Week 44 | Aireys Inlet to Railton

Day 302:  Aireys Inlet to Melbourne

The start of another week sees us leaving Aireys Inlet just before 10.00am. It’s only 12 degrees as we depart but we are heading for a top of 27 later in the day. We’re looking forward to changing back into summer clothes, even if only for a day.  Our destination is Dingley and we’re staying at the Five Ways Caravan Park for 2 nights while we prepare the van for the boat trip to Tasmania.

Driving into and through Melbourne towing a caravan is a nightmare in the traffic. How we hate the busyness of city life and the impatience of rude drivers. We are pleased to arrive at the park and are met by Rowan who helps out the owner (Mal). Our site is very tight to get into and Rowan directs Andrew straight into it with ease. What a life saver! The temperature is rising and we are grateful to be putting the awning out and sitting outside for the rest of the day.

Wildlife: seagulls, dead kangaroos.

Day 303 – 304:  Dingley

I’m catching up on some work this morning and after lunch we’ll do a trial run into the port to make sure we have plenty of time tomorrow to drive in. It takes us an hour to follow the directions given to us by Mal. We set the satnav as well, which would have taken us a slightly different route. We’ve found since travelling that the satnav does not always provide the best route to a destination. We’re glad we did the trial run as we found a place to park up if we are too early to board.

Today is prep day. The fridge needs to be defrosted and cleaned out before the trip. We also need to make sure that everything in the cupboards is secure in case we have a rough sail.

We leave at 3pm and arrive at the port by 4pm. Boarding commences at 5pm. We are parked up along the beachfront. It’s paid parking at $5.50 an hour. It is blowing a gale but we do several walks with Cinta as she’s going to be in a kennel for the next 13 hours. We are quite distressed about leaving her.

At 5pm we drive up to the boarding area to find that it opened early at 4.30pm. The boarding procedure is extremely well organised and runs like clockwork. We are directed to the quarantine check in area. The gas bottles secured on the front of the van are tagged. Our spare gas bottle in the back of the car is removed and tagged so that it can be collected at Devonport.  At this point Cintas veterinary letter is checked. Dogs must be treated within 14 days prior to departure for hydatids.

An orange tag is placed under our windscreen wiper. The gas butane’s are able to stay in the car as they are still in their original packaging. The back of the car is checked, followed by the caravan for fruit and vegetables as they are not allowed to be taken into Tasmania. A yellow hanging tag is placed on the rear vision mirror and we are instructed to drive through to the next check in point.

We are greeted by a very friendly staff member who requests our e-ticket and photo id. We are given our boarding pass/room key and instructed to drive through. We are in the queue for about 30 minutes before we actually enter the boat. There are plenty of staff at all points directing you. The space is tight that we are directed into. A staff member comes to show us how to turn off the car alarm. Apparently they tend to go off all night! Another staff member comes to take us to the kennels. We collect Cintas bedding, Mr Squeaky, her coat & a couple of treats. There are only 3 pets travelling tonight. We can choose a kennel so I choose one at the end and put her bed inside. Her legs are shaking. I ask the staff member if it gets cold down here & she advises it does. I put her coat on as she has really been feeling the cold. The kennel has a water tray in it. Mr Squeaky is placed inside and then it’s Cintas turn. She goes in and takes two treats. That was a surprise! I give her another one but there is no way she’s taking it. She’s realised that the door is now closed and she’s staying here. Those eyes… it is the worst feeling leaving her behind. I linger. Andrew says it’s time to go. The staff member tells us they are checked 4 hourly and we can come back down to check on her before the boat departs. We decide not to as she would think that we were coming to collect her.

The car is on deck 5 portside and the kennel is on deck 5 starboard. We take the 2 flights of stairs up to deck 7 where the cabin is situated. We are greeted by another staff member who directs us to our cabin. The room is small with 2 single beds and a bathroom. You can choose between a double cabin, twin singles, 4 bunks or a recliner chair. There was no way that we were going to try to sleep in a recliner chair for the night. The twin cabin was a good choice for the price.

Time to relax and unwind with a drink at the Deck 7 Bar. A couple of photos out on the deck while we depart in the howling winds and then the drizzling rain begins. Dinner is at Bar 7, a couple of plate size pizzas and then we head up to Deck 10 to enjoy some of the on-board entertainment.  Here’s a short video I did of the trip.


