Day 344 – 345: Gawler
Wow two more weeks to go and we have been on the road for a whole year! We were going to be back home for Christmas but as the journey developed further and house sitting opportunities became available we’ve had to extend our trip to mid 2020.
We haven’t even begun to feel festive as there has been no Xmas parties to attend in the lead up to the big day and for the first time ever I haven’t made my own cards and sent a newsletter to family and friends. Social media has certainly had an impact on how we communicate with each other. We’re doing our regular grocery shop and then I’m doing a little bit of work so that I can take a few days off. I’ve had a WhatsApp video call with my best friend Linda who is now living in New Zealand. It’s always great to see her face and catch up on what’s happening in her life. I miss our craft days together from back home in Mission Beach.
This morning I’m doing some baking. Mum’s fruitcake and some muffins for Andrew. We’re Skyping Andrew’s dad Dave this morning to wish him a Merry Christmas and his brother Kev is there too. It’s my sister Julie’s birthday today so we’re doing a FaceTime with her, Mum and my brother Ray. We go crazy when we all get together so the video call turns into plenty of laughter. It was great to catch up with everyone today.
The remainder of the day we are relaxing and laying around the caravan and then watching the Carols by Candlelight on Tele. It’s not something Andrew is fussed on but it has been a tradition with my kids and as we are on our own this year, I’m not missing out on seeing the carols.
Day 346: Christmas day
The big day has arrived and we chose not to exchange presents this year as our trip has been the biggest present that either of us could ever have asked for. Instead we’re treating ourselves to Christmas Lunch at one of the local hotels. Time to FaceTime the kids in Sydney and then get ourselves ready to go.
Lunch is a four course meal. I have no idea how we will get through this but we’ll give it a go! The starter comes out and I am shocked at the size of it. I’m hoping there’s a good break between courses because this is going to be a challenge. Andrew has the bruschetta and I have the antipasto plate. Entree comes quite quickly and Andrew has chosen the scallop & prawn spring rolls & I’m having the arancini balls. By the time we get through entree I’m feeling like I don’t need anything else! Next up is the duo roast and all the veggies. Andrew is happy as it’s traditional for his family to have a hot roast lunch on Xmas day.
I can barely scratch the surface of my lunch so Andrew helps out with some of my hassleback potatoes and turkey. A short break and desert is served. Andrew is having the chocolate brownie and I’m having the pannacotta. Lunch is really lovely, the food was amazing however the serves where far too big for me over a short period of time. Back home and it’s time for a nana nap. We both feel like grizzly bears and could hibernate for ever after that feast.
Day 347: Leven Canyon & Kaydale Lodge
Leven canyon is about 37km away so we’re taking a drive out there today. There are a couple of walks around the canyon however we are opting for the short 20 minute walk as we have Cinta with us. The walk in is a slight grade and we meet a lovely local couple looking for orchids along the track. Most of the tiny orchids have already flowered so there isn’t any pretty flowers to see. We chat to them for sometime before continuing out to the lookout. The platform takes you out over the edge of the canyon and as usual my legs start to turn to jelly. I’m not keen on heights at all.
There are 697 steps down to the fern walk and a further lookout. A dedicated council track worker and his crew took a year to build the steps in temperatures from -2 degrees to tops of over 30 degrees. They carried in 132 posts and 550 litres of water and cement equivalent to the weight of three cars. We didn’t do the walk down as we thought it was way beyond our fitness level!
On the way home we call into Kaydale Lodge Gardens. Entry fee is $5 as it is a private family owned garden. They also serve morning tea and light lunches. We had a coffee (no treats today) and then were given a brochure on the gardens. Kay who is now 70 moved to Tassie & met her husband who is now 78. They purchased the property and built the gardens from scratch. They were blessed with 2 daughters who shared their passion and still work on the gardens today. The daughters became stonemasons and have built all the stone walls and stone buildings on the property. It is a real credit to the whole family and we thoroughly enjoyed a couple of hours wandering the garden. I particularly loved the peonies garden and the wisteria pavilion.
