08 June 2017

27 May to 8 June and back on the BIG island :D

Hi all
We had two quietish days at the Blue Wren Tea Gardens at West Ulverstone before leaving and lining up for the ferry on Sunday 28th may.  We arrived early in the line and then went and had a lovely coffee at 'Fifteen Tables' just up Murray street from the terminal.  We were through the checking process and lined up for 1 1/2 hours before being permitted to drive on to the ferry.
We were warned that there was going to be lots of rain and rough seas on the crossing with a 30knot wind.  Well - they weren't wrong.  We had our cabin [which was cabin 7 right at the front of the ferry] and I went to bed at about 10pm and then I rocked and I rolled (and I think I counted every wave we crested) until at 3.32am we arrived at the Port Philip Bay heads - the rocking stopped and we travelled at a sedate pace - but alas, there was no sleep for me.  So up, showered, bags packed and then in search of coffee.  Very thankful when the pantry opened at about 5am. [The staff member in the Pantry suggested that next trip we request a cabin towards the middle or back of the ferry as the ups and downs weren't as bad] Everyone was woken at 5.45am and breakfast was ready to be served to those who wanted it, and then we all waited to be called to access our vehicles.  6.35am we were driving off the Spirit of Tasmania 1 and back onto the BIG island.  By 7.50am we had made it to the Shell Service Centre on the Hume Fwy (M31) and were awaiting our hot breakfast, and then we travelled to Casey's Weir at Benalla.  The windscreen on the car kept fogging up as it was COLDER in Victoria then what it was in Ulverstone 😕The phone was telling me it was -1C degree and we had had +4C degrees in Ulverstone.
We arrived at Benalla at 10.30 am and Darryl and I went for a nap as neither of us had had sleep overnight.  We slept for just over 3 hours and then we got ourselves organised.
We had a couple of COLD nights out by the weir where we awoke to find ice on our hatches and VERY cold water dripping onto our heads.  On our second night at the weir we were visited by fellow ACC members Marion and Bob from the Sydney City Slickers.  Was so very good to see them.
On the Thursday 1st June we travelled into Benalla and checked into the Gateway Lifestyle Van Park and prepared for the ACC Border Hoppers Muster.  We met some lovely people from around the Wagga area and also some from northern Victoria.  We said our farewells to them all on Sunday morning at 9am and headed for Wagga to meet with family for lunch.  We arrived in Wagga at 12.30pm and set up outside Jenny and Peter's home and had a nice lunch before having Lyn and Charlotte arrive.  Was lovely to see Meghan, Jason and Jaden also and to get messages from Pauline and Kayla.  Had a great dinner that night with Nanna Fulmer also.
Off the next morning and travelled to Condobolin to see Ian, Wendy and Holly.  We didn't rush as we knew they were at work, but had a lovely evening with the family.
Tuesday morning we were off again, up through Narromine to Gilgandra and up to Coonabarabran.  Between Gilgandra and Coonabarabran the engine, in the car, began to 'miss' beats. 😟 so we stopped at Coonabarabran Caravan Park and contacted our mechanic Paul.
We got a fuel additive yesterday morning (thinking that we had picked up some dirty fuel at Gilgandra) and continued on our way.  We had hiccups along the way but once we got new fuel at Bellata, the car didn't miss a beat UNTIL we were nearing Pittsworth (just south of Toowoomba).  We limped it to Beckies Place and had to wait until this morning to contact Paul again and he referred us to Diesel Care in Toowoomba.  They were great - we took the car straight to them and we picked it up again at 2.30pm.  We have a new fuel filter and a secondary fuel filter as well and fingers crossed the injectors have not been affected.
So our plans are now to help care for the children whilst Beckie is doing her teaching prac [high school English and Science] before we have to take the van to the Gold Coast to get the damage [from our incident in February] repaired.  The repairers will need the van for a week.

26 May 2017

22 April to 26th May. Our last blog from Tasmania

Well where does the time go.
Have just realised that it has been a WHOLE month since the last update so I guess we will see how many this has to be divided into to get to you all.  Now I believe that latest you received was up the 21st APRIL…..
So let’s catch up all up to date.  At this point in time it is difficult to believe that our four months on Tasmania is nearly over with only 2 more sleeps before we get back on the ferry.

Saturday 22nd April and the beginning of our 13th week on the island.
We had some rain during the night but today we are heading out to Freycinet to climb to the lookout for Wineglass Bay.   Unfortunately for us – it was still raining at the Bay and the track to the lookout was wet and slippery and the clouds low – so could not guarantee any sort of good shots of the bay.  We drove up to Cape Tourville Lighthouse and the cloud was obscuring most of Wineglass Bay.  We then went to Coles Bay and then back to Bicheno.  We saw the Blowhole in action and looking at the orange rocks was awesome.  Went out to East Coast Natureworld but the rain had started again and it was very wet underfoot.  We will try and visit tomorrow – fingers crossed the rain will abate.  I finished my FLAX bowl today.  It looks a bit like a bowler hat but is quite heavy on your head.  Trying different techniques with it – and different shapings.
Sun 23rd Apr. Misty rain most of the night and this morning. Out to Freycinet but another no-go for the walk to the lookout so headed back up the coast and checked out some camping spots.  Near Wardlaws Point and 4-Mile Creek we saw a great house that reminded us of a Hobbit House as it was covered in earth and its roof was lawn and it had a fantastic view of the ocean.  We then travelled up to St. Mary’s – an uphill road that was narrow and winding and you could see where the rock wall had been hit by passing vehicle.  Was very thankful that we weren’t towing the van!!
Through St. Mary’s and out to Fingal before we turned off to the North to go see Mathinna.  This is one of the Ghost towns that we read about in the Australian Geographic.  Well it is VERY much Alive.  Lots of houses occupied and looks like work being done in the town. We didn’t do the drive up to the falls as it was beginning to rain again and there was lots of low cloud and the map says the roads are dirt.  Soo we headed back towards Fingal and turned towards St. Mary’s and then turned south towards Mount Elephant and Elephant pass Pancakes 😃 Was very foggy misty when we arrived to enjoy some pancakes.  I will admit that I was disappointed as they weren’t the thick/plate covering pancakes that I remembered from our visit in 2005.  These were more along the lines of a crepe (and the filling was rolled into the crepe).  Whilst here we watched the mist roll in and roll out again several times.  We then travelled down the road and around the tight bends (meeting a bus on one corner was a little scary) and made our way back to the Pondering Frog.  The owners – Lester and Collette – are fantastic hosts and can’t do enough for you. If you are travelling to Tasmania and need a place to camp near Bicheno – give this place a try.  Close to the road BUT close to a lot of sight-seeing places as well and you can safely leave your van here whilst out for the day!! BONUS.
Mon 24th Apr.  Very wet overnight.  Some heavy falls interspersed with lighter showers.  Moved on to Scamander Caravan Park and arrived just before the roads were closed due to the Targa Rally coming through town.  Stood out the front and waved to quite a few of the entrants before it got too cool and the rain started again.  So, we had a rest afternoon and it gave us a chance to do the washing and drying.
Tues 25th Apr. Anzac Day.  More rain overnight but it started to ease at about lunch time so we got in the car and drove up to St. Helens, did some grocery shopping and then visited the History rooms before finding a café open for a coffee – in Pendrigh Place.  A lovely Arty/book store/café.  Was a great place to sit and watch the rain and have crafty discussions going on around you 😃.
We then headed back to the van for a rest afternoon.
Wed 26th Apr.  Still raining this morning but we decided to do a drive anyway so headed out at about 10am.  Went to the bank at St. Helens to change coin (so we can use the machines in the laundry) and then drove out to Binalong Bay.  Beautiful white sand and it crunches underfoot (even saw Neptune opposite the beach with his trident 😃).  We then drove up along the Bay of Fires and to The Gardens where the wind and the rain nearly blew us away (it was almost sleeting).  We then travelled back to St. Helens checking out all the campgrounds along the way --- for future reference --- before stopping in St Helens for lunch at a fantastic café called – The Coffee Spot – next to Supa IGA. The young ladies went out of their way to ensure that we all had something that would suit our diets.  We then drove out to Steiglitz and Burns Bay.
Thurs 27th Apr.  Chris was not well this morning so we have decided to stay in Scamander another day so she can – hopefully – get over her illness.  She told us to go for a drive as she will stay put.  After ensuring that she was – in fact ok – Darryl and I drove up to Weldborough (to check out camping at the pub.  Only to find NO ONE camped there.  We were later to learn that people have been avoiding camping there as the new owners have put a $10 per person camping fee and a request that you must at least have a drink at the pub to stay).  We then turned around and headed down to Pyengana – stopping at the rainforest walk [a fifteen-minute walk through the track which was very interesting] and on to the Cheese factory (Not bad cheese [not sure on the Caraway infused cheese though] and had morning tea here).  We then drove out to St Columbus Falls.  It took us 10 minutes to walk along the path to these majestic Falls BUT took us 20 minutes to walk back up the path to the car 😃.  On the way back we stopped at The Pub in the Paddock for lunch and saw ‘Priscilla II’ and her companions.  Priscilla is a beer-swilling pig.  Our lunch was a simple meal but very expensive.  After Pyengana we headed back towards St. Helens and turned north towards Halls Falls.  When we arrived, it was to find that the recommended length of the walk was 90minutes and as it was already 2.45pm we decided it would probably be too dark by the time we returned.  So instead we drove up the dirt road to Lottah and up to The Blue Tiers and the Ghost town of Poimena (Poy-meena).  The Blue Tiers is now the starting point for bicycle mountain-bike racing, but it was a town.  You can do several walks from here that can take from 40minutes to 7 hours.  The landscape captured our hearts.  The moss is so thick on the ground in places that you feel like you are walking on REALLY thick pile carpet.  The different lichens are amazing.  Before heading back to St. Helens we went for a walk through the ‘Goblin Forest’.  Ohh my….. It looked like there had been a snow storm UNDER the trees.  It was different varieties of coral-lichen and finger-lichen.  No matter where you looked this was all you could see.  It was magical.  The moss on the ground and going down to the creeks was SO green.  IT was cooling down fast up there but my, oh, my it did attach itself to our hearts.
When we got back to the van it was to find that Chris was feeling better – so we decided that we would move on to Scottsdale in the morning.
Fri 28th Apr.  We arrived in Scottsdale with no issues.  The road up was not as bad as I had remembered and Chris coped with it really well.  Mind you we were travelling at about 60kmph on the winding hilly roads but thankfully we were not pushed along by any trucks.  We have also noticed that not many of the truckers use Channel 40 on the UHF to communicate with.  Makes it very difficult when trying to let the know that you will pull over to let them past or whatever.  We had a lazy afternoon once we arrived and set up.

