Our Family Ramblings – Take two posts before bed and call me in the morning

Eff: Furry, Fierce, Fuzzy, Fancy, Fitness and Freycinet

Bay of Fires > Freycinet Peninsula > Lime Bay > Hobart

After struggling just a bit at Bay of Fires to find a good camping spot, it was a pleasure to arrive at River and Rocks campground on the Freycinet peninsula and discover lots of space.  Enough to set up early, crank the fire and get some lamb shanks on the go in the camp oven.

The big drawcard of this area is of course the Wineglass Bay walk.  We sorted ourselves out to take on the loop day walk.  Various publications have this loop at between 11 and 13klm.  Either way, we figured it would be a long session for anyone with short legs.  Up we climbed to the lookout over Wineglass Bay.  It’s a good view which we shared with about 20 – 30 other viewing walkers.  Down to the beach we went.  It’s a magic beach of white sand and crystal water which we shared with about 30 -40 other beachgoers and one very pesty wallaby.  It was great to have a swim there but the only way you can get in that cold water is quickly.  That way, it’s like ripping off a band aid real quick.  Post lunch, the rest of the walk continued and I discovered my sons have a horse like sense for home.  Some two kilometres from the finish, the pace increased, then increased some more and I found myself running after Hamish and Lachlan all the way to the finish.  Deb, on the other hand, spent the last couple of klms intermittently dragging Courtney along and chatting to various grey nomads along the way.

Just a short couple of hours south of the Freycinet peninsula is the Tasman peninsula; the site of the infamous Port Arthur.  The trip to Port Arthur might have been a bit speedier had we not stopped along the way to get into some blackberry harvesting along the side of the road.  It seems after having some success at the first couple of bushes and finding that the berries do mix quite well with vanilla custard and maple syrup (good on porridge too) that we now can’t drive past a good bush without the kids crying out for a quick harvest stop.

We camped around the corner from Port Arthur at Lime Bay and settled in with a big pile of firewood in quite a cosy spot overlooking the water.  Perfect.  Then, the sun started to drop, the light slowly faded and, like vampires drawn to the smell of fresh blood, the varmint possums arrived.  These aren’t just any possums either.  These are the biggest furriest possums you could imagine.  Grrrrrrrr.

The day we dropped in to Port Arthur was perfect for imagining how miserable the human existence would have been in this fateful place.  It was cold, wet and windy.  As I wandered about in boots, jumper, gore-tex jacket and brolly, I felt more than a bit sorry for those folks who had been shipped here and issued with the following for wear both day and night;

  • One pair woollen trousers
  • One woollen shirt
  • One woollen hat
  • One pair leather boots
  • All of which only to be replaced when worn out.

The kids had a limited in-take of the significance of the site but managed to grumble fairly well about walking around in the rain; nothing a pie at the kiosk couldn’t fix.  Deb and I however, needed a visit to ye old English style pub on the way back from Port Arthur to replenish our bonhomie.

The next day was much more to the kids liking as we checked out some of the meanest, ugliest, noisiest and possibly stupidest critters I have seen in some time.  The Tassie Devil Park near Port Arthur is small but seeing those ugly devils up close, especially at feeding time is something indeed.

After warming up the legs with the Walls of Jerusalem and Wineglass Bay, Deb, Lachie, Dad and I booked into tackle the Overland Track, a 5-8 day bushwalk through some of Tassie’s best mountain country.  So we moved onto Hobart to get ahead with schoolwork and ready ourselves for the adventure.  More trips to the camping shops of course and a whole lot of packing and reshuffling.  Right now, it is 6.30am on the morning of our departure to head up to Cradle Mountain for the start of the walk.  All bags are packed and we are ready mentally if not physically.

Over the last few days in Hobart we have managed various trips into town to sample the Salamanca Markets, Battery Point, Sandy Bay and, of course, a trip up Mt Wellington.  No snow on Mt Wellington at present.  In fact, the day we went up there, it was 38 degrees in Hobart.  There must be something wrong with the weather.  We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Blundstone Arena (nee Bellerive Oval) to see the Australian Cricket team put to the sword by the Sri Lankans.  The highlight of the day for the kids (apart from leaving and having a killer python) was seeing Malinga’s “fuzzy hair” bouncing up and down on his run up to bowl.

Deb and I took in some kultcha while here.  Mum and Dad kindly “offered” to mind the kids while we had some “us” time.  We figured a modern art place which brews its own beer and wine and has a restaurant attached must be good.  So we headed out to MONA.  It seems we are slightly out of practice on the fine dining front.  Within minutes of us sitting down at the white linen table, I had ploughed a deep furrow in the table butter with my menu and Deb had sprayed us both with the flour from the top of her bread roll; and all while the waitress was trying to explain the fish of the day.  A couple of hours later, after dusting down and finishing our fine meals, we entered the art exhibition.  I like art.  I like the sense of creation, the beauty, the interest.  I like to wonder at the craft and skills of the artists and I can appreciate the controversy which art can create.  I do not like the exhibition at MONA.  I just can’t appreciate the “artistic” aspect to a machine which takes up an entire room and produces a human poo on a tray.  I’m happy to hear from anyone with alternate views.

Although we will be 7 nights away on the Overland track in comparison to the 2 of the Walls of Jerusalem, I am much less worried about heading out on this trek.  I have two less kids to worry about freezing to death (thanks to Mum’s long term child placement service) and I am pretty sure we have all the right gear.  It will be strange having our family apart for 8 nights and living away from the camper trailer.  I am already looking forward to coming back and we haven’t even left.

Deb’s Did You Know

I didn’t think we would be seeing any summer like weather in Tasmania.  We have restocked on all our winter woollies but instead I have had to pull out all my summer gear again.  The average daily min and max temps here in Hobart are 12 and 22 respectively.  Over the last three days we have seen max temps of 35, 38 and 37. This is hot especially when coming from 16-20 degrees (and 0 degrees in The Walls of Jerusalem).  We continue with our weather extremes!  But, Did You Know that Hobart is the second driest capital city in Australia? Hard to believe, I know. It is only pipped by Adelaide. And the wettest you ask, well its Darwin whilst Canberra wins the title of the foggiest.

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One response

  1. nomorepastrami

    Another amusing and action filled post from the McGraths. Emily was very chuffed to receive Courtney’s postcard. Hope you both improve on your table manners before returning to the big smoke – hopefully 7 days going ‘bush’ doesn’t lead to you licking your plates next time you visit Rockpool Bar and Grill!

    February 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

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