Lillico Beach

There is one of those, “I must go there one day” places along the Bass Highway between Ulverstone and Devonport. I am ashamed to say it took me eight years in Tasmania before I pulled off the highway to explore Lillico Beach Conservation Area. The reserve is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins, aptly named the Little Penguin or Fairy Penguin. I entered the walkway and immediately spotted little concrete shelters scattered through the vegetation.

1.penguin burrow2.penguin burrow

The artificial burrows are used when there is a lack of natural burrow habitat and offer protection from predators such as feral cats.

3.penguin burrows

I wandered along the viewing platform, distracted by the spectacular panorama of Bass Strait at low tide.

4.looking west5.looking north6.looking east

The burrow designs are quite innovative and seem perfectly sized for a penguin who is only 30cm high and weighs around one kilogram.

7.penguin burrow

This important wildlife corridor hugs the coast for 2.5kms,

8.Bass Strait

the shingle beach and rock pools make for stunning scenery.

9.on the beach

If I were living at Lillico Beach, this would be my choice of home,

10.penguin burrow

if only for the location.

11.penguin burrow

There were no penguins to be seen on this day, they were all out fishing in the beautiful blue ocean. We will visit one summer evening to watch them waddling back to their burrows. I won’t wait another eight years.

Scarborough

Although I was quite young when I left England, I have fond memories of holidays to the seaside. I think Scarborough Beach is where I first fell in love with donkeys.

1.me & Sally the donkey

I just had to re-visit while we were in Yorkshire, although the donkeys were keeping warm elsewhere until summertime came around again. Tourists have been flocking to Scarborough since the 17th century when healing waters were discovered and a spa was opened. The beautiful sandy beaches are divided into two bays, the north bay being the more peaceful end of the resort.

2.North Bay, Scarborough

The colourful beach huts have stood the test of time, with 166 being the largest collection in the North of England. The pyramid shaped structure in the distance is the Sea Life Sanctuary. More than simply an aquarium, it is a centre for rescuing and breeding creatures of the sea as well as being an important educational facility. The huge apartment complex is The Sands, five-star luxury that certainly wasn’t there in the 1960s. Personally, I prefer the character of the gorgeous guesthouses on Queen’s Parade.

3.Queen's Parade Scarborough

A high rocky promontory separates the north and south bays

4.Headland between North & South Bay

upon which are the ruins of the 11th century Scarborough Castle. The castle has been developed into a fascinating tourist attraction but, unfortunately, at the end of October most of these national monuments are closed for the winter.

5.Scarborough Castle

We didn’t visit south bay and the old town, it is the main tourist area with a long, sandy beach, cafés, amusement arcades and theatres. Instead, we drove to Whitby and then across the Yorkshire Moors back to Harrogate.

6.Yorkshire Moors

We watched the steam train of the North Yorkshire Moors heritage railway as it carried passengers through twenty four miles of Yorkshire’s stunning scenery. Maybe next time we’ll hop on board.

7.Yorkshire Moors

The Old Coast Road

After a bitterly cold, overcast weekend recently, we were greeted on Monday by a perfect autumn day. I don’t work on Mondays and so, we decided to drive along the old coast road to Ulverstone for lunch. With the top down, Cooper took us on a magnificent journey, reminding us of the natural beauty we have so close to home. We turned off the highway at Sulphur Creek, apparently named because of the perceived smell of sulphur in the area when first explored by Europeans.

1.Sulphur Creek

Sulphur is associated with volcanic activity, which has determined the landscape of northwest Tasmania. There is no longer evidence of the offending aroma, just a stunning, sandy beach.

2.Sulphur Creek3.Cooper at Sulphur Creek

There used to be a fabulous restaurant at Preservation Bay, hopefully one day there will be another to make the most of this wonderful vista.

4.Preservation Bay5.Cooper at Preservation Bay

Soon, we were in the gorgeous town of Penguin.

6.Penguin7.Penguin8.Ocean Road

As we travelled the narrow, winding road, I was boggled by the reflections of the sun on the glassy water.

