Pelverata Falls

Destinations, Travel With Kids, Vanlife

Our First Family Hiking Experience

The day started on a good note. Lots of giggles were coming from atop the ute bonnet where the three kids had perched themselves to munch on sandwiches before the hike got underway. We eat well on big adventure days. We pre-pack lunches that usually consist of salads or salad sandwiches, maybe tubs of yogurt, fresh fruit or snack boxes containing nuts, cheese, dip and veggie sticks. We always feel uber organised on these days, a far cry from life back at the farm. Today was no exception. All the camera gear was charged, everyone had remembered to put the correct shoes on, and we had even got away before 11am! A super human effort amid such a laid back new lifestyle.

There was not a lot of research to be found on Pelverata Falls. I had oohed and ahhed over Insta-worthy pics of towering rock faces with gushing water bellowing from above, but otherwise could not find any practical, real life information or experience from which to base my expectations. So off we set, on a 3 hour return sign posted walk. A baby hike by many standards, but our first ‘proper’ hike as a family nevertheless. Little did we know that this hike had the potential to scare us off hikes for years to come!

As we began, the track was quite easy, slightly uphill but otherwise nothing of concern. A leisurely stroll through a picturesque forest, as many hikes in Tassie seem to be. The initial half hour of any walk with our children is always filled with some degree of moaning, and today was no different. Grace had, however, only recently begun reading The Hunger Games series, and somewhere around 20 minutes into the walk force took over her like nothing we had ever seen before. The child that dislikes most physical activities and would instead rather have her head securely wedged in a book, began jogging! She continued to run the vast majority of the track, which scared the absolute life out of me as you will surmise if you read on.

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By around the halfway mark, this casual ascent quite suddenly morphed into a one foot wide goat track hugging the side of a rather steep hillside. With nothing but chunky grey rocks beneath our hiking boots, we began to tread with a little more caution, shuddering at the sound of rocks tumbling what seemed to be hundreds of meters down and finally reaching an echoey THUD below. My anxiety didn’t take long to completely overcome me and before I knew it was forcing me to grasp in desperation at any shrubbery that was within arms reach, just for some sort of security measure. 

The kids and Nathen all handled the near death experience (probably not an accurate description, but the only way in which I can remember that moment in time) with absolute ease. In fact, they were initially quite perplexed at my sudden change in demeanour, and as the track continued on in this terrifying form, became quite entertained and even highly amused at my ‘state’. I will be the first to admit that there was more than one occasion that I could be found on all fours, sweat coming from my brow, as I focussed on slow breathing my way to the next point of relative safety. That point was not reached until approximately 30 meters to the falls lookout. It was mentally a very long and tiring day for me!

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We arrived at the falls with a huge sigh of relief, well I did anyway, but as we edged closer Nathen pointed out one vital piece of information. He could not hear flowing water! My heart kind of sunk at that point in time. Mother Nature can be a cruel bitch when she wants to be. And as we stepped onto the timber viewing platform, low and behold, she was dry! Spectacularly tall, she must be a hell of a sight in full flow, but today we got to see her in a very different light – DRY! We took the drone out for a fly in the hope of capturing her mighty stature, but in all honesty, the pics do not do her any justice whatsoever. Would I walk (semi crawl) the 6km return hike again to see her in full flow? HELL NO. But I can imagine with some certainty that she is truely majestic in her prime. 

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After getting the token family shot and safely packing away all the techie gear, we turned on our heals, I took a big breath, and off we went to do it all over again! I have to admit though, the way back was far easier than the way in. I think from memory, the walk into the falls took us around 2 hours, whereas the walk back out was closer to 1 hour. All up, including our time taking photos at the other end, we were on the track for about 4 hours. Not too shabby for a 3 hour sign posted walk with 3 kids and a Mum needing to say her last words multiple times throughout the walk. 

Pelverata Falls will be one of those days that we will never forget, for an array of unique reasons. Not my favourite of hikes, we have now completed two others which have somewhat cured me of my hiking distain, but it has certainly changed the way in which I now research future family hikes! Thanks for teaching me a valuable lesson Pelverata, you’re a spectacular sight! But it’s safe to say that you and I will never meet again!

Tasmania’s Central North Coast

Destinations

~ Burnie to Turner’s Beach, including Guide Falls & Upper Natone Reserve ~

What a place to explore! We have had the best time over the past couple of weeks exploring this part of sleepy old Tassie.

Camp Sites

We chose to camp at Midway Point Sulphur Creek. There happens to be 3 free camps along this stretch of the coast (including Sulphur Creek and Preservation Bay) all within close proximity of one another. We picked the middle one as we liked the beach better and there was more space at that camp on that particular day! Don’t be deterred by the train line, the train only comes 2-3 times per day and its quite the spectacle. Everyone comes out to wave, count the cars and marvel at what a great job this driver has!

We spent two nights at The Blue Wren RV Park so that we could get the washing done and stay close to the local Ulverstne rodeo, which was awesome by the way! $12 per night including water and toilets!

Last, but certainly not least, we spent just one night out at Upper Natone Reserve, but do kind of regret not staying longer. Such a quiet free camp, lots of shade and a sweet little lake that apparently houses an elusive platypus – yet to be seen by us! There was a flushing toilet here too, as well as picnic tables and wood supplied for Winter campers. If you’re staying at Upper Natone Reserve, head down and check out the lagoon. You’ll see a sign for the Lagoon Loop Walk, an easy 30 minute hike through the forest. Take the walk! It’s stunning!

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Adventures

Spreyton Cider Co
While we had air bags fitted to the ute at Northwest Offroad we decided to unload all of the bikes and take a ride out to Spreyton Cider Co. Such a great place for families! $2.50 kids juice tasting paddles was the highlight! But the apple and raspberry alcoholic cider came in a close second.

