After a late night trip to the theatre to see The Lion King for Alex's birthday and an early morning get up, the bleary eyed forsome boarded a plane bound for Launceston in Tasmania!
On touchdown initial thoughts were we just landed on an isolated runway in the middle of the lake district. Just like being home... Drizzly, cool, fresh air with a view of the mountains beyond. Our car for the 4 day road trip was a new Nissan Micra, not Gaz's favourite car but a smooth little drive. Gaz was first behind the wheel as we made a jumpy start out the car park, not helped by the fact that none of us had driven in almost a year and Bryn, nicknamed the orange fiddler, was intent on discovering the purpose of every button before the rest of us. Actually this continued all week! :-)
The first day involved a drive up to Cradle Mountain national park and a lovely but slightly wet walk around Dove lake. We were warned by a batty lady in local town, Sheffield, not to go but we couldn't help our inner Northerness, and donned the walking boots and waterproofs. Well worth it, especially as we got our 10 second clearing to see the top of cradle mountain.
Tasmania was ripe with wildlife... Our wildlife love came out and the list went something like this.
Wallabies (shared our picnic with one and stroked it) "you don't feed them"..." I do! ".
Grey faced heron
Wedge tailed eagles
One lonely emu
White faced Gannets
Superb fairy wrens
Ghost spider? (Shadow of a spider in the torch light giving Gaz the heeby geebies!)
Goshawk? Not quite sure
Black browed Albatrosses
Braised Rabbit pie?!
Green Rosellas (landed on our hands, head and shoulders to eat bread)
Sulphur crested cockatoos
Peacocks (hand fed in a carpark)
Seal (in Hobart harbour)
After a long drive back to Launceston to find our hostel for the night, loading up with drinks and food for the week, we popped out for a Chinese takeaway and a sober early night! GAZ!!! PARK HERE!!
The road trip continued on to a the Freycinet peninsula national park and wineglass bay. Although wineglass bay was as beautiful as all the guidebooks say, nothing could contend with the walk down to the beach at dusk and hearing the first squeak of a ?flock? of 1 foot high fairy penguins as they marched onto land for the night. Shame they didn't come a tad earlier cos we felt pretty bad shining torchlight on them, only to watch them run back into the sea to start the whole process again a few seconds later! Beach camp fires, paddling in the crystal waters of the bay, gazs' god awful smelling trainers, sharing a very memorable lunchtime having a picnic with a wallaby (incidentally they pretty much eat anything!), teaching a couple of friendly Malaysian lads how to lay and light a fire and back in the car for a monster of a drive to Port Arthur.
Arriving in Port Arthur in the black of night and the middle of heavy rain shower, being tired from the journey and there being lack of cheap accommodation wasn't a great start but once we settled into a bunk house of a caravan site, got the heater on in the room and headed out for a pub dinner life didn't seem so bad again. "I can't believe I'm not gonna eat my burger!"...
Shame we didn't get to see much of Port Arthur but if we hadn't have come we wouldn't have had bacon and egg buttys, and been amazed at being able to hand feed the 'wild' Rosella's (parrots more or less) the next morning. Or, for that matter satisfied Bryn and Gaz's pie craving by popping into a local bakery for lunch! GOURMET PIES :)
Onwards to our final destination in Tassie, the sleepy capital of Hobart, and a drive up snowy Mount Wellington for a brief and very chilly view over the city. Back in the sunny city, Gaz and Alex carried on up to Launceston to catch their flight while we explored Hobart, did a bit of shopping and settled in for our extra night in front of the hostel fire place, making exciting plans for the Great Ocean Road adventure to come.
Love Jo x
TASSIE RIGHTS OF PASSAGE
Pay homage to salty finger
Go at least 50km/hr over the speed limit
Drive at dusk and experience a real hazard perception test as the nocturnal animals jump out on you
Learn to drive in a cardboard box
Listen to Tassie bill on his thingo
Erase a cloud
Have cozy poo talk next to the fire while Gaz warms up the car for us
Golly wogs biting your knees on Cradle mountain
Wake someone up by dropping a torch on their head
Stink out the dorm with Gaz's trainers (RIP)
Listen to a heavy breathing Donna
Share a picnic with a wallaby
Experience a cascade ale hangover
Have breakfast with a green Rosella family
Take note of Bryn's death noise when he's having a post cheese nightmare
Allow the orange fiddler to express himself
Take out excess reduction on your hire car and make the most of it by climbing on the roof