2017 – Ronald McDonald Long Weekend

Day 1
It was that time of the year again, didn’t seem like a full year since we were touring the Geeveston area.
We met at Cambridge Park in glorious sunny conditions, ready for a 9.30 departure. There we met Paul Mitchell and Kate Wainright, all the way from Burnie, and Les Webb from Swansea.
Following the usual chit chat we made our departure, bound for morning tea at Sorell, right beside the small dam built in 1891/92 to supply water for the Bellerive to Sorell railway. Here we met the others from Swansea – Syd Barber and the Flacks, it was great to be all together again. Following a re-charging cuppa we hit the road again, bound for lunch at the barbecue shelter at Murdunna.
Some brought their own food from home or barbecued there, but we chose to buy at the Dunalley bakery and take it to Murdunna. It was an early lunch, but that was good because there was quite a lot to fit in during the rest of the day.
Check in at Lufra was early, followed by a group stroll down to the Tessellated Pavement. Although most of us have seen it before, nature still amazes – how did those lines in the rocks get cut so amazingly straight!
Back to Lufra – built in the 1940s by Sir Reginald Ansett. This is an amazing art deco building in a stunning location, complete with large port holes looking out from the staircase (or are they aircraft windows?), panoramic dining room windows and terrific 1940s ceiling mouldings, etc. Sir Reg’ really knew what he was doing with this place! Our rooms had been recently renovated, very nice, and the hallways are “work in progress”.
Next we went for a short drive to the blow hole, enjoying the quirkiness of Doo Town as we passed through, and afterwards did the short hop up to Tasman’s Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. Again, these scenes are still very spectacular, even though we’ve been there many times before.

Some of us had booked with Cecely for a ghost tour at Port Arthur, and at 4.30 we were picked up by a very nice Tassielink coach to take us there, for free – the coach was organised for us by Les Webb and driven by his colleague Stuart Sinclair. This is the second time Les has done this for us, so we thank him very much, and Stuart also. The coach ride was very comfortable and we seemed to get there in no time at all. I’m not a believer in ghosts and ghoulies, but this is still a very entertaining evening – mostly a lot of ghost nonsense but part of it is stories of real people who did live there, so still very interesting. Most of us drew our coats in tight as the evening air grew colder and damper, contributing to the eerie atmosphere.
After the tour Stuart delivered us safely back to Lufra where we enjoyed a delicious two course meal with good choices. The management had thoughtfully delayed our meal time so we could fit in the ghost tour first. After a very long and enjoyable day everyone retired to their rooms for a welcome sleep.
Day 2
Up very early, I headed off down to the Tessellated Pavement, in pitch dark, armed with camera gear, in the hope of seeing a nice sunrise. My efforts were not without reward (see our front cover. Ed) and after a while the most glorious colours began to appear, much to the delight of a few other photographers who had the same idea as me. Work done, I headed back up for breakfast with several great shots in the bag, only just getting back in time. Breakfast was a delicious “Continental with bacon and eggs”.
Following brekkie it was off to the car park to see if the Cranbrook would start – I still had vivid memories of minus six degrees at Ross about three years ago, and having to be tow started by Geoff Sutcliffe! No worries, the temperature was quite mild for the time of year and the car fired up easily.
Following a group photo session we headed off for the old coal mines at Salt Water River. During our inspection of the site, reading the information boards and seeing the underground cells, we realised how easy our lives are in modern Tasmania. The coal mines site is a good place to visit – free, and you can wander about wherever you like.
During the morning we were pleased to catch up with Diane and Peter Frost, who had taken a drive down there to meet us. Following our wanderings here, a nice cuppa was enjoyed in the car park, then we said goodbye to the Keoghs who were heading for home.
Next stop was the Nubeena bakery for lunch, though I wasn’t sure where I was going fit the food after our huge breakfast and then morning tea! After lunch we enjoyed a leisurely drive to Remarkable Cave, which is still spectacular despite the addition of a nanny-state barrier at the bottom of the steps. By this time a decent swell had come up and there were plenty of big waves crashing onto the rocks outside the cave, but not right through due to the low tide. We were pleased to meet Jean and Max Bellette, Max being Paul Mitchell’s Mum’s cousin, lovely people.
Believe it or not, it was now time for more food, with a BYO afternoon tea at the picnic shelter just above the Port Arthur visitors’ centre. After a bit of a wind down here most were ready to crash for a while before dinner, so back we went to Lufra. The evening meal was a repeat of the night before, and just as delicious.

I’m told there was another glorious sunrise this morning, but unfortunately the full day’s activities of Sunday took their toll and I slept right through for nearly a full eight hours, so missed it! Breakfast was enjoyed by all once again, followed by a drive to Dunalley in glorious sunny winter conditions. After a delicious serving of morning tea at the bakery our weekend was over and we all went our separate ways and headed for home.
A BIG thank you to Cecely Meikle for her great organisation of the weekend, and Graham for his valuable assistance. And once again we thank Les Webb for organising the free coach for Saturday night, and to Stuart Sinclair for driving us. It was terrific to have Geoff and Joy Sutcliffe back with us again, after a bit of an absence, and also our members from the east and up north. I would like to encourage all members to think about joining us next year for the tour, wherever it may take us, it’s a lot of fun.

– John