1 – 8 May 2021
“Oh look! Devils Corner! Pull in Dave!” Yes, it was 11am in the morning but the sign said there was a café at the cellar door. Perfect!
The strange entrance pavilion has a tower viewing platform which we climbed for the views out over the vineyard. The varieties blushing in different autumnal colours.
“That’s a lot of grapes!”
A manicured gravel path lead through long grasses to the cellar door. The café was a stand alone, timber clad pavilion. A closed pavilion. “Doh.” I was rather looking forward to a coffee ahead of our 2 hour drive.
Dave didn’t seem to mind, making a bee-line for the cellar door. The lady mentioned that they are closing tomorrow for a new cellar door development. Bigger and better apparently. That will be interesting. We didn’t taste anything and but bought a pack of three speciality wines. Two Pino Noir: Mt Amos and Resolution, and a Rose’. They didn’t last long. Wine tastes better when bought from the cellar door.
Next stop was Milton Vineyard and picked up their main Pino Noir. Their cellar door and restaurant (also closed) sits on the banks of a damn overlooking the vines, a vision in yellow and orange.
The road south joined the coast and followed blonde fields meeting a steely sea. The Hazards sinking into the horizon.
We recognised the sign ‘Spiky Bridge’ from a local jar of peanut butter.
“Spiky Bridge is a real thing?” I don’t know why I was surprised.
“Yeah, I looked it up…” Said Dave turning into the car park “…it’s miles from where the peanut butter is made.”
The bridge is part of the old convict-built coach road, connecting Swansea with Hobart. The reason why spikes were incorporated into the 1845 design, remains elusive. A convict design feature?
Kelvedon Beach looked interesting so we stopped to stretch our legs for a few minutes and to fill the lungs with sea air.
“Oh wow! Look at this view!” David stepped out onto the balcony. “It’s perfect.”
“Come and see the bathroom!” I want a bath with a view like this! Everything was good quality and comfortable.
“Well, this will do nicely!” I chuckled. I wish I’d booked it for longer. Ellis Cottage by the Sea, was to be our new digs for the week. Once we were unpacked I felt compelled to tell the Host how much we loved the place.
“Ask him if he’d consider selling it” He was only half joking.
The next day we decided to explore the area on foot, by running the trail along the edge of Stewart’s Bay, past the Port Arthur Historic Site, and around to Carnarvon Bay.
We walked down to the waters edge to warm up and then picked up the pace to an easy jog through a dry eucalypt forest.
We slowed down as we passed a couple of convict built cottages, and a big sculpture of a ship they used to build here in those times. Further along we passed the gold brick convict barracks.
Yes, Port Arthur has a particularly brutal history, right up to 25 years ago. But it’s a shame to let that infamous tragedy be the thing this place is known for.
The trail continued back into the forest by the sea and soon came out onto a quiet, calm beach of Carnarvon Bay. We stopped at a ramshackled jetty adorned with a flock of sea gulls and a few herons.
Our halfway point, we turned back heading home for a spot of painting on the balcony. As we ran through the historic site, a sign re-directed us away from the trail at the water’s edge, around an area for maintenance work. We followed the higher path that leads past a row of historic houses.
A plump security guard sitting in a chair outside one of the buildings, leaning forward, she called out to us.
“You’re not supposed to come up here if you don’t have a ticket.”
I pointed to the roped off area and said “how do we get passed…” she cut me off
“Oh well I suppose it’s okay now, but you are not normally supposed to come this way.”
We jogged on through tourists strolling around the grounds. When we were out of ear shot Dave said “What was the point of that?”
“I know, right? What was the point. A need to feel important? She wasn’t thinking.”
Back at the cottage we spent the afternoon sketching the view. It was difficult matching colours as they changed so quickly, rolling through blues, greens onto peach, gold and pink.
Watching the light change from this view was a constant source of inspiration.
One evening, I woke up and noticed the moonlight sparkling on the bay, and stars in the sky. It didn’t look real, glittering so brightly.
Dawn was a particular kind of light show, rolling through vivid warm colour.
There are a number of walks that we didn’t get to, so we will definitely come back to continue exploring the Tasman Peninsula.
We have loved every minute of this place.