Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 10 (of 18): Life’s a Beach!

Reading time: 3 minutes...THURSDAY the 28th. 6.45am: Morning Beach-Bunnies! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Ahh! a proper night’s sleep, that’s a good start to the day!
Life’s a beach and then you fry…
(With apologies to NAZ for butchering his lyrics)
Today, we’re walking! b2c-walk We’re starting at Coogee Beach and walking via the purpose-built coastal walkway to Bondi Beach – more details HERE. Most people do it the other way round, but we do like to be different! ๐Ÿ˜Š Physically, it’s a bit of a stretch for us – we’re used to our daily 1-2 mile walks back at home, but this is a 7km hike… in the heat… up steps… down steps… up slopes… down slopes – you get the idea! 8.00am: A quick breakfast in the Apartment whilst we discussed journey options and of course, survival tactics! ๐Ÿ˜ด 8.40am: A plan hatched, it was then into the Sydney crowds (a mix of holiday-types like us, and the poor souls on the ‘9 til 5’). bus_373.jpg First stop will be Coogee (love that name!) town. But on this leg of the holiday, were sans-car, so everywhere is by taxi or (preferably) public transport. A Bus it is then, and with our Opal Cards in our hands, it was just a five-minute walk to Elizabeth Place where we picked up the 373 Bus (the 374 would have also been an option) to get us there directly. The journey only took around 40 minutes where the bus capacity went from being partially empty to massively over-full (requiring the Driver to SHOUT at passengers to ‘move down the Bus‘ on more than one occasion). We overheard a passenger reflecting on his years as a Bus driver here in Sydney. “A Passenger once asked me, ‘how long is the next bus?'” With a smile on my face, I replied “It’s the same length as this Bus Madam!” – Typical Aussie humour! ๐Ÿ˜ DSCN4113 9.45 am: Still smiling, we arrived at Coogee (population 15000 +2!), where the temperature was a very pleasant 20ยฐC with a welcome breeze – perfect walking weather then! ๐Ÿ˜Ž 10.01am: We’re off!ย  And right from the start, the views from the walkway were stunning… There are beaches… and there are Australian Beaches! We’ve never seen such expanses of sand and they are immaculately clean too! 10.10am: More sand and sea! 10.15am: Even more sand and sea but now with added rock formations! 10.25am: Wow! 10.25am Wow! Look at that sand! 10.45am: Oh, how British Australian! A gentle game of Bowls 10.55am: This is very weird! A massive graveyard looking out to sea… DSCN4129 It turned out to be Waverley Cemetary (opened in 1877) and is still in use today. It contains in excess of 50 000 graves and was an eerie sight as we came upon it. 11.05am:ย  An hour in, and it’s getting much (much) warmer – and the breeze of the sea is very welcome indeed! The amazing views continue… DSCN4135 11.10am: A welcome pit-stop! ๐Ÿ˜œ DSCN4136 11.20am: Still more sand and glorious views… 11.45am: we’re getting close to Bondi beach now, and perfectly on cue, a lone surfer DSCN4143 12.15pm:ย  We made it! It took two-and-a-quarter hours, but we finally arrived at the famous Bondi Beach… DSCN4150 DSCN4151 12.20pmย  All that walking had given us a bit of a thirst and a rumbling stomach! So we picked one of the many eateries – Trio – here that had inside seating and a breeze – the perfect conditions to reflect on our trek. It was great food and we were so hungry, I forgot to take any photos of it! 1.05pm:ย  With our lunch bill paid, after a bit of guidance from our Server, we crossed the road and waited for the no. 333 that would take us straight back to within 5 minutes of our Apartment. 1.55pm:ย  A slightly longer journey than we thought, but we were ‘home’ and thankfully, we’d left the AC on low (as by now it was around 27ยฐC outside, but luckily, a cool 18ยฐC inside). We spent the rest of the day doing very little! ๐Ÿ˜ See you tomorrow when the feeling in my legs has returned! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 9 (of 18): Sydney with Manly Pursuits

Reading time: 3 minutes...

WEDNESDAY the 27th.

