The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

Utes in the Paddock, Ootha


Utes in the Paddock

Every now and then someone comes up with a crazy idea that captures the imagination and becomes a reality. Utes in the Paddock at Ootha, New South Wales, is a typical example of this. Ootha is situated about 430 west of Sydney and boasts a population of 94!


They are all Holden Utes – what could be more Australian than that – and several artists have displayed their own interpretation of the iconic ute! Unfortunately the paint work has deteriorated on several of them and they are fading away but I hope you can get an idea of this crazy initiative in the middle of nowhere.

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You’ve gotta love the Aussie sense of humour ūüôā Thanks Ootha for keeping it alive!


Meander River, Deloraine Tas

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A Tourist in Tasmania – Delightful Deloraine

I loved Deloraine the last time I visited in 2014 and this time around I think I love it even more.


It has a real arty vibe to it with Galleries, Art Shops,  Coffee Shops and Op Shops lining the steep main road that curls around bends on its way uphill from the Meander River as you approach from the East.

Cross the river, cross the railway line and wend your way through the town. So many quirky little shops invite you to explore …..

Here’s one of my favourites. It’s called Elf on the Shelf. I’m pretty sure I know how to speak Zombie – give me a couple of drinks and I can demonstrate it for you, but if you want to study it yourself you can buy the book here.

The Information Centre is at the top of the hill and it’s a MUST SEE visit if you are in Deloraine. In the forecourt is the statue of a famous race horse, Malua, who won Adelaide Cup (1884),Newmarket Handicap (1884), Melbourne Stakes (1884) Oakleigh Plate (1884), Melbourne Cup (1884), Australian Cup (1886) and then went on to win the Grand National Hurdle (1889). What a champion!

But it’s when you step inside that you will discover the amazing Art in Silk exhibition, with a movie that tells you how it was developed as a community initiative and the stunning panels they created. It truly is spectacular. It does cost to view it but it is something you won’t want to miss! These photos were taken when I last visited. It’s a wonder they are not worn out I have shown them to so many people ūüôā

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Drive around the back streets and you’ll discover lovely old homes like The Manse, with outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.

Happy Campers: There is a Free Camp for self contained vehicles as you travel into Deloraine from the East. Turn right at the Police Station and follow the road around. The camp is well signed. It’s only a short walk into town.

Deloraine is a short detour off the Bass Highway that links Devonport to Launceston. It’s about 55 kms from Devonport and only 50 kms to Launceston. If you are looking for somewhere to stop when you get off the ferry (or you’re on the way there) this little town is well worth a visit!


Bullock Team, Oatlands, Tasmania


A Tourist in Tasmania – Oatlands & Oxen

Oatlands has just held its annual Heritage Fair, and one of our neighbours mentioned there would be a bullock team there. I thought that was too good an opportunity to miss. How many bullock teams have you had the chance of seeing lately?


Heritage HighwayOatlands is on the Heritage Highway, which travels between Launceston and Hobart, and follows the route of the first ‘main road’in Tasmania. You might recognise a couple of the towns that I have already written about in previous blogs – Ross and Campbell Town.


The Heritage Highway traces much of the original route between Launceston and Hobart, built by convict road gangs in the early 1800s. Drive through rolling farmlands, explore charming Georgian villages, stay on historic pastoral properties and savour the rich and colourful history of the place and its people. 

I took the opportunity to join Karen and her delightful 2 year old son, Joe, who was really keen to see the bullocks, too, although I think at the end of the day it was the roadwork machinery that excited him more. He’s such a boy! A running commentary from the back seat told us about graders, diggers, dump trucks and steamrollers – it certainly made a change from exploring with only my own company.

Callington Mill was the place to start. It’s an old flour mill that continues to produce flour, mainly for tourists these days. The tourist information is centred there and you can buy flour for your home baking. Not being a baker, I found some nice locally produced Dijon mustard instead.

Callington Mill, Oatlands, Tasmania

One of the local chaps urged us to the main street where the bullock team would be travelling on its way up to the mill. I found this great article from the ABC about Brian Fish, the bullocky, and what his plans for the day were. He’s a great character and loaded with information. I love coming across¬†people with such passion. Here’s Brian with his 12 span team hauling the dray loaded with bales of wool – and a few more photos of the team.

Bullock Team, Oatlands, Tasmania

Brian Fish and his bullock team

Bullock Team, Oatlands, Tasmania

Look at the size of these bullocks

Bullock Team, Oatlands, Tasmania

Each bale of wool weighs about 400kg

Bullock Team, Oatlands, Tasmania

This is how it was done in the old days!

The last time I saw a bullock team was at the Yarram Easter Parade in Gippsland, Victoria in 1993. From memory it was a 6 span and back then I thought I might never see one again, so how lucky am I to see a 12 span in 2016! You’ve got to love the people that keep these traditions alive.

