Week 9, Roaming Tasmania, Australia

Tuesday 13th February 2024
Moving Day, but before we left we had one last look for a seal. Although no seal to be seen, we did chance upon the Dunalley canal bridge being opened. The canal was built then opened in 1905 to shorten the trade route distance between east coast Tasmania and Hobart. It originally had a hand cranked bridge but now uses an electronically operated swing bridge...which really stops the traffic. It is really only now used for pleasure craft too tall to fit under.
Dunalley Hotel is located beside the bridge in town. Camping is available to the left of the pub.

Moving sees us drive from Dunalley to Churchill, Campania near Richmond. A lovely large bush camp-site costing $10 per night. An afternoon drive takes us to some towns with tremendous history. First stop is only 1 km up the road, Campania. An amazing sculpture of school children next to the old mill 1884, now being used by the local school as it's manual arts and technology rooms.
Campania was established as an estate of the same name, becoming one of the premier wine making regions in Tasmania. It wasn't declared a town until 1882, but by then there was a general store 1879, a tavern 1877 and post office 1873. Wine was being produced from 1826.

What an enchanting town it has street signs with windmills etched into them.
The Blacksmith's Cottage, 80 High Street.
Oatlands Coach House.
The original convict built rubble stone cottage was built in 1829 and leased to the Military that was overseeing convict labour for the construction of the road from Hobart to Launceston. It was then used for a variety of purposes including an Inn, a hospital and a Post Office.
Oatlands Lodge
Built in the 1830's. It has been a girl's school, a bootmaker's shop.
The Heritage Post Office circa 1835
So many beautiful homes in this beautiful town.
We took a walk to Lake Dulverton Conservation Area, land of the Lairmairrener people of Big River nation, a sanctuary of birds since 1929.
It was an easy walk, an expanse of water, a place for wildlife to thrive. Home to the rare Great Crested Grebe, white bellied Sea Eagle and many others. The 7km walking trail follows the south eastern side of the Lake, linking Oatlands and Pattah townships. Just over 100 different bird species have been recorded in & around the Lake.
Oatlands has a pancake & crepe shop, but sadly it was closed the day of our visit.

Callington Mill was a premier flour producer when first built in 1837, and it's the only authentic 19th century tower mill in the southern hemisphere and the 3rd oldest windmill in Australia. You can still see the original granary, stables and miller's cottage all lovingly restored at the Callington Distillery.
The Lake Frederick Inn, registered on the National Estate list as a particular example of an early coaching inn.
This Inn was later known as The Lake Dulverton Inn and The White Horse Inn sometime after 1853.
The Commissariat Store and Guard House. Used to secure and store provisions vital for survival.
On our way home we drove through a tiny town called Kempton. Another historical town which even has a Distillery called Old Kempton Distillery.
The General Store was a beauty.
We overtook a train, must have been heavy as it was pulled by 5 loco's. It was carrying lots of carriages with timber logs.
Back home at Churchill we passed the Farm Homestead. The temperature today rose to 30 degrees and quite late in the day, but overcast. Tonight we had strong gusts of winds with some rain showers.

Wednesday 14 February 2024
This is our day to drive into historic Richmond. As we arrive who should we see, Linda and Harry fuelling up their motorhome. So we had a chat and organised to meet up for a scallop pie for lunch at the Bakery before they headed off for there flight tonight.
Richmonds soil was considered the best in Australia in the early 1800's and, with plentiful supply of convict labour, soon the town was built. Many were of the English Georgian style and made from local sandstone and mud clay bricks. A gaol was one of the first buildings built in 1825, and is the oldest intact gaol in Australia.
The Bridge Cottage was built in 1823 (and up 4 sale), the same year as the Richmond Bridge. The convict built bridge is the oldest still in daily use in Australia.
You can also see over 50 period buildings still in good repair around the town, including the old Dispensary and Morgue, Old "Richmond Hotel" c1830s, the Village store c1836 and still being used as an IGA, the Court House c1825, John Sewell's cottage c1830s, The Woodcraft shop c1840, and also previously used as an exchange or 'Penny Library ', I just love the stone steps.
Round back of one of the buildings, old "Mrs Currie's House", can be found a knife sharpeners in residence. Nice old shed, and still standing.
One of the sad sides to any historic town is the empty and, sometimes, run down houses. An example in Richmond are the old colonial cottages and former shop c1840s. One is being lived in and one has been empty for nearly 20 years. Guess which is which?
A couple of pictures around the shops today. Richmond has something for everyone.
We could not leave Richmond without a visit, taste & purchases of cheese from the Wicked Cheese Factory. We saw the staff turning the cheese and emptying the brine from the cheese. Back to Churchill, our camp, for the sunset and last night before moving day tomorrow, and a chat with some of the locals at the farm.

Thursday 15th February 2024
Today we head to Triabunna our base for a few nights.
Along the drive, about 4kms south of Buckland, we came across the Tasmania Bushland Garden. We love a garden, so popped in to see this 40ha of natural bushland with walking trails. It also has an additional 1.5ha of landscaped display gardens planted with endemic SE Tasmanian flora. There's also a series of nature themed sculptures including eagle, thylacine, dinosaur, fish in pond and a thoughtful person. The gardens have all been developed and maintained by volunteers, and currently under the ownership of Landcare Tasmania.
A few bits of fauna were also spotted along the trails.
Deborah just loved this individual seats around the site.
There is also a bbq area for groups to use.

