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Tassie 1/26 - 29

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What a great day it is today. Australia Day is a blast! There was everything from shows to competitions that we were able to compete in. I passed on that but we were invited to. The music was great with such variety. We ended up at Henley on Mersey for the "real Aussie" celebration and was not disappointed.

I have to say that I thought we were supposed to be losing weight not gaining it. The food there was incredible. The smells from the BBQ as well as the Gourmet booths just about did me in. I was able to find plenty of food for me which is what I really like about this trip. As the evening drew near Ann got us all in one place. It just happened to be the perfect spot to view the Fireworks. We all just loved it!

After that we all traveled to our accommodation for the night. The Lucas Hotel in Latrobe. What a wonderful place to be. After all that food I was happy I ended up walking it off. That's the great thing about being vegetarian. It's easy to walk it off. emoticon

The Lucas Hotel is actually a complex that caters to the business person. They have everything there from a business complex to a gym and a first class restaurant!

I ate the Vegetarian Filo Parcel. It had Roasted pumpkin, spinach and Feta cheese wrapped in Filo Dough and perfectly cooked in an oven. The Dough was light and crunchy with the inside perfectly blended with spices that complemented everything. For dessert I had the Sticky Date Pudding. That was a pudding made out of rich dates smothered in butterscotch sauce and fresh whipped cream. Not the whipped cream from a can that deflates within minutes. It was fresh whipped cream with fresh vanilla in it. It was so sinful but I have to admit I ate every bite and didn't feel one bit guilty!

Latrobe is an interesting little town. This is what I learned about it. Latrobe is a town in northern Tasmania on the Mersey River. It is 8 km south-east of Devonport on the Bass Highway. It is the main center of the Latrobe Council. At the 2006 census, Latrobe had a population of 2,843.

The area was first settled by B. B. Thomas in 1826 and, in 1861, the settlement was named for Charles Joseph Latrobe (1801-1875), the administrator of the colony of Tasmania.
La Trobe Post Office opened on August 31, 1860 and was renamed Latrobe in 1873.

The Mersey Community Hospital is located in Latrobe. It is approximately a 100-bed hospital that provides services including: ambulatory and emergency, general adult medicine, general paediatric medicine, general surgery including orthopaedic, ear, nose and throat, ophthalmological, certain oncology services, limited rehabilitation services and allied health support. From September 1, 2008, the Hospital is owned by the Commonwealth and operated by the Tasmanian Government.

Mersey Community Hospital

I was very happy that none of us needed to go to hospital. As good as it is, it's always better to stay out of a hospital unless you are visiting.

I had a great sleep that night. The bed was just perfect for me. I woke up and had incredible fruits and breads for breakfast. Our first stop is at a Fuchsia Farm. I so love Fuchsias! I hope I can buy some and ship them home.

Stephanie Mason was the owner of the farm. She started out with only 2 and now has 1700 different varieties! She also knows a lot of fuchsia lore as well and was very happy to share it with us. The items that have fuchsias on them that she has collected are varied and odd. She has a place called Lillico where she sells the plants as well as items to pot them into that are just magical.

I loved the miniatures. I never knew that Fuchsias came in Miniatures! They were so cute and delicate I had to buy one to ship home. I also bought several doubles in different colors that I have never found in the States. They were the Red and Orange colors. The other thing that I learned was that they needed to be pruned! I never knew that they don't flower on the old branches just the new ones. So this next winter I need to prune not only the new ones I bought but the older one I already have as well. lol

Our drive through Forth was uneventful. It was a small country town. One of those where you blink and you miss it.

We stopped in Tasmazia. We just had to see all the mazes. I thought that it was funny that this place was in a town called Promised Land. LOL I just hoped that they made sure to help us out if we got lost in a maze.

I really love that they support the Make-a-Wish Foundation. That is a great foundation.

The Pancake Parlor was just wonderful. The variety of pancakes were good and so tasty! They are definitely large enough for several people to share and I saw that happening all around me.

