A Turning Point
Yesterday, our nine months on tour ticked by. It sort of happened without too much fanfare. Originally, when we set out from home, we expected to have returned at the nine month mark. It seems there is just never enough time. However, with the finish line in sight, we are all getting a bit of the “time to go home” bug. Despite having some great territory to explore over the next couple of weeks, on completion of the Overland Track, it feels like the next big adventure for all of us will be the return home. How will we adjust? Have we changed at all? Will we slip straight into old routines? Will there be any different perspectives on the daily and weekly shuffles to from and around various appointments? What will we do for work? How is the garden looking? Will we remember all our toys as they come out of the boxes? These are the questions which are starting to become more important and exciting as compared with; Where to today? Will we have to pay for showers? Can you have a campfire at the campground? Etc.
While Deb blogged away about our Overland Track experiences, Courtney and I went back up to the start of the walk to pick up the car and spend the next couple of days on a father/daughter bonding trip fishing our way through the central highlands. How was it? Cold. Our first night at Arthurs Lake was the coldest I have experienced yet with the wind ripping across the lake and straight into our little campsite. Even worse, an old fella at the campsite told me no one was catching much there and he even produced a magazine with recent fishing reports noting how poor the fishing was there this season. So the next morning after I rescued the old bloke and his Mrs (they had locked themselves in their van) and he rescued me (we had flattened our crank battery) Courts and I headed off toward other fishing fields.
What the magazine failed to tell us was that the various fishing lakes we targeted that day and the associated camping areas were all closed or very allowing very limited access for shore based anglers. Spending lots of time in the car lead to a detour through the Nant single malt distillery (to get a beanie). I came away with neither beanie nor single malt but a few tips on local hot spots. Still no joy but we at least got some line wet at the local river before finding ourselves camped up for the night. My fishing partner never lost faith and kept spirits up throughout. While I was disappointed for us both not to strike the fish we both so wanted to catch, it was magic to spend a couple of days with Courts doing something we both love.
Strange as it may seem, the Cadbury factory at Hobart has been one of the highlights for the kids in Tassie. Deb and I went in with low expectations having been advised previously that there was no access to the actual factory but plenty of access to buy choccy and souvenirs. Tops. Anyway, cheap choccy can’t be resisted, the kids learned a few chocolate related facts and we all came away with a large number of empty calories to consume over the coming weeks (maybe days).
Deb’s Did You Know: Oompa Loompa doompadee doo, I’ve got some interesting Cadbury facts for you…
- Cadbury was the official supplier to the Australian Army during the WWI and WWII.. The troops were given ration packs made from a special formula so the choccy didn’t melt in the heat
- Cadbury’s most successful chocolate line? The dairymilk. It was launched in 1905 and has sales in excess of $85m per year;
- Our beloved Freddo Frog. It was sooo close to being a mouse but an employee suggested that a frog was a more likeable character. The 1st Freddo went into production in the 1930s and is now one of Cadbury Australia’s best selling bars. Us Aussies consume in excess of 90 million Freddos per year.
- One cacao pod which contains between 20-50 beans is used to produce 1 Freddo. Now I’m not a maths genius but that means 90 million pods are required per year, just for Freddos. These pods are harvested by hand, in Indonesia, New Guinea and Ghana. Staggering and some would say exploitation!
- The Picnic came into the chocolate world in 1958 and is Cadbury’s second biggest selling chocolate bar. I wouldn’t have guessed that one. Lachie reckons the Boost Bar surely has to take over. After all it is a relatively young addition since 2006. .
- The Cherry Ripe, an oldie but a goodie. It has been around since 1924 and I must say it is my favourite. It is unique to Australia. I always wondered why I couldn’t buy one when living in the UK. The reason? Simply put, the Pommies don’t have tastebuds. Apparently the coconut gets caught in their teeth. I would’ve thought that there were enough Aussies living in the UK to make it a worthwhile production line.
