Following on from Part 1 of my ‘Winter in Tasmania’ series, join me for Part 2 as we explore north and north-west.
Shearwater Country Club
We headed here to get some resort shots and what an amazing surprise it was! It is situated at Port Sorell with easy access to Shearwater Beach.
I took this shot on my phone out of the window of the plane as we crossed the North Coast. Little did I realise then that I was actually getting Shearwater Resort from the air! It’s located near the bottom left corner.
The sunrises were absolutely beautiful … Mother Nature certainly put on a show for us, more than once!
Port Sorell is ideally located for quite a number of day trips – south to Cradle Mountain or the midlands, west to Stanley and The Nut (or onto the west coast if you allow enough time), and east to Launceston, Tamar Valley and the east coast.
Our first day trip was to Cradle Mountain. We enjoyed this magnificent view of Mt Roland on the way.
Make sure you stop and take in the magnificent views whenever you can. One thing Tassie is not short of is ‘vistas’ - everywhere you look, it’s one beautiful view after another!
So we arrived at Cradle Mountain and it was somewhat blustery and cold. But that didn’t stop us venturing further afield.
There are a variety of walking/hiking tracks, everything from the easy 20 minute ‘Enchanted Walk’ right up to the world-famous ‘Overland Track’ – a 6 day walk through the heart of some of the finest mountain terrain.
As we‘d arrived later in the day, we chose the Lake Lilla Walk and only went part of the way as we didn't want to be walking back in the dark (the sun sets earlier here in winter due a combination of season and the high peaks). Be smart about which walk you choose: allow sufficient time and remember to hydrate as well!
- there is a park entry fee
- be prepared - the weather and conditions can change very quickly
- be sure to check out the ‘Essential Bushwalking Guide’ if you intend camping overnight (go to the website below, from the Recreation tab select ‘Before you walk’)
For more information, visit www.parks.tas.gov.au.
So then our next foray was west to photograph the sunset over ‘The Nut’ at Stanley. We took in a few sights along the North coast.
This is a great little seaside spot, nestled between rocky headlands, overlooking the white sands and sparkling waters of Bass Strait. And the weather was absolutely glorious that day.
We stopped at Harvest and Cater café at the Surf Club for lunch and it was absolutely beautiful.
Sitting on colourful, mismatched chairs at locally-made Tassie Oak ‘share tables’, under inspirational lights and fabric samplers made by the local Women's Guild in celebration of International Women's Day, and surrounded by an eclectic collection of bric-a-brac - it simply is a funky place! Highly recommend you stop there.
The Nut, Stanley
So now to the purpose for this day’s outing (aside from seeing more of this beautiful state!) - photographing the sunset over The Nut – the core of an extinct volcano plug standing at approx. 150m above Stanley.
You can walk up to the plateau (10-20 minutes, but be prepared, the path is steep) or take the chairlift (closed during colder months), and there’s a 1 hour circuit track around the plateau if you’re so inclined. You will be rewarded for your effort with amazing views in every direction.
The perfect vantage point to photograph The Nut with the sun setting behind it was Rocky Cape NP. It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes for the sunset to come about, and then how quickly it happens!!
Sunset done and dusted, we headed back for our last night on the north coast, before heading back to Hobart.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
This is the worlds largest privately-owned lavender farm – 260 acres with the magnificent Mount Arthur providing a scenic backdrop. It is the only source of true Tasmanian lavender and it’s located in the heart of the Tamar Valley Wine Route, 45 minutes from Launceston.
Sadly, it wasn’t lavender season in June. We had a nice morning tea in the café though. Take some time to browse all the lavender products! I was amazed at the amount of products you could work lavender into. You can also explore the estate by taking a self-guided tour. Note that a seasonal gate charge applies.
Their Frequently Asked Questions handout answered questions I didn’t even know I had! For example, they don’t irrigate the lavender! They rely on the annual rainfall (approx. 900mm). Apparently the lavender has a very deep root system so is able to withstand prolonged dry spells. Amazing!
What a pleasant surprise Bicheno was! This ‘jewel of the East Coast’ as it's referred to by the locals, is less than a 2 hour drive from both Launceston or Hobart and is famous for its mild climate.
We stopped for lunch at one of the café’s and had a lovely view of the coast, then went down to the waterfront for a while to stretch our legs and snap a few pics.
All things Astro!
Tassie has no shortage of clear, dark skies (crucial for astro-photography)! Having said that, I absolutely froze standing out on the Golf Course at Shearwater getting some Milky Way shots. They aren’t all that good, but imagine if I knew what I was doing!
If you look at the image, you can see the ‘shadow’ image of an emu. The Aborigines used the stars as a calendar (eg time to move to a new place, when they’ll find a particular food supply etc).
Just North of Sydney, in the Ku-ring-gai NP, are extensive rock engravings of the Guringai people who used to live there, including representations of the creator-hero Daramulan and his emu-wife. On autumn evenings, the emu in the sky stands directly over her portrait, just when it's time to gather emu eggs! (Source http://www.emudreaming.com/)
I am happy to say that I now know a little more than I did when I was in Tassie, and I have better gear. To see an example of a GREAT night sky shot, click here. There's no Milky Way , I know, it was the wrong time of year, but I'm more than happy with it!
Conjunction Of The Moon, Venus & Jupiter
On the way back to Hobart for our last night, Venus and Jupiter aligned for an amazing conjunction with the Moon! When I saw this on our drive back, I had to stop!
It was amazing to watch the conjunction over the nights following, they moved away from each other quickly!
In the words of Frank Herbert:
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
So until I visit Tasmania again and restart the story by visiting all the places I didn’t get to this time, enjoy!