9.Ocean Road10.Ocean Road11.Ocean Road12.Ocean Road13.Ocean Road

There is a house along this road that fills me with more than a little envy.

14.house15.house

The Three Sisters are a group of three small islands (the third is almost hidden behind the headland at the right of the pic)

16.Three Sisters17.2 of the 3 sisters

and, along with Goat Island, they form the 37 hectare Three Sisters – Goat Island Nature Reserve.

18.Goat Island

Goat Island is a granite island and houses a breeding colony of little penguins.

19.Goat Island

It can be walked to at low tide, a lovely spot for a picnic.

20.Goat Island

As we reached Ulverstone,

21.Ulverstone

we spied Pedro’s across the river.

22.Pedro's23.Pedro's

The restaurant has a lovely, relaxed ambience

24.Pedro's

and we were shown to a table on the enclosed balcony, warmed by the autumn sun.

28.Pedro's

The Derwent Estate Pinot Gris came highly recommended. A delicious shade of pink, I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

29.pinot gris

The salt & pepper calamari and crumbed scallops were exquisite, the real flavor of fresh seafood.

Outside, the gulls were enjoying a bathe in the shallows of the river’s edge, soon the tide would be high and their chance would be missed.

33.gulls

The Leven River glistened

34.Leven River

as we left Pedro’s

35.Pedro's

and retraced our journey.

36.old ocean road37.old ocean road

Table Cape emerged in the distance

38.Table Cape

before disappearing behind the next headland.

39.old ocean road

We were surprised to see the masts of a tall ship in the bay, not a common sight in these waters. I read the next day, poor weather conditions had forced the UK ship, Tenacious, to stop in Burnie for a couple of days on its way from Melbourne to New Zealand. Tenacious is the world’s largest operative wooden hulled tall ship and offers opportunities for people with a disability to experience a sailing voyage.

40.Tenacious

What a marvelous way to end our day.

Canal Rocks

The coastline of the Margaret River region delivered one stunning spectacle after another. We had enjoyed a fabulous dinner the previous night at Lamont’s Restaurant at Smiths Beach Resort. Returning the next morning, the stretch of white sand and crystal-clear blue water of Smiths Beach was revealed.

1.Smiths Beach2.Smiths Beach

A little further down the coast,

3.Canal Rocks

the Indian Ocean has carved a narrow channel between ancient granite rocks, creating the remarkable phenomenon that is Canal Rocks. From the car park, a boardwalk skirts the granite outcrop

4.Boardwalk Canal Rocks5.Boardwalk Canal Rocks

and leads to a wooden bridge where we stood, mesmerized, as the ocean currents danced a briny ballet.

6.Canal Rocks7.Canal Rocks8.Canal Rocks9.Canal Rocks10.Canal Rocks

Across the bridge,

11.Canal Rocks

the rocks have been worn smooth over the centuries.

12.Canal Rocks14.Canal Rocks13.Canal Rocks

The water was turbulent enough on this relatively calm day,

15.Canal Rocks

I imagine it would be absolutely breathtaking when the storms roll in.

16.Canal Rocks

A short drive further, we warmed up with a coffee at the White Elephant Café

17.White Elephant Cafe

while enjoying the beautiful panorama of Gnarabup Beach.

18.Gnarabup Beach

Yallingup Reef

The coastline in the north of the Margaret River Region is spectacular. Our day trip began with a diversion to Yallingup Reef.

1.Yallingup Reef

We stood, mesmerized by the breaking surf and perfectly placed rainbow.

2.Yallingup Reef3.Yallingup Reef

A little further north, Yallingup Beach is famous for its legendary surf breaks. However, Yallingup Reef is well protected from the wind and the beach stays very shallow for a long way out.

4.Yallingup Reef

The granite rocks of the point surround it completely and the breaking waves are far from the beach.

5.Yallingup Reef6.Yallingup Reef7.Yallingup Reef8.Yallingup Reef

I can see why the Aboriginal name for this beautiful area means ‘place of love’.

9.Yallingup Reef