Day 282 of retirement

March 25, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 19th March:

Left St Helens for Launceston (170km & 2.5 hours) in some wild and woolly weather. The car was getting buffered but I did feel for a group on motorcycles who were being blown all over the road.

Once we hit Launceston the rain eased and the wind dropped out so managed a stroll round Launceston.

I haven’t had a haircut for 5 months so I was looking a little rough round the edges. Found a very nice hairdresser who was on her third year apprenticeship and asked if it was okay for her to cut my hair. She did a great job and I am now looking normal once again.

Tuesday 20th March:

Off to Beauty Point and Beaconsfield today (120km round trip).

First stop was Beauty Point where we visited the Platypus House, which also included Echidna. Across the road was the Seahorse World. All together we learnt about the life, love and goings on of all these animals and got to meet them up close and personal. Great place and definitely worth a visit.

We had the best seafood lunch at The River Café in Beauty Point.

Next stop was Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. This gold mine has operated (on and off) from 1889 to 2012. Since 2014 it has been open to the public as a part of the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre.

In 2006 Todd Russell & Brant Webb spent almost 14 days trapped underground in a cage measuring 1.45m x 1.25m x 60cm.
They were both rescued and survived. They had a replica of this cage that you could get in. Absolutely scared the crap out of us both.

Wednesday 21st March:

Exploring Launceston today. First stop was the Cataract Gorge

This gorge is 10 minutes from central Launceston although you wouldn’t know it. We caught the chairlift across the gorge to the restaurant for lunch. After a long and yummy lunch (more seafood….) we wandered round some of the walking trails and lookouts.

Then off to downtown where we visited the old umbrella shop. They had old umbrellas going back 100 years. The one thing that hasn’t changed much over time is an umbrella.

Dropped into the Kings Park and guess what we found?

We travelled all round Queensland looking for a Bunya Nut. Even went to Bunya Mountain NP looking for one. No luck.
Then we find one in Kings Park in Launceston. Brought down from a huge Bunya tree in the last few days by the wind.

While in the park we watched the Macaque monkeys in their enclosure. It is sad to see these animals in a cage.

Thursday 22nd March:

Had a day to kill as our ferry doesn’t leave Devonport till 7:30pm. So did a road trip to the Stanley Nut National Park and Sheffield (400km round trip).

At Stanley it was blowing a gale with the odd shower of rain. We passed on the chairlift to the Nut top. But did have another awesome seafood lunch at the hotel.

Then headed inland to the township of Sheffield which is famous for its mural on the walls of the town buildings. Very impressive.

Back to Devonport, loaded onto the ferry and off to Melbourne.

Friday 23rd March:

We had an 11 hour ferry crossing of Bass Straight and the first 5 hours were not very pleasant at all. Quite a swell running. Luckily we had a cabin so I could lay down which helps heaps with my motion sickness. Even Guy felt the swell and had to stop reading and lay down.

The last 6 hours weren’t too bad as it flattened off and we both managed to get some sleep. Made it into Melbourne at 6:30am.

Once we unloaded, we headed out of the city to the Yarra Valley (1 hour away). As we arrived in Healesville at 9:00am, we found a coffee shop and had some breakfast.

Now checking time was 2:00pm so we had a lot of time to kill. But at 10:00am we received a text to say our room was ready. So off we went and unpacked. Did a bit of a drive by on a couple of local attractions then back to the cabin to wait for Jo, Dave and the kids as they arrived later in the afternoon.

Saturday 24th March:

Rained most of the day so we were cabin bound. All good though as the kids loved all the attention. Jo and Dave were off to a wedding at 4:00pm so babysitting duties prevailed. The kids were actually pretty good (didn’t push us too far) so had a great time with them.

Sunday 25th March:

Gloomy morning but the rain held off for the day. The kids left for Albury, then Canberra at 10:00am and we had some time to kill before we could check into our Melbourne Airbnb apartment.

We decided to visit the local Healesville Sanctuary. Quite a unique place focusing on assisting injured Australian wildlife. They even had a large hospital there where you can watch and see how they treat animals. Sadly they only manage to save about 15% the animals that are brought in. But they said that that 15% makes it all worthwhile.

Guy has always wanted to get up close and personal with a wombat and today her wish came true. She got to meet Jen, a rescued Wombat who is now doing extremely well. We got to pat her and found that her hair is very course, not all soft and fluffily.

Left for Melbourne at 3:00pm and 1.5 hours later we arrived at our Airbnb apartment (on the 10th floor) overlooking Federation Square. Here for the next four nights.

As we are now back in the land of good Internet it was time to update our iPhones and Apps.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 275 of retirement

March 18, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 12th March:

Back to Port Arthur to complete our tour. All done and dusted by late morning so off to see the Remarkable Cave 5km away. A really impressive cave/hole in the rock that extends out to sea.

For lunch we went to the Lavender farm. The food was awesome. And the rain set in for the afternoon so perfect timing.

