I had 3 things planned for today, but unfortunately the weather wasn't too kind to us.  

So we decided to have a long late lunch at a restaurant in town where Nancy and Jeff were staying. Unfortunately we didn't get to the winery or oyster place.

However I wasn't going to miss out on visiting the bay of fires up the road from St Helens.  I was determined to see the stunning fire coloured rocks there, even if I had to brave the showers and cold wind.  

Hubby wasn't so sure about this, but when we arrived we were able to successfully get some shots in between the showers.

And a couple on the beach.
Nancy from California was looking forward to seeing an Aussie white sand beach.

Bay of Fires delivered.



Lunch at this inn was hearty.  It was also our first fresh seafood tasting.  Sorry no pix.
When one has a huge dish with a dozen juicy plump Oysters Kilpatrick in front of one.  Just waiting to be eaten.  You forget about taking photos!  Lol.
They were delicious!! 

It's a shame that is was raining as the bayside inn would have been a great location to eat outside with a lovely view of St Helens bay.  I had these juicy, finger licking ribs for main.

Next up - a bush billabong, delicious humungous seafood buffet ever!  And an awesome blowhole.



A Bush Billabong, Delicious Humongous Seafood Feast and a Blow Hole

We got away late this morning.  I think everyone had a good warm night's sleep.

So we decided to head on straight down to Bicheno via the National Park.  First stop, a bush billabong.



This wasn't as good as the waterfall in Pyengana but then that is because the rainforst setting at Pyengana was better.  Here the surroundings were more wooded bushland.

I can imagine how nice the Apsley billabong (waterhole) would be in summer.  It was an easy 10 min walk from the carpark and surrounded by a lovely bush setting.  There are a few bush walks here for those that are adventuresome.

This is a national park so they have an honesty box where you put your money in to visit. 

Unfortunately, there were a couple of dodgy looking people on the other side of the waterhole.  So you can imagine where our money ended up.



Food Time!

Check this out.

Now this is what I'm talking about!!

The Lobster shack has only just started out.  It's located right on the bay in Bicheno and at the moment the eating area is upstairs in the shack with wine barrels to put your food on.  The view is stunning!

This place is going to make a killing!!  I can tell you now.  The seafood is totally fresh.  

View, as I said before.  Fantastic.  And we could tell that the owner has a passion to deliver.  It's one of those 'local secrets' that don't last long as a secret.

Needless to say, our fresh seafood was devoured with great gusto!!  This platter was $100.  You wouldn't get anything better anywhere else for that money!  Absolutely awesome!!

Nancy also bought a huge fresh lobster!  We all had a fantastic feast!



Like Pyengana, Bicheno has a few good things going for it besides the Lobster Shack.

The blowhole here is located just down the road from the Lobster Shack and right on the beach front rocks which btw were also fire coloured.  We spent quite a bit of time here and lots of photos trying to capture that one good shot.

Also Ann, Charlie and daughter Jennie did the evening penguin viewing tour and said that it was well worth it.  Luckily it did not rain for them which was a bonus.




We booked into the Big 4 Caravan Park at Coles Bay which is in the Freycinet National Park.

This is a great central location for discovering all the National Park has to offer including the famous untouched Wineglass Bay.

I was a little disappointed that in such a beautiful, world renowned tourist destination, the big 4 Caravan Park here did not have ensuites.  They seriously need to upgrade.

Yes, the park is surrounded by beautiful natural vegetation, is in a great location, has all the good amenities that you would expect to see in an Australian Big 4 Caravan Park.  But no ensuites?  Huh?

So we had to walk a little way uphill for our showers.

But to save them a total 1 star out of 5, the location was good.  Being less than a 1 minute walk down hill to the tavern, bakery and grocery shop.  So they got 3 stars.



Coles Bay is the central place to stay when visiting Freycinet National Park.  The number 1 tourist attraction here is gorgeous picture pretty Wineglass Bay. 

Wineglass Bay is surrounded by untouched national park.  To view this beautiful beach you either have to walk uphill traversing a lot of steps to the lookout or take the Wineglass Bay cruise.

Neither to which I wanted to do.  I left the uphill trek to those of us who were more fit.  

I would have liked to have done the Wineglass Bay cruise, but the choppy sea was a big put off.

So instead, I walked down the hill from the Caravan Park and had a wander along the sea front which was nice.


A nice relaxing day ended with us all meeting up at a gorgeous beachside house that Ann, Charlie and daughter Jennie stayed at.

  We all chipped in a cooked up a feast!  Then washed it down with some great wine that Ann and Charlie bought with them from the USA. 

 The story of how they got 2 dozen bottles of wine through Aussie customs was enough to celebrate!!


Next - a luscious Berry Farm & fresh fish and chips picnic along with a ton of seagulls at a little local seaside fish van.



A Tasty Berry Farm and Fresh Seafood Van on the coast.


First stop - Kates Berry Farm.  Omg!!  This place should be on your 'must see' when driving down the east coast of Tasmania.

