Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Say Cheese!

When it comes to taste, I'm definitely over towards savoury rather than sweet. (Excluding chocolate - that has its own category!) Pyengana is a small town up in the north east of Tasmania, and it has a history of producing good cheese. One of my favourites! Nothing like a really sharp cheddar!

I can remember buying one of the small cloth wrapped rounds, cutting a core part way through, filling the resulting hole with port and resealing the end. Every day for several months the round was turned end for end. The resulting cheese was very nice indeed.

The Healey family who operate the enterprise built the house two down from The Gardens House.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting there - Weldborough Pass

I always think one of the best parts of a trip is getting there! When it comes to getting to The Gardens, you have three choices - along the Avoca/Fingal road, up the coast road from the south or across the north east via Scottsdale and Weldborough Pass.

Weldborough Pass has one of the most amazing old myrtle forests, and you must stop and have a wander. The walk is short, fairly level and most people should be able to handle it without any problems. The reward is a cool, shaded meander amongst some seriously beautiful myrtle, ferns and fungi. If the image above is not enough, have a look at this Flickr site where it came from, for some excellent images.

The area was originally slated for rural development but the discovery of alluvial tin de-railed that. There was extensive tin mining nearby which attracted the largest Chinese community on any tin field in Australia. Their Joss House was donated to the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston, on the condition it remain available for use.

If you do find yourself overwhelmed by the walk, the Weldborough Hotel is also nearby.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Go Scuba at the Bay of Fires

So far on this blog, I have mentioned things to do around the Bay of Fires, on the Bay of Fires, but I haven't mentioned diving in the Bay of Fires, and strapping on some tanks is very worthwhile.

If you want the real detail, though, you'd have to ask my sister, she's the serious diver - wreck diving and the like all over the place. But that's another story. The Bay of Fires is a beautiful underwater as it is on top. But don't take my word for it, slip over to Bay of Fires Dive and have a look for yourself. They're based in Binalong Bay on the road out to The Gardens house.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tasmanian Tigers at The Gardens

I'm sorry to say that you will not see a Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) while staying at The Gardens. My father actually saw the last one (above) in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart in the 1930s - he was a small boy then.

OK, you are probably wondering why I am so certain that the Thylacine is extinct. It's hard to prove something's not there, so I'd be pleased to be wrong, but here's my logic.

First up, the Thylacine was a plains animal. It liked a bit of bush to lay up in, but it did most of its hunting over grassland. From this I draw two conclusions:
  • the deep bush sightings are unlikely to be Thylacines
  • given Tasmanian patterns of land use we should see a lot more of them, if they were there
The most persuasive arguement comes from the 1930s depression. During that time many Tasmanians went trapping for fur and subsistence, and there were more people more widely scattered through the state than at any time since, many more than during the Thylacine searches since. Also, during most of that time there was still a bounty on Thylacines. If there were still Thylacines about, someone would have trapped them and claimed the bounty.

So, sorry, I really don't believe there are any ...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shameless plug ... a guilty pleasure

Some time last century (is it only me, or do other people feel funny saying that?) I was at uni and met Lew Bretz. Lew and I had quite a few opinions in common ranging from the usefulness of technology, our politicians and the quality of Tasmanian beer.

Surprisingly, neither pancakes nor elephants came up ...

Quite ironic, given that Lew and his partner Pam, now run the Mt Elephant Pancake Barn. Now this establishment is not actually at The Gardens, or even really on the way to The Gardens, but, as the name suggests, it's at Mt Elephant, just south of St Marys.

If you are coming to The Gardens through the Fingal Valley, it's only a short detour and your tastebuds will love you! The range of pancakes is extensive, through both savoury and sweet and has many unique combinations. Alternatively, it makes a good lunch stop on a day trip doing the loop south through Falmouth, up the Elephant Pass to St Marys, then back down the St Marys Pass and north to The Gardens.

If you drop in, say "hi" to Lew and Pam from me.