Week 29

Three Penguins

Three Penguins

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.

 

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Week 28 – Tasmania (week 3)

 

 

Coles Bay 

 

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 !

 

Launceston 

 

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!

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Week 27 – Tasmania, Week 2.

Hobart

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.

Port Arthur

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.

Cadbury

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 !

SALAMANCA MARKETS

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

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