Will be closing this BLOG soon, as our trip is well and truly over 🙂
New post over at Nunululu.
Will be closing this BLOG soon, as our trip is well and truly over 🙂
New post over at Nunululu.
I forgot to buy you a birthday card ! It’s 7.17pm, I have cake batter all over me and I’ve just sent your dad up the shops to get batteries for one of your toys (that I haven’t wrapped yet either). This blog is to remind you that when you’re older and you reflect on the day you turned 2 and remember that I didn’t have a card for you, that I (your mummy) did one better and dedicated a special blog entry JUST FOR YOU.
Frankie.. The list is endless but here are a few things that you do and say that make our day.
I LULL YOU – translates into “I Love You” and my heart melts when you say it.
MUMMY MUMMY MUUUUUUM – You say this all day and to all members of the family. Everyone is your Mummy when you want something.
Your rockin dance moves, you are by far the best hip swinging, girl with swagger that we’ve met. You’re amazing and when you hear some tunes you swagger to your special space in the lounge room and start groovin on. You can say ‘dancing’ and ‘music’ and your favourite song (which I’m not happy about) is GANGMAN STYLE and the whole PITCH PERFECT soundtrack.
You’re a whiz on the IPAD and you are currently building a house on minecraft. You swipe those little soft hands over the iPad, through pages of apps until you find the exact one you want. Clever girl..
You’re very beautiful and give the juiciest wettest kisses EVER.
You love your sisters and they love you to bits.
You eat me out of house and home, yet never finish anything you start eating.
You love colouring.. we see evidence all over the place, from the computer keyboard, the front flyscreen, the window sills and the furniture. You never disappoint, you do this daily and we’ve given up on caring because once again – you’re so cute !
When you don’t want to go to bed, but you want us to believe that you are in bed, we find you either hiding under your sisters desk in their room, or under the dining table in the kitchen.
Frank – You’re amazing, special, funny, cheeky, naughty, crazy, a whirlwind of tears, laughter and sunshine. What we did without you who knows ! We all love you so much.
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY OUR SPECIAL BABY GIRL….
Mummy, Mum, Mumma & Muuuum
(Mum, Dad, Lulu and Sarah)
Let’s just finish this now shall we?
We arrived in Esperance after a short trip in the car, we’d already done most of the driving the day before so we only had about a 3 hour drive before we hit Esperance. On the way there we had a quick conversation with Waynes parents who were due to meet us in Esperance in a few days time. They asked us if we wanted to meet them in Hopetoun but we said no as it was a further 300km’s (in the the other direction) and we left it at that. However, the kids overheard the conversation and thought it would be nice if we just turned up and surprised Nanna and Poppy. After a quick re think we decided why not? There’s not too many surprises to be had in life, so this is something that we’d all get a kick out of. We did a big shop in Esperance, changed clothes and then pushed on for another 3 hours.
We knew the name of the caravan park where they were staying and as we drove down to reception Wayne tried to keep the car hidden. I asked reception to take us there the back way so they couldn’t see us coming. It was so lovely. They were still setting up the van when we arrived, and I jumped out the car with the kids and yelled out Oi.. you know when your taken aback and it takes a while for the recognition to come ? That’s what it was like. Doreen (Waynes mum) was so thrilled and very teary as was his dad. The kids were super excited and it was a great reunion. Wasn’t long before the kids had their Christmas and belated birthday presents to open and Frankie was getting to know Nanna and Pop again, it had been 8 months since we’d seen them.
So, we set up camp, had a few drinks and dinner and decided to stay just the 2 nights. As it turned out, this part of WA had torrential rain and wind (Esperance too) so we stayed put for 3 nights. The campground was very muddy, and the toilets were leaking so it wasn’t the best place we’d stayed, but Hopetoun itself was a really lovely town. Good coffee shop that we hung about in for most of one afternoon, and the kids loved being so close to their Grandparents. Waynes parents were traveling with another couple too, so it was nice to spend time with everyone.
After a long and changing discussion, we decided to hit Esperance for a few days once the weather cleared. Waynes parents had stayed at a place just 10km out of Esperance before with their caravan club, called The Pony Club. It was $7 a night (which Wayne loved) and was basically a paddock with a toilet/shower. We had water and electricity and as we have a shower in our caravan I was ok with this. It was only for 2 nights after all ! Lots of flying bug things around, but also some kangaroos .. Something for everyone ! 🙂
I’d been wanting to go to Esperance for ages, the afternoon we got there we went into town and had a swim at the main beach. It was lovely, and the weather was so warm. Had a coffee in town after and then back to the van for dinner. The following day we went to Cape Le Grand National Park which is about 40km’s from Esperance and I’m so glad we did.
