The merits of a mini-holiday.
You don’t need to get on a jet-plane to get ‘away from it all’. You just need to go somewhere different. We were getting bogged down in painting, work and the frustrations of trying to get planning approval through Council. Time for a break! Not much time, though. Getting away earlyish on a Friday and back on Sunday was the best we could manage.
I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before, so I book the “Oyster Shack” near Hastings, 1.5 hours drive south of Hobart for Friday and Saturday night. One and a half hours from our house doesn’t seem like a long way, but on this little island, it’s almost as far south as you can go and that’s far enough for me. We take it easy on the drive, stopping for a Silver medal banana cake and excellent coffee or Port Huon. Next stop was Dover, for a little wander on the shore.
On through the tiny hamlets of Raminea and Strathblane and to Hastings through the green and soothing forest. There aren’t many roads and we find Tongue Road without too many problems. Driving along the narrow gravel way, we feel like we’re really getting out the back of nowhere! The Oyster Shack is nearly at the end, a simple, comfy timber cottage with a fantastic view of Hastings Bay. There is some beautifully crafted timber work inside, the kitchen cupboards are a work of art.
We wander down the path to the shore, then we get lazy. It’s raining but nobody in Tasmania can complain about rain with the prolonged dry we’re having. The patter of raindrops on the tin roof just adds to the relaxed vibe. We cook some food and make a salad with the delicious fresh tomatoes and peppers Russell has left for us.
Saturday morning we decide to go to the thermal pool early, before the crowds arrive. Early = 10.30 am. This is the crowd:
The water’s a lovely, warm 28C, really pleasant to swim in, until it starts raining in earnest. The Queensland couple hiding in front of the woodfire in the picnic shelter decide it’s too chilly to go in. Wimps.
There’s a half-hour walk, so we do that as well. It’s a very easy stroll. Suitable for wheelchairs and prams, but with plenty to see.
It can get chilly down south – I suspect both the indigenous people and the first European settlers must have been very happy to have the springs to relax in.
The warm water makes for some interesting life-forms.
Back at the Oyster Shack, Russell surprises us with home made spring rolls.
Delicious! We have an interesting discussion about self-sufficiency. He’s an engineer and hasn’t paid a power bill for decades. He even makes his own diesel out of cooking oil. We get some good tips and food for thought for our building project.
The tracking panel at the front was built as a bit of a challenge – given the reduced price of panels and our latitude, he doesn’t think it’s really worth the maintenance and other hassles.
The sun comes out in the afternoon and we decide to go to Mystery Creek Cave, as recommended by Russell, instead of the more touristy Hastings Cave. We’ll leave that for next time.
The walk to the quarry follows the old tramway. The forest is reclaiming the land, covering rusty relics in green. It’s a steep climb down to the cave and it’s been raining, so the steps and rocks are slippery. Not so good for Richard’s bad back. Then we find we’ve left the torches behind – we’re possibly the world’s worst prepared cavers! No matter. We stay in the first cavern. It’s a safer bet with the current rain – we can hear the water running through the cave system. There have been flash floods before. After a while, our eyes adjust. Magic! A grotto of glow-worms is to our right. Starlight under the ground.
Next time, we will bring torches and explore a little further! It’s a great spot. Not a tourist in sight, just us and the darkness.
Must admit I love an interesting fungus. I think I’ll have to get a book of Tasmanian fungi and try to identify more of them. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the variety of forms and colours!
When we get back, it’s cool and we’re glad to light the woodfire. Soon the cottage is cosy and warm. No wifi or TV here, so it’s a blessedly quiet, relaxed evening with books and the banjo. A slow breakfast the next morning and we’re all packed. First we meet the lovely Van, get a tour of the vegetable garden and quails and are loaded up with apples and jam.
The sun’s shining and we decide to do the 40 minute bushwalk which starts at the shack.
It crosses the Tongue peninsula to the Lune River estuary on the other side. The ground is rocky and the vegetation more open and quite different from the other forests we’ve walked through.
Plenty of small things to see and enjoy.
As well as sweeping, spectacular views!
It’s time to say goodbye to the Oyster Shack. For now.
We leave refreshed and ready to get back to work. We’ll be back!