State of Tasmania Things to Do Tips by iandsmith Top 5 Page for this destination
State of Tasmania Things to Do: 248 reviews and 471 photos
Gotta love a place like this
Penguin by name, penguin by nature.....just had to get that line in. Population 3,000 people and 5,000 penguins. This cute little town that the highway once went through is still there but more relaxed.
Some nice beaches, though more for strolling than getting wet, a little bit of history and the garden.
Yes, that garden. There's a railway line that travels along the coast. It's set between the road and the beach. A man called Max Perry saw the otherwise neglected land surrounding it in a positive light, and thus the garden was born.
These days other have taken up the cudgels so to speak and it flourishes elsewhere as well. In fact, it's probably the main tourist attraction in the area.
The town originally supported a small port but this was usurped with the coming of the railway in 1901 and today it is mainly a service town and tourist destination.
Johsons Beach has an exposed reef at low tide and can make for interesting exploration.
Some people spend the night at Lions Park, like we did; only catch is that freight trains come through every so often though, fortunately, not during the wee hours when you're sleeping.
Directions: Northern Tasmania, west of Devonport
Bands of colour
From my email at the time - "I okayed nearby Hawley Beach on my GPS and reached there in half an hour, having driven through some of Tasmania’s prettiest farmland en route.
After lunch I opted for a walk in Larooma Park, a thin slip of seaside land run by the National Parks and named after an adjacent historic 19th century property whose house and land is still there behind barbed wire and electric fences.
On the other side is a picturesque coastline, glimpses of which flicker through the dense coastal scrub. Tiny sandy beaches intersperse the colourful lichen swathed rocky foreshore until you reach the end where there are three small islands that you can apparently walk to at low tide.
The fickle weather had seen the low clouds break up and the wind moderate a little so I left the prolific bird life to their own and headed off to Narawntapu"
This was a lovely walk, one I hope to repeat and allocate more time in the future.
Directions: West of Hawley Beach
The looming Cradle Mountain
This is about half way during the two hour walk. Wherever you are around Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain looms.
For more pictures and stories on this area, refer to my "Off The Beaten Path" pages where I did the extended walk to Crater Lake.
Directions: Northern Tasmania
From below the lower falls
I wrote this after my second visit to Liffey, and a lot had changed, notably the ease of access.
No matter where you are in Tasmania, there's a waterfall nearby somewhere and Deloraine, where I started this short trip, has its share.
Liffey Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in Tasmania, are situated 29 km from town and a brief 20-25 min walk from the car park. The last part of the road is on dirt and is narrow and windy (about 6kms) before you get to the popular carpark that has a sculpture and toilet block.
The walk is well trodden and you won't have any problems getting lost as is follows the stream right to the lower falls with viewing points along the way.
There is also an option to extend your walk by crossing a bridge onto another trail.
The new access has made Liffey even more popular than before so, at certain times, you're sure to have company.
Set aside as a park in 1826 but not developed as a park until the late 1850s.
It features lots of trees dating back to the 1800s, some planted by members of the Royal family, yet still retains its original layout.
Prince's Square was originally a brickfield and a venue of past military drills and rowdy political meetings.
Now it is a historic park that includes mature trees, many planted by royalty, and an internationally significant fountain which was produced in the 1850s by the Val d-Osne Foundry in France, and statue a of Dr William Russ Pugh, the first to use general anaesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere for a surgical operation.
Address: bordered by St John, Elizabeth, Charles and Freder
Small fall en route
Finally wound my way to Montezuma Falls carpark. I’d been there before but didn’t get to do the walk so I was really keen this time. As for the weather, most would have assessed it as perfect, but in reality I wanted it totally overcast for rainforest photography. Too much contrast makes it so hard; still, I hope you enjoy some of the images.
It’s a straight flat 3 hour return walk along an old tramway, built to retrieve ore from the many mines in the area. At times boggy it’s no surprise as you constantly hear the roar of the river in a steep canyon far below and the trail has many flows that sometimes disappear underground, at other times cross beneath the boardwalk and often just splash onto the trail.
You have to be careful not to stub your toes on old spikes and sleepers but the beauty of the moss covered myrtle, tree ferns and hard water-ferns are a constant distraction.
I went down all bar one of the side tracks, looking for different photos and occasionally succeeding, before I made Montezuma. They promised much, from writings and personal anecdotes from friends, and they delivered in spades. It’s a serious drop from above and the trail delivers you to the best viewing point at the base. After you’re sated here you can take the precarious and somewhat exciting swinging bridge (no more than two adults and a child at a time please and not for those with vertigo problems) across the raging waters for a different aspect entirely.