After lunch we ventured to the old coalmine 30km north of Port Arthur. This was a coal mine operated by the convicts from Port Arthur. It’s 30km north of Port Arthur. The rain broke just longer enough to see the site. Back to our cabin for a cup of tea and a lay down.

Tuesday 13th March:

Google Maps took us on an adventure today. When planning today’s trip from White Beach to Swansea Google Maps gave a trip itinerary of 152km and 2h 17m. The trip time sounded a bit high but Google Maps can be a bit off.
So off we went and to cut a long story short we ended up doing 35km on dirt road and 25km of that on a logging forestry road. At times we were down to walking speed as we negotiated wash aways, big potholes, steep hills and tennis ball sized gravel sections.
And we weren’t the only ones caught out by Google. We passed 6 others doing the same road following Google. We passed one couple in a camper van crawling along. Felt sorry for them in their “truck” rocking and rolling all over the place.
But all good and the mighty Mazda got us through to Swansea. At least Google got the roads correct so we made it out of the forest. And the view was awesome.

Wednesday 14th March:

Off to explore the Wineglass Bay area today (150km). First stop was the hiking trail into the lookout of Wineglass Bay. An awesome place and so so impressive.

Also checked out Sleepy Bay and Cape Tourville. Stopped for lunch at the Freycinet Marine Farm. We had a dozen Kilpatrick oysters and then another half dozen oysters with smoked salmon and Brie cheese. So so yummy.

Thursday 15th March:

Off exploring the Swansea area today (150km round trip).

We visited 9 Mile Beach, Moulting Lagoon, Freycinet Marine Farm (awesome seafood lunch again), the roadside Pondering Frog Café for afternoon tea and the Swansea foreshore area for a wander.

Very stunning, peaceful, and quiet part of the world.

Friday 16th March:

Left Swansea for St Helens (150km & 3.5 hours) with a few stops along the way exploring, Bicheno among them.

Made it to St Helens by 1:30pm and down came the rain. It poured for most of the afternoon so we curled up in our cabin with a nice hot cup of tea.

Saturday 17th March:

Off exploring today (150km) along the coast and back into the foothills.

We visited:

~ Binalong Bay and Bay of Fires

~ The Gardens

~ Sloop Rock

~ St Columba Falls

~ Pub in the paddock (meet Pricilla the beer drinking pig)

~ Pyengana Cheese Factory

~ St Helens Point conservation park

On the way back home from St Columba Falls we came across an accident. Two cars hit each side on a sharp corner. The airbags in both cars activated so all people were okay.

Sunday 18th March:

Foul weather today (cold, wet & windy) so went for a drive to the Mount Elephant Pancake Barn (140km round trip). Now this place is a bit out of the way but well worth the trip as their pancakes are awesome.

And thanks Ben for the tip that XPD 2018 Tasmania “Bay of Fires” was starting in St Helens today. We missed the start but swung by the MTB to Kayak transition point in Scamander.

The rain did clear late afternoon so the racers just have to put up with the cold and wind. Glad I’m a spectator.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 268 of retirement

March 11, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 5th March:

Left Strahan for Hobart (Risdon Discovery Park) and had a few tourist stops along the way (310km and 6 hours).

Awesome cabin that is a small house including a washing machine and dryer. Time to catch up on some washing.

Tuesday 6th March:

Off to explore Hobart today. First stop was Mount Wellington where we had awesome views of Hobart and the surrounding countryside.

Then down to the Cascades Female Historic Site. This is on old female convict site. We were part of the play where we followed the life of Mary and her treatment whilst in this institution.

Such brutality towards the women and especially their babies. Never learnt this in history.

We enjoyed a very nice seafood lunch at Mako’s on Constitution Dock.

Back to planning the next week and discovered that there is a public holiday on Monday.

Had a bit of trouble getting accommodation for the weekend but all good, as we are all booked up till Tuesday next week.

Wednesday 7th March:

Visited the Museum of Old and New Art (Called Mona) today. Now I’m no art critic but this is the most amazing, bizarre art gallery I have ever visited. We both loved it including the awesome 5 star lunch in the Source Restaurant.
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities, modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a “subversive adult Disneyland.

An awesome place and definitely worth a visit if you’re in this neck of the woods.

Thursday 8th March:

Left Hobart for Snug Beach (35km & 40 minute drive) where we are staying for two nights.

We arrived at 11:15am so way early for a 2:00pm check in. Called into the park anyway and our cabin was actually ready so great to have an early check in.

Dumped our gear and went for a drive down south of here. Stopped at the Peppermint Bay Hotel for an awesome lunch.

Only realised after a text from my sister Lyn that this is the same establishment that my niece Petrina and hubby Benji got married some 3.5 years ago. Small world. Guy and I were in Vegas attending her daughter Jo’s wedding at the time so couldn’t attend.

Continued round the peninsula looking at some local spots of interest. Off to Bruny Island tomorrow for the day.

Friday 9th March:

Off to explore Bruny Island today (185km & all day). Caught the ferry for a 15 minute ride then headed south and worked our way back.

We visited:

~ Cape Bruny Lighthouse.

~ Bruny Islands Premium Wines for an awesome lunch.

