Hi family and friends, we have just returned from our 8 night cruise to Melbourne and Tasmania on the beautiful Sea Princess. We had a great time meeting up with my brother Syd and his wife Wendy in Melbourne and had a smashing day at Flemington races. I hadn't seen my brother for a few years and it was really nice catching up. We were lucky enough to back a few winners too.
Next stop was in Burnie and we met up with friends Jen and Ron who we met on another cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. We had a really fabulous day with them, they took us to Stanley to the "Nut" which is a famous landmark and the lookout over the ocean. We also visited at their lovely home and had a wonderful time with them, it's a shame we live so far apart.
We then sailed across the top of Tasmania and down the east coast enjoying the magnificent scenery of Wineglass Bay and Coles Bay arriving in the capital Hobart at 9.00pm. We could go ashore but decided as we had the whole day up until midnight in Hobart, we would stay on board and venture out in the morning. We left the ship around 10.00am and decided to get the Red Decker bus with a tour of the Cascade Brewery. We passed the Sydney to Hobart Yacht club, Salamanca Markets, Battery Point, Wrest Point Casino, (the first Casino in Australia), the old Womens Gaol and eventually arriving at the Brewery, the tour was very interesting especially at the end when you got to taste the free samples. The gardens in and around the Brewery were spectacular. (see photos)
Our next port of call was Port Arthur, this is a huge historical area and you would need at least two days to see everything. The surrounding grounds were so green and well maintained with daisies and buttercups in the grass just like old England, there were even bumble bees. The Penal colony was a very harsh and cruel place and prisoners often went mad as some of the cells they were locked in all day were so small and isolated and they were chained up as well. There was a whole community set up just for the Prisons therein. A cathedral, chapel, post office, commandants house and soldiers barracks, etc. All very very interesting.
After Port Arthur, we sailed back north to Sydney. We had a wonderful time on the ship, plenty to drink and too much to eat, the food was in abundance. Lots of shows with singers and dancers, comedians, piano players, live bands and the string quartet for some nice classical music. Art auctions on board, trivia, ping pong, talent quests, disco, casino, etc. As you can see, plenty of things to keep you occupied, not to forget swimming in the pools and spas and if you wanted, a fully equipped gym and for the pampered the Lotus Spa for massages.
Now, back to harsh reality and manic Christmas shopping. To all my friends and family - have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest new year ever.