East Tassie to Launceston then Devonport – final days

Better late than never.

Friday 13 Nov – very comfy night at the Tidal Waters Resort, we’re all dry now, with the sun shining we left St Helens and headed towards Launceston via some winding roads.  We stopped for fuel and a coffee in a little town called Cornwall and struck up a conversation with a local who happened to be the nephew of a fellow we know very well in Melbourne also a motorcyclist and a member of the Ducati club.  Amazing!  He took photos of our bikes and sent to his uncle.

Beautiful scenery along the way and it was really enjoyable riding through the Tamar Valley, very green and lush.  We stopped for lunch at a very pretty village called Evandale which was just like stepping into an English village and enjoyed the best toasted sandwich and a coffee.  We arrived into Launceston mid afternoon and found our way to our accommodation near the River Esk called the Penny Royal Hotel.   It was beautiful and warm and we wandered around Launceston for a couple of hours taking a cider or beer here and there.  Near our Hotel we came across a very well manicured Croquet Club.  We found a seafood place to have dinner but couldn’t get a table till 8pm so we sat at pub over looking the river till it was time to eat.

Launceston Croquet Club

Saturday 14 Nov – our last day.  We left Launceston and headed in a circuitous route towards Devonport.  We didn’t have to arrive at the Spirit dock until 5.30pm so we meandered through the Tamar Valley stopping here and there for coffee and or food.   We rode up the left bank of the Tamar River to Beaconsfield and Beauty Point, returning to Exeter and then across to Devonport.

Beauty Point

Near Beaconsfield

We boarded around 6.30pm, the return journey was uneventful and a calm crossing arriving into Port Melbourne at 6.30am, disembarking at 7.30am, home by 8am.  So there you have it – laps of Tassie complete!

Tassie  everywhere has best colourful hedges along the roads and beautiful flowers.  The roses have the most wonderful perfume and they are growing everywhere.  Lots of Plovers in Tassie and you know they are as silly as the Woolgoolga Plovers nesting in the most risky of places.  There is a Stihl store in jut about every town.  Must mean lots of yard work required.  Sadly lots of  road kill.

Signing off from Tasmania – Pambo and Basil

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East Tassie, Hobart, West Tassie – Thur 5 – Thur 12 Nov

St Helens – Thursday 12 November : I’m going to start with today and work back for the last week.  Wet wet wet is all I can say about today.  I think I’m destined to never see the east coast of Tassie without rain mist and low clouds.  Locals are talking floods.   We have travelled from Coles Bay to St Helen’s and are now warm and dry at the Tidal Waters Resort Hotel on George’s Bay which is the gateway to the Bay of Fires.  Sadly we won’t be seeing anything of the Bay of Fires due to the weather.   It took us 3 hours to travel the 130km although we did stop for brekky at the Bicheno bakery – a very popular place with the locals and lots of sympathy for us riding in such rain.   Come inside loves and warm up.  The coast road from Coles Bay up to St Helen’s would be fabulous in clear weather.  The ocean waves crashing onto the rocks so close to the road it was fabulous except that you can’t really take your eyes off the road to have a good look.   The hotel staff at Tidal Waters were extremely welcoming and weren’t at all phased about us leaving pools of water across reception with every step we took – just as well the floors were wooden.  They directed us to park the bikes under the entrance awning rather than out in one of the car parks.   We were able to check-in to our room immediately for which we were extremely grateful.  We’ve got wet weather gear but it didn’t cope with today’s soaking rain.   After changing into dry clothes, we went to the restaurant for lunch and also indulged in a local glass of pinot noir just because we can and we decided we deserved it.  We put all our wet gear into the dryers in the laundry and we have the heater going in our room.  It’s like a Chinese laundry.  I’d like to share a photo of the coast road but couldn’t stop to take one, so here’s a photo of George’s Bay from our room.

Georges Bay at St Helen's from Tidal Waters Resort Hotel

Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park – Tues 10 & Wed 11 November : 200km.  We arrived Coles Bay at about 3pm on Tuesday after departing Hobart at 11am.  We had a scrumptious omelette for breakfast which kept us going until we reached Coles Bay.  We crossed many bridges as we headed out of Hobart, the weather was cloudy but fine, the roads were great, mostly long curving climbing and downhill sweepers and not as many tighter corners.  We stopped for a coffee at Triabunna on Prosser Bay.  We hadn’t booked any accommodation at Coles Bay but the local café directed us to Freycinet Holiday Rentals and were directed to look at a few different cottages.  We took the cottage closest to the one café, pub, bakery and convenience store and booked for two nights.  The sun came out as we reached Coles Bay and we got quite warm so Basil’s first task was to go to the local store and get us a 6 pack of beers which we enjoyed sitting on the verandah overlooking the bay and Mt Freycinet.  Booked for dinner at the pub on first night and the Italian café on the second night.