6.30am: Morning All! ๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿ˜ต In spite of the very comfy bed, it wasn’t the best night’s sleep we’ve had since we arrived. In my case, I blame the late night cheese pie! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ and that crowing cock that began its operatic aria at 3.30am! Definitely a case of Nessun Dorma… The mathematicians amongst you will have spotted that it’s Day 9, so we’re exactly halfway through our latest holiday adventure. So far we’ve driven just over 700km in the hire-car – and spent almost 12 hours behind the wheel! 8.20am: But all good things, as they say, must end – and today, we returned the hire-car, leaving Longford after breakfast, driving the short distance to Launceston Airport.
Like Airports used to be… ๐Ÿ‘
8.45am: The Airport was a typical ‘local’ affair – very small compared to most UK equivalents. What a refreshing change! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜Š Next stop is Sydney (we’re on the 10.25 from Virgin arriving there at midday). We’re then heading for our next accommodation – Adina Serviced Apartments in Martin Place (remember that street name!). adina 12.20pm: The eagle-eyed of you will have noticed the location of the Apartment – ‘Martin Place’. In the heat of Sydney’s 23ยฐC and us lugging two suitcases and bag each from the Metro station (err also, in Martin Place) wasn’t the best time to realise our fundamental error… cof …the Apartment is actually in Hoskin Place. Still, we wanted to try out a ride in a Sydney Cab anyway – even if it was for only around half-a-mile! ๐Ÿค” Our short journey over, we were soon checking in and on our way to room 403. First impressions were very good (unlike the Apartment’s address!)
A bed as wide as it is long!
A really impressive, well equipped kitchen
..and a generous Lounge too!
OK, the address was misleading, but we forgave them, as they upgraded our accommodation, without prompting, for nowt! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ 3.05pm: Then, after a quick freshen-up, we took the short walk to Circular Quay to pick up the Ferry for Manly Quay, and ultimately, Manly Beach. We arrived with just 10 minutes to wait for the next Ferry at Wharf 3. You can now use your Opal Cards here, so it’s even easier! 4.00pm: Thirty-minutes later we’d arrived. And thanks to a Local who got chatting with Ann, we were given a short-list of places to eat (we were starving by now, having not eaten since breakfast!). We headed down the main strip – The Corso – full of different sorts of shops, but more importantly… DSCN4108The Ivanhoe Hotel. Its redeeming feature? The closest eatery on our recently acquired ‘short-list’! ๐Ÿ˜ Given the time of day, it was a restricted menu, but the Burgers looked wholesome enough… and of course a cocktail each to wash it all down would be perfect! It didn’t disappoint, and we were soon both full of renewed energy. Next stop? the famous Manly Beach… (apparently, it’s now Australia’s fave Beach pushing the better known ‘Bondi Beach‘ into 6th place). Very nice indeed! But only we could turn our back on it, in favour of a bit of ‘retail therapy’! (In truth, we did need to get some essentials in for the Apartment if we weren’t going to starve over the next few days! Our food retailer of choice was Australia’s answer to Tesco… DSCN4109 5.25pm: Just A$32.78 later, we were all stocked-up for our stay in Sydney and we headed back to the Ferry Terminal… DSCN4110 …and our journey back into central Sydney. (By-the-way, those in need of even more retail therapy will be pleased to note that Aldi has a store right inside the Terminal!) 6.30pm: With our food and drink unpacked, the only challenge left was to master the washing-machine in the apartment- we haven’t seen one like this since The Antiques Roadshow (in 1976!) ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š cof Tomorrow, we plan to have a look at the two other well-known Beaches – Bondi and Coogee bondi-walk Nighty-night! ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 8 (of 18): Lazy Morning and a Liquid Lunch

Reading time: 2 minutes...Tuesday the 26th. 08.00am: Greetings Wombats! ๐Ÿ˜œ Wow! That’s what I call a sleep – it must have been all the stress yesterday! After Monday’s tyre tantrum, today we’re keeping it local, and we’re not going anywhere unless there’s a tyre shop within view! ๐Ÿ˜ Oh, and if there’s also a Restaurant nearby with some wine, that would be perfect!! Well, one-out-of-two isn’t bad, so we’re heading for Josef Chromy’s restaurant for lunch. He may not know a ‘225/65R17′ from a ‘225/55R19′ but that’s OK, as in addition to his well-known eatery, he owns a vineyard out here too! ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿ‡ I spent the morning catching-up with my reading – two more magazines finished, but still a few more to get through! (plus a history sheet about Longford). cof Midday: So, after a very lazy morning, we took the short drive in the direction of Lunch. 12.25pm: On the way there, we stopped off at the quaint town of Evandale. – population 1345 (+2!). It’s a classified historic town and many of its buildings remain largely in their original condition. It’s well-known for its annual penny-farthing race.
