Wineglass Bay was next on our docket. Even though we were both feeling a little weary from lack of sleep, we were determined to hike the loop around wineglass bay. We weren’t sure if the weather was going to play along but we started our walk just the same. It was a short uphill jaunt to a great glimpse of the bay and the hills beyond. The viewpoint even came complete with a small wallaby, clearly comfortable with tourists.
The beach of wineglass bay was nice, but with weather looming, tourists feeding wallabies, and too much walk left to swim (and be forced to finish the walk with wet or no underwear) we decided to keep on keepin’ on. Wineglass bay was part of a peninsula and while there were mountains to the south and north, the west was a flat stretch that connected Wineglass Bay to Hazards Bay. Now, no one seemed to know why it was named Wineglass Bay but they seemed sure it wasn’t because of its shape which looked like the rim of a wineglass. One theory was that when the local whales came here, their birthing cove, they were slaughtered so thoroughly that the bay turned red with their blood which resembled wine (sorry, just relaying what the information board told me).
I’m just going to lay this out there cause it’ll explain a few of our mishaps further down the road. For whatever reason, everywhere we stayed, visited or stopped in Tasmania or mainland Australia, the wifi was absolute shit. It was either broken, came with a laughable limit of data, or they just plain didn’t have it and often found it funny we’d even asked. Cambodia is a developing country and even they had better wifi. Also in Tazzie and mainland Australia, unless you’re near a decent sized town, good luck finding reception or even a radio station. It was this lack of information along with the accents that we briefly believed there was a cyclone heading for Tasmania. Just to be clear, there is a Queenstown, Tasmania and then there’s an Australian state called Queensland. Anyhow, gale force winds and rain seemed to enforce the idea that we may get a look at a cyclone first hand, however, cyclone Debbie spared Tasmania and battered the mainland, leaving us safe.
Bayside Inn in Saint Helens was just a few miles south of Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires – two areas that had come very highly suggested. Bayside Inn was nice and reasonably priced (for Australian standards – $108 AUD/night) and had a pool, restaurant and casino. We waited out the storm that was harsh but brief in our room while enjoying some cup o’ noodles and wine. Eventually we found the bar and made friends with the staff, a lively bunch to say the least. They warned us that on our drive in the Northern Territory, “if you guys hit a kangaroo or an Aboriginal, just keep drivin.” What? Wait? Back up, like an Aboriginal person!? “Yup, they throw themselves out in the road, get hit, then their mates brawl you up and steal your shit.” I thought they were joking but all three got quiet and serious. Oh shit, you’re serious. “Yup.” (This was confirmed twice more later on by other people we talked to). This was not something I’d really ever considered when I booked our camper van through the Outback. To do list in Australia: pick up campervan, buy groceries, fill water tank, get camping app, dodge humans that may try to throw themselves at car – check.
Binalong Bay (pictured above) had a great big wide and long white sand beach, so we took a walk on the beach then moved on to the Bay of Fires (pictured below). It was a short peninsula walk. It had a mix of sand and rock trail that gave you a good lookout of the horizon. The whole area had outcrops of orange rocks along the beach and leading into the ocean. It was good for a short visit then we made our way back to our same hotel for one more night of luxury before departing for Davenport.
We got a late start, we had no plans for the day other than dropping off the car and catching the ferry. We got to the dock early so we could catch the Avis agent but apparently they’d clocked out about 2 hours early. We dropped the keys in the drop box and sat down to wait for the ferry and watched what has become our favorite game show, ‘The Chase‘. It’s a trivia game with 4 original contestants, each gets a series of questions individually to earn money. Then they go up against the chaser, usually a funny nerd with a lot of puns. For each multiple choice question they get wrong, usually the chaser gets it right and gets one step closer to chatching them. If the contestant gets caught, they’re out, if they don’t, their money goes into the pot and they continue to the final chase. The more contestants in the final chase, the more chances they have to work together for answers. They go then the chaser goes. If the chaser gets as many right as the team of contestant does in 2 minutes, the contestants all lose. It may be the greatest game show ever. We’ve seen the British, Australian and New Zealand versions, hopefully the US has a version. (We are now home in the US and found out that yes, the GSN does have the Chase – so happy!)
The Spirit of Tasmania is the biggest ferry I’ve ever seen and now, the biggest boat I’ve ever been on. This thing was 10 stories high. There were four lounge areas half as long as the boat, 3 bars, a casino, a movie theater, live music and a fair variety of food options. We took the overnighter, a nearly 12 hour crossing of the Tasman Sea. I was really hoping for an opportunity for some midnight star gazing in the open ocean but instead the weather was nasty. Nearly the entire crossing there were heavy winds, rain and swells that even made this Goliath of a boat pitch and squel. I kept imagining if this crossing was this turbulent in this huge ship, how crazy it would be in a smaller wooden ship or making the crossing as the Aboriginals had. I mean, I’m indoors sleeping in a recliner on a trip that won’t last longer than a night. Those ships or boats in days of old could’ve taken a week or more for the same journey with all these elements a whole lot closer – no thanks. I’ll stick to the mountains.