St. Helens to Derby

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St. Helens was just a port town, so we made a brief stop in Binalong Bay and looked out over to the Bay of Fires, before continuing with our journey. This is a another beautiful stretch of coastline with white beaches, but we did not have time to explore here. It was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773 when he spotted Aboriginal fires along this coast.

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We drove inland through glorious pastureland to the dairy, and were amazed to watch the cows apparently milking themselves. The cows were calmly strolling into the milking parlour and out again without any guidance. In the second photo you might spot the cow have its head rubbed by a rotating brush. She moved on to have her back rubbed after this! We ate a delicious cheese toasty and bought three lots of cheese for our journey. Tasmanian cheese is creamy and absolutely delicious. So glad we stopped here.

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We had intended doing The Big Tree Walk but didn’t fancy another drive on lumpy gravel. We saw a sign for this rainforest walk by the side of the road so took this option instead. It was a delightful stroll through myrtle trees and high ferns, with sunlight streaming into the forest.

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This was our accommodation in Derby, an old school house.

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We had intended visiting the tin mining museum but is was closed. Our B&B host said that they could no longer get volunteers to run the museum and until a couple of years back, you could not get anyone to live here once the mine had closed. The lumber industry took over from mining, but the town still did not thrive. But now the town was alive again, rescued by the provision of mountain bicycle tracks along the river. In fact the other guests in the B&B were there for an international conference on cycle parks.

Apparently other ‘ghost towns’ in Tasmania are making similar plans, but one wonders if there are enough cyclists to go around. We did visit the local museum which contained hand written accounts from people caught up the mine disaster, when it collapsed after intense rain. Then we discovered that everything in the town was closed and wed have to drive to another town for dinner.

While I did not try out the toilets shown below, I have included this photo to emphasise that even the smallest town caters for travellers. Even in the middle of nowhere, you can find toilet facilities of some kind and they are spotlessly clean. Something even shopping malls in Malaysia cannot manage to achieve.

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We were given vague directions to a hotel in Winnaleah, and almost missed it amongst the row of houses. Clearly this was a locals place and although the barlady said they had food but no vegetables, we still had rissoles with salad and chips. We were having to learn a new definition of vegetables.

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As we were leaving the hotel, I spotted this huge lorry parked next door. I’d seen these huge things on the road, but it felt quite out of place here.

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© Helen Gray 2020