The Snail’s Trail 🐌

 

Welcome to Max the Snail’s trail.

Max’s journey commenced on 10th February 2016 and will take him journeying around our big beautiful paradise we all affectionately call OZ. Along the way his compadres, Aquaman and Queen B will be steered in all manner of directions on all the levels that life has to offer.

Short background information.

Max was found on Gumtree needing a new adventure and some new friends to accompany him. He’s a 1992 Holden Rodeo, with a 4×4 Isuzu 2.8 turbo diesel engine, and a custom made slide on camper. Aquaman and Queen B were in search of a mobile home to carry them around on their  journey. It was love at first sight. Max was purchased and a new facelift began. All mechanicals were bought up to date, and a ‘good old lick of fresh paint’ was added, along with copious amounts of additions to secure safe and wondrous escapades. Ben, the welder, created Max’s front rack to carry all our paraphernalia. Max is appointed with all a small abode requires. Complete with cooking, cleaning, entertaining and sleeping facilities, including a fab fridge and freezer for icy cold beers wherever we might find ourselves. Max, Aquaman, and Queen B are truly a match made in Heaven and Earth.

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Ben the welder from Redhead NSW with new custom made rack.

Our journey with Max started with a bang. Beautiful souls, Jason, Sandra, Terri and Derrick set us off on our journey with a superb farewell dinner consisting of 6 lobbies, lovingly prepared by Terri, a fab seafood curry by Jason and Queen B’s fav champers, 3 bottles of ‘Verve’. Suffice to say, it was a night of great love and frivolity. Max was hilarious vandalised by the unsurpassable Richard and his clever sidekick Yvette. Our first stop was in Mt. Kuring-Gai, where, yet again, we were sent off by Jay, Haru, Phoenix, Bowen and Ben with a memorable Thai feast at Infusions in Hornsby. Highly recommended.

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Our beloved motley gang. Thanks for an awesome time ❤️

Created by Richard and Yvette….the vandals😈

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Aaahh….’Our Family’…Love you guys💖….thanks for a beautiful and heart felt send off🎉

A over night camp, in the hinterland off the coast of Kiama NSW at Carrington Falls. The camping is free and an eco loo is provided. Very civilised. The falls are a must see and swim. We enjoyed a refreshing swim and I gave myself a much needed cleansing under the falls. We met a most beautiful young soul in the embodiment of Chris and his delightful dog Billy, who had just survived a jump out of Chris’s car, the day before, at 70 kph. A miracle dog indeed. Only sustaining a nasty gash above her eye.

Setting up for the night at Carrington Falls

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Chris and Billy…beautiful young man and his miracle dog 💥 🐶

Aquaman 🏄🏻  under the falls, and me👑🐝, having a much needed cleansing.

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The cleansing falls😇

Our journey continued down the South Coast to visit and say farewell to my parents. A night of playing cards and a seafood lunch at the Huskinsson’s pub the next day, to send us on our way only a few k’s away to Kristen and Ian’s gorgeous home in Sanctuary Point. Another great evening of catch ups and a taste of Ian’s unopened 30+year old Galway Pipe port, which was a treat😋. Thanks Ian. Special occasions call for special tipple, even if it was opened by accident……there are no accidents☺️…..only moments to experience.

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Mum and Dad getting stuck into a scrumptious seafood feast 🐡

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The Cooks…Kristen and Ian😘…..great night!!

Rosie and Charlie 🐶

Ian and Kristen suggested we travel down to Potato Point and stop in at the heritage listed small town of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba, beautifully nestle in the hills. Cheese and ice-cream tasting from the local producers….yum yum. We stayed one night at Potato Head. A quaint headland consisting of 8 streets and a sheltered little bay. We ventured out for a spearfishing jaunt late afternoon to see if we could catch some dinner. Aquaman came across a very large 3-4 metre fish from the Chondrichthye family, commonly known as a ‘shark’, yes, a bloody big one. Quietly going about it’s business. We hightailed out of the water and onto the rocks. Once we caught our breath and attended to the couple of grazes we sustained climbing out of the water, it was ascertained that it was a bronze whaler, not known to be aggressive, though if it wished to, it could cause you some serious damage. Aquaman is a very experience fisherman on all accounts, with over 200 dives under his weight belt. It was a first for him and most definitely, a first for me. There was no ‘catch of the day’ for our dinner, but a very exhilarating moment.

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Central Tilba🍦

The pub loos

The Candy Shop 🍭 great lollies…..though….beware the dutch candies, some of them pack a yucky punch.

Potato Point🍟, affectionally known as Potato Head.

Apparently one of my new nicknames. Blah. Unfortunately, there are no other photos due to one of the cameras malfunction. Boohoohoo😤😭 !!!!  We had a beautiful local lady steer us towards a free camping spot. Another old local came along and warned us of the rangers. We thanked him and kindly sent him on his way with our standard ‘duly noted’ response. What a dichotomy.

DAY NO: 7 

There was a strong wind warning on the weather app. so we opted to go straight to Uncle Col’s place in Bermagui a day earlier. Top of the hill overlooking the bay and the hinterland. Breathtaking!! Uncle Col and Aquaman decided to intervene on the rack with a supposed much needed bracing. Max was taken to Dave, ‘the old hippie from Bermagui’ welder no: 2 to reinforce its structure. Considering Max’s rack is carrying over 120 kgs,it was a good idea.

Views from Col’s place in Bermagui

Dave ‘the old hippie from Bermagui’ welder no:2🔧

Col is an amazing green thumb. Love his garden and home of 30 years. A jack of all trades and master of all.

Max settling in for a few days at Uncle Col’s

We arrived the first day charged with local oysters and a kg of local lake prawns for lunch, washed down with a few, I say, a few…. coldies. On the day went into the evening, including a walk to Col’s special spot on the cliffs at Turtle Rock.

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Three bunyips hiding in the secret spot with Turtle Rock in the background

Party time fun🎉.

Aquaman brought out his guitar for a sing-a-long. Col was convinced we were Hillsongers…..call it what you will…..it was a hoot of a night filled with love, laughter and fun. This is our type of religion!!

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Juanita Col’s partner. Horse woman🐴 and cook🍴 extraodinaire!! 

Juanita has cooked up a storm for dinners including locally caught Marlin and shark, killer smash and salads….well fed…we all are. Mwah Juanita💜

Juanita 🐴, Aquaman chillin’ and my fav cottage in Bermagui with a view of Mt. in the backeground. Home of the         people. 

It was discovered one of the ebike batteries was kaput😕. Don’t know how or why, ‘just was’. Ebay is my friend!! Found a replacement. Technology definitely has it’s advantages. Now waiting for it to arrive from Sydney, so staying in Bermagui a bit longer. In the meantime, phoned a long time friend, under a fantasy of mine, that she actually lived down here. Made the call, and to both our surprise, she didn’t live here at all, but happen to be visiting friends of her own……the stuff your mind can produce. Tracy and Scott are ‘shacked up’, literially, 15 mins out of Bermagui in Murrah. Murrah is on the scenic coast route to Tathra and Bega from Bermi. So worth the drive, as the following pix testify. All these photo are taken a stone’s throw from each other.

Cuttagee Lake on the scenic route to Murrah. Lake on one side and ocean on the other. Spot the property on the lake in the photo. It looks out to the ocean over the bridge. 

Max outside ‘The Shack’🏡. Tracy in the kitchen and the very unique sunken floor around the fireplace and lounge room with its glass bottle display.

Dinner and everything else by candlelight 🏮There is no power.

Thank you to the creative soul/s that built this beautiful homely space and to Tracy and Scott for sharing it with us . We spent a warm evening, eating and chatting to the sounds of the crackling fire and the nights fauna. The building is made entirely from recycled materials complete with large open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area, an extra bedroom and sitting room downstairs, a beautiful retreat upstairs, a larder/pantry and a workshop. The entire property is set on 37 acres of lush bushland,several ponds and cleared areas for cultivating fruit and veges. There is no signal in the valley, so no technology. Completely off the grid👍🏽.

Scott outside the ‘Shack’🏡. The view from the doorless loo and the loo.

Brekky🍯!!

On our way back to Bermi we stopped in on the Cool O Cream Gelati shop. Awesome unusual flavoured ice-cream and gelato🍨. All made on the premises. Absolutely delicious😋!! If you’re in this part of the world, it’s a must have.

Alice, beautiful Italian young woman with an awesome smile serving up a treat🍨.

Late afternoon dip with Gulaga, Mt.Dromedary in the background.  Gulaga people country. 

Have finally received an update on the ebike battery. Looks like we’re here for a few more days. Not a bad place to get stuck. Bermagui is truly a gem on the Sapphire coast. Here are more reasons why.

Bermagui inlet into the fishing port. My fav cottage with a view of Mt. Dromedary.

Last nights full moon 🌝 rising, and the headland, a stone’s throw from Uncle Col’s house.

The hot weather made it’s way down from the sweltering North, and gave us a couple of days of what is now left of Summer. Took the extra time available to start the mural on Max. It’s a piece in progress which I’m hoping to finish before we get to Tassie. Since being on the road, Max has drawn his fair share of attention, including someone having their picture taken in front of it him. Aquaman has been paying the ‘ferryman’ by helping around the place.

The first draft and Aquaman🏄🏻 helping Col pull out these very old succulents🌵.

Col truly has a magic spot. A short walk up the hill to find the Blue Pools. Manmade saltwater pools built into the surrounding rock formations. Tuesday so the pools in moderately calm conditions. the following day was a very different story, with strong seas buffeting the coast and filling the pools to the top. With waves crashing over and into the biggest of both pools made for an interesting and slightly challenging swim and snorkel. There is plenty of sea life to see under the water as its been left in it’s natural seabed flooring.

Blue pools on a calmer day and during high tide and bigger seas 🌊.