Click on the thumbnails for a larger image
We dropped in the local shop to pick us some food for tonight and then headed back to the car, and the journey to the Restaurant. 12.45pm: On arrival, the view from the car-park certainly didn’t disappoint! The vineyards went on forever (far wider than the photo shows).
The Vineyards at Josef Chromy’s restaurant, Tasmania
After some brief difficulty locating the actual Restaurant itself… DSCN4099 12.55pm: …we were soon inside and being shown to our Table. DSCN4097 It was already pretty busy when we arrived but they found us a nice table-for-two away from the masses. The menu had a lot to offer and whilst Ann favoured the fish (No Pollocks here, instead some tasty Bluefin Trevally), I flew the flag for the carnivores…
Starter – Pork Belly
Mains – Tasmanian Lamb
…and the obligatory Chips!
And it would have been rude not try some of their wines wouldn’t it?? So we settled for half-carafe of their own Gewรผrztraminer. 2.05pm: The locals obviously eat early over here because by the time we were considering Dessert, the place was now a lot emptier. Unusually for us, we couldn’t fit in Desserts, so we polished off the remaining wine and paid our bill. All-in-all, it had been a fantastic experience all-round. Not only was the food and wine spot-on, the Service was well above the norm. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ 2.25pm: We headed back to the B&B, topped the hire-car up with petrol (checked the tyres!) and spent the rest of the day chilling by the pool! ๐Ÿ˜Ž We check-out tomorrow first thing tomorrow, and after a short flight, our next stop is the mighty Sydney. See you on the other side! โœˆ

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 7 (of 18): Launceston for the Retyred

Reading time: 5 minutes...MONDAY the 24th. Morning Kanga, Morning Roo! ๐Ÿ˜Š (Sorry it’s a bit late – see later!) 06.30am: An extra thirty-minutes in bed this morning! This must mean our bodies are finally switching into ‘holiday-mode’. 07.45am: Ahh, the legendary Meredith House Breakfast experience is well documented on various feedback sites, so we just couldn’t wait for 8am!!
The View from our breakfast table (Spot the Koala!)
…and the other view! ๐Ÿ˜
…and possibly the best view of all!
The breakfast was out of this world! Everything was home- made, including the croissants, muffins, danish pastries and rolls – and it was a work of art. It’s unusual for me to limit my intake, but it was ALL so good, I thought I wouldn’t manage it all! ๐Ÿ‘ 09.00am: What a shame we only had one night booked here! Reluctantly, we checked out, and said goodbye to Noel & Neal the Owners and a very sleepy Swansea. We were now back on the road and heading towards Launceston in the north of Tasmania for a look round, before heading back to Longford for our bed! Before we go any further, here is a tip we learned about how to pronounce Launceston. Apparently, if you’re a Brit, you’ll likely to call it: Lawn-stern, but over here the locals know it as Lawn-ses-tern. swansea to longford long run Longford will look after us for the next two nights at the rather plush Wellington Deluxe Studio B and B. (More about that later). As we did yesterday, we’re breaking the journey into chunks, and our first stop, will be a short drive to picturesque Campbell Town – population just 772 (+ 2!). swansea to campbell town After yesterday’s road-trip where it felt that I was behind the wheelย all-day (I wasn’t really!), this was a gentle drive of just 40ish miles. 09.52am: Wow! you can set a stopwatch by us! Exactly as predicted, fifty-two minutes later, we arrived in Campbell Town. 09.53am: …and just sixty-seconds later, we passed through it without stopping. In spite of all we’d read, it just didn’t look that exciting… or pretty… or anything really (sorry Campbellians, I’m sure we’re doing you a complete injustice!) ๐Ÿ˜• So we motored on to Launceston – and it was probably the most enjoyable drive of the holiday so far! The roads were better in every sense – hardly any traffic, slightly wider, and in most cases they were white-lined too! Luxury! ๐Ÿ‘ I think we only saw 9 cars on the whole of the journey! DSCN4046 10.50am: We arrived in Launceston, parked the car, paid the parking fee and wandered towards the Harbour. It soon became obvious that some serious money has been spent here on the area – and it showed! Very upmarket (and as we later learned, not that expensive compared to UK property prices). The weather was getting warmer – it must have been up to about a comfortable 22-23 degrees, when we spotted an opportunity for a boat tour around the harbour and up to Cataract Gorge. Perfect! DSCN4049 11.30am: We bought our tickets and were soon on board. With a boat that could hold around 30 passengers, but with only six tickets sold, it was the perfect ratio of sea-dog to land-lubbers! Our skipper, Denise, gave a lively, informative and interesting commentary given the reduced number of passengers, and we learned a lot about the local area. We also learned that her Boat was unique – a diesel-electric hybrid (it allowed her to sail completely silently, without pollution on large parts of the journey).
