Categotry Archives: Trip 2020

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Tasmania – Day 8 – In Transit

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Returning is such sweet sorrow

Unfortunately, our time was up.  We awoke to the lovely view across the river Tamar, but this would be the last time on this particular trip.  We’d packed our bags the previous night, so aside from the usual breakfast in the room affair, we were ready to go check out at our leisure.

Our return was pretty much the same as our arrival, but in reverse.  A dashie from Launceston (this time via QantasLink, not horrid JetStar), a short layover in Melbourne (hello, Business Class lounge again) and then on back to Canberra.

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..and so we bid farewell to the Rosevears Hotel, with its heritage main building and modern fixtures behind.

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The good news is that we weren’t due to fly out until 1pm, so we had the whole morning to kill in Launceston.  So we drove and parked in town and strolled the main shopping precinct – and a last look in Avenue Records for me.  The kids enjoyed the water fountain whilst Toni took a longer look in some of the smaller niche shops.  The sun was bright, and the town not empty but not super busy, either.

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As the day turned to midday, we had to begin our journey to the airport, which is some ways south of Launceston.  We had the hire car to return and bags to check.  We also camped out for a spell in the “business lounge” at Launceston airport, which is really just a separate L shaped room offering sparse snacks but a decent range of refreshments.  Here we ate the sandwiches we had prepared back at the hotel earlier in the morning, to the envious onlookers in the “lounge”.

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Before long, it was time to go through security and then onto the waiting dash-8.  The flight from Launceston to Melbourne was uneventful, other than offering great views of the CBD from the sky as we approached Tullemarine.  We spend further time in the Melbourne Business Lounge, and the boys were well behaved.  This time, we didn’t have an inexplicable 4-odd hour delay, so the layover was perfectly timed.

If only things back at home could be as peaceful.  Do you recall those bushfires and the insanely toxic smoke?  Well, it hadn’t disappeared.  In fact, a massive blaze was in the process of threatening most of southern Tuggeranong as we waited in Melbourne.  Having to approach Canberra from the south, we were in an excellent position to see the extent of the fires from the sky as we approached and landed in Canberra.

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The view from the airport upon landing was only slightly less concerning.  As we bundled our bags into the car, and sped off towards home, the view from the Parkway did not improve things.

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By the time we reached home, the view was not improving.  Ultimately the fire front was to be extinguished weeks later, and thankfully never threatened more than this day.  Down the coast though, the fires returned in late January to once again directly threaten the town of Moruya, Bodalla and others.  Fortunately, the fires were maintained and eventually extinguished, but it remains the worst season of my lifetime and one I’d not care to see repeated ever again.  Canberra also had to endure hail larger than golf balls, which trashed thousands of cars, and wrecked hundreds of houses.

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29th January Fires threaten Moruya / Massive hail hits Canberra

Despite the loss of life, the damage and the toxic smoke.  The stress and anxiety, and the pandemic which hadn’t hit home at the time, we did manage a very enjoyable break from reality in the most southern Australian state.  Although ultimately we did not relocate to Tasmania, it is a thoroughly enjoyable place to visit, and might yet one day be home.

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Tasmania – Day 7 – Launceston & North West

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Categories: Trip 2020, Tags: , , ,

Our last full day in the apple isle.

So we decided to make it a full day.

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We had breakfast in the room at the Rosevears Hotel, and afterwards we were on the road around 9:30am.  Our destination was west again, in the general direction of Moles Creek.  Without a specific timeline to work against we opportunistically stopped at a town called Chudleigh on our way, which featured a very nice honey store.

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We tasted a number of very tempting honey varieties, walking away with a few to take home.  Back to the car, we found our destination, a tidy town (Mole Creek), but caves were actually a bit further out.  We found our way to the main cabin, but owing to the time available, we could only check out one of the two cave systems available in the area (we missed the King Solomons cave).

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So it was the Marakoopa Caves for us.  We had to walk up to the next parking lot along a path running through the lush Tasmanian rainforest.  It was a nice, pleasant walk and lots to see.  Plenty of nicely flowing water and the peaceful ambiance you’d expect.

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After the next carpark (where the buses deposit other tourists), we followed a slender path to a wooden hut with a huge diesel generator (to power the lighting in the cave system).  We had a 20 minute wait for our allotted tour time.  I explored the area nearby to kill the time, taking a few more photos.

Underground Rivers and Glow-worms Tour

“Visit the lower chamber and be dazzled by its sparkling crystals, reflection pools, stalactites and stalagmites. Take time to listen to the music of underground streams and soak up the silence of abandoned river passages. This easy tour caters for all age groups and levels of fitness.”

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The cave system runs deep through the Tasmanian countryside.  At 9 degrees, the caves are understandably a little on the cool side.  We went in as a group and at various times we moved from station to station along a structured route.  The tour guide would explain the structures, the river flow and some of the science behind the formation of the stalactites and stalagmites amongst many other things.  The tour ran for 45 minutes, with the highlight being at the end.  The last major cavern, the lights were switched off so we could view the massive array of glow worms within the cave.  It was amazing.

After we left the caves, we started driving towards Cradle Mountain.  We made it as far as Round Mountain lookout, however it was quite a bit further (40 mins) than we were prepared to invest as the kids and Toni were hungry and unhappy with more driving.  So we took a right hand turn at Claude rd and returned to Sheffield where we’d previously visited.

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Mount Round Lookout

This time, the record/antique store was open, so I was able to browse and pick up some extra second hand vinyl.

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After an elongated browse through the racks of records, the family went across the road and enjoyed locally made fudge and lunch.  I enjoyed a pie and coffee for lunch.

We continued on our way east heading back towards Launceston.  We diverted through the western suburb of Prospect and into Summer Hill.  We then made our way up to East Launceston and explored St George’s square (and playground).  We decided to dig a little further.. and one of the kids needed a toilet break, so we found ourselves at “City Park” which is closer to town.  I’d been here before!  Back in 1990, and it hasn’t changed (which is great).

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The park is quite large, and features a dedicated children’s area.  We parked on the east side and walked through to the west.  There are lawns of perfect green, wide pathways and outstanding flora.  The highlight would be the glasshouse, which is meticulously maintained.  Everywhere, flowers in bloom set against a beautiful blue summer sky.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and a great way to wind down our time in Tasmania.  However, it was time to move on, so we drove back north, checking out the suburb of Trevallyn on the way.

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Modern accommodation at the Rosevears Hotel

For dinner, we drove south to nearby Legana where we had Japanese food (bento boxes) and picked up some extra supplies for the return trip at Woolworths.  On our way back to Rosevears, we diverted to check out the “Brady’s lookout” which provided panoramic views of the Tamar river.

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By the end of all this… well, the boys were out like a light when we finally returned to the Hotel.

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So we did our final packing, watched some TV and prepared for our return to the mainland the next day.

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Tasmania – Day 6 – In Transit

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Categories: In Transit, Trip 2020, Tags: , , ,

In transit once again

Today we packed our bags and prepared for a return journey north. 

Before we would begin though, we weren’t quite done with the Hobart region.

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Parting is such sweet sorrow

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Removing kids from a functioning TV is no less challenging now that it was 30 years ago, but we had to check out at some point.  We spent a little bit more time in the resort pool as a way of saying our farewells.

We bid adieu to the cosy and somewhat fancy little bungalow at the resort, but not before snapping a picture of what looked a bit like a tiny Kangaroo which had been canvassing the area.

It’s actually a Tasmanian pademelon, and they are quite populous on the island.

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Native animals not withstanding, we packed the car and drove west towards Hobart.

We wove through the state capital and then upwards.. and upwards through tight bends and deathly inclines to scrape the sky at the top of Mount Wellington, which is a cool 1271m about sea level, not far below.  For some context, the continental height peak is Mount Kosciuszko, supported by the mammoth Great Dividing Range at 2,228m.

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To the destination / Looking back to our origin

On the way up, we noticed a lot of residential objections to a potential cable car construction which, frankly, would save many people from the dangers of the road twisting up into the skies.

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The view from the top is simply stunning, as you may expect.  At the very top of the mountain is a carpark, a walking track and an observation centre with an additional platform which extends out to an edge facing Hobart.

Some of this was familiar to me, having visited in 1990, but the uncovered viewing platform seems new.

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We started at the enclosed observation deck before heading out onto the exposed platform.  It was still quite cold despite being late January.

Another tourist offered to take a family photo of us all.

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Or next stop was with the actual top of the mountain which contains lots of tourists and a trig point.

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The climb was not exactly easy, but we all made it onto what is really a small concrete area about the size of an oversized pallet.

The view wasn’t that impressive, but it was nice knowing we were standing on the highest point.  We carefully made our way back down and along the established walking track to look northerly.

Before long it was time for a dreaded return down the scary road.

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We drove back via the Sandy Bay area of Hobart, and found a seafood/pizza restaurant to dine in for lunch.  A nice locally owned and managed restaurant, we had a nice meal but were mindful of time and to get back on the road, north bound.

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Once out of the shadow of Hobart, the freeway opened up into exactly the sort of countryside you’d expect.  Very little traffic and punctuated by farms, hills and livestock as you pass through the state.

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The town of Oatlands

As we journeyed north, we decided to stop somewhere new.  We chose the town of Oatlands, a little bit south of Ross, which we visited on the way south.

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Oatlands is a lot larger than quaint Ross, and has a whole lot of heritage buildings.  The big attraction here is the mill, which really is quite fetching.

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We looked in an op shop before parking near the mill and letting the kids play at a playground nearby.  Toni and I walked up and inspected the mill and surrounds. One thing inland Tasmania does not lack is colonial character! With the kids restlessness sufficiently mollified, we continued on our way.

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Our destination was the Rosevears Hotel in Rosevears, about 20 mins north of Launceston.  Don’t let the photo fool you – they built modern accommodations on the hill behind the old hotel.

Once settled ,we drove into Launceston for dinner & supplies.

We had dinner in Launceston at a sports bar/restaurant called “Sporties”, which suited the kids.

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Afterwards, we hit up a Coles for food and then drove the kids back to Riverbend Park.

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As the sunlight started to dwindle, we headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest and to be ready for a new day.

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