After a great meal I went to the Lavender fields and just walked around smelling all the lavender they had there. The soil was great as well. Just enough natural pumice to make it have great drainage but enough soil to feed the plants. It's perfect because lavender doesn't like to have it's roots sitting in water.

Which way is up?

Right turn.

If only we could....

After we finished there we went to the city of Sheffield which is known as the "Town of Murals". Sheffield is a town 23 km inland from Devonport on the north-west coast of Tasmania. Sheffield has long been the rural hub for the Mount Roland area. The Sheffield area is well known for its high quality butterfat production via dairy farming. The town of Railton is nearby. At the 2006 census, Sheffield had a population of 1,397.

Sheffield was one of the many early townships settled in 1859. The town was named by Edward Curr after his home town in South Yorkshire, England. The Kentishbury Post Office opened on November 1, 1862 and was renamed Sheffield in 1882.

The area grew slowly and the commencement of the Mersey-Forth Power Development Scheme in 1963 saw the town grow dramatically. The completion of the power scheme - seven dams and seven power stations - in 1973 saw the town's population decline. The catalyst that would bring Sheffield both fame and fortune began as a desperate bid by a small, but dedicated band of local residents determined to save their town.

Inspired by the story of Chemainus, a small Canadian town that had through mural art, rescued itself from ruin, the Kentish Association for Tourism (KAT) worked valiantly on the vision to combine the arts and tourism to revive and reinvent the town of Sheffield.
Sheffield has become a major tourist attraction due to it being promoted as a "Town of Murals", based upon the instrumental contributions of the Kentish Association for Tourism (currently known as Sheffield Inc) and local tourism pioneer Brian Inder.

The first town mural was painted in Sheffield in December 1986. Since then over 60 murals depicting the area's rich history and beautiful natural scenery are painted on walls scattered throughout the town and buildings along the roadside. The murals attract an estimated 200,000 people to the town annually.

In the heart of Sheffield, there are a number of studios open to the public where visitors can watch the artists as they do their work. There are artists of every discipline, including photography, fine art, glass, woodcraft, pottery, ceramics and specialised crafts.

The International Mural Fest art competition has been held annually since 2003 and returns in April each year. A poem is selected which the artists use as their inspiration. After each competition the 9 finalist murals remain on display at Mural Park for approximately 12 months until the next competition. In 2012, an interactive mural and workshops were added to the artistic activities of the festival for the Mural Fest 10th anniversary celebrations.

2012 Winner

Sheffield is surrounded by many natural attractions that are all very picturesque and encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

They have Waterfall Walks, Short Walks, Day Walks as well as Overnight Treks. Many of the 200,000 people that visit go on these walks and Treks as well as looking at the Murals.

After having a nice break from driving walking about Sheffield we again pack back into the vans and drive right through Ugbrook but stop at Chudleigh. The reason we stopped there is the Melita Honey Farm! HONEY!!! Ah that wonderful golden syrup of sweetness in all its forms.

We drive up and are out of the vans like a shot! They have a museum where they educate the public on the lovely bees. They have a working hive that has a clear panel where we could see all the bees working away. They also have audio visual and static displays to further explain the life of the bee and the way it helps nature as well as us.

Interesting items made out of Honeycomb wax

After a quick romp through the museum we all found the tasting station. There they had 50 kinds of honey not to mention the Honey Ice Cream and the fruit honeys. Someone even found the Red Chili Honey. I never found it but it doesn't sound like something I would even like.

I did find the gift shop and the wonderful world of Nougat! I have to say I bought several types. The Cappuccino, Ginger and Strawberry Nougats. I also bought the Leatherwood Nougat. They were all fresh and so delicious I really wanted to buy them all but I did limit myself.

Ahhh, Nougat

Once we were done with that we wandered over to Silk. It was interesting to see the difference between how the Japanese raise the silk worms and how it is done on Tasmania. My relatives in Japan raise silk worms so I was familiar with this already.

