Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Fingal - Eastern Tasmania
A Little Bit of Ireland!
A Wonderful Roadside Stopover
with free power too!

This is another wonderful effort by the very motorhome friendly Break O'Day Council. It truly is as good as it gets, either for overnight stopovers or a day at least exploring this very scenic area. Accolades of praise are warranted and we hope that every CMCA member will support this Council's towns and local businesses. This is one way we can show that their efforts are sincerely appreciated. The Roadside Stopover, as these areas are becoming known in Tasmania, is right in the heart of the town and is located at the rear of Fingal Park. It will accommodate large rigs, as there is a very large bitumen turning circle as can be seen in the photo below right. We have used this stopover on three separate occasions and just love it! A wonderful place to unwind, really adjust and slow right down.


 
 

Break O'Day have provided a couple of 15 amp power poles, several easy access water taps, a good level hard stand parking area and a really well designed dump point complete with a dedicated tap for flushing - a nice thought. The power poles by the way are the new state of the art ones with a big glowing pilot light and easily accessible RCD and reset controls - all without bending and totally visible and ready for the new screw in plugs when they gain wider acceptance. At present Tasmania is light years ahead of the mainland in this vital safety area.


 
 
 

The grounds are lovely with lots of trees and shrubs, acres of lush Irish green grass, all set with a mountainous backdrop. There is even a bit of history here, as this site was once the town's timber mill. The only memory of this is a beautifully built brick kiln for burning sawdust. This is in excellent condition and takes a great photo as can be seen at the bottom of this page. The photo above right shows part of the information booth. This is very well laid out and contains a wealth of easy to read information.


 
 
 

Now there is a railway line right behind the reserve, but the only trains come early in the morning and late afternoon. The photo above left shows CMCA members Olwyn and Roy "watching" for trains - both Irihmen by the way! Night times are peacefully quiet with very little road traffic. Sheep graze beside the railway line! There is a local calf who is sometimes tethered nearby to enjoy the luscious green feed. The old station is about 1/2 km west and is well worth a look. Just follow the tracks - photo below left. The photo on the right is the Post Office, where you can get a lot of good local tourist information, just inside the front door, including an excellent brochure on the area called "Let's Talk About Fingal Valley District"..


 
 
 

And - yes folks - you can even get Internet Access in the old Tasmanian Hotel building now converted and beautifully restored for use as a community centre. There are four computers and email starts at $2.00 for 15 minutes. It was wonderful to see volunteers so freely sharing their knowledge with others.


 
 
 

Shops and doctors are in easy walking distance. There is only one hotel and it is only 300 metres walk from our parking spot. Ask Roy and Olwyn - being Irish they went for a quick Guinness earlier in the afternoon prior to arrival. They enjoyed the company of the locals so much, they were in danger of being divorced when they finally came home some several hours later. A choice of two take away spots with hot food, but don't forget this is "country" so cooking stops around 6.30 PM at night. A couple of small servos and a well stocked IGA supermarket where you will find very helpful staff. OK, it is maybe a small town, but it has all the facilities every a motorhomer needs!


 
 
 

This is a good spot to leave your rig if you have a second vehicle and wish to explore the surrounding area - Ben Lomond with its little ski village is very popular, as it is a bit on the hard side to take a normal motorhome up there. Another lovely side trip is from Fingal to Mangana, on to Rossarden and into Avoca. This has one hilly section, but quite OK for normal motorhomes - fantastic views of Slacks Bluff and other peaks usually shrouded in low cloud. Hema say this route, the B42 is all bitumen. Well they got it a bit wrong as the last 6 kms into Avoca is on good dirt. This road has lots of photo opportunities.


 
 
 

The town itself has a lovely Irish Village feel about it with excellent examples of free stone masonry. The Post Office is a work of art and overall the locals really care about their town. Zero hoons and vandalism - you even get soap and paper towels in the very clean toilets. Walking opportunities abound. Try walking west and going down to the river. A lovely area with picnic tables but the toilets were all locked up at this spot during our visit. During our visit, autumn leafed trees abounded, giving a magnificent contrast to the green of this small valley. If you are a history buff, just walk a bit further west and you will come across the old convict jail - still in pristine condition.


 
 
 

Acceptable TV reception on just a Winegard works best on the hard stand area (local reception is vertical polarisation though), town water (river with the slightest discolouration), great very easy access dump point, terrific toilets and lit at night. CDMA works fine. GSM shows 3 bars, but we got lots of drop outs for reasons unknown! You could also give your vehicle a quick wash provided you do it on the well mown lush grass. The locals are all very friendly to motorhomers and appreciate the extra revenue we are bringing into their town. Going for a quick walk takes ages due to all the "chats"! One little boy saw Rex, our border collie, staring very hard at an old building and explained that there was a stray cat lived there. Other children came up to us and asked if they could pat Rex. They were very sociable and obviously stranger danger has not had to be implemented in this area of the world - what a lovely change.

In summing up, Tasmania leads the way in being motorhome friendly. This Roadside Stopover truly is an excellent example of what can be achieved by councils with vision. Other councils, particularly those on the mainland, could well use this as an example for their regions. Well done Break O'Day.

Absolutely totally recommended.

Chrissy Eustace

HEMA 55 G 13

 

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