Steve and Mad's mini adventure travel blog

The road from Ben Lomond (ie the road to nowhere...)

Summer at Ben Lomond ski village - nice

Hazards Bay beach

The very famous (in Tasmania) Wineglass Bay

The worlds most beautiful location, spoiled by our smalls!

Raining today so we didn't feel too bad about having to spend a long time in the car. We had to go from Launceston (at the top) to Coles Bay (half way down) which didn't look a long way on the map - are you spotting a pattern here?? On a map of Australia, Tasmania looks tiny and you think you can drive anywhere in 5 mins. But it ain't and you can't! First off we thought we'd head for Ben Lomond National Park since we had got our new park pass yesterday. Ben Lomond is accessed by an unmade road - 20km of it! The sign says 7k, then you get to another sign which also says another 7k, except that they don't mention the next 7k is practically vertical taking in gravelly tracks, hairpin bends and precipitous cliff edges.... it's all very Lord of the Rings and at several points it did look like the road went straight into the mountain. On a clear day it must be spectacular, however on a grey drizzly day it's not quite so good. At the very top of the mountain is Ben Lomond ski village so we thought we'd stop there and cheer ourselves up with a cup of tea while waiting to see if the weather got better. The ski village looked like it hadn't been inhabited since some freak chemical accident in the 1970's. There was a cafe so we popped in just for a loo break, to find there was a weird looking man, a stove and lots of camping gear lying around. I don't know just how long he'd been living in the toilets but I'd guess it was some time. He said hello and we said hello, did what we had to do and left pretty quick, giggling all the way down the mountain. We've now christened Ben Lomond 'Village of the Damned'. Apparently, in the ski seaon you can get a bus up to the village but I have no idea how it gets up there since we had enough trouble negotiating the roads in a small car in the summer season!

Having been denied a cuppa at the Village of the Damned we hought we'd head off towards Coles Bay and stop anwhere that looked interesting. However, there are actually no points of (gourmet) interest on that journey so disappointment again!! According to the map the most direct route involved a portion of unsealed road which we thought would be OK, in the absence of any alternative route. In fact, this turned out to be at least 40k of road and it looked like it got about 1 car a week. Despite this there were quite a number of dead critters including a very large, apparently unmarked, wombat in the classic dead pose of flat back, legs in the air. How could this be, we didn't see another soul (or car) in 3 hours of driving. We christened it the World's Unluckiest Wombat and decided it must have been suicidal but actually died waiting for something to come by. I wanted to get out and inspect it but it looked a bit bloated and Steve said it might explode so we just carried on.

On the way we also passed Douglas-Apsley National Park but it was on unmade roads again and by this time we'd both had enough of that. Next proper town was Bicheno which had a cafe so we stopped for a coffee. It also had the Sausage King restarant and a butchers called Sir Loin of Pork but not much else to recommend it. We'd been instructed to stop off at a B&B to pick up the keys for our accommodation. When we got there it turns out here had been a mix up and we had been booked into the main house (sleeps 8) instead of the cotage we'd booked (sleeps 2). After some discussion it was agreed that we could have the house for a reduced rate. When we got there we found it was really beautiful - a timber house with a full glass wall looking out onto the bay and a large balcony to sit and admire the view. It had stopped raining by this point too so things were looking up!

Didn't sleep too well as the house creaked and popped all night plus the spa bath decided to switch itself on at 3.00 am.... Next day we went to Freycinet National Park and took the walk to Wineglass Bay which is absolutely fantastic, one of the world greatest views I think. It's very impressive with the white sands, blue sea and lush greenery. We walked down to the bay and then across to Hazards Beach which is just as beautiful but a little more sheltered and then back along the coast through the forest, about an 11k circuit. The forests here are quite strange , the trees are all white and it looks very much like a English winter forest. On our way through we nearly got mown down by a herd (anybody know the correct collective noun?) of wallabies which was quite exciting! You can hear them coming a mile off but it's still a surprise when they pop out of the wood. we also have our own little pet wallaby at the house who sits munching the lawn for most of the day and isn't at all interested in us. It rained really heavily in the evening so we snuggled up watching Midsomer Murders and eating Cadbury's Fruit & Nut. How sad!

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