A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Jenniferklm

A Last Few Days


During our last few days in Australia, amidst the ongoing news reports on the fire devastation, was some early coverage of a new virus afflicting people in one city in China. I remember thinking that I was glad we would be flying home soon in case things got crazy. Well, crazy they have got and those seem like halcyon days pre-Covid-19 when you didn’t survey every surface with suspicion or feel like you might be risking public stoning by emitting a cough or sneeze. We are happy to just be at home, with no future trip plans to fret about and are still enjoying our recent memories of a lovely and interesting adventure to Australia and Tasmania amidst the angst and dread of this present time. So it’s time to wrap this trip blog up.

Checked out of our Hobart hotel, we had a lovely early breakfast at the sweetest cafe on the harbour front. We then drove to the airport and deposited our rental car, flew to Sydney and then took the train south to Wollongong. It was lovely to see our Aussie family again.


Joanne had everyone over for a pizza night. Keith, our late brother-in-law had built a beautiful pizza oven a few years ago and it was amazing to see it in action. We were also glad to see good friends of Joanne’s, Jenny, her sister Judy and husband John, who we met on our previous visit. John and Judy’s house was in one of the burned out neighborhoods down the coast bur escaped destruction. A metal shed however where they stashed their important documents and treasured stuff before evacuating burned as it had a wood floor. Such irony. If they had left theses things in the house, they would have survived, but who knew.

One of the trips we had hoped to make while in Australia was to Stewart’s Crossing, a favorite remote camping spot for the David family and where our brother-in-law, Keith’s ashes were scattered and a memorial plaque installed. So we headed off for an all day expedition and a stunning drive south and inland. Before long we were driving through miles and miles of burned out forest, a lot of it national park. A strange and eerie beauty prevailed. Blackened twisted trees as far as the eye could see; then swathes of black and gold where leaves still remained on trees but had all been singed and burned. Sometimes in the rural landscape, there was a house or a little further along, what was left of a house. We’ve all heard how wildfire can skip over or around a structure or an area. It was very strange to see this. We passed some crews working on clearing trees by the roadside but the roads was completely clear. We could only imagine the apocalyptic scene of only a week ago when the forest would have been engulfed by flames on both sides of the road.


We met up with more of the family at a rural pub along the road: our nephew Jason, his fiancé Jess and dog, Turbo and nephew Taylor and his three boys and dog in other vehicles. Proceeding as a caravan, we came to a roadblock and discovered that although we were only about a 10 minute drive from Stewart’s Crossing, our destination, we would not be able to go any further. A wooden bridge over the river had just been determined to be in danger of collapsing due to fire damage. So with great disappointment, we all turned around and Tyler led our little group to a spot on the river where we set-up a day camp and spent the rest of the afternoon eating our picnic lunch and swimming in the river.


On the way home, we stopped at a National Forest viewpoint where normally a big waterfall would be cascading down a rock bluff. Nothing. A dramatic sign of just how dry everything was. And the “view’ from this high point of land was sobering - incinerated forest to the horizon and such quiet. Not a bird call or animal sound. Dead silence in a dead landscape.


The park notice boards somehow survived the inferno and almost in memorium, listed the indigenous animals and birds that would commonly have been found there. So sad. The bright spot was seemingly dead trees and cacti-like plants already showing new growth from the recent rains. But it will be a very long time before it is like it was, if ever.


The day we left for home was scorching - 39 degrees with a hot wind. It will be some time before we feel those temperatures again. And now of course we realize that it will be some time before we see our Australian family again or even perhaps travel anywhere again. It was a trip full of drama in so many ways. We had no idea what drama awaited us on our return.

Posted by Jenniferklm 22:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Traipsing Around Tasmania: Episode 3

It’s hard to know how to describe MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, located in Hobart, Tasmania. We had never heard of it but when we decided to head for Tasmania, Jim’s sister Joanne, told us we had to see MONA. Everyone we encountered in Tasmania told us we had to see MONA. So we booked another two nights in Hobart at the end of our time in Tassie to do just that. In fact MONA has been in the Lonely Planet list of the top 10 of the world’s must see places. To MONA we would go.

