At the end of October we moved to Brisbane so that the boys could become involved in more activities and to be honest we haven't stopped investigating the area since we arrived!
In the first week of our arrival we decided to check out the water park in Ipswich, which we did...but our journey also took us to Cleveland for lunch where we enjoyed the most delicious fish and chips we've had in a very long time. With our tummies full we ventured over to Wellington Point for a walk across the sand that connects it to King Island at low tide. This was so much fun!
Feeling exhilarated with our new adventure, but tired to boot, we headed home to make some pizzas and talk about our day.
The south eastern side of Tasmania was next on our agenda and of course we started with Port Arthur. We simply loved our days which were spent wandering the grounds and learning the history. We stayed in Nubeena at the RSL and had a wonderful time chatting with the locals. From here we visited the Tessellated Pavement, The Arch, Blowholes, Eaglehawk Neck, the Devil's Kitchen and the Historic Coal Mines site, however the weather was atrocious during these visits. Probably the most enjoyable of these sites for us to have visited would have been the Coal Mines site as we had the place to ourselves and explored the whole area thoroughly. I did at one point, however, go to the toilet and my desire to use it stopped when a massive spider landed with a huge splat on the floor at my feet...between me and the CLOSED door!!!! I screamed so loudly that Andrew came running from the car, and he never runs :-)
We moved on to Orford where I captured a beautiful sunset before we headed into town to look for crabs in the mud with the locals. We only stayed the one night here and then moved on to Triabunna which was a gorgeous little town, but again we only stayed one night.
Our next day had us drive past the Spiky Bridge and even though Andrew, Lachlan and I had seen it before, it was a must stop for Ethan to check it out. We had so much fun examining the top, the side and underneath! I think we were probably there a good couple of hours, moving on only because of the requirement for a toilet...or four. Our car and caravan stopped for the night at River and Rocks Camp Ground, the tightest fit our caravan came across to that point and from that point on. We often think back on the difficulty of it and wonder how we did it. Though you wouldn't believe it...we took no photos, but I promise it was tight and we fitted...I promise!
From River and Rocks we enjoyed many wonderful views and walks. I have to say though, it may be cool in Tassie, but when you start walking up to the lookout over Wineglass Bay, you soon realise how hot it can get. The photo of the boys under the shade of the wave rock speaks volumes. Of course, Wineglass Bay looked as beautiful as we expected, but there was no walking down to the beach as we were all just too hot and apparently the round trip back to the car would take hours.
On the way home from the Wineglass Bay lookout, we discovered both Honeymoon Bay and Coles Bay which were gorgeous, however we were too tired to stop, so back to the van for a good night sleep. First thing the next morning I cooked up a Butter Chicken, popped it in the Eco Pot and at 3pm we headed over to Honeymoon Bay for sunset photos and a delicious dinner on the beach. At about 6pm we then ventured over to Coles Bay for early evening photos. Our time in this area was very much loved.
When we purchased our tickets for Tasmania they were one-way with our dream to live and work there, however it didn't turn out that way. We did stay for five months though and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I have broken our time in Tasmania into three parts so as not to be too overwhelming.
Penguin to Tazmazia
It was so exciting to be back in Tasmania as it had been a long time since Andrew and I had visited last. Interestingly though our joy was short lived as we relaxed on our first night at a camp just out of Penguin to be met with an odd fellow that felt it only just to place his vehicle in front of our beach view and then promptly hang his underwear up for us all to enjoy!!! We called him 'Undies Man' because sadly this was not the last time we came across him.
Burnie had a lovely free camp just out of town at Cooee Point and with a full moon on our first night there and a crystal clear day the next, we were feeling very happy. The information center in Burnie is a must with its historical information and general facts of the area providing a full fledged learning zone.
Before we even left home in Cairns, we were all so excited about visiting Tazmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot in Promise Land ... and we were not disappointed. We arrived at Tazmazia when they opened their doors and we didn't leave until closing time. If you have kids then you must visit and enjoy the funny jokes and one-liners around the paths and hidden in the bushes, explore the numerous mazes to see how easy it is to get lost and become confused and interact with the general activities within the mazes to experience how AMAZING the whole place is!
