Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sheffield - Tasmania's Town of Murals

One of our visits whilst we've been home has been to the town of Sheffield as we love it there.  It is 90km east of Wynyard, and inland from Devonport.  We stopped in Devonport first to have lunch and went to Stonies Cafe in the Rooke Street Mall - inside it's all retro with old records on the walls, funky art, and a jukebox.

Sheffield is famous for it's murals, the first of which was painted in the 1980's, and now they have an international mural festival every April.  Around the town there are permanent murals on the side of buildings, and the festival ones are on boards in the park and stay for a year, until the next competition.

Our first stop was to the Blacksmith Cafe for coffee and cake, and it was great - really quirky and interesting decorations as you can see from below.

I haven't included a picture of a toilet for a while, but thought this one was well worth it - how many toilets smile at you when you lift the lid.  Also, all over the walls were written funny little quotes, the example is one that really made me chuckle.

Here's just a small selection of the temporary murals from the park - the artists are very talented people.  In the third one down you'll notice that Crumble is trying to get into the picture on the left hand side.

Imagine Crumbles delight when he found this house that seemed made for devils - it's actually what they use for the voting for the murals when the festival is on, as there is always a peoples choice award.

Below is a directions sign that sits in front of the Sheffield tourist information centre - all of the places on the sign exist in Tasmania.  That's right we do have a Promised Land and a place called No Where Else - down south we even have a town called Bagdad (spelt slightly differently).

Mural on one of the buildings...

Mount Roland which looms over the town - I had to take this slightly odd view as until this the top had been covered with cloud.

It's definitely a wacky place, with lots of the shop owners getting into the spirit of the town - the shop below was a second hand shop which has been decorated really originally - if you look closely you can see two baby dolls sitting in the gutter.

This guitar was for sale in the above shop, and the sign on it really amused us.

These lovely mosaic posts and planters were outside the world of marbles shop - it must have taken someone with a lot of patience to do this.

Love this building and how much nature has taken over - making it even more special was the beautiful pink door.

Beautiful climbing roses over a garden entry.....

A few more of the permanent murals that are dotted around the town - some are just depicting Australiana and what it means to be Tasmanian, and others depict stories from Sheffield's past.  It may give you an idea of why a small town that has under 2,000 residents has over 200,000 visitors a year.

This final picture is of someone's mailbox - we've seen lots of "interesting" mailboxes, so we're going to include a few in the coming blogs to show you how off the wall us Tasmanians can be.

Hope you've enjoyed this visit to Sheffield, and if you're ever in Tasmania make sure you include it in your itinerary.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and make sure that you eat cake this week.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tasmania's giant crustacean, bruises, and a beautiful beach

Yesterday we went to a cafe called Two Oaks which is on the Bass Highway at Somerset - anyone my age and older will remember the drive in cinema that used to be there. The cafe has been built out of local stone and timber and is set in a lovely garden - the food is good too.

Now I was very remiss in my last post, not mentioning the main reason that we're home in Tassie. Someone (mum) has a very big birthday (80) so we're here to help her celebrate. Mum is pictured below making shortbread, which are the best in the world - I've just eaten two whilst writing this.

One of my many hobbies is researching our family trees which is one of the reasons I have such an affinity with graveyards. Today we got to see a headstone marking the approximate spot that an aunty and two uncles were buried when they died as children - the grave and headstone was arranged by their sister and my aunty. It's nice to see them remembered properly - Jean died in 1928, Leonard in 1937, and Reginald in 1942.

Our next stop was the Lobster Ponds at Flowerdale. The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster is listed as a vulnerable species due to overfishing and habitat change, so since the 1990's it has been illegal to catch them, with a fine of $10,000 if you break this law.

At the ponds they are helping to preserve this beautiful species for the future. (I have to admit that when I was young I was one of the people who enjoyed eating lobster which was caught by dad and the boys, but thankfully the species is now safe).

Inside they have several tanks so that you can see the lobsters, as in the ponds which have the natural habitat of tannin coloured water it's really difficult to spot them.

If you look closely in the picture below you'll see a claw sticking out from under the log - our guide was very impressed that I had spotted it.

View from the lobster ponds....

Now an update on Crumble's adventures. Today he made two new friends and managed to behave himself - he met a rare green squirrel (relative of the rabbit) and then he met a very unusual looking cow. I think the fact that they were both bigger than him helped in his behaviour.

Final stop on our mini tour was Boat Harbour beach. This beach has in the past been voted in the top ten beaches in Australia - it's a little piece of paradise.  Being at a beach of course I went sea glass hunting, which resulted in a little bit of an incident which has left me with multiple bruises. We were walking down a rocky and loose stone slope with Ken in front to stabilize me but I still managed to slip, fall backwards, pull Ken down on top of me, and slide down the slope - it must have been quite a sight. I didn't notice the painful spots for a while because I was too busy laughing - I'm such a klutz.

Below is some cheese we spotted in the local supermarket - I'm not sure I'd want to eat something that might bite.

We hope you're enjoying this visit to Tassie and all the delights it has to offer. Until next time, stay safe, keep smiling, and do something nice for yourself this week.

Pamela and Ken

P.S: Final shot - I think the jet lag is really getting to my beloved.