Australia
Break O'Day

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    • Day 13

      Sheila - all you need to know….

      February 25 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Sheila is a 4 berth van, although you’d have to know the other occupants very well to make it work!

      There’s a bed that at the flick of a switch raises/lowers. I say flick of a switch, but I need Lofty II (my trusty footstool) to reach it 😁

      There’s a ladder to the bed when in it’s nighttime configuration. It needs an agile spine twist and robust knees, to get up and down - neither of which I can boast these days. Negotiating the ladder makes night loo visits treacherous, so I’m trialling sleeping on the lower bed level for a bit! This still comes with its own treachery though, I might be short, but the lowered penthouse ceiling can administer a sharp head butt 🤪 to the unwary (experience talking).

      As on our last trip, there are cubby holes for all our bits, and you cram whatever fits into them (13 cupboards/drawers). The order one might enjoy at home (clothes, condiments and coffee in their allotted places), those noble principles slip in a van. It’s dog eat dog, everything out for itself. If the teabags, toothbrushes and t shirts fit cozily altogether in one cubby hole, so be it.

      The bathroom is great for ‘hidden’ storage. I brought * along suction hooks, so towels, washing bags etc can hang in there minding their own business.

      When on the road, particularly if it’s a twisty turny route, the middle drawer, suddenly launches itself, landing with a massive and terrifying thud on the floor. We then have pull over sharpish, in case it comes careening towards us up front!

      I’ve silenced the cackling crockery and screechy saucepans by adding a sheet of kitchen roll between them all. It’s calmed the interior massively, making for a quieter, less fraught ride.

      I’ve already mentioned the microwave, which is in the clouds, even Col has to stretch to get food in and out!

      The window blinds are good, but when they’re down, the cord disappears right up, and only Col can reach the cords to pull the blinds up again.

      Always take a tall grown up with you when travelling 😂

      Leaving:
      Stow EVERYTHING away. Make sure all cupboards are firmly closed, count you have pushed in 10 buttons. Unhook the life support systems from outdoor taps and sockets. Turn off electrics, pump and gas inside. Prey you haven’t forgotten anything and set off. Simples!

      Returning:
      Plug in all sorts, switches on inside, kettle on, charge phones etc, blinds down, PJs, dinner, bed prep and sleep 😁

      I think that’s everything…….

      * I also brought a veg peeler, cheese grater, small sieve, folding scales and whisk! We’re staying in a lot of places, and some kitchens are better equipped than others 😬
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    • Day 13

      Freycinet NP

      February 25 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

      Love a day when we don’t have to check out at 10am!

      Drove to see the blow hole at Bicheno, great to watch, loved the echo boom just before the sea squeezed through. Some folk stood quite close to the blow hole, but they all escaped a drenching (to my disappointment!)

      We then debated how we could see Wineglass Bay, another Tassie ‘must see’. The recommended boat trip was an early start and over 4 hours, and the walk (more of a hike) was beyond my capabilities. We were almost resigned to not seeing the Bay, when we saw the ‘scenic flight’ sign, calling out to us. We’re a sucker for those, so we called to check availability and within the hour were strapped into a helicopter. Great flight, but 25 mins just not long enough! Amazing views, and seeing the vista from above was defo the most spectacular option.
      (Note to self, be very nice to the bank manager when we get home)
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    • Day 14

      Next destination

      February 26 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Left Scamander Sanctuary site this morning, en route to Launceston. Had a wander around the nearby town of St Helen’s for a bit, then headed inland and west from our location on the east coast, taking in a couple of look out points as we went.

      This trip was on the A3, suggesting a good tarmac road (which it was). What we didn’t know was that the road would wind its way through the mountains and forest, hairpin turn after hairpin turn, snaking through, with a constantly changing, uneven camber. Add to this Sheila’s own bounce and sway and it was not the most comfortable of rides for the passenger 🤢 or driver, as it went on for a good 2 hours or more.

      So you can imagine the relief we felt, reaching our final destination for the night, the Big4 campsite in Launceston. We did our usual arrival duties, Col plugging in cords and hoses, me getting things ready for the evening etc.

      Just as Col had sat down for a well earned beer, I plugged in the kettle for a much needed cuppa but the kettle wasn’t working. Not wanting to appear stoopid, I checked the plug, internal panel switches etc but all was as it should be - and yet no leccy…..
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    • Day 94

      Tassie tour: Day 3

      March 20, 2022 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

      -- St Helens to Derby -- 146km

      Another day, and the last day driving on the East Coast of Tassie and we were not disappointed! We started our day with the Dora view point at the end of St Helens bay. It was still a bit cloudy but very nice and we thought we saw a penguin... But it was just a bird. Nice bird though!

