I know right ? I can’t believe that I’m semi up to date either !
Spirit of Tasmania We were pleasantly suprised with how well our night across the sea’s went. We were a little concerned about sea sickness as we had heard a horror story from my cousin just a little while earlier before we boarded. You can imagine, it involved a lot of throwing up in their cabin. We quickly got some KWELL and dosed ourselves up on those and we were set. The Spirit is actually quite large, larger than both Wayne and I believed it to be. The fact that it can hold trucks and caravans and cars should have given us some indication… It took a while to board as we were in a long line of caravans and cars waiting, but once we were on the boat we were in our cabin within a matter of minutes. Nothing fancy, but 2 sets of bunk beds and just enough room for a very small narrow cot for Frank. A toilet and shower and that was that. We unpacked and then headed up a deck or 2 for dinner. Loads of options to eat although I wouldn’t say you would rave about the food, but the fact that they had a bar was exciting, for about a minute until we realised that Frankie wouldn’t sit still and just wanted to play in the kids play room. Safe to say we were in bed by about 9.30pm. We all slept ok, woke up a few times and the boat was steady for most of it, no rough sea’s! We got a wake up call at 5am and were off the boat by about 6.30am I think. Felt like no time at all. A little while later, as we were driving out of the dock we were met by my Aunty Lil and Uncle Bob (they have both recently moved to Tassie about 12 months ago) we were going to my cousins house (Aunty Lil’s daughter) for breakfast and the kids were very excited to meet Mel’s 3 kids.. and Maddie and Tj, who aren’t kids anymore ! Had a big hot breakfast, caught up for a bit and then went to Aunty Lil’s house to set up the van. We weren’t sleeping in the van however, we had our own rooms, heaven.
After we got settled, we decided to hit a few local town first. First stop the chocolate factor which is called Anver Chocolate Factory. We had a taste test (fudge) and grabbed a quick cuppa. The kids played in the grounds and were making friends with their newly met cousins. We then headed to a place called Latrobe where we visited a store called Reliquaire. It was just a shop, but what a shop it was. I’ve never seen anything like it. They sell everything and I mean everything, from life sized clown mannequins, to magic hats, old wares, lovely homewares, books, children’s books and toys, halloween inspired gadgets. I’m not explaining it in enough detail. There were 10 rooms and they were all packed to the rafters with ‘stuff’. I could have spent hours and hours in there, but with 5 kids (Wayne & Frankie stayed outside) it was hard to keep an eye on them all. Interesting place to say the least. I came out of there a little gobsmacked and I can’t really say why? Next stop lunch. Pub meal, a total of $16.. (wish all of Tasmania was that cheap) ! Aunty Lil, Mel and kids left us at this point and we went on to explore a little bit of Devonport and it’s surrounds.
We drove through a town called ‘Sheffield’ which is a town of Murals. Driving through there we saw most of the buildings (Shops and cafes etc) all had murals on the side of their buildings, not just small ones either. You could see the effort put into them and they were very colourful. Next little town we drove through was called ‘Railton’ which is the town of Topiary. My Aunty Lil did mention that if we blink we’d miss this town and she’s right. At first we didn’t see any Topiary and then eventually they were popping up. Animals mostly, although at the end of the town there were 3 figures of people saluting which was besides the towns war memorial. We then stumbled on this enormous lake called Lake Barrington. It was really pretty and there were teams of rowers thrashing it out on the water. Great place to have a picnic. We made our way back to Devonport but not before we had a quick stop at the cheese factory and Wayne purchased some hot pepper cheese and we all tried some ice-cream. Back at Aunty Lil’s we had a bbq, the kids played together once again with their cousins and it was early to bed.
The following day was Cradle Mountain day. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and by the time we drove up and down the windy mountain the weather had become worse and it was raining. I felt bad for the kids as it was quite a drive getting there. We all jumped out quickly to check out Dove Lake (beautiful) but as we had no rain jackets we jumped back into the car with the photographer amongst us braved the elements and did the quick 20 min walk so he could take some photo’s. He came back exhilarated ! Very beautiful was the consensus. After this, we drove back down the mountain and took the kids to place called Tasmazia. Famous for it’s mazes and it’s pancakes, which we sampled both! Stuffed our faces with giant servings of pancakes, and then let the kids go wild in the mazes. We only got lost a few times. Tasmazia & the village of Lower Crackpot saved the day. Kids went to sleep happy.