Coles Bay 3

Coles Bay 1

Coles Bay from Bed

The photo above I took from bed the next morning – a beautiful sunny day.  We had a relaxing day, well almost, Basil had to deal with many work phone calls and decisions but we didn’t let that detract from the lovely day.  We went out to Freycinet Lodge for breakfast, then a visit to the Fish Farm where you could buy the daily caught fresh seafood.   There are long cues of Asian travellers at any local seafood shop or restaurant.  Actually the majority of travellers in Tassie are Asian and to a smaller extent a mix of Europeans.

Hobart City – Sun 8 & Mon 9 November : we left Pina and John’s (Kingston) at about 3pm checking in to Zero Davey on the Hobart waterfront at 4pm.  We were meeting up with a previous work colleague of mine from early Powercor days and his wife no. 2 who we hadn’t met before.   Norm booked at Rockwall at Salamanca a well known steak and seafood restaurant.  We detected that we weren’t quite Felicity’s cup of tea – first comment “you don’t look like motorbike riders” and when we mentioned we were catching up with one of Barry’s dealers for dinner the next night (noting there was a joke element to her next comment) “is that a drug dealer”?  She didn’t really engage in much conversation.  Anyway it was great to catchup with Norm again.  The next day, Monday, we went to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).  We caught the 9.30am ferry from the Hobart waterfront which took 30 minutes to reach the Museum further up the Derwent.  As expected a very interesting and different experience.  Monday night we caught up with Rick and Christine (Basil’s drug dealer!) and after dinner they took us for a drive up to Mt Wellington which overlooks Hobart.  What a spectacular view at night but it was freezing and we weren’t dressed to hang about for long so no snap to share with you.



Above pic is entrance to MONA.

Hobart – Kingston – Pina & John – Fri 6 – Sun 8 November :  We left New Norfolk and arrived in to Hobart at about 10am and met up with John at the Hobart Waterfront and we followed him back to their home at Kingston which is 12km from the city.  Pina was working so we dropped all our gear and headed off for a ride to the Huon Valley, had lunch at a café in a little village called Cygnet and then looped back around to Huonville to a local winery at Ranelagh called Home Hill.  Stopped in for a taste of their award winning Pinot Noir 2014 Kelly’s Reserve.  Beautiful place to sit and catchup with John.

Home Hill Winery Huon Valley 2

Home Hill Winery Huon Valley 4

Home Hill Winery Huon Valley 9

We arrived back at Kingston about 3pm and Pina arrived just after us.   We had a lovely evening catching up.  They are not long back from Sardinia and Sicily.  History – we met John in the Dolomites in 2003.  John is a chef and was working at a small village near Breganze, more recently one of the chefs on the Aurora Australia but now working off Darwin on one of the oil platforms / boats.   We had a couple of bottles of the Home Hill Pinot and a beautiful salmon pasta.  On Saturday Pina and I went for a long beach walk with Patches the dog, Barry and John went to visit other motorcycle friends and in the afternoon went for a drive to visit their friends who live in the Huon Valley.  They have just built a new home overlooking the most beautiful green valleys.  They recently moved from Brisbane to Tassie.  Saturday night we had a BBQ at home with a few friends of John and Pina’s.  It was also an opportunity for Barry to do some adjustments to his bike as one of the guys had the right tools.  Very late and sociable nights.  John and Pina are very welcoming and wonderful hosts and looked after us very well.  On the Sunday we went for a ride to Dover, once again through the Huon Valley, then back to Huonville and down another arm to Gordon to visit friends who we had met on other visits to Tassie.  We arrived back to Kingston at about 3pm, then said our farewells to John, Pina and Patches and headed into the city.

