Week 53 | Swansea to Derwent Bridge

Day 365: Swansea – One year on the road!

It’s time to celebrate being on the road for a whole year!  It literally feels like we only left a few weeks ago.  Where has the time gone?  It’s been a worthwhile exercise to track our expenditure to have a clear picture of exactly how much it costs to be on the road.  There are a lot of areas that we could improve on to cut our costs down, however, this trip has been a dream come true for both Andrew and I and we budgeted for $1000.00 a week.  We are both pleased with the final outcome of $42259.67 (which includes our registrations, insurances and RACQ membership).

Here’s a few of our big ticket item stats:

Kilometres travelled: 32,440

Food: $9072.24 an average of $174.46 per week

Fuel:  $6516.18 at an average price of $1.53 p/l

Accommodation: $6101.37

Experiences: $5780.77

Eating Out: $4689.95

Maintenance: $2688.67

An even more interesting are these stats.  When we set off we thought we would free camp most of the time.

Caravan Parks: 193 nights

House sits: 106 nights

Free camps: 66 nights

Wildlife: seagulls, bandicoot.

Day 366: Swansea

The smoke haze has rolled in again today and after a windy, wild day yesterday the beach is strewn with sea grasses. I’m calling in for my monthly Board meeting and Andrew is off for a game of golf. The golf course is just around the corner from the park.

After the meeting we head out to Kate’s Berry Farm. We visited 5 years ago so we are keen to see if they’ve grown and what else they may now have on offer. It’s a bit disappointing. The staff are very uninformed on the menu items and the service is particularly slow. The berry farm doesn’t appear to have grown at all and there is no improvement to the parking situation. Other visitors are commenting on the disappointment of the berries for sale. Such a shame to see. We decide to settle for an ice cream and go else where for lunch. We head into town & have lunch at the Artifakt Cafe & Gallery. I have a delicious lamb & vegetable quiche & Andrew has a bacon & egg panini. They are both delicious. Before leaving we check out the gallery. Some interesting and very expensive artworks.

This afternoon we have a walk on the beach and on our return we meet the owners of the caravan park. They tell us how they bought the park 4 years ago & basically rebuilt it from the ground up. They travelled all around Australia in their own van & helped other parks get their businesses running more efficiently. This park is certainly a credit to them. Some of the features include heaters in the amenities block, washing machine for pet bedding, heaters in one of the camp kitchen areas (yes there are two camp kitchens) & very quiet motorised cleaning carts.  We’ve really enjoyed our stay at Swansea, it’s a beautiful spot to spend time in.

Wildlife: seagulls, parrots.

Day 367: Swansea to Sorell

It was great this morning when we checked out of the Swansea Holiday Park to be thanked by the owners for the review that I posted on WikiCamps. They are certainly on top of their social media networks.

We’re travelling 109km today and it’s 20 degrees when we depart at 9.15am. The east coast is vastly different to the north west coast. It’s so incredibly dry. The land is brown and quite baron. We feel for the farmers and particularly the sheep grazing on parched landscapes. Driving the coastline however the colour of the ocean is striking.

We arrive early at the low cost camp at Sorell. It’s quite spacious & is $7.50 per night. Water and a dump point are available. Sites are all marked out which makes it easy to find a site & park up. After backing in we meet another caravanner and end up chatting for quite some time. A very late cuppa and then we’re off to the shops to stock up on groceries. I’m catching up on a bit of work this afternoon, more chatting with other campers and before we know it it’s time to get dinner organised. We were going to stay for one night, but decide to stay for two.

Wildlife: alpacas, ducks, seagulls, dead pademelons, crows, sheep, dead rabbits, shetland ponies, horses.

Day 368: Sorell

Today’s weather forecast is not looking good. It’s wet, cold and windy & looking like we’ll be forced to spend the day inside the van. Andrew does some reading and I’ve got my pencils out to do some colouring in. It’s been very restful! We managed to reach a top of 14 and tonight it’s going down to 9. I don’t enjoy it when it goes under double digits.

Wildlife: none today!

Day 369: Sorell

After a day indoors the sun is out and we’re hoping for a top of 16. We’re heading out to Richmond, home of Australia’s oldest bridge. Now Heritage listed, the bridge was built in 17 months with convict labour & opened in April 1825. The overseas tourists are in full force taking weird selfies and feeding the many ducks in the creek. It’s tricky trying to get a photo without any of them in it!

Next stop is the small township and as we are driving around I notice my daughter Melissa’s friend Helen and son Seth walking along the street. We turn around and go back and pull the car up beside them. It’s such a small world!

We have a wander through the Main Street and find the small cottage where we stayed 5 years ago. It’s now a shop and the building looks really lovely. The old fireplace is still there too. It bought back some fond memories of our stay in Richmond. Next stop is the Bakery where we enjoy a lovely hot coffee, a warm sausage roll and a takeaway French vanilla slice. The bakery is packed, it’s spot the Aussie time.

Back at the camp it’s time to sit outside in the sun for awhile and enjoy some warmth. It’s slowly climbing to 16 degrees but there is a breeze which is really chilling to the bones. Late in the afternoon we take Cinta for a long walk before settling in the van for a cool night expected to go down to 8 degrees.

Wildlife: ducks, sheep, horses, parrots.

Day 370: Sorell to Hamilton

We’ve had a later start this morning after filling the van with water and getting ready for a few more days of free camping. It’s 10.30am by the time we leave Sorell and it’s only 14 degrees.

The scenery today is quite different as we head inland towards the Derwent region. Apricots, cherries, raspberries & blackberries are grown in massive quantities in the farms all along the Derwent River.  The hills are also adorned with vineyards. Whilst the farmlands look dry and baron the lush green growth on the vines is a stark contrast.

Hamilton is only 73km from Sorell, another short days driving for Andrew. We’re staying at a low cost camp at Hamilton by the creek overlooking a dairy farm. It’s a very peaceful and calming place to spend a night. The camp ground is run by the Central Highlands Council and is $5 for the night. Across the road is the children’s playground and amenities block. Showers are $1 for 5 minutes, toilets and a laundry (available during council hours).

It’s such a beautiful day, slowly climbing to our top of 22 so the awning is out and we enjoy an afternoon relaxing. We meet two ladies from Hobart who are having a night away in their camper and spend quite a while chatting with them. Three whiz bangers roll up and set up by the creek. You never know what to expect when they arrive at a campsite. They are all quiet and have their mats out meditating and doing yoga. We are in for a cold night with the temperature expected to drop to 8 again.

Wildlife: sheep, shetland ponies, turkey, geese, dead pademelons, crows, horses, swans, dead rabbits,cows, ducks, Fairy wrens, grass parrots, swans.

Day 371: Hamilton to Derwent Bridge

Our camp site is so peaceful, it’s a beautiful way to start the day. The air in Tassie is so clean and fresh. Andrew is cooking bacon and eggs outside and Cinta is lying in the sun. We are packed up and leaving by 9.40am and it’s climbed to 16 degrees. We’re travelling through a lot of pine forests and over some very winding roads today. As we climb the mountains the temperature drops to 11 degrees. The dogwood trees are all flowering and there are yellow flowers everywhere along the highway.  We stop for morning tea at the geographic centre of Tasmania. It’s quite a scenic drive today. Our journey is 101km however we don’t arrive until just after midday.  We’re free camping at the Derwent Bridge Hotel.  Free camping is allowed and you are encouraged to buy a drink or have a meal in the hotel.

Once we’ve set up we head for The Wall in the Wilderness. Over 60,000 people visit each year. We visited 5 years ago and we were very keen to see the progress over time. The unique concept of not allowing mobile phones to be turned on and photographs prohibited creates an overwhelming sense of peacefulness and respect for the creativity of the artist; Greg Duncan. Be prepared to immerse yourself as you enter The Wall.  100 panels, 1 metre wide and 3 metres high, back to back, showcasing the history of the area. His work is breathtaking. His passion is inspiring. Wandering through the lighting is subtle, the space is warm and the piped music adds to the ambiance. We have the deepest respect for a talented artist. It truly is History in the making.

