Following on from part 1, we left Sydney with very heavy hearts and boarded our plane to Tasmania. Which, by the way, was fucking awful! I am never flying Virgin again. Terrible organisation at the airport, no food on board, tiny, tiny, tiny seats and useless ground staff throwing the bags around as they loaded them on board. Thankfully it was only about a 10 minute flight to Launceston.
The missus has family in Hobart but they were away while her other cousin was having another baby in Melbourne. On a whim and at a loose end, we decided to stay in Launceston for 5 days. Completely at random I picked a resort that looked completely in the middle of nowhere to counter the city stay in Sydney. We ended up staying at the Country Club Tasmania. By sheer luck, this was one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed. It had a pool, golf course, private restaurant, laundry, everything you need. It was a bit like a British caravan resort but with villas. Oh and a massive casino! We played the pokies and I ordered a $10 chicken sandwich and chips. In the UK the chicken sandwich would be tiny for this price. Here it was bigger than my head! Nom!
We had hit and miss weather so on the off days we just relaxed and watched some terrible Aussie TV. Although they did have Midsomer Murders one night and a lot of Worlds Greatest Ninja Challenge something or other. Which reminds me, in Sydney we watched this Norwegian mockumentary called Troll Hunter. That was some weird shit! Also, what is up with TV ads in Australia? We watched Mary Poppins on a spectacularly shit rainy day and it ended up taking 3 and a half hours to get through as there were so many ad breaks!!
On the good days, we did stuff. We went to Launceston which is really old fashioned and still very colonial. Here is a postbox:
Here is a street (I love how low down everything is!):
Launceston does parks really well. In the middle of one they have (for historical reasons) a monkey park! Actual live monkeys in the middle of a public park!!!
And amongst that, a mini hot green house thing, with cool plants:
We went for lunch at the Levee Food Company as (ironically) I’d seen an ad for it on the TV. Absolutely amazing food! Could’ve done without the boring ra-ra alcoholic housewives lunching there though!
On another good day we decided to combine three trips into one using the Tamar Valley Triple Pass! Just in case the weather turned crap again and we mightn’t have had time to fit them all in. Also, this part of the island is tiny and close together so it wasn’t a stretch.
The night before we ordered a picnic basket which was delivered the following morning. This was supposed to be a picnic basket for two but it fed us for about three days and the road trip down to Hobart! All for about $40! Outstanding value.
First up we went to Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. If you’re not familiar, this was the mine where three miners got trapped and one died. While stuck they managed to get a hole drilled through for air and food and requested to listen to the Foo Fighters. When Dave heard about this he offered them tickets to his next Aussie gig and a beer. He also wrote the Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners on the ESP&G album. Which is kinda why we went!
Visting Foo related sites is turning to be a bit of a thing!
Inside they have a cool exhibition about the town and how it has evolved over the years. A big trade for them used to be apples so you get to see the process behind that too.
Here I am mining gold:
And here is the missus Blacksmithering:
This is the infamous mine lift where the two trapped miners emerged when rescued. There’s a viewing platform where I took this and it’s very sobering:
Next up the road we went to Platypus House! The Platypus is only native to Australia. You will not find these anywhere else in the world. It was a fascinating exhibition but photography proved somewhat trying and none of the photos I took were any good. It was really dark and I refused to use flash!
They also had echidnas which you will only find in Australia and Papa New Guinea although they are different breeds. Lots of research is being done to find out more about these fascinating creatures:
On the way back I even saw an echidna in the wild crossing the highway!! Platypus House was up at Beauty Point which is just gorgeous and then right next door was Seahorse World!
Again, some amazing research taking place here and they have a big breeding centre and we got to see all the tanks as the seahorses go through the reproduction stages. We got some neat souvenirs and then headed back to our villa. Check out part 3 for more Tasmanian tales!