Our 3rd day in Tassie was spent with just Wayne and I. My Aunty wanted to have Frankie for the day and my cousin Mel had Lulu and Sarah so they could play with her kids. This meant that it was just Wayne and I on our own to exlplore Stanley & The Nut. This whole trip of ours we haven’t spent more than a couple of hours alone, and we haven’t gone off for a whole day of sightseeing without the kids either. It was weird (& wonderful too). We were really quiet in the car to start with, and then we cranked some tunes, kept sneaking little smiles at each other, too chicken to say ‘this is aweSOME’, until one of us broke and just said it. Funny how being in a car alone is such a novelty these days. We had told the kids that they could come with us if they didn’t want to hang out with their cousins, after a nano-second Sarah quickly said NO, she wanted to play, but Olivia slept on it. Ever the diplomatic child. She never wants to offend or upset anyone. Eventually after much discussion with myself, Wayne and Aunty Lil, she too decided that she should stay behind.
Stanley is such a beautiful town (population 2000 – during summertime anyway) and is situated close to the North Western point of Tasmania. Famous for it’s crayfish and of course The Nut. The town of Stanley is nestled at the base of The Nut – (a sheer-sided bluff -all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug). Wayne and I took the chair lift up, which took about 5 mins and then we walked the 2km circuit once we were at the top. Various beautiful lookouts and the views were amazing. We took the chair lift back down again and then we were off for lunch. We ended up at The Stanley Hotel (it’s been on Masterchef for those that care about these things). We sat outside, had a glass of Tassie white and some food and relished the opportunity to eat without requesting a high chair! After lunch we walked around town for about an hour, looking through the gift shops & the galleries.
I started to think about the kids again, and thought we should start heading back as it was a bit of a drive home. Frankie was the most excited to see us. She was smiling and making these crazy sounds, I got a hug that lasted at least 30 seconds (which is pretty special, seeing how she is the least affectionate of all our 3 beautiful girls). Wayne cooked Spag Bol for everyone that night. Had a GREAT day !
Last day in Devonport and we decided to take the kids to Mole Creek to see the Marakoopa Caves (the cave of Glow worms) Again, it was a bit of a drive but something that Wayne wanted to show the girls. On the way we stopped off at Elizabeth Town Bakery (which is a must see according to all the guide books) we had a quick cuppa and then continued on. The caves were beautiful, or so Wayne told me. I didn’t get very far. Frankie had been playing up in the car, something she usually doesn’t do so we should have guessed that she wasn’t going to behave. I paid for us all, then we waited for the tour to start. Frankie still screaming. I still wanted to go in with her although Wayne did say he would ‘sit this one out’. I knew it was something he wanted to do though so I thought we’d give it a try. No, I was wrong. There were about 30 people on the tour and even though I stayed at the back of everyone with just Frankie, she was still screaming and in a cave you can imagine the sound amplifying. I had to ask the tour guide to guide me back out – which he did – and Frankie and I sat in the car listening to music instead. Wayne and the girls really enjoyed it, the glow worms (which I saw a couple of hundred on my way out) were amazing and the cave was full of spectacular formations. That’s ok – I got to see the photo’s.
We made it back to my cousins house for the afternoon and we hung out there and had pizza for tea. Time to move on from Devonport the following day and make our way to the Western side. We packed up early(ish) the Morrells don’t seem to rush anymore, after Aunty Lil’s pancakes we waved goodbye and were off again. We had wanted to go to Queenstown and Strahan but we had met people along the way who said Queenstown is a mining town and not much to really see there so we were better off just staying at Strahan. We made it to Strahan in the afternoon. The distance wasn’t too far but the road conditions meant that we couldn’t go very fast. The mountain was ever winding, up and down, slow and fast. It was the first time in this whole trip that we felt like we were never getting off a mountain. Eventually we made it. I’m not sure what I thought Strahan was going to be like, but it wasn’t like I thought. I’l leave it at that. The main tourism is the river cruises and fishing tours. We enquired about some of the tours but they only had full day ones. We just knew that Frankie (being at her age – 19months and full of energy and attitude) would not sit still on a boat all day. We decided to only stay 2 nights instead of the 3 planned.
