A Travellerspoint blog

Week 12, Roaming Tasmania, Australia

Tuesday 5th March, 2024
The day started off overcast after another cool night, which had required the thick doona. But after a visit from some fellow Sunlandians, Shauna and Danny, the sky started to show us the blue sky and sunshine. This then meant a wardrobe rearrangement into short sleeves.
Eventually, as don't forget we are on holiday, we walked into town to do some more intensive shopping. The op shops didn't provide any goods, but Deborah managed to find some quilting material she liked at the Craft Collective. Also the bulk goods stored had just the right muesli, nuts and some other cooking condiments. Yum.
Ian's eyes lit up with childhood memories when he noticed some horse chess nuts, the main ingredient of the classic game of conkers.
This evening we took our own, unguided tour, this time as we walked around the river bank to do some platypus spotting. Firstly we sighted the geese, ducks and a Turbo family with chick.
Wasn't until a bit later we spotted a platypus swimming along and feeding. It seemed to be heading to the opposite side of the river, so we hot footed it across the bridge but we eventually lost sight. As we were starting to give up we commenced our walk back to camp. Along the path we met a lady photographer, knowledgeable about the platypus and we espied a youngster who'd only left the burrow in the last couple of days. We found out that the lady, Joy Kachina, is also named the Platypus Whisperer www.joykachina.com.au or Facebook @platypuswhisperertasmania. This platypus also decided to head across the river. Finally deciding to head home we saw a few people gathered near the road bridge. Eureka again. Right along the rivers edge was a wonderful Platypus feeding and unfazed by us onlookers.

Wednesday 6 March 2024
Today our maximum temperature reached 26 degrees and a minimum of 5.
An easy going day today so we decided to go out to lunch.
This evening we took another walk into town for a another platypus peruse along and around the Meander River in Deloraine. Again we weren't disappointed, however no photos tonight. It is such a privilege to see them swimming in the wild.

Thursday 7 March 2024
It was a cool morning, low single digits and a jacket was called for.
Is moving day but not before our first ever morning meander around the Meander River to see if we could spot and follow any platypuses today to say farewell for now. We awoke to our alarm (Ian's chook sounding alarm in fact) at 6.45, had our showers, dressed for the occasion & had a hearty breakfast. We were then off walking across the suspension bridge into a very quiet town and around the Meander River for one last time. The river was calm, with hardly a ripple. Perfect conditions for platypus spotting, the morning was quite cold, none the less but we were rugged up for the occasion. A good time to see them in the morning we were told was around 8am. With our 4 eyes peeled looking up and down stream, watching for the round circles within circles to appear and the bubbles, which were often fish. It took a while as it often does and as we walked right around the river and as we crossed the bridge near the caravan park in town we spotted a large platypus swimming under the bridge, close to the banks. As we watched it for a few moments it then disappeared into what seemed to be it's burrow underground probably off to sleep during the day as it had eaten all night. They do not like to be seen out in general of a day as the predators can see them easier. We continued our walk across the bridge and along the path and passed the caravan park along the Meander River and who did we see but the baby, as tiny as your hand. Little BB (Bon Bon) it has been named. BB was in the middle of the river, swimming & fishing & playing with such energy. Up to float and eat it's prey from the river and down to fish again. They can be underwater for about 3 minutes but float and swim to the surface to eat and can eat twice their body weight in a day. They usually come out of a night but as BB is young, it has no inhibition about the risks it is taking. BB was such a pleasure to watch. BB was swimming in the middle to the far side of the river and of tiny stature we were unable to get a clear happy snap for you. We are told in October is when lots of platypus are seen surfing on the Meander Weir, in the Meander River, and it is a sight to behold.
We headed back to the van to pack up, connect up and drove off by 10am, our destination today is Sheffield. We snagged a prime position (right beside the water tap) as another van was preparing to head off. They were locals who live in Penguin. We are parked up at the RV stop in town (next to the Steam Festival event). A fellow pops around to collect your fees late afternoon, $10 a day for fully self contained vehicles. This is is monitored strictly and no grey water can be released onto the grounds. A dump point is available on site.

