Port Arthur to Coles Bay 

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Driving back up the Tasman Peninsula, we continued north towards the Freycinet peninsula, and constantly marvelled at the beautiful coastline. Google Maps gave us the shortest route from Dunally to Orford which meant a drive on a long gravel road, which was quite hard work. Still, we were driving through the Wielangta Forest Reserve, Wielangta being the Aboriginal name of high trees, and indeed it was quite spectacular. Not a place to easily stop and take photos though, so that will remain in our mind’s eye.

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We stopped at Triabunna on the east coast and inspected the Visitor Centre, this being the main stepping off point for boats to Maria Island. Then had a delicious brunch in The Colonial restaurant, highly recommend this place. Also explored a local supermarket to stock up on bits and pieces before continuing our drive along Great Oyster Bay and more stunning views. Prior to European settlement, this area was occupied by Tasmanian Aborigines during winter to feed off shellfish and ducks.

Almost missed one of Tasmania’s convict -associated oddities, the Spiky Bridge. This was built in 1843, but no-one seems quite sure about its original design.

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Just across the road was Spiky Beach so we decided to go and take a look. As with many of the beautiful beaches we encoutered, we had it to ourselves! At this time of year, the sea is still too cold for swimming, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

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All along this coastline one can see rocks covered in orange lichen (caloplaca). It is significant because it only grows in the purest air. According to Nicholas Shakespeare’s book 'In Tasmania' the stiff south-westerly winds which affect Tasmania travel some 10,000 miles from Patagonia over the Southern Ocean to Tasmania. There are no land masses or people in the way, so the air is as pure as can be. Similarly, the rivers and seas have the clearest water imaginable, hence the success of the seafood business here.

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Our next stop was at Kate’s Berry Farm with its view of the Freycinet Peninsula and yummy homemade berry-flavoured ice cream. Many of the early fortunes of Tasmanian settlers was gained from jam-making with major production facilities in Hobart.

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It was starting to rain now as we continued north towards Swansea. Here we stopped to visit the Glamorgan Spring Bay Historical Society Museum.

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We passed many vineyards on this drive but there’s often no where safe to stop on the narrow roads here to take photos. So, we stopped at Devil’s Corner Winery which has a lookout tower (they make pretty good wine here too!).

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© Helen Gray 2021