Bullock team at Yarram, Victoria

Bullock team at Yarram Easter Parade 1993

There was also a display of colourful old drays and wagons, some restored but many in their now dilapidated condition waiting for an enthusiast to shower them with love – and a bit of paint.


In keeping with the Heritage theme there was a lovely old car and a horse drawn carriage that paraded down the main street, too.

When the bullocks arrived at the mill they were unhitched but still yolked together. Apparently they form quite a bond with their partner and learn to accommodate what the other one wants and how they want to move.

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania

I’m very brave standing near these huge beasts!

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania

Now this is a tractor!

In keeping with the Heritage theme there was also an extensive array¬†of arts and crafts happening but unfortunately we weren’t given a program until too late to see many of these events. We just missed the sheep shearing but did manage to see the quilt display and spinners at work. I love the name of their group – Sippers and SewHers.

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania

I couldn’t leave Oatlands without capturing some of the lovely old stone buildings.

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Happy Campers: Here’s a sign we love to see!

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania

Free Camping for 3 nights, right on the lake

And this is what you would wake up to.

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania

Topiary at Lake Dulverton, Oatlands, Tasmania

Can’t resist using this photo to declare this is THE END of today’s¬†blog!

Heritage Fair, Oatlands, Tasmania






10 days of photo blogging – Day 2

Day 2 – Street

I usually avoid busy streets preferring to spend my driving time on the open road. This road travels between Millstream Chichester National Park and Karijini National Park in Western Australia. It filled my home with red dust and rattled cupboards open, but oh, the scenery …..

Pilbara Red_1861

And now for something completely different …… this is the main street of the little town of Baliingup, in Western Australia. I’ve discovered so many of these country towns have some quirky little feature that makes them memorable.


I’m so lucky my lifestyle gives me this variety of experiences.


10 days of Photo blogging – Day 1

Day 1 – Home

My blog, The Snail Trail, is so called because I really do ‘travel with my home on my back’! As many¬†of you know my home is Brutus the Beast, my trusty little campervan, so my home goes¬†with me¬†as I travel around Australia.

Here’s a place I really enjoyed calling ‘home’¬†last Christmas – Stockton Lake, Western Australia.

IMG_5845Stockton Christmas 2015

Looking across the lake from my ‘verandah’


A Tourist in Tasmania – Bicheno on the Bay

Bicheno is on the East Coast of Tasmania about 60 kilometres from Lake Leake, where I am staying with my sister.

Bicheno map

My first impression of Bicheno a couple of years ago was what a pretty coastal village it is and my opinion hasn’t changed – even though the weather was far from pleasant this time around.

This is how I first viewed it


And here’s how it looked yesterday –


On the way home we stopped at the Lookout over Moulting Lagoons which has been relocated off the winding Great Eastern Drive to Devil’s Corner Winery, which you might be interested to know is owned by Brown Brothers, who are well known for their magnificent wines from north-eastern Victoria. Too cold to get out of the car for a tasting today so we’re saving that up for a better day….


Love the sun shining on the hill in the distance!

And here’s one I prepared earlier – on a sunny day about 3 years ago!

Moulting Lagoons


The vines are all winter bare


As are the walnut trees at this large plantation at Cranbrook, south of Bicheno

Walnut Trees

Grey trees on a grey day

Walnut Trees

You can see how wet the ground is here.

Walnut Trees

So starkly bare!

Happy Campers:
Although Bicheno has a dump point it is not a designated RV Friendly Town, but well worth a day visit or a stop over for lunch overlooking the water. Not far from Bicheno and about 400 metres south of the turn off to Coles Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula is The Pondering Frog, which is Tea Rooms with an RV Stopover for fully self-contained vehicles.  Call in for a snack and stay for the night!

the pondering frog tearoom

Let’s support these people who provide facilities for us happy campers!


A Tourist in Tasmania – Campbell Town Show

A couple of days after I arrived in Tasmania, Campbell Town Showgrounds was buzzing with people, horses, food stalls and ….. sheep, lots of sheep, the biggest sheep I have ever seen!

IMG_6589Campbell Town Show

These are called Corriedales and they really are huge.

Here’s a merino¬†lined up for judging –

IMG_6592Campbell Town Show

The sheep pavilion must have been about 75 metres long but there were a few empty pens because the mainlanders couldn’t get on the boat to get their stock over here in time. Grey nomads strike again!

IMG_6587Campbell Town ShowIMG_6588Campbell Town Show

This one won’t ever feel the cold again!

IMG_6595Campbell Town Show

And being a country show highlighting sheep and wool, some people got colourfully creative!

IMG_6586Campbell Town ShowIMG_6585Campbell Town Show

Happy Campers:
There is a free camp at Campbell Town called Blackburn Park which is a pretty spot right on the edge of town. There is also a dump point available. A couple of good bakeries, an ice-creamery, IGA, and coffee shops line the main street.Campbell Town is situated on the Midland Highway about 67kms south of Launceston.