The Retirees in Tasmania – Go West Young Man

Having been to the coast we decided on our last day to go west into the hills behind St Helens and see what we could see.

Yesterday we had seen a sign to Priory Ridge Wines and decided that looked a good place to go. So after a hill climb we came upon the winery and cellar door.

Located in the small settlement of Priory, and just 3kms from the town of St Helens Priory Ridge winery is a family owned boutique winery. We found our way to another shack this time representing the cellar door. The door was open but no one in sight. We looked here there and everywhere not a soul could be found. Puzzled we were about to get back in the car when Julie Llewellyn came across from the vines pushing a wheel barrow full of cuttings. She was surprised to see us just as we were to encounter her. We shared a laugh and Julie then wiped her brow washed her hands and welcomed us to Priory Ridge Wines Estate #Priory Ridge Wines Estate.

Julie explained that she and her husband David had developed the vineyard on 20 hectares with ideal north facing slopes to maximise sunlight. The soil is Devonian granite rich in mineral content, transferring a unique “terroir” to the wine. Formally known as Tarpot Farm, the property has been in the ownership of Julie’s family (Reid/Clifford) for over 120 years. Julie’s Great Grandparents settled at Priory in 1889 after migrating from England in 1880.

Before its conversion to grapes the property was mainly used to graze sheep as an adjunct to a much larger property, grazing sheep, cattle and some cropping. Priory Ridge has the George River as its Northern boundary and the vineyard draws its water from a small dam on the property.

The shed was full of electic bits and pieces as well as wines. Kerry found some labelled plastic glasses which she purchased for our picnic set and a memory of our visit. I am pretty sure we also purchased a bottle or two.

We spent some time at the winery but hunger finally tore us away. So we returned to St Helens for lunch and decided to visit the sandhills behind Steiglitz/Akoroa. We were winding down to return to Hobart tomorrow so we were not looking for too much activity but come on the fact that the word includes “hills” should have told us what to expect. So we drove up to the starting point for the walk through the sandhills. Beautiful views and a convincing argument that all we needed to do was look grab some photos and go home and put our feet up.

That evening we packed and prepared to return to Hobart and our family. Our excursion to Tassie was coming to an end. A few days with the family and back to Brisbane and reality.

The Retirees in Tasmania – St Helens and the Bay of Fires

After our long day yesterday we got an early night keen to explore the Bay of Fires #Bay of Fires. The Bay of Fires is located on the northeastern coast of Tasmania. It includes a gorgeous coastline that stretches over 50 kilometres from Binalong Bay #Binalong Bay in the south to Eddystone Point #Eddystone Point in the north. The northern section of the bay is part of Mount William National Park # Mount William National Park; the southern end is a conservation area. The conservation area is divided into three sections, with Ansons Bay #Ansons Bay dividing the southern and northern ends. This popular conservation reserve is actually a string of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, interspersed by lagoons and rocky bluffs. Famous for the orange lichen-covered granite boulders, combined with the powder-white sand and turquoise waters, we wanted to see for ourselves and St Helens being the gateway to the Bay of Fires and Binalong Bay made an ideal starting point.

We drove out to the Tourist Information Centre at Akaroa #Akaroa where we were looking at booking a boat trip (Eco Tour) which is not really part of Binalong Bay but it gave us a taste of what was to come. We drove south across Medeas Cove following Treloggens Track to St Hellens Point past this timber and tin shed which we later found out was the Tourist Info Centre where you booked the Eco Tour. Out here we are in Burns Bay but the orange lichen-covered rocks were there to see. There were a few houses enjoying the serenity.

Driving back to St Hellens we pulled over at the tin and timber shed. Hello heres the Tourist Info Centre. Great little centre – here we could book boat tours (weekends only at the present so missed out there) and get maps and buy trinkets from local businesses. There was a coffee bar – hot water and instant coffee, and a range of sugary snacks and chips. No sale this time. But the view from the shack was a great panorama of the typical coast we would find. Did I mention that you could book a boat tour?

We then proceeded north back the way we came to the track along Binalong Bay. And this is what we saw –

These few photos don’t do it justice. It was difficult for an over weight 65+ old to scramble over the rocks and through the bush but we were rewarded with some great scenes. The road was suitable for a passenger car and it is probably good that 4 wheel drives aren’t permitted to drive where ever they can. there was a caravan park somewhere in all that (outside the conservation area) and it looked popular but pretty raw.

The Retirees in Tasmania – the Bay of Fires

After resting up getting up and packing up, we are on the move again driving over to St Helens #St Helens on the southern end of the Bay of Fires. We got a few hot tips on places to stop on the way over and one we found by ourselves.

What would a country trip be without a renowned chocolate shop on the way. Introducing the House of Anvers # House of anvers and Anvers Choclate Factory cafe and museum. Situated in the former Wyndarra Lodge #Wyndarra Lodge 9025 Bass Highway Latrobe, the House of Anvers is a factory a cafe a museum and a gift shop. Bass Highway is a pretty busy little road so keeping an eye out for signs and avoiding getting the bloke behind running up your bum made getting there a bit interesting. Wyndarra Lodge (now the House of Anvers) is a 1928 bungalow style building set in parkland right on the Bass Highway between Devonport & Latrobe. Acquired by Anvers in 2002 it was and is ideally suited to transfer the chocolate factory into and showcase the products and the stroy of chocolate. After making a dash across the oncoming traffic and arriving at the Lodge we were firstly taken with the large rose bushes dripping with flowers and the bungalow style how looking as though it was still in the 1920’s. First thing was a cup of hot Belgian chocolate in the lavious cafe then a visit to the mueum and a sticky beck at the chocolate makers but lastly a visit to the choclate shop. Not a place to visit on a keto diet.

Now we could have remained longer but our travel schedule prohibited lingering stays at choclate shops. We moved on until we saw some cows beside the road and spotted the signs to Ashgrove Dairy #Ashgrove Dairy – not where you would buy a pint of milk. All of these cows are fake, the milking herd obviously is some where else probably not as flash as this. We decided we would have a cheese platter for lunch and this was just the place for it. We toured through the museum of milking past the pasturising into the gift shop – oops too far. lets go back to the selction of cheese and the tables of tourists chomping on cheese. I still drool when I see the rounds of parmesan and blue vein cheeses. Of course we had to pass through the gift shop and we gather a few more bits to satisfy that calcium craving.

Now its quite a long trip from Wynyard to St Helens and we needed petrol and we were approximately in the middle of Tasmania on a highway with no apart fueling stops. Oh what a minute there’s one. Of course there had to be a truck stop nearby and as we pull in around the back we see the truckers trucks in the back yard – a rough sort of lay over for 18 wheelers and above. The “diner” was a trucker’s dream – every style of deep fried something imaginable and fresh sandwiches too. There were washrooms but I guesses each driver would sleep in the back of the truck. After refueling (the car too) we wandered amongst the trucks toward a strange looking brick wall that seemed out of place – and there it was Tassie Truckies Memorial Wall #Tassie Truckies Memorial Wall. I had not seen this before and there was a small grave there as well which looked like a child of one of the truckers – the grave was not inscribed so we will never know.

We moved onto to St Helens which was a winding trip through the hills before dropping down to the coast. And there I must leave it. We found our apartment and washed off the dirt of the road and settled in for the night. The resort was beside a marsh and the noise of the marsh sang us to sleep. The day had been long but a few Anvers losengers helped us to relax. tomorrow its the Bay of Fires.