We did a little back tracking from Stanley along the Bass Highway to Sulphur Creek and thence along to the town of Penguin. A visit to the local information centre yielded lots of brochures and maps to assist us in the visit to the area. Apparently Penguin was named after the birds by a fellow called Robert Campbell Gunn as the penguins are quite prevalent in the area. The town was originally a timber and mining town that has been overshadowed by both Burnie and Devonport.
The bakery in Penguin serves good coffee and delicious apple cake (apple slice to me) and after a walk through the town we needed such sustenance. From Penguin we drove along the coast to Ulverstone. The roads in this part of Tasmania seem to hug the coastline but are in many parts kept from the water by the rail lines that travel even closer to the waves.
Ulverstone is one of the larger towns in the area and has a population upwards of 10,000 and owes its history to saw milling and the railway that passes through the town. Ulverstone has a large, unique memorial clock that we sighted as we traversed past the site in search of cherries – sorry no picture of the clock and sadly too late in the season for any cherries either.
From Ulverstone we headed inland towards Gunns Plains traversing narrow rural roads through fertile farm land that gives way to remnants of rain forest only to open to beautiful grazing country where the Leven River runs through the Gunns Plains valley.
The cattle grazing in this part of the country looked to be in really prime condition and I would like to have a few in my herd (if I had a herd). It had been our intention to stop at Gunns Plains Goodies for lunch but when we arrived the business was closed so we decided to head over the range back to Penguin and thence to Burnie.
About half way up the range we arrived at the George Woodhouse Lookout. The view from the lookout was quite spectacular and highlighted the lush country and dense timber plantations covering the hills across the valley. There is a cave at Gunns Plains but we chose not to visit on this occasion.
All along the route back to Penguin one travels through rich red soil country where crops of potatoes, lucerne and poppies are very prevalent. Apparently poppies are a widely grown crop in this part of the state (and we have seen lots of them) and are used for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals such as morphine – we understand that much of Australia’s supply of morphine results from the growth of poppies in Tasmania.
Back in Burnie we headed to the Information Centre and Makers’ Workshop http://www.discoverburnie.net/what-to-see/makers-workshop.html. This is a very interesting place to visit as, in addition to being the local information centre, it has a number of artisans in residence from whom one can purchase the items they make. There is also a delightful cafe at the centre where we had lunch.
On the road again we pulled in to Wynyard where the Information Centre also houses a collection of Vintage Cars. While we had to pay a small entry fee it was worthwhile to see all the vehicles. We were allowed to take photographs so naturally I did.
Back to camp in Stanley after a pleasant day – more later!