We Loved the Historical Anchor Stampers in Lottah, Tasmania

We Loved the Historical Anchor Stampers in Lottah, Tasmania

We found the Anchor Stampers and it was one of the most interesting things we’ve come across on this trip to Tassie! I have lived here for most of my life and had no idea this place even existed. It really is great returning to my home state as a tourist.

The old Anchor Tin Mine was located on the southern footslopes of the Blue Tier and our visit to these rusted tin crushing machines was part of a half day trip to the Pyengana/Lottah region on Tasmania’s East Coast.

Pyengana Dairy

Our afternoon began with lunch at the Pyengana Dairy, a beer at the Pub in The Paddock (where sadly Priscilla 1 and Priscilla 2, the beer-drinking pigs, were hiding away in their little pig-house), a walk to the 90 – metre – high St Columba Falls and a visit to the incredible old Don Mine. It was an action-packed day, that ended with the short walk into the old Anchor Mine to view the old tin stampers.

Pyengana Dairy

Pub in the Paddock

St Columba Falls

Don Mine

We followed the GPS to Lottah where we found – nothing. Chris looked over at me while we were driving along the narrow, windy road surrounded by dense bush and said ‘great, another wild goose chase!’ But we were in the right spot and if you looked around, there was actually plenty to see. If we had more time, we would have included the Halls Falls Walk in the day’s adventures!

Given what we were seeing (which was nothing), you would never have known Lottah was once a bustling mining town and home to 150 miners and their families. The town had everything the residents needed including two hotels, a post office, general store and police station. Although any church goers weren’t catered for as interestingly, there was no church of any denomination. Lottah was once a main thoroughfare for those traveling between St Helens and Scottsdale but now the only way to get there is via a gravel road. This road runs alongside the beautiful Groom River that looks to have some stunning swimming holes – if you can find your way down to them! Lottah no longer has shops, and there remain just a few houses – which is so very different to a time when St Helens was built just to service Lottah and the Anchor Mine.

The Anchor Stampers signs are dotted along the road and not hard to see. Pull into the large, circular car park where you will find the beginning of the short 30 – minute – return walk.

 The track itself is a formed path that takes you gradually downhill with a couple of sections of reinforced dirt steps and past a few remnants of the mining days. You walk past the old dam and along what we think is the dam wall. It’s a bit overgrown in places with prickly plants like thistles and what appeared to be blackberry bushes, so be careful – I nearly tore a hole in my jumpsuit!

As you approach the first viewing platform, the two 10-head heritage stampers from the 1930’s loom up from the forest wall giving you a sense of being transported to another time; a time when there were no trees here, just a clearing with a working tin mine where hundreds of men laboured away, from 1880 until its final closure in 1996.

 Walking further down a little path, you will see that here are two different Stampers – one is the Thompson, brought across from Castlemaine in Victoria, and the other is the Salisbury, manufactured in Launceston (as you can see stamped on the front of each machine).

The stampers are huge and rusty and you can get right up close and even touch them- just mind the spiders!

The informative signs on both viewing platforms give a great explanation of what it used to be like here, and how tin mining has played such a huge part in Tasmania’s history.

As with most of Tasmania’s walks and hikes, be aware of snakes, leeches and ticks. Thankfully we only ended up with one leech on us this time! Our trip to the Don Mine delivered two leeches to Chris and five to me. Eek!

The Anchor Stampers are well worth a visit. I rate this little-known attraction a 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Long Weekend with the Crew at Habitat Noosa

Long Weekend with the Crew at Habitat Noosa

Think an enormous campground on the banks of an enormous flat lake where enormously good times can be had!

Habitat Noosa is a 65-acre eco-resort in The Great Sandy National Park on the Sunshine Coast with 500 metres of lake front on the Noosa River. The stunning Lake Cootharaba, the largest salt water inland lake on the Noosa River is the gateway to the upper Noosa River and the Noosa Everglades.

This weekend (being a long weekend), the lake was filled with people on stand-ups, kayaks, canoes and when we were here before (years ago!) we saw people sailing, wind-surfing, kite surfing and fishing. Complete with solar-sites, 9-par golf course, bistro/bar, micro-brewery, watercraft for hire and even tours into Australia’s Everglades, it’s no wonder this place was completely booked out for the Ekka long weekend! I had no idea that there are only 2 Everglades in the world … The Florida Everglades and these ones – The Noosa Everglades. There is also direct access from here to some ripper walking trails in the National Park.