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It was certainly a gorgeous day and the best weather we’d had since we arrived. The downside to all of this from Denise’s perspective was that the whole tidal system was out-of-whack and they were experiencing VERY low water levels around the harbour. DSCN4052 A bridge so good they replicated it locally! DSCN4070 12.30pm: Sixty-minutes later, we were back where we began with our tour completed. We took the short walk into town for no other reason that to see what it looked like…
(Click on the thumbnails for a larger version)
It was all very pretty, architecturally speaking, lots of 1930s art deco-styled buildings! ๐Ÿ‘ 1.05pm: All that gazing at buildings left us in need of refreshment, and we settled on a filled croissant and a soft drink (fast becoming our go-to meal so far this trip!) at the imaginatively titled Charles Street Pantry (the Pantry in Charles Street)… ๐Ÿ˜‰ DSCN4080 We grabbed a table outside and watched the world go by – unaware that sinister forces were at work planning on de-railing the rest of our afternoon. ๐Ÿ™„ DSCN4083As these events were playing-out elsewhere, blissfully unaware, we finished our afternoon of exploration by visiting Launceston’s Queen Victoria Art Gallery (free admission!). The main benefit? It was a lot cooler inside that it had become outside! With an air of sophistication surrounding us, after a quick look round, we reflected on our interesting day and congratulated ourselves on making good use of time today, before our final drive, heading back to Longford – and our next B&B accommodation. We wandered through the the Park, heading for the hire-car, expecting it to be like an oven inside. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad… …but that’s when our troubles began… ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ We’d navigated out of the car-park and onto the main A1 road towards Longford. Even with the AC on full, we could hear a strange noise coming from outside the car. At first, we convinced ourselves that the noise was the motor-bike in the next lane to us. But as, he sped away and the ‘noise’ continued, we suddenly realised that our trusty hire-car was not at all well. 2.10pm: The ‘pulling to the left’ convinced us that it must be a puncture… …and sure enough, it was! cof 2.15pm: Time to contact the Car-Hire company – what could be simpler? Well, for a start, the quoted number for their breakdown service wasn’t working. A quick call to their local office in Launceston confirmed problems with their telephones including their complete INability for them to dial any mobile numbers (of course, including mine!), but at least Ann was able to confirm our location with them. The situation wasn’t helped by the jack and wheel-nut spanner being so cleverly concealed in the boot, I wasn’t able to find them otherwise I would have changed the tyre myself! ๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿ› ๐Ÿ”จ 2.55pm: Hurrah! Australia’s equivalent of the RAC arrived, where ‘Jon’ came to our rescue. He popped on the space-saver tyre (I hate those!) and then escorted us to a (very) nearby tyre-centre, where the guys there confirmed that there was a large hole in the tyre and concluded: “It’s knackered mate…”. raclogo-was I think it was at that moment we reflected that we were ‘lucky’ to have broken down in the middle of a city and not out in the Bush. Having spent the past two days covering close to 600km, most of it ‘wilderness-like’ with no stopping points and no mobile signal, it could have been so much worse ๐Ÿ˜ฏ You can imagine the local headlines! “Local Brits found drinking brake fluid whilst they waited two days for rescue” etc etc ๐Ÿ˜œ cof 3.35pm: The guys at the Good Year Centre couldn’t have done more for us. Within 35 minutes, we were back on the road – albeit ยฃ117.56 lighter (A$215). longford 4.05pm: We were back on schedule arriving atย Wellington Deluxe Studio B and B, our home for the next two nights. First impressions were extremely good. The building itself looked like it had arrived from the 25th century and clearly no expense had been spared on anything…
Wellington Deluxe Studio – just another Tasmanian B & B! (not!)