Sun 30th Apr.  Up and out on the road by 9.45am after saying farewell to Lynne and David.  We headed East again through Branxholme and Derby before turning north towards Gladstone.  On the way we stopped at the Little Blue Lake.  A very pretty little lake that looks like it is in an old quarry.  The blurb at the lake says that the water is reflecting the colour of the sky – WELL, today is very grey and overcast BUT the water is a beautiful bright blue!!  Once we reached Gladstone we turned NE towards Musselroe Bay.  This will take us to the furthest EASTERN Point of the island (we have been to the furthest WESTERN point of the island when we visited Woolnorth Station in February).  After Musselroe Bay we headed back across the top towards the west and called in to Tomahawk to check it out and hopefully have some lunch – but no such luck.  The township of Tomahawk is very nice and the caravan park there is HUGE.  We then travelled back towards Bridport and had lunch in the Bridport Café which was lovely.  On the way back to Scottsdale we were lucky enough to see TWO rainbows in the storm in front of us.
On arrival back in Scottsdale we detoured to the Hospital (on the journey Chris had again been struck with her illness and it was best to get her checked out).  We spent 2 ½ hours at the hospital before getting her back to the comfort of her own van. 
Mon 1st May.  We headed to Launceston today so that Chris could have a CT Scan and then back to Scottsdale for a review with the Doctor.  He has referred her to a specialist in Launceston and she has to ring in a couple of days and see if she can get an appointment.
Tues 2nd May.  Chris has requested that we go to a Caravan park so that we can be on Power for heating so she doesn’t use all her little canisters for her portable heater.  It did get down to 1.1-degree last night --- so we moved on to Low Head and the van park there.  We then had a lazy afternoon, sitting in the tiny camp kitchen, in the sun out of the bitter wind.  The specialist contacted Chris to say they have an appointment next Wednesday – can she come in to the rooms to fill in paperwork before that??  We will do that on Friday once we arrive at Old Mac’s Farm in Launceston.
Wed 3rd May. Out and about early and up to the Low Head Lighthouse for a self-guided walk around and then we made our way down to the Pilot Station.  What a great complex.  Most of the cottages are now weekend accommodation but a couple of the buildings are a museum that is open to the public.  We spent over 2 hours here.  Brilliant.  After here we drove to check out the tree carvings at the East Coast Caravan Park and then the ones at the Windmill Point and Patterson’s Monument at George Town.
What a great town.  We stopped for lunch at the Hebe Reef Café which was nice.  After lunch we visited the Bass and Flinders Museum and checked out the replica of The Norfolk and Tom Thumb, that were used by both Bass and Flinders during their explorations.  Such tiny vessels.  Darryl and I had a great time in there – Chris opted to sit in the car.
We went to go to the Watch-house but it was closed, so we travelled out of town to Mount George and the lookout.  Saw a wonderful view of the mouth of the Tamar river and across to Beauty Point and Green Beach on the eastern shore of the Tamar.
Chris has met up with another Rolling Solo lady who lives in the caravan park that we are staying in.  A lovely lady named Marilyn.
Thurs 4 May.  Very foggy this morning and a low of 0.2dgrees overnight and a frost too.  Off to Bell Buoy Beach this morning for a look-see.  A very pebbly beach 😃 initially but as the tide goes out it becomes sandy.
Back in towards Low Head to find a tug pulling a ?fishing vessel off the ??rocks and into the channel and turning them down river towards George Town.  We then went into George Town and visited the Watch-house and saw a beautiful display of quilts from the NSW quilt competition.  All the quilts were about 12inches (30cm) in size.  A great display on the bonnets for both babies and women from the Female Prison in Hobart and George Town.  We had lunch across at the pub before heading down the Tamar and across the ‘Batman Bridge’ to Rowella and a Lavender farm.  Chris got some lovely gifts for the women in her family, before we headed back to the vans.
Fri 5th May.  HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE MIDWIFE.  Today we headed out of town and moved to Old Mac’s Farm at Norwood, a suburb of Launceston. Old Mac’s is a low-cost camp with access to toilets but no showers. A lovely camping area only 10 minutes from the middle of town.
As soon as we were set up we headed in to Launceston proper so that Chris could see the specialist and complete paperwork before her procedure next Wednesday.  It has been decided that we will move to a caravan park on Tuesday so that Chris has access to facilities before we take her in to the Private Hospital on Wednesday.  We dropped her off and headed in to have a coffee whilst we waited.  An hour and a bit later we went back and picked her up and headed out to Cataract Gorge.  This was not as I had pictured it in my mind. :C  I had thought that it would be a deep gorge with huge cliffs but it wasn’t.  Apparently if we had gone on the Cataract Gorge Cruise we would have seen cliffs but not up where the pool is or the gardens.  Once back to the van we got the fire pit out as we are able to have a fire – but the wood just would not burn or give off heat.  The other campers suggested that we ask Old Mac for some wood – which he did deliver and we finally managed to get some hear.  Marilyn (from Low Head) has travelled down and she will be camping with us until Monday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER JENNY and our niece-in-law Kasia.  Small short showers of rain overnight.  We met up with Lynne and David Wilson again this morning at breakfast and we will see them again this afternoon. In to the Information Centre this morning and then moved the car across to the museum carpark (advised this is good as it only costs $3 for the whole day) before walking back into the city.  We visited the Launceston Fresh Fruit, Veg and meat market and got some nice fresh foods.  Then we walked up through the city and the mall before going in to Target.  When we came out it was to find that the rain that had been threatening all day – had finally arrived.  We made our way back to the car and then the vans.
Sun 7th May.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR DAUGHTER Beckie.  We headed south of Launceston today to Evandale markets.  Brilliant market with lots of interesting goods.  Quite chilly in the breeze but didn’t take too long to warm up.  Evandale hosts the yearly Penny Farthing cycle races in February.  After the markets we headed a little further south, to Clarendon House.  Built in 1825’ish for James Cox.  Had a great time exploring here and then had a Devonshire tea before heading back to Evandale and out to Blessington and Upper Blessington and Ben Lomond.  When we got to the Ben Lomond turnoff there was a sign saying “Sorry we are closed”, so we turned around and headed back to the vans.  Only to be told later that the dirt road [called Jacob’s ladder] up to the resort on Ben Lomond was open BUT the resort itself was closed.  We were also told that it had snowed during the night and there was still plenty lying around up there.
Mon 8th May.  Today we headed south east to Poatina and then up the mountain to the Great Lakes and Cramps Bay.  We were lucky enough to see snow along the roadside and up high on the mountain.  Back down through to Cressy where we stopped for lunch and a meet up with a fellow ACC (Australian Caravan Club) member – Bernie.  He was returning to Longford after a muster in New Norfolk.  It was lovely to catch up with him.  We were going to go for a tour of Woolmer’s Estate but unfortunately it was only ½ hour before they closed for the day – so decided it would be on our next trip. 😃
Tues 9th May.  Said farewell to Lynne and David and we headed to Legana – a whole 17km away.  Settled in to the park and whilst Chris got herself sorted Darryl and I drove up to the supermarket and then out to Grindelwald – The Swiss Village. We even climb up the Tamarhorn – a manmade hill that is VERY steep but gives you a nice view of the village and valley and surrounding township.  Back to the van and did more washing.  It never goes away 😃
Wed 10 May. Up and on the road by 8.10am so that we could have Chris to the hospital.  Once we dropped her off we headed in to the town to find some coffee and breakfast.  We parked the car in a 3-hour lot and walked along the waterfront to the Home Bay and Seaport.  Lots of shops/café’s along here but not ONE open for a coffee at 9am.  We walked back in to the city itself and found a food hall that had not long opened and were able to get a coffee at 9.30am.  We wandered around having a look at different touristy things, renewed the parking meter and wandered some more before getting a call to collect Chris at 12.45pm.  So off we went and got her back to the van.  All good and a good report from the doctor.  Our friend Bernie is going to pick Chris up in the morning and take her out for the day.
Thurs 11 May.  Darryl and I headed out at 9.15 am towards Bridgenorth and Notley Gorge.  This is also called the fern gorge.  We did the 5-minute walk to Brady’s Tree (a bushranger’s hideout) and then the 10minute walk back up to the car.  The whole walk was supposed to take an hour but we decided because it was still wet and the path steep and covered in leaf litter – that we would leave that for another day.  We then drove on towards Frankford, where we stopped for morning tea at the Blue Berry Barn Café.  Saw lots of silky chooks in the gardens and met a young man who is an entrant in the ‘Shitbox Rally’ raising money for cancer research.  The vehicles that they drive are to cost no more than $1000.00 and must have over 200,000km on the odometer.  They are travelling from Adelaide to Cairns on some of the roughest outback roads.
We then drove up towards Beaconsfield and called in to the Holwell Gorge to go for a walk BUT the sign said grade 5 and Experienced walkers only.  So we gave that one a miss too.  We then travelled down to Westbury, Deloraine and out to Quamby Corner.  We were thinking of moving on to there after Legana, so decided to do a reccy first. Back to Deloraine for lunch then back to Westbury, Hagley, Carrick and Hadspen before returning to Legana.  We only just missed seeing Bernie after he dropped Chris off.  From all accounts they had a great day going up Jacob’s Ladder to the resort at Ben Lomond and then back to Evansdale for lunch.
Fri 12 May. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY.  Misty rain this morning but we decided that we would still move on to WESTBURY.  Only took us just on an hour and we set up in the Sports Ground and then went Up to Andy’s bakery to check out if they still have camping.  No – not any more.  The bakery has been bought by the local IGA owner so that she can build a whole new store in where camping was permitted.  So off to Deloraine to the information centre and looked at the four major quilts there and then museum.  The quilts took 300 people and 3 years to complete.  Absolutely beautiful works.
The rain is still falling and the clouds have barely lifted off the ground all day.  We wandered around the town for a little before heading back to Westbury.

