The Retirees in Tasmania – roadtrip to Wynyard

Tassie is not a big place by Australian standards so the idea that we would drive from Ferntree in the South to Wynyard #wynyard in the north west on the northern coast of Tasmania was not adventurous by any means. There are various ways to go and our gps chose to travel through Richmond up the B31 north until we joined the Midland Highway around Oatland. After Campbelltown we veered toward Delorraine as we had spotted the Mole Creek Caves as a place to visit.

Leaving after breakfast we made good time to Longford a village a little west of Perth (Tasmania not WA). We found a shady tree in a spacious park to eat our pies purchased from the local Bakery. A neat and tidy town but we were on a mission to get to the caves.

After our break we continued the journey to Delorraine and then onto Mole Creek and the Mole Creek Karst National Park where we hoped to visit Marakoopa and/or Kings Solomon’s Caves. We had rung in advance and knew we had to get to Marakoopa before 3.00pm otherwise we would have to go to King Solomon Mines Cave. We missed out on seeing Marakoopa by the smallest of margins but we were able to purchase our ticket for King Solomon Mines and secure our entry. It is a 15 minute drive between the two so we were getting a little anxious.

After a rather quick trip through the narrow roads of the park, Kerry dropped me off to run to the ticket office and make sure they did not leave without us. The Cave is at the end of a 200m walk and I am not a practised 200m runner so, I struck off into the bush and as I moved through on the path a feeling of deja vous came over me. An iron statue straight in front of me seemed so familiar but Kerry later assured me we have not been here before. I remain puzzled. However I made the distance and saved our spot. It turned out there was no one else booked to go on the tour so we got a very personal tour.

At the end of the path is a timber walkway leading into a reception area and the ticket office guarding the entry to the caves. Richard was waiting in the office for our arrival and once Kerry had caught up he gave us the safety drill and then opened the wire gate to the cave entrance. King Solomons Cave is a highly decorated limestone cave. This is a small and compact cave of lavish colours and a huge variety of formations with sparking calcite crystals decorating the chambers. Our guide has worked in the caves for 18 years and has a serious speleological bent as he does this for recreation also. He told us that the cave system is very close to the ground above it so much so that it was discovered by a farmer looking for his lost dog. The dog had fallen into the cave. It is only 500m long but very narrow in places and there are instances of tree roots making their way through the ceiling to the cave floor.

Just brilliant – the cave is splendid but I would not cope if the lights went out. The tour last 45 mins but I think we got an hour. So it is now 4.30pm and we have to find our accomodation. According to our map Wynyard is due north so when we exit we find our nearest road due north which takes us through the mountains for about an hour before we can see anything resembling Bass Strait.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.