Getting there is an interesting appetizer to the main course. Moored in Hobart’s harbour are two big catamaran’s with camoflage paint jobs that transport people to the museum. While you can drive the short distance out of town to MONA, the boat trip up the Derwent River to the spit of land that MONA occupies was all part of the experience we were told.


We got the first boat at 9:30 am. Th harbour was a short walk from our hotel, The Old Woolstore, which is what is sounds like, a nicely renovated and added-onto wool storage facility from the turn of the century, with interesting pieces of wool processing machinery decorating its public spaces. Lots of sheep in Tassie.


We declined to pay extra for what is called “The Posh Pit” on the boat - alcohol and food included - as it was just a 1/2 hr voyage and there was a nice bar for us plebeians anyway if we really needed a morning cocktail. So we hung out on the stern of the boat where we had sheep to sit on and a cow to enjoy the scenery with us.


“Mona: a museum, or something. In Tasmania, or somewhere. Catch the ferry. Drink beer. Eat cheese. Talk crap about art. You’ll love it.” This is from the Mona website so you have see there is a distinctly irreverent tone here, even on the garbage containers And we did love it.


From the march up the 99 steps from the boat dock to an architecturally stunning terraced outdoor space overlooking the river and surrounding hills with beautifully planted green roofs, a tennis court (because that’s where the owner and creator of this private museum likes to play) beside a giant steel cement truck sculpture rendered in Gothic style , we knew we were in for something different.


David Walsh who grew up in a working class Tasmanian neighbourhood not far away, had a previous museum that no one came to, so he decided to spend $80 million and opened MONA in 2011, using a fortune made as a professional gambler. He sounds from all accounts like a bizarre personality. MONA is the largest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere and is as he refers to it “a subversive adult Disneyland’ with themes of sex and death. Entry is free for Tasmanians.

The museum is actually underground and you begin three levels down via a spiral staircase or a glass elevator and then you proceed through chambers and long tunnels cut into the golden sandstone of the cliffs above the river. It’s weird and unnerving which is all intentional apparently.


The first thing we encounter is a cocktail bar and then a long gallery space lined with antique chairs and sofas and a lit chamber, containing the ashes of Walsh’s father. MONA offers a lifetime and beyond membership - for $75,000 your cremated remains can be stored in an urn in the museum. At the end of this gallery is an installation where droplets of water fall from the high ceiling and for a split second form words downloaded in realtime from Google’s Australian News headlines. As the artist says, “It’s a metaphor for the incessant flood of information we are exposed to.”in common usage in social media that day. It was quite mesmerizing.


There is no signage for any of the art. You download an “O” app onto your phone or get a free device with headphones that knows where you are in the museum and will give you a little or a lot of information about an exhibit depending on whether you choose the Summary or the “Art Wank” .option.

There are some truly strange - and disturbing exhibits. One is an entire gridded room filled with used sump oil (yes, it smells like oil) that reflects the pattern of the walls around it and is strangely disorienting. There is a steel bridge that you can walk out on if you wish to become further disoriented.


Another is called Cloaco Professional, part of the museum’s permanent collection that is basically a mechanically-operation gastro-intestinal tract in the form of hanging vessels shaped like Greek amphorae. It’s fed twice a day and food travels through a mechanical and chemical assembly line and poops once a day. It satirizes the modern art world - “that most of it is crap; that the art world has finally disappeared up its own backside.” Yup, it smelled so we didn’t linger.


Then there was Tim, the tattooed man who says his body is his canvas, has spent 3500 hours since 2011 sitting on a plinth in MONA and has sold his skin to a German art collector to be handed over when he dies; Fat Car, a comment on our supersized consumer society; Snake, an entire huge room whose walls are covered with 1.620 images; and White House, a very beautiful interpretation by the Chinese artist, Ai WeiWei, of a building from the Qing Dynasty.