      After that the sun showed itself a bit more for the skeleton point and the bay of fire 🔥
      We enjoyed the colourful landscape dominated with the turquoise blue of the sea and the bright orange of the lichen.
      Time to go and discover the inner Tasmania. Our first stop was a blinder, with a stop at a dairy farm for a cream tea and a chat with the cows. The farm uses a fully autonomous milking system with the cows wandering over when they are ready to deposit. Fully fed and watered we set off for the highest waterfall in Tassie before reaching the town of Derby for quick night time sauna and dip in the lake. We're here for 2 night so no driving tomorrow.
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    • Day 29

      Bicheno: altes Walfänger-Städtchen

      October 30, 2022 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

      Die Nacht in St. Helens war eiskalt mit Temperaturen um 2-3°C aber der Himmel morgens wolkenlos. Bis zum Aufbruch keine Spur mehr von Joanne, die ich seit meiner Ankunft nicht mehr zu Gesicht bekommen hatte. Dafür forderte die Gaus- und Hofkatze laut miauend Frühstück. Ich konnte aushelfen, weil ich in der Küche zwischenzeitlich ihr Futter entdeckt hatte. Also lies ich den Schlüssel in der Appartementtür stecken, so wie das bei den anderen unbelegten Zimmern auch der Fall war, und startete in einen schon wärmer werdenden Morgen.
      Letzter Blick auf St. Helens und dann Fahrt entlang herrlicher Strände. An jedem einzelnen hätte man gut einige Tage verbringen können. Gut ausgebaute Straße, immer noch Tasman Highway, schwacher Verkehr.
      Imner wieder bemerkenswert sind die oft extrem rücksichtsvollen Autofahrer. Teilweise musste ich per Handzeichen an übersichtlichen Stellen zum Überholen ermuntern. Ich versuche mich zu revanchieren, indem ich in beengten Verhältnissen auch mal auf's Bankett ausweiche, wenn ich mich dadurch nicht selbst gefährde. Und schon ist die Welt ein bisschen guterer 😀
      Faht durch Scamander, lebhaftes Städtchen am Pazifik. Nach Falmouth treffe ich auf zwei entgegen kommende Reiseradler, die sogleich für einen kurzen Plausch am Straßenrand auf meine Seite wechseln. Grum und Juliet aus Neuseeland. Umrunden ebenfalls Tasmanien. Versorgen mich mit ersten Tipps für meinen Neuseeland-Besuch nach Weihnachten.
      Kurze danach erste Pause am Meer, felsiger Abschnitt mit guten Sitzgelegenheiten auf den warmen, runden Felsblöcken. Aber es weht ein kalter, auflandiger Wind, der mich dann doch irgendwann zum Weiterfahren ermuntert. Dieser Wind nimmt in Lauf des Tages zu und ist dann bis zum Abend stürmisch, schiebt mich aber mal ausnahmsweise auf meiner heutigen Etappe.

      Weiterfahrt nach Süden. Straße mal gleich am Ufer, mal einen km landeinwärts. Schwacher Verkehr. Genau ein LKW überholt mich heute. Immer wieder tolle Ausblicke auf den Pazifik. Nochmal kurze Pause am Denison Beach, 10 km vor dem heutigen Ziel. Am frühen Nachmittag erreiche ich Bicheno. Das örtliche Backpacker-Hostel nimmt keine Gäste für eine Nacht.
      Dann eben Holzhäuschen auf Campingplatz. Viel zu viel Platz für eine Nase, aber gemütlich.
      Duschen, Einkaufen, Abendessen.
      Dann Bicheno entdecken auf dem Bicheno Foreshore Track mit Abstecher auf den Whalers Lookout. Und dann ist wieder mal gut für den Tag.
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    • Day 54

      Sat 27 Jan. Bicheno Tasmania

      January 27 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 22 °C

      Bit of a drive round on Thursday with some lovely fish and chips for lunch, the owner heard our accent and straight away sold us mushy peas as well, he originally came from Bournemouth and has been trying to educate the Aussies, no gravy though. The drive up along the riverside was very scenic, the weather was perfect. We popped into the gin cellar near our apartment when we got back and tried a couple of cocktails, it would have been rude not to.

      Friday was Australia Day so a public holiday. Much like the UK there's growing opposition to it as it's seen as harking back to old colonial times and they have been doing the same beheading of statues that happened at home.
      We paid a visit to Cataract Creek in Launceston and saw peacocks and a Kookaburra, we have heard them laughing away at the apartment but can never see them. Then back to feed Wally, he was joined by some mates tonight, Pademelons, smaller than wallabies.

      Saturday we said bye to Wally and Loni and headed to Bicheno and the seaside. The drive was interesting through the forests with lots of bends and hills but the views once we got to the coast were stunning and some glorious beaches, it was definitely a wow! moment.
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    • Day 50

      Bicheno, TAS

      January 30 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 72 °F

      Bicheno is the first of three one-night stands that we have planned before we get to Cradle Mountain National Park.

      My Lonely Planet guide describes Bicheno as “ … very much a fishing port — with a holiday habit.” The beaches and the deep sea fishing make the town quite popular with holidaymakers. For us, it’s just a convenient stop on the road.

