Port Sorell



So goodbye to the Nut, seen from afar all the way along the coast. And a few wanders off the main road before reaching the magically named town of Penguin. An unprepossessing little town who were pushing penguins for all they could. A giant penguin on the promenade, another outside the tourist office, many shops with penguins in their logos, and even the litter bins with penguins.

And another detour for lunch at Barringwood Park Vineyard. We sat on the large north facing deck, enjoying a gourmet platter of local produce with a glass of Barringwood wine while soaking up the views across the Don Valley countryside to the Bass Straight (a long way away)

The staff at Barringwood suggested that we stop at Latrobe and see Reliquaire. Reliquaire is just amazing. I thought we were walking in to a small antique shop, then we entered,and were offered a map for Reliquaire's 20 rooms. It's a tour through amazing dolls (some life size, some larger than life), gifts of all sorts, books, sculptures, masks from Venice, scientific toys, toys for small boys, toys for big boys. I bought a storm glass, and a book on why custard goes lumpy, plus a bottle of coffee liqueur for Chris. The cost of their stock must be enormous, but probably every tourist visiting Tasmania stops here at least once - we went twice.


We stayed 2 nights at Shearwater Cottages in Port Sorell. We were confused when we arrived here. We unloaded our baggage, found eventually the well hidden reception, only to find a notice telling us to go a couple of hundred metres to the resort hotel. It transpired that the owners had sold and recently left. This meant that when the wifi stopped working during our two night stay, reception at the resort hotel really could not have cared less. I suspect they might have bought it to demolish and build yet more timeshare . Basically I reserved an owner managed room, and did not get that . Still the cottage itself was perfectly acceptable

The town was originally a fishing and sealing port named Burgess, however the name was officially changed to Port Sorell (after Governor Sorell) in 1822. The town could have been a lot larger than it is now, had it not been for bushfires, after which nearby Devonport grew to become a major port. Today Port Sorell has a population of about 2000. It is a very middle of the market resort, with little or nothing in the way of decent restaurants. We walked along the beach and across the pedestrian bridge over the estuary.

We took a drive over to the Narawntapu National Park and along the beaches there that looked back over to Port Sorell. Ironically we were only 2 kms from Port Sorell but over 50km by road.

In lieu of any decent eating in Port Sorell, we had the lunch platter at Ghost Rock Vineyard, only a few km outside the town - a much more pleasant alternative.


Back to Latrobe and then a circuit taking us back to Port Sorell. Quite bizarrely Latrobe is home to the Australian Axeman's Hall of Fame and Timberworks. It was here that the first world woodchopping championship was staged in 1891 and the sport, well they call it a sport, was born. The history of competitive woodchopping is the story of Australia's pioneering bushmen and their families. Today the bush skills are dying along with the last generation to work the forests with an axe and crosscut saw.

And the other odd thing we passed was field upon field of opium poppy, every one with their legal notice to keep out and not consume the product. Poppy straw contains ‘opiates’. Opiates are natural products used in medicine to make painkillers (morphine and codeine) and cough medicines (codeine). Morphine is used to treat severe pain, and can be addictive. Poppy seeds do not contain the opiates found in the straw, and are sold for food. Examples of the use of poppy seeds in food include baked goods and poppy seed oil.

Approximately forty-percent of the world's legal opiate crop is grown in Tasmania. Tasmanian Alkaloids is a subsidiary of the United States pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. The company's processing plant is in Westbury, a town west of Launceston in the State’s north. The company is licensed by both the Australian federal and state governments to carry out its opiate processing works

Next day on to Launceston

On to Launceston

Australia 2013/2014