Launceston - What We Did

Cataract Gorge, Swimming in Falls, playing with friends, watching some bike racing. Launceston was a great place to relax for a few days.

Launceston has been a wonderful place to spend some time, even though we have not travelled into the town at all, beside to see Cataract Gorge. We were offered a friend’s car for a few days, so we have had a good rest and seen some sights.

From Launceston we have managed a few adventures to close by towns, and some not so close by. We have rested, met new friends, played with friends, and enjoyed our stay. Tomorrow we move on, but we have seen a lot while in town.

Cataract Gorge

The parking meter had run out of paper, and the path from the car park to the main desk is a long walk down, steep hills, and a long walk back, up steep hills, to put the excuse note on the dashboard. So far, everywhere in Launceston is hills upon hills, drive down into the city, drive up and then back down again to get to Cataract Gorge, and steep.

The sun was bright, the grass was green and the view was picturesque. What looks like a lake, but is a basin, was still as glass, a long suspension bridge spans the water, stretching between two sides of the river. South Esk runs below, where it flows onwards, ending where it joins the Tamar River.

The pool, which was free of charge, and looked inviting in the perfect conditions, had taken the fancy of the boys - who decided that walking in such perfect conditions was not the thing to do for the afternoon. We suggested a walk, the idea was greeted with joy, and after crossing the suspension bridge, any further walking was considered “protestable action”.

“Let’s go up to the lookout.” We suggested. The protests came flying back from the majority: “No! It is too steep and scary.”; “How far is it?”; “Why do we have to go up there?”

We ventured up one lookout before finishing the walk, the shortest walk we could take. Under the sun, gum trees and blue sky, nestled between steep hillsides, with the sun shining, and no wind blowing, and Adeline ready for a sleep, it was perfect for swimming.

Jacqui and Adeline napped. The boys played in the pool. An afternoon spent well, and enjoyed below the warm summer sun.

Penny Farthing Championships

We spent a day at the Evendale Village Fair, where we watched the National Penny Farthing Championships. Old steampunk style cosplay, penny farthings, ragtime music, a large market, and bike racing on penny farthings.

We met Jeff, a rider from New South Wales, who was participating for his third year and eager to do more riding on his penny farthing. We had a good discussion about how he built his bike (from a NSW TAFE course) and looking for another builder to build his next frame. I didn’t know there was such a big following of Penny Farthings in Australia, and a passion for racing on this size.

Meeting New People

A bike was leaning against a wall at the fair, and I wanted to meet the rider, panniers front and back, a bag over the top, and some cool looking mud guards. The bike was painted in fantastic colours, and the helmet, slung over the handlebars, was more decorative than the frame. But the cyclist was nowhere to be seen.

Half-an-hour later a cyclist was standing beside the bike, and that is how we met Patrick, a Seattle touring cyclist, who was heading back to Devonport for the Monday Ferry.

Patrick told us about his adventures in New Zealand, how he had worked in Southern Tasmania, and his plans to ride a lap of the Pacific Ocean. Meeting touring cyclists on the road, is like meet long-lost kin, plenty of discussions about the road, and the fun that is had.

Hills, All By Myself

I rode some of the hills of Launceston, all by myself. Down to the city and then up and around to Cataract Gorge, over to [Duck Reach Power Station]) and back home again.

I had no camera, no phone, and after a few days of driving a car, riding those hills was exactly what I needed. Those hills, the views I saw, they are all for myself, and for my memory.

Time with New Friends

Jacqui met Ruth and her children while they were living in Ocean Grove for a few months, they had come to home-ed sport. When we knew wee were coming to Launceston Jacqui sent a text message to ask for some caravan park recommendations, and they had a better idea, why not stay with them for a few nights?

We pitched our tents, beside their bus (that they live in), on the grass and stone behind a church, on a hill, in Blackstone Heights. A wonderful location, with excellent hosts. They leant us their car, which allowed us to explore more that we would have seen (like St. Columbia Falls), and they had children who loved to hang out with our children. A trampoline, some DVD’s and some excellent food - what more could be asked for?

The children played board games, watched movies (and we have been hearing Open Season quotes since then), set off the church alarm, played hide and seek, jumped on the trampoline (which included jumping from a ladder onto the trampoline) and whizzed around the car park on a Green Machine bike.

We are so grateful for Ruth and Shane opening up their home to us, mostly strangers, who sent a TXT message. We will think on their kindness and friendship for many moons.

Moving On

Still our time here has come to an end, we do need to keep moving, and tomorrow we shall do that.