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A Sprite Lap of Tassie and the Additional Sprint: Kaz Postill (LM no. 5)

This was a more relaxed adventure than the one undertaken in earlier years, as I had a navigator (and driver) this time. This meant that I did not have to follow others and the destination folder to the letter each day. Needless to say, with a tour plan in an area the size of Tasmania, we met up with fellow lappers along the way, chatting at stops and points of interest such as Hellyer Gorge (I am full of admiration for those Spritesters who used to compete in Rally Tas!); Waratah; Zeehan; “The Wall”; Rod following Tony Y. down the other side of the Elephant Pass to St Mary’s; arriving at the Pyengana Cheese Factory in glorious sunshine and seeing Mr Healey’s Healey again; and, of course, going with the group on the Franklin River Cruise and on the train from Queenstown to Strahan. With such a diverse group from around Australia, we sat most evenings with different people which gave an added dimension to the journey.

This was a more relaxed adventure than the one undertaken in earlier years, as I had a navigator (and driver) this time. This meant that I did not have to follow others and the destination folder to the letter each day. Needless to say, with a tour plan in an area the size of Tasmania, we met up with fellow lappers along the way, chatting at stops and points of interest such as Hellyer Gorge (I am full of admiration for those Spritesters who used to compete in Rally Tas!); Waratah; Zeehan; “The Wall”; Rod following Tony Y. down the other side of the Elephant Pass to St Mary’s; arriving at the Pyengana Cheese Factory in glorious sunshine and seeing Mr Healey’s Healey again; and, of course, going with the group on the Franklin River Cruise and on the train from Queenstown to Strahan. With such a diverse group from around Australia, we sat most evenings with different people which gave an added dimension to the journey.

Day one was, of course, wet! wet! wet! We hastily put the hood on just before we left the ferry, but didn’t have time for the side curtains. By the time we arrived at the House of Anvers for breakfast, we were drenched. After breakfast we drove to La Trobe, explored the only “antique” shop open, bought a brolly in Collingwood colours (yes, I know what you are thinking but it’s not my team) and two x $1.50 white plastic ponchos. We had lunch in Penguin, by which time it had almost stopped raining. By the time we got to Wynyard, we threw caution to the wind, took off the hood and decided to do the rest of the trip without it. Turned out to be the best decision! In the evening sunshine we set off for Rocky Cape and came back in the drizzle to the group BBQ.

And so started the additional Sprint. We set off at 4 p.m., with Rod driving, to do the 66 km to the Lake. We stopped halfway to put on coats and rug up. Along the way we had tantalising glimpses of the water (photo opportunities) and the white sand at Ted’s Beach. We arrived at Lake Pedder just after 5 p.m. with the afternoon sun gleaming on the water and the distant shore in the haze. It was a breathtaking view and it is easy to see why there was so much opposition to the flooding of the area in the seventies. I took over the driving and we went down the additional 5 km to the Gordon Dam which is the most spectacular feat of engineering. We reluctantly left for the return journey just after 6 p.m. and arrived back in Maydena at 7.15 p.m. with the petrol gauge bouncing on empty (we did have a can of premium fuel but no funnel). We rang the Hotel, ordered our dinner and steadily drove the 10 km to National Park.

The Hotel and staff were delightful and our evening meal was on the table within ten minutes of our arrival. We were lucky as there had been 30 people there the night before and that night it was us and two guys on motor bikes. Guess who spent most of breakfast time chatting? It was lucky for the Hotel too that there were only four of us as the hot water service had broken down in the guests’ bathrooms, so we used the owner’s instead.

The next day we set off for Hobart and Dover, stopping at Geeveston for warmer clothes at the Op Shop and our favourite café in Franklin, which is run by a guy from Bendigo. Their meals are delicious and are highly recommended. We stayed with Rod’s friends in Dover, hurrying out the next morning to get supplies from the local baker and mini supermarket to set up the morning tea for everyone driving down for the trip to Southport. It was nearly lunchtime when everyone arrived, so the cakes, pastries and biccies disappeared quickly. We joined the group to make the trip to the (almost) southernmost part of Australia but did a detour on the way back, driving along a dirt road to a little secluded bay. Then the road became too rough, so I backed up, turned around and we headed back to Dover.

That night was “Men’s Shed Night” and, as our host’s wife was away at a party in Hobart, I was the token female. I was allowed to enter the hallowed ground, cook my dinner and exchange pleasantries with the assembled blokes. I then retreated to the upstairs lounge and “New Tricks”, while the carousing got louder and louder as the competition on the pool table hotted up. I went to bed and left them to it. Best part of all this was that I didn’t have to do any of the clearing up next day!

We left for Bicheno in the pouring rain (still with the hood down), following part of the route the others had taken the previous day via Cygnet and arriving at Bicheno in lovely sunshine. The next day we drove to Coles Bay, dodging cyclists on an endurance race, did some walking, had a lovely lunch and Rod went to the motorcycle museum. Next day we went on the tour plan to Launceston, stopping off at Ledgerwood for the carvings. The following day Rod went to the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania while I walked down to the Tamar from the hotel and through the Gorge to the other end, where Rod picked me up. Once again, the hotel at Longford did us proud and provided an excellent lunch. On the way to Devonport the sun was shining but the air was positively Antarctic. Lots of Tasmania seemed to be for sale and the remainder was in the grip of roadworks. Something hit me on the head along this stretch but it bounced off and there was no permanent damage (some may disagree)!

We made a slight detour on this leg, driving across to Devonport through Westwood, Selbourne, Birralee and Frankford. We finished by crossing the roundabout we had first turned on towards La Trobe at the beginning of the trip, so we can definitely say we did a lap of Tassie!

Low points of the trip:
Rain! Rain! Rain!

High points of the trip:
Strahan and the Franklin River Cruise; the The Wall carvings; the beauty of Lake Pedder AND
the performance of my Sprite – 1550 km door to door with NO problems!

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