Sat 13 May and beginning of week 16.
Very foggy this morning but no rain today so we headed back to Deloraine and wandered the streets of this very Arty-farty town.  There are small sculptures on nearly every corner and in front of certain businesses.  They are all made from recycled aluminium.  So many interesting shops and art work.  Very talented people in this town.  We called in to the “Cruisin’ in the 50’s Diner” for lunch.  So many memories in that collection.  Have decided that we are going to go back to Evandale markets tomorrow – because we can – and hopefully get another couple of music CD’s.
Sun 14 May.  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL. Arrived at Evandale markets at about 9.15am and had another great look around before finding the musicians – Stephanie and her mentor, Mark White – playing their Chapman Sticks (a fretboard instrument). Stood listening to them for a little while and then got their CD’s before heading out through Bishopbourne and Bracknell, heading to Liffey Falls.  Well – we didn’t find them, and the top road to the falls is closed for repairs.  So back to Hagley and on to Westbury.  Chatted with a young lady that we first saw at Scottsdale then at Low Head and now here.  Her name is Elixir (pronounced Alixa), she is a Kiwi and she is a Blues Singer.  She is also a taxidermist who drives a motorhome that has got fly-fishing on the art work on the van.  Her performing name is Elixir Blues.  We have had several interesting discussions over happy hour coffees.
Mon 15th May.  Drove out to Mole Creek and Marakoopa Caves today.  We did the tour of King Solomons Cave (It had the least number of steps that any of us had to climb) which was amazing, and we were the only three on the tour group.  Afterwards we headed in to Mole Creek and had lunch at the Café Bozzey.  This was a nice meal in a nice atmosphere.  On our way back to Westbury, we detoured down through Meander to Meander Dam and Huntsman Lake.  The dam is very low in water level but lovely country.
Tues 16th May. Down to 0.2 degrees overnight and some frost on the windscreen.  Today we went down to the 41 degrees South Salmon and Ginseng farm.  We had a nice time wandering around the farm that is still trying to resurrect itself after the floods in June of last year.  They lost 10,000 fish and most of their infrastructure that day.  It is taking them a while to get back on their feet.  We walked up to Lower Montana Falls which are nice cascading falls that are only able to be viewed from a distance.  We then travelled out past Westmore Creek, through Caveside and back to Mole Creek, where we had morning tea at Café Bozzey.  Back in to Deloraine and Chris was able to collect her parcel from the post office and then we headed back to the van.  Desperate for the loo – I used ours, only to find that I had filled it :C, so Darryl and I drove back to Deloraine and emptied it.  We also ran into people that were camped next to us at Old Mac’s Farm – Donna and Greg from Western Australia.  Next thing we knew we had been chatting for nearly 2 hours – so headed back to the van.
Wed 17th May.  Today we left Westbury and travelled up the highway to Railton.  We settled ourselves into the Motorhome Park and then wandered the town checking out all the Topiaries.  At the post office there is one of a child posting a letter in the letterbox, there are elephants, kangaroos, sharks, spiders, people mowing – all nature of figures.  We walked most of the way but then headed back to the car to drive to see the ones further out along the roads.  We had a great day.  My only concern is that I have got a toothache that I have not been able to get rid of :C.
Thurs 18th May – My cousin Ena is going to travel down from Penguin to Visit with us before we leave the island. Ena arrived at about 11.30 and after chatting to some new travellers that pulled in to the park, we walked up the street and had lunch at the café/bakery.  We then walked around some of the topiaries to show Ena.  Back to the van and all too soon Ena had to head back :C.  Was so good to catch up with her again.
I spent the afternoon nursing my sore tooth and sitting in the sun weaving.
Fri 19th May.  Moved a whole 14km today to the Caravan Park at Latrobe.  We are doing this as the prediction is for 3months of rain over the next 3 days.  If that is the case then all of us have decided we would rather be on power to have heating available.  After setting in the park, Darryl and I drove up to go to the Raspberry Farm and Creamery at Christmas Hills.  On the way out I called in to the dentist to see if they had any emergency appointments available – but no they don’t as half their dentists are over in Melbourne for a conference :C.  They took my number in case of a cancellation.  So off we went and checked out the Creamery first.  Was quite nice and the coffee good and we got some lovely jams.  We then went across the road to the Raspberry farm where the restaurant/café was humming.  People everywhere, and no seats available for about 20 minutes.  So we left and headed back into Latrobe and stopped at the Cherry Shed and Darryl got a nice bottle of Port before we headed back out to the van.
Whilst I was doing some washing in the late afternoon, the rain started – ever so lightly.

Sat 20th May.  Beginning of week 17. We are into our final week in Tasmania.
It has rained most of the night and it hasn’t eased up all day.  NOT heavy but constant and my toothache has not gone away :C and I am finding it difficult to open my mouth wide enough to get food in it.
Thank goodness for power as Darryl has been playing his computer game all day and I have been weaving.
Sun 21st May.  Out to the Markets at the Axeman’s Hall of Fame this morning.  Foggy but no rain.  Not many stalls as, those who are here say, the rain frightened others away.  Darryl and I had a great time chatting to many of the stall holders (these markets were mostly new goods) and eventually went back to the park and got the car before heading up the town to the other markets (these markets were mainly trash and treasure).  I walked to the supermarket trying to get some teething gel to put on my tooth – but no go.  We headed out of town and down to Sheffield – the town of Murals.  We had a great time wandering the streets, looking at all the different paintings.  We called in to the House of Marbles but we all got the feeling that we were interrupting something – so we left on the pretext of having lunch.  Which we did but we didn’t go back.  Got back to the van and inside just as the rain started again – lightly but it was still coming down.  We are going to stay in Latrobe for another night so that we can travel to see Tasmazia tomorrow.
Mon 22nd May.  The rain is still coming in showers with some gaps between. Managed to get an appointment at a Dentist in Devonport tomorrow morning at 9am.  YAY.  Up to the shops and got some medigel from the chemist before heading out to Spreyton and then down to Sheffield before heading out to West Kentish and Promised Land and “Tasmazia and the Village of Lower Crackpot”.  On the way we passed signs for ‘Nowhere Else’ so decided to go find it.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find any town signs with that on it so turned around and headed back to the road sign.  Off to Tasmazia.  What a great place.  Several different mazes to go through and the Village is just wonderful.  We spent 3 hours here.
Off we went down to Cethana and over the river and up to Moina.  ON the way back we called in to have a look at Wilmot Power Station on Cethana Dam and then up to Round Mountain Lookout.  Couldn’t see too much as the trees were too tall.
Back to Latrobe.
Tues 23rd May.  In to Devonport nice and early and got my tooth looked at.  A cracked tooth at upper back on the right, infected sinus on that side and a deteriorating filling.  So filling fixed and a course of antibiotics for the infection with review later this week if need be.  Got back to the van and Chris ready to move on. So we all packed up and it started to rain whilst doing that :C and then we drove up to West Ulverstone to the Blue Wren Tea Gardens and set up camp.  We will stay here until we leave on Sunday.
Once settled in we headed into Ulverstone, went shopping and had lunch and the rain began again.
Wed 24th May.  Tooth feels a bit better today but my cheek and gum are very swollen and tender.  Had a massive storm at 4am that last about 2 hours.  Drove out to Forth and visited Alchemy at the Purple House.  A lovely café that serves great Gluten free foods and has the foods that Chris can eat also.  From there we went to Penguin and met up with Ena for lunch.  Our visit was over way too quickly.  Hopefully we will see Ena and Graham in Brisbane later this year. 
Thurs 25th May.  Off to Burnie this morning – in the rain.  We visited Hellyers Distillery and then in to town.  Spotlight got some business and then out to the Makers Workshop.  Spoke to some lovely artisans there for about an hour before moving in to the town proper.  Went to Target and got some warmer PJ’s and then found a lovely café for lunch that did Gluten Free.  My jaw is starting to hurt again and I can barely open my mouth again.  Rang the dentist and she will see me tomorrow.
Feeling ‘off’ and a bit unbalanced also. Back to the van and into bed for me.  I awoke 4 hours later with a swollen face and terrible pain in my face.
Fri 26th May. Rain during the night.  My face is tender but my tooth not so bad at present.  Doing some tidying around the van before we head to Devonport.  On our way in we got a call to say the dentist was ahead of schedule – and I said we were on our way – and arrived 6 minutes later.  Well after examination and a second opinion – the problem was not the new filling but a crack in my wisdom tooth on the upper right side.  Once that was removed – most of the pain disappeared.  I am now on stronger analgesia for 96 hours, softer foods for 48-72 hours and no strong swishing for 72hours.  I have emergency contact numbers if any problems over the weekend.

