Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wet n Wild at Port Arthur

Sunday 16 March 08: First night in the "wild" for MDR & MB at Stewarts Bay turned out to be a very comfortable and serene night.  The van has backup power so one can run the fridge and limited lighting.  There is also hot water (gas heated) so one is not really missing any of the home comforts.  The early morning by the water was absolutely gorgeous.
Sunday morning saw MDR & MB kitted up for on a 3 hour tour of the coastline around Port Arthur, including Tasman Island.  This is amazingly rugged coastline with towering cliffs and lots of swell breaking on the rocks.  Saw loads of lazy seals, some dolphins and lots of birds, including 3 species of albatross (if the guide hadn't told us this we would never have known). Great tour in a smallish Rib type boat, luckily it was a warm day, so not too cold, however there was a cold southerly blowing and all passengers are offered a spray jacket, which is really a tent as it goes down to your feet, but it protects you from the wind and spray which is a Godsend.  The tour starts at Stewarts Bay (Port Arthur) then travels along the coastline to Pirates Bay, where the tour bus meets you and transfers passengers back to Port Arthur (about 20 klm).
As the tour finished at around 2pm the pair were famished and decided to try Lemo's Seafood Restaurant near Port Arthur.  A big barn of a place with not a lot of seafood but some pretty good standard fare, MB opted for chicken & vegetable soup which was actually very good.  MDR had stirfried beef and blackbean which looked excellent, very generous servings too.
Hit the road after lunch and made a snap decision to spend a night at Richmond.  It has a small but nice van park with very clean facilities and very cheap laundrette as well.  The park is walking distance to town too which is nice.  On the way back to Richmond stopped at Dunalley to buy some fresh fish at their wharf.  Picked up some nice fresh flathead which MDR decided he was going to cook by dredging in some flour and pan frying.
Just before Richmond is the small town of Sorrell which has a magnificent "pick you own" fruit orchard, stopped in there to get some stone fruit and berries.  Alas all of the stonefruit was finished but plenty of strawberries on offer and also sweetcorn.  MB & MDR had a great time pigging out on strawberries, eating at least half a dozen to each one picked to buy....
After checking in and plugging in at the Richmond van park the pair realised they'd forgotten to pick up some flour.  MB tried the van park shop but no luck.  MDR tried the neighbours, the only ones at home sort of laughed and said why ever would they have flour!  Not to worry it was a good opportunity for a walk so the pair strolled into the big smoke of Richmond to pick some up.  Luckily one shop was open, everything else closed very early.
Had a great dinner of super fresh flathead, hand picked sweetcorn, mash & peas with sweet, tender, juicy strawberries and cream for dessert - just heavenly.


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