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth, Bombyx mori (Latin: "silkworm of the mulberry tree"). It is an economically important insect, being a primary producer of silk. A silkworm's preferred food is white mulberry leaves, but it may also eat the leaves of any other mulberry tree (i.e., Morus rubra or Morus nigra) as well as the Osage orange.

Maclura pomifera, commonly called Osage orange, hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, bois d'arc, bodark, or bodock is a small deciduous tree or large shrub, typically growing to 26–49 ft tall. It is dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants. The fruit from a multiple fruit family, is roughly spherical, but bumpy, and 3–6 inches in diameter. It is filled with a sticky white latex. In fall, its color turns a bright yellow-green. It is not closely related to the orange: Maclura belongs to the mulberry family, Moraceae, while oranges belong to the family Rutaceae.

Osajin and pomiferin are flavonoid pigments present in the wood and fruit, comprising about 10% of the fruit's dry weight. The plant also contains the flavonol morin.

The Silk worm is entirely dependent on humans for its reproduction and does not occur naturally in the wild. Sericulture, the practice of breeding silkworms for the production of raw silk, has been underway for at least 5,000 years in China, from where it spread to Korea and Japan, and later to India and the West. The silkworm was domesticated from the wild silkmoth Bombyx mandarina which has a range from northern India to northern China, Korea, Japan and the far eastern regions of Russia. The domesticated silkworm derives from Chinese rather than Japanese or Korean stock. It is unlikely that silkworms were domestically bred before the Neolithic age: it was not until then that the tools required to facilitate the manufacturing of larger quantities of silk thread had been developed. The domesticated B. mori and the wild B. mandarina can still breed and sometimes produce hybrids.

Mulberry silkworms can be categorized into 3 different, but connected groups or types. The major groups of silkworms fall under the univoltine ('uni-'=one, 'voltine'=brood frequency) and bivoltine categories. The Univoltine breed is generally linked with the geographical area within greater Europe. The eggs of this type hibernate during winter due to the cold climate, and cross fertilize only by spring, generating silk only once annually. The second type of breed is called Bivoltine and is normally found in Asian regions such as China, Japan, and Korea. The breeding process of this type takes place twice annually, a feat made possible through the slightly warmer climates and the resulting two lifecycles. The Polyvoltine breed of mulberry silkworm can only be located in the tropics. The eggs are laid by female moths and hatch within nine to twelve days, so the resulting type can have up to 8 separate life cycles throughout the year.

Eggs take about fourteen days to hatch into larvae, which eat continuously. They have a preference for white mulberry, having an attraction to the mulberry odorant cis-jasmone. They are very, very loud and you can hear them outside the housing of them while they eat!

When the color of their heads turns darker, it indicates that they are about to molt. After molting, the instar phase of the silkworm emerges white, naked, and with little horns on the backs.

After they have molted four times, their bodies become slightly yellow and the skin becomes tighter. The larvae will then enter the pupa phase of their life cycle and enclose themselves in a cocoon made up of raw silk produced by the salivary glands. The cocoon provides a vital layer of protection during the vulnerable, almost motionless pupal state.

The moth – the adult phase of the life cycle – have lost the ability to fly, contrary to the wild Bombyx mandarina whose males fly to meet females. Silkmoths have a wingspan of 1.5–2 inches and a white hairy body. Females are about two to three times bulkier than males (for they are carrying many eggs), but are similarly colored. Adult Bombycidae have reduced mouth parts and do not feed, though a human caretaker can feed them.

The cocoon is made of a thread of raw silk from 1,000 to 3,000 feet long. The fibers are very fine and lustrous, about 1/2,500th of an inch in diameter. About 2,000 to 3,000 cocoons are required to make a pound of silk. At least 70 million pounds of raw silk are produced each year, requiring nearly 10 billion pounds of cocoons.

