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  • Day35

    From Orford, we head north to Freycinet National Park. Our Host from the B&B suggested stopping at a winery with good views of Oyster Bay. Devil's Corner was a good stop, and we didn't even have wine.
    When we reach the park, our first stop was to walk up to Cape Tourville lighthouse. The lookouts on this trail were outstanding. We were amazed at the orange streaks on the rocks in the distance, but realized later that it was actually lichen that gave that colour to the rocks.
    We made stops at Sleepy Bay and at Honeymoon Bay, and never were disappointed in the scenes. But our main goal was to get to see Wineglass Bay. The hike up to that lookout was much longer and steeper than the others had been. We definitely were not the fastest on the trail, but, like the tortoise, slow and steady did the trick. Fortunately, there were planty of views to stop and take in on the way up. The rock formations of the Hazards are quite amazing, with huge boulders scattered around and perched on ledges looking ready to fall. Every so often we would come upon a wallaby on the trail. They look like small kangaroos and are a darker colour. These wallabies were quite tame and one in the parking lot looked like it wanted to get in the car and come with us. Others we have seen in the wild, take off at great speed when you come along. This famous landmark measured up well to its hype.
    The afternoon sped by, so with piles of pictures taken, we headed off to our home for the night at St. Helens.
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  • Day35

    Our first outing this morning was out St. Helen's point. This area is different than other areas, with sand bars and wide each areas all along the point. There are also huge sand dunes, so we ventured off to climb a dune, our feet sinking deep into the soft, fine sand. If only we had brought our pails and shovels.
    We set off to drive to Launceston, the second biggest cite in Tasmania. When we started, the terrain was rough, mountainous, and very dry. The only green on sheep pastures were in the valleys or on fields where they could irrigate from a stream. As we drove over ridge after ridge of these small mountains, things changed. It got greener and more lush, and many crops grew, including potatoes, fruit. as we came down the wide valley to Launceston, we saw why they refer to this area as the prime wine making region. We had been told that one side of Tasmania is wet and the other dry and here seems to be the happy medium.
    Out accommodation in Launceston is an old inn downtown. Our room has a four-poster bed and a fireplace...very cool.
    We had time to go for a good walk along a gorge right in the middle of town. When we got to the end of the trail, there were people jumping off the rocks and swimming in the river on this warm day. A teahouse is out at the end of the trail and peacocks roamed around there posing for photos. There was a famiy of black swans floating around too. Although we didn't have a lot of time to explore this area, we were glad we had taken the walk along the gorge.
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  • Day35

    We travelled from Hobart to Port Arthur, a historic site with the remains of a prison used from 1830 until 1877. Thousands of convicts were shipped out from England to Australia, but the ones who came to Port Arthur were re-offenders, men who had done something more while in prison or on getting released. They were the worst of the convicts. The isthmus is attached to the mainland by a narrow neck and a “dogline” was set up there with fierce dogs to attack escaping prisoners and raise an alarm for guards. The prison buildings have mostly been lost by fire and unused, but enough remains to tell the story of the harsh life there for the convicts, and the cushy life of the government controllers, doctors, etc. The soldiers there were in between and mostly bored, because not much happened out there in the sticks. 12,000 convicts passed through Port Arthur, some for very long stays.
    There was an island used for juvenile boys as well. They were kept away from the adult men who would be a bad influence. They were given schooling and taught the trades. Stonework, in particular, was taught as there was a quarry on the island and lots of buildings to be built. The system worked so well that England adopted it and stopped sending boys over here. At any given time, there might have been 400 boys here as young as 9.
    This prison was built at about the same time as Kingston Pen, and it was interesting to compare the two, having been to Kingston a few months ago. Punishment at Port Arthur was cruel, with whipping being common for misdemeanors. But the cells were actually larger and they certainly and they had the benefit of working outdoors, as long as they were not in solitary confinement.
    The site is large and we spent all afternoon there. Managed to get by the dogline to leave at the end of the day, though.
    Our stay that night was at the village of Orford , in a 150 year old cottage, now a B&B. It was delightful and the owners were good to chat with us for quite a while in the morning, after a tasty breakfast.
    Pics are: sculpture commemorating the dogline, main prison building, doctor's house, bedroom at B&B, one of many roses at Orford House B&B.
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  • Day32