Strahan – New Norfolk via Queenstown and Derwent Bridge – Thursday 5 November (270km) :

We left Strahan on Thursday heading for New Norfolk just north of Hobart.  The weather was bleak and cold and the road from Queenstown to Derwent Bridge was very winding – can you believe out of Queenstown there was 98 corners in 4km – this way and that way, it felt like we were on the edge of the open cut mines.  I’d love to have a photo of this road so you could see what I mean but it definitely wasn’t a road to stop for a snap.  Queenstown is a very sad place and not like it used to be in its busy mining days.  We came across Melbourne friends at Derwent Bridge, had coffee and a toastie, filled up with fuel and carried on towards Hobart.  They were traveling with friends in 4WD.  Heavy rain after Derwent Bridge, arriving into New Norfolk at about 4pm.  Stopped to visit one of Barry’s dealers called Rick (but also known as Richard by family).   The plan was to catchup with Rick and his wife Christine for dinner however they weren’t available and we made plans to dine with them on Monday night.  We then rode around until we found a place to stay.  Came across a heritage mansion called Tynwald built in 1830 run by an eccentric old couple called Pat and Gary who previously worked in the hospitality industry and bought Tynwald 29 years ago and have been doing it up ever since.  They have sunk an enormous amount of money into restoring the property.   They were in the garden when we arrived looking very hot and dishevelled.  After completing check-in arrangements we unpacked and went for a ride into town to have a look around.  Stopped for a beer at one of the local pubs, then back to Tynwald.  Pat and Gary also run a small restaurant at Tynwald, Gary is the chef and a talker and kept getting into trouble for not attending to his kitchen duties and talking to us.  Our meal was absolutely beautiful.   I had scallops and Barry had a chicken dish.   Home grown everything and so delish.  We picked a wine from the list and we could hear them rummaging around in the cellar but they didn’t have the wine we had chosen so recommended another one which we enjoyed in any case.  It was quite an hilarious experience.  They also have a cat called Tommy who took a great liking to us, a pig called Tina who is the mother of many piglets.  I would really have loved to have looked around the house.

Tynwald Homestead 1




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North West Tassie – Days 1 – 4

Day 1 – 01/11/15 – Davenport to Stanley via Burnie and Wynyard (150km):

Docked at Davenport at 6am and disembarked at around 6.30am.   The crossing was reasonable just a bit of swell once we left the Port Phillip Bay.  Neither of us slept much and we were up at 4.30am to shower and re-pack our bike packs.  The day was overcast and drizzling – I’ll have to talk about the weather as it is a Haines tradition and in any case it determines a lot of what we will chose to do.

Bikes on Ferry 0630 011115

We stopped at Wynyard for breakfast at around 9am – bad breakfast.  We always wonder how cafes can stuff up poached eggs and bacon.  Coffee was acceptable though.  We continued on towards Stanley riding along the coast road and I really do mean coast – the ocean to our right about 5 – 10 metres from the road.  It was amazing and even though the weather wasn’t all that pleasant the views were spectacular.   Everything is so green.   Passed many farms with milking cows, lots of poddies, the best looking healthy chocolate coloured earth and a definite smell of spring onions – I know you thought I was going to say something else – well there was that cow poo smell too.  We continued on to Stanley a small fishing village, a top national and state tidy town winner – the reason very evident.  I think they have rules that you have to paint your home every year as every house is so neat and tidy.  It really is a beautiful village.  We found accommodation at Stanley Village which was once the railway station now converted into a restaurant, café and office with cottages on site.  We booked in for 2 nights.  Accommodation very comfy and cosy warm which we needed as we were freezing.  After we settled in we went for a walk along the harbour and jetty.

Stanley Fishing Boats and Harbour 011115

Unfortunately it was a long weekend for northern Tasmania and many of the local seafood restaurants were closed for the two nights we were there.  We were told that the pub was only restaurant open so a reservation was made for dinner.  I ordered abalone served with chilli, ginger and coriander and a green salad.  Very tasty although a bit chewy.  Ricky I’m sure you would have done it better.  Barry had a Cape Grim steak and was very happy.  The accommodation provided ear plugs in case the Fairy Penguins got a bit noisy during the night when they came ashore from their fishing expedition.  We didn’t hear them at all and no we didn’t use the ear plugs.  The next night we went where the locals said to go to see if we could see them coming in but after waiting in the cold we gave up and went back to the cottage.  We found a nice Shiraz to have with dinner – from a town called Penguin funnily enough located between Davenport and Burnie.

Blue Penguin Shiraz

Day 2 – 02/11/15 – round trip from/to Stanley – the Tarkine Loop (200km)

After breakfast we headed off about 9am and completed the Tarkine loop taking in Smithton, Marraway and Arthur River, Couta Rocks along the coast and then back inland toward Kunnunah Bridge, Edith Creek to Stanley.   This whole area is quite bleak and scrubby and the road surface pretty bumpy.  It’s a draw-card for four wheel drives and campers.   We arrived back into Stanley for a late lunch at about 3pm and then too the chair lift up to the top of the Stanley Nut.

