Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back home in Newcastle

We are now back in Newcastle and have moved into our home again. The people who rented it while we were away took very good care of it so we were very grateful. You do hear some horror stories.
We have decided to set up an office from home as Mike is a Chiropractor and we have some unused space upstairs. So far the renovations are moving along very well and we should be opening the office towards the end of July. In the meantime we are seeing patients in the family room downstairs. It is very casual but is so much better than under the caravan awning that was our "office" while we were on our fantastic trip around Australia.
Our home/office is in Charlestown, Newcastle and the office number is 02 4943 1887. We hope to see you there.

Our total mileage for our trip was 72,000 kilometres. Not bad for two grey nomads having a casual "holiday".

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tas - Launceston and the Tamar

Launceston is a city of contrasts, with modern marinas where there are many sleek restaurants and a wonderful collection of 19th century architecture everywhere.

Three rivers meet at Launceston, the major one is the Tamar where we went on a cruise up the river and then to the Cataract Gorge. The Tamar valley and the area from Launceston to Devonport has an abundance of wineries and extremely productive farmland. We ate our way through this area. We had lunch at the Rasberry Farm in Elizabeth Town where we decided to have desert.The fresh rasberries, grown on the property are to die for.
We then stopped in at the Ashgrove Cheese Factory, sampled cheeses and filled our fridge with many that we liked. Next stop was the House of Anvers which is the local chocolate factory. Oh My goodness! I am not much of a sweet tooth but I sampled everything in sight. The chocolate made here is melt in your melt divine. After this day of indulgence we should have walked back to our caravan park, not driven.
We have enjoyed every minute of our stay in Tasmania, enjoying the fresh and tasty produce, seeing the beautiful scenery and learning about the history of this island. I now have a real appreciation of the hardship that the convicts had to endure. The weather was not the best but we did have some sunny days in between the cold and the rain. One month was not long enough. Even though Tasmania is small, there is so much to see. We will look forward to a return visit in the future.

Our trip back to Melbourne on the Spirit was a little rougher than our trip over but I did not get sea - sick so that was a plus. I was bouncing from one side of the hallway to the other on my way to our cabin with the sway of the ship and once I got to bed went to sleep rather quickly so all was good.

We drove from Melbourne back to Newcastle on the coast road and enjoyed re visiting areas that we had not been to for years. It is now back to reality for us. We start work on March 2nd and move into our house on April 7th. I know that I will miss life in the caravan. I will miss the looking forward to of a new place every few days and reading about the area. I will miss the casual life and meeting new people from all over Australia. These last two years have been a gift to both Mike and I and we hope that in the future we can again travel around this fantastic country. Thank you Australia for giving us such a wonderful time.

Tas - Campbell Town

Campbell Town is another small town on the Heritage Highway. This highway was Tasmania’s first main road and crosses the country from Hobart in the south to Launceston in the north. Tales of bushrangers, convict road gangs, stonemasons, woolgrowers and settlers colour the areas along this highway.
In the pathways on both sides of the road in the centre of town runs the Convict Brick Trail.
Each brick is placed end to end and cemented into the path. These bricks, hundreds of them, have the name, crime, sentence and the ship that they arrived to Tasmania on. It is unbelievable to see the harshness of the sentence to the smallness of the crime. I guess that is the way to build a new nation cheaply - convict labour.

Beside the river that runs through the town we found a couple more carved trees. One of these trees had some of the local animals and wildlife carved into the remaining base of the tree.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tas - Evandale

Evandale is a charming town, full of beautiful old buildings and only a few kilometres south of Launceston. We stayed at the local cricket and football ground which is within walking distance to the town centre and only cost $10.00 a night. While here, the annual Penny Farthing races were being run with competitors from all over Australia and overseas.
Unfortunately the races were cancelled on Saturday due to the rain but competitors were still riding around the streets. It is fascinating watching them get up on their bikes, it certainly takes good balance.
Sunday was the long distance race and Mike decided to follow them on his bike. He rode over 26klms and passed a few of the Penny Farthings so he was happy.

We attended the Sunday Evandale markets where we bought loads of delicious local grown fresh fruit and vegetables. One of the best things about Tasmania is the abundance of beautiful produce.

Tas - Bridport

The north eastern farmland resembles a patchwork quilt as does many areas in Tasmania. A bountiful area of produce with crops, grazing pasture, vineyards, hops, rhubarb, lavender and many more.
Bridport is very popular with locals choosing this as a holiday destination with beaches, walks,fishing and water skiing. One of the most photographed scenes is the old jetty which points out towards Bass Strait.

Another draw card in the area is one of the world’s top Links golf courses. The Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm mirror the wild coastal Links courses of Scotland and Ireland. I can imagine that many balls are lost on this course as the natural scrub is extremely dense.

Tas - Legerwood

In the centre of this very small town sits Legerwood Park which is the home of the memorial tree carvings.

Originally planted in 1918 the carved trees are now a lasting tribute to the regions war heroes.
To commemorate the locals who had fought and died in the two world wars, the locals planted a row of trees in town with an engraved plaque for each soldier. The trees grew large, but some time back, they caught a disease and all died.Rather than chop all the trees down, the top branches were lopped and locals carved figures in memory of their loved ones.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tas - Bay of Fires

Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires were named the world’s top travel destination by Lonely Planet guide.
Similar to Bicheno, the sands are powder fine and white, several renowned snorkeling and fishing spots and surfing beaches are abundant here.
The red lichen- splashed rocky headlands are an eye catching contrast to the water and sand. You never tire of views like this. Mike and I went swimming but it was very cold. We camped on the beach at one of the many free camps in the area and only moved on because the weather turned cold and wet. We had a fire each night. Magic!
As you drive back into the township of St Helens you can pop in to the local oyster “man” and pick up a dozen un-shucked oysters for $8.00 a dozen.

From St Helens the road takes you inland and once again we are back in rich farmland and areas of think forests.