WOW.. Hellfire Bay was incredible, as was Lucky Bay. We chose Hellfire bay to have lunch and a swim and stayed there for most of the afternoon. You can drive along the beaches, the sand is white and squelchy and the views are breathtaking. You can camp there too, which would have been great to know before hand, although no power and as we don’t have a generator we probably couldn’t have done it. Something for the future though, as long as you had good weather.
I think we were getting a little itchy at this point. Well I know I was anyway, knowing that we were only about an 8 hour drive away from a hot bath and my big beautiful bed I was eager to keep traveling so we could eventually get home a couple of weeks earlier than planned. Wayne wasn’t having a bar of that at this stage though, but agreed we should head towards Albany. Waynes parents were traveling with us so we packed up and drove on.
I love Albany. Wayne was transferred to Albany when he was still working with WAPOL back in 2001 and we lived there for almost 5 months before we moved to Canberra with Wayne’s new job with the Australian Federal Police. We have such lovely memories, it was just the 2 of us back then, not long married, we had sold our house, so no mortgage, living in a GEHA house and going out to dinner and lunches constantly. Yes, the weather is cold but we had pretty good weather the whole time we lived there. This time however, it rained and rained. We had 1 fantastic day and we spent most of it at the beach (Frenchmans Bay). Wayne and I managed to go out to dinner alone too, while Nanna babysat. We showed the kids where we used to live and shop and a few other sight seeing things. Albany has changed alot. So many more places to eat/drink, a lot more shopping centres too. I loved it, even though it was wet and miserable, however Wayne and all 3 girls came down with a bad cold and temperatures etc. Living in a caravan, when it’s cold and wet AND being sick isn’t much fun for everyone. It was around this time that we were notified that our house was vacant as the tenants had moved out, and we were able to move in asap. Wayne agreed that we should make our way back home a little earlier, even if he wasn’t entirely convinced.
I think we had 3 or 4 nights in Albany and then we made our way to Busselton. Busselton is a family tradition with Wayne’s family. His parents have been going there every year since Wayne was a small child and they still go every xmas for 6 weeks. We got a good spot at the family favourite caravan park, the weather was beautiful and we were all in good spirits. We didn’t do a great deal, knowing our time was coming to and end on this trip, I went into clean mode. Made sure all my washing done, Wayne cleaned up the van a bit, I was on the phone to the GIO and the water/gas/electricity to make sure everything was in order for when we were home. We did manage to go for a drive along the south west though, take in some sights, had lunch out and took the kids to the Jetty etc. We stayed for 2 or maybe 3 nights (my memory is failing me) and then it was HOME time!
Not sure how to end this one. We’ve been home for a couple of months now. We are well and truly back into a routine, the kids are in school, Frankie is now used to her new surroundings and is ruling the roost as she did in the caravan. It’s been great to catch up with family and friends and I think we’ve almost caught up with everyone since we’ve been back. We talk about the trip a lot and I know that if he could, Wayne would be doing it again in a heartbeat. I haven’t worked a full-time job in so long that I really don’t understand the daily grind (although being a mum I have a different version of what the daily grind is) but I was so pleased for Wayne that he was able to have all that time off to spend it with us and travel this great country of ours.
Thanks for all the comments, the tips and recommendations we’ve been given on the way.
Until next time & lots of love..
The travelling Morrells x
Let’s just say we SMASHED the Nulla this time around. Driving from South Australia, it took us only 3 days before we hit Exmouth and we had a 900km day in there somewhere.
Nothing really to report. we had bad weather the 2nd day and 2nd night, but we pushed on. The girls were fantastic & just slept and watched movies the whole drive. No windows blew off the caravan this time either which was great news 🙂
We were all getting excited and a little sad too, at the thought of crossing the SA/WA Border. Our time on this trip was well and truly coming to and end!
Probably the most exciting thing was when we were stopped at the Border and the car and caravan were inspected. Seriously, that’s as exciting as it got!