I can’t say that there was art I loved, with the exception of the WeiWei sculpture, but the creative bizarreness of it all meant there was never a dull moment. We took a coffee break in Pharos, a stunning restaurant with a huge white sphere in front of floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the river and then continued to work our way up through the 3 levels of underground galleries and then emerged, feeling a bit like moles on an acid trip, into the sunshine. There was an expansive lawn behind the building and we had lunch and listened to live music amid people sitting on beanbag chairs drinking cocktails.


These were books for sale in the gift shop.


By mid-afternoon, MONA-ed-out, we boarded the boat for the cruise back down the river to Hobart - and a different reality. Tasmania, surprising in so many ways!

If you want to know more about MONA, read this New Yorker article:


Posted by Jenniferklm 21:11 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Traipsing Around Tasmania: Episode 2


AE5F2FE6-730A-4466-99B5-BC01D4ECAF19.jpegWe had heard lots about Bruny Island, just off the south coast of Tasmania from Jim’s family, who camped there and from others, so it was on our list of Tassie places to see. There are other islands, Maria Island off the east coast, all national park and a reserve for threatened species, and King and Flinders Islands in the Bass Strait that we would also have liked to visit but Bruny Island was all we had time for and a chance encounter in the Melbourne airport introduced us to a new novel by a Tasmanian writer, called Bruny, set on Bruny Island so Bruny it would be.


Bruny is a mainly holiday homes and camping island so finding accommodation at short notice in peak season just for 3 days was difficult and when Orchard Suite popped up on Air BnB, located in the small coastal community of Woodbridge, just a short drive to the ferry to Bruny, we thought that seemed like a good compromise and we would just do a day trip to Bruny.

We drove south from Launceston and back through Hobart to Woodbridge on the south coast. Orchard Suite and Woodbridge, like our Launceston accommodation and neighbourhood was a total delight. The landscape got progressively greener - more rain falls here - and the rolling hills with small farms, orchards and vineyards were so lovely.


Orchard Suite turned out to be a pristine, modern self-contained studio suite connected to the beautiful main house by a glassed-over deck. In addition to the lovely interior, the view from the deck and the big windows was breathtaking. We overlooked a stunning garden and lawn that sloped down to an orchard and ponds of the big, rural property and then sloped up to green rolling hills with the turquoise waters of the ocean in the distance.


The landscape also included a constantly shifting ensemble of domestic animals and wildlife - chickens, ducks and a goose; native Tasmanian bush hens that are hilariously similar to roadrunners (and very noisy), wallabies and parrots. We settled in with appies and drinks on our little deck to watch the entertainment. We were so glad we borrowed our nephew’s binoculars!


Breakfast provisions were also included - eggs, cheese, yogurt, muesli, a loaf of homemade bread, butter, jam - and chocolate. Happy campers we!

The next day we caught the first ferry from nearby Kettering for the 1/2 hour trip to Bruny. As we now spend so much time on our own BC ferries, it’s always interesting to ride others. This one was similar to Saltspring’s Skeena Queen, designed to carry as many cars as possible but with a second car deck.


It was a direct shot to the ferry terminal on North Bruny - nothing else really there except a small cafe and a guy selling bags of local cherries in a landscape of dry golden fields with gum trees. Bruny is basically two islands, North and South Bruny connected by a long sandy isthmus, 89,000 acres. We headed to South Bruny and drove around almost everywhere.


Cloudy Bay is a stunning curve of sand about 7 km long and national park. We were surprised that you can actually drive on the sand and people camp on the beach at the far end. We encountered a couple who biked the whole beach. Nice! And the loo there had a lovely window with a view to the beach.


Bruny has a population of about 600. Even with a ferry that scoots back and forth about every half hour, development is limited we were told by the fact that the island has no water. Everyone has tanks for catchment and I guess water delivery when no rain falls. There is a lot of grazing land and dry eucalyptus forest with some inland logging. The island was inhabited by aborigines until European arrival but there is apparently a large community there that identify as aboriginal. There were a number of whaling stations there up until 1850 and along with logging, whaling was the main industry. It would likely not have looked as pretty then as it did when we visited.