We met the owners, Glen and Bev and they were (like everyone else we’ve met here in Tassie) very welcoming where nothing was too much trouble. 4.30pm: We quickly unpacked the essentials – clothes, laptop, car-hire agreement and paracetamol – and got on with the rest of the day. Ann tested the sun-lounger, whilst I tested the wi-fi! We going to take on Budget rent-a-car when we return the car on Wednesday. After today’s adventure, where our perfectly ordered world, took a wrong turn, we don’t plan to do very much else today. Tomorrow though is a different matter! See you tomorrow Possums! ๐Ÿ˜

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 6 (of 18): Heading for Swansea via the Gaol

Reading time: 4 minutes...SUNDAY the 23rd. Morning Possums! 06.00am: We beat the Larks again – this is becoming a habit! ๐Ÿ˜ 08.58am: We said goodbye to Hobart (and our first Apartment) and travelled North-east to Freycinet National Park leading to Coles Bay. This location has a lot going for it in terms of sandy beaches and secluded coves – it’s the home of one particular area – Wineglass Bay – voted as one of ten best beaches in the world. hunterstreet-to-coles bay We deliberately chose the more ‘scenic route’ (about 115 miles) known by the locals as it gets closer to Coles Bay The Great Eastern Drive. Although it was a straightforward journey, the mostly single-carriageway roads with plenty of curves (a bit of a feature out here) meant the journey took longer than expected even though there was hardly any traffic and they were as smooth as Mr Smooth from Smoothville. For the first ten miles or so, we followed a camper-van boasting some typical Aussie Philosophy…
Beer! It makes you see double but makes you act like you’re single!
That put a smile on our faces! But we returned to the serious business of holiday driving before too long!๐Ÿค” Given the distances today, we planned to divide up our long journey into chunks, stopping every so often along the way, to take in the views. Our first was soon in our sights… 09.30am: Our first stop was the quaint village of Richmond. DSCN4022 …probably the cleanest village we’ve ever been too! It felt very English and boasts many things including Richmond Bridge that was constructed by convicts and is the oldest bridge in Australia! The Village felt very ‘sleepy hollow’, you know, the sort of place where people leave their front-doors unlocked. Today, someone also left their CAR unlocked as we managed to get into the WRONG car just as we were about to leave. Luckily, no Police were around to throw us in Gaol! …and they could have easily done so, as Richmond also boasts the location of Australia’s oldest existing colonial lock-up! (opened in 1825). I even found some long-lost relatives who’d tried out the facilities… ๐Ÿ˜‰ DSCN4030 This was an impressive refurbishment that had only re-opened last year. Well worth a visit (A$20/ยฃ10.98 each). 10.25am: Next was a short pit-stop for a Coffee and a Danish in the Village before grabbing a few more photos of this scrupulously clean part of Tassie. Petrol stations seem to be few-and-far between in these parts, so we were fortunate enough to spot that Richmond had its own. None of this new-fangled self-service marlarkey though! This was delivered by the man who err, manned the till, changed your tyres, serviced your car and fixed your flat battery – a modern example of yesteryear when compared to good ol’ Blighty! 10.40am: With us now in the correct car (!!) and filled to the brim with ยฃ20.87 of Richmond’s finest hand-delivered unleaded, we said goodbye to this village caught in its own time-warp and continued our journey. As I mentioned earlier, the roads were almost empty and pothole-free but the journey felt like a long one – much longer than Mr Google had predicted. 12.30pm: We took another pitstop in Swansea (where we would return to later for our bed for the night) for hurried nibble and something to drink. 