All in all though, I didn’t find the Nullabor threatening or even that boring. Yes it’s a long drive, but the scenery changes along the way. Wayne was the same, in fact he’d probably like to do it again and again, and stop at every truck stop along the way. I’d be happy to do it too, but as a means to an end, not for the truck stops!
After leaving yet another state behind (VIC) we entered another. South Australia. Wayne had been here for work a few times, but hadn’t really gotten to see much of the state.
We arrived at Mount Gambier first. Home of the Blue Lake. I must say, it took us by surprise. It was so blue that I had to take my sunglasses off to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. The story goes, that each summer the salt crystals in the bottom of the lake heat up and rise to the top, making it the bright blue colour that it is. It only happens for a few months of the year and we were lucky to be there when it was happening. It’s also the towns drinking water, so no swimming or kayaking – you pretty much just look at it, or take pictures !
The town of Mount Gambier was really pretty. I really loved it. The people were friendly, the shops were quirky and it was really quiet. Possibly too quiet as we found out on Saturday when we went to get some things after 12pm. Everything was shut ! Mount Gambier is built on Volcano’s (collapsed volcano’s ) so there are lots of caves and historic sites. We were there on 2 very hot days though, and as per usual the walks to the caves and the sinkholes weren’t pram friendly. We did manage to see 1 though which the girls thought was pretty cool. We also checked out the gallery and the Library so the girls were happy to be indoors with some airconditioning.
I’d heard about VH so was interested to go there and check it out. It’s a small harbour-side village (with the 2nd runner up of the STATE fish and chip cook off) and they have a Tram which is drawn by a Horse ! A big Clidesdale horse. We took the tram ride over to Granite Island (but didn’t see any penguins) and then had fish and chips for lunch. Another really hot day so after doing some groceries it was back to the caravan park for a swim. The following day we drove out to Port Elliot which is another beachside town, really pretty and the kids had a play etc. It was cooler this day & we were pretty exhausted after all the driving and sightseeing we’d been doing so we had a pretty easy day back at the caravan park.
To be honest, by this stage, especially Wayne and I, are a little bit over the full on days we’ve been having. We were non stop in Tasmania with only 1 lay day. So 20 days we were out and about everyday visiting something, doing something, driving somewhere and with only a few weeks left we kind of had an “unspoken agreement” to do NOT MUCH at all.
Day 1 we get to Adelaide Shores, which is a larger than large caravan park on the beach and about 10km’s from Glenelg. We took a few hours to set up because we planned on being here for about 8 days. We had noticed that there were a couple of vintage vans over the road from us and wondered if there was a show on or something. That evening as Wayne and I were sitting outside with a drink and playing with the girls, the park manager came over and said ‘would we move to another site’. Turns out there was a show on, and Channel 10 were coming to film the Vintage vans (there was more to show up evenutually) and they didn’t want a brand new van in the shot when filming. There was no ‘please would you mind’ or ‘sorry we made a mistake’ We didn’t just plonk our van there, they told us the site # initially. At the end of the day though we understood and didn’t really mind, so Wayne asked for a site right opposite the pool and playground (which we got) and we packed up again and moved the following morning. That very morning Wayne and I declared a NON SIGHT SEEING WEEK was in desperate order, apart from visiting the Barossa and Hahndorf. The girls were happy, actually beyond happy which made us think for a sec ‘have we done the right thing? Taking them on this trip for 8 months, have they not enjoyed it’ .. those thoughts quickly passed though, I thnk they are like us at this point in the trip, they want to just play and swim and ride their bikes. So we decided to go to Hahndorf the following day.
I loved Hahndorf and I think it’s safe to say that it’s my favourite place in Adelaide (having only seen a few other places!). Establised by the Germans way back when (I’m a bit hazy on the details I’m sorry) and is full of German pubs, German restaurants and of course other eateries too. We parked and had lunch straight away. I had a Chicken Snitty (as my cousin Bren calls it) and Wayne had every single Sausage you could imagine. A nice glass of crisp white wine, sitting in the sunshine, it was beautiful. Frankie slept through lunch too so we were able to enjoy that much more (sorry Frankie darling, when you read this when you’re older, you’re so much fun but you don’t like sitting still in your pram at the moment) xx
After lunch we basically just walked the strip. Up and down and all around. We visited the Lavender shop, and the Puppet store, Wayne and I managed to like the same wall clock so purchased that (after some serious negotiating on the delivery fee from Adel to Perth) and after we’d just about had enough Wayne ordered an extra large pint of German beer and all of a sudden I became the designated driver!