Finally!  The bad weather was behind us and we were blessed with some sun.

The first thing that we noticed when we arrived here was the stunning view across the bay to where we had just come from.

But we were yet to set eyes on their mouth-watering menu! Kates berry farm has something for everyone.  Even I was tempted.  And I am not really a sweets lover.

Hubby had the most amazing warm 3 berry pie and i ordered a berry crepe.  Both were absolutely the best thing we had tasted, and the view!

Check it out.

We had driven past Vineyards, Lavender Farms, through green farmland, patches of rainforest, woodland and now some nice low lying coastal scenery.  

Hubby remarked that he hadn't seen sheep so close to the coast before.
Although I didn't get any coastal sheep photos, here are a few local drive shots.

On the road again.



I had read rave reviews about the Fish Van on the coast at Triabunna.  It's one of those 'secret' off the beaten path places that is not so secret anymore.

Hubby and I lived for quite some time on the coast just south of the Queensland border.  We were regular visitors to the tweed heads fishing co-op.  We have fond memories of fresh prawns, oysters and squid not to mention the fish hubby caught off the beach.  So the Fish Van had a lot to live up to.

Ok.   It had some good points.   But the Fish Van did not reach anywhere near our high expectations.

The good points.

1. Location, location!  Right on the coast near a lovely boat filled marina.
2. The fish and chips were uniquely presented in a paper cone with no cooking delays.
3. The seagulls.  Of course a fresh fish and chip picnic is not compete without seagulls.
4. Picnic benches with a nice view.  
Unfortunately we didn't have a tablecloth to cover the seagull poop.

The main thing is that our overseas visitors were impressed.  And we all got some great video footage of Florida Ann feeding our Aussie seagulls.  lol.




We liked this Caravan Park a lot.  It fronted onto Stewarts Bay but sadly we didn't have time to wander down for a look.  There was bush everywhere and plenty of wildlife.

Nancy and Jeff booked into a cabin which was absolutely cosy.  And we had a visit from one of the staff to enquire how everything was.  He also bought along some free firewood for us.  Just because.  That was so very nice.

Its small gifts like this that really make a difference.

So we were able to get a good camp fire going and we all pulled up a chair and enjoyed a few good reds.


Next up - a pleasant day at Port Arthur historical site and late lunch at a tudor style cosy pub.



A Little Australian Convict History Lesson


Here, at the Port Arthur historical site, you cannot escape a bit of a history lesson.  And I did enjoy some of the stories related by our guide.

It was interesting to hear that the convicts built all of these rustic buildings here.  I loved the brick facades.  We heard stories of how the first settlers must have felt going about their daily activities with convicts so close by.  We also heard about the horrid 100 lashings that some convicts had to endure until they almost passed out and how a few ultra-tough convicts did indeed endure those lashings and even taunted the guards so that everyone was scared of them.

This place is very well organised.  The large crowd of visitors were split up and taken away by various guides.  It never felt overcrowded.

The cost also included a cruise around an island where they buried the dead. The cruise gave us a chance to relax, listen to the commentary, enjoy the bush views and have a glass of wine.


We were all given a playing card upon entry and told to find it at the end.  

Who was I?  A convict, or first settler?  Mine was the 4 hearts.  I was Sarah Evans, a laundress from wales, convicted in 1952 for burglary and sentenced to 10 years.

Hubby was John Thomas from Liverpool, England.  He was a labourer and sailor, convicted in 1829 of stealing a tablecloth and spoons and sentenced to 7 years.



Dinner.  This tudor style pub surrounded by native bush stood out.  We couldn't resist.

I loved the warm country style atmosphere with fire place in the corner and rich wooden furnishings.

I had a hearty home made pie which was delicious, and a grasshopper cocktail for afters.


Back at camp, we woke up in the morning to a melody of bird songs.  We were greeted by a bunch of rosellas and a cute little blue wren and his girls.  We discovered that they all love chocolate biscuits.  It was funny seeing Steve inundated by noisy parrots.


Next day - time to fill the camper up at the front of the caravan park.  That's a bonus having a couple of petrol bowsers here.  I would recommend this accommodation.

Time to head to Hobart and then end of our journey.  But not the end of tasting Tasmania.



Good Friends, Good Times.



I wanted to book us into somewhere nice, especially since I knew that hubby deserved a comfy bed after enduring 8 nights in our little camper van.  Couldn't have picked better.  

Somerset on the pier was located right on Elizabeth Street Pier in the heart of Hobart.  We had an apartment with a nice view over the harbour.  Bed was super cosy and located upstairs.  Everything was lovely and clean and check in efficient.

Looking over the pier at night was a delight with all the lovely lights and colours.



The best way to see Hobart is to jump on the red decker hop on hop off bus.

We did the trip up to cascade brewery for lunch which was fabulous and the next day we took the bus to the botanical gardens.  We bought our tickets at Hobart information centre which was just up the road one block from our accommodation.  