We have two more sleeps before we board the ferry back to the big Island.  This is my last update of the blog before that happens – so keep safe and well and we will see most of you after we get back.

27 April 2017

2nd April to 21st April Tasmania

Sun 2nd April 2017
Today Darryl and I headed off to the Whisky House on the way to the Ferry Terminal.  On the way we were looking for the childhood home of our friend – Susan Roberts’ Mum. But we were looking in the wrong place – we should have been looking at Dennes Point but we were near Apollo Bay.  We had a nice time at the Whisky House before moving on to the Penguin Café at Adventure Bay for lunch and then back to the van.  Typed up the blog that day and sent them out.
Mon 3 April
Caught the Ferry back to the ‘bigger’ island of Tasmania and went to Snug Caravan Park, after stopping at the Kettering Post Office to collect mail.  Nice little park but some of the corners within the park are very tight.  Our friend Margaret and Trevor from SA called in as we were having lunch, so we had a lovely chat with them before heading up through to Margate and the Channel History Centre where we were lucky enough to find one of Darryl’s Ancestors property at Long Bay in 1856 [Long Bay was changed to Middleton in 1892 as there were THREE Long Bays in the south of Tassie at the time].  Also trying to locate where the ‘Middleton Hotel’ was in 1855.  Called into the fruit and veg shop where we found a HUGE range of Gluten Free foods and then onto the SNUG Butchery for some lovely meats.  Back to the van.
Tuesday 4 April
Today we headed up to Taroona to Joseph Moir’s Shot tower – only to find that it was closed and would only be opened from 12 – 12.30pm.  We were 3 hours too early. The shot tower was where they would drop molten lead from the top and by the time it hit the bottom it had cooled and the ‘shot’ for the rifles was ready.
Back to Kingston and shopping at Woolworths before going to ‘the Margate Train’ for lunch.  This is a static display of engine and 6 carriages (now with separate businesses in them).  Afterwards we called back into the Channel History Centre to have a look through their museum.  What a Brilliant display – well set out and very well presented.  There was also a lady there who told us that the Middleton Hotel was positioned below the current Middleton community Hall.  So it was a bonus.
Wed 5 Apr
Today we travelled up through Hobart and over the Tasman Bridge, through Midway Point to Sorell.  We pulled in to the RV park where we could stay for 5 nights for $24 – then we went for a drive down through South Arm, Opossum Bay, Arm End and Lauderdale.  We stopped at 7 Mile Beach on the way and had a lovely walk along the beach.  Louise Sanders (a weaver from Hobart, whom I met at Franklin markets) contacted me and has invited me to her weaving group tomorrow afternoon.
Thurs 6 Apr
Up early and into Sorell to catch the bus into Hobart.  Darryl going to go fishing and Chris going up to have her hair done.  I was in Hobart by 8.30am and then had a coffee whilst waiting for the State Library to open at 9.30 and more research into the Basstian family line on Darryl’s side.  Louise met me at 12.30pm and took me out to her home and then on to her weaving group.  I had a lovely afternoon with three lovely ladies – Louise, Di and Viks.
Fri 7 Apr
Up to the Centerlink Office to give them the info they requested – only to find they would not print out the forms, I had to wait for the Library to open at 10am – so we all went and had a coffee.  What else 😃
After finally getting the forms to Centerlink and the chap scanning them, the three of us headed out to Oatlands and Callington Mill (a flour mill surrounded by dry-stone fences) and then we walked the streets of Oatlands before meandering back to the Pancake place for lovely GF pancakes.
We then drove back down the highway through Jericho to Kempton Mowbray and then Pontville, then down the northern side of the Derwent river through Bridgewater and Lindsfarme to Sorell.  A very full day but a great day.
Sat 8 Apr.  We are beginning our 11th week on the ‘Apple Isle’.  Did you know how Tasmania became known as the Apple Isle???  Apparently during the Great Depression Tasmania was still harvesting their apples and sending them overseas whilst most places were struggling to provide jobs.  With the state doing this they gained the name of the ‘Apple Isle’.
Today we travelled out to Richmond and wandered the ‘old’ town before heading up to ‘The Old Hobart Town’ miniature village.  This is a 1/16th scale of Hobart-town in 1820 and is very well done.  It took over three years for two male friends to build it and open it for display.
Sun 9 Apr
It was trying to rain during the early hours of this morning, but it didn’t deter Darryl and I from going up to see the Sorell Markets.  Most stalls were outside – with no covers – and we were not there long when the skies opened….  Some interesting stalls inside the Memorial Hall but nothing that we needed – so we headed back to the van and had a lazy day inside.
Got a text message this afternoon informing us of the passing of Mum’s second youngest sister – Aunty Margaret Bates.  RIP Aunty Margaret and deepest Sympathies to all the family.
Mon 10 April
We got up late but were ready to go and empty the black water and refill the fresh water by 9.30am.  We then went and parked in the Woolies carpark so I could go to the post office.  Only thing was, Darryl and I thought it was in the main street – but after walking to the top end of the street and then finding someone to ask – found that it was actually in the Coles complex – DIAGONALLY opposite where the car was parked.  Ohh well – that only took me ½ hour 😃
We then travelled out to Dunalley, on the way to Port Arthur.  There is a camping spot here near the Dunalley Pub.  So we pulled in and Set up before going for a drive around through Connelly’s Marsh, Primrose Sands, Carlton, Dodges Ferry, Lewisham, Forcett, Marion Bay, Bream Creek, Kellyvie and Copping before heading back to Dunalley.  We went for a drive up to Marion Bay Lookout and it was a very bumpy ride with lots of corrugations, gibber and large potholes.  Found the Tasman Monument in Dunalley just before we had afternoon tea.  Back to the van and got ready to go over to the pub for drinks prior to having dinner.
Tues 11 April
Down to see the ‘Swing Bridge’ open to allow 2 yachts through and then off towards Tasman Peninsula and Pirates Bay before stopping at the Tessallated Pavement, then on to Officer’s Quarters and the ‘Dog Line’.  Then we travelled to the Blowhole and fossil lookout before heading to Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen.  We went to the Port Arthur Lavender Farm but found it to be very overpriced :C.
We then travelled back to the ‘Blue Seal’ Café to have lunch – but it was closed – so back-tracked to ‘Fish Lips’ for lunch.  Service was VERY slow and then we found out that the lady was trying to do everything on her own as her daughter had not arrived to help her.
Then we drove down to the ‘Chocolate Factory’ for a look-see and found some interesting gifts and the chocolate wasn’t too bad either 😃
Wed 12 April  TODAY we are going to Port Arthur.  We arrived there at 9.10am and went on our introductory tour at 9.30am.  Got back for a coffee at 10.20am and then booked out After Dark Pass (this includes the Ghost tour and a 2 course meal) and then off to the harbour for the 20min Harbour Cruise out past Point Peur and Isle of the Dead before heading back to the harbour.  We then began to wander the grounds.  So much to see.  There are lots of audio-displays that are motion triggered and made the experience all the better.  We stopped for lunch at about 1.30pm before continuing to wander.  We were told that there was NO WAY that it would take us all day to see around Port Arthur – but we returned to the Information centre at 4.45pm as it was getting dark and cooling down quickly and then waiting for our dinner reservation at 6pm and our Ghost tour at 8.30pm.  What a fantastic Day!!!  When we got back to the van at 11pm – it was to find a 4x4 parked 4 feet from the door with 2 tents on the other side of it.  We just thought “too bad if they don’t like the noise of us coming home, but they shouldn’t park so close!”  I think if you see a van parked with no vehicle in front or next to it, you would think – might just leave space for them to come home!  Obviously not everyone thinks like I do.
Thurs 13 April
We could go back to Port Arthur again today for free entry, but Darryl wasn’t keen, so we headed into Port Arthur (township) to do the washing and drying.  Chris stayed and cared for it all as Darryl and I headed to Nubeena to empty the black water and then returned.
We then headed out to Remarkable cave, back to the IGA at Nubeena, onto Premaydena and back to Taranna and Dunalley.
Fri 14 Apr – Good Friday
A rest Day today.  Darryl and I went to the Fish co-op and got fresh fish and chips for lunch before harvesting some flax and then heading back to the van to prepare it for weaving.  We actually got to see the Swing Bridge open again and allow three yachts through.  The traffic build up took a good 10 minutes to clear once the bridge was available for traffic again.
Saturday 15 Apr  Starting week 12 today.
We drove out to Eaglehawk Neck and went to the markets.  Not a bad little market and then out to the Coal Mines from 1848.  Interesting buildings with solitary cells under the hospital building and also isolation cells in another building.  Both of which would have been horrid to be in. 
Sunday 16 April.  Easter Sunday. 
Headed into Sorell and Chris headed to Church whilst we went and emptied the black water and refilled the fresh water before we headed to Triabunna and found a camp opposite the Pub and the Information Centre.  A great little camp.  We left our donation to the RFDS in the little Blue Café.  We then went for a drive out through Shelly Beach, Spring Beach and Rheban before travelling out to the Lighthouse.  Well – we couldn’t get to the Lighthouse as there is a locked gate :C  Apparently this is now private property and no-one is allowed to enter.
Monday 17 Apr
Today we headed up to Mayfield Beach Campground.  WOW it was packed but we were lucky that a family group that was leaving offered us their site.  Directly opposite the toilet complex and a fantastic view of the beach. Darryl and I then headed into Swansea to get fuel and have a look-see.  Stopped at Kates Berry Farm and Spikey Bridge on way back.
Tues 18 Apr – Today is a Bank Holiday in Tassie
Went for a drive today back into Swansea and to the Bark Mill Museum and then into town and the Heritage Museum before going for a drive out through Dolphin Sands to Bagot Point.  This is about 100metres across the water from Swanwick – which is on the Freycinet peninsula.
Back into town and lunch at a nice little café in town before buying some wood for the campfire.  Can’t believe we are into our 12th week down here and only NOW getting out the fire-pit for a camp fire. :C
Wed 19 Apr
Moving on today and heading out towards Campbell Town and pulled in to have a look at Lake Leake.  Not a bad little spot so decided to camp here for $21 per night on Power.  Both of us need to fully charge the batteries and some of our electronics.  We then went for a drive into Campbell Town and have a wander around and see the Red Bridge, the paver walk – each paver has the details of the convicts who came to Tasmania.  Then we had a lovely lunch at a café that catered for all of us and then did a car drive around the colonial buildings in town.
Thurs 20 Apr
Out early today and back towards Campbell Town before heading up the C522 towards Isis (which we didn’t find) almost to Cressy before heading back down the highway to Ross.  What a great little town.  The weather was VERY balmy and almost like the build-up weather in Darwin.  I was getting ready for a storm – which didn’t eventuate.
A lovely lunch and a great walk around all the historic buildings and a great bridge with lots of magnificent carvings in the sandstone.  Went to the Wool Museum and then out to the Female Factory before heading back to the van.
Fri 21st Apr.  Happy 38th Anniversary Darryl  Happy 27th Anniversary to Jenny and Peter Fulmer.