Wildlife: horses, sheep, cattle, water hen, pademelons, crows, dead pademelons.
Day 348: Penguin
It’s a beautiful sunny day today so we are heading out to the cherry farm we are both disappointed to see the “Closed – sold out” sign on the front gate. Plan B. Let’s go back to Penguin for morning tea at the bakery. The bakery is flat out, it’s a licence to print money at this place. We are lucky to get a table and Andrew can’t believe his eyes when he sees all the treats! He decides on the honey and almond slice & I have the French raspberry crumble slice. Both are delicious! We have a look around Penguin and a walk in the park to see the Dutch windmill. The reflections on the creek are just beautiful.
Back at home and we give the house a clean before Carolyn arrives back home tonight. This afternoon we take Cinta down to the Ulverstone beach for a walk. She has a paddle along the foreshore but isn’t keen to venture out any further. The water is freezing cold. Tomorrow we are moving up to Carolyn’s daughters place at Gawler which is just up the road.
Wildlife: seagulls, cattle, dead pademelons, crows.
Day 349: Moving day
OMG – what time is it? We can’t believe we slept in until 8.30am. We both must have been tired. Especially Andrew. He very rarely sleeps in past 6.00am. We take our time getting organised this morning then head out to do the grocery shopping. Shevonne has texted to say that they have left for Port Sorell so we pack up and head up to their place.
The property is on a steep slope so getting the caravan onto their slab is quite tricky. Andrew finally gets it in, it’s not terribly straight but it really doesn’t matter. We spend the afternoon having a couple of games of pool, a long hot bath and a few drinks. At 8.30pm we here a lot of noise in the front hedge. Hundreds of birds have flown in and are getting ready to settle for the night. They are making a real racket. When we open the caravan door they all take off and head for the power lines. It’s not long before they all come back into the hedge to roost for the night. We both hope they are not all going to wake up at the crack of dawn…
Day 350: Cradle Mountain
The weather forecast for Cradle Mountain is looking very good for today with a high of 26 degrees and winds to 13km. The perfect day to head out for some great photo opportunities. The journey is only 77km and takes us through some very picturesque countryside. Arriving at the mountain we are directed by the parking attendants. The large car park is already half full. We pay our fee and enter the visitor centre and have a quick coffee before heading out to the bus queue. We take the bus all the way to Dove Lake. The view of Cradle Mountain is captivating. The shallow water at the edge of the lake is crystal clear turning into azure blue further out.
A short 10 minute walk to the right of the lake takes you out to the Boat Shed. Built in 1940 by the first ranger at Cradle Mountain and made from King Billie pine. It’s here that I take most of my reflection photos.
We take the track back and head to the left side of the lake to Glacier Rock. We pass a ranger taking a guided tour and overhear him pointing out the wombat Highway down to the water. The track to the rock was completed in 2018. The viewing platform offers some very picturesque photo opportunities looking back over the Boat Shed.
Back on the bus and we hop off at Ronny Creek. It’s a lovely babbling creek with a couple of picnic tables and is opposite to the start of the Overland Track. The scenery changes so dramatically throughout the National Park. After a few more photo opportunities we hop back on the bus again and return to the Visitor Centre. It is packed with tourists. The car park is overflowing and currently under construction for upgraded facilities which are desperately needed. We had a fantastic day at the Mountain, bringing back fond memories of our overnight stay five years ago when it snowed.
Wildlife: horses, sheep, cattle, dead pademelons, crows, dead black snake, trout, water hens.
That’s all for week 50. We’d like to wish everyone all the very best for a very Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true in 2020!
Week 50 total expenses: $507.15 we’re pretty happy with that given that Christmas Lunch was included in this weeks budget.
That’s a wrap for Week 50 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!