Day 305: Devonport

We were in bed by 9.30pm last night as the captain announced that we’d be entering the open waters by 10pm. Like clockwork the seas became rough. It was only a 2m swell but it felt like more. The noise from the waves crashing against the ship were continuous all night. We had little sleep. We were also worried about how Cinta would cope in the kennel.  We set the alarm for 5.15am as we were advised that we would have to depart the boat by 6am. A quick shower and coffee before heading down to collect Cinta. She was super excited to see us, her treat was still on the bottom of the cage. She soon gobbled it down after seeing us.

Exiting the boat is just as organised as boarding and we are on our way after collecting our spare gas bottle within 30 minutes. We’ve booked into the Abel Tasman Caravan Park at East Devonport which is a few blocks away. We were advised when booking to drive in and pick a site as the office didn’t open till 9.00am. While we were setting up the owner came over in her pj’s and gave us a key to the amenities. We had a light breakfast and headed off to Woolies to stock up on our groceries. Back at the park the day is spent laying around as we were all really tired. Cinta slept all day long.

Day 306: East Devonport

We’re heading out for a drive to Mersey Bluff to see the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was established in 1889 and in 1910 the original kerosene lamp was converted to gas.  In 1920 it converted to DC electric operation at which point it then became demanned. It was connected to mains power in 1978. It also has vertical stripes which is unusual for an Australian lighthouse.  There’s a walk out to the bluff and dogs are not permitted here, so I take the walk on my own.  The winds are very strong and chilling to the bone.  The scenery is quite picturesque though.

This afternoon we are heading out to meet the owners of the property that we will be house sitting for the next two weeks.  The acreage property is at Lower Beulah backing onto the Rowland Mountain range.  We will be looking after 4 ducks, 1 drake, 3 chickens, 4 sheep, 2 dogs, 1 cat and some fish.  Lower Beulah is a short drive to Sheffield or Railton.  The owners; Nadia and Alex are really lovely and we’re going to love being out here looking after their property for them while they holiday in Bali.  A stark contrast to Tasmania!

Wildlife: dead possum, dead rabbit, ducks, cattle, llamas, horses, sheep, chickens, sheep.

Day 307 – 308: Devonport to Railton

We’re travelling 25km to a free camp at Railton today.  We checked out the campsite on our way home from Lower Beulah yesterday.  Railton is a small township known for it’s topiary.  There are over 100 imaginative topiary characters situated around the township.  It’s fun walking around spotting all the different animals and characters.  There are also quite a few wall murals around.  This is a small township with a lot of very creative people.

I’m catching up on some work this afternoon and tonight we’ll head over to the local pub for dinner.  We like to support the local businesses while we are free camping in their township.  There is only 5 of us in the pub tonight.  It’s an old fashioned pub with an ornamental plaster ceiling in the dining room.  Andrew is having the usual chicken parmigiana and I’m having a scotch fillet with vegies and chips.  The meal is enormous.  Far too much for me to finish.  Good old fashioned country style cooking. We meet the other couple in the pub who are also dining and spend most of the time chatting about their and our travels.  They are from the Gold Coast and will be heading back on the boat within a week.  A few drinks later and it’s time to wander back across the road and tuck ourselves in for the night.

We’re waking up to 6 degrees this morning.  It is so cold in the van and we’re missing a power supply and heating.  I have 9 pieces of clothing on to try to keep warm.  The markets are on in Latrobe today so we’re going to drive in to check them out.  They are more bric-a-brac and just one stall with fruit and vegies.  Wandering down the main street we come across Reliquere.  We visited this store many years ago  before it burnt down.  It was really old, quirky and filled with treasures in every nook and cranny.  We’re pleased to see that the store has been rebuilt, however, it just doesn’t have the same feel as the old store.  Everything is about Christmas and there are so many beautiful ornaments and santa claus.  I immediately think of Florrie and how much she loves Christmas.  She would be in seventh heaven in this shop!  These pics are specially for you Florrie.

Make sure you come back for next weeks instalment as we begin our house sit at Lower Beulah.

Wildlife: rabbits, dead possums, dead rabbits, horses, sheep, goats.

Week 44 total expenses: $924.93 an expensive week, however still under budget.  We had to do a big food shop when we arrived in Tasmania as the fridge had to be empty for the boat trip across.



That’s a wrap for Week 44 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

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