Thurs 24th - Coles Bay, inside Freycinet NP Can't find log book, have written this on back of Marcus' Kelly Sports certificate. Slept very snug with Marcus in the van. Wind died down justafter bedtime. Beaut sunset. This morning met Louise Browne, old Burnie schoolfriend. Family next to us includes a teenage girl in a wheelchair - brain injury perhaps. Together with the Muslims its like Camping Diversity Week. I saw the damage to the Maui van from Mayfield - its going to cost them their deposit. Michael's birthday today, he's been very grumpy about it. 4 presents: spinning top from Marki and Baba, special BLUE Lightning McQueen car from film Cars (he's usually red, but this one is from the dream sequence where he is imagining he is saving Earth from spark plug monster aliens- you know). Colouring book from my Mum and Dad and little pull-back cars from Marcus. We packed tent and van up and went down to cafe for cake (2 vanilla slices shoved together). Went inside out of wind to blow out candles. Babycinos $3.50! For a cup of milk froth! To FNP visitors centre - very nice, calm. Booked into a powered site, and went off to do Cape Tourville, and Sleepy Bay walks. SB walk ends at Little Gravelly Beach - gravel like a handful of Atlantic salmon risotto. Next, to Honeymoon Bay for a swim - very lovely, good for kids. Visit there ended by Michael toilet emergency. Back to campsite, it was rock hard. Couldn't get a tent peg in for love or money. Asked some other tenters how they had put up theirs. A man called Paul was lending everyone his drill and bucket of long wood screws. Once we were set up, we drove a short distance to Richardsons Beach where a P&W ranger named Alex gave a talk on shorebirds. He was a herpetologist, and had to look up a lot of bird stuff in a handy book he had brought along. Back to camp again, no power! I drove to town for fish and chips and to ring Dad on payphone. Got the answer after lots of guessing games with - it was a cutout switch inside the clothes cupboard we had tripped by accident. Didn't have quite enough F & C so bulked it up with more spaghetti. Michael is making up DVD titles. "Have you seen the film Little Tiger 2, Return to the Snow?" Discovered you can send short SMSs from payphone by toilet block, so I sent a few cryptic messages before bed.
Fri 25th - St Helens, Big 4 Caravan Pk Today not such a success. Feeling better now - pleasant cool evening, showered and kids and Elf off watching DVD in Recreation Room. Last night I had Michael in the van. Elf prefers tent but didn't sleep wll due to rock-hard ground. Borrowed drill again to remove screws. Others agreed it was a pretty dud campground in that regard. Apparently when it is wet it turns to soup - which explains groundsheet texture imprinted in what is apparently granite. Morning swim at Richardsons Beach. Cold but clear and delightful. Am swimming all over Tasmania in my underpants. No-one has seemed to care. We heard of cold showers at Vis. Centre but no sign of them. Drove to Iluka CP where an elderly German couple were enjoying use of the rubber doormat we had left behind the previous morning.They relinquished it but said it was a very good doormat. Continued out of Coles Bay and up to Bicheno. Sealife Centre sounded good, an aquarium and with a touching tank. Cost $20 the family, all in one room. OK but not really value. We couldnt resist the seafood restaurant attached. Deep fried lunch for 4, another $76. And that was Bicheno. Drove off stuffed and drowsy. [Found out later that the little aquarium in a tin shed on the edge of a cliff is much better. We stopped there briefly while looking for the big one. They said they gave up on the touch tank concept when they got sick of removing all the dead critters.] We met Susan and Rick from South Hobart by the road sth of St Helens - their youngest had been carsick. Heading for Cosy Corner, nth of St Helens. I did something to my back while packing up this morning - possible pinched nerve. Then Elf had a sudden twinge under her rib when hoisting herself into the drivers seat. She put frozen peas on it and it came rightish after a few minutes. Coastline up to Scamander is just amazing. You have to laugh at the miles and miles of absolutely perfect deserted beaches. Into St Helens about 3.30, went to look at Big 4 Caravan Pk. $28 for site plus $8 each for boys - pricey. Big camp, lots of amenities. Showed DVD in games room tonight. Tuna and salad for dinner, all very tired. Marcus has cold sores erupting all over his face. I tried to put up the tent myself. 2 long poles and 1 short one, I had a short/long mixed up. Keep tripping over. Spilled Cold Power through van. Lots of little things going wrong.
Sat 26th Australia Day - Weldborough Noisy night at St Helens. I went off to ring Lynn and Scott, who we are going to stay with in Launceston on the 30th. Also rang Nick and Anna, good to just have a chat. When i got back Elf was in a foul mood due to noisy foul-mouthed group of about 10 adults in a cabin very close to our site. I asked them to be quiet and they were, for a while. Couldnt hear them in the van but Elf could in the tent. Very comfy night's sleep. Couldnt get myself out of bed until 7. We ate and got going pretty quickly. Big 4 were apologetic about noisy people, they are annual regulars and they always get complaints. We drove up through town, Regatta on today, so quite busy. Stopped at St H. History Room - nice little museum, free entry. A bit of a spat with the Grubb Shaft Mining Mus. at Beaconsfield, judging by some of the photo captions. Bought cherries and pickled onions at market. Drove to Binalong Bay, 1st half of road atrocious, 2nd half excellent. Amazing colours, sea so blue blue-green. Not a bright day but white sand still impossibly glare-y. Boys and I paddled. Marcus caught waves, waves caught Michael. From B. Bay up into hills, through Goshen, to Pyengana. Cheese factory now has v. nice cafe with tastings, and a playground. Their milk is superb, had top class iced coffee, iced choc and milkshakes. V. impressive. Lost Marcus' cold sore stuff, so back to St Helens to buy more, and some dinner makings. Had lunch at St Columba's Falls carpark, then walked to very beautiful falls. Interesting epiphytes - trees growing out of manferns. Recent bushfires between St H and Pyengana. Back to Pyengana to take photos of cows, then up through Weldborough Pass to Weldborough town. Farm country between St H and W'brough is as beautiful as I have seen in Australia. Not massively green at present, sprinklers on - little household ones, looked like. Old shingle-roof barns and sheds, rolling hills, freisian cows etc. Weldborough pub campground has no drinkable water, but its $22 for a powered site, no extra for kids, lots of green space and so quiet. We love it and we're going to stay another night. Some short walks and lots of rest tomorrow, its going to be 28°. A much better day today. Scrambled eggs for dinner.