The building itself is oozing in timber craftsmanship throughout. Since we last visited a coffee shop has been added with indoor and outdoor dining options.  The outdoor area is also something to see.  We decided to have lunch inside as it’s quite cool for us.  We had the most tasty home made tomato and vegetable soup with focaccia bread. It was a taste sensation in your mouth!

Next stop is Lake St Claire. There are hikers everywhere and plenty of tourists, totally opposite to the quiet, peacefulness we have just experienced. We take the short walks to the jetty and the foreshore. The weather is turning and it’s looking like rain could be coming in. We head back to the van to an over excited Cinta.

Time to work on the budget and finalise this blog.  A late afternoon walk and foraging in the bush just near our van is an echidna.  I’m quite surprised how close I can get to him with my phone to be able to take a short video and a few pics.  I’m chuffed.  We’re really lashing out today and having dinner and a couple of drinks at the Hotel.  Andrew is having his usual parmigiana and I’m trying out the “genuine” Sri Lankan curry with poppadoms and roti.  The kitchen is full of Sri Lankans so I’m pretty confident I am in for something very special.  Andrew’s parmi is the biggest, thickest chicken breast you could imagine and he says it’s pretty darned good.  My lamb Sri Lankan curry is a taste explosion in your mouth and roti is now a favourite.

Back at the van and we meet our new neighbours from Melbourne.  They are a lovely couple doing a 2 week trip around Tassie and doing a lot of bush walking.  We chat for quite some time exchanging ideas of places to see and where to camp.

That’s another week coming to a close.  Tonight we’ll be looking at where to next for tomorrow.

Wildlife: dead possums, horses, cattle, dead pademelons, Fairy wrens, dead wombat, echidna, grass parrots.

Week 53 total expenses: $775.99 – under budget.

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That’s a wrap for Week 53 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 52 | Gawler to Swansea

Day 358: Gawler to Sheffield

It’s 18 degrees when we depart at 9.30am. This morning we had a knock on the door from Tyde and Brooklyn who greeted us with 2 boxes of chocolates and a bottle of wine. We said goodbye to the kids and Shevonne with big hugs. The kids were so excited about the rocks I painted that I hid another one each in their beds before we left. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that bring so much joy.

I’m super excited to be heading for Sheffield today to see all the amazing artwork that I’ve heard so much about. Our journey today is only 42km and the smoke haze is really bad this morning. We’re staying at the low cost camp at the sporting fields which is $5 per vehicle per night. The only facilities available are potable water & rubbish bins (including recycling bins). It’s a small area so lucky we are early and can choose our spot.

Once we are set up we have a late morning tea and then walk into town. The murals are amazing, there is so many of them. Every year Sheffield holds an International Mural Fest attracting artists from all over the world. The artists have a week to complete their mural and then they are on display in Mural Park for 12 months. Whilst on display you can vote for your favourite mural and all funds raised go back to supporting the project and the township. The murals are then relocated onto buildings within the town.

I took so many photos today and each is worthy of representation, so here’s a video of them.  Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and relax and enjoy the show!

Later in the afternoon I take a walk along the pathway around the park to photograph some of the amazing mosaics. I particularly love the mushrooms in the gardens, I’d love to have a go at making those when I get back home. I really love the idea of the pathway leading from the playground to the art gallery.  Unfortunately the gallery was closed by the time I got around to it… The seats with the semi circle mosaic artwork in front of them were really lovely too.  I’ve hidden a few rocks in the playground too, so I’m hoping some children will find them and and either re-hide them or take them home to keep.

Wildlife: goats, sheep, cattle, dead pademelons, dead possums, rabbits, crows.

Day 359:  Sheffield to Westbury

This morning we are travelling 55km to Westbury to a free camp. We don’t want to push ourselves too hard on the road!  The smoke haze is very heavy again. It’s 15 degrees at 9.50am when we leave. The free camp is a grassed paddock apparently owned by IGA. We manage to find a perfectly level spot right beside the fence line. This afternoon we’re having afternoon tea with our neighbours from across the road back home, Hugh & Sue. They built a shed on the block & have their boat in it. Hugh comes up a couple of times throughout the year to escape Tassie’s cold weather. We had a great afternoon catching up & getting to know them better.

Wildlife: rabbits, hares, ducks, geese, sheep, cattle, dead pademelons, crows.

Day 360: Westbury to Scottsdale

I’m ticking off a bucket list item today at the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Last time we visited Tassie the flowers weren’t in bloom. I signed up Andrew & I as Friends of Bridestowe which meant we received complimentary entry (saving $20). In the flowering season the estate receives up to 2500 visitors every day. Cinta is fortunate to be able to join us while we wander through the fields.

The fragrance is amazing. I am in heaven taking many, many photos. The estate is packed with tourists and it soon becomes spot the Aussie! The Japanese, Chinese & Koreans are in selfie heaven. You can barely move in the gift shop and the cafe is full so luckily I find a table outside under an umbrella where we enjoy our lavender devonshire tea. Not to be missed is a lavender ice cream on our departure as it’s been very warm roaming around for 2 hours.  Here’s a short video of the lavender splendour…

Back on the road we take a very winding road to Scottsdale. We’re staying at another free camp which is run by Lions & Rotary Clubs. We make a donation. There are toilets and a shower on the grounds. There is not a lot of room and we are really lucky to find a spot. It’s a great spot by the creek. After setting up we wander around the creek and find ourselves chatting to other grey nomads who have been travelling Tassie for as long as we have. The parkland is lovely to wander around and there are plenty of ducks and platypus in the creek, although we didn’t actually see the platypus.

Later this afternoon we take a drive out to Ledgerwood to view the trees which are sculpted into World War One soldiers. The 25 statues depict the fallen men they were planted for in 1918. In 2004, chainsaw carver Eddie Freeman from Ross carved the masterpieces.

Wildlife: swans, alpaca, geese, ducks, cattle, sheep, dead pademelons, rabbits, crows.

Day 361: Scottsdale to St Helens

We’re packed up & leaving by 9am as we’re heading for the Bay of Fires to try & find another free camp. WikiCamp comments say they are all quite busy but we’ll see how we go. The drive today is 104km but takes us well over 2 hours as the road through the mountains is winding and tight.

Well, no luck in any of the camps so our next option is St Helens. Some of the parks have put their prices right up for school holidays so we choose a park a few kilometres out of town to get a reasonable price at $35 a night. The park is very old and the site is not level and signage is confusing. We end up in the wrong site but given there is only 5 sites in our area & there is no one else here we decide to stay put. The office hasn’t told us to move so we continue to set up. Even with our wheels chocked up we still can’t get the van level so it looks like I’ll be sleeping the opposite direction in our bed for the next two nights!

This afternoon we drive down to the beach and take Cinta for a walk. The wind is so strong and cold that the walk is much shorter than planned.

Wildlife: ducks, geese, dead porcupine, dead wombat, horses, cattle, sheep, crows, seagulls, pelicans.

Day 362: St. Helens

We have woken up to a thick smoke haze this morning. We’re taking a drive out to Binalong Bay which is situated at the southern end of the Bay of Fires. Its name refers to the Aboriginal fires seen along the coastline by Captain Tobias Furneaux when he sailed past in 1773. The orange lichen coloured boulders are a stark contrast to the aqua blue ocean and the white sand. The whole area is so picturesque. There are many places along the coastline here where you can view the amazing boulders. We stop in at several locations and end up having a coffee at one of the lookouts. Back into St Helens to find the library for some printing of my blog for Florrie, the chemist and BWS to stock up on some wine and bourbon for Andrew. Lunch is down at the wharf and still no decent fish to be found, it’s still all shark! No thanks! We stick with prawns, calamari and scallops.