- Have you ever wondered why the taste of chocolate varies between countries? This was a common debate when we lived in the UK amongst our Pommie friends. They claimed that their Cadbury chocolate was better than ours. How dare they! Well it’s all down to the ingredients, in particular the sugar and the milk. The pommies use sugar beet instead of sugar cane and the milk? Well whose cows are better?
I do not want to see another chocolate (until Easter of course).. I have overdosed on this tasty, calorific, treat over the past week. The taste buds are saturated. Time to move on to the next best thing…cheese! Oompa Loompa doompadee doo.
The day we finally left Hobart we were pretty pumped as we were on the way to Bruny Island. Deb and I had visions of Bruny being a food lovers paradise and the kids were keen on seeing some of Bruny’s penguins in action. Deb and I clearly need to do more research on our destinations than watching the odd episode of “The Gourmet Farmer” as we found that Bruny had only about 5 foodie attractions and of those, the smoke house was closed on the day we arrived and the “Get Shucked” oyster place held no interest for either of us thanks to a memorable experience at the Guinness and Oyster festival in Galway many years ago. What we did find was an absolutely beautiful Island with great people. The place felt great shortly after falling off the ferry as a lugubrious cheese loving lady dished us up some awesome stinky cheese and chewy wood fired sourdough at the Bruny Cheese company.
Our nocturnal foray to sight the Fairy Penguins coming up the beaches also suffered from a clear lack of research as we arrived several hours too early. Not a great plan when you have the kids in tow and even worse with me in tow on a cold wet and windy night when I have been too stubborn to change out of my shorts. Finally, we gave up at circa 9.10pm with not a single happy foot in sight coming up the beaches. However, as we wandered back to the car cold and defeated, we did spot a couple of the young ‘uns waiting patiently in their burrows for the parents to return. That was enough to tick off penguin watching in our books.
Thankfully the Bruny smokehouse was open on our way out to the ferry off the island and we spent a wonderful still and sunny morning on their balcony sipping coffee, watching yachts drift around a bay and doing school work and eating smoked fish and wallaby stuffed in and on burgers and pizza respectively. Ohhh sooo goood.
From Bruny we had our eyes on the south. Cockle Creek is the most southerly point of Australia reachable by car. Thanks to the slow getaway from Bruny Island Smoke House and some organisational (not navigational) errors by myself, we ended up a bit short of Cockle Creek but not at the campground which we expected we might be in. Southport Hotel makes claims to be the southern most hotel in Australia so we had to stop there for a beer and a night. Note – the other hotel making these claims is on Bruny Island where we also had to stop for a brew. According to my map it is time for the Bruny Island Tavern to rescind it claims and beat an honourable retreat to find some other “most” to put over its bar.
I am pretty sure there is a rogue American Indian hiding in the bushes somewhere around the Southport Hotel. We were packing up the tent the next morning ready to make a push for Cockle Creek when, as I lifted the floor of the trailer to fold it up on to the top, I was felled with what felt like a tomahawk to the centre of back. Down I went, like a sack of spuds. I would have looked around for the thrower of said tomahawk if I could have lifted myself from the ground but instead I stayed hunched down on all fours and resigned myself to the ignomy of some form of back muscle strain/pull/etc. At last the training of my tent set up protégé came into its own as Lachie guided Deb through the unhitch and set up process again at Southport Hotel and I jammed down codeine and anti-inflammatories before assuming various positions of prostration. Days later, I’m back on top. I’m still banned from heavy lifting by my fellow travellers but am no longer having panadol sandwiches for lunch.
One night at Southport turned into four and a day trip to Cockle Creek. Despite being the sourthern most point reachable by vehicle, it doesn’t have any of the “pilgrimage” feel of the tip of Cape York. It is however, a beautiful spot.
Right now we are holed up in New Norfolk wending our way slowly north. Every kilometre we travel now takes us closer to home.