12.50pm: We were pleased to spot a watering hole enticingly titled: Devil’s Corner DSCN4041 In one corner was a viewing tower with splendid views out to sea… whilst in the opposite corner was the loo! A perfect combination then! DSCN4042 Back in the car and our next target was Freycinet National Park leading to Coles Bay. 2.05pm: We arrived at the latter just as the temperature hit its maximum for today of 25ยฐC (even though it was quite chilly closer to the water). …and we realised that in spite of the long journey, it had all been worth it for such beautiful views! 2.45pm: By now, we’d seen all the scenery we wanted for today so we headed for our bed for the night (back along the route to Swansea that overlooks Great Oyster Bay). freycinet national park to swansea With its population of less than 1000 (even with us two swelling the numbers) it’s recognised as the ‘hub of the East Coast’. It was buzzing when we drove through it earlier today, but now it was almost deserted. 3.30pm: We found our next Bed-for-the-night easily and were soon checking-in to the Meredith House B and B. I say ‘soon’ but the very enthusiastic owner sensed our interest in the local area and Tassie in general, and proceeded to cram in 200 years of its history whilst explaining options for breakfast and the best places to eat locally! Clearly he’s the guy you need on your next Tasmanian Pub Quiz team. Amazing! ๐Ÿ˜ meredithhouseMeredith House is a delightful 1853 Colonial house overlooking the Freycinet Peninsula and Great Oyster Bay. It’s enjoyed a great many positive reviews scoring between 4 and 5 stars over the years – hence why we picked it. Free parking, a BBQ area, a spacious room and well appointed room together with free Wi-fi too! What’s not to love? Oh, and a phenomenal cooked breakfast is promised tomorrow too! ๐Ÿ˜ Given it was a Sunday, and we’d learned via our Pub Quiz Captain that Eateries tend to close up early in these parts (and they don’t like paying overtime), we quickly headed towards one of the recommendations…
Saltshaker Pizza Cafรฉ
5.05pm: Well, I don’t think Jamie Oliver will lose any sleep over their menu, but it did the job, and was far tastier than we expected it to be! Service with a (Texan) smile too! …and at ยฃ14.28, don’t say I don’t know how to impress the ladies! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘ 7.15pm: That’s it for today Reader, tomorrow, we’re back on the road heading north for two nights in Launceston and our next accommodation. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 5 (of 18): Hobart – Day 2 (Salamanca Market and Port Arthur)

Reading time: 3 minutes...SATURDAY the 22nd. Morning Bruce, morning Sheila ๐Ÿ˜ 6.00am: Up before the Lark today! It’s our last full day here in Hobart and we’ve two attractions planned. After yesterday’s adventure at sea, we’re firmly on terra-firma today! We’re taking the short walk to Salamanca – the famous Saturday Market – and afterwards, we’re motoring to Port Arthur, the World Heritage site (and ex-prison) – it’s one of the best preserved prisons in Australia. Salamanca Market 08.10am: With the Larks fed-and-watered we took the short walk to the Market… DSCN3984With over 300 stalls, there was something for everyone… (click on the thumbnails below for the ‘big picture’). We stocked-up on provisions for the journey to Port Arthur as well as breakfast tomorrow. 08.45am: We had a good look round and then took a slow walk back taking in the view towards our Apartment… DSCN3985We had a quick breakfast back at base and then hit the road for the 90 minute journey ahead. 