The annual pilgrimage of the caravans, Winnebagos and campervans to southern Tasmania started in full force last week. The car park and motor home facilities in Franklin have been upgraded recently, but the camping area remains about as attractive as before (see below). Luckily the beautiful riverside location and views compensate.
The beautiful weather today meant it was time for a short walk. We headed for Billy Brown's Falls, which has been the centre of some local protests with a fight to stop planned forestry logging of the West Wellington area.
From Huonville, you drive to Judbury then follow Judds Creek Road for about 11.5km. Personally, I would only want to drive there in a 4WD. The Huon Trail guidebook says the walk is signposted, but below is the extent of the signage we saw. The downside of most walks to waterfalls is that you need to go after rains to see the full beauty of the falls, but of course that means the track is muddier. Luckily the falls were absolutely worth it today, so my advice is, go after rains. The clear cool water roared over the rocks into the rocky pools below.
It's only a short walk, 1.5 hours return, up a hill that's steep in places, then down to the falls and the same in reverse. There are some very tall trees and some lovely rainforest to walk through. Almost back at the car, we saw a tiger snake slide away then double back across the path, so we got a good look at him.
On the way back down Judds Creek Road, I was excited to see the markers for the Tasmanian Trail, which I plan to walk someday. It runs about 480 km from Devonport in the north of Tasmania to Dover in the south, passing through towns and wilderness areas. If you fancy walking it too, let me know.
I was very happy to arrive home around midday today after a few days in Brisbane for work. Not that Brisbane isn't nice, but this is, well, paradise. To me anyway. See what you think.
We sat in the sun on the deck chairs and read the paper. The blossoms on the crab apples are out. The bare rooted fruit trees we planted on an espalier back in July are starting to sprout leaves and blossoms. And the dogs are just enjoying hanging out with us.
Just as I felt a little sad that the explosion of yellow daffodils in our paddocks were dying down, the next round of bulbs shot up to provide a continuing supply of fresh flowers. I like these ones even better that the bright yellow variety. Although we've had beautiful weather this week, spring is still progressing a little more slowly up here on the hill than down in the valley. The blossoms on the fruit trees have already gone in the orchards along the river, while ours are about to appear.
Mud. It's part of the true Tasmanian experience. I have learned since moving here that a bushwalk in Tasmania always involves mud. In Sydney, gaiters kept sand out of my socks and boots, but here, they're for wet grass and mud protection. At our place, it's clay rather than mud. We've had quite a lot of rain recently and some patches just never seem to dry up, like this spot near our garage.
When visitors come to stay, I advise them to bring 'sensible shoes', not sandals or dainty heels, but it's funny sometimes how people's definition of 'sensible shoes' can differ! Let's just say ballet flats are not much good in mud. So I'll be more explicit in future and specify hiking boots, lace-up leather shoes or runners with good tread on the soles.
Yesterday as I stood in the queue at the hardware store with four different types of mouse trap, the sales assistant asked, 'Got a small problem, have we?'
One day last week as I was locking the chooks up in their hen house, I heard squeaking and little feet running up in the roof, then saw the shadow of a mouse slipping between the rafters in the old pickers hut. Oh no. Then the next morning, David spotted a brazen mouse on our deck chair on the front lawn! He ran outside with the dogs, who were caught up in the excitement but completely failed to see the mouse bouncing around on the grass. It disappeared under the house, only to emerge a short time later, and this time the girls spotted it. With paws and faces covered in clay, they tried to dig the mouse out from between some rocks in the garden. On high alert, Baerli waited patiently for it to re-emerge and she caught it. She dropped the dead mouse onto the dog bed at the back door... and Gretchen promptly ate it. Ewww. Dogs are so disgusting.
In last night's initial test run of four different types of mouse trap, each baited with peanut butter, it was the old-fashion cheap wooden variety that caught the mouse, just as Bruce over in Cygnet had advised. Poor hens must have got quite a fright when that thing went off in the middle of the night.
We were on the lookout for something to store kindling in, something more attractive than the plastic buckets we were using, and spotted this metal pail covered with cute apple-print fabric at the Huon Valley Growers and Makers Market in Franklin last month. But we didn't stop there. At another stall we spotted one with chooks painted on it and bought that too.
Woke up this morning to what looked like a heavy frost... then realised it was actually a light dusting of snow. Heading in to Huonville for breakfast, we could clearly see snow on the mountains. It was all the locals in the cafe were talking about. Weather. It's always interesting here.
There was an article about Tasmanian property prices in The Mercury yesterday. Fairly unexciting stuff, except that there was a lovely accompanying piece about Franklin featuring Darren, who together with wife Sarah owns the post office and general store here. He even managed to sneak onto the cover of the paper - see below. Apparently the Huon Valley is a hot spot for interstate buyers, and "the market for 'sea change' and 'tree change' buyers" has not reached anywhere near its full potential. Are we trendsetters or simply fast-followers? Or just way too late to the party? Who cares, at least we're here and for that, I am grateful.
The frosty starting temperature at our place at 6.00am yesterday was -0.02 degrees according to the weather station, but the sun quickly changed that. The first day of daylight saving (how I love it!) turned into an absolutely stunning spring day, perfect for a walk. I joined friends in our social walking group for a stroll around the Cape Deslacs circuit and out along the headland overlooking Pipeclay Lagoon and Clifton Beach with its cliffs and blowholes. We were rewarded with 360 degree views of the Tasman Peninsula and surrounding bays. There was lots of bird life, including a few brilliant red flame robins. Plenty of wildflowers were out already, including a couple of orchids. Cruise ship season has begun, and we saw one heading up the Derwent towards Hobart. We finished up with coffee and French pastries (for some) in Bellerive. Map of walk here.
Escaped Sydney in 2010 for a piece of paradise in Tasmania's Huon Valley. I'm a keen walker, remote worker, incompetent gardener, Bernese Mountain Dog owner, fan of almost anything German (food, language, cars, beer), amateur linguist, chook fancier, childfree.