Today we moved on to Llandaff (12km from Bicheno) and the Pondering Frog Café.  They permit fully self-contained camping in the front yard.  On arrival the owner asked us to put our grey water on the trees please – they need a drink it is too dry.  Chris and I then headed back to Swansea and did the washing and drying and then returned to the van for a rest day.  We then went over to the Pondering Frog for an Anniversary dinner that was very nice indeed.

02 April 2017

23rd March to 1st April 2017

Thurs 23rd march
It has rained most of the night.  My Meniere’s seems to have taken a rest and the IBS is also silent 😃
Washing and drying day today…… Thank goodness for clothes dryers.
We were going to go out towards Hastings caves and the Thermal Springs but after the past few days I didn’t like the idea of standing in a meter of 28 degree water with cold rain falling on my head.  Yes a chicken :C

Fri 24th March
Happy Birthday Aunty Helen Menz.
Off to Geeveston today with the van and camped at the RSL club.  Opportune as they are doing meals at the club tonight.
Darryl and I went for a walk up into the town and went to the Visitor info Centre.  This USED to be the Heritage and Forestry Centre but not anymore. 
Darryl and I went across to Dinner at the club which was quite enjoyable.

Sat 25th March.
We were told that there were markets on this morning in Geeveston but when we got there – no stall holders had shown by 9.45am – so the organisers told us it was off :C
We then went for a drive up to Huonville, Willie Smiths Apple Museum and the Visitor Centre.  The Apple Museum has got about 300 different varieties of Apples and the display is replaced every year.  ALL the varieties are grown on a farm nearby.
We then went for a drive out through Ranelagh (pronounced Ran-e- luh) and on to Judbury.  Here there is a great little park with climbing buildings made using hole tree trunks with ladders inside.  The children were having a wonderful time.
Back to Huonville and down to Frank’s Cidery and Café in Franklin for lunch.  There is a beautiful old Church here – from 1830’s – that the community are trying to buy and keep in the community.  We made a donation to their cause.
 Sunday 26th March
Today we went to the markets at Franklin and I met a lovely lady by the name of Louisa who is a WEAVER from Hobart.  She would like to meet up again when we pass through Hobart.  Looking forward to that.
We then drove up through Huonville and around the coast road to Cygnet.  What a great little place.  There was a lovely butcher who was open – even though it was Sunday – and we got some great meat specials.  We had a good day out and returned to the van and a cloudy but dry day.

Monday 27th March
It is cloudy today so we are heading off to Gordon over on the coast, past Cygnet, after topping up with water at the Heritage park in Geeveston.  We arrived and set up in the Gordon Recreational Reserve for $5 per night and we have access to good toilets.  About an hour after we arrived we were hit by a monster of a storm with heavy rain and very strong winds.  The van was rocking quite a bit.
Tues 28th March
Today we drove up to MIDDLETON (Darryl’s 3xgreat grandfather ran a pub here in the 1850’s called the Middleton Inn).  There is no evidence of the pub now though.  We then drove up to Kettering and found the Post Office (in the service station) where we are hoping our mail will be when we return from Bruny Island, and called into the marina and Ferry Terminal and had a coffee whilst watching the Ferry arrive and unload its cargo and reloading and heading off to Bruny again.  On our way back to Gordon, we stopped for a look see at Woodbridge and the lovely lady in the post office suggested that we go to the ‘Channel History Centre’ at Margate.  They may have some info about the Pub’s location.
We then stopped at the GrandvEwe Cheese Factory and distillery.  Some interesting cheeses and Mutton sausages which Chris and Darryl tried.  My tummy was not behaving so I didn’t try them.
On arrival back at the camp site it was to find some people that we first met at Zeehan.  Margaret makes shortbread biscuits and sells them as she goes around.
The wind has picked up again and is very blustery and here comes the rain 😃

Wed 29th March
Happy Birthday to Aunty Margaret Mason, Gail Blanksby, Robert Davis and Nathan Menz.
A beautiful Sunny day today with minimal breeze.  Today we drove up past Kettering to Oyster Cove, then down the C626 towards Nicholls Rivulet and Cygnet, south to the C627 and back to Woodbridge and back up to Oyster Cove to the shop with lovely farm fresh veggies and all sorts of goodies including some lovely Gluten Free goodies.
We then drove back to Peppermint Bay Café at Woodbridge for a coffee.  This is the first place that we have encountered a tall coffee served in a handle-less glass.  When we asked for something to cover the glass so that we could hold it, the waitress glared at us and then pushed a serviette across the counter to us.  Hmmmm…..
Returned to the van after having collected some Cumbungi from the channel and – wouldn’t you know it – the rain and wind have picked up again. 😃
Thurs 30th March
Off to Bruny Island this morning.  It is lovely and sunny and hardly a breeze.  We arrived at the Ferry at 9.40am and on board by 9.55am.  Arriving at North Bruny Island at 10.15am and then at Adventure Bay on the south Island at 11am.
The sites in the Caravan park are quite tight for some of them and in the end we got Chris to drive around the park and do a drive-through into her site.
The rain is squally now but we are determined to go for a look-see.  So we drove to the SE to Cook’s Landing site.  There are a couple of memorials her to Captain Cook and Captain Bligh and a memorial to where the site of the tree that Captain Cook tied the Endeavour to clean her hull.
We also called in to the Bligh Museum which gives you a lot of history of all the different explorers and navigators that came through these waters.
We then travelled back towards the NECK (Isthmus) and stopped in at what is signed as Bruny Chocolate Co.  It is more Fudge and Truffles which we found to be a tad expensive, BUT go a packet to have at Happy Hour.
Darryl and I went for a walk behind the van park, along the Captain Cook Rivulet [also known as a creek] and then down to the bridge across the Creek and out to its opening into the sea.  We then walked back up along the beach of Adventure Bay to the van park.
Back to the van and a blustery afternoon with occasional squalls.
Fri 31st March
Awoke very cold.  The temperature overnight dropped to 3-degrees.  Brrrr.
Today we drove across the South Island to Alonnah and then down to Lunawanna and out to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse.  A steep walk up the concrete pathway and then I was the ONLY person (out of about 20) that did the tour of the Lighthouse.  The steps were not too bad and my vertigo didn’t start as I came down the mesh stairs – so I felt brilliant 😃
After leaving the Lighthouse we drove to Jetty Beach where camping is permitted.  A very narrow, sandy road for 2km in and some good spots in which to park the van.  National Park and $10 per night for 2 people with drop-toilets. Drove down to have a look at the boat ramp – which happens to be the sandy beach 😃
Drove back through Lunawanna to Alonnah and the Bruny Hotel where we have been told they do a seafood basket that is NOT deep fried.  It is actually pan-seared! I ended up having the Seafood mixed grill (which was again NOT deep-fried) and was lovely.  Darryl had a salt and pepper Squid meal which he thoroughly enjoyed [including the Salmon from my lunch].
After lunch we drove north of Alonnah and met up with a lady by the name of Lis Brown (who Chris knows from a Facebook group) and she is in Tassie for a year.  Her project is to photograph EVERY TOWN IN TASSIE.  So far she has photographed 500 towns.  Lis also travels in a little campervan with 3 Westies. [West Highland Terriers].  We spent about an hour chatting with Lis before heading back to the van.
The flooding in Queensland has affected so many of our family and friends.  Hopefully the rain stops soon and the rivers start to go down with minimal damage to homes and property.  We are really feeling for you all.
Sat 1st April
Another wet and blustery day 😃 😃
We headed out this morning to check out North Bruny Island, stopping at the Neck Rookery and the stairs up to the Truganini Memorial.  The wind was blowing that hard that (if the rail wasn’t there) we would have ended up in the sea on the Eastern side.  We then travelled up to Dennes Point.  [My friend Sue Roberts’ mother grew up in Dennes Point.]  We called into the Community Hall/Coffee Shop (No mugs here for coffee – only small cups)/ grocery store/ and a Gallery.  Talking with the manager of the Gallery she was very interested in my weaving and said that when we “move to Bruny, I have an outlet for your work”.  What a great thing to be told!!!
We then drove down past the jetty and met up with a couple that we met at Geeveston – Lorraine and Cec Wollstein from Queensland.  Had a lovely chat with them whilst the wind was blowing and the squalls came through?  We then followed them along the round around the point and we called in to the Old Quarantine Station.  I had a lovely 45min walk around the station looking at all the displays.  I didn’t mind the occasional light squall that came through as it cooled me down 😃.
We then called in to Get Shucked and had some lovely oysters and fish for lunch.  After that we went to the Bruny Cheese and Beer and had ---- a coffee 😃 and tasted two cheeses.