10.50am: Port Arthur IMG_20190223_065228 hobart to port arthur It was hassle-free journey there, but if you are going follow in our footsteps, be aware that the final twenty-minutes-or-so are single-carriage roads that are very twisty-turny, with only a few passing points. On arrival, parking was very straightforward as they have plenty of parking spaces (free). DSCN3986 In truth, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to see when we got ‘inside’. All we knew was that it was a World Heritage Site and it was ‘very popular‘ – and after all, there is only so many ways you can show off an old prison complex! How wrong we were! ๐Ÿค” Even though the exterior looked a bit plain, once we got inside… DSCN3987…simply based on the number of ticket-points, and the general marketing, we realised we were in for something big! It’s 39AUD (ยฃ22 approx) each to get in, and as it turned out, it was worth every cent! DSCN3988 With our tickets in-hand, we were pointed to the waiting area outside where, after a short wait, ‘Jet’ our Guide introduced us to the Prison…
Jet – Our Guide
In short, when the Prison became fully established in 1833, it became ‘home’ for all the worst of Australia’s habitual criminals. It was modelled on our Pentonville prison and by 1840, it contained over 2000 convicts. Over an 80-year period over 165000 crims were transported to serve between 7 to 70 years in Oz. Children as young as 9 could (and were) part of the export process. Australia simply became the dumping ground of UK’s criminal classes. Once in Port Arthur, various approaches to rehabilitating the in-mates were tried, but they all failed. Eventually, the Prison closed down in 1877 – and because of the nation’s embarrassment of treating these humans so badly, over the years that followed, the Prison was slowly air-brushed from Australia’s history (they even renamed ‘Port Arthur’ to Carnarvon for a while). In more recent years, in a moment of ultimate reflection, the Australian Government re-thought it all and brought most of the Prison back to life – warts ‘n’ all. And this is what you see today… and there is PLENTY to see. DSCN3993For us, the first thing we felt was the enormity of the place – it was like a small town! With over 30 buildings, beautiful grounds and gardens, think Beamish but with handcuffs & leg-irons! Various buildings had been faithfully restored/re-created… …and for us, the most jaw-dropping was the two Churches… …and if that wasn’t enough to wow the senses, they’d restored many of the actual prison cells too… …complete with a reminder of the Prison’s ‘rules’ They even had a unique set-up for the worst offenders whereby even when they attended Church on a Sunday, they were confined to individual pews, unable/forbidden to speak with their like-minded colleagues… DSCN3997 Here’s Ann demonstrating that solitary really meant solitary… even in Church! And of course the ultimate deterrent for all the in-mates was that in order to escape, you also needed to be a good swimmer too (assuming you knew which direction to swim in.. and they likely didn’t!). 12.10pm: Part of the attraction included a catamaran-like boat tour around the Bay – and it reminded us that escape from here was pretty much impossible given the tide and current. 12.45pm: The weather had now improved beyond what was forecast – and we were feeling it! Most of us have heard the expression: “Four seasons in a day”. Here in Tassie, the locals talk of “Four seasons in an HOUR” – and we’d now experienced TWO temperature-shifts since we arrived. We were starting to flag and so we spent the next hour wandering around soaking-up some of the other buildings and taking in the views.

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2.00pm: And that was our lot! We were shattered, so we headed for the Restaurant for some coffee to keep us awake in preparation for the drive back to the Apartment. DSCN4021Wow! what a day!!! Our expectations were exceeded in every possible way. We thoroughly recommend this place – it’ll take a good half-day to experience the essentials, but you could easily make a day of it. If it all becomes too much then your ticket is good for TWO consecutive days. A bargain! ๐Ÿ‘
As seen on CrimeStoppers
Tomorrow, we check out of our Apartment in Hobart as we’re driving up to Richmond and the Freycinet National Park. We’ll be checking-in to our new home for a single night – Meredith House, Swansea later tomorrow.