Great day,and Hahndorf – I can see what all the fuss is about.
Ok, I’ll be honest.. It wasn’t much fun. For 2 reasons really. One of those reasons is the kids. What fun are they going to have driving around wineries all day? The 2nd reason is the driving. Wayne and I can’t both be sloshed after tasting all these lovely wines and then drive back to Adelaide. It was a long drive and halfway there we had decided that this wasn’t going to work. Our kids (for the most part ) are really good travellers and Olivia and Sarah are old enough to know the rules and we can pretty much take them anywhere. Frankie being almost 20months is a little different. She’ll scream when she wants something, manage to wiggle her way out of her pram at any given notice and if she doesn’t want to be somewhere she lets that point known very loudly ! We did however think ‘we’ve come this far’ so we might as well have a drive through anyway. I think we caught Barossa at a bad time. There wasn’t a hint of green, it was all very dry and desolate. We found a park and had some lunch from a bakery (laughed at the Irony as we sat and sipped our WATER) and said (not for the first time this trip) this is something for us to do on our own when we catch a bus ! Wayne was insisting that he buy me a bottle of wine from at least 1 winery as we were here, but by this time in the day I was a little over it and just wanted to get back. Save the wineries for when we are in our home state and we can hopefully get a babysitter (hint hint Ray and Dor’s).
Back at the Caravan we all declared once and for all NO MORE…
We spent the remaining days walking around Glenelg (found a great coffee shop called PURE and couldn’t begin the day without getting a coffee from here). Spent a day at the beach, spent more time in the park and playgrounds, the girls rode their bikes, swam in the pool and we watched movies. We ended up leaving Adelaide a day earlier than planned. Time to move on and head back to WA. We felt like we were just wasting time and would rather tack the days missed from Adelaide onto Esperance. Sorry Adelaide, we didn’t really give you a chance.
Next stop The Nullabor – in Summer this time!
I am so behind in our morrell aussie trip blogs, that even I will have to dig deep to remember what went on and where we were. I think I left off just as we were heading onto the Nullabor again.
We have been home for almost a month, and already the trip feels like something that happened a lifetime ago. Girls have started their new school, Frankie has started to settle into a routine again (in our bed that is) Wayne back at work and I am being the MUM again..
I’ve had some weird days where I’ve felt sad,down and a little depressed. I think at times on this trip I didn’t fully appreciate the time we were spending together and the amazing places we were seeing. Also the simple things like walking to the coffee shop and staying put for an hour, deciding what to do for the day. Sleeping in, playing UNO whenever we wanted with the kids, the list goes on and on and on. Mostly though I feel good and we are glad to be home with our family and friends.
Just a quick one to say I haven’t forgotten you blog.. & as soon as Wayne finishes building our study nook and IINET come to the party and connect our internet up then I will be in a better position to focus on the task at hand… maybe..
I know I’m late in posting the last 3 weeks and I’ll try and get to that tonight! My sister keeps reminding me that I’ve not posted, but as I keep telling her ‘We’re pretty busy doing nothing’..
We have decided to go home a little early and will be leaving Busselton on Friday to drive home. Mixed feelings, but mostly excited and a little apprehensive too. Unpacking a whole house is not a lot of fun, although I do love putting up all my little ‘bits and pieces’! Wayne has the worst job of loading the truck and then unloading.
I’ll miss so many things about being together, the five of us, all the time. In the beginning it took a while to get used to, but now of course it’s the norm for us and I think I’ll genuinely miss the closeness. I’ve said to many people along the way that I don’t think we will understand exactly what we’ve done until we get home and the excitement all dies down, then we will realise that our trip was truly magical and a memory that we shall never forget!
I’d like to quickly say THANKYOU to everyone for following our blog, your comments and tips along the way have made it even more special for us, and Wayne of course has a rather large head due to the many compliments regarding his photography !
Just a quick one. This will all seem out of order once I go back and write the last 3 weeks. Lucky for me I have a great memory and I should recall my exact feelings when looking through the many photo’s.. I have Wayno to thank for that 🙂
Love to all..
Devonport / Spirit of Tasmania and the Great Ocean Road.