Back in the car and back to the van.  We invited our neighbours to Happy Hour in the ‘Green Shed’ and no sooner there and the rain was lashing the shed and the wind blowing.  It was a very enjoyable couple of hours with a lovely fire blazing.

14th mar to 22nd march 2017 - I have 'lost' a weeks data here somewhere :C

2nd April 2017
Sorry for being sooooooo slack but will update now but may not add photos as it uses so much data…..  Sorry for those that love the photos  but I keep running over my data limit.

Tuesday 14th March
Today we are moving on to the Hobart Showgrounds at Glenorchy.  It is $25 a night to camp here with power and water BUT NO WATER is PERMITTED to be seen to being put on the ground.  What a joke.  So many bright green patches of grass where others have been camped and when guiding Darryl back into our allocated spot I sank about 5cm in to the ‘slop’ that was left behind by the previous camper.  All those around us told us not to put any on the ground during the day but what happens in the dark is anybody’s guessing.
We are going to be here for a week as there is soo much to see and do.
After setting in we went for a drive up to Mount Wellington.  A nice drive up and what a view.  BUT it was so WARM today.  21degrees at the top because it was 35 in Hobart!!!!  And then a nice drive back that was broken by a coffee stop at ‘Lost Freight’ about ½ way down the mountain.  This coffee shack has only been in place for 4 weeks and had a very nice coffee.  The owner had been pulling a trailer up here every day for the past 18months to develop her business and get council approval to put in a ‘temporary’ structure – which is a freight container that has been converted.
Wed 15th March
Today we headed into Hobart so I could go to State Archives and Library to do more research into Darryl’s ancestors.  I spent 4 hours in the archives whilst Darryl and Chris walked around the city and saw Lark’s Distillery, walked around the Mawson Hut display and checked out the Cat and the Fiddle Arcade.  [This arcade is built on the site of one of the Hotel’s that Darryl’s 3xgreat grandfather ran in 1840’s].  I met them in one of the arcades for a drink before we then made our way down to Davey street and caught the Reddecker bus for the whole 90min circuit of the city.  We had a great view up the top at the front of the bus.
Whilst doing this we decided that tomorrow we would come and park at the Botanical Gardens and then catch the bus – as we could park for free for  6 hours.
Thurs 16th Mar
Happy Birthday Trev. 
It is raining this morning and may do so for the rest of the morning.  We headed off to the Botanical Gardens and past the [defunct] Beaumauris Zoo and awaited the Reddecker bus.  It was running 10minutes slow – but we realised that this was because the clock in the bus was slow.  Anyway Darryl got off at the Cascade Brewery and Chris and I got off at the next stop for the Female Factory.  What a fascinating 2 hours we spent there.  We managed to see the ‘Her Story’ play and it was a real eye-opener as to what the women had to endure during their daily routine at the Female Factory.  If anyone is going to Hobart – PLEASE make an effort to go and see the play OR do the history guided tour.  We need to remember what the women had to go through to give us what we have today.
Back on the bus and then in to town and up to St. Davids Park where there is the headstone for Darryl’s 3xgreat Grandmother and 4 of her daughters.  This headstone has been placed in a stone wall in the park (along with quite a few others) and is a moving memorial to all.
Back to Dome café for lunch and then on the bus back to the car.
Fri 17th mar
Happy St. Patricks Day 😃
Today we had a lazy day planned so Chris and I walked up to the Glenorchy Shops whilst Darryl drove up.  I got myself a trim and then we did some grocery topping up before heading back to van.  On the walk we found where we could catch the bus tomorrow to go to the Salamanca Markets (about 5minutes walk from the van 😃 BONUS)
Sat 18th Mar
Up and off to the bus stop by 7.40am and the bus pulled in at 8.05am.  It was a bit chilly in the breeze but at least it wasn’t raining 😃  Cost us $2.30 each to travel the bus and it took half hour to get into Collins Street near the Hobart Post Office.  We then walked down to Constitution Docks and had breakfast at MURES before heading along to Salamanca.  Darryl and Chris walked down the FLAT and I walked up the hill as I HAD the map and I had marked what I wanted to check out 😃 😃
I was on a mission!!!!  Ben is heading to Japan in June and will be visiting Yoko – a lady I have been writing to since I was in Grade 5.  I wanted to get some special gift for him to take to her and her husband Kenjirou. 
What a great market.  Over 300 stalls with all sorts of goodies.  I finally found THE gifts – no to hope the recipients will like them.  100% Tasmanian Merino wool scarves.
Met up with Darryl and Chris and Darryl showed me some really nice walking poles that weren’t very expensive – so we got a light weight one for me to use.  It can either be a hiking pole or a walking stick.  Will be handy on those Wobbly days.
Back up to bus stop and back to showgrounds.
Sunday 19th march
MENIERE’S HAS STRUCK!!!!  Rained most of the day.
Monday 20th March
MENIERE’s is still hanging around and my balance is shot. It is still raining.
Unfortunately we have to go to Centrelink this afternoon as my Disability Pension is on a Random Review and there is a lady from Melbourne who is to do it.  We managed to find a park not far from the Centerlink offices but the walking (wobbling) to it took its toll on both Darryl and myself.  We have to produce some more documentation to Centerlink by middle of April and hopefully all will be well. Not sure how the Medical report will go as our doctor had to have surgery and is off until May 9th.  Have been advised that this may still be ok but will need to check in with Centerlink to double check.
Tuesday 21st March
Meniere’s is still here with lots of vertigo and nausea.  We have to move out of the showgrounds today as it has been booked out by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA).  So Darryl had me tucked up in the car and we are on the move to SOUTHPORT.  We arrived at the Southport Hotel and Van Park in the rain but set up and then relaxed.  There is NO Reception for TELSTRA in Southport – EXCEPT standing at the end of the Jetty or at an intersection 3km north of town.  Down to the jetty to send some quick messages and then back to rest up.
Wednesday 22nd march
My head is a lot clearer today BUT now my IBS is showing itself……..
Raining still.  Out by 9am as we are booked on the Ida Bay Railway today.  It was a lovely trip – even with the rain – and then back to the café for lunch.  We then drove down the dirt road to Cockle Creek and walked out to the Whale Sculpture.  The rain has stopped.  The sculpture is representative of a 3-month old Southern Right Whale.  A wonderful piece of Art.

We drove up past Southport to the community of DOVER and went to the shop to get supplies for dinner.

19.2.17 to 6.3.2017 No pictures at present as using too much data

19th February
An update on Darryl’s cellulitic right leg – it is only about 1cm different in size to his right leg.  The skin has completely peeled off that leg and the redness is gone.  The discolouration of his leg will remain as the long-term oedema has restricted the blood flow in the skin.  He is continuing to wear his compression socks/stockings without and trauma and it is great to see him with skinny lower legs. :D  He is continuing his Antibiotics and has just commenced his second month of a four month course.  My left knee is still painful and continues to lock or give way when you least expect it.  It cracks and clicks all the time.  I am wearing a brace and can depress the clutch on the car and am trying to build up strength in the knee.  I alternate massaging it with Karma Rub and Fisiocreme.

Monday 13th we headed for Smithton.  The winds were back up to 55kmph and pushing us in the bum, so we decided that the free camp on the beach at Green Point would have to wait for another time.  On arrival at Smithton we arrived at the caravan park so that Chris could have power to fully charge her battery and we could brace ourselves for the predicted foul weather.
Here we were having high temps of 18degrees and all our friends and family were experiencing temperatures over 40 degrees on the mainland.  We have decided to stay here for the week and do all the little trips from here. 

