The Snail Trail

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

Utes in the Paddock, Ootha


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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!

Ootha

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 🙂 Thanks Ootha for keeping it alive!

 

leeches


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That Bloody Leech!

What did I do on Halloween Eve?
The answer you may not want to know
Because I made a quiche – and squashed a leech –
I tell you, everything was all go!

I rifled through the recipe book,
(I had made the quiche before),
But the leech was a surprise to me
When I squashed him on the floor.

I was busy at the kitchen bench
Cutting up the silver beet
When I stepped away and something squished
Beneath my clumsy feet.

A little bit of fetta cheese
Was what I thought of first
But when I saw the mess I’d made
My God, this leech had a thirst!

He’d gorged himself upon my blood
Until he was bloated and fat
And when he could fit not another drop in
He let go of my leg and went splat!

The blood shot across the kitchen floor
On the cupboards, the oven and wall
And ran down my leg where the blood sucker had been
Until his fat bloody body did fall.

Apart from it feeling disgusting
To have your blood sucked out by a leech,
It leaves behind a reminder
– A little hole with one hell of an itch!

So what did I do on Halloween Eve?
Well, I did finish making the quiche
And I washed the kitchen from top to toe
Thanks to the mess from that bloody leech.


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Chocolate, Cheese and Raspberries

When you arrive in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania it’s only a short drive to three of the most iconic tourist destinations, Anvers Chocolates, Ashgrove Cheese and the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. They offer you a trio of tastes – and even some free camping at Christmas Hills.

House of Anvers

The first taste sensation you’ll discover is the delicious Anvers House of Chocolate. As their website says Belgian Chocolate Skills & Tasmania’s fresh clean climate combine to create the supreme chocolate experience. Now if you’ve done an overnighter on the Spirit it might be a tad early for a chocolate fix, so plan to do it on the way home. My thinking, though, is that it’s never too early for chocolate! They open for breakfast at 7am so that’s a good reason to pop in. As their welcome sign says “Give me Chocolate Now!”

There is also a chocolate museum you can explore that gives you the history of chocolate since the Aztecs, with moulds of old easter eggs and specialty chocolates. If you’re in luck you can see the chocolate being made. And I dare you to resist the wonderful display of chocolates to buy.

Before you settle down to breakfast here, though, read on for the other tasty delights ahead!

Ashgrove Cheese

A little further down the Bass Highway you’ll find Ashgrove Cheese, another well known breakfast stop and a place to stock up on treats for Happy Hour. Colourful cows welcome you to the shop, but glance across the road for the real thing.

The shop stocks all the varieties of cheeses made at Ashgrove plus a wonderful selection of other Tasmanian products such as sauces, jams, cider and relishes. It’s interesting to see the cheeses all stacked for aging. And yes, they are open for breakfast if you’re hungry by now.

But wait, there’s more!

Keep driving along the Bass Highway and you’ll arrive at one of my favourite destinations…

The Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm

The Raspberry Farm at Christmas Hills is more than just a cafe. There’s a lovely lake you can walk around, pretty gardens to enjoy a coffee in, views of the huge greenhouses that grow the raspberries, and best of all you can stay overnight in their big rig carpark! It’s truly an indulgence to wake up in the morning and wander in for raspberry pancakes (for me) or more traditional breakfast food if that’s what takes your fancy.

Now come for a walk with me around the grounds ….

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You don’t have to go very far when you arrive in Tasmania to enjoy the wonderful fresh food that Tassie is famous for. This is my Trio of Tastes, chocolate, cheese and raspberries, to tempt you to explore even more.

Murals in Sheffield, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Sheffield

I have been to Sheffield, the town of murals, before but this time I was enticed to go by the Medieval Festival being held there.

sheffield-map

I wandered my way there via Latrobe, where the Axeman’s Hall of Fame is…

img_7078latrobe

…. and Railton, town of topiary ….

This part of Tasmania had suffered severe damage from floods a few weeks ago, the roads were still very chopped up and there were piles of debris along the banks of the Mersey River. The Latrobe Caravan Park had been evacuated and was undergoing repair, and now  I hear on the news tonight that the latest downpour has damaged it once again.