Please note that as this is a national park, no pets are allowed and all rules that apply to national parks apply.

 

Watch Video Here

We went with our regular crew of about 12 vans and a few that used the wilderness glamping and luxury glamping tents. Oh – and of course the teenagers that swagged it under the gazebo.

It was a long weekend for most, but not Chris’s kids who live on the Bayside. Most of our friends headed up on the Thursday, but we had to wait for the kids to finish school on the Friday and then enjoy the long weekend traffic all the way up. It took just under 4 hours! Others who went up earlier in the day had the same headache. Oh, how we love the weekend traffic to the Sunny Coast! 

We picked up our late check-in pack from reception and pulled in through the bright red boom gate about 7pm. The campfire was roaring, and beers and conversations were already flowing. What a relaxing way to end to another hectic week.

The next morning we thought we would get up early to snap a few pics of the sunrise over the lake, but the closest we got to that was a shot of the light seeping in through the hatch in the roof of the van as the sky changed from dark to light. It was overcast and threatening to rain.

It soon cleared up to a beautiful morning filled with exploring, water ‘sports’ reading, sunbaking, wheelies and just hanging out.

While I was reading/sunbaking on the beach I overheard the people behind me saying that the guys in reception had said a storm was coming about 3pm. The winds started picking up about 11:00 and mid-afternoon the ‘storm’ hit. It was more like a windy sun shower … but it made for some interesting times none-the-less!

At 12:00 the (big) boys headed over to the Eco-brewery to try 6 of the 8 beers on offer. This is Australia’s only artesian micro-brewery using water that has been filtered through time in the Cooloola sandmass to produce delicious, preservative free beer. This was by booking only due to Covid restrictions. They had one hour to finish the 6 jugs and did so easily!  

While the boys were at the bar, I headed back to the van and baked some scones in the air fryer and the teenagers did ‘teenager stuff’.

The rest of the day was filled with more of the same; friends, brews and good times (and Chris annoying everyone with the video camera!)

When Sunday rolled around, there was no feeling of ‘it’s gone way too fast!’ from us! The kids caught a lift home with our mate’s son who’s now on his P’s (how cool is it when the kids start driving?!) and we simply packed up and headed off to our next destination – Glastonbury Campground in the Brooyar State Forest. Now that’s an adventure for another time …

HABITAT NOOSA

  • Powered/unpowered sites
  • Glamping tents
  • 9-hole par 3 golf course
  • kiosk
  • watercraft for hire
  • Everglades tours
  • new toilets and showers
  • renovated camp-kitchen
  • group and education centres
  • CootharaBAR – bar and bistro
  • Eco-brewery artesion micro-brewery
  • kiosk serving breakfast, snacks and First Batch coffee
  • two levels and styles of glamping accommodation

Book here: https://www.habitatnoosa.com.au/

Camping from $33 per night

Wilderness Glamping from $150 per night

Luxury Glamping from $239 per night

Fressingfield, Qld. A relaxing bush camp.

Fressingfield, Qld. A relaxing bush camp.

We loved our stay at Fressingfield! We knew it was going to be great from the minute the host, Wayne, phoned us to make sure we would be arriving at a time when he would be there to show us to our campsite.  We arrived right on 1:00 and Wayne met us at the front gate on his 4-wheeler. The surrounding countryside had us feeling relaxed before we even set foot on the property.
He led us down the steep dirt drive and pointed to a gate that led into rolling green fields where cows were grazing.
We knew we weren’t going to get our Chev 2500 and 23ft van though, but Wayne simply removed some fencing on the other side of the road and we drove in the opposite paddock, up the hill and turned around before straightening up and crossing the road into the lower field. The van tipped all over the place but our setup is well-equipped for this and got through all the gates and over all the hills and bumps really well.

Wayne took Chris down to check out the Big Dam on the 4 wheeler and they decided that yep – we could make it no worries. (There are 4 other campgrounds on the property). We camped right down the far end of the Big Dam on the grass not far from the pit toilet and rubbish bins. We had beautiful views of the water and were the only ones there aside from one other person camped in a tent all the way down the other end.