Tues 14th Valentines Day.  Darryl thought it was tomorrow :D.   I kept saying – no its today.  He kept saying – but it’s on the 14th.  And I said but today IS the 14th. :D
We headed out to Tarkine Adventures – Dismal Swamp, but on the way we went to the Tier Lookout in Smithton and whilst there bought some Leatherwood honey.  Beautiful tasting.  Dismal Swamp is actually a 310-hectare Sink-hole, of which you can follow a boardwalk path system that covers 1.6km.  The cost of entry is $20 per adult $14 per child and $18 per senior.  There is also a slide which will take you 15secs to reach the sink-hole floor at $2 per slide.  Several local artists have got artwork throughout the swamp and it is interesting looking for them in the ferns etc BUT the entry fee really is too high for what you manage to get out of it.  Most people spent 1.5hours here, and that is what we did too, even including our coffee stop at the end.
From here we drove out to Redpa, Marrawah and Green Point.  There is free camping at Green Point in a small area that fitted 2 caravans in parallel, 3 small whiz-bangs (campervans) and a tent up on the grass.  It was quite windy whilst we were here but sunny.  We could look to the north and see some of the Wind turbines from Woolnorth Station.
We then drove back into Marrawah and to the hotel for a pub lunch.  Darryl and I enjoyed ours but Chris found her mixed grill over cooked and dry.   The countryside is variable, they do a lot of strip-grazing of cattle (with more cattle in the paddocks then what I am used to seeing :D) and this year most farmers have harvested three crops of hay or silage from their paddocks.  Last year they were barely able to get one harvest and this year they have multiples.  The silage has been in a variety of coloured plastic – black and green stripes, yellow, pink, blue, light blue, bright blue, green, light green, white – name a few.  I don’t know whether the colour makes any difference or not.
We then headed down towards Arthur River and turned back towards Smithton.

Wed 15th We got a call from Fellow ACC members who were in Burnie, and have arranged to meet them at Rocky Cape Tavern [approximately ½ way from Smithton to Burnie) for lunch.  We called into the chemist and picked up Darryl’s script that we had dropped in on Monday, and headed off.  Arriving at the tavern at about 11.30am.  We went in and got some drinks and waited for the kitchen to open for lunch orders. 
What a lovely day catching up with Margaret and Trevor Aird from South Australia.  We spent a total of about 3 hours with them and we were exchanging information about places to visit and stay.  They have been here for 3 months and leave for Melbourne a fortnight before we do.  Unfortunately today, doing something – Darryl has pulled a muscle in his back.  It is being treated with heat packs (as he finds cold packs aggravate it), Fisiocreme and T.E.N.S. [Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulus] machine.

Thurs 16th.  Today would have been Darryl’s Dad’s Birthday.  He would have been 84.  Happy Birthday Alan.  Loved and missed every day.
Today is our Woolnorth Tour. Woolnorth was originally owned by the Van Diemen’s Land Company after a grant from Governor Arthur.  I wanted to do this when we were here 12 years ago and today it is happening :D.  We headed off at 10.30 for the 11.30 tour – only to realise 15minutes into the journey that Darryl had not picked up his camera and therefore all the photos would be on my phone.  I have not been able to upload them to DRIVE so am unable to put any on this update of the blog.
We arrived at 11.10am at the pickup point and within 5 minutes our tour guide was there too so we all hopped on the bus and away we went – the five of us.  Out to see the turbines of the windfarm first.  The original towers are 60meters high with 32 metre blades.  The control box on the back of each turbine is the size of a 50-seater bus.  The second windfarm that was made at Stradland Bay has 80metre towers with 42metre blades.  We only visited the ones at Bluff Point.  We went into an information building after being told that we could do a ‘selfie’ with the reflection of the ocean or windfarm in the glass.  We did both :D  From here heading WEST it is 11,800km to South Africa and 20,000km to South America following a straight line.
Back to the bus and out to the Woolnorth Homestead.  Here we went into the shearing shed with a 13 stand, raised floor shearing platform.  They used to have Corriedale and Poll Dorset sheep on the station, but the last sheep were here in about 2007.  They now have 9 dairy farms on Woolnorth and 4 others throughout the north west.  There are over 1800 cattle per dairy and they milk them twice a day, and they strip graze them.  Since the sale to the Chinese last year, 4 dairies have been ear-marked to close and they are going to put in organic vegetable farms.
After leaving the homestead we drove out to the Wind-assessing station at Cape Grim, where it has been determined that Woolnorth has the cleanest air on the planet (there are about 9 other wind testing stations scattered throughout the globe) but the ‘gas’ levels have been gradually increasing since the first test in 1976.  Apparently you can Google ‘Cape Grim’ and find the levels.
We then visited ‘The Doughboys’ which is a set of three islands that were named such due to the way they looked like freshly baked breads to the first explorers.  As you look at some of them you and imagine an elephant lying down with his trunk in the water.  There is also a bay that has a raised rocky formation that looks a bit like the island of Tasmania.  We saw Trefoil Island which has been handed back to the Aboriginals of Tasmania and is a breeding ground for Mutton Birds.  We also saw Black Pyramid in the far distance and Hunter Island with Three Hummock Island in the rear with Walker Island off to the right.  We did not get a clear look at these but a hazy outline only.  At one point the bushy point of the furthest North West point of Tasmania was indicated and then we returned to Woolnorth Homestead.  We saw Cape Barren Island Geese in the fields as we returned.  At the homestead we were able to exit the bus and wander through the ‘Cookhouse Cottage’ built in the early 1840’s.  Beautiful wooden floors, rocks in the kitchen, ?lath and daub? walls and painted calico ceilings.  Tiny rooms in which a family of 6 lived and the wife was also the cook for the station-hands and the convicts.
We arrived back to the car at 1.15pm.
Off towards Smithton and called into Montagu Campground to have a look.  Darryl found some HUGE stingrays coming up to where the fisherman was cleaning his catch.  We arrived in Smithton at about 1.45pm and decided it was time for lunch.  It has been hard enough finding something for me to eat that is Gluten free, but our friend Chris is Grain-free, no potato, starches or sugars.  Mind you -- we have come across some places that have a bulk amount of gluten-free treats and meals but because most of them still have grains (flours) then Chris is unable to eat them.
Friday 17th we headed in to Stanley.  Some of Chris’s branch of the ACC – the Lakeside Drifters – were going to the NUT and having Morning Tea at the top, so we dropped Chris at The Nut and Chairlift and Darryl and I headed out to Highfield House.  We stopped at a lookout on the way up and took a ‘selfie’ looking back toward Stanley and then spent nearly 2 hours going through the House and the property that belonged to Van Diemen’s Land Company. A beautiful home designed by Henry Hellyer, who was an architect/surveyor in the colony for a whole 6 years prior to committing suicide in 1832.  In the time that he was here he completed most of the survey of the north west, the Woolnorth properties and built individually Hellyer Road in Burnie – forging through the rainforest.  There was a lot of speculation over his death but it was officially recorded ‘that he met his death by his own hand’.
After traipsing through the property we headed back into Stanley and up to the Nut to get Chris.  Had a coffee here before going back to the information Centre – where Chris stayed for the free WiFi – and Darryl and I followed the history walk, but by Car.  His back seems to be improving and then it gives him a good spasm and we are back at square one.
After during the drive around, we collected Chris and headed into town to Touchwood Café for lunch.  An up-market establishment but the food and service was very good.  Would have liked the soup but unfortunately it was sold-out.

Saturday 18th.  Today we headed out to Dip Falls and The Big Tree before heading along the back roads to Edith Creek and up to Allendale Gardens.  These gardens have been a labour of love for Loraine and Max Cross and it was lovely to wander them and see so many flowers in bloom.  It is also starting to look like it needs a lot of help.  Max and Loraine are not young anymore and some of the gardens are overgrown.  How they manage to keep on top of the growth in the forest area and keeping it cleared of fallen trees and branches is amazing.  If you get the opportunity – go and see it.  What a wonderful garden by two beautiful people.
After Allendale Gardens we headed back down through Edith Creek to Sumac Lookout in the Tarkine. We crossed the Kanunnah Bridge over the Arthur River To get to the Lookout and then travelled back to Smithton.  Got some more groceries and fresh Chicken for dinner and back to the van.

Sunday 19th.  Got the laundry done and dried and have spent the day getting the blog updated. :D
So now to try and get some internet coverage, upload to blog and add some photos .