Tonight’s smoke hazed sunset is quite spectacular! (pictures above)

Wildlife: pelicans, swans, seagulls.

Day 363: St Helens to Swansea

We’re packed up and leaving by 9am. It’s 18 degrees and the sun is shining and no evidence of a smoke haze today. We’ve decided to book into a park at Swansea as I have to catch up on some work. It’s another slow drive today and by morning tea time we arrive at Bicheno. We manage to find a park in a side street and grab a coffee at a community cafe. A short drive away is the blow hole. We visited on our last trip but it’s another must do this time round. There’s quite a few people doing the selfie thing in front of the blow hole so I’m patiently waiting for them to move on so I can get a good shot.

The blowhole is actually made of granite and the ocean has carved out a sea cave underneath. Over thousands of years the water battered the inside of the cave making a blow hole through the granite. The water rushes in and sprays out creating a geyser effect. It’s mesmerising watching, waiting for it to blow the hole. It’s quite exciting to see.

Wildlife: sheep, cattle, dead possums, dead pademelons, crows, geese, swans, seagulls

Day 364: Coles Bay

This morning is a beautiful smoke free day & I’ve set our alarm for 5.00am.  Yes that’s right! 5.00am… Oh my neither of us wanted to get out of bed.  Swansea beach is so picturesque that we both couldn’t resist the thought of a sunrise walk along the beach.  Andrew has made our cuppa and off we go.  Sunrise is at 5.45am but the best time to photograph sunrise is 30 minutes before the sun actually rises.  There’s a small amount of cloud cover which turns pink.  Andrew has spotted a track behind the rocks which takes you around the headland so we decide to continue on.  Thank heavens we did, it was so picturesque and the waves were crashing against the orange coloured lichen rocks.  I’ve taken many many photographs.

Back home and time to get ready for a drive out to Coles Bay.  It’s about 60km back, however, we didn’t go in with the caravan on the way as we thought we would do a day trip back.  The bay is really pretty and it’s a hive of activity with boats coming and going.  It’s here that you catch the boat trips to Wineglass Bay.  We didn’t do the trip as we have Cinta with us and there are a few other boat trips that we’d rather do.

After such an early morning start we’re both feeling a bit weary this afternoon.  I end up having a nanna nap while Andrew relaxes doing some reading.  Tomorrow is a milestone in our journey.  Monday 13th January 2020 will be Day 365.  One whole year being on the road.  It’s so very hard for us to believe as it really doesn’t feel like it at all.  So many kilometres, so many towns and cities, so many experiences and so many fond memories of a life long dream.  Join me next week to see some of the stats of the year long journey!

Week 52 total expenses: $559.25 A great result for our first week back on the road after a house sit.

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That’s a wrap for Week 52 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

Week 51 | Gawler House Sit

Day 351: Gawler

Week 51 takes us into the final few days of 2019. It’s such a lovely day that we decide to head out to Preston falls just 25km south of Ulverstone. Parking is along the roadway & access is quite easy with a short walk down a well maintained pathway and quite a few steps. There’s also a gridded bridge across the creek.  There is no chance of Cinta walking the bridge…Andrew has to carry her across.  The lookout sits over the cliff face with views of the waterfall which has a drop of 25m down into a gorge. There wasn’t a lot of water going over the falls so it was a little disappointing.

Our next stop is Turners Beach which is to the east of Ulverstone. It would have to be one of the nicer beaches that we have been to in Tassie. Plenty of sand to walk on and the Port Fenton River flows into Bass Strait from here. We are collecting flat rocks so that I can do some rock painting during the week. There’s a great little providor shop/cafe here called La Mar. It is packed. We pick up some take away coffees and head back down to the picnic area beside the beach.

Wildlife: goats, ducks, cattle, sheep, seagulls.

Day 352: New Year’s Eve

It’s New Year’s Eve and we don’t plan on going anywhere today. We’re doing a bit of cleaning in the van, laying around and I’ll start painting my rocks. We’re having happy hour this afternoon to celebrate the last day of the year. We’re in bed by 10pm.

Day 353: New Year’s Day

Happy New Year!  We’re having another lazy day today. I’m doing Mandala on my rocks for the morning while Andrew watches some tele. I’m really happy with the finished product.  My sister-in-law has commented on my Facebook post to say that there is ‘hidden rock groups’ on Facebook.  Apparently people hide their rocks or place in strategic locations and children find them.  You can keep the rock or re-hide it.  When you find one you post it to the Facebook group page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/747886608714776/ .  I decided to join the group and we’ll hide the rocks while travelling Tasmania.  Hopefully they’ll be found & re hidden or someone will cherish what they find and take home a pet rock.  This afternoon we watch the Sydney Music of the Decades concert and fireworks display. It’s a great way to spend New Years Day.

Day 354: Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden

This morning we are heading out to Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden which is not far from Burnie. We visited here on our last trip to Tassie and loved it. The gardens were established in 1981 and are privately owned by the members of a non profit organisation. It is run completely by volunteers and is a credit to the dedication of each and every one of them.  Entry is $15 each, however we are given a Seniors discount making it $12 each.

The rhododendrons are not in flower at the moment, however, it is still a beautiful garden to spend a few hours in wandering the paths through all the designated countries and sitting by the lakes watching the platypus playing.  If you look closely in the photo below you can just see the platypus in the water. The Japanese garden was one of my favourites and the reflections were spectacular on a cloudy day.

We have a late Devonshire tea in the Tea Rooms and find ourselves being approached by several volunteers who are eager to chat and find out where we are travelling from. One of the cruise ships has been diverted to Burnie due to the fires and all the volunteers are buzzing around in preparation for bus loads of tourists. It’s been a great morning out.

Wildlife: snake, platypus, sheep, cattle.

Day 355 – 357:  Devonport & Burnie

This morning we’re heading into Devonport to have our new car tyres fitted. We have a couple of hours to fill in so we head into the mall to do some shopping. On the way home we call into the Berry Patch for a wood fired pizza lunch. It’s extremely busy with families everywhere. We are lucky to get a table! The pizza was pretty good too. A quick stop at the Cherry Farm to see if they are open today and luck is on our side. We pick up half a kilo of the biggest plumpest cherries for $8.  The first cherries we have had for the Xmas season.  This afternoon we head into Burnie to pick up our new glasses.

Waking up this morning and the smoke haze is thick, we can barely see the sun through the haze. It’s time to do a bit of cleaning in the van and start prepping for being back on the road again.  We’ll be leaving our house sit on Monday morning and heading for the east coast.  We were planning to spend this afternoon out, however with the smoke haze so thick we decide to stay home for the rest of the day.  The news coverage is devestating, our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering and it’s a time when we are proud to be Australians seeing how communities are coming together to support one another and the amazing efforts of our emergency services.

Sunday has rolled around again and more van prepping and cleaning.  It’s time to look at the budget and finish off this blog.  Tomorrow we are heading for a free camp at Sheffield and then I hope to see the lavendar at Bridestowe Lavendar Farm on the way to the east coast.  It’s been great to have a week off from work and to be able to be creative again.  We hope you have all had a wonderful start to the New Year and we look forward to sharing many more adventures of our travels over the coming months.

Wildlife: seagulls,cattle, sheep.

Week 51 total expenses: $1494.76 – well over budget due the expense of $905 for 4 new tyres and a wheel balance.

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That’s a wrap for Week 51 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

Week 50 | Gawler House Sit

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.

Panorama view from the bus drop off zone at Dove Lake
Panorama view near the boat shed

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.

