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                  Debbie & Geoff's

                  Australian Safari


                          Travel Blog January 2017


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Friday 27th January – 31st January 2017
It was sad to say goodbye as we headed further west towards Stanley We stopped at the Riverside wetlands and had a walk around the board walk. We had one night in the tent at a Rocky Cape Tavern for a stop over. The sun was shining and we had a bbq for dinner with steak & vegies, all very civilized. Then we climbed into the tent and the bed was freezing cold. I forgot air mattresses need to have some sort of insulation on top. So it was cold and Geoff felt like we were on a slight slope, so not much sleeping was had that night. The next night was Stanley and we stayed in 'Gardenia Cottage' right in town and below the Nut.

Camp at Rocky Cape Tavern     Riverside wetlands
Camp at Rocky Cape Tavern                  Riverside wetlands

Gardenia Cottage     Stanley
Gardenia Cottage Stanley                                Stanley and the Nut

What a beautiful town, we had great warm accommodation and did the walk up to the Nut incase you didnt know this is the large rock lump at the end of the island, you could use the chair lift but we decided to walk up and it certainly tested our fitness level. The track said short and steep and it was exactly that. It zig zagged up the mountain and I did one zig and rested then did the zag and rested. By the time we then walked around the nut at the top I certainly got my 10,000 steps up that day and then we did the heritage walk with the self-guided booklet from the info centre. Tourist information centres are really the best place to start any trip.
Dinner was then at the pub before retiring early to catch up on the sleep we missed the evening before. Our next day was spent exploring the area which again was picturesque. We drove up to Highfield for Geoff to do amazing shots back at the Nut and Stanley, then off to do more national park drives and walks to Trowatta which lead us down a forest trek to an amazing rock formation then to Dip falls. Another day that Tassie never failed to amaze us.

From Stanley to Arthur River and a stop at the 'Edge of the World'. Yes there is a place called that and it is known to have the most pure air in all of the world. Here the weather starts to get very chilly and all of the jackets were needed for the wind was damn cold.
With two nights to have we again stayed in a cabin where we could self-cater and have a bit of space. At Arthur River we did a boat tour which was another highlight. The boat took us up along the river where we saw Sea Eagles and the captain threw out a few fish heads for the eagles to swoop down and grab. Geoff was in heaven and got some amazing photos. We stopped and did a walk in the forest where we then enjoyed a BBQ lunch shared by a Currawong and a Paddy Melon. The Paddy Melon would come timidly up to you and accept lettuce leaves from your hand, the currawong you had to keep an eye on as if you turned away he would swoop down and steal your sausage.

Sea Eagle     Arthur river
Sea Eagle Arthur River                  Arthur river cruise

We had met up with a couple at Stanley who we became quite friendly with. As Leanne said we were PLU – people like us. We seemed to bump into them all over the place, it started at the tourist info centre then again at the waterfall and national park, and when we got on the boat there they were again. They had their caravan with them and towed by a Ranger, also John had the same drone as Geoff so there were lots of conversations going on with lots in common.

Tuesday 24th January 2017 to Friday 27th.
Our drive to Launceston did not disappoint us as I still feel Tasmania has the prettiest scenery. Rolling green hills with farm land, poppies, sheep and cows. Old farm huts dotting the country side and beautiful mountain landscapes. We were going to visit a dear friend of ours Kim, who has offered us a bed for the duration. As she wasn’t getting home from work till the evening we had the whole day to explore as we drove. We took a trip to the Marakoo Caves at Moles Creek. Spectacular tour that took us through the limestone caves and with the lights out you would look up at the glow worms as the shone like a star lit night.

Marakoo Caves     Marakoo Caves
    Marakoo Caves

We arrived and settled at Kims place and then headed to the club for pizza and a bottle of wine to catch up with each other’s news. It was a great evening and she made us feel so welcome. Our next day I organised was to visit a historic house and a Liffey waterfalls. Got to the house and it was closed, drove to the waterfalls and as they had had some serious weather so they were closed. I have now resigned as tour guide leader.

Lilydale Falls     Lilydale Falls
Debbie and Kim                 Lilydale Falls

We did then take a drive to a salmon and ginseng farm called 41 Degrees South. They start with a tasting of their hot smoked salmon, the salmon roulette, ginseng mixed with salt and pepper, and leatherwood honey with ginseng. The salmon was divine and we took some with us when we left. We had a quick bite to eat with their tasting plate and then did a tour of the salmon ponds and ginseng farm. I think we were the last to leave and at least one thing that I planned was open.

