Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eaglehawk Neck to the Bay of Fires

Been rolling north in my exploration of Tas and taking in all sorts of sights.

My last day in Eaglehawk Neck was spent on a cruise to Tasman Island and Cape Pillar. The dolomite cliffs and cave were stunning. Even more so though was the abundant wildlife along the way: dolphins, sea lions, fish, albatross, and various other birds. You could see large tuna breaching the water as they were feeding, dolphins and sea lions chasing schools of fish through the turquoise waters, birds diving for fish, etc...

The next day it rained, it poured, and the old sheep snored. I struck out for Orford and Triabunna in spite of the conditions. A good chunk of the riding was on dirt roads, one of which was closed for a wash out, so there was very little traffic. The Weilengata Forest and Rainforest Walk along the way were beautiful and the mist and rain just added to it. Somewhere along the road between there and Orford I picked up my first leech (sneaky little blood suckers!). The weather finally broke, but not before I made my way into Triabunna for the night so while the ride was wet, I at least had a bout of sun to dry my things.

From Triabunna I was off to Maria Island (pronounced ma-rye-ah) for a night. After a brief ferry ride I rode down to the painted cliffs which are beautiful limestone and sandstone cliffs that have been eroded into all sorts of neat patterns of color. Then it was down the dirt path to Encampment Cove. When I arrive there wasn't a soul in sight, but I had come across someone headed my direction. Lucky for me, he's a very sweet English chap (Chris) and we had an entertaining evening taking in all the wildlife. The place was teeming with wallabies, possums, cookaburras, a few wombats, and I even spotted a tiger snake on the way in.
Painted Cliffs on Maria Island

Next morning I rode the 11k back to the Ferry landing with time to spare so I hit up Fossil Cliffs that hold all sorts of fossilized shells and signs of former sea life. I was on the ferry with an older couple (Anne and Peter) from Launceston that were out as volunteers to keep the island buildings in order. They were very kind and gracious enough to give me a ride up to my next campspot at Mayfield Bay Conservation Area.

From Mayfield I headed north with my sights set on the Freycinet Peninsula. I took a detour to a beautiful berry farm overlooking the sea for a fresh scone and ran into Chris again. I learned that the ferry I was supposed to catch to the peninsula was no longer in operation so Chris gave me a ride around to the peninsula. I stayed 2 days in Freycinet and got to soak up the scenery and beaches with a hike of the full Freycinet peninsula circuit and Hazards beach circuit.

After leaving Freycinet I stuck out for the Douglas Apsley water hole which provided a good days ride along, the coast, a scenic hike to the Douglas Apsley Gorge and a cool dip at the end of it all.

Now I'm in the Bay of Fires Conservation area and trying to decide where to go next, but for now I'm gonna rest for a day or so!


Stacey said...

Beautiful!!! I'm thinking that I should have dropped some extra fluff and taken hard core yoga classes so that I could cram myself into a suitcase sooner. I almost thought that last picture was taken with a bunch of walrus' because of how round and smooth they are.

Nice of you to meet an nice sweet English chap...