Flinders Street Station at Melbourne
Its still early, so I park my vehicle and take the tram back into the city where I have a bit of a wander around, also see the tail end of the Australia Day Parade that seems to have attracted quite a crowd of people lining the street. Melbourne, contrary to Sydney, has retained its Trams, now having quite a modern fleet of tram cars that take you all over town. Even though there are many modern buildings, many of the old buildings are still in use today, giving the city a more conservative note. I enjoy walking around and because I am starting to feel hungry, decide to have my-once-a-year Big Mac at McDonalds, with Fries and a white coffee which is actually pretty good.
I take the tram back to my car and drive around to the loading dock for the ferry. On the ramp I am checked for fresh vegetables which I hand in, but decide to keep my fruits which I will have to eat before I leave the ferry again at Devonport. Its a smooth ride across Bass Straight. My cabin co-passengers, Steve and Peter, both passionate bikeies who tell me just how beautiful it is to be riding a large motorbike.
I self-serve a small plate of food at the bistro, then share a couple of beers with a group of 4 young French people, 3 girls and one boy, who are traveling to Tassie to earn some money, picking vegetables and fruit. It turns out a lively evening where I get to practice some of my rudimentary French "skills". My cabin friends and I yak on till after midnight before lights-out, but even though I am tired its a long time before I find any deep sleep, even though we are having a fairly smooth ride. I guess I am just too excited about what Tasmania is going to be about for me.
We arrive right on-time at 6.00 am, I have some of my fruit for pre-breakfast ands share the rest of the bananas and oranges with my cabin friends. By 7.00 am I am off the ship, driving out of Devonport, find a parking spot and finally make myself some real breakfast, coofee and all.
In front of Wynyard Info Centre
The plan is to drive along the north coast, westward. Its a lovely drive, everything so clean, no litter by the roadside, all buildings looking especially clean and tidy. I get the impression that people on this island actually care about what the place the live in looks and feels like.
The saying goes: "...There is only ONE chance to make a FIRST impression." How true, I am very impressed with what I have seen so far. I stop at Burnie, collect some information at the Tourist info centre, then later again at Wynyard to pick up some bread at Woolworth, then on to see the local Tourist Office. Wherever I go, whoever I talk to, I find people extraordinarily friendly, welcoming and helpful. Wow, I am even more impressed!!
I drive on to Stanley (short distances on the island) where I spend the night. I fill up my water tank in the morning, then climb the "Knob" via the narrow path that zig-zags its way steeply up the mountain at the edge of town that provides great views across the various bays and inlets. From Stanley the road takes me to Arthur River, (via Marrawah) probably the westernmost point of Tasmania, (check it out on the link below) where I find a great campground surrounded by trees and shrubs which provide an ideal windbreak from the strong winds coming off the ocean. There are several other campers on the site, another chance to exchange stories around yet another camp fire.
The Knob as viewed from the camp ground
The town of Stanley view from The Knob.