Australia Day 2017
The day dawned sunny and warm and Kim joined us for a day of celebration. With a trip to the Lilydale Falls, then a lavender farm where we dined on lavender icecream – yep its purple, then off to Jantz winery to partake in a tasting or three. From there two more wineries and home for our Aussie lamb BBQ Liner – which is like brunch but it is lunch and dinner combined. It was a fun day and evening with lots of Tasmanian food and wine consumed.

Lavender icecream     Jansz Champagne
Lavender icecream, Debbie Kim & Geoff            Jansz Champagne

Monday 23rd January 2017
The van is in storage at Broadford Victoria and we head down to Port Melbourne to board The Spirit of Tasmania for our next big adventure. It was a bit stressful trying to find the port and we took a few wrong turns before a kindly cab driver pointed us in the direction, yes we had the navigator on but that did not help with all the fly overs and toll roads. Lucky the van wasn’t being towed as I think Geoff would have had a meltdown or the car would have with all the bad words flying around the driver’s side. But we made it and with plenty of time so we could take a few deep breaths and get ready for the boarding process.

Spirit of Tasmania     Spirit of Tasmania
            Spirit of Tasmania

The sailing was smooth, only a slight roll and even though it was running an hour late we disembarked, made our way to our hotel for the night, arriving and settled in by 9.30 pm. It was a long day with us getting up at 6am to make the trip down to Melbourne. The day on the boat was spent reading, relaxing and eating. We grabbed a table with two comfy chairs at the beginning and that’s where we made camp for the duration. They did have a cinema with three movies to chose from but as it was school holidays you can imagine the movies that were playing.

Monday 16th - Tuesday 23rd January 2016
The van is booked for a service at Wagga Caravans , we got to see our friend Mark and after the service we took our home on wheels and once again it was parked in their driveway. We took a drive out to Junee and sampled some liquorice at the factory whilst doing a tour of how it is made. The country side was beautiful and the town certainly has a lot of options for visiting tourists. We had dinner with Mark at the pub and came home and had a few more drinks laughing the night away.

Jugiong Showground    Lake Hume
            Lake Hume camp at the start of the Murry river

Our next stop was at Lake Hume, this is on the border of NSW and Victoria just near Albury. Our spot was right on the lakes edge and we got the beautiful breeze that kept us cool while the temperatures skyrocketed. We took a drive out to Spitters creek which is a wetland , talking to a ranger there he explained the area was just recovering from being flooded not long ago. Major rains and not managing the dams release caused havoc down stream . Our stay at Lake Hume also saw us doing the dam wall walk and a drive around the lake. It always surprising watching how the scenery changes so quickly .

Thursday 12th January 2017 – Time to leave again and start the next part of our trip. Off to Canberra for a few nights so we could spend the day again at the War Memorial. They had finished a display on the first world war and we wanted to check it out. Once again they have excelled themselves and I can only recommend to everyone to go and visit this place and spend the whole day.
We were also lucky enough to be able to catch up with my cousin Paul and his lovely wife Linda who was working in Canberra at the time so we had a fun afternoon down by the water for a few drinks and an early lunch. Again time flew and before we knew it time to say goodbye again.

Jugiong Showground     Jugiong Showground
            Jugiong free camp at the Showground

From Canberra it was to head to Wagga with a short night stop at a free camp at Jugiong . We stayed here previously and know it to be a great showground stop on the river and with a donation you get a dump point and toilets.

January 1st 2017
New Year’s Eve was celebrated in style. Our friend Brad got a new yacht that day and with 20 other people we had the most spectacular of spots on the harbour to celebrate the welcoming of 2017. The caterers supplied beautiful food, the company was mainly family whom I have known for 30 years and we even had a bed for the night on the boat. Oh and the fireworks …. Wow.

Newyear fire-works     Deb on boat
Newyear fire-works                   Deb on Brads new boat

The following week I was still working so Geoff went back to the van to finish off some maintenance work that was needed. I was still being looked after by Shelly and Steve and every morning Steve and I would set off for an early morning walk. It really is the best way to start the day and a lot easier when you make a commitment to another person to get you up early in the morning and the weather was more becoming than later in the hot day.