Sunday, November 20, 2011

Melbourne-Tassie Holiday 2011 Day 6

Even after an early night it was difficult to get out of bed. The night was cold and I had to put more clothes on. Coco Pops for breakfast - you know that you are on holiday when that is on the brekkie menu. Found our way up to Cataract Gorge Reserve without too many problems - thanks to the assistance of my human GPS.

Took the Zig-Zag-Track, designed for hikers, to the top. The view was pretty good. Bit of work to get there. Back down and we took the (expensive) chairlift across the gorge. Great view from the seat. Spotted a potoroo upon our exit. Wandered down the Cataract Walk before turning around to go over the Alexandra suspension bridge. Saw another potoroo when going to the lookout. The chairlift is the world's longest single chairlift span. A very pleasant spot to visit.

Next stop was Tasmania Zoo. So many different creatures to see and feed. We arrived at 12pm which was an hour before the Tasmanian Devils' feeding time. The wedge-tail eagles were magnificent and the Australian Dogs were beautiful. Great to feed the emus, calves, pony, parrots (except for a cockatoo that bit The Boy) and wallabies. Certainly the highlight of the visit was the feeding of the devils. There was a rooster that chased The Boy around the zoo a bit which was funny. He really enjoyed feeding the wallabies. We bought some souvenirs and left at 2pm to head to Beaconsfield. I had thought that the entry price was a bit steep but changed my mind after all of the animals that I had seen.

Our plan was to visit the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre but, unfortunately, it didn't include a tour of the mine as it is still a working mine. So we had a look around the ruins of the old mine and the exhibition to the trapped miners, Scott Russell and Brant Webb. That was interesting. Sorry to say that it wasn't what I'd hoped to see and I left a bit disappointed.

Wanted to grab a bite to eat in town but, as it was Launceston Show Day, most shops were closed. The Club Hotel was serving meals from 6pm which didn't help us as it was 4:30. Popped across the road for a hamburger and chicken schnitzel burger at Pot of Gold. I rang Shirley at Low Head Penguin Tours and she said that we needed to meet her at about 7:30pm.

It only took half an hour to reach Low Head Penguin Tour area - just keep following the road and you finally reach it although it isn't signposted really well. Had about half an hours sleep, or so, before venturing out. Shirley was there and said we should go to the pilot station whilst we were waiting and we did. There was a plaque to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the sighting of the Tamar River by Bass and Flinders in 1798. Nice little time filler.

There was supposed to be about another 10 people show up, but there were only two more, and they'd probably been put off by the rain that had been falling since 4:30. Taylor (girl) was our guide, must have been 19 or 20 years old, and Shirley popped down afterwards. Almost as soon as we arrived at the viewing platform we spotted four penguins who had come ashore. They were preening themselves first before heading to their burrow. We had a chance to walk up the track where they would be headed so that they walked straight past us. You had to wear dark clothes, watch out for the South African box thorns and the guide used an orange light so that the penguins didn't become frightened. The fine for touching one is $3,000. On this tour you are still allowed to use a camera but no flash. Other tours have banned the use of cameras altogether. Shirley, who runs the information centre in town has been doing the licensed penguin tours for 16 years and she told me that she expected that rule to come in here as well. We must have seen 12-15 penguins in all, in an hour, with the last couple under a bush quite some way from the beach. They did make a few calls. Two penguins were spotted heading out to sea.

On the way back to Launceston, the rain got heavier the closer we got, during the 57km drive. In bed by 10:30pm.

Melbourne-Tassie Holiday 2011 Photo Album - Photos 91-151.

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