The ground wasn’t completely flat but we just used our air suspension in the caravan to level out.
We had a roaring fire that night, started with the firewood that Wayne had left there for us. He also pointed us in the direction of some trees where Chris was able to go and cut some more. And while it was a bit cold for us to swim, Wayne said that kids had been in the lake earlier that day and in summer it’s a popular way to cool off. I was much happier and warmer in my boots by the fire!

I will say that it might be a bit tricky for some to manouver into the property, but for those with a capable set up and a good 4x4 and who know how to use it, you’ll be fine! We had friends who have a motorhome who saw our videos on getting in and said they knew they wouldn’t be able to do it. But we did and it was awesome!😁👍🏼 On the Youcamp page it states 2WD access in fine weather and 4x4 if it’s a bit wet, and of course what you are towing (if anything) will make a difference.

 

At just $17 per adult, per night … this place was fantastic. The host Wayne was just so accommodating

and we can’t rate it highly enough!

It’s always nice to have a loo nearby if you don’t have one in your setup, and this one was clean and not smelly at all!

🗓 Our stay August 2020
💰 $17 adult p/n (for Big Dam)
👙 Dam to swim
🚽 Pit toilet
🌳 Bush camping
🐶 Dog friendly
🚜 4x4 or SUV only
🔥 Fires allowed and wood supplied

 3 Camp Ovens for hire if required

 

book here:https://youcamp.com/view/fressingfield

Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/1h8UDnyuZzjnrTFp9

 

Moreton Island

Moreton Island

Moreton Island is one of our favourite Aussie destinations, and we are so lucky to have it right in our own backyard.

Chris has been holidaying on the island since he was a kid and has been bringing me along for the adventures for the past 10 years. (yup – we have been together 10 years this October!)

 

He’s told me stories of his parents, aunties, uncles and cousins all loading into an old troopy and camping up at the Ben Ewa Camp Ground; of how he used to head over as a teenager and get up to all sorts of mischief (like falling off a tailgate that snapped when they hit a bump driving along the beach) and camping with tents and gazebo.

We first camped on Moreton many years ago in an old tent that I brought with me from Tassie. Since then we’ve camped in our rooftop, camper trailer and even towed our 22’6” Jayco across to the surfside. Yep – it was a little tight through Middle Track!

We’ve spent weeks camped up in the dunes on the surfside in the middle of summer, weeks in the same dunes in the middle of winter, a few nights in the glamping tents and multiple nights in other various campsites dotted along the beach on both sides of the island. We’ve had a wander through ‘The Birdcage’, a house for hire in Bulwer where family were staying and of course we’ve had a sticky at the Tangalooma Resort. And while it’s not our preferred type of accommodation, we have friends who love it.

There are plenty of choices for those who decide to stay on the island and this trip we spent 3 nights in the Castaways Glamping Tents and 3 nights in beach campsites. (See our review on Castaways on our YouTube video. Link here https://youtu.be/rVBlaKkaJFI )

Needless to say, we love Moreton and don’t really mind where we stay as each area has its own ‘uniqueness’! We do prefer absolute beach front though and love the sunsets and calm waters of the Western Beach and the sunrise and surf over on the Eastern side.

 

We’ve spent time snorkelling, fishing, sandboarding, surfing, hiking, exploring, kayaking, swimming, sunbaking and of course drinking and eating! There is so much more to do than hang out on the beach and we highly recommend exploring the old World War II Bunkers that are scattered across the island.

There really is so much to see and do and we would love for you to watch our latest YouTube video as we show you around the island. Link here https://youtu.be/rVBlaKkaJFI

Sadly the weather wasn’t the best for us on this particular trip and we had a day or two that was more suited to curling up with a good book and a cuppa! This meant we weren’t able to climb Mt Tempest, explore the Blue Lagoon or head down to Kooringal and the Gutter Bar. But we suggest that you do!

We often get asked how long we recommend staying. Let’s just say we stayed for 6 nights this trip and still didn’t do everything that we wanted to!

Please make sure to book your trip well in advance as the Micat’s more popular ferries can book out pretty early. If you are planning on camping you will need a camping permit before you head on over. Book and get everything sorted here: https://www.moretonislandadventures.com.au/

Let us know what your favourite Moreton Island experience is and if you haven’t been over, are you planning on it? If not, why not? We are sure you will love this perfect island holiday destination as much as we do!

