Caves, Cliffs, Honey & Salmon

Mole Creek Travel Blog

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Man with pet llama...

We has breakfast in Sheffield this morning, the town of murals. Almost every shop here has had a painted mural on the side depicting either the original shop use, a historical depiction of the current shop use or some local scenery. As we dotted around the streets, Zoe pointed out a large and hairy dog sitting on a lead beside a gentlemen sat outside a coffee shop. She wanted to know what kind of dog it was, I told her gently that it was a llama....

Our next stop was at Mole Creek where we had the choice of visiting two types of caves, one was dry and full of calcium carbonate formations, the other was wet and showed the largest collection of glow worms in Australia. Snce Zoe had not seen glow worms yet, she opted for the wet cave and Rose and I, despite having been to many caves before decided to go to the dry cave.

Murals in The Town of Murals, Sheffield
We went with low expectations, thinking we had seen caves before, but we were both surprised and delighted by the tour. Not only was it interesting and informative but the caves themselves were beautiful. They were discovered by a man out hunting wombats; his dog slipped and fell into a sink hole into the cave. Back then he would only have had lamp light, and caves were little known or recorded, so when he crept through these weird, alien looking formations he must have been awed and probably quite afraid. However, his anxiety soon disappated as he noticed sparkles in the formations, and started to believe he had stumbled on a diamond mine, hence the name King Solomon caves. Sadly for him, the sparkles in the formations are only light reflections that show when the rock is completely dry.

Often caves would be discovered like this, or by people following rivers of water right back to their source and venturing into the rock caverns.

Mole Creek caves
Also, as the cold air flowed out of the sink holes and met the warmer air outside, they could form visble clouds that could be mistaken for spirits or ghosts.

The first visitors were allowed access via a lowered rope. The smoke damage from the acetylene lighters (and the generator itself) is still visible on some of the formations, and although some have begun to be covered over with more sediment, others are not recovering so obviously. Also, at the end of the historical tour, visitors were allowed to take a souvenier, so there is much vidence of broken off stalactites and stalacmites. While the tour guide admits this is sad, he also explained that it's an important part of learning, and that we are still learning all the time about how not to damage the caves. No person is allowed to touch the caves as oil on the hands can lesson or stop growth, but all credit to the historical tour operators, as soon as they realised, they stopped allowing people to touch the rock.

Mount Roland
Perhaps we will be shocked at our modern methods of lighting and other activities in the future as knowledge increases.

We then drove to Alum Cliffs where we picnic lunched and then did a 50 min return walk to the cliffs themselves. These looked out over a forested valley with a beautiful, rocky river at the bottom, and beautiful rocky precipes and geological strata. We ate native cherries from the bushes, tiny berries with a stone atttached the same size as themselves (real bush tucker!).

Then onto Chudleigh where we almost made ourselves sick at the Honey Museum trying about 32 different types of honey. I am not a massive honey fan, but it was interesting to see how much the flavours differed, and it's true that perhaps I don't like honey because the types I've tried aren't pleaurable to me.

Zo and I at Alum Cliffs
I liked the local Tasmanian Leatherwood honey, Manuka, Orange Blossom, Grey something, Wild Strawberry, Meadow, Wildflower and Bush honey.

Finally we drove to Deloraine and visited a salmon and ginseng farm. No, we don't know why they combine those two random farms either. I didn't do the walk round the farm (getting slightly edgy about finances already and I'm only half way through), but I bought some smoked Tasmanian salmon and had it later with cream cheese!

We stayed the night in Launceston (pronounced Lonseston! How untidy!) above a pub. We all shared a room, which was slightly odd given that we were staying with our tour guide and friend, but Greg and Tanya are well cool, down to earth people, so they don't feel so much like tour guides as a couple of mates you don't know so well.

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Man with pet llama...
Man with pet llama...
Murals in The Town of Murals, Shef…
Murals in The Town of Murals, She…
Mole Creek caves
Mole Creek caves
Mount Roland
Mount Roland
Zo and I at Alum Cliffs
Zo and I at Alum Cliffs
Mole Creek
photo by: clearviews