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That’s a wrap for Week 50 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

Week 49: Ulverstone to Gawler

Day 337: Ulverstone to Arthur River

It’s a beautiful sunny morning even though it’s only 12 degrees when we depart at 9.20am. We’re only half an hour into our journey when the traffic comes to a halt.

We learn there has been a serious accident ahead with two people thrown from there vehicles. It’s a sickening feeling waiting, watching, 4 ambulance come through followed by 2 fire trucks, rescue vehicles and half a dozen police cars. It’s over an hour before one car comes through and the driver stops to tell us that he was lucky not to be hit by the driver who fell asleep at the wheel. We were thankful for all the families that there were no fatalities. It’s a somber reminder to take regular breaks while driving.

We’re heading into the Tarkine Region.  The drive into Arthur River is really scenic. Travelling through rolling hills where hay is baled and acres of dairy farms to fields of poppies in full bloom.  Smithton is our morning tea stop before arriving at the caravan park at Arthur River. We’ve decided not to free camp as we’ll be doing the river cruise and will need to leave Cinta in the caravan.  We’re met by Penny who lets us choose our site and gives us a seniors discount. There is only one other van here and Andrew reverses back in no time. I’ve finally learnt the instructions of right hand and left hand down to get him into a site with ease.

 

After setting up we head out to the Edge of the World at Gardiner Point.  The furthest western point of Tasmania. The wild roaring forties (strong westerly winds) batter the rugged coastline.  Wind gusts of up to 200km have been recorded here.  It’s reached 18 degrees and it’s a beautiful sunny day. Logs have collected in every nook and cranny and are tossed around as the ocean crashes against the rugged coastline.

Panorama of the Edge of the World

The plaque reads:

The Edge of The World
North West Coast Tasmania 
I cast my pebble onto the shore of Eternity.
To be washed by the Ocean of time. It has shape, form, and substance .It is me.
One day I will be no more. But my pebble will remain here.
On the shore of eternity.
Mute witness from the aeons.
That today I came and stood At the edge of the world.
Brian Inder

Back at the park the temperature is dropping. Time to warm up inside and settle down for the night.

Wildlife: echidna, cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats, duck, geese, Shetland ponies, horses, dead pademelons, dead quoll.

Day 338: Arthur River

The clouds have rolled in. Time to head down to the Arthur river for our cruise. We’re met by Emma and Kaitlin who invite us straight onto the red boat. There are eleven of us on board today so there is plenty of room to move around. Robert is the captain and guide. He’s been on the river for over 16 years doing the cruise and he has plenty of knowledge of the river, flora and fauna. We stop to feed the white breasted sea eagles. There are two of them. The fish are injected with air to make them float on the surface. After several passes the eagle leaves the fish behind. They are not hungry enough today. We pick the fish up to try again on the return journey.

Chugging along the river we come across a blue kingfisher perched on the driftwood, his feathers are iridescent. Its times like these I wish I had a better lense for my camera. Kaitlin is in charge of preparing the BBQ lunch while Robert takes us into a secluded part of the rainforest for a guided walk and talk on the flora and fauna.  After lunch we see a wombat scurrying along the riverbank and further along we stop to feed the sea eagle again. He takes the fish on the second pass.  We have a long chat with Kaitlin on the return journey and she tells us that she is from a family of 8 and they all moved to Arthur River four years ago and bought the Arthur River Cruises business.  The population of Arthur River at the time was 30, she said the township was happy to have eight of them move in!

We dock back at the jetty at 3pm. It’s been an amazing day cruising through the pristine environment of the Arthur River. Back at the park I spend the rest of the afternoon downloading my photos. Rain is slowly starting to fall as the sun begins to set.

Wildlife: wombat, white breasted sea eagle, blue kingfisher, cormorants, ducks, swans,

Day 339: Arthur River to Smithton

It rained on and off all night, however the sun is shining this morning and it’s looking like another beautiful day. We are on our way back to Smithton to stay at a free camp, Tall Timbers. It’s on the grounds of a large hotel with a pretty babbling brook running through the property.

Andrew puts the awning out. The first time in many weeks. It’s so great to be able to sit outside and enjoy some warm weather. We wander around the park, the ducks are waddling everywhere. It’s so peaceful. Time to catch up on some work and then we head over to the pub to have a drink. There is about 12 vans in tonight. The park is for self contained vehicles, no tents allowed or whizz bangers as we call them. It’s disappointing that so many people completely disregard the rules of the park. An elderly couple pull up in a small car & put up their tent. There are several whizz bangers here too. It’s this complete disregard that has free camps close down because people don’t comply with the conditions of entry. There are plenty of other free camps which provide for those who are not self contained. A few more hours outside enjoying the beautiful weather before we call it a night.

Wildlife: ducks, cattle, dead pademelons, crows.

Day 340: Smithton to Somerset

A short journey again today of 77km takes us from the Tall Timbers RV Park to Somerset. Another beautiful day and finally the shorts are out from under the bed again.

Wynyard is our morning tea stop by the ocean and after pulling up an elderly man spots us and comes across for a chat. Sparra is his name and he’s still mowing lawns for elderly ladies and is a town local who likes to chat. Tried to talk us into moving here with no success, but he tried damned hard! The seafood shop sells coffee too so we lash out and have a cappuccino and I can’t help myself and purchase a lovely fillet of Atlantic salmon and ocean trout for Andrew. The fillets were massive but the lady was kind enough to cut off two portions for us. Can’t wait for dinner tonight.

The Somerset Beachside Cabin & Caravan Park is old and dated, but clean. It used to be the drive in theatre many, many years ago. Right opposite the beach, can you imagine listening to the ocean while watching a movie? Telstra reception is awful today and my router won’t pick up the wifi signal at all. Luckily they have free wifi, so I’m working from the games room today. The TV is blaring so I try to get my work done as quickly as possible. By the time I’m finished my head is aching. Back to the van for peace and quiet and a glass of red to finish off the day.

Wildlife: dead wombat, dead pademelons, crows, sheep, cattle.

Day 341: Burnie and Penguin

What a difference a day makes. Winter clothes are back on again. It’s going to be 21 but the wind makes it feel so much colder. We’re having a washing day today, followed by a trip to Burnie for our optometrist appointments. New glasses are in store for both of us. My prescription is weaker which surprises me and I enquire why. Apparently it can be a number of reasons, your eyes may have been tired at the previous appointment or as you grow older your eyeball shrinks. Interesting to say the least. I’ve decided to choose purple for my new glasses!  Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised with the colour choice. Next up is the grocery shopping on the way home. Time to finish off some work and thank heavens the wifi is working today so I can work peacefully in the van.

When my work is done we take a drive into Ulverstone to see what options are around for Christmas Lunch. There’s a lovely old pub that has a 4 course menu so we’ve decided to book in for that. On the way home we stop at Penguin for coffee. We remembered the bake house from our trip 5 years ago. The bake house has moved to larger premises and it’s an OMG moment when I enter to order the coffee. So many choices… I order the French vanilla slice for Andrew and I have a fig and lemon slice. Andrew says the slice at the Deloraine bakery was better and my slice is so rich I can’t eat it all. Wrapped up and in the fridge at home for later. Cinta enjoys her walk along the beach and then it’s back home again for home made quiche & roast veggies.

Wildlife: seagulls, dead pademelons, cattle.

Day 342: Table Cape, Boat Harbour & Stanley

I’m enjoying my cuppa in bed so much today that I just don’t want to get up.  I laze around until 9am watching tele, something I very rarely do.  The sun is shining and its going to be 17 degrees today with wind gusts expected up to 50km.  Everyone keeps telling us that it’s unseasonal for Tassie at this time of year.

We are taking a drive out to Table Cape, known for it’s tulips.  However, tulip season is finished.  I’m really pleased that we got to see the tulips in WA, the bulbs are actually from the Wynard region.  The rolling hills are covered in poppies.  Tasmania grows over half the worlds supply of poppies.  I didn’t know that until I googled it.  Many fields are amass with white daisies (pyrethrum) which is harvested and processed into a refined insecticide.