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Turners Beach Berry Patch
We spent a good few hours at the berry patch, another must do spot for families! Awesome outdoor games, great food and delicious berries to be picked. Kids got to fill a $5 punnet each with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries and whipped up yummy juice and icy poles back at camp.


Burnie & The Makers’ Workshop

More free penguin experiences at Burnie! Walk along the boardwalk behind the Maker’s Workshop and you’ll see the babies in their nesting boxes in broad day light at this time of the year.

What an awesome learning hub the Maker’s Workshop is! We took the Paper Making Tour and learnt about the history of paper making in the region. The kids learnt about the different types of paper made at the Makers Workshop, including Seb’s favourite – Wombat Poo Paper. We then all got to make our own paper to take home which was so much fun. As well as paper making, the Makers is full of artisan crafters showcasing their skills. We met Josie Riches, who uses reclaimed fishing rope found on local beaches to weave beautiful handmade baskets, and Rasa Dunlop of MadebyRasa who crafts handwoven textiles from yarn that she spins herself. Both ladies took so much time to explain to the kids what they were doing. It was such a hands-on learning experience that the girls in particular really appreciated.

Guide Falls Farm & Guide Falls
We heard about the Guide Falls Farm Music Festival through social media and knew that we had to check it out! Lets be real, they had us at local cider and live music. What a well set out little animal farm. Trout, sheep, cattle, horses, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, geese, pigs, and much more! Being a hot Tassie day (like over 30! 😂) we thought we’d check out Guide Falls on the way home. What an awesome waterfall! Admittedly we did walk in on a local pool party of sorts (music pumping, beers flowing) but it was the first waterfall that we’ve seen in Tassie with such a great swimming hole.

Ulverstone

Travelling with a self-confessed nerdy kid like we are? There’s a very cool antiquarian book shop in Ulverstone called Pete Jermy Old & Secondhand Books, go check it out! There’s also, very randomly, a quidditch field located along the river. Like a full on Harry Potter playing field! Kids were pretty chuffed.

Handy Traveller Tips

Don’t fall for “The Big Apple” at Spreyton on the Wiki Camps App like we did! It’s actually a supermarket called The Big Apple

North West Tasmania for Families

Destinations

There’s not as much ‘hype’ amongst the travelling community for this region of Tassie, but it sure didn’t disappoint! We loved the fact that we had camp grounds to ourselves, had waterfalls and beaches to ourselves, and that there were plenty of free adventures to be had, keeping the travel budget nice and healthy!

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Camp Sites

We based ourselves at Black River, a low cost camp at $50 for 7 nights! No ammenities, but we were tucked under a forest canopy, within a stone’s throw to a little tidal back flow beach, and better still – had the whole area to ourselves!

Our other recommendation as a base for this area would be Tall Timbers Free Camp. We took a drive through Tall Timbers to check it out and it is the most beautifully kept free camping area we have ever seen! Manicured lawns and a gorgeous little river flowing through it, you just need to be comfortable with neighbours as it was most definitely a popular place.

We originally set out to camp at Boat Harbour as it had outstanding Wiki Camp reviews! However, when we first drove in it was so crowded that we could barely navigate the road in with our van. We parked up and went for a quick look to see if there were any spots at all suitable and sadly the only two sites left were very sloped so we didn’t feel safe parking the van and decided to move on. What many don’t mention about Boat Harbour is the fact that it’s just a strip of underdeveloped land on the side of the road, across from all of the beach houses. You’re packed in like sardine and the camping itself is not actually ‘beachfront’, it’s in front of the rocky area on the other side of the bay from the nice beach seen in all the pics. Still only a 1-2 minute walk to the gorgeous ‘insta-worthy’ beach, but not what we were expecting. The beach itself though is stunning and well worth a day trip if you decide not to camp.

Adventures

Stanley & The Nut

Whilst visiting the Cradle Coast, we explored the quaint little village of Stanley, and hiked around “The Nut”. You can have a free penguin experience in Stanley too! There’s a boardwalk set up at Godfrey’s beach and the penguins start waddling in each night at around 10pm. Just ensure that you have sufficient (multiple layers of) red cellophane over your torches so that the little guys don’t get frightened. Godfrey’s Beach has the most amazing beach combing on low tide. Check out some of the creatures we found after a quick 10 minute stroll…

Dip Falls & The Big Tree

Such a gorgeous little mini hike! It seriously only takes around 5 minutes to get to both of these beautiful spots that also happen to be within a stones throw of each other. The Big Tree in particular is absolutely amazing! I have never seen such a giant in real life. Lots of steps at Dip Falls but plenty of resting benches for those with bad knees or fitness levels not quite what they used to be!

The Tarkine Drive

When doing the Tarkine Drive, wear hiking boots (or runners at the very least) as there’s lots of short hikes along the trail to stretch the kids legs. Also pack lots of food for the day! Don’t rely on buying much along the track as apart from Arthur River there’s really nowhere to buy decent food. We would suggest allowing 5-6 hours if you’re not intending to do any of the walks, or closer to 8 hours if you are aiming to stretch the legs. You can hire kayaks and dinghies at Arthur River. We didn’t as the kids were horrendous that day, but may go back and hire a dingy to go up the river and explore further!

Handy Traveller Tips:

Groceries

Smithton has a great Woolies to stock up on groceries. Stanley also has some great places to dine out, but book ahead if you’re hoping to go for dinner!

Laundry

Wynyard has a great little Laundromat, well priced and clean. While you’re there, take the kids to Fossil Bluff Beach and hike up to the lookout. The Visitor Information centre in Wynyard was very helpful and had lots to read and explore also.