First up I need to inform you that we were in Tasmania for 5 months, so there was a lot of back tracking and revisiting of our favourite places. We traveled all over the place and in no particular pattern, but for my posts I'll follow a path that takes you on our journey as though we started in the north, traveled down the middle, visited the south, south east and Hobart surrounds on day trips, up the east coast, across to Stanley and down the west before catching the Spirit of Tasmania back to Melbourne.
Campbell Town, Ross and Oatlands
All of our visits to Campbell Town were enjoyed by the Red Bridge, feeding the ducks and watching the eels.
The town of Ross brought with it an adventure into the past, with the beautiful Ross Bridge, gorgeous old church and the history behind the Ross Female Factory.
Oatlands was one of our favourite destinations and one that we visited regularly. We enjoyed our camp at Lake Dulverton and the locals enjoyed visits for a chat. We were also lucky enough to be in the town when they held their Christmas celebrations - WHAT AN FANTASTIC EVENT!!!!
We did and saw so much while in Hobart that I'm not sure we left a stone unturned. I won't cover everything, just the main places of interest.
1. The Penitentiary Chapel - the male convict's prisoner barracks for Hobart Town (as Hobart was originally named) - with the most wonderful gentleman tour guide. He was kind, knowledgeable and great with the boys and their multitude of questions.
2. The Shot Tower, built in 1870 to produce lead shot pellets, was a fun experience. The tower is 48m tall and was used to make the pellets by dropping molten lead from the top of tower to land in water at the base, but with the rapid descent would cool and shape the pellets before they hit the water.
3. Mount Field National Park to enjoy Russell Falls.
4. Cockle Creek - right down the bottom of Tasmania! Now I'm not sure if the boys were trying to show us how brave they were, but they went for a swim while we had a coffee to warm up.
5. Opossum Bay was beautiful and seemed to be one of the few places that the locals swam...that we could find anyway. It was like a step back in time.
6. Strathgordon was an interesting day. The wall of the dam was huge and terrifying for those of us that are petrified of heights. On the way back, though, we came across an environmental group that had set up camp to try to put an end to the forests being cut down. Yet no one was there to talk to!
7. Salamanca Markets always has lots of people and so much to see. Have to admit though that it seemed quite commercial since our previous visit, which is a bit sad, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
8. Christmas was lovely at the Hobart showgrounds, where all the travelers got together to share food and celebrate.
9. Taste of Tasmania was an interesting experience, especially for the boys to hold the winning trophy of Wild Oats on their arrival into Hobart and that we got to meet Ian Parmenter.
10. New Years Eve 2012 Fireworks.
11. We were also present when the fire took hold of Dunalley.
From Creswick NP we ventured to Ballarat to just sit by Lake Wendouree, watching the ducks, swans and geese and trying not to stand in ALL the poo! On returning from our outing we were horrified to find that the local council had dug huge holes in preparation to put up a fence ... in front of our caravan!!!! We had a laugh with them about it and then promptly moved the van first thing the next morning. Another day we visited Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm where we patted the animals, meandered around their exquisite gardens, were intrigued by the history of the original family residents and enjoyed divine fair at the La trattoria cafe. There was however no lavender to see on the fields, but this didn't detract from our visit at all.
We moved onto the Mornington Peninsula where we stayed for four nights exploring up and down the peninsula coast line before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania with our 'one-way' tickets.
Once we hit Victoria the reality of being on the road for an indefinite amount of time had finally hit home and we realised that we had to seriously consider our budget and the boys education.
Our stop after Maldon was Creswick National Park and we simply loved the isolation, fresh air and the lovely people in town. Here we purely free camped - we didn't use the genie, we washed all of our clothes by hand and all of our cooking was done on the camp fire.
Our budget at this point started to look good as our groceries were as low as $120/week, unless we splashed out and bought yummies like biscuits or cakes, but no ice cream as our caravan freezer wouldn't freeze it! The fuel budget we managed to keep to $100 for the week as we just sat and enjoyed the kids, watching them play and pan for gold in the creek, with only the odd outing here and there. It was at Creswick NP with its silence and peacefulness that I started investigating the Australian Curriculum in order to lesson plan for the boys following year of education.