Ebike battery in hand, we said our ‘seeya laters’ to Col and Juanita. Time to keep moving. No real plan, apart from staying on the coast and traveling South. Drove through Eden and stopped near the best real estate…. the cemetery, over looking a pristine beach and bay North of the town. Had a cold beer and cold shower to cool off . Got given a couple of good tips by a local young aboriginal girl surfer, re: beer with a view and a camping area in Ben Boyd National Park, called, Salty Creek, 45 mins drive South. The turn off down to Salty Creek was a dirt track which was sure to test Max’s shocks.

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A quick cold beer 🍻 pitstop at the Boydtown Hotel.

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We took our time, though it took a bit more time than we had anticipated. Approx. 45 mins down the track and found the camping ground which consisted of not much more than 15 or so spots. No signal, off the grid, and a very short walk to the beach. Salty Creek runs into the ocean and is known for having a great surf break, when the conditions are ideal, which they were not, due to tumultuous seas. We set up camp and the evening was filled with visits from the furry locals, music and vocals provided by Aquaman🏄🏻 and myself. The morning after, we went to explore the beach and sighted a pod of porpoises🐬 gliding through the water, with the early morning sun lighting them up in the wave as they swam gracefully. A magical moment…. without camera in hand👎🏽. Sometimes, you just have to savour the moment and take a picture with your eyes. A sight I won’t forget in a long time. It’s a keeper!! Salty Creek is home to a prolific amount of bird life 🐦, Eastern grey kangaroos and a number of goanas. Very peaceful. Unfortunately, we did have to disturb the peace late in the morning to fire up all our electric equipment i.e. computers, camera batteries toaster by starting what is meant to be a quiet generator…. is there really such a thing? It wasn’t long, (10 mins) before we were approached by another camper who asked how long we would have it on. These individuals take it upon themselves to instruct you how they see fit…. according to them. I pleasantly, told him, that it would only be a few more minutes. He was still disgruntled. When you travel in this manner and are completely in the wilderness, as we were, these items have to be used from time to time. Anyway…. blah blah blah from yet another person of similar elk. We are bound to come across more of them. They appear to be all made from the same mould, so, from here on end, they will be known as, ‘Deputy Do Right’ usually accompanied by Mrs ‘Deputy Do Right’. whom I am sure, sends him to do the complaining.

Salty Creek resident and Aquaman🏄🏻 on the guitar 

Next day after lunch, it was time to water test the blow up dingy and little outboard motor🚣🏽. We meandered along Salty Creek at a massive range of 4 knots. Maximum speed. Completely in the wilderness, not a soul could be seen, except for a huge sea eagle fishing for his dinner as we were. He had a better vantage point then us, suffice to say, no fish were biting on our first foray out in the boat, who we affectionately call, the ‘Fish Hunter🐟’ hahahaha. Unperturbed, Aquaman🏄🏻 decided oyster hunting was on the cards. So after a couple of diabolical snags, including fishing lines caught around the prop, not once, but twice, we scored ourselves one whole dozen plump oysters for dinner.

Fishing on Salty Creek in the ‘Fish Hunter’🚣🏽. Aquaman🏄🏻 prying oysters from the surrounding rocks.

Meanwhile we’d met a charming young man, Jake, who was up from Melbourne with his girlfriend for a couple of days, chilling, before going back to uni. Jake had made himself a wooden spear, and though a vegetarian, believed that, if he was to eat animal flesh, he wanted to do it caveman ‘ugha bugha’ style. Aquaman🏄🏻 lent Jake the speargun, for some more efficient hunting of his own. He too, was unsuccessful, though enjoyed it so much, he was still hunting upon our return, 2 1/2 hours later.

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Jake the caveman with far more modern equipment.

Salty Creek in all it’s splendour. 

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Let the images speak for themselves.

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Being slave driven by Aquaman🏄🏻 for my supper of oysters. It’s a labour of love and everyone does their bit. Peasant girl at it again.

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Munching on the fresh Salty Creek offerings.

Oyster munchers to boot!

The butterflies🐛 we meditated to while having breakfast. And some of the locals 🐦.

Salty Creek was home for 3 days and 2 nights and so far, Queen B’s 👑🐝 favourite spot. We packed up Max🐌 and started back up the slightly corrugated dirt road heading South. A few kms down more dirt road to Green Cape Lighthouse still in Ben Boyd National Park.

Day 17

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Green Cape Lighthouse.

 

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Looking South towards Cape Howe🌊

Lunch at Disaster Bay.

Met another couple, Karen and Steve of similar age to us, who have also decided to jump of the hamster wheel. Sold all their worldly possessions and are making their way around Gondwanaland.

Onwards to Mallaccoota for a taste of civilisation and much needed supplies. We decided to dine at the golf club by recommendation from a local, but, $32.50 for a steak was reminiscent of Sydney prices, and we couldn’t come at that. Instead, we ate at Lucy’s Chinese, which wasn’t too bad. The portions were huge, so we doggie bagged the rest for lunch the next day. We ventured down yet another dirt road (there are going to be plenty of those, to be sure) to find a quiet spot to stop for the night. Near the Mallacoota airstrip at a place called ‘Turbulent Waters’.

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Chilly night requires a warm fire💥. Aquaman🏄🏻 keeping himself toasty with Max’s🐌 mural slowly coming to life.

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Sunrise 6.45 am at Turbulent Waters🌊

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Sun kissing💋 the cliffs.

On the road….again….down to Marlo where the Snowy Mountains River meets Bass Strait. Went on a couple of small walks endeavouring to find the Estuary walk, though, unsuccessful. Nevertheless it was a great spot for photo opportunity and lunch.

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At the mouth of the Snowy Mountains River, Marlo.

Looking South to Lakes Entrance.

Traveling down the scenic road to Orbost we came upon several free camping sites on the Snowy Mountains River so decided to set up for a couple of nights, but not before having a coldie and a much needed toilet break at Marshall’s Commonwealth Hotel in Orbost. A pub in it’s relatively original condition except for the obligatory pokies….of course.

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Marshall’s Pub🍻, Orbost.

We’d noticed on our way past said free camping sites, that most of them had already been taken. This was around 4.30 pm, but had spotted a small area for one campervan available. Fingers crossed, we headed back and sure enough, it was still vacant. A very tranquil spot by the river with plenty of fish jumping.

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These free camping spots are rare, which is unfortunate. Sure you can stop for free at a rest area along the busy highways with no view and some with few amenities. Not very nice. We are grateful that some councils are more than happy to offer some free spaces and after all, the nearest town is going to get your patronage when you purchase food, petrol and the like. What has been evident in our travels, is, coastal areas are quite restrictive and want to funnel you into expensive caravan parks. Ok, so they provide you with some of the creature comforts i.e. hot showers, toilets, dishwashing and laundry coin operated facilities, but at a hefty price of $50 a night for a non-powered site, that’s a pretty expensive 5ms of dirt space. Multiply that by a weeks worth, and you may as well be renting a house. Besides, when you’re self sufficient as we are, we do not require all the frills they offer. It may suit a great many people, but we are happy to rough it, so let us. Just having a rant!! Moving on.

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Much needed R n R after continuous driving.

There are no toilet facilities so it’s time for real ‘roughing it’ camping. It’s shovel time. You get my drift. Our nights sleep was interrupted by the constant loud mooing by several of the cows across the road. The next morning Aquaman🏄🏻 asked me my opinion. It sounded like a cow was birthing. This is how desperately horrendous the cows’ cries were. I went over to investigate, only to find that these cows were just plain bloody noisy and possibly requiring a much needed milking. This continued into the late afternoon until they must have been attended to, as the milk truck 🚚 arrived. Yes, we had set up right across the road from a diary. Afterwards, the cows were no more to be heard. We had a much quieter sleep that evening.

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Milk truck 🚚  pick up come to bring peace back to the area…..YAY!!

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The offending loud cow. Note the fullness of all the cows. They were not happy.

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A portion of the Snowy Mountains River between Marlo and Orbost.

The fish didn’t bite here either, though there was plenty of Mullet jumping out of the water the entire time we spent there. A few boats went past to add to the dull-set tones of the meandering river, the odd cars traveling by and of course the cows across the road. A very pleasant spot indeed. As we carry on South it is getting decidedly cooler. Jackets and warmer clothes are making their way out of the draws. Queen B 👑🐝went off in search of firewood for the evenings natural heater.

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Just love love a fire💥, but then, who doesn’t.

After 2 days of chilling, it was time to move on. We had a whole day of travel ahead of us, as we wanted to get to Wilson’s Promontory, affectionately known as ‘The Prom’ by late afternoon. I have wanted to visit The Prom for the better part of 20 years. Time to tick that off the ‘wish’ list. Really not into the whole ‘bucket list’ thingy, since it insinuates and reminds us all that we are traveling towards our death….don’t have a problem with that, nor do I need reminding. It is inevitable and I’m all good with that, just prefer to focus on living and ticking off the items on my ‘wish’ list. Now, instead of wishing, I am determined to make them happen. However they happen and however long it takes. I may not get all of them done, that’s for sure. As I tick them off, the list seems to get longer. It may have something to do with the fact that I keep adding to it. I’m always finding new and exciting things that intrigue me. but I’m digressing…..hahahaha

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The Prom taken in Toora from the scenic spot at the top of the hill.

Traveling through Toora on the road to The Prom we climbed up to the scenic spot to take a distance shot of The Prom. Mt. Wilson, Mt. Oberon, Mt.La Trobe, and Mt. Roundback can clearly be seen. We drove into the heart of The Prom all the way to Tidal River camping ground. We set up for 3 days and 2 nights. Most expensive site to date, $55 a night for unpowered site. The amenities were pretty good. The camp ground has a General Store which is well stocked, though there is no petrol stations in the area. The last petrol is available back up the road at Yanakie. Tidal River camp has 489 sites. Prices range from $55 to a pricy $800 a night for a house that accommodates up to 24 bodies. Tidal River also has a Memorial commemorating the commandos that were trained there during the 1940s ready to be sent for service during WWII. It is home to a plethora of wildlife both flora and fauna. Many educational school programs are conducted which include overnight walks and camps. Perfect for the young growing soul. So needed and beneficial for kids today. to reconnect with nature and their own nature, is invaluable.

