Playful Platypus, Paper Penguins & Pesky Plovers!

While based in Hobart we took a drive south west to Geeveston, a town in the Huon Valley. We had planned to stay there a couple of weeks later in the year and wanted to check the area out. There was also the possibility of a house sitting job so we went to meet the lovely homeowner who has lived in Geeveston for over 50 yrs. We were very kindly invited to have lunch at her home and we had a wonderful time getting to know Beverley, her grandson and his girlfriend. Geeveston has a strong apple growing and forestry heritage and is close to the Hartz Mountains National Park. We had also heard about the opportunity of seeing platypus in the river running through town. Beverley had never seen any so we were a little doubtful if we would be lucky enough to do so. Well they say patience is a virtue and on this occasion patience certainly paid off. The council have built a little platform over one of the banks of the river. We weren’t sure what to look for but there was an information sign nearby. It advised to keep an eye out for air bubbles rising to the surface and for ripples fanning out. We stood silently, watching closely and fairly soon we were rewarded with the most beautiful little creature paddling intently along the surface before suddenly diving down, out of sight. We watched for about 45 minutes as the platypus playfully moved along the river. It’s webbed paws propelling it along like a lean, mean swimming machine and before the blink of an eye, it dived down with ease and because the water in places was clear, we could follow it’s progress until it surfaced again. We had such fun watching and did so until finally he/she was out of view completely.

Back in Hobart we attended the Australian Antarctic Festival. Hobart is Australia’s Antarctic port and the festival celebrates the work done historically and currently.  We attended Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum which is a fascinating insight to the people and conditions of 1911-14.The museum is a replica of the huts constructed by the men of the Antarctic Expedition led by Dr Douglas Mawson during that period. The original are still in situ at Cape Denison, Antarctica.

As part of the celebrations, the local schools had been invited to produce colourful paper penguins. These were displayed on the harbor front. 

To top off our day in Hobart we attended a concert at the Hobart Town Hall. The Derwent Symphony Orchestra, church choirs and school choirs performed musical pieces that had been chosen from reading the diaries of Mawson and his men. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After two weeks in Hobart we headed north to Longford Riverside Caravan Park. Longford is near Launceston and situated on the Macquarie River. We were going to stay two weeks but stayed for three.

During our first few days we became aware of some birds living in the park. One was sitting on a clutch of eggs and we quickly found out how protective mum, dad and extended family members were. We learnt that the birds were Masked Wing Plovers and very territorial, particularly during the egg / baby chicks period. You couldn’t help pass the nest as it was on the ground on one of the powered sites near the amenities block. Jude was swooped a few times and Ray drove the car to the amenities to avoid them flying around him! Mum hatched four eggs and the chicks were cute to watch……from the safety of our caravan window!

We came home late one night to find them all outside our van. It was cute watching mum shepherd them to safety.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s