Check out our YouTube Video here

The Gorge, Clarence River NSW

The Gorge, Clarence River NSW

We were so lucky to stumble across The Gorge on the Clarence River!

After spending some time on the stunning white sandy beaches of the NSW North Coast, we felt it was time to head inland and swap sand and saltwater for grass and the fresh, running waters of the Clarence River, also known as ‘The Big River’.

Chris had spotted a couple of sites that looked good on Wikicamps and asked me to pick one. After seeing the photos and read the existing reviews of The Gorge, I knew this was a place we had to explore. When we couldn’t get through on the phone to make a booking, we decided that we would drive to the property and if they were booked out, we would simply drive back.

Located 75km north-west of Grafton, the drive to this property is almost as exciting as spending time there!

The way in was a long, windy, corrugated dirt road that bumped us all over the place with views so spectacular that we didn’t mind the bumps one bit! The road winds its way along the ridges, giving you glimpses of the Clarence River below on one side and incredible mountain views on the other. (luckily you drive out the same way you drive in, so I had the river views on the way out!)

We saw cows grazing on some of the greenest grass covered rolling hills we have ever seen, coupled with the bluest of blue skies with a smattering of fluffy white clouds. We were literally lost for words. There was something beautiful from every direction as far as the eye could see! I ended up putting the camera down and just soaking it all in as there was no way I could capture everything.

Crossing grids and splashing through causeways is all part of the fun, all the while keeping an eye out for cows and other wildlife like kangaroos.

 

After passing through 2 giant trees with signs displaying ‘You are entering The Gorge. All Welcome’, ‘Private Property’, ‘Day Visitor Permit Required $10’ and a phone number to call to make a booking, we rumbled over a wooden bridge and looked at each other in confusion as we both asked if we heard voices! When I popped my head out the window, I could see a family splashing away in a rockpool below the bridge. That was when we started to get really excited; stunning scenery beside the mighty Clarence River, little rockpools and no phone service. This was beginning to feel like paradise.

We made our way along another 4km of windy dirt road, across some more of those tiny wooden bridges until we came to the homestead. A man was standing out the front in thongs, shorts and a singlet and he came up to welcome us as soon as pulled up.

We met Buck and Belinda (say that 3 times quickly! Lol) who are just lovely! They explained why we couldn’t get through to make a booking. Frustratingly, their phone lines have been down for ages and there is no service at all on the 8000+ acre property, home to over 30 different campsites with 10km of river frontage on the Clarence! And to complicate things further, as they are new owners, they don’t have the passwords for any of the website Facebook or Instagram pages! So, your best bet is to take the long, windy, bumpy and most spectacular drive right up to the house and say, ‘I’m here!’ just like we did 😁

They told us there were showers and toilets up near the Homestead, but nothing else around the property. And as most campsites are a fair way away, it makes life much easier if you are self contained! Bathing in the river is always refreshing 😉

They suggested we camp below the homestead on the river and guided us down in their bright orange Kubota. They walked us in to check out the site (known as Old Boat Place) before we drove the Hilux in.

We asked them how business was over Christmas and that’s when the stories of the bushfires were shared.  When they showed us videos of the hills glowing red, smoke blanketing the river and gorge and the water bomber helicopter dropping in to fill up right beside the boat, we realised just how close and how dangerous it had been for them.

 

Belinda explained that the property had been in drought for as long as the they had been there, with calm and crystal-clear river water, but recently the heavy rains had lifted the waters to levels they hadn’t seen before and some of the campsites were still very muddy. What a start for this lovely couple on their new property! Drought, heavy rain and bushfires, all within a matter of months!

 

The river is now wide, flowing and quite muddy – but still beautiful and most definitely swimmable. As we were setting up, a truck was returning from dropping campers into the river further up so they could float their way down on their inflatables. Not long after they came bobbing down, hats on with drinks in hand. How relaxing!

Buck said they were about to head up the river and see what it was like with so much water flowing after the floods and asked if we would like to join them. Of course we said yes, and within an hour we were set up, had swum in the river with the turtles while tiny fish nibbled at our toes, and were ready when they arrived on the Kubota to take us first to Skinny-dipping Waterhole (I think that’s the name!) and then up the river in the tinny.