We let our hair down, well one of us did, in the evening. Met a delightful older couple Robin and Anne from Ballarat, who were full of useful information. A well traveled duo indeed. We invited them to join us, which they did, along with a picky-platter of cheese, salami and crackers, wine and beer. Suffice to say Aquaman 🏄🏻 and Queen B 👑🐝hooked in.

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Camp Prom with Mt. La Trobe🗻 in the background.

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Anne mentioned the local wombats who arrived on cue. 

Anne and Robin were leaving in the morning so they bid us farewell and we decided it was time to have a musical jam, which we quietly did in the coolness of the evening. Our music attracted two young campers in the shape of Josh and Mark who asked to join us. We had a merry time for a while until….. dat da da ‘Deputy Do Right’ piped up and asked us to “decease” our happy merriment. It was only 11 pm, but, apparently, when camping, having fun and frivolity is frowned upon. I went to bed and let the 3 Musketeers carry on on their own. Next morning, around 8 am there was a knock on the door by an official gamely employed by National Parks, in his well pressed uniform, called Ranger Dan Rogers, whom I have affectionately named ‘Roger Ramjet’. Initially it was like being sent to the Principals office with words like ‘ inappropriate behaviour, no noise allowed after sundown and definitely no musical instruments to be played cooee of the campsites. ” “There are 50,000 hectares of wilderness out there. If you need to play them, play them out there” and on and on and on he went…. My polite replies of “yes indeed”, “yes of course” blah blah blah three bags full ‘Sir’ had him satisfied enough to ‘allow’ us to stay another night, according to his original threat of eviction. OMG I am so grateful for your kind consideration Roger Ramjet, LOL. Anyway, once he had done his duty and I had assisted, by allowing him to scold me, with no rude retorts, my calm and charming demeanour raised a smile on his face and had him gently ask was there any questions I may have. “No no…I have all the information I require. Have a good day now”. Honestly, we were not that loud at all. I asked Anne if we had been too loud and courteously apologised if we were. They were the closest to us and they were not disturbed by our little shenanigans. Roger Ramjet had exaggerated and may I say, straight-faced lied to me when he said that the entire surrounding campers had complained. Shame on you. I realised that, yet again, it was Mr and Mrs ‘Deputy Do Right’ that had there noses out of joint. Of course, the 3 Musketeers were safely tucked away in their beds in the morning and were not subjected to Roger Ramjets tyranny. ” It’s OK boys, I’m all good with it. Let’s just say ‘I took one for the team'”…..hahahahaha

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The 3 Musketeers Josh (right of screen) Mark and Aquaman🏄🏻

The next 2 days were going to be exploration days, since we only had a short time at The Prom and there is so much natural wonder to be savoured. It truly is a most magical place.

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Tidal Creek looking back at Mt. Round back.

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Tidal Creek looking towards the entry to the beach.

This magical place deserves more photos. I hope they do it justice.

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The board walks around the camp ground. Teatree water complete with steps for exiting after a cool swim🏊🏽.

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Tidal River running to Bass Strait.

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Eastern Spinebill and Crimson Rosella 🐦

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Pacific Gull 🐦

Took an easy to moderate walk around the point to Squeaky Beach. The walk takes you through rainforest and rocky outcrops and slowly winds its way to reveal the azure blue waters of the beach with white outcrops jutting out of the water.

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Norman Island in the distance.

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Rainforest walk. 

Green tree snake sunning himself on the path along with rock skink.

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Yellow Robin.

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Heading towards Squeaky Beach.

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Making our way down to Squeaky Beach for a much deserved cool swim 🏊🏽.

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Great spot for a dive/snorkel.

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Squeaky Beach.

Wombat busting a move.

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On the walk back, looking at Norman Bay and Mt. McAlister.

On our way back we met a lovely english couple, Adam and Kina, who had the braves to migrate to Australia 10 years ago with their 4 children whom have grown to adulthood. So inspired by our nomadic wanderings they were talking about doing it themselves in a few years. They were of similar age to us and agreed that this age is a great time to take the opportunity. Plant the seed and allow it to germinate with care and loving intention. All the best to both of you. P.S. wish I had taken a better photo of you both….but you know what you look like. Cheers._DSC0154.jpg

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Max🐌 happily nestled in the middle of the photo at camp Prom.

And with that, we say farewell to the ‘MAGNIFICENT’ Prom. Look forward to returning…..some day.

Only a short drive of 150kms to drive to Phillip Island for a night stay and experience the Penguin🐧 Parade. It’s been over 20 years since I was last there. On the way to said location, I was researching places to stay for the night and buying tickets online for the parade….when suddenly Aquaman🏄🏻 pulls Max🐌 over and exclaims that the surfboards had become loose with one possibly blown off the rack. Max🐌 grounded to a halt, I started heading back up the road. 300ms, 500ms and more. No sign whatsoever of a surf board. The equipment is so strapped down it’s unfathomable how one could have become loose and flown off, especially, since it was under the others. Scratching our heads we drove back along the road a few kms, still no sign. It was an amazing thing to witness Aquaman🏄🏻 deal with the loss of one of his favourite boards, so well. There was a few moments of silence, and then resignation to the fact. Funnily enough, back on one of our trips traveling North in January 2015, the same board flew off the Navara while flying down the road that leads to Narrabri NSW. It sustained minor damage during that calamity and was repaired. This time, it disappeared completely. Guess it just didn’t want to be part of our lives anymore.

With that behind us we entered the Penguin parade carpark 1 1/2 hours early. Made dinner had a beer in the carpark to looks and giggles, and watched the multitudes of people arrive the see the spectacle. A young Asian couple were so captivated by our Snail🐌, they were taking photos of it. I think we’re going to have to start charging for the privilege…..hahahaha. In 20 years, the place has changed dramatically, not to mention the cost. General entry is $24.50 each which, in todays terms, is ok. The once small platform seats that stood there is now several large aluminium sitting areas including VIP section at a costly price. The board walks are great to view the penguins at there burrows. It was quiet cold and we are warned on the instructions to wear warm clothing. Most followed this important titbit of information, while others did not. It was cold!! Aquaman and I were well prepared. No photos are permitted due to disruption to the penguins and their health. There is a 10 mins short doco to further inform you of the lives and habits of the smallest penguin in the world, the fairy penguin. It was a delightful event to witness again, especially if you are into viewing wildlife in its natural environment. Aquaman enjoyed it too!

Rugged up to the max.

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Some of the Penguin Parade revellers who clearly did not have enough warm clothing. Coles bags have a new purpose.

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Cape Barren Goose.

We did have a massive giggle at this. It was 10pm and time to find a spot to bed down for the night. I remembered Pyramid Rock was just a few minutes up the road, so, down a grey corrugated dirt road we drove at 30kms an hour, so roughness the road, to the end in the dark. Got up in the morning to catch the rising of the sun.

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Sunrise🌅 6.44am at Pyramid Rock.

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Pyramid Rock

Call off the search party folks, we are still alive and kicking along. Being out in the wilderness has it’s reception challengers, but, we are back live….for now. The following is what has been unfolding since our self imposed telecommunications blackout.

Upon leaving Phillip Island we discovered a ‘crack in the rack’, so it was decided to travel to the nearest welder. Mobile, welder no: 3, in the embodiment of, the very capable and pleasantly natured Stewart, and his welding partner Darren, whom we found on the internet in Langwarrin. Langwarrin was a very big part of my previous life, so you could say, it was my old local area in Melbourne. It was a stinking  38 degrees, and the whole process took 3.5 hrs. The very passionate and caring Stewart and Darren did a great job reinforcing the rack for us, making sure that this would be the last welding instalment for Max’s 🐌 rack….we hope. We had traveled along some corrugated dirt roads in previous days and there will definitely be more of those to come on our future travels.

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Stewart hard at work in Melbourne’s sweltering heat.

Darren cutting rods to size in the workshop.

Back on the road after much relief and a well deserved beer for all involved. Though it must be noted, how these two were available, able and willing to help us out on such a hot Friday is amazing. Lesser characters would have turned us away for sure, since it was the end of a very long and hot working week for them. Thank you guys. We very much appreciate your willingness and your efforts. To date, the rack is doing very very well.

Reinforcement done, we were on our way to the big city. It’s always a bit of a shock when you’ve been in quiet isolated natural wonders arriving in cities. Traffic and noise of all kinds. First stop was to catch up with our lovely friend Sim who also happens to be a dentist….we won’t hold that against him……hahahaha.  At least his not a lawyer, although one could say, they may be equally as painful. He knows we love him so he won’t mind my comments. I had an appointment to keep working on a nasty tooth of mine. More root canal fun or just yank the bloody thing out once and for all. We arrived in Essendon on Friday night and decided to dress up and go out for an awesome Thai feast in Brunswick. Yay!! After weeks of camp clothing and hairstyles, Queen B 👑🐝got a chance to frock and bling up, do hair,  and throw on some makeup, not to mention have a nice looonnngg hot shower, compliments of Sims apartment. We parked Max out on Alexander Rd, just outside Sim’s and although he had warned us of it’s bustling activities we decided it would be good enough for us. Well, apart from the city trams, which provide a very old fashion Melbourne auditory experience, one I have enjoyed and loved for all my years of visiting,   there was copious amounts of buses and trucks thundering down past Max 🐌 throughout the night, accompanied with numerous cars in the early hours of the morning. Busy, busy, busy road indeed. What made it most hilarious was the displacement of air which consequently moved Max about quite forceably . As we would be staying another night, we would find a much more suitable place to park. Oh, and, just to remind us that we were now back in the ‘big brother’ matrix again, albeit for a short time, we got stung by a $76 parking fine 1 minute, yes, 1 minute after the hour. Brown bomber strikes again. Did I mention the other fine sustained while driving on Victorian roads?? Allegedly, speeding at 104 kms in a 100 km zone. Not only is NSW a police state, it appears  Victoria is just as bad if not worse. Not what I would call a ‘friendly state’.

The inevitable arrived at 2.00pm the next day, and after much discussion about the tooth, I decided to have it removed. It took close to 2 hours to yank and pull this stubborn pearly white out of it’s bone socket. Normally, I wouldn’t prattle on about a dental experience, particularly since I can’t say I have ever had a bad one. More on said tooth later.