    Boy, it has been a hot one today. The temperature hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon and we arrived back at the villa this evening like a couple of grease-spots. A cool shower was never so welcome. We set out to discover the southern coast this morning, picking out the features that interested us most. It is relatively quiet here at the moment, as it is just before the children's long summer holiday. In a few weeks the island will be heaving.
    We drove to the far end of Kangaroo Island (a 2hour drive) and the Flinders Chase National Park. It is a large area of wilderness, occupying most of the western end of the island, rich in wildlife and with a stunning coastline. The southern coast is the complete antithesis of the north. High eroded limestone cliffs and the southern ocean pounding along its length. We stopped at the visitor centre to pick up maps and pay the entrance fee. To my delight when we emerged from the car, there were koalas in the gum trees overhead. I counted six, including a mother and baby. They are so gorgeous and so brilliantly camouflaged, that you could pass within two feet of one without realising. They spend the vast majority of the day snoozing in the fork of a tree looking like a furry grey football and the night chomping on eucalyptus leaves. I even managed to forget the dratted flies for a few minutes as I snapped away.
    We drove another 15 Kms down to the Admirals Arch boardwalk at the end of the promontory. It descends through the eroded cliff top that looks just like a perfectly planted rock garden. Alan Titmarsh would be thrilled with it. There are perfectly adapted plants and grasses dotted throughout the limestone pavement. It is a joy to behold - well for some of us anyway! There were fur seals basking on the rocks below and swimming so calmly and elegantly in the wild surf as it crashes on to the rocks. Again, their camouflage is brilliant and you need to look very carefully to pick them out.
    Turning a final corner you come face to face with the most spectacular limestone arch. The roof is gnarled and dripping with stalagmite like drops in black and white and the eye is drawn to the snarling ocean crashing on to the rocks below. A lone sentinel male fur seal is silhouetted against sea and it is a true wonder of nature. The climb back up to the the car park was tough going in the ferocious heat.
    Our next port of call was to the Remarkable Rocks, yet another of Mother Natures masterpieces. On a another promontory stands a dome of granite that was exposed to fracturing and weathering over two million years ago and balanced on the top are these incredibly arranged and eroded rocks. I will post a picture and if I were to tell you that this was a Henry Moore sculpture you would not be surprised! We did not manage to get up close and personal here. The flies were just ferocious and even with a fly net, the whinging poms could only stand so much and had to beat a hasty retreat to the car. Mind you there were plenty of whinging Aussies as well! Weir Cove was the other feature we were keen to visit, but a three mile hike in over 100 degrees did not appeal and would have been pretty foolhardy if I'm honest, so pictures will have to suffice.
    There are also some beautiful beaches further along the south coast, one of which is home to a colony of the Australian Sea Lion. We walked a long boardwalk through the dunes in the stifling heat and came to the overlook. There spreadeagled on the beach were the creatures we had come to see. After a couple of minutes Peter says "Is this it then? Are they going to do anything?" At which point a couple of the bulls squared up to one another before quickly settling down to another zizz. I had to admit defeat and we retreated to the visitor centre for a well deserved ice cream. A highlight for Peter I suspect; the ice cream that is!
    And so our stay on the beautiful unspoilt Kangaroo Island is almost at an end and we will enjoy our view from the villa for the final evening; study our resident kangaroos that are out there once more and watch a delightful pair of electric blue fairy wrens bickering in the wattle bush outside. Life can be sweet, once you've cooled down and had a glass or two of something interesting!
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  • Day30