Stanley Village 021115

The photo above is taken from the Nut overlooking Stanley Harbour and Railway Station which is the red roof buildings and the cottages to the left are where we were staying.  The photo below is The Nut.

The Nut Stanley

Stanley history lesson –

Stanley was originally know as Circular Head when employees from the Van Diemen’s Land Company settled in the area in 1826.  The first school opened in 1841 and the post office in 1845.   The Nut is the most distinctive landmark in Stanley, an old volcanic plug discovered by Bass and Flinders in 1798 who named it Circular Head.  It has steep sides and rises to 143m with a flat top.  Stanley currently has a population of approx.. 500.  It was renamed Stanley in 1882 after Lord Stanley, British Secretary at the time who went on to become British PM for 3 terms.  Joseph Lyons our 10th PM was born here.   He was PM from 1932 to 1939 when he died suddenly from a heart at age 59.

Day 3 – 3/11/15 – Stanley to Strahan via Somerset, Waratah, Tullah, Zeehan (280km):

Had breakfast at 8am, left Stanley at 9am in howling winds, back along the coast road towards Burnie, turned off at Somerset down the Murchison Highway.  Wet, windy and windy roads.    We were glad when we reached Strahan at just before 3pm in time to see the Melbourne Cup run.  Checked in to our accommodation at Strahan Village – were up on the hill overlooking the harbour.

Strahan Harbour

The sun started to shine after we arrived.  We went for a long walk around the harbour, found a seafood restaurant for dinner which we booked in at 7pm, came back to shower and change and headed out for a drink before dinner.   I had a beetroot, fig and goats cheese tart with garden salad – bit too sweet for my taste buds but quite tasty.  Barry had scallops which I wish I had had too.  For mains we both had locally caught fish – Stripey Trumpeter with potato scallops and crunchy green vegetables.  Yum!  On our way back along the harbour we ran into friends from Melbourne who are here with a group of 4WD enthusiasts.   Back to the accommodation and a load of washing / drying.  Some jobs just have to be done.

Day 4 – 4/11/15 – round trip to Queenstown (100km)

Awoke to beautiful sunshine, had breakfast and headed off to Queenstown.  Winding roads.  Not much to see in Queenstown, had a walk around, coffee and headed back towards Strahan.  Arrived back for a late lunch.  Here I am doing this blog update and Barry is working on an ignition problem with the 750 sport.  Not sure what we are doing for dinner tonight.  We may catch up with our friends for a drink and fish and chips.


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Preparing for our Tassie Trip

We’re in preparation for our trip to Tassie on our bikes leaving Saturday night on the Spirit of Tasmania.  We have a cabin with a porthole  and we are hoping for a smooth crossing. This is Barry’s recently restored 1974 750 Sport.   I’ll be on my Ducati Monster S2R.

Map of Tasmania

Pamela and Giovanni at Phillip Island 271014

750 Sport 2

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further Woopi waffle

The penultimate day has arrived.   One more beach / headland walk to go.  Today was exciting as there were whales frolicking off the headland, heading south.  Very playfully splashing their tails and fins.  Quite beautiful and I wished I had binoculars with me. 

M and I went down to Bonettos for a coffee, did a bit of a cruise around and down the Lake Rd just a bit.  We had to get back for M’s midday appointment with Aaron the physio.  Kerry-Anne is here now giving M’s legs a massage.   Talking of massages, I had one yesterday at Body and Sole near Bonettos.  Judy recommended Leslie and I certainly thought it was the best massage I’ve had in a long time.   I look forward to my next Woopi escape so I can book in for another one.

R n J came for dinner last night – we had a lamb roast, tatties, pumpkin and Ricky worked some magic with zuccinis, pan fried in garlic and oil, and sprinkled with parmesan.

Slight interruption there … an hour has passed.  It’s time for drinks with the neighbours and the girls.  After drinks, Cec and Merilyn will stay for a takeaway dinner.  There is a new upmarket Fish and Chip shop called “White Salt”.   Today is first day open.

Must away now


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more Woopi waffle

After last night’s stormy weather – must have been the same storm that FNN was enjoying on the GC – you wouldn’t have believed that today could be such a beautiful sunny day.  So with the sun out and the A3 ready to go (dropped off by R n J during last nights storm) M and I left for Coffs at 10am heading to Homebase.  