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Picture says it all.

Out to dinner again that night at one of the many restaurants in the local area for some yummy Italian. We moved Max 🐌 around to a quieter street, and had a much better non rocky nights shuteye. Next morning we drove around to Lincoln Park to fry up a hot breakfast before heading off to the Sydney Rd (Brunswick) Annual Street Food and Music Festival kindly mentioned to us by my beautiful friend Nicola. Nicola and Queen B 👑🐝 had met each other a few years back at a mutual friends’ daughters’ wedding, well, in fact, our dresses met each other and we became instant buddies. Still hot in Melbourne but pleasant enough to walk around and enjoy the local fare and the liquid golds on offer. Met up with Nicola, George, and were introduced to their close friends, Kerrie and Shamus, who were the original owners of the infamous cafe ‘Speedos’of  North Bondi.

Brekky at Lincoln Park and Sim showing self care stretchers to Aquaman🏄🏻 

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 Nicola and Kerrie.

Sydney Rd Food and Music Street Festival. Joey Small’s Bar.

Solar powered musicians on the corner of Sydney Rd and Phoenix St Brunswick. Aquaman 🏄🏻enjoying a Belgium White beer which had overtones of orange and coriander….go figure. It was delicious.

Festival fun mayhem….hot blurry day.

After a great day and a Turkish dinner at one of Georges’ favourite restaurant, we bid them farewell and drove to Port Melbourne ready for the next morning’s early departure on the Spirit of Tasmania🚢.

Melbourne greeted us with a cool but splendid morning to board the Spirit 🚢 with an approximated 45 mins queuing time. There are quarantine inspections prior to boarding so be warned, no fruit or veges to be carried across to the Apple 🍎 Isle. I kind of forgot that, and had about $15 worth of said no nos confiscated. No biggie. Except, I did wonder why, later on in Devonport that night while shopping in Woolies for the replacements, what difference is there between mainland Woolies products, and Tassie Woolies products? Surely, Tassie Woolies doesn’t grow all their fresh produce there? Don’t get me wrong. I get the transferring of bugs thingy over to the Island, but, I feel that it’s a bit of a rort. I was recently told that if you can provide your shopping docket they may allow you to keep your bought goodies. Worth a try.

Max 🐌 in the queue and Aquaman 🏄🏻 contemplating the waiting time.

Quarantine bombers and entering the bow of the ship🚢.

After weeks of free camping and roughing it in the wilderness, Queen B 👑🐝 decided it was time for a bit of luxury by having an ooh la la cabin on board. It was a day crossing, but there’s nothing like an awesome endless hot shower, plush dressing gowns, and a queen size bed in a ‘real room’ to have a nana nap in, watch a bit of TV. Armed with picky-platter goodies, beers and wine, we had a 9 hr party in our suite. I spent the entire day in my gown with a view through the large port hole at the front of the ship 🚢

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Parking Max 🐌 and eager to head to our cabin.

The Suite.

The Spirit 🚢 leaving the Melbourne docks.

Last pix before disembarking.

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Arriving in Devonport.

After having spent a stretch of time in our cabin we ventured out to mingle with the other passengers before disembarking. Met a couple of friendly Tasmanians who were full of ‘must see’ destinations. We arrived in Devonport around 6pm after a very smooth crossing on Bass Strait, even through the heads at Queenscliff, which are known for it’s turbulent waters. With no real destination in mind, first thing was to find supplies and head to a free RV friendly area. Spoke to a young french 🇫🇷 couple in the Woolies carpark, (there seems to be plenty of them traveling around) who steered us to Railton, 45 mins south of Devonport. This we did, and settled in for the night. Having arrived at night, we were unaware that we had parked right next to a train 🚂 track. 4 freight trains 🚂  that night. I counted them as they woke both of us. We had missed the RV spot, which was behind the pub. Oh well, at least we managed a hot shower at the pub in the morning at a cost of $2 for five mins.

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Traveling down towards Trial Harbour, we managed to catch a glimpse of Cradle Mountain 🗻.

One of the spots that was highly recommended was Trail Harbour. Remote, beautiful and with a guarantee of abalone and lobster🍤. A very keen Aquaman and I headed down to the west coast for a week of wilderness and hopefully fill our bellies with Mother Oceans 🌊 offerings. Trail Harbour is 18 kms from the town of Zeehan. A very quiet small town but with plenty of history. The turnoff was 2 kms North of the town, so, 16 kms was on corrugated dirt road. This time we opted to let some air out of the tires for a smoother and more comfortable ride. A wise choice indeed. We had assumed that this was a complete wilderness area, but to our surprise, there was a township. A handful of houses, some holiday shacks, some with residents. Though, that was all. No amenities, no shops, no petrol stations. Not even a bin for your rubbish. This was to be taken with you upon leaving.

‘THE TOOTH’. Ok, so I mentioned earlier that I had had a very long winded tooth extraction. It had been causing me quite a bit of schtick, but I felt, that after the ordeal it would take a few days to settle. I thought that panadol and ibuprofen would suffice as pain killers….boy oh boy….was I soooo wrong about that. This was now into it’s 3rd day and I was on a pain level of 9 out of 10 with pain killers merely bringing it back to a 7 and barely getting  any sleep. I persevered and forged on with day to day activities. All the while Aquaman 🏄🏻 suggesting that we leave to get to a doctor. Nearest one was 1 1/2 hrs away in Queenstown or 4 hrs away in Hobart. I refused. And, no, I wasn’t being a martyr. I still thought it would begin to calm down in a day or so. We were in such a beautiful place, I wanted to stay as long as possible. More on the dreaded tooth later.

Day 2 of our stay, we thought it was time to get the ebikes fired up and go for a burn around the tracks to explore the area a bit more. Trail Harbour has a wonderful history of being a small fishing harbour as far back as the early 20th century. There is a small museum at the top of the hill overlooking the harbour filled with historical photos, relics, and memorabilia, complete with resident chooks.

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Trial Harbour, looking back to the top of the hill with the museum and it’s residents in the prime location of the area.

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Resident pademelons ( very small wallabies) mum and joey. Very cute and curious. Living around our campsite. 

Aquaman 🏄🏻 on his ebike 🚴🏾  checking out the surf and the other cool campsites complete with it’s communal fire pit.

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The museum’s resident ladies🐓. 

One of the holiday shacks and Max 🐌 nestled in the wilderness that is Trial Harbour.

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One of the many drift wood tipees that have dotted the coast in NSW and here too!!.

Our campsite with the track to the ocean across the road.

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Typical seaside house🏠.

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On the 3rd day, (tooth still well alive and kicking) the seas 🌊 started to  ease, so mid morning called for a dip and a hunt for abalone and lobbies. We geared up and headed down to a small bay around from the campsite. After 20 mins or so Aquaman 🏄🏻 hit the jackpot and proceeded to throw the abalone towards me where I was waiting knee dip in cold water and rocks ready to catch and bag them. We found 18 in total and with a quota of 10 each we were well under that but decided to throw 8 back. They have to be no less than 13 cms in length, so anything smaller was tossed back into the bay.

Headed back to camp upon which a local couple Tony and Gillian, kindly advised us how to cut them up. While doing so, a young french 🇫🇷 couple (yes, another young french 🇫🇷 couple) pulled up and asked what they were and what we were doing with them. Aquaman 🏄🏻 suggested that if they were willing to help clean and cut them, they were more than welcomed to join us for a luncheon feast. They agreed. We, Camille and Claudia, enjoyed what was mine and their first experience of abalone. It was delicious. At $50 an abalone, which is absolutely criminal, they are a delicacy that few of us get to have. The abalone is a huge industry in Tassie, in fact, Tasmania provides 25 percent of the worlds’ supply. Non of which we get to enjoy. Well most of us don’t, considering the cost.

_DSC0577.jpgThe bay where the said abalone were caught. 

Abalone shell 🐚 in nearby rock pools  and cliff formations along the Trial Harbour coast.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 and his beloved Mother Ocean 🌊.

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The happy hunters and their ‘catch of the day’.

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Traveling french 🇫🇷 duo, Camille and Claudia feasting on abalone marinaded in honey, soy, black pepper, and garlic, lemon juice and coriander. Accompanied by a fresh prawn salad.Yum yum!!

Camille was so taken by the experience, Aquaman 🏄🏻 invited him to come dive with him to catch his own. So, after lunch the pair suited up and went back into the water on the hunt. They returned a couple of hours later with another quota full which were divided equally.

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Suiting up for the hunt.

The next catch and cooking up a fab chicken and abalone pasta dish for dinner.

Camille and Claudia said their goodbyes and continued on their 4 year trip around Australia and beyond.

Next day it was discovered that we had run out of petrol for the generator, and as I mentioned prior, no petrol stations in the town. It was cold and rainy☔️, so we had no means to keep warm or watch a flick to pass the time away. Definitely a first world problem, granted. Not to be beaten at all cost, I rode down the road into the town and nonchalantly looked around for a resident or holidayer. I was successful in finding one, in Pan Anderson, who lived there, and, who very kindly took me to her shed and gave me a 10 litre can full of petrol, even though, most, if not all the towns folks, were running low to power their own generators, as they had not had enough sun to keep there solar going. I gave her $10 for 5 litres, which was almost double the current purchasing price. She said it was too much, I said, under the circumstances, it was a fair exchange.

On our travels to date, all the folks that we have encountered have been so friendly and helpful. There truly is so much goodness in the world. We have experienced this first hand. It warms the heart, and goes a very long way to restoring faith with our brothers and sisters of our extended human family. Thank you so.

