Tasmania Itinerary 10 Days: with Pepper Bush Adventures

Kangaroo Crossing by Melanie Mouras – January 2018….

Pepper Bush Adventures offers a Tasmania Itinerary 10 days tour experience covering Tasmania’s west coast, Cradle Mountain, north east, Freycinet National Park and Bruny Island. Pepper Bush guides, Bushie & Ben had the pleasure of guiding Melanie and Ted Mouras from the USA on this tour in October 2017. We have blogged an extract from Melanie’s article written about their Australian holiday north east Tasmanian experience starting on day eleven. See the bottom of our post to access Melanie’s entire article about her Tasmania itinerary 10 days visit.

Melanie writes …a parallel universe where life was at once recognisably similar but entirely different. Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

Part Seven:  Scottsdale

Day Eleven. We headed for Scottsdale, which looks nothing like its identically named Arizona sister. It was a small town surrounded by lush greenery, and all the towns along our drive there had themes – for example, one was decorated in murals, while another specialised in wood carvings. Scottsdale residents had decided to paint all the electrical junction boxes around town, some with characters, others with scenery.

We checked in at the Beulah B&B, occupying a rambling home dating to 1878 but with modern conveniences installed many decades later.  We walked to lunch at the Rhubarb Café (guess their specialty). I had a plate of small scones (sweet, date, and savoury) with assorted toppings. Ted had pulled pork on a huge bun, with chips. We both had hot chocolate laced with maple syrup, to take off the day’s chill.

After lunch, Craig’s son Ben took over guide duties and drove us up, up, up Ben Lomond, not named for him, but using the Scottish word for “mountain.”  At the top was a ski resort (still somewhat snow-covered, but closed for the season) and fabulous scenery, once you survived the switch-back road, with no guardrails, used to get there.  Ben Lomond is known for its volcanic dolerite formations, which look like endless rows of grey toothpicks, and they are hellishly hard to hike around or over.  We walked some, admired some resident wallabies, and then headed down the mountain for a “bush tucker” (outdoor picnic) dinner.

This was a high point of our Tasmania trip. In the middle of a tract of forest now given over to logging, Pepper Bush Adventure Tours somehow convinced the logging company to allow them access to a former farmstead in its centre. Thoroughly in the middle of nowhere, it has become a sanctuary to all sorts of native Tasmanian critters, which somehow know that it’s a safe place for them. Near the old homestead stands a cabin, and Ben made us dinner on a grill just outside. A small herd of grey kangaroos came up to check us out, and we fed them from a bag leaning against the cabin wall (labelled “Kangaroo and Wallaby Pellets”). Just after sunset, resident wallabies, wombats (one with a baby), pademelons, brush-tailed possums, and quolls came out to see what we were doing and whether anything we were eating might also be good for them. We sampled wallaby meatballs at dinner, and some local cheese. It was an absolutely splendid night, but the return to the B&B was slow-going, through some of the worst fog I have ever seen anywhere. We were quite late getting back to the B&B, and piled into bed, stomachs full of bush tucker and cameras full of wildlife photos.

Day Twelve. Our B&B breakfast was enough for a family of ten, and then we were off to Mount William National Park, on Tasmania’s northeast shore.  First, though, we stopped briefly at a local pond to see platypus. I had thought them relatively rare but, apparently, if you know where to look for them there are quite a few in Tasmania. It’s evident at first glance why early scientists thought they were the practical joke of some bored explorer. The body of an otter, the bill of a duck, and the laying of eggs…and it’s real! Of adorable interest, monotreme (platypus and echidna) babies are called “puggles.”

Up the coast, then, toward Mount William, through vast tracts of farmland, some with sand dunes running through them.  We drove through numerous small towns, mostly with English-sounding names, like Derby. Derby was the site of a massive flood in 1929, when the dam built to support its tin mines gave way, killing 14. Just outside Derby was Little Blue Lake, its incredible turquoise colour caused by its clay base and the residue of tin in the water reflecting the blue of the sky. We heard banjo frogs in the area, and an aptly named creature that is. It sounded like a tiny orchestra tuning up.

Near Mount William, we made our way to the beach, past kangaroos, kookaburras, and eagles, and then walked along it (we were the only people there), with its craggy drop-off to the water and its nasty undertow. Waves rolled up to our feet, bringing shells and shorebirds. Ben had brought along a picnic lunch (with enough food for a large family), and we had huge deli sandwiches, drinks, and a chocolate dessert tart while sitting in a lovely picnic area listening to the crashing of waves. My sandwich was labelled “Silverside,” and I thought that meant salmon. It turned out to be corned beef, named for the sheen of the meat developed during the curing process. Like the hamburger at Cradle Mountain, it was served with a fried egg and a pickled beet.

Back to the B&B which, as a bonus, had agreed to make us dinner as well as breakfast. We had begged earlier for a very light dinner, needing some balance against the morning’s incredible breakfast. It was perfect – mulligatawny soup, a lovely chicken salad, and a finale of berry panna cotta

Day Thirteen. Another breakfast for a dozen people, and we were off to the Evercreech Forest Reserve, an undisturbed old growth of very, very tall gum trees (over 90 meters high), their white trunks standing out amongst tree ferns. I’ll mention here that “gum trees” are eucalyptus, and there are hundreds of varieties of them all over Australia. In Evercreech, all was peaceful, lovely and, as with pretty much everywhere else we’d been in Tasmania, deserted. On our way there we passed through the town of Legerwood, whose “theme” was wood carvings. A park had been planted, after World War I, with trees to commemorate the dozen or so Legerwood men lost in combat. In the decades after, the trees gradually died of old age but, rather than cut them down, a local woodcarver had been commissioned to turn them into works of art depicting the dead and the townspeople who had supported the war effort. It was very touching, particularly the stories on the commemorative markers for each young casualty.

We headed to Bicheno…..

Read the entire article of Melanie and Teds Australian holiday and their Tasmanian Pepper Bush experience starts at Part 5, Day 8 on Page 6. Kangaroo Crossing