We took a day off from our farm work on Sunday and went for a drive up to the Tasmanian Highlands. The day was clear with a massive expanse of blue skies (and cool temperatures!) We drove out from Campania through New Norfolk, where the river level was higher than I’ve ever seen it after the recent torrential rains. Passing through New Norfolk can’t be done without pausing at the takeaway, so we continued our journey fortified by revoltingly delicious dim-sims. (Turned out later in the day it was a good idea to get some food at this point…)
We continued heading north towards the Tasmanian Highlands, eventually passing Tarraleah and parts of the hydroelectric system, which is impressive in its huge scale. As we climbed in altitude, the landscape became more densely forested, and the road lay between thick native bushland, instead of areas of more open pastures with scattered gums.
A couple of hours after leaving home, our first stop was at Lake Binney, where tracks lead off the road into the bush. We paused by the deserted lake to breathe in the cool clean air, and for me to take a few photos!
Next stop was at the Early Surveyors Monument, placed in the geographic centre of Tasmania to commemorate the early surveyors. We saw an echidna the last time we were here, but alas, not this time. This monument is by the edge of Bronte Lagoon, and I’ve always been intrigued by the furry pale green lichen that clothes many of the woody shrubs here.
Leaving Bronte, we continued our ascent until we had snow on the ground! The road was clear, but there was enough on the side of the road to be pretty, and to provide these tantalising wombat footprints. No wombats to be seen though, which was something of a disappointment if not a surprise!
Next on the itinerary was Little Pine Lagoon, and the last time we were here, the water was only gently flowing over the weir. Not this time though! A torrent of water cascaded over the edge of the lagoon, and into the canal, rushing downhill.
It was at this point I was starting to get hungry! Food stops however were few and far between. We continued onward, thinking that at least we weren’t too far from Miena and the Great Lake Hotel. We pulled into the carpark, and on approaching the hotel noticed a foreboding sign “No vegetables with meals today. Limited pizzas available.” The place was packed out, and as we approached the bar, one of the staff called out that there was an hour wait for food! Surely we could find something else more quickly?! I rarely leave home without a snack though, so I’d stuck some olive oil granola bars in my bag, and we munched on those as we continued our journey.
— FarmerFi (@freshfieldgrove) July 14, 2016
By this time the snow had passed, and the landscape was opening up again, and suddenly we passed a sign for the Nant Distillery. The sign indicated there was a cafe, open ’til 4pm, so we took the unexpected turn and headed up a long unsealed road, with pastures either side and rolling hills in the distance. The distillery is on a beautiful site, and we approached the buildings with anticipation of a late lunch. Sadly, the cafe turned out not to be open at that particular time (but will be again shortly, we were assured). A whisky tour and tasting was tempting, but we decided just to get back on the road and continue our hunt for sustenance!
Not too long had passed before we rolled into Bothwell. An old town with plenty of lovely stone buildings, including the Anglican church, consecrated in 1891. We found a little cafe, with some tasty ham salad rolls, and sat outside in the sunshine as we contemplated the last section of the drive home. FFx