We came upon an interesting historical site along one road, Two Tree Point where Cook and his two ships stayed in a bay in Jan 1777 and 1788 and again in 1792, William Bligh was also there to take on water from the creek. Bligh’s shipboard artist painted the site and it apparently looks much as it did then with the original two trees.


Now a holiday location with beautiful surfing and swimming beaches, tourism is a growing industry on Bruny and there are some interesting local businesses to visit. We had a fabulous oyster lunch at Get Shucked, which claims to have the only drive-thru oyster bar and visited the Bruny cheese factory, restaurant and wine bar.


Back at our little Orchard Suite, I went for a long walk in the hills around our neighbourhood.


Coming back along the coastal road, I passed a sign for “Doughboy Pizza” pointing into the little waterfront park. I discovered a tent setup with a wood fired pizza oven and a regular Friday night community event. As we had no dinner plans, we headed down and joined the throng of locals sitting at picnic tables or on the lawn and had a great pizza gazing out to Bruny Island where we had just spent our day.


Our second day was spend driving west along the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the Channel Highway (highway being a big exaggeration) to the delightful town of Cygnet, in the heart of the fruit-growing region. This was the most alternative colourful little enclave we have seen on our trip and was filled with old and young hipsters and back-to-the-landers and probably tech geeks. Lots of cafes and art galleries on its one main street and knitted installation art everywhere. Tasmania’s main folk, world and roots a festival happens here each year in early January. We just missed it.


Heading further north along the Huon River, we drove through Huonville, an unimpressive town, in apple country and circled back through Kingston, sadly missing the village of Franklin on the other side of the river which sounds worth a visit.

To the south and west of us was a vast area of wilderness and national parks full of rivers, lakes and mountains with only a few roads bisecting them. Our guide book says “Few places on earth are as untamed as the glaciated scenery of the west and southwest. It has one of the world’s great temperate rainforests, in places more impenetrable than the Amazon and probably never visited by man. It has some of the tallest hardwood trees on earth - giant swamp gums nearly 90 m high and Huon pines on one of the last wild rivers in Australia, the Franklin, one estimated to be 10,000 years old. After an epic battle over damming a river here in the 1980’s, nearly all of the west and southwest is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.” This includes Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and Southwest National Park. We would love to have seen some of this area too, staying in Strahan on the Macquarie Harbour but alas, we were out of time.

We had one more mission before we left Woodbridge and that was to eat at the highly recommended Peppermint Bay Restaurant, considered one of Tasmania’s culinary highlights, just down the hill from our AirBnB. We had a beautiful lunch, visually and taste-wise sitting outside in the sun looking across to Bruny Island. Jim had octopus with a sea urchin foam and I had a very delicious fave, pea and white bean salad and a lovely tart.


We wandered around Woodbridge for awhile before and after lunch, reluctant to leave this sweet, friendly and picturesque little community. Woodbridge has some lovely buildings dating from the late 1800’s and was named after an Englishman’s home town in Suffolk. One such well-preserved building is the community hall and across from that is the Woodbridge Corner Store with a great little cafe (with scones of course!) that we had already investigated. Run by a lovely couple who relocated from Brisbane, it clearly functions as a community gathering place. They served their flat whites in these great cups made from recycled coconut shells. Other than a couple of small shops and cluster of 5 Little Libraries, that’s about it for the centre of Woodbridge.


However, just down the road was an amazing little bistro to be found at the end of a dirt farm road. In fact, it is part of the farm and much of the food served is sourced from the big garden and fields that the restaurant overlooks. I had a piece of the best carrot cake ever and you can take a sculpture walk through the fields and orchards. There was also a great cheese place with a cafe but we had to give that a miss to head back along the coast to Hobart where we would spend our last two nights on Tassie and to a day trip to the very mysterious and intriguing Museum of New Art! Next blog.


