Distance covered: 355.2 km. The gap is where I forgot to switch my GPS tracker back on in time.The morning is quite sunny, but by the time I get to the Freycinet National Park the sky is overcast again. Erratic Tassie weather doesn’t work in my favour this time. Luckily, there’s no rain, and nothing stops me from taking a hike towards the Wineglass Bay lookout. It doesn’t look impressive at this weather, but what can you do?
The Wineglass Bay.
Cool boulders on the way there and back.Couldn’t avoid the vehicle entry fee here, so I pay the full $24. At least I got two bottlefuls of free tap water for it. I briefly consider taking a much more challenging hike to the mountaintop, but finally decide against it and drive towards the Sleepy Bay and Cape Tourville instead.
The Sleepy Bay.
Pink rocks on the beach.
At the Cape Tourville.
The eponymous lighthouse.Leaving the park, I carelessly speed past the 40 km/h sigh at Coles Bay… and get caught. A policewoman pulls me over and asks if I had any traffic offences in Tasmania previously. No? Okay, she’ll just give me a caution instead. No fine this time, but could I please be more careful. Cheers! When she departs, I sigh in relief. Indeed, doing 64 in the 40 zone is just a little bit too ballsy.
The Apsley Gorge walk.I see a few people coming back down the same path and ask them if the walk did involve swimming for them, and they say yes. This tips the scale way back to the “screw it” zone, and I return to the parking lot. Only when I get there I realise that they might have meant something else entirely, and went swimming at the end of the hike, but I shrug it off. Plenty of sights to see yet, anyway.
The beachside sheep.Finally, I reach The Gardens and the Bay of Fires. No one is quite sure whether it’s named after the Aboriginal fires that sailors saw from the ocean, or after the fiery-looking lichens covering the beachside rocks, but at least the lichens are still there for us to see. They look very scenic indeed, and so do the rocks and the bay itself.
The Bay of Fires.
The weather is wonderful, too.After 3 p.m. I arrive at the Halls Falls. The place is unexpectedly scenic, and the leisurely cascades give me plenty of photographic opportunities. Much less people around than at the Bay, too.
The rocky creek.
One of the cascades.An hour later it’s time to look at the St Columba Falls. Even less people around: the road is taking me slightly further off the popular tourist routes.
St Columba Falls, from the distance.
St Columba Falls, from below.The bitumen ends after that, and the gravel is quite bad at places, obviously ruined by the logger machinery. Half of Tasmania, it seems, is covered in timber forests that are felled down and regrown regularly. Timber forests (fallen or not), farmlands and rainforests is what you see out of your car window 95% of the time.
How cool is this moss, though?Ralph Falls is probably the most peculiar waterfall I’ve seen in Tasmania so far – or anywhere else, really. A monstrous outcrop of layered basalt exposes a cleft where the water streams down at a slight angle from a very high point. Awesome.
Up close.Time to wrap up my sightseeing ventures for today, and I head back towards bitumen and into the town called Springfield. A picnic area a few kilometres away from it gives me a very lovely and isolated camping spot completely for free, even though I have to make a certain effort to find my way in.