    We arrived back in Adelaide by air on Friday afternoon, collected a car and drove down to Glenelg for a couple of nights. Glenelg is a southern suburb on the coast. You can take a tram from central Adelaide to Glenelg in twenty minutes and it is clearly a very popular spot. The place was buzzing on Saturday night, plus there was a beach concert from 4pm till 9.30pm. We gave it a miss! It is quite an historic area for a young country and in some ways did remind me of St Kilda near Melbourne, as there were several streets of what are known as coastal cottages just back from the beach, with lots of decorative ironwork. It didn't quite have St Kilda's quirky charm however.
    On Sunday morning we left early, to make the one and a half hour drive south to Cape Jervis. Here is the Sealink terminal connecting with Kangaroo Island. It was a beautiful morning, the roads were quiet and the scenery down through the Fleurieu Peninsula equally beautiful. It is rolling country, mainly agricultural and the road follows the stunning coastline for a great deal of the way. You touch the edge of the McClaren Valley wine area and there are lots of charming small settlements. Typically, when we were on a schedule, we saw several places we would have liked to explore.
    The ferry journey across the Backstairs Passage (just love it!) lasts about 45 mins and the Island is in view all the time. We were there just after ten o'clock. The island is very sparsely populated and largely part of a conservation area or natural park. Restrictions are strict on what can be brought in as the islanders are keen to protect their isolated habitat for the wildlife (and themselves I guess). Penneshaw, where the ferry docks is a tiny village of three small streets surrounded by some small businesses and residential properties. It has a supermarket, a bank and a penguin colony, so everything you might need in fact! My guess is that if you lived here permanently, a trip to Adelaide would be necessary every few weeks to stock up. There is a small airfield, so you could fly if you didn't want to take the ferry, but a few hours in a car is nothing to an Australian - can't be, otherwise they would never get anywhere. Breakfast had been scanty, so, on advice from the lady at the Tourist Information, we stopped at The Dudley Winery for an early lunch and a glass of something interesting. The view was to die for and the lunch equally good. We tried a couple of the wines and were particularly captured by the Mary's Blush Sparkling (!) and took one with us. A good start. We called at AnteChamber Bay, just down the road and arrived at a white sand beach which we had all to ourselves, apart from the over friendly flies of course. The bush came right down to the coast, the sun was shining and the sea turquoise. Sheer chill out, with a touch of exercise for the fly swatting arm!
    Our home for the next three nights is Sea Dragon Lodge. On arrival (40 mins from Penneshaw, half on gravel roads) we were show to our eco lodge with a view down a small secluded valley to a private beach. You are miles from anywhere apart from the Cape Willoughby lighthouse at the end of the road and meals are brought to the lodge in a preordered hamper. There is certainly nowhere else to go! It is relaxing in the extreme and very beautiful. I sense a long standing memory building.
    Oh, and by the way the 'skippy' hunt is over. At 6.30pm there were three kangaroos browsing not 30 feet from the cabin. Yippee !!
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  • Day233

    It was an early start this morning as our bus was due at 8:35am. We have gotten waking up, showering, breakfast and last of the packing down to just over an hour though for maximum time in bed. It was a long 10 hour stint on the Greyhound, so luckily I downloaded 14 episodes of Blacklist on Netflix and Blake made a picnic lunch to keep us going.

    10 hours later we arrived in Port Macquarie. Tired from our travels we went for a cheeky KFC dinner, which was disappointing as their KFC menu over here is rubbish! On our way to the bus stop, we passed Coles where a lady with her two children had just finished their shopping. She kindly asked us if we'd like a lift which was really nice and really handy as the buses are hourly here and we had about 35 minutes to wait for the next one. All squeezed in, Blake with children either side of her in the back we were on our way. One child was super talkative and was having a good old chat with Blake in the back. The young boy however had a look of terror on his face the whole journey as if he thought we may be murderers or something.

    We made it to the Airbnb and met our house buddy's for the night, Michael and Ruth from Belgium. Feeling pretty worn out we retired for some more Netflix and an early night. Halfway through an episode I suddenly had a thought that we may be in the wrong bedroom. We got Airbnb up on Blakes phone and looked at the room next door and realised we were. Knowing that more guests were due tomorrow and had booked the room we were now fully at home in, we jumped up, put everything back the way it was and did 20 trips ferrying our stuff to our actual room trying to be really quiet as it was really late. Luckily no one noticed.
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  • Day236

    The original plan was to head to Newcastle after Port Macquarie however we couldn't find anywhere to stay so we headed straight down to Sydney instead. It turns out the reason for this is because there is a big rally car racing event going on this weekend. The Greyhound bus times out of Port Macquarie are really pants so the alarm went off at 3:15am in order for us to catch the 5am bus. It's around 5 and a half hours to Sydney but both of us dozed most of the way so it didn't feel that long. As we drove into Sydney, we caught our first glimpse of the Opera House which was pretty cool.

    The Greyhound dropped us off at the central station so we grabbed ourselves some Opal cards (Sydneys equivalent of the Oyster card) and jumped on a bus back over the Harbour Bridge to the North of Sydney where our Airbnb is. We are staying with a lovely couple called Dennis and Diana. Dennis is from Germany and Diana is from Argentina.