Posted by Jenniferklm 07:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Traipsing Around Tasmania: Episode 1


We are approaching the end of our month in Australia. After two weeks in Tasmania, short flight hops back to Sydney via Melbourne, then a train south to Jim’s sister’s place in Wollongong. Although we knew nothing about Tassie prior to our trip and had not planned to go there, the fire and smoke situation on the mainland made it seem like a good option. Here’s what it looked like in Melbourne the day we flew to Tassie.


Tassie was a delight and we are very happy that that’s how our travel time in Australia evolved. We would really recommend it as a destination and one that requires some time due to its size and varied regions. We could have stayed on to see much more.


Here’s a brief outline of our time there, followed by more details below. A reminder - Tassie is huge - 68,331 sq km. The coastline is 3000 km long. We did not see most of the entire west coast, the wetter side of the island and much of the north. We stayed in Hobart, the port capital on the south east coast for a few days Jan. 6-10 at the start of our time on the island. We then picked up a rental car for the rest of our stay on the island and drove to Launceston, 200 km north in the Tamar Valley. Launceston was a good base for several day trips Jan. 10-14. One day we drove north up the Tamar Valley to Lo Head near Georgetown on the Bass Strait , a treacherous and windy body of water between Tasmania and Sydney that the sailboats in the famous Sydney to Hobart race must negotiate. Another day we drove the Tasman highway to St Helens and the Bay of Fires on the north east coast and a last day trip from Launie was to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Woolmer estate, one of 11 Australian convict sites and the site of the National Rose Garden and the charming town of Evandale. Leaving Launceston Jan. 14, we drove out to the east coast and Freycinet National Park at Coles Bay, stayed one night in the coastal town of Swansea and then continued south along the east coast through Hobart to the very small coastal village of Woodbridge where we stayed for a few days, again to do day trips to Bruny Island and through the Huron Valley. Then back to Hobart Jan.18 for 2 nights so we could go to MONA, the Museum of New Art, a full day’s experience, and then the next day, deposit our rental car at the airport and fly back to Sydney Jan. 20.

Hobart has a small airport that reminded us of Victoria’s. We took the Sky Bus into town and then called an Uber to get us to our Air BnB on Cascade View in South Hobart, uphill from downtown. Uber virgins no more, Joanne initiated us into the convenience of this transport and we used it a number of times in Hobart. Glad to hear it’s now available around Vancouver. She easy and cheap. And we had pleasant drivers. Our Hobart rental for 4 nights was a stone stable with a studio unit we occupied on the ground level and another on the second floor. Many buildings in Tasmania are built of a beautiful golden sandstone. Our rental was quite small but sweet, with a Dutch door and a big deck shaded by a grape arbor.


We really enjoyed Hobart and our residential neighbourhood, South Hobart, one of the oldest. Lots of lovely vintage cottages, plus shops, cafes, restaurants a short walk down the street. There were a couple of very good food markets, several trendy cafes, a pharmacy, gift shops, a great local pub with excellent food and some medical clinics, one of which I accessed for a little problem where I found the staff so welcoming and relaxed. It was a longish walk into town but except for Jim’s sciatica, we would have done it more than once and we could walk via the streets or follow the Hobart Rivelet through a park most of the way. We enjoyed the port area and its’ beautifully restored Georgian buildings and vintage boats. Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia after Sydney, defined by sea, mountains and the Derwent River. It’s actually wedged between steep hills on the river with suburbs on the slopes. We had a great view of Mt. Wellington from our place. Lovely to explore as it was in no way overwhelmed by tourists.