So sad to say that we had to leave Trial Harbour 2 days earlier than anticipated due to that horrid bloody tooth. On the 5th day, I was forced to pull the plug. We packed up and made our way to Queenstown in search of a doctor or dentist, even a pharmacy, so I could dose up on stronger pain killing pills. Arrived in Queenstown, 1 1/2 hrs or so later, only to discover that the pharmacy  was shut, no dentist there, whatsoever, and the only doctor in town was at the nearby hospital. Made our way there, only to find that we had missed the only doctor in town by 5 mins, and the possibility of him returning was very slim. I was told that this may only happen in case of an extreme emergency. OMG….I was ready to scream and chuck a total wobbly. I kept my composure after I was informed that the registered nurse would try and get him back before 6. Slept in the snail for a bit while anxiously waiting for a phone call. Got the call, saw the doc, got the mega pain killers and antibiotics. FINALLY!! Take it from me, you do not want to experience this pain. A dry socket is what I had. It’s like having an open wound complete with bone exposed in your mouth…..bloody painful!!

On the road again on our way to beautiful Strahan, further South on the West coast. Yay!!

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Lake Plimsol. 

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Mountain 🗻 views on our way to Strahan. Breathtaking!!

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Took Max 🐌 up a 3 kms hike on a pretty steep hill to take these 2 following shots. One is Round Mountain🗻.

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And, opposite view.

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Only a few kms out of Strahan.

Once there, we located an awesome RV friendly caravan park, Strahan Caravan Park, charging $9 a night, complete with hot showers, at no extra cost. This was by far the best value we had found so far. We decided to stay for 3 nights and go on a boat 🚢 cruise on Macquarie Harbour and up the Gordon River into the wilderness to view those famous Huon Pine forests and World Heritage listed water ways, which are only accessible by boat. Cost was $113 each, including an all you can it buffet with local offerings of smoked salmon. We shared our table with two other fun loving delightful couples, Sandra, Don, Beth and Greg. Both couples were a wealth of information having done the big lap around OZ. Lunch was full of so much more hilarious fun due to these four. Although a wee bit older than us, it was clear that they were genuine rule breakers, i.e. there were definitely no Deputy and Mrs Do Rights amongst this crew. Thanks you, you four, for all your open information and fun loving energy.

Did I mention that our departure from Strahan was delayed due to the starter motor failing. We took off 1 1/2 hour after the scheduled time with 2 engineers on board working away. The Cat cruised along on one engine only. With a second cat in tow to pick up said engineers once the job was completed.

The Cat and the other in tow.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 enduring wind and cold conditions to take in the view.

Engineering crew disembarking.

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Lunch with the happy crowd. Sandra, Don, Beth and Greg.

First stop and the glorious Gordon River.

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Huon Pines🌳.

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Sarah Island.

Views from Sarah Island.

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What’s left of the old court house on Sarah Island.

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View from Sarah Island.

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This is a small island off Sarah Island where convicts were left to fend for themselves as punishment.

Strahan is a very successful fishing village where most, if not all the farmed salmon🐟 is produced. Companies such as Tassal and Huon run huge businesses in Macquarie Harbour for national consumption and international export. As there is an equal amount of salt and fresh water in the harbour, both salmon and trout are raised. On our 6 hour trip with recommended company, Heritage Cruises, we also had two stops, one which took you on a half hour walk through some of the Huon Pine forests 🌳 and another, on Sarah Island. Sarah Island was once a horrible convict settlement of dreadful hardship. The Island had no trees originally and sustained several hundred inhabitants. What remains today is a far cry from those tyrannical days. The Island’s vegetation has beautifully returned with only small evidence of it’s harsh and sad past.

The following day Aquaman🏄🏻 took the Snail off to give Max a run on the beach. Ocean beach is the longest beach in Tassie stretching from Trial Harbour all the way down to Strahan. We could have done the 35kms from Trial to Strahan on the beach, but with the weight that Max has to haul, we decided that was not such a great idea.

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Max 🐌 on Ocean Beach and one of the lighthouses just round the corner from Hells Gates.

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On Ocean beach for a late afternoon fish🐟.

It is now day 8 of the ‘tooth’, I have run out of the minor pain killers with only a hand full of the codeine left. I took a walk to the local IGA for supplies only to discover there was non of the generic brand left, and 24 capsules of Nurofen is a whopping $13.79. Crazy price!! I made no purchase out of disgust. One thing to note in Tassie, is Woolies and Coles dominate the major city centres, (no surprises there) of which, there are not many. Apart from Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport, all other towns are dominated by IGA. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have always preferred to support Australian businesses, but, in Tassie, their prices are ridiculous. They have the monopoly, and boy, do they know it. At quite a few shopping forays for supplies, I overheard tourists exclaiming how dear items were, particularly, fresh produce. Herbs of any description were $4.95. While I am on my soapbox, I also found out that all our beautifully fresh produce that is harvested from these pristine waters go straight to the Asia markets, only a few of us get to experience it. I happen to be having a walk near the port and stopped to watch the cray boats come in after 3 weeks at sea, disembarking their catch. Beautiful large lobbies 🍤 crate after crate after crate, all bound for overseas markets. I tried to purchase one, and was told that it is illegal to sell them. What a rort, everything is all about profit margin in our present époque and there doesn’t seem to be an end to.

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The cray🍤 haul at Strahan Port.

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Strahan historical Post Office and Customs Office.

The way anywhere from Strahan is back through Queenstown. We found a free camp for one night at the Queenstown ‘Magpies’ AFL 🏈 ground which is heritage listed. It was around 4pm and a training session was in progress. I was aghast to see that the ground was clay with a sandy surface, with not one blade of grass in sight. ‘They grow them tough in these here parts’. We parked next to a lovely elderly couple whom we shared a small amount of abalone with. Tasmanians they were, though, had never tasted these offerings of the sea 🌊.

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The Queenstown Magpies in training.

Queenstown has a long history with mining, mostly copper, zinc and gold. The towns museum and service buildings are decorated with murals depicting bygone days of it’s harsh history.

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As picturesque as these pictures look, these mountain tops are scarred by the mining activity dating back over 50 years. Acid was used to denude the mountains of there forests to start the mining process. These forests consisted of old massive blue gums amongst other flora, not to mention the amount of fauna that would has disappeared. The trees are slowly returning, as you may notice in the AFL oval photo, though, no blue gums have been identified. To give a scale of the devastation, at the time, the entire area was layed bare, all the way down to the town centre.

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Historic scoreboard.

Time to replenish supplies, so Launceston was our target for a couple of nights before heading north to Sheffield for the Missy Higgins and the TSO (Tasmania Symphony Orchestra) concert on the 19th March at Skyfields. The camp was at a well known property named ‘Old Macs’, 10 mins out of Launceston. First things first. Now into my 14th day with the ‘tooth’, a dentist had to be found to deal with the problem, once and for all. A dry socket was the issue. Promptly fixed, $185 later and we were off day tripping into Launceston for necessities. OMG, finally starting for feel normal and no more agony.

Aquaman was in search of a bushman style hat which he found on gumtree for $100. The owner of the hat was able to deliver it to us in the wee hours of the morning on his way to work. 6.30 am in pouring rain, in the dark, there was a knock at the door. Exit Aquaman in his dressing gown and the  deal was done.

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A very happy Aquaman🏄🏻 with his new Acubra bushman’s hat.

Our first day of continual rain, since arriving on the Apple Isle, had us huddled up in the Snail all day watching movies. Old Mac’s was a beautiful property with ample space for RVs, toilet facilities, and a cafe. $10 a night and the owners are very accommodating and friendly.

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The pond at Old Mac’s.

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View of the RV campsite from the cafe at sunset.

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Old Mac’s pond.

Sheffield is a small beautiful town of murals. We stopped in to try Tassies’s famous scallop pies and sample some local yummy coffee, before heading to Skyfields for the concert and camping over night.

Could not have wished for a more perfect evening of weather, spectacular backdrop, the talented poet and songbird that is Missy Higgins.

Missy Higgins and TSO.

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Last evenings backdrop under the starry starry night with Mt. Roland 🗻 and our camping spot.

Aquaman 🏄🏻 frying up a big brekky and chillin’ after slaving over a hot BBQ.

We were one of the last few campers to leave except for the massive tepee occupants. In the process of packing up, the delightful Jeff and Penny, fellow concert attendees and campers, came over for a chat inquiring about the snail and sharing of their own travel experiences and last night. We have met many beautiful people on our adventures to date, though, non with the open-hearts of these two warm welcoming souls. Jeff and Penny invited us to their property in Triabunna, should we happen to be traveling through their area, at some point during our Tassie tour.

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Huge tepee  standing at the top of the hill.

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Hours prior, this field was full of campers. Max 🐌 and the tepee…..last to leave.

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In the fields.

Headed back to Sheffield for another one of those yummy coffees, a spot of lunch and take a longer look around this quaint town.

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On of the many murals, Sheffield is well known for.

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A Sheffield street with Mt. Roland 🗻 in the background.

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More murals.

Jeff and Penny suggested we visit Mole Creek which was only 45 mins away and found on the other side of Mt. Roland. A splendid spot in the Mersey Valley. A breathtaking drive over the hills and down to the valley. Went to the Mole Creek Hotel which has a dedication to the infamous and well and truly extinct, Tasmanian Tiger. While talking to the publican, he mentioned there was a gig on at the Marakoopa Cafe, a few kms further up the road. We arrived to find a handful of people sitting in a small grassy ampitheatre at the back of the cafe with Daniel Champagne playing awesome guitar on a purpose built stage. Amazing music with yet another amazing backdrop, complete with cows in the meadows, very surreal.

We camped at the Mole Creek RV friendly camping ground for 2 nights. $25 for an unpowered site per night, laundry, amenities, communal kitchen, firewood and firepits with Mole Creek trickling by. Cooked up a belly warming green chicken curry and met Andrew and Jan, a lovely couple from Queanbyan, camping on one side of our spot, and the charming brothers from the Blue Mountains NSW, Hadley and Wilson, flanking us on the other. We had a sing along around the fire that night while sharing our individual traveling adventures.

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The Mole Creek Hotel with it’s dedication to the Tassie Tiger and the AFL 🏈.

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Over the hills, and bridge 10kms out of Mole Creek.

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View from the other side of the bridge.

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The Marakoopa Cafe with Daniel Champagne hitting his straps.

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Fog burning off in the early morning sun across the valley.

