Jun 27 2010

Getting really down under!

Posted by Jenelle in Australia 2010, blogeverydayofjune, Travel / 2 Comments

I have decided to get back to our Australian trip blog posts because otherwise it will be Christmas before I get them done.

We last left the trip in Launceston after a very very full day flying from Melbourne and seeing the sights.

We woke up and left Ashton Gate early in the morning for our drive to Southern Tasmania. We had to be at Port Arthur by 1.30 to start our eco cruise with Tasman Island Cruises and wanted to stop for lunch along the way so we decided to take it easy on the way there.

We stopped in Ross for what was meant to be 5 minutes but it ended up being closer to an hour. I found the town I could live FOREVER. It was just beautiful! Dad was on the phone for work so mum and I started walking and before we knew it, we had walked to the other end of town. It was so quiet so we thought dad and Bill would’ve come looking for us. But they didn’t.. and we couldn’t get through because Dad was still gossiping to Dave on the phone. Ummm… problem. Mum and I ended up at the Ross Bridge just waiting for the guys to realize we were uh.. missing?

Here are some photos from Ross –

The Ross Bridge which was constructed by convict labour and is the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia.

Great little town o’ Ross –

Before long, dad and Bill came up to meet us and we quickly set out on our way to Port Arthur. We were now way behind schedule so we raced to get there – no time to stop for lunch or anything. We were also reminded of how much of a hurry we were in when a month later a speeding fine arrived in the mail for dad. Ouch!

Believe it or not, we made it to Port Arthur with time to spare. We checked in and then headed to the general store next door for some lunch. It consisted of my favourite Aussie fare – a bain marie full of fried goodness! Potato cakes, chiko rolls, dim sims… I was set. There was a battered hamburger and I told Bill to try it, even though I had never eaten one. With a packet of chips, a chocolate milk and all this healthy food, we gobbled down lunch sitting beside a petrol pump waiting for the bus to pick us all up to head to the boat.

Oh yum yum yum. Chiko Roll = Best Meal EVER!

Of course, eating that kind of food before heading out to rough rough seas would never be a good idea – but we were starving and that was all the general store had. Really!

We were on the boat and the crew were fantastic. They told us that up the front would be the roughest… so where did dad and Bill go? Straight up the front! Argh! Mum and I were behind them, gritting our teeth. Bonus of this position was that our view was of the ocean before us. We were all given ginger tablets to help remedy any sea sickness and we set out. Fast. Out into the ocean. It was amazing.

Now we seriously took hundreds of photos and have lots of video but I cannot describe what we saw – it was so natural, beautiful and unspoiled. Birds were feeding off the water, seals were sleeping on rocks and we were quietly moving through their habitats. The rockface along this area of coastline is like nothing I have ever seen. Mum and I were still hanging on for dear life for most of the trip when the guide let us know there are about ten days a year where the water is just wonderful and smooth and this was one of them. SMOOTH!?!?!? Arghhhh! Seriously – I have a new appreciation for all those sailors that sail around the world… it is insane what they must go through. Here are some photos from on the water –

The last 45 minutes were insane – the waves would have been about 6ft and we were on top of them and then smashing back down. It was absolutely exhausting. The wind was brutal and hanging on and trying to not imagine myself getting thrown out of the boat and floating to Antarctica was extremely difficult. In all of this, it was still amazing to be where we were. It was also at this time I was beginning to regret eating the chiko roll, potato cakes and cornjack for lunch. Even WORSE was the hamburger smell that was coming from Bill’s direction. POOR BILL – that awful hamburger had been repeating on him the WHOLE TIME. It was cracking mum and I up and this continued for the next few hours. Every so often I’d say “Well there is Bill’s hamburger again!” and I’d get a grimacing look from Burpy Bill.

The whole eco cruise experience was one of the best travel experiences I have ever had. For Bill, it was the highlight of his time in Australia. Tasman Island Cruises are really good – and I recommend them if you are ever heading to Tassie. Just skip the batter fried hamburger beforehand.

When we docked, they gave us all a Tim Tam each which was much appreciated! We were weary and we now had the drive back to Hobart to find our accommodation and we had dinner booked. I would’ve been happy to sleep in the car at the petrol station but dad was a real trooper driving back into Hobart and with us all screaming about the best way to get to the accommodation it was a real Griswold experience.

We checked in to the private home we were staying and then headed in to Hobart for dinner at one of THE places in Hobart, Da Angelo’s in Battery Point. I could live in that area VERY easily. Dinner was great considering how tired we were – it was a noisy place and every table was full until late. We were all so tired we scoffed down our dinner and quickly got up to leave. The manager actually came to the front of the restaurant to find us thinking there was something wrong with our meal! We ended up chatting about our amazing day and why we were so tired – I would have have liked to say that it was the overload of Carlton memorabilia around the restaurant that made us want to leave instead.

We drove back to our cottage and just collapsed into bed – another busy travel day lay ahead of us on Saturday and Tasmania had not disappointed us one bit!