If the animal is allowed to survive after spinning its cocoon and through the pupa phase of its life cycle, it will release proteolytic enzymes to make a hole in the cocoon so that it can emerge as a moth. These enzymes are destructive to the silk and can cause the silk fibers to break down from over a mile in length to segments of random length, which seriously reduced the value of the silk threads. To prevent this, silkworm cocoons are boiled. The heat kills the silkworms and the water makes the cocoons easier to unravel. Often, the silkworm itself is eaten. In Japan they feed the pupa to their Koi since it is very rich in protein.

Here are some of the fantastic items they have for sale.

At the same place they also sold fudge. These two were my favorites.

Brandied Apricot

Caramel Chocolate Swirl

After we sampled the fudge we loaded back into the vans for the last part of our trip for the day. On to Mole Creek. Mole Creek is a little village that has a wonderful bed and breakfast called Mole Creek Lodge Bed and Breakfast of course. lol It is a beautiful place to stay with trees all around.

Mole Creek Lodge

After eating a light dinner we went on a walk to Westmoreland Falls. We drove to the trailhead and walked from there. The way there was beautiful with not only trees but ferns, lichen and many other forms of nature all about.

We returned and I was so tired I almost passed out in my clothes. Luckily someone woke me up so I could get ready for bed before I went to bed.

This morning after a refreshing sleep and hearty breakfast we all went to the Liffey Falls. What a spectacular sight it was as well. The new upper car park was nice especially the flush toilets. After looking at the falls we went to the two caves in the area.

The caves are in Mole Creek Karst National Park. It is some of the most visited caves in the area.

It is the only national park in Tasmania created specifically to protect karst landforms. It is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site.

Karst topography is a geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite, but also in gypsum. It has also been documented for weathering-resistant rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions.

Subterranean drainage may limit surface water with few to no rivers or lakes. Many karst regions display distinctive surface features, with cenotes and sinkholes (also called dolines) being the most common. However, distinctive karst surface features may be completely absent where the soluble rock is mantled, such as by glacial debris, or confined by one or more superimposed non-soluble rock strata. Some karst regions include thousands of caves, although evidence of caves large enough for human exploration is not a required characteristic of karst.

The national park was declared in 1996 to provide protection for an extensive system of over 300 known caves and sinkholes, including Marakoopa and King Solomons Cave.

Marakoopa Cave features two underground streams, glow-worms, large caverns, rim pools, reflections and shawl and flowstone features. King Solomons Cave includes shawls, stalactites and stalagmites.

The first one we went to is the Marakoopa Cave. This cave is a "wet" cave. What that means is there is still water that runs through it at all times. The Marakoopa Cave was first discovered in 1906 and it was initially known as Byards Cave. Two boys, James and Harry Byard, are believed to have originally entered the cave via its top entrance. The boys kept their discovery a secret, returning to the cave in 1910. James Byard obtained a land grant which included the cave area and its discovery became common knowledge in 1911, by which time a track had been cut to the river entrance, which is currently in use, and a heavy iron door covered the entrance.

In 1912 Marakoopa Cave was opened to the public, lit by 24 handheld carbide bicycle lamps which were carried by James, Harry and their younger siblings. In 1921 the cave was purchased from James Byard by the Tasmanian Government Tourist Bureau, but Harry stayed on as a guide for a number of years and helped with the installation of the first electric lighting system, switched on in May 1940 by the then Premier of Tasmania.

Glow Worms

The King Solomons Cave is a dry cave. It may have been carved out by water but does not have any in it at this time. King Solomons Cave was first discovered in 1906 by two local men, including a Mr Pochin, who promptly obtained a lease from the crown and began to operate the cave as a tourist attraction under the name Pochin’s Cave. In those early days, visitors had to negotiate a 40 ft drop from the surface via a series of stepladders, and thence through the cave on wooden planks. Two years later, Hobart man Mr Edward James heard of the discovery, obtained a 21 year lease of the land, improved access and installed acetylene gas lanterns to light the caves.

King Solomons Cave officially opened to the public on 31 October 1908, a highly organised and well attended occasion, by the then Premier of Tasmania. In the early days, the caves were generally only opened for organised expeditions. The high cost of recreational travel meant that tourists to this remote area were few and far between, and keeping the caves open was very expensive.