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Andrew and Jan cleverly parked breakfasting in the warm morning sun ☀️.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 swapping fishing tales with brothers Hadley and Wilson.

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Lichen and fungi growing on large old tree walking along the forest trail up to the Marakoopa Caves.

The Marakoopa and King Solomon Caves are a short drive from the Cafe. Tours are run from 10 am to 3 pm on the hour. The tour lasts about an hour and though it is not as large and as long as some caves you may visit, they’re very spectacular and worth the effort.

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Rare twin stalagmite in glass casing for preservation.

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Fresh water stream flowing out from the cave and through the forest.

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One of the vaulted rooms inside the cave.

Jason and Sandra were on their way down from Newcastle for a weeks holiday, landing in Hobart the next day. So, we headed South with a view of taking an off the beaten track to explore The Lakes district up in the highlands. The Great Lake sits at approximately 1100m above sea level and attracts huge numbers of fishermen to the area for annual fishing competitions. The vegetation is typically Alpine and it’s very very cold. It was 3 degrees in the snail that night. Small fishing cabins dot the landscape in towns such as Breona, Miena, and Bronte Park. We took an unprecedented turn and ended up driving on corrugated dirt road for 30 kms West of the lake, which was not our original intention. With light fading, we pulled over in any suitable spot we could find to bed down for the night.

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Sunset 🌅 near Little Pine Lagoon.

Sunset 🌅 and a storm approaching from the West.

On our way South we took a detour to Derwent Bridge and a look at Lake St.Clair. The lake fresh water, is the deepest lake in Australia at 160m deep and 45km square. 15 km long and approx. 3 km wide. So beautiful this area was we stayed for 2 days and 1 night. Blessed with a sunny windless day I spent 8 hours by the Lake taking photos of the ever changing landscape with the odd walk back to the snail for lunch and cold beers. To date, Lake St. Clair captured not only my artistic eye, my imagination, but also, my heart. I whiled the day snapping away, meditating and in deep reflection. It has left such an impression on me. I took a 30 mins dip in the afternoon for a much needed cleansing. Yes….it was very cold to say the least, but, bearable and therapeutic. So worth it!!

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Lake St.Clair with Cradle Mountain 🗻 and Mt. Rufus 🗻

The Pumphouse 🏠.

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Looking back at the pump house🏠. the small white building to the left of the picture.

The pump house was built in the 1950’s. All the materials for the build arrived by a barge. Soon after completion, a storm blew the barge to the other side of the lake. The remains can still be seen today on the foreshore during one of the short walks around the lake. The pump house was left derelict for many years until recently, when it was renovated and is now a 5 star boutique hotel.

These shots are but a small representation of this beautiful place. I could publish oh so many more. The lake was at it’s calm best, hence my inability to withdraw myself from it’s mystical pull. Breathtaking!!

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Cradle Mountain🗻.

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Dusk.

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Full moon🌕 rising on the Lake and the Pump house🏠.

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Early morning walk before heading South to the Tasman Peninsula.

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Rivers Meet. On the walk around the Lake.

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The opposite view from the walk bridge. 2 rivers become one running to the lake.

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Green Rosella 🐦. Only found in Tasmania. 

From Derwent River/Lake St. Clair straight down, through Hobart and on to Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula to meet Jason and Sandra who were down from Newcastle/Cams Wharf for a weeks holiday. We dined at the Dunalley pub that evening, perched high up on the hill overlooking Dunalley Bay, which also offered free RV camping on the property.

Next day, Jason and Sandra, who were on a mission to capture as much of Tassie as they could, went off to Port Arthur and a day boat trip around Raoul and Maingon Bay, Cape Raoul and the Remarkable Caves. We declined and opted to have a sleep in and see how the day unfolded….as usual. After a rocky night in the van due to hectic winds, it was a relief to be greeted by a warm sunny blue sky. We ventured back down to Eaglehawk Neck to take a look around the Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen.

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The Tasman Blowhole and view looking back to Pirates Bay lookout.

Looking down from the Devil’s 👹 Kitchen and the coast of the Tasman Peninsula and the Tasman Arch.

Driving down the road to Port Arthur, with all the intentions of getting there, we spotted an opportunity to harvest fresh oysters for lunch and black mussels for dinner. This we did successfully. By the time we were finished the harvest and devouring those delictable morsels, Port Arthur was out of the question.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 searching for oysters.

Though reluctant to get in, a bad throw of the hammer to Aquaman had me going in after all. One, to look for the lost hammer, and two, aid in the harvesting of both oysters and mussels. No bathers handy at the time, bras and undies it was. Found the hammer, and harvested 2 dozen oysters and a couple of kilos of black mussels. Moulle Provincial, (my absolute favourite French mussel dish from childhood), for dinner, here we come.

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Lunch is served!

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Easter was fast approaching, and as is our way of traveling, we had no accommodation booked. The only plan that was apparent was that we would be heading up the East coast through Triabunna. We called Jeff and Penny, the beautiful couple we met at Skyfields, and took them up on their offer of visiting for a few days. Tasmania is small geographically and it really doesn’t take a lot of time to get to and fro, though, as mentioned before, can be slow going, depending on which road you find yourself. Triabunna was a mere 100 or so kms away, but there was quite a bit to see on our way North. We meandered up the Tasman Highway and took in the scenery.

Jason and Sandra were catching up with us there for dinner and some frivolity that evening. We found a free camping spot near Jeff and Penny place on one of the points on Prosser Bay, a short walk from their home. First things first. Shuck the oysters, debeard and clean the mussels. That was a task and a half.

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Jeff watching me deal with about 50 mussels as the sun sets.

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Dinner done. Jason and Sandra chillin’ around the fire 💥  the boys got going.

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Fire 💥 bug, Sandra.

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Moon 🌕 rising over Prosser Bay, Triabunna.

By the time the sun was barely over the horizon the next morning, Jason and Sandra were gone to continue their trip with only a handful of days left.

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Sunrise 🌅 over Prosser Bay and view from the Snail 🐌.

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The quintessential Tassie shot.

We spent a couple of nights in that spot until setting up camp at Jeff and Penny’s. They kindly invited us to the traditional Triabunna Fish Fry 🐟 on Good Friday, which we attended. Placed in a valley in the hills just of the coast, there was all day local music playing and a seafood feast. Great day and a great way to mingle with the locals.

The line up for the seafood feast and Aquaman 🏄🏻 and Jeff lining up.

Live local talent and kids activities.

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View from the top of the hill looking back at the Fish 🐟 Fry Festival.

I took a hike up the very steep hill to see what was on the other side. The following pictures are what I discovered.

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View North to Freycinet Peninsula.

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The town of Triabunna in the distance.

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A great day was finished off with a sun☀️ shower complete with a rainbow🌈.

To give our thanks to Jeff and Penny for being such beautiful and kind hosts we organised to cook up a feast on Saturday night. We still had abalone left in Max’s🐌 freezer, so that was definitely on the menu. Jeff and Penny invited several of their close friends to join us. Dinner was a night of divine food, great company and loads of laughter.

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Sunset 🌅 Easter Saturday.

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View from the snail 🐌. Jeff and Penny’s backyard.

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Jeff and Penny’s home 🏠.

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Easter Sunday Lunch with Jeff and Penny’s family and friends.

Suffice to say, Easter 2016 was a food fest shared with the most delightful people. Thank you once again Jeff and Penny for inviting us, not only into your home, but showing us a glimpse of your life. A very memorable time for us. One we have talked about and shared with our friends and family since. Much love, big kisses and hugs from Aquaman 🏄🏻 and Queen Bea 👑🐝.

Late afternoon jam around the fire 💥 pit.

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Grey Herron 🐦.

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Our spot in Jeff and Penny’s backyard.

As always, time to continue our journey. With only 10 days to go before heading back to the ‘mainland’, as Tasmanian like to refer to it as, we said our goodbyes to Jeff and Penny most reluctantly. Freycinet Peninsula and Wine Glass Bay here we come.

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Convict built ‘Spikey Bridge’ on our way North on the Tasman Highway.

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Opposite Spikey Bridge on the West side of Great Oyster Bay looking towards Freycinet.

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Swansea.

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Our campsite with sunset 🌅 over Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park.

We arrived just in time to set up camp and watch the sun dip. Next morning was the 11 kms walk around to Wine Glass Bay. Such a beautiful part of the world. Wine Glass Bay Beach rightly claims it’s position as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Simply stunning. After our very lengthy walk we braved a swim. Surprisingly, the water temp. was around 20 degrees, only the wind’s chill factor made it slightly uncomfortable upon exiting that clean, clear turquoise water. Truly divine 🙏🏽.

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Max 🐌 nestled amongst the pristine environment that is…. Freycinet National Park.

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Sunset 🌅 over the bay looking back at the township of Coles Bay. 

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Max 🐌  in the distance and Freycinet’s famous pink granite rocks.

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On the walk to Wine Glass Bay.

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Wine Glass Bay.

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Wine Glass Bay from the lookout.

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Grey Shrike Thursh 🐦.

Well…. that was a walk and then some…. the walk was finished with several hundred steeps steps back over the hill.

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Not even half way back up yet. 

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On the walk over to the bay.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 catching waves at Wine Glass.

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Still on the walk.

It’s been way too long since my last post. I have fallen way behind in regards to making notes and keeping up with our adventure. Everyday brings new discoveries, delights and pitfalls. The past few weeks I have spent time in reflection and haven’t had the inclination to be in techno cyber space at all. As I have said to my kids, family and friends, this is not a holiday. It’s definitely a break from the ‘norm’ (whatever that looks like), though, it’s a lifestyle change with all the unforeseen that that brings. I have had a desire for a very long time to downsize. This is downsizing to the extreme. It presents daily challengers, particularly when out in the ‘Never Never’, but I am jumping waaaayyyy ahead at this juncture.

We stopped at Bicheno to pick up supplies and delight in what was to be our last scallop pie on our way to St. Helens.