~ The Berry Farm for desserts.

~ Adventure Bay where Captain Cook landed.

~ The Bligh Museum.

~ The Neck lookout.

~ The Chocolate Factory for some samples.

~ Dennes Point.

Made it back to Snug Bay by 5:30pm for a cup of tea and a lay down.

Saturday 10th March:

Left Snug Beach and made our way to White Beach Tourist Park (150km & 3.5 hours with stops) which is 10km from the Port Arthur historical site.

Made a few stops in the Eaglehawk Neck area to see some of the local attractions:

~ Eaglehawk Neck beach.

~ Eaglehawk Neck Tessellated Pavement.

~ The Blowhole

~ The Archway.

~ The Devils kitchen.

Also had a very yummy Scallop pie for lunch (thanks Pia for the tip).

Sunday 10th March:

Off to the Port Arthur historical site for the day. Back tomorrow to finish it off, as you need 1.5 days to really see it all. Today we attended 2 tours. One was a general tour highlighting some of the buildings and the goings on in them. And the other a boat tour round the island of the dead (Cemetery) and the boys incarceration island.

We also attended 3 performances by local actors on the history of the people at the Port (good & bad). We were thoroughly exhausted by day’s end but had an awesome day.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

Day 261 of retirement

March 4, 2018

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Hi All

Monday 26th February:

Off for a drive to Burnie to see my sister’s old house and the cheese factory. Found the house but the cheese factory has closed and is under extensive renovations.

There was a small display in the Information Centre so we did get some very yummy cheese.

Back to the cabin and Guy snuggled up in bed as she has a bit of the flu.

I made my way to Devonport Mazda to get the broken door handle replaced.

Awesome service. After breaking a door handle a few days before heading to Tassie for 4 weeks holiday we rang the folks at Devonport and they organized the parts and then fitted them today. Huge thanks.

Tuesday 27th February:

Headed for Cradle Mountain today for a hike round Dove Lake (150km round trip).

Arrived at the visitor centre and caught the shuttle bus to the Dove Lake car park. There were lots of “tourists” there but once we got 500m from the car park they all disappeared. We pretty much had the whole 6km track to ourselves from then on.

Guy has a touch of the flu but she soldiered on and made it with a few rest stops.

It really is a beautiful part of the world here and we loved the hike.

Wednesday 28th February:

We were going to leave early and make the trip to Stanley but as Guy’s flu wasn’t the best we slept in instead.

Left for the Wings Wildlife Park animal refuge at midday. Had lunch at the park before going to the Tasmanian Devil feeding. After the feeding we wandered round the park taking in the animals present.

Called into Leven Canyon on the way home. As we hiked to the lookout a huge thunderstorm hit (lightning and hail). We were prepared with Gortex jackets and umbrellas but torrential rain and hail ensured that what ever wasn’t covered up got wet.

We pushed on to the lookout but it was a complete white out. Back to the car and a slow trip home on very wet roads.

Thursday 1st March:

Left Ulverstone for Strahan (250km) with a slight detour via Leven Canyon. We tried to see Leven yesterday but got caught in a thunderstorm. All good today as we were greeted with stunning views of the canyon.

On the way out we stopped at the Kaydale Lodge Gardens for home made muffins and a hot cup of tea. Also went for a walk through the vast gardens that the family has built over the last 39 years.

Arrived at Strahan late afternoon and as we explored the front street we found the boat tour company so booked a Gordon River cruise for tomorrow.

Friday 2nd March:

Off on the 6-hour Gordon River cruise today. Along the way we visited Hell’s Gate (entrance from the ocean to Lake Macquarie and the Gordon River), salmon & trout farms, rain forest walk and Sarah Island (old convict settlement).

What an awesome cruise. We were upstairs in the captain’s cabin where everything was catered for. As you may or may not know I love smoked salmon. Well I had thirds of the locally grown and smoked salmon and it was some of the best I have ever tasted.

The rest of the food wasn’t bad either. The weather was mirror calm all day so it was an extraordinary cruise in a magnificent part of the world

Saturday 3rd March:

Bit of a rest day today. After a sleep-in we wandered round some of the local Strahan attractions. Had a very yummy seafood lunch as part of our travels.

In the evening we went to the longest running play (The Ship that never was) in Australia (24 years). It tells the story of the last boat built on Sarah Island (convict settlement in the bay) and how it was pirated by 10 convicts who sailed it to Chile looking for freedom.

They all finished up in different parts of the world. Some with new lives and some sent back to Port Arthur. A great show with audience participation.

Sunday 4th March:

Off to Queenstown (90km round trip) today for the West Coast Wilderness Railway tour.

The Rack and Gorge is a spectacular half-day steam train journey departing Queenstown Station and travelling to Dubbil Barril along the steep grades of the rack and pinion that the West Coast Wilderness Railway is renowned for. The King River Gorge and old growth rainforest complete the experience. We sat back in comfort as our guide brought stories of the railway and its resilient people to life.

A fantastic tour and highly recommended if you’re in this part of the world.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy