Tag Archives: walking

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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 5 – Hobart

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Categories: Trip 2020, Tags: , , , ,

Starting the day off

..as we always seem to do – with an in-room breakfast.  It really saves big $$$.

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Itinerary – Hobart

Because we happened to be staying near Hobart on a Saturday (not a coincidence), I knew I’d be able to take everyone to visit the famous Salamanca Place markets.  You’d miss a lot in with COVID these days, but back in January personal space was a myth in Hobart.

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So after breakfast we bundled into the hire car and set west for the state’s capital.  We found a multi-storey carpark and left the car.  It was a few blocks away from the markets, and we went on foot – once we got our bearings.  I can’t say that I remember downtown Hobart that much from when I  last visited in 1990, but I have to assume it’s changed somewhat.

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As you can see from the photo, a lot of sandstone coloured heritage buildings, similar to the financial district in the Sydney CBD.  A mix, really, with late 20th century buildings blended in.  A confusing contrast at times, but memorable! The sidewalks nice and wide, and the area easily walkable.  The weather was simply superb, as you can see.  The city centre is nicely situated, and everything is within a reasonable distance, although more spread out that you might expect.  No, this isn’t the Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane CBD but it has its own charm.

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Salamanca Place is not hard to find.  Especially it would seem, on a weekend.  The market is massive, it has overgrown the plaza and runs up to the west.  When we arrived it was a wall of people as far as the eye could see – which obscured the stalls themselves and made life tough for our kids.  We took it slowly and calmly, trying to get a decent look at what was on hand.  It is an impressive city market, drawing stall holders from the greater Tasmania and beyond.  We did a complete “loop”, stopping where we could.

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Some fresh raspberries were procured for the kids (and gone in an instant).  There were some hopeful vinyl sellers, but their prices were.. as steep as Mount Wellington!  I later doubled back later on as there was a reasonably priced copy of King Crimson’s “Islands” (early 70s AU copy) which I picked up for about $40.  Toni bought some candles made from wax granules selected by all four of us (scented, of course).  We walked back into town to hunt for lunch, ending up at a place called Abel Land – a Taiwanese café of all things.  It hit the spot.

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Then we split up, as I wanted to check out a record store nearby.  So I went up to Music Without Frontiers on Liverpool street and wade through a number of crates of second hand records, coming away with a few.

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Music Without Frontiers

I catch up to the family at an underground EB Games, and then drag them up and over to another store – Tommy Gun Records.  A few extra LPs added from their back room of second hand vinyl (plenty of new stuff at the front).  The final stop   – for me at least, was the Soldas Music Shop, which had troves of second hand stuff.  Scored a VG copy of Cream’s Disraeli Gears – AU mono for $15.

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We hit Target on the way back to the car, as the kids were getting a bit grumbly about all the record stores…. and so in due course we returned to the road, and east bound back to Seven Mile Beach.  Here the kids and I laid waste to the resort’s pool as we rode the afternoon into the early evening.  We made dinner in-room (save money) and thought that would probably do us for the day – but the caveat emptor struck, and we decided not to be lazy, and take in a bit more of Hobart.  Back to the car.

We’re not done yet

We drove to the Rosny Hill lookout, to get a better view of Hobart from across the Derwent.

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With the sun already well into decent, we were battling the clock as we navigated the local area.  We went further south, keeping to the shore, to a place called Kangaroo Bluff reserve.  Here there is an excellent example of a publicly accessible fort from a bygone era.

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The boys played the daredevil role, scaling the tops of the mounds within the old fortress, to Toni’s chagrin.  We walked the length of the facility, inspecting old artillery and exploring the passageways.  I did stop and ponder how much my father would have enjoyed this, being a former Artillery officer and enthusiast of things that go BANG.  At any rate, we returned to the car to continue the adventuring through the area.  We went to Tranmere to find a playground for the kids, but it was a bit underwhelming.

We’d passed a slick looking playground near a football stadium at Bellerive (near the water), so we backtracked and gave the kids 20 mins of play time while Toni and I had a look at the beach.

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‘We really started to lose the light now, so with the objections of two kids ringing in our ears, we bundled back into the car and drove east back to Seven Mile Beach.

Once back, it was time to straighten up and get prepared for the next day – and to explore the sheer height of Mount Wellington.