But first … the waterhole. Once again, we bounced along the road in the Kubota, over the bridge and down until we came to a secluded little corner with the most inviting stream babbling along and over some rocks into a deep waterhole.

We all got into the clear water and Chris and I paddled over to the little waterfall. I didn’t want to get out! But it was already 4:30 and we had a river and some incredible waterfalls to explore!

We drove back to our campsite where the tinny was moored, jumped in and headed off up stream. The further we went, the more spectacular the scenery became. Fish, birds, cliffs, waterfalls and incredible rock structures once again made for a moment where the camera just had to be put down, and we tried to take it all in.

We pulled in, tied the boat up and decided to do the rocky 2km walk along the river’s edge to see the falls. I wasn’t sure how I’d go in thongs and Chris being barefoot, but we were fine and so very happy we decided to do it.

The first falls, Willowtree Falls, were affectionately known as the ‘baby falls’ … but not this time! Water was barrelling over the top and there was no way you’d get in for a quick dip at the bottom.

Belinda assured us that as beautiful as these falls were, the best was yet to come. We continued on over grassy hills, up rocky walls, under shrubbery and across water covered plains until we reached the magnificent Rainbow Falls. There is no need to ask why the name, as you can clearly see a rainbow directly in front of the falls created by the mist spraying gently onto your face and body as you stand and admire what was once a lovely swimming spot that is now a raging waterfall!

We just sat, mesmerised until we realised it was nearing 6:30 and we still had to walk back to the boat, ride down the river and Chris still had rocks to jump off and ropes to swing off before we could head back to camp.

The river was flowing quite fast, so we decided to see how far we could get with no motor – but it wasn’t long before we were leaning over the side and pushing the tinny off the rocky walls, and Buck was firing the motor up to stop us side slamming into a large rock that was looming right up in our path!

When we could, we just drifted in silence, listening to the birds, fish, turtles and all the stories Buck and Belinda had to share about this incredible place.

The property has long been a working cattle station, and Buck, Belinda and Belinda’s mum are in the process of bringing their own herd of cattle to run here.

Chris was shown all the best jumping spots and gave them a go (except the first one as we’d forgotten to stop!). He also climbed the riverbank and swung off an epic rope swing after Buck showed us all how it was done!

It was past 8:30 and dark by the time the boat pulled back into our campsite. We were tired, hungry and exhilarated! What an amazing way to spend Australia Day!

Buck and Belinda went back to the homestead and we cooked up our lamb steaks and salad.

It wasn’t long before Chris was up in the rooftop tent and I was laying back in my camp chair staring in amazement at how many stars there were and how brightly they were shining!

The next morning, we were up as the sun was peeking over the hills, lighting up the glassy river

By 9:30 am we were saying our goodbyes, wishing we had more time to spend at, and making plans to return to The Gorge here on the mighty Clarence River.

How to get here:

Drive out and pass through Copmanhurst, keeping an eye out for a large sign saying ‘Appletree Flat Road’. You will also see a sign saying, ‘The Gorge Station.’

Not long after you will come across Lilydale Bridge, a very low bridge where you will find plenty of campers (this was also on our list). We actually stopped here and had brunch on the rocky riverbank on our way home.

After crossing the bridge, turn right at the sign for The Gorge and then just keep driving for about 35km. This is where the scenery is spectacular no matter where you look!

You will see the welcome sign for The Gorge Station and continue on a further 4km until you reach the homestead.

MAP HERE:

https://goo.gl/maps/Rj3GY1Tnc1H1PUaD7

Hosanna Farmstay

Hosanna Farmstay

Hosanna Farmstay is where we just spent the most incredible weekend. We have been once before, over 5 years ago with the kids and always said we would return.  I have no idea what took us so long!

We did notice a few pretty big changes this trip with the main one being the lack of water. On our last visit the creek was running through the campground and we splashed our way through a water crossing to get to our campsite … now the creek bed is dry with a few big puddles in it, and the water crossing appears to be long since gone. The water level of the dam had dropped so much I was shocked when I saw the drop from the diving board! You can see in the pics below the difference in height.It didn’t make a scrap of difference to how beautiful Hosanna is or to the fun we had though!

