From Cradle Mountain to Launceston
From Cradle Mountain was a 2 hour drive to Launceston, the only place we found interesting to stop midway was Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm. We stayed two nights in Launceston and during our two days we visited a sunset lookout, a wetland and a gorge.
Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm.
This Raspberry Farm was just 58 kilometers from our destination (Launceston) and after about more than an hour of driving starting from Cradle Mountain we were ready for a coffee break.
Just before we reached the farm we were totally distracted by “Van Diemens Land Creamery”! It was Tasmania awards winning icecream. We ate its icecream in Hobart and for the next 10 days we had yet to come across another of its branch. Yummy! Must stop!! Must eat!!!
After our icecream break we drove practically just across the road to Christmas Hill Raspberry farm. At its carpark was a lovely wooden building and it turned out to be a restaurant/cafeteria. It was too soon for a 2nd coffee break so we decided to move on to explore the farm.
Immediately around the restaurant/cafeteria was a garden and beyond the garden was the farm. We walked over to the farm but was disappointed to see no fruits (raspberry) on the raspberry plants. We guessed the season was just not right to see raspberry harvesting.
The garden on the hand was a delight, it was rather pictureque and there were a couple of sheeps roaming around.
There was little to do after the garden but to go into the restaurant/cafe. There we ordered cafe latte and a waffle which came served with raspberries, rasberry iceream and rasberry sauce. Yummy yummy, we had a second coffee break within two hours. The cost of the waffle and one latter cost AUD$24.70.
Brady’s Hill Lookout
We went to Brady’s Hill Lookout for a view of the Tamar Valley. This valley run north-west from the city of Launceston all the way to the coast. Tamar River flowed through the valley and the entire distance was about 50km.
Brady lookout was just one of the many lookouts of the Valley, it was also nearest to our stay in Launceston.
Tamar Island Wetlands
Just on the outskirts of Launceston was a wetland reserve. The unique estuarine wetland ecosystem of mudflats, lagoon and islands providing santuary to a rich diversity of plants and wildlifes.
The wetlands could be enjoyed by wandering along the erected boardwalk and footbridges that cut into the wetlands connecting its island. Unfortunately only the boardwalk from the carpark to the visitor center was accessible. The boardwalk beyond the visitor center into the wetland and island were closed! Apparently the continually heavy rain in the previous weeks had submerged the boardwalk!
Cataract Gorge was one of Launceston most famous attractions. It was practically in the backyard of Launceston. We arrived at the big carpark of the Gorge and took a short walk to the entrance. The park entry was free but the chairlift ticket was AUD$15 one way and AUD$20 for return.
On the advise of the ticketing staff we bought one way ticket as she told us that coming back we could walk the suspension bridge and had a wonderful view of the rushing river.
On the other side of the gorge was a cafe/restaurant. There was also the park residential peacock, it had a set of fluffy healthy tail. We followed it around for a while waiting for it to fan out his tail. But this bird was just in no hurry to catch any attention especially when there was no peahen around.
We took the track along the river going towards the city. It was amazing to see the river (South Ek River) flowing into the city. The residents of Launceston were fortunate to have such a beautiful natural environment reserve practically at their doorsteps.
We got back to the other side of the gorge via the Alexandra Suspension Bridge. The bridge was pretty long and sturdy. It was also a wonderful way to stand directly above the water of the South Esk River and watch the white water churned by.
There were several othe hiking trails from the gorge but we were too “relax” to attempt more hikes. Since we were done with walking we naturally looked for a cafe for coffee break.
There were two cafes at the Gorge, one on each side of the gorge. We chose the cafe nearer to the carpark side of the gorge. It was a relaxing break with lovely view. We enjoyed a long leisurely break at the cafe as the scenery was too lovely to leave!
We were back to the carpark and found we had a parking fine for not paying parking charges! We were so surprised as we did not see any parking meters or notices around. We were not ones that stinged on parking charges as they were just a minute portion of the entire cost of the trip. We had even downloaded parking apps on our mobile to make payment easier.
Parking FineWe drove straight down to the Town Hall to pay the fine of AUD$25. We tried explaining to the staff that it was an honest mistake and not an intention to cheat, and whether we could just pay the parking fee and not the outrageous fine amount.
But the staff was totally unsympathetic and had to cheek to tell us that MANY people were fined each day at Cataract Gorge. Doesn’t the town realised that their “obscious parking fee notices” was an entrapment. Visitors did not pay parking fee because they did not see the parking notice but the Town Hall couldn’t care less because it all about revenue.
Our stay at Launceston
We rented an self contained apartment in Launceston. The apartment was in the basement level of a house built on a slope. Though it was in the basement because of the slope there were plentiful of windows/view.
The apartment had two sections, one housed a bed, dining room and living room. The other had the kitchen and another double bed behind an “opened” partition. A huge toilet with shower and washing machine was in the middle of the two sections.
We enjoyed our stay at the apartment, it was cosy, spacious and clean. We cooked a few meals at the apartment and had relaxing meal times at “home” with a wonderful view.