    Despite it it only being midday, we had already been up for 9 hours and the hanger was setting in, so we walked to Woolworths to grab some bits for lunch. I then lay down for a power nap and before I knew it, it was 2:40pm. Not wanting to waste the day, we headed to Chinaman's Beach which Dennis recommended, to catch the last of the sun. It's a cute little beach, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists however due to the wind, we had a repeat of our Byron Bay experience. After 5 minutes and everything being completely covered in sand, we gave up on the beach and decided to lie down in a grassy park just behind the beach instead.

    After 2 nights of burgers, I fancied something a bit healthier for dinner so I cooked up some wholesome fish and vegetables which was really nice. We then sat out in the garden with Diana, Dennis and Dennis' cousin Kim.
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  • Day231

    The forecast for today was mainly thunder storms so we weren't really sure whether to risk going out and having a repeat of our coastal walk in Noosa. Not wanting to spend the day inside though, armed with my raincoat, we decided to brave it. We walked along the coast to Coolangatta and then on to Snapper Rocks and Point Danger. Here you got great views out over the ocean where there were lots of surfers taking advantage of the stormy surf. We then walked back along Boundary Street to the State Border Monument which sits on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. The crazy thing here is that New South Wales is an hour ahead of Queensland so you can actually stand with each foot in a different time zone. My phone has been very confused since we arrived in Coolangatta and is constantly switching between Queensland time and New South Wales time, so we're never completely sure as to what the time is. We were getting pretty hungry by this point so we headed back to the apartment for some lunch on the balcony. Luckily it didn't rain at all however it did mean I had to carry my raincoat around with me for nothing!

    With more rain forecast for the afternoon, we weren't really sure what to do, so we decided to chill out for a couple of hours and watch some more of The Blacklist. We have now finished season one and have made a good start on season two. It didn't rain all afternoon so we thought we had better leave the house and go for a walk. This time we headed left along Kirra beach towards Tugan and then sat on the beach for a while, before walking back down the beach, dipping our toes in the sea.
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  • Day31

    We have thoroughly enjoyed that view today and finished the day with a glass or two of sparkling Shiraz on the beach this evening with our hosts.
    Could be worse!
    We have also explored part of the north side of the island. Whilst Kangaroo Island is not huge, the distances between places are large and take a while, even though you see little in the way of traffic. Few roads are direct. The northern coastline is calm and tranquil. There are lots of exquisite bays, home to many seabirds including pelicans and black swans. American River is a small and charming settlement. I was on the lookout for the rare Glossy Black Cockatoo often seen in this area, but not today sadly, only the white version. American River gets its name from a group of American sealers who landed in 1803 and camped alongside the Inlet, thinking it was a river. Wandering towards the cafe for a coffee, we diverted into a rebuilt boathouse to look at the partly reconstructed Schooner 'Independence'. On chatting to some of the volunteers we found out that the original was the first vessel to be built in South Australia. It was bought to these shores, it is thought, in basic kit form (IKEA eat your heart out!) from the crews base in New England. The young Captain Pennington was only 24 and his crew younger and they were hoping to take back a fortune in seal skins, but sadly the plan backfired, as the journey took so long the victims had emigrated to Antarctica for the summer! We discovered that George Vancouver had been one of the first to sail this way and chart the coastline. We remarked that we hailed from Vancouver's hometown, which interested the guys immensely and we told them a little of King's Lynn's history and the rebuilding of The Baden Powell, a project that has much in common with their own. In two minutes they had The Baden Powell up on Google and the phrase 'a small world' was all around.
    Tomorrow we tackle the south coast and the temperature is promising to be around 35 degrees - Help!

    As a postscript, arriving back from the beach, I went to open the screens at the back of the cabin and nearly jumped a mile. There were two kangaroos only 10 feet away. My cup runneth over!
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  • Day34