The countryside is so pretty. Our next stop is Boat Harbour. Driving over the hill the view is captivating. Aqua coloured ocean and pure white sand.  We particularly wanted to stop here as our last house sit owners lived here for many years.  We can certainly understand why.  Coffee is on the beach watching the nippers go through their drills.

Heading further west our next stop is Stanley.  We loved this spot when we visited Tassie five years ago and had to come to visit again.  Colonial buildings, bed & breakfast accommodation, quirky shops are all here in this tiny township of less than 500 people.  Stanley is home to the Nut, a flat topped volcanic plug standing 150 metres straight up from the waters edge.  There is a chairlift to the top but it’s closed today as the wind is gusting at over 50km.  It’s unbearable to say the least.

My hay fever is driving me crazy today, even with all the medication.  It’s exhausting.  Back home and a nana nap is in store for me.

Wildlife: dear, Shetland ponies, cattle, horses, sheep, seagulls, dead wombat, dead pademelons, crows.

Day 343:  Somerset to Gawler

Waking up this morning it’s only 9 degrees, however we are heading for a top of 20 and the wind is supposed to be low.  Let’s hope so.  We are packed up and heading off at 9.45am.  We have time to burn today before arriving at our house sit by 4.00pm.  We’ve travelled 21km and have pulled into a free camp at Sulphur Creek for the day.

The camp is right beside the ocean and it looks spectacular today.  We have all enjoyed a lovely long walk along the beach.  It’s too cold for Cinta to go swimming but she does dip her toes in the tiny creek that’s spilling out into the ocean.  The rocks are covered in green moss and there are small pools of water collecting everywhere.  The seagulls are all sitting quietly alongside the rock pools and the sound of the ocean is mesmerising.

The beach is so clean, too cold to take my shoes off to walk in the sand though.  There is always another day…

As Christmas is fast approaching us, we reflect on the many things that we are thankful for.  As we head into week 50 of this amazing journey, we are thankful for good health, safe travelling, a new experience every day, meeting fellow travellers and our ever loyal companion Cinta who gives us unconditional love.  Our thoughts are always with family and friends at home and we wish each and every one of you a festive Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year.

 

Wildlife:  seagulls, dead pademelons, crows, cattle, finches.

Week 49 total expenses: $1087.17 over budget this week, however, expected due to a lovely cruise on the Arthur River and new glasses for both Andrew and I.

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That’s a wrap for Week 49 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

Week 48 | Tamar Valley to Ulverstone

Day 330: Tamar Valley

This morning we are waking up to a heavy smoke haze. Our high is expected to be 21 with very little wind. A quick check to see what work has come in and then a decision can be made about the day ahead. I’ve got about 2 hours work to get through and then we can head out for a drive.

Andrew is in charge of finding where to venture out to while I tap away on my laptop. We’re heading out to Grevelly Beach. The drive out runs along the Tamar River and it’s disappointing that the smoke haze is so thick as the scenery is very pretty. It’s not worth taking any photos today.

Back at home we spend the afternoon playing billiards. Andrew is ahead on the leader board after two days of playing. I blame my eyesight for not being able to judge my angles correctly when lining up my shots.  Any excuse will do!

The remainder of the afternoon is spent finishing of the blog and saving my photos. Andrew is cooking me steak dianne and roast veggies. Yum, can’t wait for dinner!  Sunset is after 8.30pm tonight and there is a spectacular range of colours from burnt orange to pink and purple hues, it’s absolutely beautiful.  We all wander around the paddocks while I take some great shots.

Wildlife: cows, horses, swans, pelicans, echidnas, alpaca, llamas, sheep, chickens.

Day 331: Tamar Valley

This morning I’m calling in for the monthly board meeting. Today will be all about work again. I’m fortunate to be able to work on the road to help support our passion for travelling.

This afternoon we take a short break to drive into Legana to do our groceries and then I’m having a haircut.  Back home and back to work.  I have to say it’s the worst hair cut I’ve had in a long time…

Andrew has cleaned the car today and is in charge of the washing and dinner. I’m so lucky to have a husband who is prepared to share the household duties.  Below are some of the flowers blooming in the garden on the property.

Wildlife: echidna, dead pademelons, horses, sheep, cattle, llamas, alpacas, plovers.

Day 332: Cataract Gorge

Today we are heading into Cataract Gorge. It’s 15 degrees at 9.30am. We drive up to the chairlift car park and take the loop walk to the restaurant. The sun is quite warm, however the wind is quite cool. Along the pathway are several male peacocks. One is putting on a brilliant display, trying to attract the attention of a female foraging around under the tree ferns.  We stop and watch him for quite sometime while I get some great photos.  

Morning tea is out on the balcony at the restaurant overlooking the grassed lawn and pool area below. It’s quite a disappointing morning tea, chewy scones and luke warm coffee. We continue on the track and head across the suspension bridge. The signs says not to make the bridge swing, however some idiot behind is making it swing. My pace picks up as I am not keen to keep walking along it. Taking any photos was impossible.

Back at home and Andrew and I have another couple of games of billiards. He wins again. Later in the afternoon we hear one of the gates and notice Pepsi is standing there kicking it. We’ve been giving the horses a carrot each afternoon and he’s obviously telling us it’s time we came out and delivered the goods. He’s a big boy with a real personality.

Wildlife: horses, sheep, cattle, dead pademelons, llama, crows, rabbits, dead pademelons.

Day 333: Hillwood Farm Gate

This morning we’re heading out to the Hillwood Farm Gate. It’s a pleasant 16 degrees at 9.30am. The drive takes us over the Batman Bridge and along the East side of the Tamar River.  It’s a beautiful drive along the river. The berry farm is situated on 37 hectares and the first strawberries were planted in 2010.  There are currently 17 hectares of strawberries, 12 hectares of raspberries, 5 hectares of blackberries and 2.5 hectares of blueberries.

There is an amazing farm cafe on the premises and the strawberries are the biggest and I mean the biggest we have ever seen.  It’s berry heaven and time to taste some of those delicious treats.  Andrew has the berry pancakes, smothered in strawberries and berry coulis and I opt for the pavlova with fresh berries and cream.  The cappucinos were yummy too with lashings of froth – just the way I like it.

I couldn’t help myself and had to get Andrew to stop so I could photograph these trees.  The countryside is so beautiful even though it is slowly drying out due to the lack of rain.

Wildlife: echidna, horses, cattle, sheep, llamas, alpacas, swans, ducks, dead pademelons, rabbits.

Day 334 – 335: Tamar Valley

After a full day of work I need a break.  We’re heading down to the library to do some printing, post office and then a wander around the park opposite the Beaconsfield Mine.  We visited and toured the mine when we were in Tassie a few years ago, so we aren’t going in again this time.

Across the road in the park is a plaque dedicated to Richard Carleton who lost his life after conducting an interview at the mine site in 2006.  We paid our respects to a great journalist.  On the site is also a couple of buildings from Sidmouth and Flower Gully.  Peering through the windows of the old school house bought back fond memories for both of us of our childhood days in school writing on slate boards.

Last night our owners returned after their trip to Singapore and Thailand.  We had a great catch up over a bottle of wine and plenty of chatter.  This morning we’re stocking up the van ready for the next leg of our journey.

Tomorrow we’ll head over to Gawler to meet the owners of the next property sit that we’ll begin just before Christmas.  It really doesn’t feel like Christmas for us this year with no preparations needed and no family around.  It will be the very first Christmas that Andrew and I have both had together and on our own away from family and friends. It’s bringing mixed emotions for me in the lead up to the day.