We found a free camping spot 10 mins north of St. Helens right on Jeanerette beach, proclaiming to be the number 2 beach in the world. Ridiculously clear turquoise water set amongst a white sandy beach, lush green bushland and it’s infamous orange algae rocks and boulders. A true piece of paradise. When you think you have experienced the best of Tassie, just round the corner there are more breathtaking surprises to behold. 2 composting eco-toilets available and the opportunity to stay for up to 48 days. That is amazing considering most free camps have a maximum of 2-7 days.

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Looking back towards the seaside township of St. Helens.

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Sunrise 🌄 over Jeanerette Beach. 

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Sunrise 🌅 over Jeanerette Beach 10 mins later.

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Looking back to our camp  behind the bushes with an awesome display of a late afternoon storm ☔️.

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Kindred spirits 👼.

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Just off to the left of this picture is the site where Aquaman and Queen Bea went Abalone hunting. It was a 2 1/2 hour dive with a successful catch of 20 Abalone, just within the legal quota…..of course.

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Queen Bea 👑🐝 with some of the yummy harvest. They may look yuck but they are soooo delicious. And at $150 per kilo, it’s a King and Queen’s feast.

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Juvenile Pacific Gull 🐦.

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I could post so many more images of this most magical place. It was truly breathtaking and though we could have stayed oh so much longer, 4 days had past and it was time to go forth and discover….more. Besides we had a date set to return to Melbourne for Kate’s 18th birthday celebrations and catching up with kids, family and friends. And, we still had a week left in to enjoy more of Tassie.

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One of many beaches that stretch along the coastline of The Bay of Fires. French navigator and sub lieutenant to Baudin, Louis de Freycinet, chartered these waters in 1802. Small fires were spotted on the coast , and to Baudin’s altruistic credit, returned to France reporting that he had no desire for land already occupied by native people.

We headed to Tomahawk on a recommendation, but when we arrived, it was blowing a mighty gail and it wasn’t much chop….at all. Sorry Tomahawk. So onwards to Bridport, which in contrast was picturesque and charming. We arrived at the only caravan park in the town, right on the inlet. Was greeted by Rodney who was the caravan park’s caretaker who put us in what he called ‘the honeymoon spot’, though not at all a happy chap to say the least. We spend 3 days there apparently breaking all the rules, according to Rodney, and after several gentle retorts from Aquaman of….’sorry mate, but we can’t read’, which has now become one of our many catch phrases, he finally gave up on us with his own comeback of ‘you really can’t read….can you!’ Suffice to say, our rule breaking only consisted of driving the wrong way down the one way road in the very empty section of the caravan park, washing Max 🐌, and lighting a small fire to keep warm…..what bad bad recalcitrant individuals we are. Tar and feather us and display our shame through the streets of Bridport!!….hahahaha.

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View from the ‘honeymoon spot’ of Anderson Bay, Bridport caravan park.

Shucking 4 dozen monster sized oysters we harvested off the side of the road yesterday.  Aquaman 🏄🏻 is holding one of the largest which was about the size of my 12 year old son’s foot. 

Very sore hands and wrists later we finished the shucking and the booty was promptly put in the freezer for future consumption.

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The very controversial Bridport Jetty that has been burned down several times by disgruntled locals until the local council gave up. It now stands a symbol of public solidarity.

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Looking back at Max 🐌 from the beach.

Our little private beach. The remnants of old shacks 🏠 that dot the caravan park with it’s rich history dating back to the 1930’s and sunset 🌅 across Anderson Bay on our last night.

Only a handful of days left in Tassie before heading back to the ‘mainland’.

We ventured inland into the wine region of Pipers Brook for wine tasting. We met the irrepressible Tim Crawshaw who thoroughly entertained us with his stories and knowledge of wines. We hit it off almost instantly, so much so, that Tim invited us over for dinner that evening with his Dad in Low Head. We found a caravan park at $10 a night for an unpowered site and discovered that Tim’s Dad’s house was a short 800m walk away. We laughed our way late into the night over a flaming bbq and copious amounts of delicious wines.

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Tim flaming up dinner.

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Tim’s Dad and Tim’s much loved quirky shoes which had us in stitches.

Low Head looking across Port Dalrymple to West Head and Max 🐌 parked at the lighthouse looking back across to Bellbuoy Beach and the Low Head caravan park where we bunked down for a couple of nights.

Beautiful heritage listed seaman’s cottages 🏠 of Low Head.

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Large chainsaw sculptures which marks the entrance to Low Head caravan park. Carved out of tall old dead trees. Commissioned by the owner’s late husband.

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Amazing artistry.

Due to having rushed through Launceston perviously, we decided we would stop in for the day on our way down the Tamar River and do some sightseeing that we missed a few weeks back.

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View of the Tamar River on our way South.

Bagpiper along the Cataract Gorge and the Gorge.

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Converted Tree hugger….yay!! In the Cataract Gorge Gardens.

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The gardens 🌺 and it’s beautiful early 1920’s rotunda.

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The Cataract Gorge Bridge.

Onwards to Penguin for the last remaining days in Tassie. True to it’s RV friendly form, we found a divine spot for free.

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North of Penguin looking back at our camp at Sulphur Creek.

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Low tide at Sulphur Creek Beach.

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Sunset 🌅 on the railway line at Sulphur creek.

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Arriving into Port Melbourne.

We somewhat reluctantly said our farewells to Tasmania with a promise to return for a more thorough exploration of this magnificent State. A truly amazing experience on so many levels. Tassie has won my heart for life and 6 months there would not be long enough for this Queen Bea 👑🐝.

Traveling back on the Spirit of Tasmania for a relaxing 9 hour journey we opted to have a  cabin again which felt like absolute luxury after traveling in Max 🐌 for the month. City life, and family to hold and enjoy for a week yet to come, before continuing on into the wilderness….again.

Aquaman 🏄🏻 had never been to Melbourne, so I was looking forward to showing him around my other adopted city. A trip to the Victoria Markets is an absolute must. The food and atmosphere is second to none. I shopped like I was in a french market with glee. A basket full of veggies and fruit at a very reasonable price, and a sumptuous lunch at one of the many food stalls entertained by the sounds of the Latin American band playing on the day.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 eyeing the fresh local seafare🍤 .

Two of the many food halls.

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The Latin American Trio 🎸.

Abalone and oyster feasting for Kate’s birthday on the Saturday night at Shelley and Phil’s home was loved and enjoyed by all. Sunday we were all entertained at Gold Class cinemas by ‘The Jungle Book’ movie and first class service of wine, canapes, and dinner during the film. A most wonderful and original idea for an 18th birthday 🎉 party. Thanks Kate, Shelley, Phil and Kobe for a great night!!!

Kate and friends enjoying her birthday 🎉 celebrations.

Inside Gold Class filling up on dessert….yum!

The family and ourselves stayed in town at Shelley and Phil’s apartment conveniently located in Bourke St. Melbourne CBD. The next couple of days were spent taking in the highlights of the city indulging in all the culinary delights that Melbourne is famous for.

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Lunch with the family.

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Old Melbourne tram on Parliament Rd.

Beautiful Victoria Arcade.

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Famous Flinders St. Station 🚂.

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View down the Yarra River and the MCG 🏉.

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Federation Square.

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Jay enjoying a coldie🍺.

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Phoenix presenting the Art Centre 🎨.

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The hallowed ground of AFL and Cricket….the MCG.

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Breakfast yum-cha in Chinatown with ‘ma main boys’.

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Sculptures in the park.

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Off to the Melbourne zoo for the day.

Madagascan Lemur.

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Mandrills

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Baby Asian elephant  🐘 suckling. Photo by Phoenix

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Orangutan 🐒.

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Adolescent male giraffe. Photo by Phoenix.

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Heron 🐦.

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African Lion.

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Hairy nosed wombat.

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The very efficient Melbourne Metro 🚃.

Tucking into ice-cream🍦.

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Queen Bea 👑🐝 enjoying a luscious coffee ☕️ at the infamous Pellegrini’s.

Time to spend some quality time with the boy. We choose to travel down to the Mornington Peninsula to Point Leo, about 90 mins drive from Melbourne for 3 days camping.

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Point Leo Sailing ⛵️ club house.

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Low tide in the bay.

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Sand art 🎨 by Phoenix.

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Rock platform on the Point Leo break during low tide.

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Low tide under the jetty.

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Low tide with Sailing club in the distance.

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Jetty at Flinders.

Only a few more days with the boy, and family and friends, before we were setting off again on our adventure. We dropped in for a couple of days with close friends Steph and Gail and there 3 beautiful children. The last of the Tasmanian oysters and abalone were consumed in a delicious seafood chowder/soup, along with Gail’s yummy seafood paella. A night of fun, games and loads of laughter.

 

Chillin’ around the fire💥 pit on a cold Melbourne night.

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Young wizard, Daclan, weaving some of his fire 💥 magic.

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Max 🐌 in the front yard.

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Trying to grab a last minute kiss and cuddle from Phoenix before he headed home at the airport.

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Through Shelley’s generosity we had the Kruger for a couple of days while Max 🐌 rested in her driveway. We went off to Melbourne’s big smoke for a night on the town staying at the Como boutique hotel in Toorak. When I went to check-in, the receptionist presented us with a awesome surprise. Our standard room had been upgraded to the Junior Penthouse Suite ( whatever that was). After traveling for 9 weeks in Max 🐌, this was a welcomed treat. It was a 2 storey room complete with kitchen, lounge, beautiful luxurious bed, 2 bathrooms, spa and sauna to be found at the top of a spiral staircase. Just too good!!!!

The Como’s junior penthouse………what luxury…..fit for a King 👑 and Queen 👑.

Of course, realising this could be a once in a trip opportunity, we stayed in for the night, broke out the champagne and had a party for 2…..as you would.

Bubbles all round. 

_DSC0381.jpgAquaman 🏄🏻 catching up on the local news and enjoying a complimentary bloody mary for breakfast before checking out. 

Thank you Como for a great stay. The room was beyond words and the staff were exceptionally friendly. Highly recommended.

We spent the day discovering Melbourne’s streets and culture.

 

Stainless steel cultures in the Como’s foyer.

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One of the graffiti art murals in Melbourne’s many lane ways. This one is in Union Lane.