Friday 16 February is Maria Island day.
Up early, 6.50am, for an 8.30am ferry across. It's a half hour trip and today's weather was clear blue skies with very light winds and a maximum of 23 degrees.
Offloading at Maria jetty and it's a quick ride to the old convict settlement Darlington, and straight out the other side to head to the Painted Cliffs. Best seen at low tide, our 8.30 ferry got us there at 9am, great as low tide was 9am.
We continued our ride south on the compacted gravel road/track which, as with all Tasmanian roads, is up and down etc etc etc. Bring slippy gravel surface made riding a slight challenge, with some small holes and wash outs. We made it to Four Mile Beach and stopped for a rest and morning tea break.
By this time we had seen birds and a few wallabies, Pademelon and Cape Barren geese but no wombats.
Our return ride back to Darlington still provided only the same animals, but lovely scenery.
Darlington, a probationary settlement started in 1825, has many buildings reminiscent of the convict era with the Penitentiary in perfect condition still used as accommodation for campers. Some houses were built at a later date when entrepreneur Italian Diego Bernacchi, leased the island, and established vineyards, cement works and a silk worm business on the island around 1884. The Coffee Palace he built was used as a dining room for later settlers and in one photo here you can see a possible ghost playing the piano.
After a quick lunch at Darlington sitting, appropriately, outside the Coffee Palace we set off on the bikes once again. This time our destination was the Fossil Cliffs and the old Fossil Quarry. Thank the powers that be for electric bike power, but even this hill made us both get off and push the bikes up. Spectacular views yet again, and so many fossils at the quarry. The quarry was mined and fossilised shell stones trollyed over to the jetty area in the 1920s, where a huge cement works was located. All thats left is some silos.

Of course one of the main things we wanted to see was a Wombat. Not just any, as we had seen one at Cradle Mountain, but a mum and baby. So it took a while, several hours in fact, but we achieved our goal. Not once, but 3 times we found different mums and babies wandering around. Plus, a bonus was 3 individuals. 9 in total. How privileged do we feel? Very.
This was one of those days Ian & I will remember for a long time. Seeing the wombats in their own environment in the wild was next level. We had one wombat walk along the white sandy beach waddling along and it came up through the rows of rocks that would have been 3 foot tall to eat the grass in front of us, as if it was saying "Thanks for visiting, it was great seeing you, safe journey home. "

Saturday 17th February 2024
A bit of a planning day today, a small ride around the Triabunna townsite, watched the boats and ferry and had dinner from the local Fish Van.

Sunday 18th February 2024
Farewell to Triabunna and hello to Mayfield Bay Conservation Camping. And also our first dip in the ocean in Tasmania. Warning, topless bathing photo.
Nearby is a little known remnant of the convict era. A short walk brought us to the 3 Arch Bridge. The bridge spans the outlet of the Old Man Creek. It can't be seen from the road as the A3 Tasman Highway was built over the top of it. It was built in 1845 by convict labour from the nearby Rocky Hills Probation Station. Prisoners from the same station also built the Spiky Bridge further up the highway.
Monday 19th February 2024
Our exploration today took us slightly northward towards Swansea. First stop was Spiky Bridge. Also built by convicts but no one is sure why the spiky stones were placed on top of the bridge walls. Probably built at a similar time to the 3 Arch Bridge in 1845 to provide a better road between Swansea and Little Swan Port for transport of goods and produce.
Moving further along we saw a sign for Kate's Berry Farm so hoping to pick up some fresh berries we drove in and we found berry products such as jams, sauces, chocolates and ice cream but no fresh berries.
Checking out another free camping area at Swan Reach, by the river, it looked a very nice place to stay with a small jetty to throw in a fishing line, or just to chill out.
Had a look through Swansea and picked up some produce, and some water where Deborah found many friends. Then we saw a glimpse of a Jetty nearby and some very interesting housing options in town.

On our way home we stopped at the Mayfield Lookout to see the view. Not quite the same as the day before at our campsite when we watched the kites flying in beautiful clear blue skies.

Deborah then baked a twin loaf back at the ranch and what a twin loaf it was.
Catch you on the flip side next week.

Posted by iandeborah 09:20

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How lucky you were to see those baby wombats - cute as buttons. Looks like a great week.

by Sally

Maria Island... amazing place
So rugged and so much history

Love Tassies East Coast
Enjoy ❤️

by Rose

What great adventures and wombat memories. Sadly the most wildlife we have seen has been roadkill.Love all the old buildings.

by Jan

Sally, it was pure joy to see them.

by iandeborah

Rose, yes oh so much history. It is rugged & a bit wild. Dryer on the East Coast.

by iandeborah

Go visit Maria Island! It is a must.
There is no road kill.
The only car on the Island was a Rangers vehicle. All persons were on push bike or on foot.

Also Cradle Mountain, Ronnie's Creek early or late in the day you will see wombats.


by iandeborah

Did you see the headless horseman on his horse crossing the Richmond Bridge? May need a few beers!

by Lauren Patey

Lauren, no ghosts seen. But no beers had by us. Ian said, we know the prisoners killed a supervisor & threw him off the bridge.

by iandeborah

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