Friday, July 11, 2014

Tassie to the Tropics: Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, Tasmania

Once we dropped the boys off on the trailhead of the Overland Track, we spent the morning visiting Dove Lake and taking in great views of Cradle Mountain.

Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

Riker loved scrambling on the rocks at the water's edge.

Another view of Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

My sweet boy

I took the four biggest kids on a short walk around part of Dove Lake. I didn't lose anyone and managed a photo with all of them in one frame!

That afternoon the mamas, kids and grandparents headed north to the little town of Port Sorrell on the Rubicon River, about twenty kilometres east of Davenport.

Cradle Mountain in the rear view mirror. I was tour guide and captain of our twelve passenger Toyota vans on this trip.

We hadn't gone far when I spotted this echidna shuffling about on the side of the road. I pulled over so we could all have a closer look and snap a few photos and he just went about his business. My crowning tour guide achievement no doubt!

The view from our patio at Rubicon River Hideaway. Not pictured: full size hot tub in background!

Our first full day in the area was spent visiting the Don Railway. Its friendly and accommodating volunteers made our visit very enjoyable. They held up the two o'clock train to the beach (we were the only passengers) so that we could get some lunch from the takeaway shop down the street to have as a picnic at Coles Beach. A fifteen minute journey on a vintage railcar landed us at the beach and we found a picnic shelter with a great view before the kids were distracted by the lure of sand and surf.

Love my sister Heather!

After an hour, our coach returned to collect us. We then headed back to the station to get a tour of the collection of engines and refurbished carriages.

While we rarely planned for more than one activity in a day, we decided that a stop at Anvers Chocolate Factory could be squeezed in and everybody went home with tasty treats!

Teagan and Riker as chocolatiers.

Look mama, I finished all of it!

The next day we visited what we thought was going to be a Science Centre but it turned out to be an indoor play area with jumping castles, a climbing gym and a small dinosaur exhibit. Not quite what we expected but the kids had a great time and the grown-ups got to have a coffee and a chat so we all considered it time well spent.

It was already time for dinner when we left but we decided that a detour on the way home was in order for a drive through Narawatapu National Park at dusk. Dubbed the "Serengeti of Tasmania" Narawntapu is known to be one of the best places in Tasmania to view wildlife as animals come out in the evening to graze on the grasslands. We were delighted to show the kids wallabies, a wombat and Tasmanian Pademelons in abundance!

Before we knew it, it was time to head to Lake St Claire where we would meet the boys coming off the trail. On the way we made a slight detour to Chudleigh to visit the Melita Honey Farm shop. Have I mentioned we might have a slight obsession with bees, honey and mead?

The shop offered tastings of more than thirty different varieties of honey and a selection of ice creams and nougats made with honey. And if you're ever in the market for honey skin care products or food items or bee themed gifts ranging from pencil sharpeners to tea pots to backpacks, this place is for you.

It was really interesting to see all the examples of types of hives and even a display of the inside of a working hive.

We enjoyed the stop but the employees weren't terribly welcoming of children and kept scolding them for touching anything. One woman kept running around cleaning up tiny drips of honey on the tasting table and polishing their fingerprints off the ice cream window. And oddly, the staff seemed disinterested in our extensive interest and experience with honey and mead making despite their clear obsession with all things bees and honey related.

The shop sold a product labeled as mead and I bought two little bottles despite not being able to taste it first. That evening we discovered that it was actually a nonalcoholic drink made with leatherwood honey, cinnamon and citrus flavours. A tasty enough drink but decidedly not mead.

We enjoyed our ice cream and continued on our way to Lake St Clair to meet the boys coming off the trail. We couldn't wait to hear about their adventures!

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