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Fine chocs, Devonport Old Salts, Mural town and peaceful Mole Creek on GSA Tas Tour

March 25, 2014
Fine chocs, Devonport Old Salts, Mural town and peaceful Mole Creek on GSA Tas Tour

On Monday GSA's Agnes and Nick left Beauty Point in their Tassie Motor Shacks campervan and travelled to Devonport. "On the way we stopped at the Anvers Chocolate Factory, what a great place!" Agnes said.

"We had coffee and breakfast waffles, one serve was enough for both of us, it was yummy".

"We also tasted some truffles", she said.

Anvers is only three minutes drive from the Devonport Ferry Terminal and five minutes drive from the Devonport Airport, on the right-hand side of the Bass Highway", Agnes said.

The Chocolate Tasting Centre is at Latrobe, Tasmania, in the property formally known as Wyndarra Lodge, a stylish Californian bungalow house which was built in 1931. Set in 1.12 hectares of old tree gardens, the property features trees from around the world.

Visitors to the House of Anvers see qualified confectionery staff tempering, moulding and enrobing fine couverture chocolates, truffles, pralines and fudges. Entry is Free, self-guided tours are available at no charge.

Anvers confectionery tries to use Australian produce and services as much as possible. Apart from some items such as cacao which cannot be commercially sourced in Australia Anvers says more than 90percent of their outgoings spend is in Australia, the bulk of this in Tasmania.

Anvers trains all its staff to Certificate III in their chosen field: Food Processing (confectionery), Hospitality, Retail, Kitchen Operations and Asset Maintenance. Managers are encouraged to continue the training to Certificate IV and beyond.

Anvers fine chocolates
Anvers fine chocolates

"Then we visited the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, which has been extended and still a work in progress. This is a great place", Agnes said. The new Centre tells the story of Bass Strait with Devonport at its heart. Bass Strait has a history of shipwreck few places in the world can match.

Over the 1800s, around 1500 ships came to grief making their way between the 'eye of the needle' ( the gap between King Island and Cape Otway ) in the west, or the across the 'edge of the shelf' ( the continental shelf where the Strait meets the Tasman Ocean ) at the eastern end.

"Margaret the manager was really helpful, such a lot to see", Agnes said.

A star attraction at the centre is a life size steamer's bridge simulator where visitors can take the helm and steam out of Devonports Mersey River or if they are really brave steer through the infamous Rip at the entrance to Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay in a storm - at night!

"Nick and I both had a turn on the simulator which was great fun, we both sank the ship a couple of times", she said.

Joshua Slocum, the first man to circumnavigate the world single-handed, in an epic 74,000km, three-year adventure spent time in Devonport. He wrote about his stay while the Nova Scotian oyster boat he had restored, The Spray, underwent repairs on the slips at Woods Point.

He and his vessel were the first to fly American colours in the Tasmanian port. Slocum was 45 when he dropped anchor in Newport, Rhode Island on June 27 1898 at the end of his lone world girdling voyage. The Spray was 11.2m, of 12.71 tonnes sloop; yawl rigged after 1885. Slocum's book published in 1900 Sailing Alone Around the World is among the greatest classics of the sea.

Slocum was a Nova Scotian born, naturalised American seaman, adventurer, and a noted writer.

One of the most remarkable things about Spray was her ability to run before the wind under her regular fore-and-aft rig with the helm lashed, and hold her course for hours or days on end. If Spray had not had this ability, Slocum's performance would have been a physical impossibility.

Slocum and The Spray were lost in the Atlantic about November 4 1909 after sailing from Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, on the island of Martha's Vineyard bound for South America to explore the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers. Slocum was 65. ‘Sailing Alone Around the World’, is available in the Bass Strait Maritime Centre shop.

Bass Strait Maritime Centre signal flags say welcome.
Bass Strait Maritime Centre signal flags say welcome.

Originally, the Tasmanian Maritime and Folk Museum was housed at 26 Esplanade, East Devonport, opposite the ferry terminal. The site proved to be unsuitable and in 1980 the old Harbour Master's House in Gloucester Avenue became available.

In 2012 the Devonport City Council, with funding assistance from the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, commissioned the development of a further addition and refurbishment of the original Harbour Master’s house to become the Bass Strait Maritime Centre. Representatives of all three governments officially opened the Centre, Friday, April 5, 2013.

The new building has been designed to tell the stories of Bass Strait and Devonport's connection to this notorious stretch of water.The former Harbour Master's House, connected by a linkway has been entirely rennovated with six new exhibition areas.

Then on to Sheffield, the town of Murals since 1985 when the project started. Agnes and Nick visited the visitor info centre.

"The centre has some lovely woodwork, toys and paintings for sale.

The town is great, the murals all done in house paint are spectacular. They are having a festival at Easter", Agnes said. The International Mural Fest art competition has been held annually since 2003 and returns in April each year.

A poem is selected which the artists use as their inspiration.

Sheffield Mural 3
Sheffield Mural 3

After each competition the nine finalist murals remain on display at Mural Park for about 12 months until the next competition.

The first mural in Sheffield was unveiled in December 1986.

Since then over 60 murals depicting the area's rich history and beautiful natural scenery have been painted on walls scattered throughout the town and buildings along the roadside.

The murals attract an estimated 220,000 people to the town annually.



Within and hours drive of Sheffield are attractions like:

Cradle Mountain.

Thermal Springs.


Chocolate Factory.

Devil's Gate Dam.

Stylized Gardens.

Miniature Village.

Cheese Factory.

Mole Creek Caves.

Topiary Gardens.

Shell Museum.

Raspberry Farm.

National Parks.

Lavender Farm.


Honey Factory.

Mole Creek Caves 2
Mole Creek Caves 2

"It was getting late, so we took the scenic highway to Mole Creek, and visited one of the caves, there are two. Great experience", Agnes said.

"We are now staying at the Mole Creek Caravan Park overnight" (Monday).

"Cash only, and us with no money!" 

"The caretaker allowed us to stay the night and go to the ATM in the morning". "Nice park on the banks of a river".

"The caravan park has one cabin, the rest are camp sites, just $25 for a powered site for 2 people ($20 for one person) hot showers are 60c", Agnes said.

Mole Creek Caravan Park is 4 kms outside of the town, and about an hours drive from both Devonport (if coming by ferry) and Launceston (if flying).

The caravan park offers On-Site Van, powered sites and unpowered sites. The park can accommodate large rigs, motorhomes and buses (to 14m) comfortably. It is a quiet, peaceful park right on the banks of the creek, where open fires are allowed, and firewood is available.

Mole Creek Caravan Park has Wi-Fi Internet access, and clean amenities with excellent hot showers. The parks disposal facilities are recycle friendly and guests are encourage to recycle. Well behaved dogs are welcome under strict control.

Children under 12 accompanied by an adult stay free.There is a discount for CMCA members. Rates for singles and long term stays can be discussed with the manager.

Things to see and do while staying at Mole Creek include:

Mole Creek Caves.

Cradle Mountain.

The Honey Farm, Chudleigh.

Ashgrove Cheese.

41 degrees South Salmon Farm.

R Stephens Honey.

There is also plenty of local fishing and water rafting in the area.

Bass Strait Maritime Centre diver.
Bass Strait Maritime Centre diver.
Glorious mountain views in Sheffield
Glorious mountain views in Sheffield
GSA flies flag  at Mole Creek Caravan Park
GSA flies flag at Mole Creek Caravan Park
Sheffield Shop
Sheffield Shop