The Bedfords call this Home
I know there is an absolute abundance of vivid, descriptive words that could be used to attempt an accurate portrayal of the Bedford’s property in Loongana, Tasmania. Now I just need to figure out where to start? Wondrous, natural, fantastic? All good, but not painting the entire picture. I’m not sure I can do it justice, but this 70 acres of land is beautiful and worth the journey. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Ulverstone which lies on the North shore of Tasmania, West of Launceston.
Matt, my American-Aussie travel companion, had found the Bedford’s on Couchsurfing.org. After some correspondence with Peter, the man of the house, we had been invited to stay a couple of nights. As we got comfortable, we knew that we would end up staying the remainder of our trip in and about the area. What a welcoming, comfortable piece of paradise.
Matt and our host Peter looking down on Leven Canyon
The property is more or less self-contained and self-sufficient. The Bedfords have spent years building the property from the ground up. A great descriptive word for this family: industrious! A gorgeous (secret) waterfall and small river supply hydro power. There are gardens, chickens, some miniature horses, a small lake with trout, a tree fort, and my personal favourite: the outdoor, fire heated bathtub.
This is a real treat – you actually light a fire below the tub and must be careful to add cold water on a frequent basis in order not to be slowly simmered! Can it get any better? It’s cold enough for frost in the mornings, so a hot bath outside is a virtual heaven. Even better? Our last night there, as the hand-picked hazelnuts roasted on the bonfire, I sipped homemade honey mead in the tub, and the others stood around chatting and throwing vegetables in to make the stock perfect (mmmhhh, Jill soup? – yeah, I might not remember the night with complete accuracy, the honey mead packed a powerful punch).
They sure are friendly in Penguin!
Although the entire first day was spent on the property, by the second day it was time to explore a bit further out. A trip into Ulverstone was highlighted by a coffee at Smiley’s. The scones and jam, and friendly atmosphere made allowance for the atrocious attempt at a Canadian accent (although I was flattered Smiley tried, and it came across in a lovely Irish lilt with ‘eh’ planted at the end of each sentence).
Fresh fish for sushi
We took the van West to a small town called Penguin on the quest for fresh fish. Penguin is charming (sort of like Qualicum for you Vancouver Islanders) but contrary to popular belief (and logic) contains no penguins. Oh, and no fresh fish….sigh (one might bring the other, no?). We continued on to Burnie and our fresh-fish-success meant sushi night at the Bedfords. Yum!
The river running through the Canyon
Hiking through Leven Canyon, biking, late-night wildlife excursions in the Ute, eating way too much, drinking, sharing stories, just a lot of hanging out…this was the bulk of how I spent my time in Tasmania. This is how everyone should spend their time in Tasmania!
It’s always so nice to get off the beaten track a bit. It feels real and wholesome and valuable. Tasmania is a lot like home, more so than any place I’ve been so far in Australia. I think the vague familiarity and the vast differences are intriguing and were a little unexpected. I felt very at ease in this little state (yes, it’s approximately the size of Ireland, but it’s all relative, isn’t it?). The landscape was inspiring, and the company was pretty great – no two-headed people to be seen… although, you know, we never did make it right around the island…
Theme Songs of the Day:
Brainy – The National, form the album Boxer
Messages – Xavier Rudd, from the album
Gone Away From Me – Ray LaMontagne, from the album Till the Sun Turns Black