At the end of our Hobart stay, we picked up our rental car in town (they gave us a nice upgrade from a economy sedan to a Hyundai Tucson SUV) and headed north for our next accommodation in Launceston, the second largest town. I ended up doing all the driving and the quiet roads of Tasmania were a good place to get used to being on the left and navigating the many roundabouts that Australia is famous for. (Spoiler alert - I did manage not to have a crash or fender bender. I am wondering how I will manage on the right side now.) It was a beautiful drive through the Tamar valley and some small villages including Ross to Launceston, another town built up steeply up from the river, in this case the confluence of the Tamar and the North and South Esk. It also has lovely houses, more Victorian than Georgian. Our Air BnB, “Maggie’s on York” was a self-contained unit in one of these old mansions, with a private entry off a shaded courtyard and a second story bedroom and bathroom with stunning views over the city. It was one of those places that is even better than hoped for. The owner is a designer and it was really well furnished and decorated with interesting original art on the walls. Weirdly, the black leather and chrome dining chairs were identical to one I picked up in our local Sidney (not Sydney) thrift shop during our building process. Various provisions were left for us - crackers and local cheese, a bottle of wine, lots of pods for the coffee machine - and my Aussie chocolate cookie favorite, TimTams! It was a wonderful place to come home to after long day trips.


Jim really wanted to see the Bass Strait so our first drive was north was a circle trip , along the east side of the Tamar north to Georgetown and the lighthouse on the Bass Strait at Lo Head and then back to Launie on the west side of the river. It was very easy driving with little traffic and gorgeous varied countryside - rolling hills, some vineyards and farms mainly. We took lots of little side roads and saw beautiful rural houses and gardens. We were feeling ready for our mid-morning coffee and I had been musing about the possibility of a Devonshire Cream tea sometime that day, when we came upon the perfect little cafe just opening its doors. We had coffee and the best homemade ginger scones ever with cream and homemade jam, sitting on a sunny warm deck overlooking the river - and a nice chat with the owners. Doesn’t get much better than that.


At Lo head on the Bass Strait, a fierce wind was blowing and you could imagine the ships that had been wrecked on those shallow shoals. It’s a stunning spot with the big red and white lighthouse and bright white restored buildings and cottages set in golden grassy parkland. There is a rookery for penguins there but sunset is the time they return from the sea and we had to make the return trip over the Batman Bridge and down the west side to the Tamar to Launceston.


I was definitely not keen on driving at dusk or dark as there are warning signs about wildlife at those times and we saw so much roadkill. We talked withs local guy about it who said that the populations of some iconic animals like wallabies is at an all time high as they have no predators like the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger. Apparently the English tried on many occasions to introduce foxes but they were no match for the Tasmanian Devils who roam these hills. You might remember the Tasmanian Devil in Warner Bros. Looney Tunes. Terrier-sized, it eats everything & is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. The Aborigines knew it as “Taraba”, the nasty one & it apparently makes some pretty strange noises. It is extinct on the mainland due to dingo predation and it is subject to a Facial Tumor Disease that could decimate its’ numbers. We hope it doesn’t go the way of the Tasmanian Tiger that was hunted to extinction by European settlers in the early 20th C.


We had a couple of good meals in Launie. One was in the Seaport area at a restaurant, Mud Bar recommended by our rental owner. Oysters are big on Tassie and we were anxious to try them. Jim had raw ones, I like mine cooked, preferably Panko crumbed and they were absolutely delicious. Our second dinner was at a nearby pub called The Oak Tree. We both had the roast lamb special and it came with lots of perfectly cooked veggies. It was Irish music night and some of the locals were having fun.


Our second big field trip from Launie was to The Bay of Fires on the north east coast. This is a 30 km stretch of the finest white sand, turquoise water and granite boulders painted with a bright orange lichen. It’s thought to be one of the best beaches in the world. It was also not thronged with tourists the way we expected and we had a fabulous swim. Again, it was a lovely traffic-free pastoral drive & I managed to avoid oncoming traffic yet again.


Our last field trip, closer to home in Launie was to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage and convict site, the Woolmer Estate, established in 1817 and owned by 6 generations of the Thomas Archers and built and maintained under the Convict Assignment system that was in place here until 1840. These “ assigned servants” as they were called received their room and board in exchange for their labour & then of course cost the government nothing. Living and working on this large farm estate was hopefully better than other “assignments” they could have had.