      Our hotel, Beachfront Bicheno, is nothing to speak of. The ambiance of the property is that of a motor lodge. The rooms, while clean, are in need of a good refresh. Across the road, we have a view of the beach and a balcony from which to enjoy said view. Unfortunately, it was way too windy for us to sit out for our evening wine and snacks.

      Once we settled into our room, we wandered over to the beach to scramble over the boulders and watch the rough surf crashing ashore. One last bit of fun to wrap up our day.
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    • Day 119

      Tassie Tour

      January 21, 2023 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Yesterday was a lot.

      Started off at 8am, headed down to the Salamanca Markets. It was super busy but they had loads of Tasmania made products which was cool. Almost every stall was full of Tasmaina only so I will definitely be going back there next week.

      We then drove all the way up to the top of Cradle Mountain. Unfortunately the clouds were covering the city so we didnt stay long. It is supposed to be one hell of a view so I will do the hike again and see it on a good day.

      We then made the drive to Richmond. It felt like home there. Lots of Victorian style buildings, felt very European. I've missed that so it was nice being there. I did get a nasty surprise though from the tour guide. No food is provided at all. I didnt expect food to be provided all the time but at least some here and there, like I've paid a lot for this tour I expected some food. So that will end up being expensive but hopefully the views make up for it.

      We then went to a animal sanctuary. Very similar to the one on the Melbourne tour except they had some Tasmanian Devils. They had a successful breeding program last year so there were babies. They were so cute. Like ah I could not. They had a bunch of other animals but I had seen all of those so I just stuck with the Tassie Devils.

      From there we had a little tour of Bicheno where we will be staying the next 2 nights. Then headed to the memorial grave of Wauba Debar. She saved her husband from drowning in the 1800s and is the only aboriginal person to be memorialised in the 1800s. Noone else was honoured in that way until the late 1900s early 2000s. It is now tradition to visit her grave and lay a flower upon it when you visit Bicheno.

      We finished off the day with some food at the only place in town that didnt serve solely fish. I had pasta for $19 it was ok. Not very nice but food is food and it was the cheapest thing on the menu.

      I went for a bit of a walk afterwards then fell asleep super early. I am so tired and need more sleep.
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    • Day 16

      Eastcoast Tasmanien

      January 14 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Harald hat sich bei der Routenauswahl durchgesetzt (zum Glück 😜) und wir sind mit einem oneway Ticket von Sydney nach Hobart geflogen.
      Seit Jahrzehnten mal wieder in einem Backpacker Hostel untergekommen in der Hauptstadt Tasmaniens, in Hobart. Wir stellten beide fest, dass sich in diesem Segment doch auch einiges geändert hat, so konnten wir ein 2er Zimmer buchen, es herrschte abends absolute Stille und Essen für die Gemeinschaft war so viel vorhanden, man könnte davon ohne Probleme über die Runden kommen.
      Die ca. 200.000 Bewohner von Hobart sind tatsächlich zu beneiden. Direkt am Meer, einen Nationalpark vor der Haustür und nun sogar eine neue Königin aus ihren Reihen (Dänemarks neue Königin stammt ursprünglich aus Hobart)!
      Beim Nachmittagsspaziergang durch die Stadt, frische Austern essen, mögliche Routen planen in der Touristeninformation erschien uns der lokale Biergarten der ansässigen Brauerei wie eine Fatamorgana. Herrlich 🍺.
      Hobart kann mit einer hervorragenden Tennisanlage punkten. Hier fanden u.a. die Vorspiele für die Australien Open statt. Wir hatten Tickets und die Matches waren der Hammer. Da können wir nur von Träumen.
      Die Touristeninfo besorgte uns einen Mietwagen und nun befinden wir uns entlang der Ostküste, einen Endpunkt gibt es noch nicht.
      Herrliche Nationalparks, wunderschöne Buchten, unzählige Weinanbaugebiete und Destillen säumen unseren Weg.
      Wie würde der Brandenburger sagen: „…da gibts mal nischt zu meckern 😩“!
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    • Day 158

      Rainy day on the Tassie East coast.

      March 5, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      Woke up and the van was in a massive puddle. Some big heavy rain which was due to last all day.
      Closest indoor place was Iron House, a brewery and distillery.
      So got a paddle of their beer and their gin. We tried the wine yesterday and it was nasty! Out of their 6 beers, none were particularly nice.
      After the 3 gins. Same story. All a bit like paint stripper. Maybe we should have gone for the cheese.
      Left after having a brownie and drove to a cellar door called Priory Ridge. Had an excellent tasting with an old lady, in a wooden shack and a wood burning stove.
      We purchased a bottle of their Chardonnay for the evening.
      Picked up some overpriced blue cheese and crackers from the farm shop in town then set off to find a camp spot in the bay of fires area.
      Got a spot right on the beach overlooking the crashing waves. Some big surf coming through.
      Had a sophisticated evening of french jazz, chardonnay and blue cheese. Magnifique.
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