Every day Cinta checks out the wood pile because she knows there’s a family of bunnies living in the pile.  After sniffing the wood pile she heads for the big shed and sniffs all around the perimeter.  She can hear the bunnies running between the walls.  It drives her crazy, she runs backwards and forwards hoping that one will pop it’s head out and she can head for the chase.

Wildlife: horses, cattle, sheep, goats, dead pademelons, rabbits, crows, echidnas.

Day 336: Tamar Valley to Ulverstone

Time to say goodbye to Carol and Rod, it’s been really great spending time in the Tamar Valley and exploring everything around the area.  We are on the road by 10.00am and it’s a drizzly, cold 13 degrees.  We are heading to Gawler to meet our next house sit owners before we move in on the 22nd.  For the first few days we’ll park the van at Chevonne’s mums house and look after her dog while commuting up to Chevonne’s to feed her 2 dogs and bird and then we’ll move over and stay at Chevonne’s for the remaining time.

After the meet and greet is over we head a short distance away to Ulverstone.  We’re staying at the Blue Wren RV Park.  It’s a small park with a cafe and we are met by the owner Ross.  He’s very helpful and full of knowledge about the area.  Happy hour is at 4.00pm in the Protea Bar around the fire pit.

We get ourselves set up and have a wander around the gardens.  Ross and Peta purchased the property 12 months ago and are doing some major upgrades.  They’ll be putting in an amenities block as soon as Council gives them the stamp of approval.

The gardens are lovely with protea growing everywhere and the view over the beachfront is very picturesque.  We have a great couple of hours around the fire pit with all the campers before heading back to organise dinner.  The temperature is dropping pretty quickly, so it’s not long before we are tucked up for the night watching tv.

Tomorrow we’ll head over to the wild west coast and gradually make our way back to Gawler by the weekend.  Stay tuned to see what we get up to during the week.

Wildlife: horses, alpacas, sheep, cattle, swans, eagle, dead pademelons.

Week 48 total expenses: $481.11 another good result and well under budget!

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That’s a wrap for Week 48 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

Week 47 | Lower Beulah to Tamar Valley

Day 323: Lower Beulah

We’re waking up to 8 degrees and expecting a high of 11 today. The sun is shining and it’s hard to believe that the temperature is going to be so low for the day. We’re taking a quick trip into Deloraine to pick up some groceries before we head off to our next house sit. Morning tea is at the Deloraine Town Cafe and Bakery. Andrew has a French vanilla slice & I choose the cherry ripe slice. It’s actually a bit rich for me given we’ve been trying to eat a lot healthier over the past month.

While we’re in town we have a short walk along the river and I can’t help stop at the Mountain Man/Man Mountain mosaic seat to have my photo taken on his luscious lips. The seat sculpture was installed in 2002 & mythologises the landscape and people of the Great Western Tiers. Further along the river is a constellation of 6 spheres, I thought they were cricket balls from a distance. The cluster of objects emphasises the interconnectedness of life and the sphere echoes the community energy of Deloraine. Text is etched into the stainless steel bands referencing historical counts of the district.

Back at home I set up my laptop for an afternoon of work. Our owners are home mid afternoon and we share a cuppa inside beside the warm fire.  An early night in store for us before we pack up and depart in the morning.

Wildlife: sheep, echidna, llama, cattle, fairy wren, water hens, horses, Shetland ponies, ducks, chickens, swans.

Day 324 – 326: Lower Beulah to Tamar Valley

We are packed up and ready to leave by 9.30am after a cold night dropping to 6 degrees.  Time to say goodbye to the owners and head across to the Tamar Valley to our new house sit.  We’re expecting a top of 14 degrees today, so it’s going to be a very fresh day. The property is right on the highway, however the house and sheds are set back from the road.  We’re on 16 acres surrounded by paddocks with 2 small dams.  We have parked up beside the shed and managed to find a level spot.  The winds have picked up to 48km.  We are stuck inside the van with all the windows closed.

This week is all about work.  I’ve got a lot on, so venturing out is going to have to be in between jobs.  This morning we head down to Beaconsfield to do some shopping at the local IGA.  Such a small township and they have two IGA’s.   Morning tea is at the local bakery where Andrew tries another vanilla slice (he rates it at 8) and I have an apple slice.  Not bad – no photo today.  Back home and back to work.  This afternoon Andrew notices that Noah has torn his coat and it’s wrapped around the back of his legs.  A quick text to a friend of Carol’s and she’s asked if we are able to get the coat off.  Now that’s a challenge!  We get 2 portions of hay and 4 pieces of licorice.  I head to the top end of the paddock to coax Pepsi and Andrew heads to the bottom end of the paddock to coax Noah to get his coat off.  Mission completed without any drama and we are both happy with ourselves.

Wildlife: sheep, ducks, chickens, fairy wrens, horses, seagulls, galahs.

Day 327: Launceston

This morning we’re heading into Launceston to find the Bendigo Bank.  I’ve got some business to attend to for one of my clients.  It’s a great opportunity to have a look around the shops.  Andrew needs some new jeans as he’s lost about 11kg since we started our journey and his pants are literally falling off him.  How I wish the weight would fall off me like it falls off him…  Back at home and back to work.  Winds are up in the high 40’s again, another afternoon in the van.  It’s much warmer in the van than in the house.

Wildlife: horses, swans, duck, dead pademelons.

Day 328: Tamar Valley

We have been going stir crazy in the van all week with the cold and the wind.  I need a day off work too.  I’m feeling quite brain dead.  Mum has asked if I could look for her lavender pillow and linen spray during our travels.  It turns out the Lavender Farm that my sister Dot had purchased it from for Mum a few years back is only a short drive away from our house sit.

We decide to take a drive out to pick some up for Mum.  It’s a lovely drive through the valley along the side of the Tamar River.  There’s apples growing in the orchards, small crops and plenty of paddock full of fresh cut hay.  It’s very picturesque.  We arrive at the Lavender Farm and Perfumery.  We’re the only ones there and we are greeted by the owner who is busy packaging up lavender balms.  He tells us how he bought the business 18 months ago and is completely revitalising the garden.  I mention my sister had emailed about the pillow spray and he remembers straight away.  We end up buying 6 bottles and get a 20% discount.  Both Mum and I are happy with that deal.

Next stop is the Iron Pot Winery which is just around the corner.  It’s cold and windy so we decide to opt for morning tea rather than wine tasting.  The staff are really friendly and as we are the only ones there we can sit wherever we like.  There are quite a few rooms to choose from which are covered in artworks from a local artist.  We both have a chocolate orange brownie with a quenelle of thick cream.  It is absolutely delicious and we both savour every mouthful.

On the way back we decide to drive further north in the Tamar Valley and head for Clarence Point.  The drive takes us along the Tamar River, it’s so pretty.  Driving into Clarence Point there is a memorial drive and monument, it’s a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers from the area. Further along we drive past Garden Island and end up at Greens Beach. There’s a great cafe right on the beach and the crumbed prawns, calamari and chips were pretty good.  I picked up our first xmas decoration here too.

We thought we better take a walk along the beach with Cinta.  The tide is out so far and the beach is clean, but we’re not taking our shoes off as it’s cold and the wind is blowing a gale. On the drive home we pass a dilapidated old house in the middle of a paddock. Stop, I say to Andrew.  That’s a terrific photo opportunity.  Out I climb to get the photo.

Back at home and Bethany has come to ride Noah for a few hours.  She’s taking him to pony club tomorrow for their xmas break up so she’s trying out some reindeer ears to see if he’ll allow her to put them on him.  They’ll be arriving early in the morning to put him in the float for his day out.

Wildlife: alpacas, llamas, Shetland ponies, cows, horses, cattle, geese, ducks, seagulls.

