There are two routes north from the Tasman Peninsula back to Launceston and ultimately Devonport to catch the ferry. One is the Heritage Highway, basically the main drag; the other is the coast road. We want to do both! What to do?
After leaving the Tasman Peninsula we thought we’d head for Richmond on the inland route, but the van park there was uber expensive. So back to Hobart it was. Again. We like the Seven Mile Beach van park though as evidenced by our two previous visits and Amy and Oliver like their friends Rex and Lola who we knew would still be there.
From here we took a day trip up the main route North as far as Oatlands and stopping in at Richmond on the way. I wanted to see the convict built bridge, which we did before also feeding the ducks and finding another maze to get lost in. I say another maze conscious that we never wrote about Tasmazia, which we visited on route to Cradle Mountain all those weeks ago. The Richmond Maze was not a patch on Tasmazia at which we spent nearly a full day, but we all still had fun and it wasn’t looking at old stuff, which pleased the junior members of our party.
Further up the road at Oatlands is the only wind powered flourmill operating outside of the United Kingdom. It fit in nicely with Amy’s lessons about farming. The mill was built in 1838 or so, by convicts of course. It then had a highly changeable history including being burnt out and turned into a water storage before being restored in recent years.
The restoration was largely undertaken by a millwright who flew out from the UK, measured the stone tower to within an inch of its life, went home and built the parts before sending them back to Tasmania ikea style – flat packed. Once installed, he provided two weeks training and the mill has been servicing the state ever since. The current miller received just two days training. It looked more complex than that to me. But I am just a humble public servant.
Maria Island was next and so we cut back across to the east coast. We packed up the van, said goodbye to Rex and Lola and drove 58km up the road to Triabunna. There are no cars on Maria Island so we loaded our bikes onto the oversize rubber ducky along with food and enough water for two nights staying in the Penitentiary. Maria Island, like much else in Tassie was founded as a convict settlement in the 1830s. The building we stayed in was then a gaol and our room would have housed 33 men at one stage. It was more comfortable with just the four of us.
Wildlife abounds on the island. Wombats wandered around the Darlington site, where the Penitentiary is located, like cows grazing in a paddock. We even saw a wild Tassie Devil, one of the population released here to guard against the virus wiping them out on the mainland.
We rode our bikes up hill and down dale, taking in the view across to the Freycinet Peninsula. We visited the stunning painted cliffs, twice. Water here seeps through the sandstone creating a most impressive cliff face. The water lapped gently at the rocks and the rock pools were filled with all manner of curiosities. The sun was warm and Amy and Oliver loved making face paint and huh-hmmm, poo, out of the colourful sands.
We also embarked upon another fairly epic walk, up Bishop and Clerk, the craggy cliffs on the northern end of the Island some 650 meters above sea level. The guidebook said it was 5.6 km. It was 11km according to my GPS watch. The view was worth the effort though and I enjoyed the admiration of the majority of other hikers we came across, most of whom were quite impressed to find a 9 and 7 year old on the summit. We hadn’t thought that much of it, but it was nice to hear nonetheless.