Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Tasmanian relief - PART 4

(Return to - PART 1, PART 2, PART 3)

The next day we had to have chocolate. We had to go
straight there and only just made it to the Cadburys factory before Jules and Nita burst with excitement. Predictable chocolate gorging ensued. I only had one so I wouldn’t look out of place. Oh yeah, and those Furry Friends bars that Eric brought over for me. After the tour, and the excruciating embarrassment we suffered by wearing the obligatory shower caps, some of us went to the Cadbury shop and bought a lot of chocolate bar seconds. When queried about the need for quite so much chocolate the dubious logic was, it’s half price and, it won’t melt in the boot in this weather.

We stopped at the Alpenrail Swiss model railway exhibit on the way back to Hobart. It’s an impressive display of model railway excess to a Swiss theme.
Personally I'd be a bit concerned to look back after 20 years and see that's all I had to show for it. But that's just me. He’s made a lot of people happy so good on him.

In retaliation for the chocolate binge I made everyone go to Joes Garage, a small, iconic pub in the middle of Hobart. Fortunately, the early afternoon crowd hadn’t started and any self-respecting bikie was still in bed so we had the place to ourselves. I've seen Joes Garage on a few TV shows and it had looked awesome then. Everything looks better on TV. If we’d had a few beers it might have been better but we were keen to get on our way.

Richmond has a really old bridge. That’s it. Glad we came. Thankfully my wife made us have a drink at the pub. She needed to use the toilet and felt it rude to use their facilities without payment. Eric and I weren’t arguing. Finally we were drinking beer. Nita was buying Teddy bears at the Teddy Bear shop across the road so everyone was happy.

New Norfolk. We stayed at an old place called Rosies Inn. Originally a boarding house it had been converted into a very upper class B and B. It was a bit like staying with your Great Grandmother. Everything, and I mean everything,was embroidered with roses. New Norfolk is also home to Australia's oldest church.

The drive through Mt Field National Park will allow you the opportunity of many different walks. One features Russell Falls as a highlight and we’d already picked that one out as a “wanna see”. The Pademelons, (small wallaby looking things), were everywhere through the forest. They were very tame and camera friendly. The tranquillity of being amongst the trees caused my inner stress monster to take a rare break. I could really live in such a place permanently.

Hamilton. We had lunch at Clyde's house. I ate far too much of their excellent food as usual. They have a very nice formal garden out the back that we explored. On the road again we stopped at a few scenic lookouts. There’s no shortage of lookouts in this mountainous terrain.

Just before Derwent Bridge we found The Wall in the Wilderness. I t belongs to Greg Duncan, a self-taught artist, who is carving a massive 3 metre high frieze that will extend 100 metres in length when finished. His natural skill and artistry is truly awe-inspiring. The many carved Australian native animal pieces exhibited around the foyer are life sized and detailed to the tiniest feature. The work is still in progress so we were able to see how he approached the job and saw different levels of completion. The finished panels are incredible. The life-sized men depicted were detailed down to the veins and tendons in their hands. We were wondering when he’d be finished and estimate of another 10 years was a bit long to wait around for. It is exceptionally well presented and well worth the entry fee.

I almost didn’t go in, and even had a bit of a bitch about having to pay to get into every damn place we stopped at. I would have missed a really worthwhile bit of history in the making. You get your moneys worth here.

We decided Derwent Bridge would be our stop for the night and soon discovered that booking ahead would have been prudent. The popular pub had already been fully booked. The continued excellent occupancy rate into the low season even surprises the owners.

Luckily a few top quality cabins at the Derwent Bridge Chalets and Studios were still available at very reasonable prices. The 3 and a half star rating had been taken to its very upper limit with the comfort of their guests given the highest priority. The friendly owners had the fire already going too, which was a nice touch, as the temperature dropped quickly with the setting sun. A raging ice-cold river about 50 metres from the door made a nice backdrop as we sipped a cold beer near the fire. We highly recommend it. We also found its placement ideal to break our trip to Strahan into manageable pieces.

(See - Tasmanian relief - PART 5)

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