The free camp in Sheffield is at the Recreation Ground and the Medieval Festival was happening right next door so I was looking forward to a great weekend……until it rained!  It was just too wet to enjoy the festival, dodging the showers and trudging through the mud, so I only spent a couple of hours there and decided not to stay another night in the hope the weather would improve.

Many of those who attended got into the mood with period costume, and I couldn’t help thinking, as they dragged the hems of their gowns through the mud, that it was probably exactly like that in Medieval England, without the benefit of washing machines!

The market stalls sold all things Medieval … anyone need a new visor? battleaxe?

And then I was off to find my knight in shining armour – except the mud took the shine off most things, including the jousting knights.

When the Medieval Festival isn’t happening in Sheffield, the town is famous for it’s murals that adorn the walls of the buildings and also panels in a ‘mural’park behind the Information Centre. Some of these are so realistic you feel you could step right into them.

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Happy Campers:
As I mentioned before there is a free camp at the Recreation Ground for fully self-contained vehicles. No grey water to be let onto the ground. It is beside the leash free area for your fur babies. It is a little way from the centre of town – too far to walk in the rain when I was there.

I can’t leave Sheffield without sharing the fabulous sign at the front of the Info Centre – and yes, the arrows are pointing to real places nearby.

sheffield

 

 

 

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.

deloraine-map

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 🙂

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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!

 

Pyengana, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Pyengana

Pyengana is on the road between Scottsdale and St Helens in the North-East of Tasmania. There is a wonderful cheese factory there that is well worth a visit.

I was lucky to arrive there just as a tasting and explanation was starting and got to sample some lovely tasty cheeses. They are mainly aged cloth wrapped cheddars but some are also packaged with chilli, peppercorns and the like.

Needless to say the countryside around Pyengana was full of dairy cattle and there were even some waiting to be milked at the back of the cheese factory! Now that’s fresh!

Keep driving past the Holy Cow cafe and cheese factory and you will discover a famous Tassie icon, the Pub in the Paddock. First licensed around 1880 it is one of the oldest pubs in the state. And if you relax over a few beers you can stay overnight out the back in the paddock! Love these RV Friendly Destinations!

Pyengana is also an RV Friendly town, with camping available at the Recreation Ground for a donation. Now that’s a sign I love to see!

The drive from Scottsdale to St Helens is pretty, through lush pastures, tall timbers and tree ferns, but the road is narrow and winding with a couple of hair-pin bends to negotiate. Brutus the Beast just hates these hills, and we crawl up them in 2nd and 3rd gear using copious quantities of petrol along the way.

There are signs of spring everywhere with little white lambs, black angus calves and bright yellow wattle and daffodils lining the road.

You travel along the edge of The Blue Tier which has some wonderful walks available. I was going to do the Halls Falls walk (only 90 minutes) but the weather was threatening so it’s on the list for the next time I’m up this way.

Detour into Pyengana  when you visit Tasmania and you’ll enjoy what this little stopover has to offer.

Bridport, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Bridport

Bridport is on the north east coast of Tasmania, a pretty fishing village with many small cove like beaches.

The caravan park and camping ground extends for ever along the foreshore but was cost prohibitive for me at $25 a night for an unpowered site. It did have lovely beach/bush camping areas though.

There are extensive walking tracks around the area and along the waterfront that direct you to some of the local historical landmarks like the old jetty.

Bridport, Tasmania

Bridport, Tasmania

The Old Jetty, Bridport

There is lovely safe swimming here in what is delightfully called Mermaids Pool, naturally created by the rocks and the tide. It makes you wish you were a mermaid!

Bridport, Tasmania

At the entry to the town you cross a small inlet where a couple of fishing boats are moored and I also noticed fish hatchery ponds on the way in.

I love the look of these old jetties when you look up the creek the other way! They don’t look too substantial, do they?

I was in Bridport to get the canvas replaced on Brutus the Beast, my pop top campervan and I can highly recommend Kerry, the Canvas Man from North East Canvas if you need any canvas work done. I know some of my travelling buddies have often needed awning repairs etc, so he’s your man when you’re in Tasmania! He was so quick – within 24 hours the old canvas was gone and a brand new PVC ‘hat’ was installed.

 

Happy Campers: There is no free camping in Bridport and the caravan park has a monopoly on waterfront locations. There is free camping at Scottsdale, just 20kms away, but that is the subject of another blog!