The present entrance was developed in 1927. Construction involved the widening of a secondary entrance and the clearing of rock and debris to open up a series of chambers to link the new entrance to the public area. At the same time, a generator and electric lighting system were also installed, the new lighting being switched on for the public for the first time in December 1928 – a time when the township of Mole Creek was not connected to the Hydro Electric grid.

Since then, improvements have continued, ancillary facilities have come and gone, and the caves are now under the care of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.

What the above picture shows is the stalactites reaching down to the stalagmites. Now this is formed over thousands of years one drop at a time. Stalactites are the formation of minerals left from drops of water seeping in from the top. The Stalagmites are the formations reaching up towards the ceiling. They are formed when the drop of water drops off the Stalactite and hits the floor. That is when more minerals are deposited. Eventually they connect and create a column.

After the caves we went to Gads Falls. It's a little off the beaten path but well worth the work to get there. Again we found ourselves in primordial rainforest. It would be easy to get lost or turned around there but our fearless leader Ann kept us on the right track.

After we got back to the vans we went back to the B & B for another cozy night of sleep. One well earned as well.

Awaking refreshed again I was very happy for the hearty breakfasts they supplied us. Especially since today we would be trekking in some very inhospitable areas.

Walls of Jerusalem is a national park 89 mi northwest of Hobart. Located in the Tasmanian Central Highlands east of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and west of the Central Plateau Conservation Area. It is south of Mole Creek, and Rowallan Lake. It forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The park takes its name from the geological features of the park which are thought to resemble the walls of the city of Jerusalem. As a result many places and features within the park also have Biblical references for names, such as Herods Gate, Lake Salome, Solomons Jewels, Damascus Gate, the Pool of Bethesda. The most prominent feature of the park is King Davids Peak.

Much of the walking track consists of raised boards, from Wild Dog Creek through to Dixon's Kingdom, with the purpose of protecting the fragile alpine vegetation. Walking tracks elsewhere in the park consist of rock, rocky earth, grassland and marsh.

I took one look at this and was convinced that Ann had ingested some "special" brownies when she thought of this part! I was so glad that I had my chia seeds with me so I would have the extra energy to be able to make the hike! I was smart and choose the middle of the line of us but towards the front. That way enough of us had gone through so I wasn't having to break bush but just keep up after the bush was broken through.

I had my day pack with my first aid kit, extra sox, mole skin, my food and water. So I was all ready. I also had my hiking poles in there. I just had to extend them. I decided to get the ones that telescoped out so I could make them just my hight and readjust them if needed depending on the terrain.

The views were just breathtaking and I have to say I was happy I went but I just about pooped out the last hour or so. I really couldn't wait to get back to the vans and in the showers at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge! The lap of luxury it was! I took a really good shower and let the hot water pummel down on my back, then I went to the spa for a really good deep tissue massage with Chocolate oil so my skin wouldn't dry up and fall off! I'm still not really adjusted to the weather over here.

After my massage I joined up with the rest at the Bistro and had the scrumptious Baked Feta and Pumpkin Cannelloni. The Cannelloni's were huge and had Parmesan, Mozzarella, Napoli Sauce over them and a huge side salad as well. I chose the Raspberry Vinaigrette over my salad. I felt that the bite of the Vinaigrette with the sweetness of the Raspberries would pair wonderfully with the cheeses and the Cannelloni. Those and a pint went down really well!

I can't wait for my bed. So I'm off now. I'll see everyone in the morning.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    There is so much to see and do - thankfully there are no calories in the virtual food because I have "overeaten" a lot of that virtual food too. Thankfully in real life, I am sticking to my SP regimen! emoticon emoticon
    1331 days ago
    Wow!! huge blog - but all caught up now as you say!! I'm glad you are finding some suitable meal choices too!!
    The Walls of Jerusulem park is rather remote but the views and the experience made it worth the effort!!
    1331 days ago
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