Orford on the East Coast of Tasmania is a special place. A tiny, unspoilt coastal village of around 550 people.The kind of place where even jaded 'mainlanders' can come for a weekend, and leave with a foreign feeling of peace.
The drive to Orford from most places in Hobart is an easy one of around an hour. Once in Orford, there are essentially three locations you can base yourself and each of them has their own unique appeal.
The town boasts a hotel and a number of holiday units and houses for rent.
Immediately upon arriving in Orford, you will notice the river that neatly runs through the town and around which many people choose to live or holiday. Individual jetties dot out from the shore on both sides of the river, and an impressive array of boats are on display.
At certain times of the day the area is deserted, as the boats cruise out of the river to Prosser Bay to enjoy the local marine life. There is something about the sound of the boats coming or going from their expeditions that let's you know you are now officially on holiday, even if only for a weekend.
The Orford town centre, such as it is, is located at the junction of the highway and river. There you will find a Gourmet Pizzas Gallery/Cafe, Café/Restaurant, a very well stocked IGA and post office/news agency. Across the river is a hotel/motel and takeaway outlet.
Whilst both the café and restaurant have their charms, if it is good coffee or a normal priced copy of a mainland paper you are after, then you will be disappointed.
But people do not flock to Orford during the summer months for the coffee.
The reason to go to Orford for a weekend is not just the easy and short drive from Hobart, but how relaxed and refreshed you will feel even after a mere 24 hours or so there.
The two other locations from which you could choose to while away the hours, are the two main beaches of either Shelley or Spring Beach.
Shelley Beach is the first beach you arrive at after taking the main road (Charles Street/ Rheban Road) right of the town centre, and is the beach you come to if you prefer safe swimming beaches, or gazing at the boats anchored just off shore.
Less subject to strong sea breezes than neighbouring Spring Beach due to the protected bay it lies in, Shelley and its northern adjunct, Millington's, are perfect spots to sit, stare and ponder. And sit, stare and ponder. Until it is time to leave.
A further five minutes drive down the road rewards you with the first sighting of both Maria Island (a formal penal colony that welcomes day trippers and campers alike with rich history and spectacular bushwalking opportunities) and Spring Beach.
Spring Beach is wider and more exposed than Shelley Beach, but the sand is whiter and the water a more crisp and clear green.
The waves at Spring Beach are perfect for boogie boarding, wave skiing and various other water sports.
If you are tired from these exertions or simply not someone who partakes in them, then a walk around the rocks to the "cave" and a spot of crabbing are an innocent but fun way to spend some time.
Between Shelly and Spring Beach there is the cliff top walk that takes around an hour return to complete. The climb up from Spring Beach to the start of the actual walk can make you question your fitness, but the effort is more than rewarded by the simply stunning views along the track.
A few homes and holiday houses are dotted alongside the track, and occasionally you might wave to a fellow walker or bike rider.