Our Tassie days were quickly running out so we were determined to squeeze in as much as humanly possible. During our visit to the north coast a small amount of time was spent at the very pretty coastal town of Penguin and then further west at the larger city of Burnie.
Once upon a time Burnie was home to a large pulp mill, which not only produced huge masses of paper that was shipped internationally but also employed a huge proportion of the local residents. A lot of this history is showcased at The Maker’s Workshop, a relatively new attraction in Burnie. It is an art museum as well as a visitors and art centre all rolled into one. We called in here a couple of times and found it very interesting. There is quite a bit to look at in the workshop and if you get your timing right you can actually watch one of the resident artists at work. The kids enjoyed decorating a massive roll of paper lying on the floor and were invited to help themselves to as much of the paper as they liked We were all amazed at some of the fashion pieces on display, as part of a competition, that had been made using only paper. Some people really are clever.
It was only fitting that we take our Stanley to the town of Stanley while in north-west Tassie. This town is nestled at the base of a volcanic formation known as ‘The Nut’, which can be spotted from miles away. There is a walking trail and also a chairlift that you can take to the top and soak in the surrounding views.
Stanley was the birthplace of Joe Lyons, the only Tasmanian born Prime Minister of Australia with the cottage he was born in preserved as a historic site. There are other historic sites to visit, as well as a heritage centre and a genealogy centre.
Our last night in Tassie was spent at the very beautiful Green Point and it was from here that we visited the Edge of The World Viewing Platform near Arthur River.
The ocean to the west of Tasmania is the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean in the world and a boardwalk has been built here, overlooking said ocean. Apparently many people find this to be a mystical and spiritual place, there is even a poem about it on a plaque at the platform. According to a website dedicated to the place, some people get it and some people don’t.
It was a nice area with some great views but we certainly didn’t feel moved, spiritual or mystical! The thing about the place that we did find amazing, however, was the huge volume of driftwood that had been washed ashore. We have never seen anything like it anywhere else. The kids loved clambering over it and finding their favourite bits of wood, some were ‘knobbly’ and others were really smooth, having been weathered by the wind and ocean.
There was a tinge of sadness when we awoke on our final day in Tasmania. We loved our time here, having seen so much but also knowing there was so much more to see. We started making our way back to Devonport, as it was here that we needed to board the Spirit of Tasmania for our journey back to the mainland.
In Devonport we had lunch at the lighthouse, visited the tourist centre and also managed a play on the fantastic playground not far from the lighthouse.
Needing to be at the dock a couple of hours before the ship sailed we whiled away the time having a handball tournament in the carpark and chatting to other waiting passengers. The facilities on the boat were really good including a number of eateries, movie theatre, kids play area etc. Everything was really modern and very clean, I am just a little annoyed that I didn’t think to take photos as we checked the ship out.
We were sailing overnight and having heard that the food was a little expensive we had organised some food for our backpacks and this worked really well. In another cost cutting exercise we had decided to travel on the ocean ‘recliners’ rather than in the more expensive cabins. The ride was very smooth and the only time we felt a little swaying was after watching a movie and heading back to our ‘recliners’. It was pretty funny watching the kids trying to walk straight!
The kids seemed to manage to sleep fairly well whereas Paul and I did not fare quite as well. We think that the term ‘recliners’ was used a little loosely. The seats didn’t so much as recline but shift slightly backwards so that they were no longer technically upright. A small pillow and blanket is provided for each passenger and after a few hours of not being able to get comfortable I ended up sleeping on the floor in front of an empty row of ‘recliners’!
The time passed fairly quickly and before we knew it the time was 5.30am and we were docking in Melbourne. Feeling a bit stiff, we had a bit of a stretch and then waited to be called to the lower deck to collect Patricia and Stanley and then hit the city of Melbourne for an early morning breakfast.