We took a drive into Devonport to have a cuppa tea and catch up with Aunty Gloria. We were given some lovely freshly grown vegetables and salmon for which we are very grateful for. A fuel up for the Jeep and of course a Bunnings trip to purchase an exclusive tap set up for ease of refilling water at the taps whilst travelling. A little tip Ian picked up from one of our fellow caravaners in this RV park when he filled up some portable tanks of water on our patch. Here is the pic.
Sunset tonight was quite colourful.

Friday 8 March 2024
A settling in day, so a ride into town and the shops was on the cards. After a few hours wandering, and buying, it was time for a little lunch come afternoon tea. The BlackSmith cafe provided the sustenance, and an eclectic display of teapots, most if which were for sale.
Town of Murals
Beautiful gardens
Back at the campsite we had entertainment from our new neighbours, a team of 6 bullocks. All they needed was their water tank topped every now and then and they were very quiet overnight. Not so the local cockerels!
And late evening walk, after dinner, was welcome to settle everything nicely.

Saturday 9 March 2024
Steamfest, day 1. Forecast warmer weather, but it started as a grey, overcast and misty day. But so much to see and enjoy. After the bullocks were moved from our next door paddock for their performance, we gained the lawn mower racers. What a great activity.
The whole area is used on a regular basis, and train rides are always on offer, so we took the up the offer for a short steam train ride. There's also the model railway building on site.
Obviously a highlight of the Steamfest are the steam engines, some of which are huge and old, but have been lovingly restored. Ian found a couple from his home town in England, Sandbach. Foden was a company that continued after the steam era into making trucks, or Lorries in english.
There were, of course, many other brands of steam engines, all in working order being driven around the fields and through town.
Meet 'Flick' the Austin 7
The tug of war competition with a steam train v the kids. Ofcourse the kids won.
The tiny penny farthing with a child riding it behind all the steam engines.
Miniature goats were also playing around.
It wasn't just the big Steam Engines that attract. The festival is related to the history of farming which utilised many of the steam engines for work such as running the threshing machines, pulling logs or carts. So the Steamfest includes other smaller machines and tractors relating to life in farming communities. And a tractor pulling contest had to be on the agenda.

Sunday 10 th March 2024
Day 2 of the Steamfest and also the Taste of the North West festival was on in Sheffield today. We took the opportunity to see both today, which also had helicopter rides. Deborah met a new friend at the Taste of the NW, Pedro the Poser. Also a bit more tracker pulling was in order at the end of the day.
Back at the Steamfest we watched the Australian Lighthorse Infantry display. Quite impressive what they can get the horse, and rider, to do. Also a bit of heavy work from a steam engine running a rock crushing machine.
Our neighbours walked back home again with their owner.

Monday 12th March 2024
Day 3 of the Steamfest, can you believe it!
A walk to the blacksmith at the men's shed, and a bit of heat from the forge.
We finally got to see Brian and our neighbours, the bullocks, do a bit of walking/working.
And the back to the tractor pulling. Why not! This time it wasn't competition day so a bit of a plat around. Some of the double pulls, modifieds and
even lawnmower pulls.
Just kidding, but passed the Rowland Miniature Goat display. Deborah liked this one.
The end of the event, as everything is packed up and trailered or trucked away.
Wishing you a lovely week ahead, until next week.

Posted by iandeborah 09:59

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Another eventful week. Lucky you meeting the Platypus whisperer.

by Sally

That was a serious horde of vintage farm machinery! Was any of it brought in from across the pond?
I love that you manage to spot platypuses 🥰 So unique and gentle ♥️

by Michelle

Yes indeed. Joy was such a gentle person to meet. She has amazing photos on facebook and insta of the platypuses. Have a great week.
Deb & Ian

by iandeborah

Michelle, it certainly was. All from Tasmania. Lucky we bought a 3 day ticket. We needed it to get around and see everything. To see parades of the steam engines driving around was a fantastic sight. People also attended in period costume, that too was a wonderful edition.Have a wonderful week.
Cheer Deb & Ian

by iandeborah

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