Wollmers is also the site of the National Rose Garden, opened in 2001 with 2000 varieties of roses. Some were in bloom but January is a bit late to see this garden at its best. November is apparently the time. Nevertheless, there were some beautiful blooms and a gorgeous long arbor. The estate itself was interesting to wander around on as many of the service buildings have been preserved - the wool shed, the blacksmith’s shed, the apple-packing shed, the stables, etc. We mostly had the place to ourselves. We declined to tour the main house for an additional fee. It was actually quite modest in size, overlooking the river with a walled garden in front.


On our way home, we stopped in nearby Evansdale, a National Trust-classified town. It dates to the 1830’s and many of its Georgian building were constructed by convicts. As it said in our guide book, “being on the road to nowhere, Evansdale is cocooned in a blissful village atmosphere...”. It has Tassie’s largest country market on Sundays (dang!) & in February hosts the National Penny Farthing Championships as part of its Village Fair celebrations. Quite a site apparently - lycra-clad riders racing on antique bikes. it would be a nice place to stay for a few days.

It was a gorgeous little town with lovely buildings and cottages and the most perfect tearoom where we indulged in yet another Devonshire Cream Tea. We sat in a beautiful brick courtyard under trees and surrounded by flowers including the most stunning climbing rose I have ever seen but just growing from pots up against a brick wall of the cafe. I asked the name - Pierre de ronsard - and it apparently blooms several times a season. It’s on my list to plant.


Checking out of our Launie accommodation the next day, we paid an early morning visit to the nearby Cataract Gorge that is featured on the labels of Boag’s beer. Almost right in town, at the end of a residential neighbourhood, vertical cliffs rise from the South Esk River as it churns through a narrow gorge to empty into the Tamar.


At the end of the 1800’s, the Gorge was developed into a Victorian resort with various amenities but also an amazing walkway built into the cliffs. A chairlift also now spans the gorge. I followed the Zig Zag track from the main park area, a rocky path through bush on one side of the gorge, then across the Kings Bridge to the cliffside Cataract Walk that loops back on the other side to the park, about an 1 1/2 hour walk with lots of stops for picture-taking. The views were gorgeous and the morning sun was a perfect temperature. Jim had a stroll around the lawns where there is surprisingly a huge somewhat incongruous swimming pool, built apparently to try and prevent drowning deaths in the Gorge. There is no admission charge however to the pool or the trails and it would be a lovely place to come for a morning swim if you lived in Launie. I swam a couple of mornings with Joanne at her local outdoor pool, also completely free. Nice!


It’s great to be back to longer days unlike Australia now that we are further south. Very similar weather in Tassie to our summer weather. Lovely temp when sunny, often a little sea breeze and cool when its cloudy. But they have been experiencing unusual drought conditions as well. There are a couple of fires burning but under control so far and we have not had any air quality issues.

Posted by Jenniferklm 11:15 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Breaking News - We are Moving to Tasmania!

sunny 27 °C

So, we have totally fallen in love with Tasmania.


Mediterranean, semi-tropical climate, grow anything; moderate seasonal changes; long days in summer; 40% of the island is protected; very friendly people who say “sorry” more than Canadians; little urban sprawl, thinly populated; old-fashioned in a hip way; no direct international flights (yet), well-maintained empty roads, mostly 2 lane; Devonshire Cream Teas and even a street named Scone Lane (and scones are my favorite food); low real estate prices comparatively; adorable cottage architecture; lots of artists; stunning beaches, aquamarine water and fine white sand, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking; interesting animals like wallabies, wombats, echidnas (spiny porcupines and the only living mammal besides the porcupine that lays eggs), black swans, penguins and pelicans; birthplace of the Green Party; a craft beer and wine industry; diverse & local food culture; great fish and seafood; lots of sheep, horses and agricultural land; good thrift stores - Vinnie’s (St Vincent) Salvos (Salvation Army) and Op shops; lots of public toilets; good exchange rate. Selling everything and moving here. Heh, heh....



Other Buildings








Food, Wine & Beer








Thrift & Antique Stores




Civility & Humour


Posted by Jenniferklm 22:55 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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