With farm animals, swimming (in the dam), the awesome new waterslide (into the dam!), paddling (around the dam), plenty of space to run around and ride bikes – Hosanna is a great place for everyone to hang out.

I love the animals and on our last visit with the kids we were at every feeding time, cuddling the rabbits and piglets, patting and milking the cows and hanging out with the friendly chooks. Check out how young Cooper and Charli were!

This time the animals came to visit us at our campsite! Chooks were roaming around and the goats … oh gosh … the goats! How funny! I still can’t stop laughing at the white one that wanted Chris’s chilli nachos. It even jumped up on him trying to take one out of his hand! I saw heaps of cane toads on our first night as I was walking to the amenities (in my gumboots!). It had been raining and there would have been at least 30 that crossed my path. There were also plenty of water dragons meandering about the place – some even  posing for a pic or two.

We had a large group and camped all together right near the entrance beside the ‘creek bed’. We had our Hilux and rooftop, the others had caravans with one camper trailer and a swag also joining the crew. We had plenty of space and no noisy neighbours (OK, so, we may have been the noisy neighbours!)

There are huts, cabins and camp sites, so even if you don’t have a setup suited to camping, you can enjoy all that this amazing place has to offer.

Something we decided against using this time was the sauna. Yep – you can book the sauna (which takes about an hour to heat up) and sweat away to your hearts content. This is on the list of must-do’s if you book a winter escape. 

We also didn’t make it up the road to see the glow worms which we will be doing on our next visit for sure.

This seems to be a great place for weddings, functions and large groups and this weekend we shared it with a few busloads of (very well-behaved) kids. Aside from when they all hit the dam at once, we hardly knew they were there. Hosanna is big enough to accommodate a large number of people with ease. 

There is a laundry room and amenities with hot showers and flushing toilets. The camp kitchen is great, and the guest lounge is filled with board games and even has a piano, guitars and bongos! (Yes, I gave the bongos a go … lol). You’ll find little open fire cookers (what are these things called??) dotted around the campground as well as very random things for the kids to play on and with. 

A fantastic new addition is the long, black shiny waterslide that has been cut into the hill at the side of the dam. We were dying to jump on and give it a go and it was every bit as good as we thought it would be; launching Chris so high and far that it knocked the GoPro out of his hands! This resulted in a search party going mud diving and recovering goggles and sunglasses along with our GoPro. Everyone at the dam erupted in to cheers when Geoff rose from the murky water with the camera in hand. It was quite a scene! I flew down with the GoPro in hand – it sure makes for some crazy footage. Thankfully I had a good grip (or maybe just didn’t land quite as hard and far!) and came up from the depths with it held firmly in my grasp. (See video below)

The diving board/springboard is insanely high now that the water levels have dropped in the dam. This allowed for some pretty speccy ‘aerobatics’ to take place before people slammed into the water. 

There are kayaks and rubber rings floating around in the water for people to use (gold coins are needed to release the kayaks) and there are shallow parts in the dam suited for the younger kids. 

And while we saw turtles last time, none popped their heads up on this trip.

A Day Visit pass gives you access to the facilities and free activities happening around Hosanna Farm that day. You can join in feeding the animals, grab a coffee from the cafe (that was closed at 10:30 on the Sunday morning – so check for opening hours!) or go for a swim in the dam. 

You can even book in for a farm tour which we haven’t done yet, but I’d like to when we go back with the kids. It’s a guided walking tour of our farm that lets you experience what it’s like to do the farm rounds, like a real farmer! Head out into the paddocks to check in on the cows and feed and water the chickens.

We overheard a few of the guides explaining what goes on and thought it was hilarious that the chooks are ‘great for spreading the cow manure around’ … and one had just spent a few minutes pecking the crumbs off while walking all over Carly’s chopping board! 

The tour shows you how Hosanna’s food waste is re-used, you can catch some chickens, collect the eggs and learn more about their farming operations and shift towards more sustainable and regenerative farming practices.  

You can also pack a picnic lunch and just sit and take in the beauty of the place …  there are plenty of picnic tables around the dam and shady spots under trees to sit and relax. 

 

 

 

Directions

Hosanna Farmstay
4 Tunnel Rd, Stokers Siding NSW 2484