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We did not manage to visit the Tarkine during our 2016 trip so that was on the list for this time. There is a lot to see there and would need a full day so the Stanley region seemed a good base for a night either side. That left today to get there from Launceston, around 200 km and a bit more than 2 hours of driving with plenty of time to spare along the way.

Our time in Launceston coincided with the running festival and the Silo Hotel was a sponsor with the events set to start in front of the hotel this morning. Depending on when we tried to leave there might be a delay. 

We were up soon after 7:00 am. Outside the window we could see clear blue sky to the south and west though there was some mist to the east. It looked set to be a fine day. By the time we had dressed, made coffee, and packed to leave, the view out our window was shrouded in mist. 

The half-marathon was scheduled to start at 8:30 am and the rest of the events would follow around 10:30 am. Around 8:30 am we headed down to check out, figuring that after the start the street would be open. It was, though the first cross street along which our navigation wanted us to go, was closed to traffic for the race. We drove on, it recalculated, and we headed out of town. As we drove up out of the basin in which central Launceston sits the mist thinned and we drove west under mostly clear blue sky.

First stop was Deloraine, about 30 minutes drive. Majella had been told by sewing friends about a museum/gallery, Yarns Artwork in Silk, that she needed to see. The town was quiet when we arrived soon after 9:00 am but we found a bakery where we had coffee and breakfast – ham and cheese toastie for Majella and white chocolate and ginger slice for me.

After breakfast we walked up the street to find the museum. Along with the Yarns it had a folk museum with furnished rooms in the main building and a series of outbuildings with historic farming equipment. We had a few minutes to look before the Yarns presentation began and spent some time afterward to walk around the rest of the displays.

The Yarns presentation focused on 4 large panels of hand worked silk and other textiles depicting local scenes and history with a four seasons theme and a great deal of detail in each. The panels had been created as a community effort with contributions from more than 300 stitchers. The presentation consisted of recorded commentary accompanied by synchronised projection, mostly highlighting elements of the panels but occasionally including animations. It was very well produced and informative about the locality and its history as well as the actual art work.

Majella had picked up a map at the museum counter showing the locations of short walks. After leaving the museum we drove out of town to Liffey Falls. The road wound up into the mountains south of Deloraine and the last 6 km were tightly winding narrow gravel track down into the Liffey River valley. We were surprised to find the car park almost completely full. It is evidently a very popular place despite the road in. The signs indicated a 1 km, 45 minute return walk to the falls and we set off without looking at the board with the map.

Majella was not happy that the track went down because that meant the return would be uphill. Once we reached the stream we enjoyed the impressive cascades and followed those down to the point where the track deviated from the stream. At that point Majella decided we had seen the falls and we hiked back up the hill. It was then that we looked at the map and found the actual falls were beyond the point where we had stopped. We marked that down to experience, agreed that we had enjoyed what we had seen, and drove on. 

As we reached Deloraine on the way back we stopped at Red Brick Road cider which we had seen on the way out, hoping we might find lunch. They did not have a menu posted but we spotted some cheese and crackers behind the counter. The young woman kindly made us a platter with truffled cheddar, some crackers, and some mixed nuts over which we shared a large glass of cider. Majella was favourably impressed by the freshness and clarity of the cider. Once we had eaten enough we packed up the little left over cheese with the crackers and headed off.

Yesterday and today we had been checking signs proclaiming the Northern Forage Drive Journey, noting the excess word and looking for indications of what we might forage. The signs seem to be generic but we had not seen any establishments marked as being part of the ‘journey’. Still we were determined to forage where we could and Majella could not drive past the House of Anvers, a chocolate factory and sales point. We had coffees and shared a Belgian waffle which was actually 2 waffles with cream, ice cream, and chocolate sauce. It would have defeated one of us but together we managed to consume it.

We took a short deviation through Penguin where Majella wanted to check out the communal artwork she had seen on Backroads. We eventually found it in a park along the foreshore. A little further on we stopped at Brandon’s lookout (named for an early premier of Tasmania) for a look across the surrounding countryside.

Our bed for tonight is at Eagles’ Roost Farmstay, about 30 km short of Stanley. Advice from our host had mentioned the nearby Rocky Cape Tavern as a dinner possibility so we paused there to book a table for later before checking in.

Helen greeted us warmly though her friendly dogs were first to welcome us. The house and room are well set up and comfortable. A window in the spacious lounge has a clear view of The Nut at Stanley and we were able to watch that as the setting sun coloured the sky. Over a cup of tea Helen offered us a wide choice of breakfast options and suggestions for how to best handle our drive around the Tarkine tomorrow.

Another couple from south-east Tasmania are also staying and had been out to the cape to watch the sunset. They returned a little before we headed out for dinner.

Helen is a retired zoologist who had worked in a university and zoo in Perth before moving to Tasmania a few years ago. She has motion sensitive cameras set up around the property to capture local wildlife and after we returned from dinner she shared several clips of capture video of birds and animals that frequent the property. Time permitting, she has offered to walk us around the property while we are here to see what we can see.