The highlight was the play we took the kids to see, called ‘The ship that never was’. It’s Australia’s longest running play (true story) and it has a lot of audience participation. Sarah was called up at one point and Frankie made regular appearances which one cast member named Frankie the ‘catfish’. It was so well done, we laughed a lot, they kept it very entertaining and we all loved it. The other highlight was that the girls, Lulu and Sarah, won their very first FAIR race. They came 1st in their age-group in the 3 legged race at the Australia Day fair ! Well done girls. They attempted all the races actually. Running races, egg and spoon race, the sack race. They had their hair sprayed and ate hot dogs. They came away smiling.
That afternoon we drove through Queenstown (another winding road) to find a waterfall called ‘Nelson Falls’. It took about 15 mins to walk there and see the falls. They were beautiful. Tasmania has ’60 short walks’ and we had just done our first one. Very pram friendly too, which is great as there has been more and more things lately that we’ve not been able to do due to having small kids. Big day in the end, so we drove home, got some fish and chips and had an early night. In the morning we after we packed up, we drove to a place in Strahan called ‘The Peoples Park’. There was a 40 minute round trip walk to see Hogarth Falls. It was a beautiful walk and the day was gorgeous. The girls were singing sound of music songs along the way and at one point Wayne even corrected them, saying ‘it’s Doe a Deer’. I loved hearing that. So, we had done our short walk #2, only 58 more to do. Next stop for us … Mt Field National Park.
I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m not a wilderness, national park kind of girl. If we went somewhere remote like this with family or friends, then I’d love it, but with just us ? No, I wouldn’t choose to go there. However, I’m married to a man who loves the wilderness, the rough earth and the ultimate bush settings. This campground DID have power and water let me say, so it wasn’t total ‘dead man walking’. Once we arrived, we chose our camp spot quickly as there was only 1 left and then we set up. There were huge Bumble Bee’s (twice the size of normal bees) and massive horse flies. That’s the first thing I noticed. Second thing I noticed was that the toilets were a bit of a walk away. That’s the only 2 negative things really so not too bad.
After we had dinner and Frankie was bathed and asleep, Wayne decided to go and take some photo’s of the Moon. I was reading my book and didn’t think anything of it. Until it was 2 hours later and he hadn’t returned. Usually I don’t worry, but usually he isn’t gone this long and also it was really really dark. No suburbian lights to guide him home. I was picturing him climbing down rocks to take ‘THE’ photo of the waterfall and him falling. So I started to panic, just slightly. Then the worst thing that could happen to a girl like me happened. A bug.. A big black hairy flying bug came at me from inside the caravan. I had no idea where it had come from. I screamed. woke Olivia and then sat on Sarah’s bed and cried. Cried some more and then got mad. Mad at Wayne for taking off, mad because there was no phone reception, mad because ‘That man left me here on my own in the wild’. You name it, i said it. I was beyond pathetic. Just when I was contemplating going over to the van next door and explaining that my husband might be at the bottom of a cliff, but which cliff I didn’t know because he didn’t tell me.. in walks Wayne. He’s taken one look at me, I was sitting on the bed, crying silently with a fly squatter in hand. Olivia and Sarah both started crying (it was after 11pm) & then he understood what was happening. Can’t say he completely understood my reactions, but he was trying. After we hugged and he said he was ‘sorry’ that he had worried me, I explained about the bug. Let’s just say that after about an hour of hard searching, he gave up looking.
I eventually had the courage to get into bed knowing that this bug was somewhere hiding from me. Can’t say I slept much though. Next morning (today actually, see I’m really up to date) we woke up, packed the van and then did another walk (short walk #3) 30 mins in total – to see the Russell Falls. We saw lots of baby wallabies along the way and a heap of large trees, some fallen but most still standing. Again, another waterfall in Tasmania. Beautiful & I don’t think we will ever get sick of seeing them. At one point Wayne asked me ‘Jo, was the crying over me being possibly dead, or the fact there was a bug in the caravan’ ? ……. For those of you that know me really well, you already know the answer.