Back in Devonport only for 1 day really. We arrived at my Uncle and Aunty’s place after lunch and basically just unpacked and got organised again for the boat trip the following evening. We hung around Devonport for a little while, went back to Anvers and had a nice coffee and a slice of the largest pie you’ve ever seen and then headed out to the pub that night for dinner.
The following morning was Sarah’s Birthday. There’s a 7yr old in the house (or the caravan I should say). She woke up early, and Wayne wasn’t home so she was trying to wait patiently so she could open her presents with him too. He had decided to get up at 4am and drive back to Cradle Mountain to try and take some pictures when it wasn’t raining. It rained though ! For the 2nd time. I felt bad for him as it was a lovely sunny morning in Devonport. It was after 8am and Sarah couldn’t wait any longer, she ripped through her presents, excited and happy and soon after Wayne was home.
We took Sarah to breakfast at ‘The Laneway Café’ and if you’re ever in Devonport you must eat there, it was delish. My cousin Mel came too which was nice. After that we took the kids to a town called Penguin and visited the Penguin Markets. They were ok, lots of knick knacks and old wares, managed to snare a couple of large old glass jars and a very old tin that was made for soup (That was Wayne’s purchase). Had some lunch and then headed back home to my Aunty and Uncles. My cousin Mel and her kids came over with Birthday cake and the girls played with their 2nd cousins until we had to leave to catch the Spirit back to the Mainland.
(Thanks Aunty Lil, Uncle Bob & Melissa for sharing your homes and showing us around your part of the world. We will all miss you) xo
The cruise back to Port Melbourne was great (again) no sickness and no rough seas. We also scored a larger cabin than last time too, so after a quick drink in the bar and a play in the toyroom for the girls we were once again in bed early. By 6am the following day we were off the boat and finding coffee in Melbourne and heading to Geelong.
Originally we had planned on staying in Geelong for a day or 2 but we were slowly running out of time by this point (and I fell asleep in the car also when Wayne cruised on by) so we ended up heading straight to Lorne which is one of the first stops along the Great Ocean Road. We loved it in Lorne. We booked for 2 nights but stayed for 3. We drove around a lot, found some lovely beaches, shopped and cruised about. Very relaxed seaside towns around this part of Victoria, I can see the attraction. We pretty much based ourselves in Lorne while we drove through some other towns (rather than have the caravan on) and by Day 4 we stopped at Port Campbell for 2 nights which is pretty much the end of the GOR and where the 12 apostles and the London Bridge are. We spent the first day down at the beach and the 2nd day doing the sights. Amazing scenery and Wayne was able to take some spectacular shots – although I think my iphone did just as well so I’ll include one of mine into the mix too – Great week, awesome weather and we are well and truly at the tail end of our trip.
Fact about the Great Ocean Road : Ex Servicemen built the road as a reminder & memory, for all those fallen. It’s the largest (and longest) War Memorial in Australia.
Wayne’s parents are friends with a woman who’s son and his family own the Coles Bay Caravan Park (that was a mouthful) so we had heard a little about the place beforehand. Picturesque is an understatement. We had beautiful weather for the 2 nights we were there and Tasmania yet again stunned us with it’s beauty.
Wineglass Bay is the main event of this place and would you believe we didn’t get to see it ? We went to a few lookouts, the Lighthouse lookout being one of them and it was gorgeous, we could see the tip of Wineglass Bay and thought that we’d get to drive there to see it in it’s glory. The fact is, it’s a 2 hour walk (or longer) that isn’t pram friendly and we don’t have a backpack for Frankie. Sarah doesn’t like walking for long lengths of time, and depending on the state of my foot (story for another time, yet a long boring one for those that know me well) determines how long I can walk for too. Given all that, I thought Wayne would be able to do it anyway, but we ran out of time ! Seems so strange writing this, because it’s unbelievable and Wayne didn’t want me to write it, but it’s the truth and our family blog.