Meredith House
G’night! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Holiday: Return to Oz – Day 4 (of 18): Hobart – Day 1 (Bruny Island)

Reading time: 4 minutes...FRIDAY the 21st. Morning Cobbers!! 7.45am: Up and about at ‘silly o’clock’ (must be the jet-lag) that ensured we were ready to leave in good time. bruny-location We’re off to Bruny Island, located off the south-east coast of Tasmania – an island off an island! It’s an organised tour, courtesy of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys that we booked last-minute before we left the UK. Bruny Island is a natural wilderness, completely unspoilt by us humans! Each year, it gets around 150000 tourists and is growing in its popularity. We’ve got a full day there and so we don’t expect to back until tea-time. Our Tour starts from Adventure Bay with a three-hour boat-trip taking in the local features. weather-bruny Not exactly a heat-wave for our trip, but it suits us! We’re travelling there in three stages… Stage 1 Driving to Kettering (yes, really! No, THIS one not that one!) ๐Ÿ˜ – and unlike at home, where the population is growing all the time, this particular Kettering is smaller, with only a population of 984 people! More of a village than a town. hobart to kettering Stage 2: All aboard the Ferry. Stage 3: A mini-bus to our final destination. So why didn’t we just take the hire-car all the way there? Simples… No-one is not allowed to take a hire-car to this particular Island! ketteringferryterminal 08.29am: We arrived with a few seconds to spare and met up with ‘Sam’ our mini-bus driver. He also turned out to be one of the deck-hands on our later boat trip too! After some quick introductions, he queued to get us on the Ferry
Sam in full flow
The Ferry crossing only took around 20 minutes, and Sam was soon testing the capabilities of the mini-bus along the narrow roads and tight bends (designed really for small cars) as we hurtled towards certain death our final destination! It was only his knowledge of the island (and his natural Aussie humour) that distracted us from his heavy right foot! ๐Ÿ˜‰ DSCN3940Clearly Sam, in his spare time, was a rally driver, and he seemed to know all the curves on the roads here, allowing him to completely avoid the use of the brake pedal! DSCN3943 Our first pit-stop call was ‘Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve‘. I’m not sure what the ‘game’ was but a short (ish) walk up the 200+ steps gave us a great view!
Over 200 steps!
It’s called the ‘Neck’ because it’s the thin strip of land ( an ‘isthmus‘ for you geography buffs) that joins North Bruny with its Southern equivalent. Although we only ascended around half the steps, it was still a great view. Back on the mini-bus, the rally-stage continued, with Sam heading for the finishing line at Adventure Bay.
A View from the Steps
10.45am: On arrival at Adventure Bay, we paid our Tour fee (around ยฃ82 each) and headed for our main briefing by Fran. She covered all the important points – the importance of layers, the duration of the tour, toilet facilities on-board – and, how much fun it was going to be!
Adventure Bay
11.05am: All aboard! And after a brief err, briefing by Jeremy, the Boat’s Skipper and one half of the Sam/Jeremy Double-Act, we were all kitted-out with the necessary waterproofs ready for our three-hour voyage of discovery.
Hardly fashionable, but 100% practical!
11.15am: Our Boat took off (literally!). This vessel was amazingly fast, able to turn on a sixpence and to stop quicker than it accelerated. It soon became clear why we needed our red ‘oneseys’ because every so often, we were all soaked with the sea-spray.
Want one!
Was it worth getting dressed-up and soaked for? Yes, most definitely, ‘yes’! We took in some amazing sights along the way…

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Unusual rock formations… Caves… Seals… Birds… – it was all breathtaking! 3.10pm: The three hours passed in a flash and we were genuinely sorry it was all over. The whole event had been exceptionally well organised and we felt that we’d been educated and entertained in equal measure. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys come highly recommended if you’re this way for your holiday, looking for something ‘a little different’. We can’t recommend them highly enough! ๐Ÿ‘
Our ‘treat’ was spotting a ‘painted wallaby’ as we headed for the Ferry home. There’s only 300 on Bruny (Wallabies not Ferrys) and we were lucky to spot one – especially as it was calmly sitting on someone’s driveway!
Painted Wallaby
Things we learned about ‘Tassie’ today:-
  • It has a thriving Whisky industry (at around ยฃ200 per bottle!)
  • Salmon are bred here and sold around the world
  • It had a very short-lived mining industry (due to the coal tending to explode when it got hot)
5.15pm: We’d done really well today – energy-wise – with no sign of any jet-lag. But just in case it hit us later, we ate early. Luckily for us, within a few paces of our Apartment was the well-known (in Tassie anyway) The Drunken Admiral.
The Drunken Admiral. ยฉ Picture courtesy of Trip Advisor
We hadn’t booked and when arrived it was already heaving! They squeezed us in and we kept it simple, sticking to just a main course. Maybe the jet-lag HAD kicked-in as I forgot my phone, so no photos of our (rather tasty and generous-of-portioned) selection! 6.30pm: Time to plan tomorrow’s adventure. First thing (ish) we’re taking a walk to the local market – Salamanca – the famous Saturday Market. Then, we’re heading for Port Arthur a world heritage site (and ex-prison). It’s said to be the best preserved prison in Australia and is about a 90 minute drive from here.