Day Trip to St Helens

Hi All

Hope this email finds you all well.  I managed to “twang” my back again yesterday and so have been confined to bed this morning in the hope of restoring it more speedily.  Well, it may be that the family were all sick of listening to me groan and just wanted to get me out of the way, that is another possibility.  Anyway Josiah has been doing schoolwork with me, delighted to have me unable to escape from him it seems.  He made a treasure hunt with clues for Lydia which he is currently busy forcing her to do so I have a break for a few minutes.

On Wednesday we decided that we had been good and housebound long enough and it was time to do some more exploring, so we decided on a day trip to St Helens, which is on the east coast.  Now, the problem with me… okay, ONE OF the problems with me is that I tend to extremes, so in this instance I would often tend to race around packing lunch etc and badgering people to get going, and then rush the trip and forget to enjoy it.  However this time Kim reminded me to consider it a holiday day, and not to be rushed so I did.  So this time, because of the extremist nature I mentioned, I went to the other extreme and meandered around getting organised and we finally drifted out pleasantly on our trip, stopping at odd shops I noticed along the way as we went through Launceston.  We drove north to Lilydale Falls reserve where we stopped for lunch.  Kim and I have fond memories of Lilydale falls because we camped there a couple of times when we visited Tassie 13 odd years ago.  Its a lovely little spot with pretty deciduous trees, picnic tables, sheltered bbqs and a playground.  After our picnic lunch the kids played some soccer and then we went for a wander down to the two waterfalls.  Kim, of course, had to stop and take photos with his new camera so it took us a little while before we packed up and moved on to Scottsdale.  There was some really lovely scenery as we drove, Tassie has had some good rain recently and the place is really looking green again and with all its undulating land, it is good to look at.

Scottsdale was a reasonably sized town because it had a library and a Woolworths.  I classify the towns now by what they have, you know if they have an IGA then they rate a 2, if they have a library then they rate a 3, if they have a Woolies then a 4 and if they have a Woolies and a Coles then they rate a 5.  So Scottsdale was a number 4 town which meant that we had to visit the library while we were there.  I think the kids want to visit every library in Tasmania if possible, certainly they go into every one we see.  The library system here is rather cool, you can take books out of any library you like, and return them to any library as well, and we are definitely helping to shift the population of books around the state.

After the library it was about 3pm, and intelligent people would have decided to head home, but not us, forgetting everything we knew about Tasmanian roads we decided to forge ahead to St Helens.  After all, it was only 100km away so we would be there in no time.  Off we headed, up and down and round about.  We went through a sweet little town called Derby (a number 2 town I think) that Sam and I really liked, it was just a one street wonder with houses climbing up the hills about 2 deep on either side of the road.  Then on through Weldborough pass, so many bends that I was getting dizzy.  Half way through the pass we came upon a rainforest walk, so we all levered ourselves out of the cars, rugged up and went for a wander.  I do love rainforest, they are just so beautiful with moss and ferns everywhere.  Once again Kim had a great time taking some photos before we piled back into the cars and headed on again.

This time Sam got to drive one of the cars, he is on his L plates and drives well, but somewhat slowly.  We were still in the pass and so continued to wind our way up and down and round and round and round and round (if you get the idea).  After a little while we got to a lookout and all raced to the top for a look.  However the wind was blowing up there and it was probably the quickest stop we made as we no sooner took a quick peek than we all ran back to the cars with their shelter and heaters and off we went again.  Finally coming to the end of the pass I rounded a corner to be confronted by a big black cow standing on the road.  We cautiously drove around her and then stopped at the next house to let them know there was a cow out.  The farmer grunted his thanks and disappeared, reappearing shortly afterwards on a quadrunner, he went tearing down the road after her.  Sam was thrilled to be able to add stopping for a cow to his list of driving achievements when he rounded the curve shortly after.

Eventually we arrived in St Helens at about 5:10pm, just as it was getting too dark to see!  I hadn’t realised it was getting dark so early over here.  We bought some fish and chips for tea and ate it on the wharf, but we felt rather cheated because we were sure the scene across the water would have been fantastic, if only we could see it.  🙂  St Helens is a number 3 town but to the kids disappointment the library was closed.  After tea we headed home, deciding to take the southern route and hoping to cut down the 2.5 hour drive by trying out a shortcut to Blessington.  So off we went, though St Mary’s pass, more ups and downs and tight bends only this time accompanied by great road signs advising us of how narrow the roads were, of how rocks might fall on us and recommending that large vehicles should contact each other on UHF to ensure that if one truck should meet another coming the other way, that they ensured they did not meet on a bend!

We managed to find our turn off at Fingal and headed onto the shortcut and we were doing quite well until the road became gravel.  After that our speed went down considerably, in fact a few times we were doing less than 20kph and slipping through mud.  The beetle didn’t mind the mud much, being a rear wheel drive and being driven by Kim, but the front engine, front wheel drive Audi was beginning to slip a bit so I kept it slow.  Charging along later at 35kph we almost missed the turn off, and would have ended up back at Scottsdale if Sam’s sharp eyes hadn’t picked it out.  The road seemed to go on forever but we finally made it safely home at 9.30pm.  I think we might actually have been home earlier if we had taken the long road, but it was a cool adventure – and we know not to take that shortcut again!

 Kim has been out working on cars this morning, yesterday the Audi developed a wierd puffing/squeaking noise in the back wheel, it sounded like we were in a steam train rather than a luxury car.  The problem turned out to be a small rock caught near the brake disc, and resetting the fuses fixed another problem we had where the central locking had stopped working.  Now I think he is changing a brake light switch on the beetle, he is most annoyed about that because it is the third time he has changed it in 12 months.  He hopes he has managed to buy a better quality part this time.  When he has finished that there is always the door on the wagon to get back to.  🙂   It never ends.

I think I have no more news so I better finish up.  I’ve attached some photos for you to see.



Lilydale Falls picnic area

Lydia birdwatching

Lilydale Falls

At Lilydale Falls

Big tree

Ferny stuff

Path at Lilydale Falls

North East farmland

Rainforest walk

Fungus on log



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