Melbourne has approx. 72 lane ways. They provided access for delivery of goods to the many establishments and shops over the past 100 years. The history and folklore surrounding them is wide and varied. Remnants of their historical past can still be seen today and many of them have been turned into mini plazas occupied by cafe, restaurants and boutique shops.

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An example of Melbourne’s lane way conversions.

We had a last catch up dinner with Sim before taking the Kruger back, picking up Max 🐌 and continuing on.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 and Sim in deep conversation at the Irish pub in Bourke St.

Off back down the Mornington Peninsula to catch the ferry from Portsea to Queenscliff and spend some quality time with my  beautiful friend Belinda and her 3 gorgeous kids for a week or so.

Aquaman 🏄🏻 taking a nana nap after a long stretch of driving, and monstering Bel’s cat.

It was decided that Bel would have a much needed rest and some alone time so we gave her Max 🐌 for a couple of days while we played families with the kids.

The ever growing  kiddlets, and the young man.  

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Max 🐌 parked next to Bel’s house on a very convenient empty block at sunset.

We visited the cafe that Bel used to run….till it burnt down 😥. It was connected to a beautiful organic farm selling all manner of produce. Still available, in the deep freezer,,  was some of the home-made ice-cream, much to the delight of the ice-cream munchers.

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The view from the farm looking towards Port Phillip Bay.  

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The boys tucking into a whole lot of yummy ice-cream 🍨.

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Sunset 🌅 over the fields at Ocean Grove.

Fun at dinner and a jam session.

Going for a free dive/snorkel amongst the wreck of St. Leonards.

On a cold school night with a full moon rising, it was decided that we would all venture out to go squidding off the Portarlington pier.

Full moon 🌕 rising. The crew waiting ever so patiently for a bite and Bel, with the only catch of the night.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 getting a violin lesson, which was clearly hysterical.

The techno kids.

After almost 10 days it was time to pack up and move on down the road of the unknown with who knows what adventure lay ahead. It was a beautiful experience for all of us on all levels. We bid Bel and the kids a fond farewell and headed towards the famous Great Ocean Road. Torquay, Lorne,  Bells Beach, here we come….woohoo!!!….With Aquaman 🏄🏻 itching for a much anticipated surf, Bell’s was sure not to disappoint. It was recommended that a visit to the Torquay Surf Museum was a must. For anyone interested in the history of surfing, this is definitely a place to visit. It was filled with all manner of memorabilia, all kinds of surfboards from all the ages, a hall of fame, a great film worth sitting down to watch and much much more…..very cool indeed!!

Aquaman 🏄🏻 with one of his passions and the Silver Surfer.

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The many stories by famous surfing figures of the past forever immortalised on their favourite boards.

Drove to Bell’s beach only to find it in a rare, flat as a tac kind of way….a very disappointed   Aquaman 🏄🏻.

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Split point lighthouse.

A very small portion of Otway National Park.

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Lunch at the infamous Lorne Hotel, right on the point.

The Great Ocean Road drive on the most perfect blue sky sunny day…. with cliffs on the right side…. ocean on the left, with Pink Floyd playing on the iPod?…..it was heaven on Earth and at this point of proceedings, it was a magical experience, one neither of us won’t ever forget. Aquaman 🏄🏻 was ever so keen to go for a dive and catch us some seafaring tucker. Unfortunately Queen Bea 👑🐝 was not feeling it 😕, which was a real bummer, given the perfect day and the perfect conditions. Aquaman declined to go also. Given the nature of the sea and it’s myriad of creatures that dwell within, diving is not a solo activity.

Ok….so, yes it has been sooommme time since my last entry and although I could mention copious amounts of excuses and reasons, which, are all valid and true, I will refrain, less whom ever is reading this, start yawning with boredom. Let’s just sum it up as, travel of this type does not always lend itself to feeling the vibe.

Current date is the 28th September. I will do my utmost best to bring our adventures up to date.

Months and months of on/off  daily travel with all the ins and outs have had us slow down somewhat, so, it shouldn’t be too difficult or too time consuming to get back on track, so bear with me…..pleeezzz.

We arrived at Apollo Bay with the intent to stay for a few days which was our usual casual plan. Within minutes there, we found ourselves devouring one of, if not, the best pizza ever. Aquaman got talking to one the guys who worked at the restaurant, and before long we were heading down to the caravan park where he lived. We set up camp and Matty’s invitation to fish could not be refused, to top this chance meeting off, it was discovered that Matty shared a birthday with Aquaman, which happened to be in 4 days. Bizarre and totally uncanny. The boys had a ‘hoot’ of a wild time celebrating and partying with some of Matty’s friends.

This spot was amazing. Camped by the river, which meandered to the sea, with the hinterland backdrop and grazing cows in the nearby meadows finishing off the picture. due to a faulty thermostat in our fridge we were forced to stay for 11 days waiting for the new part to arrive via snail mail.

The following is a good representation of  our time there. We might have stayed longer though bad weather was on it’s way. We endured hectic winds for a few days at the campsite and a rising river which was due to break it’s banks. With the forecast of 120kms winds predicted, we retrieved into the neighbouring hilltop suburb for shelter for a night before travelling on.

Matty and Aquaman 🏄🏻 fishing in the late afternoon.

Max 🐌 by the river.

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Aquaman 🏄🏻 tucking into desired birthday 🎉 lunch🍕.

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Birthday 🎉 boys celebrating!!

Visiting one of my favourite types of building. The local lighthouse.

Full of local history including whaling 😥in it’s day (thank goodness those days are over) and Indigenous culture.

The Apollo Bay local and the park across the road.

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Apollo Bay at sunset🌅.

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The Marina.

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The fish 🐡 co-op at the Marina.

A multitude of wildlife in and around the river, and the homestead.

One of the 3 teepees at the caravan park and tranquil fishing from a canoe .

The most amazing ice-cream 🍨 shop. Winning multiple awards. Ice-cream was awesome. And the pizza place. 

Fridge part received and replaced. We were on our way……again, down the road to Portland to visit my good friend Stevie.

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 The Twelve Apostles on a very wet💦 and misty day.

We traveled to the Twelve Apostles hoping to get a look, but as you can see from the photo, this was all Mother Nature was going to allow us. Still spectacular though.

Stevie lived in the lighthouse keepers’ cottage for 8 years where he also has the little cafe there. The lighthouse is no longer manned like most lighthouses these days. They run on automation. The cafe is housed in the old stables. Beautiful blue stone line the walls with the original timber and old stable doorways were fitted with glass to let in the view. Very quaint and cute. After a terrifying incident, which, made the local newspaper, where Stevie was terrorised by a crazy ice addict in the middle of the night, he moved to Portland, his childhood town. We stayed with Stevie for over a week and managed to do the walk to Cape Bridgewater to see the seal colony.

The keepers cottage.

The lighthouse and the cottage were the main backdrop for the Australian film ‘South Solitary’ starring Miranda Otto and Barry Otto. Looking up the film’s title, google claims that it was shot in Tasmania. Some of the scene’s might have been, though if you research and/or watch the film, you will surely recgonise the cottage and the lighthouse.

On the walk to the seal colony.

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The cliff claiming to be the tallest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. Standing a massive 350 m high. Great view over Bridgewater Bay.

 

Lunch at the lighthouse cafe, compliments of our wonderful host. 

The bay looking back to the lighthouse. And the many wind turbines that dominate the landscape in the area. 

People may say they are an eyesore, and, yes, on some level they are, but, I would rather those than the alternative of raping the ground of coal and then polluting the air with it.

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A seal frolicking around at the colony.

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One of Portland’s historical buildings.

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Stevie, our delightful host relaxing at home after the long hours he puts in at the cafe.

Once again we said our goodbyes and headed to the Grampians for a few days. We found an awesome free camp which we had pretty much to ourselves with another called Dave. The three of us hung out for about 4 days in the misty cool weather around large fires and drinking a newly introduced brew called Stone’s Ginger wine, which I am sure some of you may recall or had the craziness to try at some point during your misspent youth…hahahaha. I didn’t care for it much, it reminded me too much of the medicinal syrup our Mum’s might have insisted we gulp down due to a cold.

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Max 🐌 at the Grampians campsite.

Mackenzie Falls on one of the many walks in the Grampians.

The Pinnacle walks. Not for the fainthearted.

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Mist rising.

Aquaman 🏄🏻 sitting at the top of the Pinnacles.

Once again, Mother Nature foiled us with the view, though, I loved it. The mist gave it a very eerie presents. Picnic at Hanging Rock came to mind. On a clear day, the view stretches across the valley floor into the distance of the Grampians….but not today.

A long drive to Adelaide through Horsham, over the border to Naracoorte and Murray bridge and on to the Adelaide hills and into wine country. We stayed in Hahndorf for a few days while tasting the local produce and copped a fine for our patronage. If visiting the area, beware the dreaded yellow lines.

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View of Adelaide from the highest point, Mt. Lofty 🗻.

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Yellow-cheeked honey eater🐧.

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Russ and Carol.

We stayed at Russ and Carols’ for a week before flying back to Sydney for Phoenix’s 13th birthday. It was awesome catching up with Carol after a long sabbatical from our friendship, but, true to good long standing friendships, we took off where we left off. Long evenings catching up on all the happenings and changes in both our lives.

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Saxon, their beautiful dog 🐶.

The weather was a little friendlier in Adelaide but not by much. At least we had escaped the blustery winds on the Victorian coast. Kindly dropped off at the airport by our hosts we landed in Sydney. It was good to catch up with the kids, family and friends.

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Phoenix’s birthday 🎉.

The weather got increasingly worse on the East coast, so we were forced to wait it out 4 days past our original departure, due to airport closure.

When we arrived back in Adelaide it was bitterly cold. We quickly decided that escaping through the centre of Oz was a sensible option. Packed up the Snail 🐌, and headed North for the  Winter.

Port Augusta was the our last port of call for reasonably priced supplies. We were warned by well experienced travellers that everything, especially alcohol, was extremely pricey in the territory, not to mention the rationing of quantities due to the Indigenous issue there.