Monday, March 23, 2009

The East Coast - St Helen's & Bicheno - & Cornwall!


The coast between Scamander and Bicheno

St Helen's - cray boats

The route we took

We set off at 9am and headed north up the Midland Hwy, and turning off at the Esk Hwy.

Just before St Mary's we saw a sign pointing to - CORNWALL! Yes! we thought, at last, some Cornish input for the blog. Only 3km up the road, we found the little village, which had been the site of a coal mine opened in 1886 (coal had been found in 1843, but it needed the railway to make it a viable business proposition). Some Cornish tin miners had been brought out to teach their mining skills, and the company formed was appropriately called the Cornwall Coal Mining Company. I couldn't find any further info about the tin miners, who they were and how many, or what happened to them .... but there is a Wall of remembrance with the names of many, many miners who had worked in the district. After the obligatory pictures had been taken we continued on to St Mary's, then through St Mary's Pass - shudder, steep drop on my side, be CAREFUL Max!!! On to the Tasman Hwy - we made St Helen's by lunch time, and had yummy fish and chips from The Captain's Catch - very nicely done, none of your greasies in St Helen's!

Next stop Bicheno - oh, we like Bicheno! It had clouded over by the time we got there, but the brisk breeze blowing at St Helen's had dropped right away, and it was very pleasant. A walk along the clifftop, admiring Diamond Island and the wonderful rock formations, and then we decided to look for a cray for tea - this was Bicheno, after all! We asked at the Visitor Centre - certainly we could buy a cray, over at the butchers of all places! It was a gourmet butcher admittedly, who specialised in sausages - Max pointed out the varieties listed, there must have been thirty at least! Half a cray cost us $54 and a dozen green prawns was another $12 - then I noticed the butcher made his own brawn, now I haven't seen brawn since my mother used to make it - so we had to have some of that! Well, it was an expensive tea, but it was worth it!

By this time it was about 3.30pm and we thought it was time to head for home - Ross was 100km away, taking the Lake Leake Road back to the Midland Hwy. The sun was shining on the midlands, and we remarked on the difference in the weather, presuming the mountains are the influence which make it so changeable.

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