We sometimes fail to see beauty in our own backyard. Many Australians who have thought about going to Uluru or the Barrier Reef have not even thought about Freycinet. Yet the Freycinet Peninsula is a spectacular piece of Tasmanian scenery and geography. It can stand proud when matched with world famous sights. The geography is majestic, the walks are breathtaking and the camping spots rank in our top 5 favourites.
The tent pitches are neatly set out and each had its own private access to the beach. Each pitch is separated from the next by natural vegetation. As another camper was walking by, I hear him say to his wife, “this is as close as it gets to Paradise.” High praise indeed! Even better, it is one of the few places we have encountered where the tent sites are superior to the caravan, camper and RV places.
The walks are great. Yesterday we did a circuit of 12kms. This included a walk to a lookout over Wineglass Bay, then down to the Wineglass Bay beach, across the isthmus, along the Hazards beach and finally a scramble over red granite boulders for a few Kms.
We rewarded ourselves with ice cream and a can of soft drink.
We are heading north towards the boat. While traveling past a church I noticed a crop seeder out the front. I thought to myself, what a wonderful symbol for a church, but ironically the church had closed down.
Currently I am sitting in the car while Hetty is exploring King Solomon’s cave. It is amazing what you find in Tassie. The place names also give us a clue that he was down here 3000 years ago. There is the Jordan River, the Nile, Jericho, Bagdad, Jerusalem (now Colebrook) and others. It only goes to prove how far you can get on a camel!
As I wrote earlier, it was impossible this morning to find a place to worship, but this was not the case for all our fellow campers. The campsite was full of followers of other gods: Holden and Ford. Their worship was up the road at Symmons Plains where the V8s meet. Their incense would be the smell of petrol and burnt rubber. The followers, dressed up in their finery of jackets and caps heralding their faith, and with flags flying, left the camp ground with evangelical zeal and sallied north.
We on the other hand went south and discovered two amazing treasures. In Colebrook, formerly Jerusalem, the RC church was designed by Sir Augustus Pugin. It is a simple gothic building of sandstone, oak and pine. Pugin who designed many of Britain’s important buildings in the C19th in the neo gothic style had time to design a number of churches in NSW and Tasmania. It seems that the Bishop in the new colonies was a mate of his.
In another, even smaller town, Buckland, the Anglican Church has a beautiful stained glass window that reputedly comes from Battle Abbey near Hastings in the UK. The provenance is quite strong.
These are just two examples of numerous treasures in small Tasmanian towns. I have mentioned the Ross bridge, but there are also amazing convict built bridges in Campbell Town and Richmond. There are Georgian sandstone houses, small settler dwellings and buildings such as barracks and government offices converted to other uses. Towns such as Oatlands, Ross and Richmond have main streets that hearken back to the colonial era.
For anyone who likes history and scenery it is hard to bypass Tasmania.
The RC church in Colebrook (top)
The stained glass window in the John the Baptist Anglican Church, Buckland