We DID however see so many beautiful beaches, the coastline is incredible, the rock formations so diverse in colour, we drove to little towns again and saw different landscapes & had really nice hot chips ! The first night we were there Wayne took the girls to a Penguin tour at Bicheno which was about 45 mins away. The tour didn’t start until 9pm and as per usual no pram allowed as the track is dark and bumpy. Frankie is wide awake in dreamland at that time anyway, so I was happy to stay back while Wayne spent some time with the big girls. The penguin tour (so I was told) was brilliant. Penguins are very routine based and each night when they come out of the water they walk in one straight line until they get to their little igloo huts, and if the tour guides are lucky they place you in the exact spot where the penguins walk. The penguin’s don’t break formation so they will literally walk over your feet.. The girls were pretty excited for this to happen, however not tonight ! They got pretty close though, just not that close. One little Penguin brushed past Lulu’s leg and she was happy with that. They were fairy penguins (smallest in the world) and there were many of them. Unfortunately no camera’s allowed at all, so don’t have any pictures to show, just the memories of the girls. I hope they don’t forget it. It was a late night, home after 11pm and Sarah was basically sleep walking through the caravan door when they got home !
Tasmania is flying by at this point, we’ve been out and about almost every single day and we’re all getting a little exhausted. We found a caravan park in a town called Hadspen which is about a 10 min drive from Launceston. We set up and then quickly went back out to do a short river cruise along the Cataract Gorge. The cruise was perfect for us as it was extremely family friendly and it was a quick 50 mins. Frankie is good when we only have to contain her for short periods of time ! The start of the cruise was pretty nice, we had a nice skipper who was telling us a little history about Launceston and Frankie was running around the boat constantly, not even taking time to stop once she threw up ! About half way through the tour he stopped the petrol motor and we continued cruising just using the electric motor as it was quieter when entering the gorge itself. C’mon Tasmania ! Is there nothing about you that’s ugly ? Cataract Gorge was simply stunning. We had a beautiful day, it was almost 6pm by this stage and the sun was warm, the water looked amazing. I’m quickly running out of adjectives to describe the beauty of a rock basically, but it’s just so bloody beautiful.
The next day, Olivia woke up feeling very excited. When we were still in Perth planning our trip, Olivia came across a tour called HollyBank Treetop Adventures. She had been waiting to do this for months and the day was here ! Originally it was myself that was going with her as Wayne is scared of heights, but due to (My Left Foot) I wasn’t in the best place and Wayne agreed to do it. They had so much fun.. I’ll let Wayne explain now though as I wasn’t there !..(meanwhile back at the van… Sarah, Frankie and I did some washing, we had a picnic, played some craft and watched Tinkerbell).
Hollybank – Wayne’s words – I made the booking the day before and was told that Olivia must be at least 35kg’s to ride alone, and if not, she could ride tandem with me providing our combined weight did not exceed 135kgs. She was relentless, “We need to weigh ourselves, I need to know”. We eventually found a pharmacy with reliable scales, she was to light to ride alone and thankfully I was light enough……..just… for us to ride tandem. She even put me on rations that night to ensure we could ride tandem the next morning.
Olivia and I set out early for our morning ride amongst the tall Tasmanian timbers. She was so excited, she must have told me half a dozen times her stomach was filled with knots and she didnt know how she was going to get through the day…but she really wanted to do this with me. So we get to Hollybank and we are early, this is not good, Im thinking I need coffee and Olivia cant sit still, after a long walk around the grounds, two times through the looped promotion video and a discussion with the assistant as to why the coffee machine wasnt working, the guide calls the group in, about a dozen in all. Olivia is the only child and we are the only tandem.
Before we know we are in harnesses linked together and ready to go. We do a small test platform and set out for the trees. Its a fair walk and we arrive at a circular platform which is clamped to a tree trunk. A couple of cables run to another circular platform into the trees, we had six platforms to travel. It starts of easy we are about 15 metres up and travel about 20 metres to the next platform. So I sit back in my harness, Olivia sits on my lap and away we go. Its awesome, I just wanted to keep going. On the second stage we are suspended mid way for a photo, Olivia is not sure until I tickle her, good photo. Each stage gets longer until we get to the fifth stage, this is a 400 metre run, along and above a creek, at the highest point we are 50 metres up and flying along at about 80km/hr, very cool. The worse thing was the walk back to the shop, but an awesome activity………
Also learnt that theres no such thing as Tasmanian Oak, originally a collection of eucalypts were branded shipped back to the mother country for sale, but it didn’t move. So as a marketing spin they re-branded the timber Tasmania Oak picking up on the English Oak thing and they couldnt keep up with the demand. I guess it just stuck.
