The morning dawned and it was time to say goodbye to Cradle Mountain and all it has to offer. Driving down the road we both felt this was not the last time that we will set foot in this stunning landscape.
True to our nature we were off to find new gems that Tasmania had to offer. So out with the map to find some back roads for “Le Frog Box” to navigate. One of our key tasks today was to visit a winery and farm stalls, along what the Tasmanian’s call the “Forage Trail” and lucky for us we were right in the heart of it.
Breathe deep. That’s (officially) some of the cleanest air in the world they say we are inhaling. Yes the science has proven that the air on the North and Western seaboards of Tasmania are the cleanest air in the world to breath. That also means the produce grown here is farmed in the best air available. As there is nothing and we mean nothing between Tasmania and South America 20,000 klm away, the air has no pollution or contaminates.
Bordered by the wild coastline of Bass Strait, our journey across northern Tasmania is a chance for us to slow down, forage for food from paddock to plate at some of the most fertile farms and pasture that we were about to travel through. We were looking forward to stopping at farm-gate stalls, distilleries and cellar doors for tastings, and to meet the makers. And to linger in rural villages and quirky coastal towns along the way.
On our map the Leven Valley popped up as the most likely spot to find all we were looking for. It also showed there were a couple of walks we could do to walk of some of our indulgence. So first it was to Delaney Falls …. Or is it Preston Falls? …. Or is it Delaney Falls at Preston? Well whatever the falls are called don’t miss them. We hope we clear up the name confusion following.
Upper Preston Falls is the unofficial name of a waterfall situated on Preston Creek and is the first waterfall in a series of 3 waterfalls along an approximately 1 kilometre stretch of Preston Creek. The waterfall itself drops about 4 to 5 metres and is best viewed from side on due to a large rock sitting directly in front of where the water drops. Directly behind the waterfall is a semi sheltered cave that provides a close up view of the falls from behind.
Access to Upper Preston Falls is relatively easy when approached from upstream. On the northern side of the falls you walk down a slope where old makeshift pine steps still exist, but it is officially closed to the public due to the disrepair of the track.
Delaneys Falls (also known as Preston Falls and the sign on the road says so), see the confusion 🙄. Is just around the corner from Preston Falls ….. you got this right 🙄. It (meaning Delaney Falls) has a drop of approximately 25 metres into a gorge below.
Access to the waterfall is very easy, with a short walk from the carpark area down a very well maintained path, to the lookout area of the falls. Due to the terrain, visibility of the waterfalls can only be seen from the side, from the top of the gorge. The viewing platform is situated on top of a cliff face, and provides excellent views of the gorge area below, as well as the waterfall.
The walk to the waterfall takes you over Preston Creek, and if you meander off the track and along the banks of the creek, very small cascaded areas are also available to be photograhed. The land surrounding the waterfalls was owned by a gentleman by the name of William Delaney. We hope we finally cleared that confusion up. But whatever you do don’t miss Delaney Falls, the one that is sign posted as Preston Falls.
Now that we have done some exercise for the day it is on to find some paddock to plate and fine wines. Gunns Plains is our best shot for these delights. Gunns Plains is a rich fertile area dotted with dairy farms, potato growing, poppy growing and beef cattle. In days gone by vegetables were grown here and it was also one of the three major hop producing regions in Tasmania. The Leven River winds slowly through its pastures that support a variety of grazing stock. Agricultural endeavours are also very successful, benefiting from rich red volcanic soil. The town was named after botanist Ronald Campbell Gunn, who visited the valley in 1860.
The drive over the mountain and through the plains can only be described as a chocolate box painting. The lush green pastures backed by roughed mountains is only a scene from fairytales. We seemed to be stopping everywhere to take just another photo. There are of course other things of interest in this area, Leven Gorge, the Gunns Caves and a Wildlife Park, but unfortunately on this occasion they were to be passed over for a winery so we thought ….. oh no 🙈 Leven Valley Winery is closed. What! Who did this research….. well folks only plan to come this way on a weekend 😞 what day is it …. Monday!
Further down the way we came to what only a devoted cook would relish, farm fresh, organic, free range, chook eggs with poo. Karen was in heaven. So paddock to table was achieved but turning water into wine was not.
After not provisioning since Devonport it was time to call into a town to pick up supplies, as we had planned lunch at a certain winery the belly was grumbling and she who must be feed was now needing FOOD. The town of Penguin was the next on the map. Sitting on the edge of mighty Bass Strait, Penguin takes its name from a nearby penguin rookery and it’s obvious this town dearly loves its little feathered friends.
There’s a 10-foot penguin that makes a quirky photo opportunity, while the real thing can be seen each night at Penguin Point. That’s not the only monument that says this town is proud of its name. Rubbish bins, bollards, signs, seats you name it and it’s a penguin well in the shape of one anyway.
Apart from many penguins, Penguin is a great place for supplies as they have two IGA’s right next door to each other 🙄. We grabbed some provisions and wandered off down the road to a spot called Preservation Bay, here we thought by the train line looked like a great place to camp for the night. There were many others already camping here but it was not crowded. It is listed in the top 8 free camping spots in Aircamp and WikiCamps also gives it a good wrap. We parked up with a view of the ocean next to the disused rail line, and decided to have a late lunch and a glass of bubbles.
Yeeew what is that smell… oh no get the fly spray they are swarming our lunch. We were soon packed up wondering where to go, we certainly can’t stay here. Out with the binoculars Rob spied another headland that looked like it was worthy of a look see. On WikiCamps it is listed as Sulphur Creek.
Le Frog Box was turned around and wouldn’t you know it a cyclist turns right in front of us on the Highway. Thankfully no injury to Froggy and off went went with the cyclist saying so many apologies in our wake.
Oh wow look at this FREE campsite. Sulphur Creek campsite is again right on the water and beach, well grassed, surrounded by Penguin rookeries and a view to write home about.
To get into the campsite is just a turn off the Highway and head over the rail line. There are no facilities other than a rubbish bin so, once again, you must be self contained here with your own toilet etc. There were 2 campers and one caravan already in. We pulled up and took the pole position right on the waters edge. If we were any closer we would need Our Dreamtime’s anchor. Checking the tide table as good sailors do, we noted that tonight’s tide would be 10cm less than the last high, all good, no anchor watch required.
So here we were for the night just settled in, when our bicycle rider turns up. Works out that they were our camping neighbours, well the ice was broken and a couple of glasses of wine later nobody remembered anything about a near miss.
That night we dinned on Tasmanian reared Beef then listened to the waves breaking on the shoreline and the noisy little cute fluffy things called penguins doing whatever penguins do. Oh did we mention the very long freight train that trundled past at about 4pm. We may have been a little close to the “disused” track at the other campsite.
Following are more photos that we took along this journey, we hope you enjoy them.
Join us next time when we explore further along the North West Coast of Tasmania and visit Dip Falls.
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