We left Cradle Mountain in drizzle and drove the 105 kms to Somerset on the north coast. On the way we stopped at Hellyer Gorge for a short walk along the river among the tree ferns. We arrived at the caravan park in beautiful sunshine - what a difference 100 kms and 700 metres of altitude can do! We setup and had a nachos at the local cafe before heading to Burnie just 6 kms away to do a little shopping. The day was fast coming to an end so we had champagne cocktails and fresh salmon and brie cheese for supper.
The next day started out drizzly but looked like it may clear so we visited the visitor centre to get some info on the area and then headed for Stanley which is about 70 km west of Somerset on the north west coast. We drove past vast fields of light pink and white poppies! We later found out that Tasmania produces about 50% of the world's opiates for the pharmaceutical industry. The area is hilly and lush and hence full of dairy farms too. We arrived in Stanley with the weather having cleared into a beautiful day. Stanley is a charming country town with quaint buildings and houses with the main attraction being The Nut which is a large volcanic plug forming a natural harbour for the town. You can either walk up The Nut or take the chair lift, we chose the chair lift. After the short ride we embarked on a 2km walk around the top to take in the views and even a small rain forest on the southern side. After our walk we found a local restaurant that is associated with the local fishing industry - so we had some fresh crayfish (rock lobster, actually) and then headed home to prepare for the return ferry ride the next day.
|Giant tree ferns|
|The inside of a tree fern with very new fronds|
|View from The Nut|
|Santa's latest transport|