Beaconsfield & Grindelwald Swiss Village
Let’s start with the swiss village. I’ve never been to Switzerland, but I hope to one day. The village in Tasmania was disappointing and basically a waste of time. There you go , Tasmania does have 1 bad tourist attraction. I can’t even explain it to be honest, some shops were closed, the ones that were open had limited stock, the coffee was terrible.. however the bakery did make the best sausage rolls we’ve ever tasted. The girls played a quick came of mini golf in the rain and then we left and headed to Beaconsfield.
Beaconsfield seems to be a large town and only really knowing about it from all the TV footage after the mine collapse, it does feel surreal to be standing there and seeing where this actually happened. I remember when Brant & Todd came up from the mine and ‘clocked out’ with their time cards, and we were now standing there looking at that actual spot. Pretty incredible. The museum is good, and full of blokey mine stuff which Wayne loved. The girls had a little activity sheet that the staff had given them so that gave them something to do while wandering around. Frankie wanted to walk up the ramp and down the ramp, up the ramp and down the ramp. We spent over an hour walking around and by this time I think we were all a little tired. We decided to give the Platypus tour a miss as we were told we had missed the guided tour and it’s not certain that we would actually see a Platypus, so we headed back to the caravan park.
Launceston was also where we had our windscreen replaced and that took half a day! Had to be done though… Launceston and the Tamar Valley was truly beautiful and I can see why Rebecca Gibney lived there!
What a beautiful town. I have loved every minute of being and will be sad to leave tomorrow morning!
Driving into Hobart was much the same as every other place so far in Tassie. Beautiful. Water views, mountain views with houses scattered through them. We arrived early in the afternoon as the drive from Mt Field National Park wasn’t a long one. We did stop in a town called New England as we wanted to visit some Antique stores. There were 9 stores in this town, we only saw 2 though. A very pretty town as well.
We decided to stay near the airport in Hobart as it was central to the tourist spots we wanted to check out, and on the plus side it was a brand new park ! Clean amenities and I’ll go anywhere really. 17km to to the town of Hobart and 7 km’s to the nearest shopping centre. Tasmanians think this is a long way (not unlike most West Australians too).
After we unpacked and set up, which took a while this time as we were staying here for 7 nights, more things come out of the van and car ! Wayne went to get some groceries, I took the kids to the park and we just hung around. We decided that we would hit Hobart the following day and just chill out for the rest of the afternoon, which by this time was almost dinner time anyway.
We went into Hobart the following day, was a little cold and grey but still nice. The weather here is like Melbourne, can be freezing one minute, then sunny the next. We tried to find Mt Wellington and as per usual our GPS took up somewhere entirely different. You wouldn’t think that it’s hard to find really, it’s massive and you can SEE it everywhere. Wayne likes driving anyway and was interested in the scenery etc. It wasn’t really until we were driving through rural communities that we thought perhaps we’d taken a wrong turn. Yes we had.
Still didn’t deter us though, we found another look-out (Wayne’s favourite past-time) and then headed back into Hobart. We had heard all about Salamanca & we weren’t disappointed. The old worn buildings, the smell of coffee and bread around every corner, the dark lane-ways with dimmed lighting. I loved it. The galleries and the boutique shopping is also something I love and there were plenty of them around. We had a coffee and the kids walked around the square a little (trying to tire Frankie out I think). We drove around Battery Point – my new favourite place that I would LIVE in a heartbeat – and we all picked out a house that we wanted to buy. So many heritage listed properties, made from sandstone cut by the convicts. So much history. Was a great day.
I might embarrass myself here, but I didn’t know Port Arthur was a prison. I’ll drop Wayne in it too and say he didn’t either (true). Either our school wasn’t interested in this part of Australian History or I wasn’t listening at school.
However, I of course know it as the site where Martin Bryant murdered in excess of 30 innocent victims in April of 1996. Surprisingly, the staff don’t mention this, not in their tours or even when you enter the information area. I’m sure it’s not something they want to remember, but we did have to ask if there was a memorial there. Of course there is, although it’s not on any of their maps or guides. We had walked past it twice before we eventually saw it. Very sad & tragic and it’s hard to imagine that people just going about their day, learning about our culture and history, were all of a sudden shot dead. I can’t get my head around it and it was in the back of my mind the entire day.
