Goodness the nights are cold in southern Tasmania. We woke in Hamilton on Tuesday morning to a stunning sunrise but a rather refreshing 5C. We stayed at a small recreational reserve the town has made available free of charge to travellers. A problem we had was that the fresh water tape was away from the reserve and only one van could access the tap at a time. On Monday night we could not get near it because of the queue so Tuesday morning we did an early move to be first at the tap. We needed about 500 litres of water so had plenty of time for breakfast and coffee while we filled. After breaky it was onto the Lyell Highway and toward Hobart.
The captain found driving through Hobart a little stressful on Tuesday. Our GPS instructions were average to say the least (maybe it was because we have not done an update for 18 months!!!), lane markings and road directions were not very clear and the traffic lanes themselves were very narrow. More than once we were in serious competition for our lane with a much larger vehicle. The captain was most relieved when we arrived at the cities outskirts.
From Hobart we drove 100km south to Southport. Situated in the far south east region of Tasmania, Southport is a secluded little fishing village and is one of the oldest settlements in the area. According to a local, the villages population is about 200. We had intended to stop over at Southport but the wind coming off the Southern Ocean was bitter and any park up was directly into the wind. After a bit of a look around we decided to make our way north again to the coastal village of Franklin where we stopped for the night
Franklin is on the western side of the Huon River in the southeast of Tasmania. Until the 1930’s Franklin was the major town in the Huon Valley. It was busy and thriving with shipping that docked at its many jetties. While the rest of the world has moved on, the towns 300 residents are thankful that much of the old Franklin remains. We parked up in the middle of town and directly beside the Huon River. A lovely overnight stop.
On Wednesday morning we made our way 20km north on the Huon Highway to Huonville, hooked a right, crossed the Huon River then travelled south down a peninsula that lies between the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on one side and the Huon River on the other. This jut of land is the centre of the fruit growing Huon Valley where apple, cherry and berry orchards line the hills. The drive was slow going as the road was steep and windy but we pass through some stunning bays on the way – Cygnet, Egg and Bacon Bay, Verona Sands just to name a few.
Most of the orchards and farms this area are organic so apart from picking up a kilo of beautiful cherries from a roadside stall, we felt very relaxed about stopping on the side of the road every now and again and picking the roadside blackberries. By the time we arrived at our next over night stop at Gordon, we were well stocked. Gordon is situated at the southern end of the peninsula and on the shores of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. We found a parkup on a nice flat area of grass directly on the waters edge. Once we had settled a Kiwi couple who have lived in Australia for 27 years and who have been on the road for 3 years, came over and introduced themselves. We had a very pleasant 5 o’clockers to finish the day.
This morning we made the decision to continue 30km up the east coast as far as Kingston before turning left and driving into Hobart for the weekend. We are parked up at the Hobart Showgrounds and plan to stay here until Sunday when we will make our way to Port Arthur. The big event this weekend for the navigator is the Salamanca Market. The market is a major tourist attraction in Tasmania and she is hoping to gather a few more ideas for her market involvement when we get home.