Australia 2011PhotographyTasmaniaTravel

Australia 2011 Part 7

Friday 15th April

Today we went on a cruise! I managed to persuade the missus to get on another boat and we went on an organised cruise down to Peppermint Bay.

Check out the boat we went on:

There were several price tiers. Some with lunch, some without and some where you got to sit on the captain’s deck. As I get older and wiser, I’m starting to realise that you get what you pay for and if, like me, you hate other people and you’re too polite to push in front, pay the extra to get the space and the freedom.

So we did. We got lunch included, sat on the captain’s deck and got exclusive access to the top of the boat. This was crucial to getting some good photos. It was also worth it for the looks I got from the ordinary people on the lower deck. Mastercard really does equal priceless!

The cruise went out from Hobart and down through the channel between Bruny Island and Tasmania. We passed some salmon farms which had some seals swimming around trying to steal the salmon. They were safely underwater though so no decent pics of them.

Further down the channel we came across a breeding pair of sea eagles.

There are some laws governing the feeding of sea eagles so they don’t rely on the touring ships for food. It allows the cruises to feed one breeding pair two fish each time they pass. I think I got pretty lucky with these shots:

He grabbed the fish, stashed it away in a tree and then came back for seconds!!

We picked up our lunches at Peppermint Bay and then the captain moved us out to sea and let us drift while we ate. We even had some sneaky glasses of wine! It was really nice.

After lunch we were taken back to Peppermint Bay and let off to go for a wander around the town of Woodbridge. Town is an overstatement, there wasn’t really anything there and it reminded me of one of the towns you might see in The X-Files!!

We went to a little gift shop and I bought a miniature replica of the Lady Nelson which was the boat used to map the entire coast of Tasmania. This will find its way on to a bookcase back home. I even bought a miniature Blue Wren.

After that we headed back but went a little further up the river to the Tasman Bridge and they talked about the great collision of 1975 where a boat got confused by the signals and crashed into the bridge taking out a couple of pillars. This in turn caused the bridge to collapse and some of the cars above to crash down into the water. Many people died and since then, the rules of the river have been much stricter. It was a bit grim but here are some shots of the bridge:

Then we headed back to the harbour and got off the boat and it felt all funny to be back on land again! It was a great value cruise that lasted about 5 hours and the tour guides were brilliant, they really knew their stuff. There was even a point where they dropped a camera underwater so we could see what was down there. Saw a few magpie perch and some blue throated ras’. It was bit murky because of all the rain though.

I think on a clearer day with no previous rain days, that is one hell of a cruise to go on but we definitely had fun and it’s been the highlight of the holiday so far!

When we got back to the house, it was all stations ready for footie night. I got to watch my first Aussie Rules game from start to finish in an Aussie household. It was really cool. We watched Collingwood thrash Richmond 161 – 90 and by the end of the game I think I had got to grips with all the rules. I’m definitely going to watch the rest of the season on ESPN when we get home.

Saturday 16th April

Tying up our week in Tassie this weekend. The weather has been pretty dire until today so we’ve been a little bit restricted on things to do. Today has been much better though. Around 15 degrees and some good sunshine.

The missus’ aunt took us up Mount Wellington. Lots of winding roads right to the top which is 1270m above sea level. I could feel my ears popping on the way up!

Halfway up we passed a fresh water spring caused by all the rain they’d had recently. We stopped and filled up a cup and it was delicious!

Check out these photos:

At the top the view was amazing. Pictures never do these things justice unless taken while skydiving to the bottom! That said, check these out:

There were a few cyclists on their way up and then a couple at the top preparing to bomb down the mountain. If I lived here, that would definitely be something I’d give a go.

After that we made our way back into Hobart and we were dropped off outside the Salamanca Markets. It’s a lovely little craft fair where you can buy all kinds of Tassie made souvenirs and food. Have to be careful buying food of course unless it’s to be consumed immediately. Stupid border laws!

I passed a really cool aboriginal stall which was selling face masks, plates and the obligatory boomerang.

Check this out:

I specifically asked for something that had fire and water in it to match my tattoo, which of course I showed to the bloke on the stall and he was suitably impressed.

The two dotted circles on the ends represent water and the solid lines in the middle represent a camp fire. The lines represent the journeys of the kangaroo and the goanna. It’s pretty badass! I also picked up some gorgeous chocolate mud Tasmanian fudge! Nom!

We stopped off for some lunch and I finally got to have some fish and chips. Where better than a proper seaside harbour town eh?! The best part was that it was fish of the day, so I guess whatever they caught during the week. I had Moorwan (I think that’s what she said) and it was delicious!

We went for a walk up into the town centre as I was on the lookout for a good record store to buy some Foo records. We found a JB Hifi which had a sale on and it was promoting the new Foo record so all the old records had five bucks knocked off. I bought pretty much the entire back catalogue of CD’s and DVD’s. I have had to creatively pack my suitcase and hand luggage to not go over the weight limit. And all because they say Australia on them. I tell you, record collecting is an illness!

All the fresh air around is pretty tiring. I suppose you get used to it but it’s meant a few early nights for us!

Sunday 17th April

Today has been a scorcher!!

We took Maggie for a walk to May’s Bay which is this lovely little secret bay in Lauderdale. It was a short walk from where we’re staying. It has private car access which keeps the visitors away and it has a lovely little path down to the beach and some really cool houses right on the sea front.

We walked all around the bay and back again letting Maggie swim in the sea to retrieve a stick. Dogs eh?! Couldn’t get a cat to do that!

It was just a really lovely moment and we both felt frozen in time. It seems that the land around here is expensive, as is building a house whereas pre-built houses are not so expensive. We worked out it could be worthwhile buying a house with 10 acres and selling off 5 acres and breaking even. Crazy huh?!

We headed back to the house, finished packing and then spent the afternoon getting sunstroke on the deck listening to a nature program on the TV about seals and other such winter creatures. Then it was time to leave.

Without a doubt, Tasmania > Sydney. I’m definitely a country bumpkin and while I like cities, I much prefer the peace and tranquillity of the sticks. I think I just need to adjust to not being so connected and online all the time and to not rely so heavily on having broadband. Then I reckon I could live in the sticks again.

Still, it’s given us food for thought on where we would like to settle down. Part of this holiday has been about deciding whether to move out to Australia. For my part it’s a rather surprising no and I’d much rather stay in the UK and luckily there are plenty of lovely places to live here. Just got to get lucky with the prices and time it right but I think coastal might be the way to go.

Phew! Part 8 sees me shooting off to Melbourne!

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