Apart from that, Port Arthur is beautiful. They have tried to conserve the old prisons and houses as much as they can, and for the most part, they are in fantastic condition. The whole area is constantly maintained and the gardens beautiful. The history of the place is told very well by tour guides and you can do more extensive guided tours as well. Imagining how the women felt at the camp (the wives of the prison guards, dr’s, and teachers) living there and raising children is such a foreign concept, but that’s what they did. The prison evolved into a prison/community over time and then was phased out rather quickly once the Gold Rush in Victoria took over Australia. Transportation of non rehabilated prisoners over to Port Arthur stopped and basically numbers dwindled until eventually it became what it is today. If you go to Tasmania, this site is a MUST see.
Of course we had to make a visit to the Cadbury factory. Both my sisters eat chocolate and one in particular has a little bit of a crush on Mr Cadbury so when we arrived we all took silly photo’s near the many Cadbury signs and also sent a package home to BG. The factory is the largest one in Australia and it’s very dated inside. Not sure what I was expecting, but after being to some coffee plantations in Nth Qld that were beautiful and also cheese factories etc, I expected a bit more ‘Glam’. It is a working factory though and there are lots happening. Unfortunately Cadbury are no longer allowed to let visitors in the factory (due to occupational health and safety and Insurance claims) not that Cadbury wanted this but that became the law and that’s that. There is a little museum I guess you’d call it, plus a very large shop where you can buy chocolates at almost wholesale prices, plus a coffee shop. The girls went a little nuts in the shop, we listened to a half hour presentation of how chocolate is made and we had a coffee. Would you believe that not one piece or sliver of chocolate passed my lips ? Its true..
MONA – Museum of Old and New Art.
My cousin had told me that this was a must see in Hobart, and so did a few other people along our travels. Most people had informed us that it wasn’t that ideal for kids, as it was ‘confrontational’ in parts. I decided to call them directly and find out if it was something we could take the girls too. MONA told me that while it was ‘confrontational’ in part, lots of children go and it’s up to us as parents.Certainly they were allowed in by MONA though. We decided to just go, can’t keep the kids wrapped up in cotton wool forever and I consider myself to be a kind of cool parent ?? (ha) …
I loved it ! So did Wayne. From the moment you enter the Museum, going underground, the old sandstone walls and dim lights. I wanted to capture the feeling of this in my own home (and will done day I hope). One of the staff members told me about one section that wasn’t suitable for kids, so I headed there first. Let’s just say, the girls probably wouldn’t have understood anything anyway,and there were only a few collections that even I shuddered and looked away. We spent a couple of hours in MONA. To be honest, half of the art, subjects, sculptures etc I didn’t understand, and after from speaking to Wayne we both interpreted them differently. I guess that’s what art is though, everyone takes away something different. I really enjoyed it and could have stayed longer if the kids weren’t getting a little restless. Sarah was a little nervous after the first hour as she walked into a dark room and saw a few things that she didn’t understand (and neither did I) and then about 30 mins later little miss tough Olivia came a little undone after seeing a snake with a humans head.. it was time to go ! However, the wine bar and jazz musicians looked very inviting.. perhaps another time !
Yep, spent some money here. I bought a beautiful print called ‘where’s my kiss’ although not from the markets itself, but from the print shop inside.. the markets are pretty cool, very well run and easy to walk around. More space than what I had originally thought too. I didn’t spend as much money as I thought I would though. Usually I go a little nuts at Markets, but there didn’t seem to be anything that grabbed me, apart from some lovely blue cake tins.. Olivia and Sarah loved EVERYTHING of course. The main thing they purchased were puppets and we were given yet another performance (3 actually) throughout the course of the day. We hung around the markets a bit and then went to the Cargo Lounge for pizza ! After the markets, we drove around Hobart some more, it’s a beautiful town.. Went home and the girls put on a ‘sound of music’ puppet show again and again and again… they get more confident as they get going. I love having little girls and I really enjoy watching them. Wayne hats the fact that the puppet string is constantly getting tangled and he has the fiddly job of un-tangling them!
The last couple of days we basically explored Hobart and it’s surrounds. Wayne likes driving and I love it too to be honest, not the actual driving part, but I’m a happy passenger. Saw some beautiful little towns and villages, came across a little gem in way of an Apple Museum and had some good food ! Loved our whole week here.. & will be back one day.
I feel like I’ve forgotten something, but I’m writing this whilst currently in South Australia.. time is going so very very fast ! We will be home before we know it 😦
Hope everyone reading this is well !
The Morrells xo