Friday, July 13, 2007

Terrific Tassie!

For those of you who didn't know I was going (or didn't wonder where I'd been), the family has just returned from 10 days in Tassie! We sailed into Melbourne this morning on the Spirit of Tasmania. So if you can stand it, a little talk through the trip.

Day 1: Left Ballarat for Melbourne about lunch time to get there in plenty of time for the sailing of the Spirit of Tasmania. Dropped into to see my brother (always a pleasure) and finally got to check out the canvas that he has been working on - just amazing for the record! We got to Station Pier about 6pm and joined the queue of cars. Then it started....

Poor Rohan vomited all over himself and his car seat. We cleaned him and the seat up best we could with wipes, changed him into fresh clothes and put him back in the car. He then vomit ted in the car hold of the ship, then in the dining room, then in his cot.... I am sure you have the idea. He finally stopped about midnight but left us a mountain of very smelly laundry and a car that absolutely reeked after having been closed up all night.

Day 2: Arrived in Devonport and tackled laundry and car seat cover as first order of business then got in the car and headed across to Burnie. Went to the Lactos cheese factory and stocked up on super cheap cheese (think 50c wedges of brie and camembert). We couldn't decide what else to do so we went to the tourist information who recommended the Museum and a place called Creative Paper that we had driven past earlier but hadn't decided to enter. They also told us about a whiskey distillery that was up the road from Lactos.

The museum was very good but Creative Paper was excellent! They show you how they make the paper and then you get to make your own. The boys loved it, okay so did I. Here is a little pic of Rohan making paper. The paper takes 24 hours to dry so you leave your paper for tomorrows visitors and you get to take home some of the paper that was made the day before. I highly recommend going here if you are ever down that way.

That evening, after the kids had gone to bed, Jase and I had a few drinks, some cheap cheese and I finished my mittens. Here is a photo I took just now as I forgot to take a shot on holiday.

Day 3: We drove to Hobart from Devonport stopping along the way at Anvers chocolates in Latrobe (very yummy). Once we had unpacked the car we headed into Hobart proper and went to the Tasmanian Museum an excellent museum and one that I have been too many times.

The boys particularly liked the Antarctic stuff and the play area. I liked this mirror - oh to be a super model....

That night I got some serious knitting done and finished one of the International Socks of Doom that I started after I finished my mittens. I would show you a shot now but it would ruin the flow of my writing, ruin my layout and not fit where I want it to go. You shall have to wait and see them both together a little later.....

Day 4: Everyone's favourite day......the CADBURY TOUR! We did detour via one of my favourite wineries - Moorilla and spent a few bucks on a few bottles.

It is a bit sad really. Last time we did the Cadbury tour it was a non-stop pig fest all the way around the factory. Everytime you stopped there would be chockie to eat. Now it would seem that there is legislation that makes this impossible and instead you get a box of favourites at the very end. Not nearly as much fun.

That arvo I stayed at the cabin and continued on my second sock, Rohan had a decent nap and Jason took the two bigger boys to play mini golf. I got lots of knitting done but unfortunately came over all sick in the evening (the last hurrah of the cold I had had for a few days I think) and spent the night trying desperately not to hurl.

Day5: The morning was spent at the Salamanca Markets in Hobart. Still a lovely market but the lack of any yarn to buy was particularly disappointing. The boys got a few trinkets and I bought nothing.

After the market we took off for Port Arthur. In the afternoon we headed to the Tasmanian Devil park, fed some kangaroos, watched a birds of prey show and completely forgot to take any photos of the devils. It was cold and muddy but everyone enjoyed themselves none the less.

We stayed at the Port Arthur Caravan Park in one of their cabins. Jason and I stayed here years ago and it still as beautiful today. Check this out for a view... This is looking off the balcony of our cabin.

Day 6: Spent the day at the Port Arthur historic site, an excellent day of Australian history and something I think everyone should do. A place even more poignant since the events of 1996. The boys were absolute troopers walking the park from left to right and right to left.

It never ceases to amaze me how a place that caused such misery can be so beautiful.

And importantly I finished my socks! Knit in Willabaa 8 ply, colourway magenta and purple (name unknown) and very cozy thank you very much! Do excuse the white, hairy legs. It's winter and I was on holiday!

Day 7: Left Port Arthur for Bicheno via Richmond. We had to stop at the lolly shop in Richmond it is so cool! We also checked out the gaol and the bridge.

Whilst looking at the map up to Bicheno, it declared in bold red writing that just out of Swansea was the "Wool and Wine Centre" - can you think of any place more perfect? Well imagine my great disappointment when there was no such establishment. It would seem they just meant that they grow grapes and farm sheep around there. Bummer dude.

Bicheno is a lovely little place. We stayed at the East Coast Holiday Park and had the loveliest cabin of our entire trip. We spent the afternoon walking to a local aquarium where they had a cool octopus and then to the blowhole to await the arrival of the local penguins. Apart from the penguin we saw waiting at it's burrow just near the walking track there weren't many to be seen but we had a good time anyway and Duncan had a delightful time showing other people "our" penguin.

Day 8: Drove from Bicheno to Launceston without any stops. We spent the afternoon exploring Launceston going to see the monkeys in the park, riding on the little train at the park and then onto Cataract Gorge. Oh my what a lovely place! It is just picture postcard perfect and literally five minutes from the centre of Launceston. The monkey enclosure was cool. We were having lunch in McDonalds and overheard a mother tell her son that they would go to "the monkey park" so we went to tourist information and asked about said park. It comes to pass that there is a monkey enclosure in the town park. Very cool idea.

Day 9: We took off up the Tamar Valley towards Beaconsfield and Beauty Point. We visited three of the local attractions on a special three attraction pass - Platypus House, Seahorse World and the Grubb's Shaft Museum. All were pretty cool but tacky as it might seem the highlight for me was seeing the Beaconsfield Mine where "The Great Escape" happened last year. It is somewhat surreal seeing somewhere in the flesh that has received so much media attention. I almost expected to see Kochie appear at any moment!

Oddly there was little mention of the event in the town, just a small slide show at the museum that had the obligatory picture of Brandt and Todd with Eddie Everywhere and thankfully a photo of Mel and Kochie. I really wanted to see the giant scarf they locals knit but it was nowhere to be seen.

Day 10 (The Last Day): You are a saint or a martyr if you have made it this far. We set of in the morning and drove back to Devonport to spend the day and then catch the ferry back in the evening. We took a ride on the Don River Railway before lunch, had lunch at the bluff and then went to The Imaginarium - a science centre - to round out the afternoon. Tea at McDonald's and then back on the ship, thankfully no vomiting this time!

And my final knitting shot. Progress on the Not-Quite-Straight scarf.....


Tania said...

Fantastic holiday Jack - I dare say we will follow your footsteps in the not too distant future - thanks for the info ;) Great holiday knits too!

Sam said...

welcome back! Fabulous sounding holiday, with just enough time to get in some good knitting!