Day 329: Georgetown

We are pretty excited this morning as the temperature is going to climb to 20 degrees and there is very little wind.  I’m spending the morning working then we are going to head out for the rest of the day.  We are both in shorts.  It’s such a beautiful day we put Cinta in the car and head out to Georgetown and Low Head along the eastern side of the Tamar River.  There’s a couple of things that are worthwhile having a look at.

Low Head Lighthouse was built in 1833 and after 50 years the convict-built stone tower was pulled down and replaced by a double brick structure.  The tower is 15.25m from top to bottom and the light is now unmanned.  While walking back to the carpark the caretaker stopped me to show me the fairy penguin sitting on her eggs at the entrance to the walkway.  Heavily hidden under the brush, however, right on the pathway.  I was astounded that she would nest there.  You can just see her head in the image below.

Right outside the caravan park at East Beach is a collection of Macrocapa wood carvings created by Eddie Freeman with his chainsaw.  There is another collection on the foreshore at Georgetown.  Hard to believe they are carved with a chainsaw when you view the detail of each carving. 

Georgetown has a painted water tower, so naturally it was on our “to do” list.  One of the oldest known, painted in 1985.

Georgetown foreshore is really pretty.  We take Cinta for a walk along the pathway and very quickly the winds pick up and force us back to the car.  I quickly snap some of the scenery from the area.

Back at home and it’s time to start putting the budget together and working on this blog. It’s been a cold, windy and dreary week in the Tamar Valley and most of my time has been focused on work.  I’m hoping things settle down a bit next week so that we can do a bit more exploring.   Until then, keep smiling.

Week 47 total expenses: $487.60 under budget!

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That’s a wrap for Week 47 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 46 | Lower Beulah House Sit

Day 316: Lower Beulah

The start of another week at our property sit begins. It’s a chilly start to the day and we are wondering how much longer we’ll experience cold weather. We are spending a lot of this week at the property again given it’s location.

Last night I heard some devastating news of an old school friend who was tragically killed while doing what he loves. Whilst we hadn’t seen a lot of Brant and Janelle over the years we remained in touch through Facebook and they visited us for morning tea just before we left on our trip. It was a great morning with plenty of laughs and we enjoyed hearing about Brant’s passion to help others through his wilderness walking group. Brant was a larikan. He was larger than life and lived every moment to the max. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all of those who were touched by his kind, compassionate & incredibly motivating nature. Rest in Peace Brant.

Every day around 10am we let the ducks and chickens out from their roost, put fresh water into the blue shell and top up the feed. For some reason this week I’m not keen to put my hand into the nesting boxes to find the eggs. Just another job for Andrew. Most days there are 4 duck and 3 chicken eggs, occasionally one less of each. We have eaten more eggs here than we have eaten in months. Scrambled eggs for breakfast has become a staple.

Andrew is cleaning the car today, a much needed job as it hasn’t had much attention over the past 10 months. So very different to being fully cleaned every week while he was managing Sugarland Car Rentals.

I’m a day late with last weeks budget and blog so I’m sitting out in the garden under the tree busy tapping away at my laptop.  Every afternoon we have a walk around the property checking out what is blooming and I always find something new to photograph.

Day 317 – 318:  Lower Beulah

Last night we had some welcome rain. Although is was only 17ml it felt like it rained on and off all night. Yesterday we picked up another house sit and today we are heading up to the Tamar Valley to meet Carol and Rod. They’re leaving for Singapore & Thailand on Wednesday & put a last minute post up on the Aussie House Sitters site to see if they could get a house sitter rather than relying on friends to look after their three horses. We stop in at Exeter for morning tea at The Cabin Coffee Shop. We meet the owner who purchased the shop six months ago & did a complete reno on the place. We’re sitting outside in the cold as we have Cinta with us today as Carol and Rod wanted to meet her before they left. The coffee was really lovely.

Halfway between Beaconsfield and Beauty Point is the 16 acre property. As we approach we see the three horses in the paddock. Carol and Rod have invited us for lunch. It’s great to meet them and have a tour of the property and get all the instructions for looking after the place. They’re happy for us to come on Tuesday after our house sit at Lower Beulah finishes.

Back at home and time to put the ducks and chickens back into the roost and get some dinner organised.

Last night plummeted to 4 degrees and waking up this morning it’s reached 8 degrees with a high of 14 expected. It’s overcast and drizzly and I stay in my Pj’s until lunch time. That is most unusual for me!  We’re not moving far today in this miserable weather. It’s a perfect opportunity to download all my photos to my hard drive and get them into albums on my google drive. It’s quite a process and takes most of the day.

Day 319: Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm & Liffey Falls

The sun is shining and we’re expecting 19 degrees today so a decision is made to venture out to see Liffey Falls. On the way is the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm which is on the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail.  We have been past a few times now and I’ve said to Andrew that I’d love to stop in for morning tea. Today is the day. It’s only 9.30am so we take a walk around the lakeside boardwalk to see what we can discover.  Just over the small wooden bridge is a mob of paddy melons. I’m madly snapping away when Andrew notices a baby in its mother’s pouch. I’m able to get quite close as the little one is poking his head in and out of the pouch. They are so cute.

Further along the walkway are two alpacas. One of them is really inquisitive and allows me to hold my phone really close to photograph him. I snap a few pretty reflections on the lake before heading into the cafe for a lovely warm cappuccino and some raspberry treats for morning tea. Andrew chooses the scones with jam and cream and I pick the waffles with raspberry ice cream & coulis. We both share. We have never tasted fresh raspberries so sweet and juicy. The jam is full of plump raspberries and the ice cream is rich and creamy. It’s a taste sensation in your mouth. Truly delicious.  Before leaving I get a quick photo of my pet Railton Rock out the front of the farm so that I can post it on the Railton Rox Facebook page.

Travelling along a narrow and very winding road we enter the Liffey Falls State Reserve. The road turns to dirt and is only suitable for short wheel based vehicles. It’s only 6km in but it’s a very slow drive meandering around the mountain range. We only pass two cars and had to completely stop on the very edge of the track to allow the other vehicles to pass. I’m relieved when we arrive at the car park.  There is only room for about a dozen vehicles and we are surprised to see a large Maui van in the car park.

The Liffey River rises on the northern edge of the Great Western Tiers and plunges through dense rainforest of myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood, running over several magnificent waterfalls before reaching rich farmlands and joining the South Esk River.

The return walk is around 45 minutes with four sets of falls which can be viewed from the viewing decks. The track is all down hill with a lot of steps. I didn’t bother counting them. The falls are really picturesque and I take the opportunity to take a couple of long exposure photos on my iPhone. We meet an elderly gentleman who tells us that he has parked in the lower car park & is doing the 8km round walk to the top car park.  We feel very unfit and lazy at opting for the higher car park and the shorter walk.  We also meet a young couple with a child who warn us about a black snake on the boardwalk further down the track.  Andrew is in the lead and is on snake lookout!

The trek back up to the car park is challenging for me.  I struggle with steps so there is many stops along the way so that I can catch my breath.  The tree ferns are enormous, producing beautiful shadows along the pathway.  There is nothing quite like the smell of a rainforest, the sound of a waterfall and the fresh clean air.

Day 320 – 322 Lower Beulah

The weather is not getting much better this week, hence most of the time has been spent at the property.  I’m putting in a full day of work today and Andrew is lighting the fire so that I can work inside the house in the warmth.  Andrew is watching the TV, reading and spending time playing with the dogs and cat.  Little Doogie is such a character.  He’s taken to Cinta and follows her around everywhere.  Pikelet the cat just loves to bite and Amy will chase the ball all day long.  Cinta is terrified of the cat!

Another cold start to the day at 9 degrees and the wind has picked up this morning.  I’m struggling with my hay fever today, however, I’ve planned a big preparation day of baking vegetables ready for pumpkin soup and a vegetable frittata.  The house owners will be home late on Monday so I’m preparing a meal for them for when they arrive.  After a full day of baking I’m falling asleep on the couch.  Andrew has been busy attending to all the watering.

