Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Going East to Bay of Fires

My last full day in Tassie was the best one, not only because of the amazing places but also because I joined the right tour with the right guide.

I bought the day tour to Bays of Fires via Gray Line website for AUD 130 including hotel pick up and excluding meals. I was picked up at 08:20 a.m. by David. Only then I knew that Gray Line subbed the tour out. 

David himself is the owner of Coach Tours Tasmania and he runs many tours around Launceston to Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay and any other area around Northern Tasmania. For bigger group, David provides charter service too. Visit his facebook page here.

David is a very considerate tour guide. Although the tour is called Bay of Fires tour, he plans the route in such a way that the tourists visit many other interesting places too. He breaks the long journey into a few mini journeys and let his guests stretch their legs while doing something interesting. He is also very energetic. He keeps explaining many many things about Tasmania and engaging his guests in the conversation. 

Our first stop for the day was Bridestowe Lavender Estate. It is the biggest commercial lavender farm in the whole world, stretching about 200km of lavender rows. The farm itself has more than 650,000 plants in it.

The story of Bridestowe Lavender Estate started back in 1921 when a London perfumer CK Denny migrated to Tasmania. Realising the similar conditions of Tasmania and Provence, he decided to plant his packet of lavender seeds in North Lilydale.

The lavender estate kept growing with cloning and improved farming techniques over the years. In 1989, the farm undergone change from family to corporate ownership. The personal touch was lacking since then. The owner finally restore the agricultural excellence of this place and it was a success. More than 50,000 visitors are welcomed here annually.

The entrance to Bridestowe Lavender Estate

David explaining different kind of lavender

Our tour group

We were somehow at the end of the blooming season, the tractor was busy harvesting the flowers

Half of the farm was still purple

The green patch there were the bald lavenders

Green, purple and blue

The shop selling lavender oil, lavender soap, lavender body lotion and even lavender ice cream!

All purple, but actually lavender oil is yellow!

I was so lucky that I visited this place in early February. If I were later by a week or so, all the purple would be completely gone. David told me that the peak period would be in late December, the flowers would be in full bloom but not harvest time yet.

We then continued our journey east to Scottsdale for a quick stop to get our lunch. There would be no shops in Bay of Fires, so getting something to eat here is important. I got myself a meat pie in the bakery because I saw the words "The Home of Tassies Best Meat Pie and Pasty" on the window.

Scottsdale itself is a small town of approximately 2,500 people in it. The major industries in Scottsdale are agriculture and mining.

The view on the journey to Scottsdale


Cottage Bakery

Further east, we stopped at Weldborough Pass Rainforest for a short walk. The 220m walk is a relatively short but there are quite a lot to see along the way. The rainforest is full of ferns, myrtles, sassafras and blackwood. It is said that the rainforest was formed ages ago when the earth was still separated into two huge continents called Laurasia at the north and Gondwana at the south. Apparently, Tasmania was part of Gondwana together with South America, Africa and Antartica. Therefore, there are similarities between this rainforest and the rainforests there.

The entrance to Weldborough Pass Rainforest Walk

David explaining the forest

March, march, march

The old Myrtle

The ferns

Ferns are full of nutrients just like soil, even this sassafras thinks it is soil and grow on it

About 1 hour after we finished our rainforest walk, we reached 'the main course' of the day: Bay of Fires. Bay of Fires is the stretch of North-eastern coast of Tasmania from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. The main features of Bay of Fires are the white powdery sand the red-coloured rocks along the coast. Many thinks that this is why Bay of Fires got its name.

Nah. It's not.

Bay of Fires was a name given by Captain Tobias Farneux in 1773 when he saw fires set up along the coast line by the Aboriginal people.

We stopped at Binalong Bay for our lunch break. The first thing I noticed was how white the sand was. It was quite cloudy that day but the beauty of Binalong Bay was still there unaffected.

The sand, the sea, the sky

The white fine-grained clean sand

I can still feel the wind caressing my face as I type this

The view from one end of the beach

The stone at the end of the beach

The red colour is from lichen

More rocks

The rocks are hugeeeeee

David then drove us a few minutes away to smaller bay with more red rocks. There is a viewing platform too. This is definitely my favourite for the day, my love at the first sight.

The view

The floating platform

I want that house there

Photo of the day for sure

I never know moss can be so beautiful

Studying some geology too, granite inter-bedded sandstone

I keep this forever in my mind and in my heart

This is my wallpaper now

Our next itinerary was beach walk. David dropped us Taylor Beach and let us walked barefooted along the coast. It was an amazing 1 km beach walk. The beach was so empty and serene.

Where we started our walk

Where we headed

The turquoise colour water against the grey cloudy sky

Don't go to the bushes, it is full of venomous snakes

I left my footprint here

That bird is my witness

We were supposed to have oyster tasting in our itinerary but the oyster farm was closed that day due to storms that occured the week before or so. We were brought to Eureka Farm instead, where we could get fresh Tassie's fruits, homemade jams and ice creams. "The ice creams contain more than 50% of fruits, it's almost healthy,"  David said.

Eureka Farm

Berries, apricots, nectarines, everything

The jams

And the ice cream! Chocolate raspberry - bitter and sour and sweet

We had a short toilet break at one small town before returning to Launceston around 06:30 p.m. David did not stop sharing stories about Tasmania with us. One fact that I fancy the most is the opium poppy farms along the way. Tasmania is the producer of more than 50% of the world's supply of poppy straws. They are then processed into morphines and codeines. There is no fancy security system of the poppy fields, just a small sign saying 'Keep Out' and most people really keep out of the field.

The last town

Keep out from these little pretty yellow things

I love every single place that I visited that day. I am so blessed. The universe surely loves me.

And I saw this pretty sight when I walked back to the hotel

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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