8th March new update
Mon 20th Feb Left the Caravan park at about 9.30am and travelled through Wynyard to Burnie and on to Waratah.  We camped in the council campground and then went for a drive around the town and checked out the Waterfall and the Water Wheel, before checking the Stamping Mill and the ‘Philosophers hut’.  I did the driving today as Darryl has pulled his back – somehow.
Tues 21st. up and on the road by 8.15 as we were heading to Cradle Mountain to do the Dove Lake Walk.  We weren’t sure how Darryl would go but he started out and completed the 6km trek in just over 3 hours.  The last part was the worst as it was all stairs UP and then down. (We had gone clockwise on the recommendation of the lady who gave us our shuttle bus tickets [better views of the lake] but I think we should have gone anticlockwise to get all those steps out of the way first up and then we could have taken it easy on the boardwalk).  My knees played up for about a week afterwards :D
Once completed we caught the bus back to base and then had lunch and then went back to Waratah.  On the way back we continued on to check out Savage River mining.  They mine magnetite here and send it through a slurry pipeline to Cape Latta (out from Stanley) but there wasn’t much to see as it is all closed to the public.  So back to Waratah.  The pub at Waratah was sold and the new owner is using it as a B+B and only serves canned/bottled beers on a Friday or Saturday.  We were hoping to go for dinner but no meals are now served :C
Wed 22 We left Waratah at approx. 11am after visiting the local museum and headed down through to Tullah.  The road from the Cradle Mountain turnoff to Tullah is being widened so we had to stop several times for the stop/go controls.  This journey was only 49km but took us 1 ½ hours.  We then headed out to Lake Macintosh and the campground.  You are able to camp here for up to 7 days.  A nice protected spot from the winds.  We had lots of campers coming and going whilst there.
Thurs 23.  We were planning on doing the drive out to Reece Dam today BUT the weather was very overcast with misty rain and heavy/low cloud cover.  So we drove down through Tullah to Rosebery.  A great little town.  The mine there is now 7 on/ 7 off and the miners aren’t spending their money here.  We had a great coffee in the bakery before having a walk up and around town.  There was a really good ‘feel’ to the town.  They have a community garden and on the way back to the car, they had put some of the veggies out for sale by donation.  We had also visited the local heritage centre which at $5 entry was VERY interesting for such a small centre.  We then returned to the van after having a good drive around Rosebery.
Fri 24 was much the same as yesterday – but colder – so we stayed around the camp.
Sat 25 was bright and sunny so off we headed for our drive.  Out past Bastyan Dam, Reece Dam and down to Zeehan.  Wonderful country and great views.  We stopped at the ‘Pit Stop’ café before heading back to Tullah and the vans.  We decided that because most things were closed on Sunday that we would stay at Lake Macintosh and head down to Zeehan to camp on Monday
Mon 27th Feb.  Headed off for Zeehan at 9.15 and arrived at 10.30am.  Booked in and stayed for 2 nights.  Got the washing done and dry and then did some weaving.  Our friends – Doug and Leura Cathcart (from the ACC) – are doing the ½ day train trip from Queenstown today and will be in the park about 7.30.  We look forward to catching up with them.  They have not long completed the 3-capes Walk from Port Arthur.  Darryl cooked up the prawns that we got from the markets in Penguin BUT they weren’t very nice – they were full of sand and gritty. 
We had a lovely 2 hours with Doug and Leura before we called a goodnight :D
Tues 28th – Doug and Leura left at about 10am heading to Wynyard.  Chris and I headed out to the heritage Museum in Zeehan.  We were given a 10% off voucher from the park owners.  Adults $25 concession $20 Children $14.  We didn’t use the 10% voucher as it was cheaper for us as Concession holders.  What a great place.  We were just going up the stairs when we heard a ‘Piper’ playing.  We went back down stairs and out the front to listen to him play.  Absolutely lovely.  Back in and through the rest of the exhibits.  This Museum covers about 7 acres and includes the Police Station, the Theatre, the Masonic Lodge and many outbuildings and even has a couple of tunnel displays and experiences.  It Took Chris and I about 2 ½ hours to go through it all.  Afterwards we headed back to the vans and Darryl – as he had decided not to come along.
Wed 1st March – Happy birthday to Darryl’s brother Neville – and we are headed off again – 45km down to Strahan on the ‘straightest road on the West coast’ and checked into the Strahan Golf Club RV Park.  The two caravan parks were booked out.  We then went for a drive into town and along the waterfront and found somewhere for lunch and then collected our tickets for both the Gordon River Cruise and then the West Coast Wilderness Train. 
Thurs 2nd – up and out by 7.45am as we have to be on the train by just after 8am.  What a great day!!!!  We pulled out of the Regatta Point Train Station at 8.35am and reached Queenstown at 12.25pm.  We then had our lunch and a 15min guided tour of Queenstown main street before boarding the train at 2pm and arriving back in Strahan at 6.15pm.  We were in the Wilderness carriage and had champagne on arrival with Canapes before our first stop at Lower Landing – where we had honey tasting and the Leatherwood Honey was --- delicious.  We then had Morning tea before the second stop of Dubbil Barril – where we had a 10 minute walk through the rainforest.  Before continuing we had to await the arrival of the train from Queenstown with the half-day trip and then we could progress onto the ABT rack and pinion part of the track.  This uphill journey in a 1:20 gradient and down the other side is 1:12 and 1:16 gradient.
On the return journey we were given a fruit platter before we stopped at Lynchford – where we could try our hand at Gold-panning – unfortunately we didn’t ‘strike gold’.  We then had  a cheese platter before another stop at Dubbil Barril and then we were given a sweet treat before another stop at Lower Landing.  What a Day!!!  We were almost feeling like we had to ROLL off the train after all that food.
Back to the van and preparing for tomorrow.
Fri 3rd – we were out again by 7.45 am and onto the Gordon River Cruises – Lady Franklin II Catamaran for our day on the water.  We boarded just after 8am and then on our way by 8.30am.  We went around through Macquarie Harbour and out through ‘Hells Gate’ and because the sea was calm and the weather good – the captain took us right out so we could see Cape Sorell Light House – one of the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere at 85m.  We then went back through the ‘Gate’.  It is known as Hells Gate as the convicts that were on Sarah Island said it was ‘the gates of Hell on Earth’.  We then went down through the harbour and past several Salmon farms before slowing right down to enter the Gordon River.  We then travelled 15km up the river to Heritage Landing and a very short 200m boardwalk through the vegetation before returning to the Lady Franklin.  The reflections on this part of the river were amazing!!  We were then served our buffet lunch whilst going back down the river and into the harbour to Sarah Island.  Sarah Island was a penitentiary for 12 years PRIOR to the opening of Port Arthur.  It has an amazing story to tell.
After our hour-long guided walk of the island we boarded the catamaran and headed back to Strahan – arriving just after 2pm.  We then drove around to ‘People’s Park’ and I did the walk to Hogarth falls.  2.4km round trip to a small Cascade falls.  Darryl and Chris stayed in the car.
We then went to ‘Molly’s Café’ for dinner.  A very filling meal and then back to the vans.
Sat 4th – we left Strahan and headed for Queenstown.  A windy road that took about ¾ hour to go 35km.  It was great arriving in Queenstown and actually seeing trees where 12 years ago there was a lunar landscape.  The mining of Mount Lyell and the smelters had produced lots of sulphuric vapours, which when it rained caused ‘acid rain’ and it killed all the vegetation.  Over the past 12 years the locals have been amazed with the vegetation regrowth.  We camped at the ‘Gravel Oval’ which is the ONLY Heritage listed – Gravel Sports Oval in Australia.  We went for a walk down into town, through the Galley Museum and then to the Empire Hotel which has got a wonderful Blackwood Staircase.  Wonderful.  We are camped with a lovely couple from Beaudesert – Wayne and Jenelle Patricks.  Amazing who you meet on your travels.
Sunday 5th – a Meniere’s day – not a very nice day at all :C
Monday 6th – we managed to go up to Spion Kopf lookout to get a 360degree shot of the town.  Then we did a drive down past the golf club, through Lynchford and out to Crotty Dam and Darwin Dam on Lake Burbury.  We then came back past three power stations before returning to town.  Back to the vans and collected the washing and into town to get it done.  We also topped up the groceries.
I then had a rest as my head wasn’t quite right after yesterday.  A brain fog and residual headache and nausea were not real pleasant.  Wayne and Jenelle moved on to Derwent Bridge today.
Tues 7th we headed to Derwent Bridge.  Up the ’99 bends’ of Mount Lyell to Gormanston.  I then think that there were 200 bends before we reached Derwent Bridge. :C  We were surprised to see that Wayne and Jenelle were still here too.
We set up in the front yard of the Derwent Bridge Hotel, before making lunch.  We then drove out to Lake St Clair and then on to ‘The Wall’.  A 100m Sculpture wall from Wood.  There are 100 1-metre-wide by 3-metre-high panels that make up the wall and a few independent sculpted pieces throughout the display.  We then went for a drive toward Tarraleah and a side road to bypass the hills down into the power stations and back out again.  It is a narrow dirt road with about 6 narrow single-lane bridges.  We then turned left and went into Tarraleah and checked the power station.  We then returned to the main road, down into Tungatinah power station and back UP the road toward Derwent Bridge.  We called in to Binney lake and then Brady’s Lagoon and past Bronte Lake before arriving back at the vans.  We then visited the pub for a drink and stayed for dinner.
Chris has decided that she will travel the bitumen tomorrow and we will do the gravel road.
Wed 8th – Happy Birthday to myself :D, and Chris and also our ACC friend Jo and Malcolm.  We went across the road to ‘The Hungry Wombat’ Café at the service station [because they serve a hot breakfast] before returning to the vans and preparing to move on.  Whilst packing up Darryl got chatting to Wayne and Jenelle again and found out that Wayne is the cousin of Janine Beckett – Matthews mum.  Janine’s Mum and Wayne’s Mum were sisters. A very Small world indeed.

We travelled on to Mount Field National Park Campground and will be here for a few nights whilst doing a few day trip and checking out the Gordon River Dam and some waterfalls in the National park.