We were woken at 4:30 this morning from giant drops of rain falling from the trees that we’d parked underneath. This continued for nearly an hour, and I was watching the radar on my phone waiting for these storm clouds to pass. However, by the time we woke (for real) around 7:30 there was not a cloud to be seen. Not only were the skies clear, they were vividly blue, too. It was easily the best start to a day we’ve had to date in the week-and-a-half we’ve spent in Tasmania.
Not wasting any time, since we knew that the weather changes so rapidly here, we went down to explore the beach that we’d camped beside at Chain of Lagoons. It was a beautiful, long, flat beach, and not for the last time today I was thinking that I couldn’t believe we were in Tasmania.
A (very) short drive from Chain of Lagoons and we’d arrived at another brewery, Iron House, though much smaller scale than Cascades or Boags. It wasn’t much after 9AM when we arrived, but they were open for business and happy to give us a beer sampling (and our lovely waitress didn’t think that we were alcoholics for drinking before 10AM on a Wednesday). Interestingly the tasting platter was actually free, but because of this, they were only quite small samples (not much more than a sip each). We sampled their Wheat Beer, Lager, Porter and their Pale Ale. They also had two special brews on tap for us to try, their Oktoberfest, which as the name might imply was a very Germanic-style beer, and also a Honey Porter. Again, I’m still not sold on dark beers, even though they were quite nice. Always hard to pick a favourite, but personally liked the Lager the most, followed by the Pale Ale and Wheat Beer in equal second. The brewery is on display, but tours are only run on Saturdays…
The beautiful beaches continued as we kept on driving north. At St. Helens we took a deviation out to St. Helens Point for no real reason, other than it was still early and we wanted to have lunch at St. Helens. Walking from the car park at Beer Barrel Beach (seriously, that’s what the beach was called) I was immediately struck by how similar it was to Esperance, which if you’ve ever been will realise just how huge a compliment that is. We weren’t technically at the Bay of Fires, but I was starting to realise why people talk about it with such regard.
I walked around for a little while, exploring what was over the rocks and came across this guy just lazing in the sun. Sadly I must have disturbed him so he quickly scooted into the water, which he didn’t look to thrilled about (nor would I, it still feels like glacial water).
A little further south were the Peron Dunes, which as you could imagine are some beautiful sand dunes, as well as a beach that stretched on as far as I could see. Yet again, truly stunned at the beauty of this area.
It was now lunch time, so we splashed out (as we have been doing here in Tasmania) on some fish and chips from Captains Chair in St. Helens. The town is supposed to be a fishing town, and judging by the number of professional boats in the harbour, I’d believe it. I ordered some succulent Blue-Eyed Trevally and chips, and Risa got a Fisherman’s Basket (prawns, calamari, fish and chips). The batter was a little heavy for such a delicate fish, but that was my only criticism (other than the fact that it was $17 for mine, and $19 for Risa’s). We attacked it quicker than a mob of seagulls (who were looking at us longingly through our windows). Risa’s prawns were absolutely amazing, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t normally get fussed about crustacean.
It was now time to finally visit The Bay of Fires. Our first stop was at Binalong Bay, which is the start/end of the bay. If I was blown away at Beer Barrel Beach, then I was speechless now. I really couldn’t believe that we were in Tasmania (apart from that freezing wind that was blowing). The sand here was perfect, as was the water. The granite rocks that dotted the beach had the same beautiful red/orange lichen as the rest of the area. We both assumed that these red rocks was why the area is called Bay of Fires, but it was due to the original surveyors seeing Aboriginal campfires in the area…
We followed the road to the end, which is The Gardens. The road was a little further from the beach than I’d expected, with only an occasional glimpse of the beautiful beach. There were a few trails along the way that you could follow to access the beach, and at each spot we visited, we were blown away all over again. The final beach, near Sloop Lagoon was the pick, with a beach of the same chalky white sand that stretched out as far as we could see. The waves looked a little aggressive for relaxing (but not enough for surfing), but I’m sure it is nicer without the howling winds. This was our final stop, and we were leaving with a new found admiration of the area. Sure, we got lucky with the weather (though, I like to think we were unlucky on the other days). I also loved how undeveloped the area is, once you leave beautiful Binalong Bay, there is next to no tourism orientated buildings – a few B&Bs, but mostly private houses and lots and lots of livestock farms. Sadly, I doubt it will stay like this for long…
There was much more to explore in the far north-east, but we were happy with what we’d seen and made our way back inland, this time to see a couple of big waterfalls. First stop was a cheese factory, which had really, really tasty cheddars, but sadly no soft cheeses (like brie or camembert). I was told that the cows are milked autonomously, but I couldn’t quite see how that worked. They had tags on their collars which opened gates to let them in/out, but I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the milking. We didn’t buy any of the cheese (even though it was actually really good), but instead settled for ice-cream (because it’s not cold enough) and some fresh milk. The ice-cream was delicious, but the milk wasn’t as creamy as we’d expected for fresh, non-homogenised farm milk.
First waterfall of the afternoon was Colomba Falls, which they list as being one of the highest in Tasmania (90m). It was a steep/twisty road to get to the lookout area, but from the first glimpse we could see that it was worth the trouble. Depending on the rainfall, this waterfall can flow up to 220,000L per minute! At the foot of this raging beast was quite empowering. Not very photogenic, but the feeling we got from the power of nature more than made up for it (at least to us).
The road from here on got way more steep/twisty/fun. It was now a reasonable gravel trail that seemed to go up and up and up. It was single lane, with plenty of blind corners with steep sides and no guard rails. But, we didn’t see any other cars, so the logistics of passing wasn’t something we had to work out.
Finally at just under 900m elevation we came to Ralphs Falls. It was definitely single digit temperatures outside, but I was too lazy to get changed from my shorts/thongs/t-shirt/spray jacket that felt so good to wear after such a long time, so I just walked faster to stay warm. The trail, like the road, didn’t seem to get much use. I had to double check a few times as I thought I was accidentally walking down a small stream (which made me glad to have thongs on – feet may get cold, but at least they dry quicker than my shoes).
The trail suddenly reached an opening and I could see how high I was. A little further along the side of this cliff (with hints of vertigo) and I could see the thread-like waterfall. To me it looked much taller than Colomba Falls, but I’m sure someone more qualified than I has measured it before. The rock formation was also really interesting – I wasn’t sure if it formed vertical shapes like that, or if it has been pushed up 90˚.
We set up camp in the car park, skipped dinner (benefits of a large lunch) and looking forward to a cool evening ending one of the better days we’ve had so far in Tassie. Here’s hoping the weather holds out for a few more days!
１５ 7日目 １０月 １7日（木 ） 朝ご飯は、ビール。
Iron Houseという名前のクラフトビール工場で、White Sand Resortという美しい海を見渡す海岸の丘に建てられたリゾートホテルの一角が、小さなビール工場とレストラン、バーになっています。
６種類のビールを飲み比べ。 ラーガはハチミツのような香りがするけど、すっきり飲みやすくこれが一番のお気に入り。 ハチミツを本当に使ったビールも試飲したけど、なぜかハチミツを使用していないラーガの方がハチミツの香りと味がしたのは、不思議。
Chain Of Lagoonsというキャンプをしたビーチから始まり、Peron Dunesという砂丘のあるビーチ、その中でもBay Of Firesという湾のビーチ、特にThe Gardensと呼ばれるエリアは、本当に真っ白な砂とエメラルドグリーンのビーチ。
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