    We left Kangaroo Island yesterday on the 10o'clock ferry and slowly drove part of the Fleurieu Way to Victor Harbour. It was a quiet Wednesday morning and we scarcely saw a car, or person, for the whole sixty kilometres. The south coast of the Peninsula is the most beautiful area. It is a wonderful rolling landscape of mixed agriculture, with a vista of crops, grassland, plentiful trees and grazing animals. The sparkling blue sea is visible it seems around every other corner and it does have a hint of England if I'm honest, but warmer and sunnier!
    Our home for the next three nights is a golf club complex on the edge of the town. It is peaceful and our room overlooks the surrounding hills and first tee. It made for interesting viewing first thing today, as golfers queued to tee off.......FOUR!! There were some sights, even to my untrained eye.
    Today has dawned cooler, around 75 degrees, which has been much more palatable to the whinging Poms and talking of whinging Poms, the first day of the Ashes series began this morning at the Gabba in Brisbane. We watched the toss and saw England into bat before heading off for the day, with our fingers crossed.
    It has been a day of exploration mainly along the coast. Victor Harbour itself is the largest of the settlements and whilst being pleasant enough, would not hold the attention for long. It is set at one end of Encounter Bay and has Granite Island just off the coastline. This can be visited by causeway from the mainland and is home to the Little Penguins. ( been there done that) The guy in the Tourist information said the one thing we must do is visit this by horse drawn tram. (?!) We passed. Out in the bay, was a rather curious looking object with a boat moored alongside. It looked like a circular deck with people cavorting around it. On enquiry we established that this was where one could 'swim with the tuna'! I've heard of swimming with dolphins or whale sharks, but this seemed bizarre. Peter announced that there was no way he was paying an extortionate amount for the privilege, when he could run a bath at home and chuck in a couple of tuna pouches to the same effect!!
    We progressed down the coast to Port Elliott and Goolwa. These were much smaller, but charming and we had a good wander round, visiting bakeries (another PL pick!), art galleries, waterfronts etc. As ever, the Australians were very happy to chat and the morning passed very pleasantly.
    A late lunch was called for and we headed up into the hills to search out Mt Jagged Winery that I had seen in a brochure. We found it about 15kms out of town and had a fabulous epicurean lunch, tasting a couple of their wines. We couldn't pursue a full tasting as we were driving, but sampled a very good Semillon and a dashing sparkling Pinot Noir. Gorgeous spot with chickens free-ranging it all around. The garden roses were stupendous and we've noticed that before. We passed a beautiful garden in Kangaroo Island whose roses the RHS would have been proud of. Apparently, the climate here is very well suited to roses, despite the heat and sometime drought, they cope well. Our day concluded with a drive through the Hindmarsh Valley, which was another ooh & aah session. Simply beautiful countryside and the whole area is so unspoiled. This part of South Australia is definitely under the radar.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Commonwealth of Australia, Australien, Australia, Australië, Ɔstrelia, አውስትሬሊያ, استراليا, ܐܘܣܛܪܠܝܐ, Avstraliya, Аўстралія, Австралия, Ositirali, অস্ট্রেলিয়া, ཨསྟྲེ་ལི་ཡ།, Aostralia, Australija, Austràlia, Awstralya, Austrálie, Awstralia, އޮސްޓަރުލިޔާ, ཨས་ཊེཡེ་ལི་ཡ, Australia nutome, Αυστραλία, Aŭstralio, Austraalia, استرالیا, Ostaraalii, Avstralia, Australie, An Astráil, ઑસ્ટ્રેલિયા, Ostareliya, אוסטרליה, ऑस्ट्रेलिया, Awstralska, Ausztrália, Ավստրալիա, Ástralía, オーストラリア, sralygu'e, ავსტრალია, អូស្ត្រាលី, ಆಸ್ಟ್ರೇಲಿಯ, 호주, ئۆسترالیا, Ostrali, Awusitureliya, Ositáli, ອົອດສະຕາລີ, Ositali, Austrālija, Ò-tāi-lī-a, Австралија, ഓസ്ട്രേലിയ, Awstralja, ဩစတြေးလျှား, अष्ट्रेलिया, Avstrualii, ଅଷ୍ଟ୍ରେଲିଆ, Австрали, آسټراليا, Austrália, Ositaraliya, Ostralïi, Sotralïi, ඕස්ට්‍රේලියාව, Avstralija, Awstaraaliya, Australi, Аустралија, ஆஸ்திரேலியா, ఆస్ట్రేలియా, ออสเตรเลีย, Australya, ʻAositelēlia, Ostrelia, Avustralya, Autereraria, ئاۋستىرالىيە, Австралія, آسٹریلیا, Australia (Úc), 澳大利亚, אױסטראַליע, Orílẹ́ède Ástràlìá, i-Australia

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