Thursday 3 April we headed up to Petal Point (see the blue flag on the map) with some friends for a few days of camping. Before we set off we had to go into Hobart and take Mum and her sister to the supermarket so by the time we got back and hooked up the van it was about 1:00PM. From home to Petal Point is 290 kilometres add this to the round trip to Hobart of 160 kilometres and we had a distance of 450 kilometres to travel.
From home we followed the coast as far as St Helens. This part of the journey is very scenic as you are alongside the coast for a substantial part of the trip. We also noticed a large number of caravans and motor homes on the road. Everyone is commenting on the number of such vehicles on the road this year and we can only conclude that the weather on the mainland has influenced more travellers to visit Tassie than would normally be here. After St Helens we took secondary and dirt roads so didn’t see many caravans or motor homes after that.
Petal Point is in what’s called the Musselroe Bay Conservation Area. As such it is controlled by National Parks but no fees are charged. You need to be self sufficient as all that is provided is a composting toilet and it is a fair way along a corrugated dirt road to the nearest shop. In other words the sort of camp site we like.
We didn’t get there until close to 6:00PM however our friends had found a good camp site and it didn’t take long for us to position the caravan, unpack our chairs and sit around the fire with a beer. Luckily the camp site offered some protection from the prevailing winds as that night we had winds of 30 – 40 knots. Not that we felt it in the caravan, the others told us about it in the morning. You can normally get a got idea of the weather a place is likely to experience from looking at the vegetation and Petal Point is no exception. There are large shifting sand dunes with no tall trees just scrub and Melaleuca all growing at an angle away from the coast. So you have to expect wind!
The first two days were fairly windy but that didn’t deter us from exploring the long deserted beach or the rocky point. Whilst we had all brought firewood with us there was plenty of drift wood on the beach so we collected some of this. There was only one or two other groups of campers there during our stay. One group had set three crayfish pots on Mondays but hadn’t been able to launch their boat to retrieve, because of bad weather, since. However on Saturday the seas had subsided enough for them to launch. They only found two pots and they both had no crays in them. Anyway they left us a huge pile of firewood when they left on Saturday so we cooked all our meals over the fire. At breakfast you couldn’t get near the fire for jaffle irons sticking out from it. It is interesting to watch what can be crammed into a Jaffle, personally I prefer baked beans, cheese and an egg, yum! Of course for breakfast on Sunday we follow tradition and have bacon and eggs.
By Sunday the wind had moderated and we went for a swim. Not very warm, I suppose the water would have been 18C. Some of us had wetsuits but others ventured in with only bathers – very brave. The water was crystal clear. Vicki went fishing several times but was unsuccessful.
Sunday night we cooked up a camp oven roast. Normally we would only use a single camp oven but because there were eight of us we used three. Heather had brought a large lamb roast that took up the whole of one oven. We filled another with home grown potatoes and a third with pumpkin and carrots, also home grown. We had a great feast that night, washed down with an ample quantity of beer and wine – life sure is hard in retirement.
We always eat well when we go camping. Nothing fancy but there is just something special about sitting around a fire eating a meal infused with wood smoke accompanied by a few wines and great company.
I guess we will just have to do a lot more camping.
Tuesday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and set off home. We had the least distance to travel and where home by 3:00PM. By five we had the van and car washed and everything stowed away.
We are planning our next trip, to Bruny Island in about four weeks.