Leaning out over the sides to get some shots is guaranteed to thrill. It was when I was returning that I met Connie. She was from Westernport Bay and she was all smiles while her husband, who was acrophobic, wouldn’t cross the bridge but kept bobbing up and down between the bushes like a duck at a shooting gallery, apparently concerned for her welfare.
I had my slightly small hiking boots on and on the return leg my muscles were aching trying to compensate but I made it and drove into nearby Rosebery where there’s a motorhome friendly carpark.
One of three bridges and a ford across the river
Cataract Gorge Reserve, or ""The Gorge"" as the locals call it, is a unique natural formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston, albeit over a steep hill.
In 15 minutes you can walk from the city centre along the banks of the Tamar River into Cataract Gorge.
From here there's a pathway along the cliff face, originally built in the 1890s, looking down onto the South Esk River. The main Kings Bridge over the gorge was floated into place in 1867.
The First Basin, on the southern side, features a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland.
In contrast, the shady northern side, called the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian manicured garden where tall trees lord over ferns and exotic plants - nature is enhanced by art. There's a Restaurant and kiosk, rolling lawns and a rotunda, a pub with a view and a footbridge and chairlift to return across the river, peacocks everywhere, wallabies at dusk. Some argue it may be the nation's most alluring urban reserve though personally I favour Kings Park in Perth.
Further upstream is the historic Duck Reach Power Station, now an Interpretation Centre. This is reached by a trail claimed to be for hikers only but it's a relatively easy and flat track.
The Launceston City Council originally commissioned the Power Station in 1893, making it the largest hydro-electric scheme of its day. By 1895 it was lighting the city but got into decline when it was flooded out on two occasions.
You can use the loop trail which goes up steeply and then it's all downhill to the park; or you can return via the easy track.
There is a restaurant on both sides and wheelchairs will find joy here as well. Great place to spend an hour or more.
View from Marion Lookout
I retreated to the main trail and started the climb to Marion Lookout. It was steep, or so I thought, then I got to the chains and the snow depth markers and I found out what “steep” really meant. After more than one pause Cradle Mountain finally peeped over the crest and I was there at this lookout I’d so wanted to get to. While the view wasn’t shabby, the memory of Crater Lake lingered and I knew the effort I’d made to get here before the weather closed in for the next few days hadn’t been in vain.
I met my first walker of the day 10 minutes later. This knowledgeable man told me three things I didn’t know; the Devonport Show was on, it was a public holiday in the north and, today was Friday.
I decided to take the direct descent to Dove Lake, a red warning sign cautioned “track steep and rough” when it should have said “very steep and very rough”. I thought coming up had been bad but this so-called track was one of the worst I’d been on. Still, I had a smile on my face when I met a group of Asians on their way up when I was near the bottom. “Glad I’m heading in the other direction”, I said as we passed and cautioned them to remove some of their overclothes because they’d be sweating very soon. They were smiling then, I knew they wouldn’t be in 5 minutes time.
Lake Lilla delivered, then I climbed to Wombat Pool and it too was magical then I climbed further, over Wombat Peak and down to the boatshed at Crater Lake.
The whole time I descended I was in awe; here was a lake to rival any in Australia for stunning scenery on a grand scale, right up there with Lake Judd, Lake Pedder and Dove Lake. The presence of massive rock outcrops rising sheer from the waters and ghostly skeletons of long dead trees with tortured limbs askew in all directions made certain of that. The boatshed at the end merely added to the lustre of this, a finishing touch on a masterpiece.
The iconic boat house on Dove Lake
I had stopped 10 kms from the park along with, as it later turned out, a German photographer who was based in Melbourne. But it was well dark when I arrived and still dark when I left; I suspect it was the German leaving that had woken me because, when I arrived by Dove Lake his vehicle was there along with a couple of others.
Dawn was approaching and I hurried to the lakeside where the German was, then ran (something I hadn’t done for years) back to the carpark to retrieve my polarizing filter. The German, from Düsseldorf, then told me he’d been here until 10.30 p.m. the previous night and that there hadn’t been many stars.
Not to worry, light kissed the top of Australia’s iconic Cradle Mountain as my shutter started clicking. I felt privileged and lucky to be here while the weather was fine and still, an uncommon scenario up here. The thin mist rose and swayed above the lake, moved by the imperceptible air currents and highlighted by the reflected silhouette of the mountains.
I left and went to the famous boatshed, whose picture I suspect makes it the most photographed building of that type in the world. Here were two Asian girls that I’d come across before somewhere set in a spot on a protruding rock.
We exchanged greetings but the photographer of the two somehow conveyed the impression that my nearby presence wasn’t welcome. I couldn’t help but notice that while I was enthralled by the numerous panoramas that presented themselves, she was totally focused on one thing though I never saw her push the shutter. They left and I did also soon after, headed for the tarns beyond where I hoped for even more possibilities.
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