I enjoyed checking out the different homes in Hobart from the old tiny cottages to the more flamboyant modern houses but all of them had the distinct European style you would expect from one of the oldest settler towns in Australia.



At the top end of the double decker but route is the Cascade Brewery.  We did not get to visit my preferred brewery in Tasmania, Boages, located in Launceston. 

So I was not going to miss  checking out Cascade.  And of course by now we were famished.

Let me tell you, don't miss out on lunch here.  Great hearty meals at a pretty good price, washed down with a couple of ales.

Doesn't get any better.

Now for some fun friendship and good times.



We had a couple of real nice dinners in Salamanca Place which is Hobart's restaurant alley and located just around the corner from our accommodation on the pier.


The Ball and Chain was by far my favourite restaurant in Hobart.  It was up there.  And maybe a little bit better than our experience at the Alchemy Bar in Launceston.  It had the same warm, homely atmosphere but the food was nicely presented and divine!!

I had a tasty duck pate for entree and juicy spatchcock (another entree) for main.
True to Ann's form, she bought some wigs for us to play with.  Goodness knows what the staff thought haha.  Our Ann and Charlie are well known for livening up any party.



A great meetup place.  The grape wine bar had a fun, lively atmosphere.  The tables were high with tall chairs and surrounded by what looked like a wine cellar.  No surprise as this place prides itself on having a envious selection of over 700 wines.

We ordered pizzas and chicken wings all round.  So good! 



Chinese food is not my favourite.   However I don't mind a bit of shared yumcha which is the Asian version of tappas that.  Asian gourmet on the pier had a few good things going for it.  It was almost next door to our accommodation.  It had nice views over the harbour.  The food was typical yumcha and as such, we knew we would not be disappointed.

However the bonus for me was that we got a free bottle of wine with lunch. If you own a CITI bank card and the restaurant is part of the Citibank dining program you get a free bottle of wine if you pay for dinner with your card.  I had previously checked this out so I knew that we were going to dine at the Asian gourmet on the pier.



Hubby and I love gardens.  We had heard that the Botanical Gardens here were good and as the red decker bus went here then the decision was a no brainer.

Well the gardens are really nice and especially with autumn coloured foliage and a view over the river.  The best thing for me about the gardens were the foliage of Antarctica exhibit and the colourful Japanese gardens.

We also had a nice snack in the café which was welcome after our walk through the gardens.




Salamanca Market is open every Saturday from 8.30am.  Whilst hubby got his well-deserved massage, I did a bit of retail therapy at the markets.  I bought some rocks for the grandson and a nice gem bracelet for myself.  Something I've been meaning to buy for a long time.

I also saw a local television cooking couple Henry and Anna who live on a truffle farm outside of Launceston selling their truffles.  These guys were my favourites on a show called My Kitchen Rules.  Henry was a hit with the girls.  Omg!!!  Didn't realise how expensive truffles are lol.  Don't think they needed to appear on the show for money. But obviously their home made country food looked amazing!  They seriously should open up a restaurant.  But then they don't need to because truffles alone are obviously a lucrative business.

Anyway, I refrained from doing the tacky omg!!  Tourist selfie with Henry.  Lol.  And was just content with having seen this gorgeous brother and sister at downtown Hobart Salamanca Markets.



Hubby and I enjoyed a late afternoon drink here after everyone had gone.  It was nice sitting outside underneath the heaters with views over the harbour and over to our accommodation on the pier. 

 We also watched a horse and buggy meandering past and had a tasty little plate of pork crackly and pink salt.  Nice and relaxing.

Next up and last - Hubby and I spent a quiet day in historic Richmond before heading off to Hobart airport for the trip home.



An Amazing Stone Bridge

Richmond - our last day in Tasmania.  I just had to check out this famous bridge.


Built by convicts, this bridge is Australia's oldest stone arch bridge.  Surrounded by beautiful lush countryside, it's no wonder that it is an artist and photographers favourite - me included.



I'm not a churchy person.  You won't find many photos of churches in my blogs.  However this cute little church took my fancy.  Made for a couple of nice photos.

This little church in the main street of Richmond is the oldest still-functioning Catholic Church, holding Sunday mass.  The link above has an interesting read on its history.



Well actually there's only one main street running through this small country town that leads down to the bridge.

I like street photos.  Getting a feel for a place before you visit.  I guess we can go onto google maps street view these days, which I do.  But I still like to see a photographer impression.  So here are a couple from me.



Hubby liked this place because he grew up near another Richmond Arms Hotel north of Sydney.
We had a nice pub meal here.  It was cosy inside near the fireplace.



We chose to stay here as it's in the main street, close to everything and reasonably priced.
Owner was friendly but failed to tell us that we had an electric blanket which would have been handy to know.  We discovered that in the morning.  Too late.

But apart from that, the accommodation was clean and all that we required.  Plus Richmond is not too far from the airport.



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