Sunday has rolled around again, how the weeks are flying by.  We’re expecting a top of 13 degrees today and rain is forecast.  The slow cooker is on with the pumpkin soup and I’ve got the frittata with all the lovely baked vegetables in the oven.  Time to do some cleaning while it’s cooking.

The rain has rolled in and it feels much colder than 13 degrees.  Andrew cleaned out the pot belly this morning so we’re not having another fire today.  Back in the van it’s time to do the budget and finish this blog.  On Tuesday we’ll say goodbye to Nadia, Alex, Sky and Jordan and head out to the Tamar to begin the next house sit.  I hope you can come back to see what we get up to next week.  Enjoy your week.

Wildlife: llamas, sheep, cattle, horses, ducks, chickens, rabbits, water hens, alpacas, paddy melons, dead kangaroos, Shetland ponies, Fairy wrens.

Week 46 total expenses: $143.32 an extremely cheap week as we haven’t travelled far.

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That’s a wrap for Week 46 of the Lap of the Map.

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Week 45 | Railton to Lower Beulah

Day 309: Railton to Lower Beulah

When the temperature plummets to single digits and you’re free camping, it’s very hard to get out of bed. We have a very slow start to the day and then take Cinta for a walk around town. The Railton Neighbourhood Centre provides information about the township, has a community garden, bookshop, art & craft lessons. We have a lovely chat to the volunteer on duty today. There’s a basket on a small table with a sign “Visitors; please take a painted rock with you & post it on Facebook so we can see how far our rocks travel”. I can’t resist a challenge like that and notice that there are other rocks for sale. I purchase my Railton Rock for $2 and tell the volunteer that it will travel the rest of Tasmania and back home to Queensland by June next year. Andrew has a book and we have a jar of jam, 3 items for $8.

By 11am it’s climbed to 16 degrees so we pack up to make the 50km journey to our house sit at Lower Beulah.  Perched on a hill, the property is 6 acres and is situated amongst farmlands and pine plantations. Not an ideal spot for my hay fever but I’ll survive!

The road in to Lower Beulah is narrow and turns to dirt followed by a very steep hill on Dawkins Road. Andrew stops the car and puts it into low 4WD and we slowly climb the hill. A sigh of relief when we reach the top. Next up will be the driveway onto the property. He takes that with ease. The dogs (Doogie and Amy) come to meet us. We chat with Nadia and finally meet Sky. We’ve been liaising with Sky throughout the house sit process. Andrew reverses the van in with ease and we get ourselves set up in no time.

Nadia and Sky make us feel very welcome and we spend most of the afternoon chatting and getting last minute instructions on animal feeding and garden care.  Jordan is bringing down extra wood for the pot belly and Alex arrives home from work. Plenty more chat.  We’re going to feel right at home looking after 4 sheep, 1 drake, 4 ducks, 3 chickens, 2 dogs, 1 cat and some fish.

Wildlife: cattle, horses, sheep, dead possums, dead rabbits, ducks, chickens.

Days 310 – 315: Lower Beulah

We all enjoy a cuppa down in the greenhouse this morning. It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy the warmth. The family is packed and ready to leave for their drive to Launceston to catch their flight.

Today is all about relaxing and enjoying our new surrounds. I’m baking some muffins and then spending the afternoon in the sunshine doing some sketching. We finally picked up the roofing sealant spray so Andrew has sprayed the roof so we are hopeful that if it rains there’ll be no more leaks.  Before dinner we herd the ducks and chickens back into their pen and close the shades on the greenhouse. It’s so peaceful and quiet out here.

I’m putting in a big work day today. Andrew is in charge of the washing. First up though we open the greenhouse and let the ducks and chickens out. Another 7 eggs! We’re never going to keep up with this many eggs. The weather turns sour and the pot belly is lit and we move inside to enjoy the warmth of the fire for the afternoon. We’re having quiche for dinner tonight. It’s full of fresh veggies from the garden as well as 10 eggs!

This morning we’re venturing in to Deloraine to do our shopping. We’ve been pretty good over the past two weeks in cutting back on morning teas so this morning we are having a treat at Frogs Bakery. The coffee is so cute with the frog stenciled on the top. Andrew rates the vanilla slice at 7. Deloraine has a lot of creative people and we enjoy wandering the street and visiting all the art and craft shops. Back at home and I manage a nana nap. It’s a tough life out in the country.

After another cold night dropping to 7 degrees the sun is shining and we’re expecting a top of 27. Wow, the shorts are out of the cupboard. How good does that feel. My skin looks and feels like a snakes skin, I could almost shed it all. Layers and layers of cream are just not keeping my skin moist enough in this cold weather.

Another 5 eggs! Oh boy, we’re stockpiling eggs now. While the weather is beautiful I’m going to get my drone out and have a flight around the property. The dogs are not keen on the noise and keep barking at the drone. I manage a couple of flights and get some good aerial shots.  The garden has a real whimsical feel about it and I can’t help wandering around and photographing it.

Here’s a short video of around the property.

This morning we’re taking a drive into Launceston for some shopping. There is plenty of traffic on the highway and when we arrive at the shopping centre it’s crowded with people. I feel so claustrophobic. It’s an awful feeling and I can’t wait to get out of this shopping centre. Our time in Launceston is short, just picking up the things we need and leaving. Cities and people are just not our thing anymore, we’ll take the laid back lifestyle, peace and serenity any day. On the way home the rain starts to fall and the temperature drops from 19 degrees to 14 degrees within minutes.  Nadia told us about the short cut through to Deloraine and Launceston which we have taken on 2 occasions now.  The countryside is both beautiful and starkly devastating. From the beautiful farmlands to the harshness of the logged pine forests.  It’s quite confronting seeing the logged forests up so close. Back at home we spend the afternoon relaxing. Andrew watching the cricket and I’m working on my drone video.

Another cold morning and late start to the day. Another 6 eggs. Oh my, there are so many eggs! I’ve decided I’ll make some quiche to put in the freezer. Yesterday I roasted off some veggies in preparation for today’s bake off. I haven’t used my pie tins or little quiche dishes the whole trip so it’s high time I got them out of the cupboard.  Having a large bake off in a caravan is quite challenging. I’ve extended the table out and have all my dishes prepped with baking paper and rice at the ready. I’m not making my own pastry, I’ve cheated and bought the prepared short crust pastry. I’ve got 4 pie tins and 4 quiche tins and a larger pie dish. I’m using the duck eggs for the baking today as apparently they are better for cooking because they are so creamy. After 4 hours the baking is done. It’s a slow process in a turbo oven! All the quiche is cooled and packaged up ready for the freezer. There was a small amount of pastry left over so I’ve made some small raspberry tarts for Andrew as well.

Andrew has been busy washing the caravan today, doing the washing and watering the gardens. Our jobs are all done so it’s now time to sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the day.  Our days this week have been filled with wandering the garden, watering, tending to the greenhouse and feeding the animals along with a little bit of work.  The wifi reception can be a bit scratchy at times so while it’s good we’ve both taken advantage of using it.  Here’s a few pics from around the garden.

We have managed to secure another house sit starting on the day we leave this property.  We’re going to be up in the Tamar Valley region on another acreage property looking after 3 horses until 13th December.  We’re off to meet the owners tomorrow as they are flying out to Thailand on Wednesday!  That’s all from Tassie this week.  I hope to see you come back next week to see what we’ve been up to.

Wildlife: sheep, ducks, chickens, Shetland ponies, dead possums, sheep, cattle, goats, parrots

Week 45 total expenses: $527.37 Under budget, however a little higher than we expected due to some bulk buying this week.

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That’s a wrap for Week 45 of the Lap of the Map.

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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.

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

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