APT Royal Tasman Tour
October, 2006

Smithton to Launceston

12th October, 2006
13th October, 2006

Thursday 12th October, 2006

Group photograph

The Group at Mersey Bluff

Drop Cap e left Smithton and headed along the north coast to Devonport, where we had an opportunity for a group photo at the lighthouse on Mersey Bluff.

Tour staff photograph

Tour Director Tony and Driver John

Drop Cap e did not have a professional photographer but Tony and John the driver posed us in front of the coach and took the picture on everybody's cameras. Then we took one of Tony and John against the bus.

Moving right along, we went in to Devonport and had a shopping and coffee break. I bought a couple of t-shirts and other tat at the souvenir shop. The larger boxes were all too expensive, as usual.

Sheffield mural photograph

Sheffield Mural

Drop Cap fter this we continued until we reached the small town of Sheffield, where we had a light lunch in a bakery before exploring the many murals painted on the walls of the shops and other town buildings.

Sheffield mural photograph

Another of Sheffield's Murals

Drop Cap ome were really good. We looked at the entrants for this year's competition, all variations on the theme "Wilderness Child." I think it was a poem. They all interpreted it differently but some, I thought, were outstanding. My favourite did not win,

Sheffield mural photograph

Sheffield Has Many Murals

Drop Cap n again through lovely pastoral and forest country until we reached the Ashgrove Cheese Factory. We had a presentation on cheesemaking (Blessed are the Cheesemakers) and tasted some. It was very good, lots of flavour, we made a mental note to look in our local supermarket for it. We had a great flavoured icecream there, as well. We presented Tony and John with cards and the tips gathered for them today because we are losing six of our number later on today.

Woolmers Homestead photograph

Servants' Quarters, Woolmers Homestead

Drop Cap ext we went to Woolmers Historic Property, a very old colonial house dating from 1817, which was very full of artefacts, furniture, pictures, ornaments etc, because the family never threw anything away. There was some stuff that really belonged on the Antiques Roadshow. The grounds were lovely, incorporating the National Rose Garden, unfortunately not yet out, and lots of old outbuildings like the woolshed and apple packing shed, coachhouse with three vintage cars, etc.

Woolmers Coachhouse photograph

Mac and Vintage Cars at Woolmers Coachhouse

Drop Cap n to Launceston Airport, where we said farewell to the first two to leave, Dorothy Ist (of four) and her sister Norma who were headed back to Melbourne before Norma flies back to Vancouver.

Then back to the Launceston Grand Chancellor. Only one more touring day, although Tony kindly organised a boat cruise on the Tamar for us on Saturday when we have a whole day to kill before our flight.

Had an Italian meal in town (at our own expense), then phoned Geoff. He and Carrot are OK (still alive at all events) and he will video New Tricks on Saturday night.

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Friday 13th October, 2006

Great Lake photograph

View of the Great Lake from the Western Tiers

Drop Cap ur last day of touring. We went out of Launceston and took very scenic secondary (in some cases thirdary) roads up to the high country of the Western Tiers. We stopped for a photo op on the escarpment overlooking The Great Lake then corkscrewed our way down to Miena where we had devonshire morning tea at the isolated Great Lake Hotel. Very nice too!
We continued down to another photo stop at Poatina Headrace Adit (part of the Hydro electric powerstation). The view was unfortunately obscured by smoke drifting in probably from the Hobart bushfires.

Ross Bridge photograph

Colonial Bridge at Ross

Drop Cap oving right along we continued through the lush pastoral midlands until we reached the pretty Georgian village of Ross. We had a leisurely time to explore so we bought sandwiches and drinks and took them to the river for a picnic beside the famous Ross Bridge. This is another convict built bridge, second oldest to Richmond in Australia. The arches are all carved with faces, presumably of local personages of the day.

Ross Church photograph

Wesleyan Chapel at Ross

Drop Cap e saw the B & B we stayed at in 1991when it was called "The Elms" (now the Old Bakery B & B after the bakery beside it), and walked up to the Wesleyan Chapel and around some of the shops before getting back on the bus and heading for the last roundup in Launceston. Our farewell dinner is tonight at 18:30. It has been a good tour.

Drop Cap e had a very nice farewell dinner. It was in one of the private function rooms with a special table d'hote menu and a very cheerful young gay guy (if he wasn't gay he was sending out all the wrong signals) serving us. There was a choice of pate, seafood chowder or pumpkin and sweet potato soup, of which I had the chowder and Mac the soup, then char-grilled steak (me) chicken breast (Mac) or grilled salmon. Desserts, which I for one could not finish, were profiteroles swimming in a chocolate sea, apple and berry crumble, and cheesecake. Chardonnay and red wine plus coffee and chocolate mints. Very nice, and we all signed the menus for each other.

When we got up to bed we had just cleaned our teeth etc when a terrific firework display from Launceston RAS show started up. It was a lovely end to the tour.

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