24 Apr – 1 May 2021
There is a new 44km cross-country (CX) mountain bike trail from Blue Tier Forest down to the Bay of Fires: ‘Mountains to the Sea”. Another reason to return. One day.
Leaving Derby, our route passed the start of the CX MTB trail in the forest, and later we passed the end point. Looked like an epic ride. We’ll need fitness, skill and more experience on the bike. Perhaps we can ride it on my 50th birthday?
To break up the drive from Derby to Coles Bay, we pulled into St Helens for a break. On the spur of the moment we decided to follow the signs to the Bay off Fires, a place famous for the turquoise sea and orange boulders.
Following the map to The Gardens, as far along the coast as the road would take us. We rolled through sea side farms and ended at a nondescript car park, tucked behind the dunes.
There’s a short walk around the headland. It’s always a bit disconcerting walking away from the car with the bikes mounted on the back. We love those bikes, and they weren’t cheap!
Climbing the headland to a blustery lookout, with a view north along quartz-white sand and turquoise water. Beautiful. Just imagine how vivid the colours would be under a blue sky.
“Pull into the next parking area, Dave. Let’s take a closer look at this beach.” I said pointing out of my window.
It’s difficult to describe the colours of this beach, under the pastel light of an overcast sky. The old cliché of ‘the photographs don’t do it justice’ is true. I loved everything about it.
“You’re jacket is the same colour as the sea” Dave said lifting his phone to take a photograph of me. I’m not good at posing for a portrait so he took a bunch of shots while I faffed around.
The drive from south from St Hellen’s, along the East Coast is through attractive countryside. Where pastures meet the sea, through wine country and eucalypt forest.
We passed a couple walking through a pasture with a surfboard under-arm. Something you don’t see everyday.
‘Hazards View Beach House’, our home for a week, is a more conventional styled house raised on poles for the view over the coastal heath.
It was further away from Coles Bay than I expected, but after getting to know the area, we preferred it to the main village at Coles Bay.
Its best feature is the huge balcony facing the hazards (mountains on the Freycinet peninsula) complete with an outside bath, which we absolutely made use of. (Previous post – Impossibly good mood)
On the first morning we decided to walk down to the local beach. With the tide out, the wet sand reflected the sky and made interesting patterns.
I was fascinated by squiggly lines in the sand, clearly made buy a sea creature of some kind. I wondered if it was moving so crouched down and made a short time-laps movie.
At the end of the beach we found a walking track through a pine forest and followed it along to the next neighbourhood. We picked up some huge gum nuts, thinking to add them to our adventure ‘artefacts’- a collection of leaves, pebbles and now nuts, from out trip. I popped the nuts in the pocket of my running pants.
When we got home I realised that there was a bug in one of the nuts. I tapped it on the deck and it fell out with a couple more bugs. I tapped again, and agin more bugs came out. I stopped counting at 12 and lobbed the nut over the balcony, almost hitting the car parked below. I’d been walking around with a bug commune in my lycra pants!
After a day spent painting, we drove into Coles Bay to pick up fish and chips and watch the sun set light up the Hazards. Huge billboards have been advertising fish and chips to us all week. Finally we were ready to partake! We pulled up outside the fish’n’chip shop our excitement mounting. Closed.
“What?!” It was just before 5pm.
“We close the kitchen at 4pm…you can have ice-cream” The owner explained patiently. My incredulation was written all over my face.
We walked over to the general store, on the opposite side of the road, to pick a few bits to make nachos instead.
On the way back, we pulled into a lookout just in time to watch the sun set through a smoky sky – it’s control-burning season.
The orange rocks glowed in the twilight, I’d like to paint this scene.
One day was spent in research and planning the next few legs of the trip. Finding the balance between being organised enough to find great accommodation without booking too far ahead, that’s the goal. It looks a bit like work, but it really isn’t!
Next stop – Tasman Peninsula!