We started off looking at mattresses for M’s bed – with no pillow top and slightly lower, as M now has an eggshell foam top of the bed which makes it a bit higher than desirable, and also to be able to turn it over.  What we did find out was that mattresses are no longer designed to be turned over, only made to spin around.  It’s all in the spring design.   In the end the new mattress idea was given the boot.  We then moved on to deep sheet browsing.   Here we had success and now M has a single fitted sheet, plus a sheet set both 40cm depth.  These will be a much better fit and they will go on the bed tomorrow.

After all this we had to stop for a refreshment at La Pizzaria or some such place.  Coffee was good but unfortunately we didn’t choose well as the Barramundi fish cakes and Corn Fritters were definitely not of the highest quality.  Luckily the salad that accompanied them was pretty fresh and tasty.

Moving on, we then browsed at Office Works, Freedom Furniture, Spot Light, BBQ Galore, Clarke Rubber and all the others.  M bought a tray for magazines in one furniture store – as you know she has a box (any container) fettish.  This furniture store is moving up the hill to share space and rent with Morrison’s Electrical & Computer store.

Back on Woolgoolga we went on a bit of a street crawl in the A3 checking out houses and streets we used to know, then up the headland to see if we could spot any whales.  We were hopeful as the parking area on the headland was full.  Alas no whales to be seen.  Returned via Pollock Esplanade and into 13A. 

That’s enough blogging …. M and I need a drink so I bid you all good-day, until the next chapter.


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Woopi Waffle continued….

This photo taken from the verandah on a rare sunny day last Friday.    Not long after we met Marge for lunch at the RSL club – sorry forgot to take pictures of our meals for blogging purposes, before we devoured them.  I had Chilli Thai Prawns, Marcia had a Chicken Caesar Salad and just for a change Marge had grilled Ocean Perch, salad and chips.

Saturday the rain returned and brought the chilli weather with it.   Not much action that day.  It was just too misurable.   However we did clean out the fridge and freezer.  I’m sure we managed a bit of reading to fill in the time, and perhaps a bit of talking too.

Sunday surprised us with bright sunshine so we decided to head to Park Beach Plaza in the Audi A3 for a spot of shopping.   Great success with our purchases, and in between the required coffee break to give us energy to keep shopping.  We then finished off with lunch and returned to 13A by 3pm.

Today has been sunny so we went downtown to do a bit of shopping and the compulsory coffee at Bonettos.  Along the way we ran into Marge and she was happy to join us for refreshments.  No profitijes today … why is that you might ask?

Well last night we had dinner at 13A with M, M, R, J n P.   Marge did a wonderful cookup with pickled pork, her famous cauliflower in white sauce with a crunchy topping of bacon and cheese – it was yuuummmmmmy.  We had that with greens and mash.   We finished off with a sticky date pudding, butterscotch sauce with rum (I think Marge’s excuse was that she had run out of vanilla, but we all know the real story there), custard and cream.  We were all stuffed after that.  Of course we had bubbly, beer, and wine red and white – something to suit all tastes there.

Each day I have done a beach / headland walk.  Calf muscle still causing issues so no running going on.   I think perhaps a massage is in order.

The rest of the week awaits:
– Tomorrow we are meeting Nan at Bonetto’s for morning tea;
– Wednesday more shopping to Coffs (weather permitting)
– Thursday dinner with R, J & M
– Friday evening drinkies and chinese takeaway with Cec and Merilyn
– Saturday back to Melbourne and I won’t spoil the fun by thinking about what happens on Monday.

ciao Pambo




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Woopi waffle

Hello family


You will all be pleased to know that we have SUNSHINE today.  M and I went down the street, met up with Cec & Merilyn and had coffee and profitjes – mistake 1 – no maple syrup.  Next outing we’ll get the maple syrup, or perhaps lemon juice.

We’ve completed a few tasks over the last few days while we were housebound due to the heavy rain … cleaned, sorted, disposed of items in the laundry cupboards – 3 cupboards all up;  we’ve cleaned the exhaust fans in the bathrooms;  swept the worms away from the breezeway – tip 1 – don’t leave worms to dehydrate on the carport tiles;   we’ve done a bit of a sort and delete in M’s email boxes;  we’ve rearranged and hung the odd picture on the walls;   yesterday we cooked a Pambo frittata (personal recipe – call me if you would like it);  the day before we cooked a chicken casserole using a real chicken stock which really made it delicious.  We still have some chicken stock left so another gastronomic delight will be created  tonight from the Diabeties magazine.

You’ll have to wait for the next blog for a report on that.  M’s off for an afternoon siesta.    I’m off to Grafton tomorrow to see Daphie and Lynie.   I’m going up with Marge who is going to head off to visit a friend.
Adios amigos

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