Some of what I written about in my previous posts has been about the weather being unkind to us, so I am starting this one on a very positive weather note! Our trip to Maria Island was blessed with the most perfect weather for walking around the island – the sun shone and the wind had dropped to a nice cooling breeze.
Day 19 – Maria Island
After arriving on the island at about 09:15, we managed to complete three of the many walks that the island had to offer before catching the 14:30 return ferry. We starting off with the Fossil Cliffs walk – this followed the northern coastline to a rocky plateau that offered great views and samples of the many fossils that are to found there. From there we cut back towards Darlington, the island’s main settlement, but detoured to the reservoir for our second walk. We seem to be constantly drawn to water and this was again a very tranquil spot where we lingered to soak in the atmosphere (along with a few other families). Returning to Darlington at lunch time, we had enough time to head for the painted cliffs – out third walk. At first sight I wondered what all the fuss was about, but, after manoeuvring past the point of the cliff, I understood. The patterns and colours were truly magnificent and will keep me in abstract photographs for a while.
One of the attractions of Maria Island is the wildlife – Tassie Devils, day time wombats and Cape Barren Geese there are no predators on the island. Until the last half hour we saw none! However on our way back to the ferry, we almost fell over a wombat which, needless to say, was well photographed. Then we saw another and another, but, alas, no Devils.
Back on the mainland, we headed for Bicheno where we had booked what I felt from their website was a very mediocre campsite. We were due to stay two nights, but the weather forecast for the night and morning we were leaving was 100% rain. So, rather than having to pack up in the rain and everything getting soaked, we managed to book an additional night.
This campsite (Bicheno Caravan Park) leaves a lot to be desired – we have stayed in much better free campgrounds during our trip. A few of the issues: no liquid soap in the toilet dispensers, having to pay for a shower (and not knowing how long the money lasts), a muddy walk to the nearest toilet (caused by a leaking water supply, I guess), toilets in a poor state of repair and the list goes on. However, we will hopefully be able to pack up without getting wet on Friday morning (New Years Day).
Day 20 – Freychinet Peninsula
We walked a total of 20 km yesterday mainly on Maria island, so far today we have covered a gruelling 15 Km on the Wineglass Bay/Hazard Bay circuit walk. Needless to say, we are both feeling a few aches and pains!
I did this walk last year I knew what it was like and had the photographs to prove it. I therefore decided to leave my camera behind. This gave my back and shoulders a bit of a break, although I still carried my bushwalking backpack. We were again blessed with some very good weather, in fact it was bordering on too hot in the middle of the day. We started at 09:00 and finished at 14:00.
I am now sitting at the campsite watching the sky for the rain is due for later on and getting ready for the usual team effort of cooking (and, of course, eating) our evening meal, For this we will be using the camp kitchen, having worked out its idiosyncrasies last night.
On Friday, we move to the Bay of Fires for the last time of setting up and taking down the tent as our last two nights are in a cabin at Mountain Valley.