Sunday, November 18, 2007
Burnie 16 – 18 November 2007
We set off for Burnie on a beautiful sunny Friday following the old winding coast road. So pretty just like you would hope - funny how it all feels a bit like Kiama though!
Burnie is a major industrial town that admits in its brochures to a pretty terrible toxic industrial scene in the 1980’s. “Bass Strait was red with pigment from the paint factory, acid rain etched cars, sulphur steam spewed from factory chimneys and chemicals infected our water ways.” They pride themselves with the rehabilitation plans that are in progress. Now, beside the pulp mills, they are promoting cheese, whiskey, milk and creative paper making. However it still has the feel of a small, industrial port city.
Enjoyed the Growers’ markets again, with a more genuine “home-grown” feel than ours. One lady stated how busy she would soon be as the berries were nearly ready. Bring them on!
Enjoyed a concert of a Scottish fiddler who chatted on about the history of the compositions.
Free camped on Cooee Point right on the water. The water is 10 metres away and we love listening to the sound of waves at night. 3 -5 campers every night. We are staying 3 nights and off in the car for drives. The weather has been really good, though cool by our standards - “cardi” on and off. Locals are commenting on how good it is!
Visited an 11 hectare rhododendron garden out of town and surprised that we didn’t miss them all. We were very impressed with the unusually long flowers of a pale wisteria in peak condition. The seasons are “later” in Tasmania, as we are discovering!
Politics are fundamental and dirty in Tassie and seem to revolve around pro- and anti- timber and pulp mills positions. The Greens have a strong presence down here and has an arch nemesis in the Timber Communities Australia (TCA) which represents the timber interests. The TCA have been mounting a venomous campaign in the local media against the Greens and the more outrageous claims include - every vote for the Greens will cost a person their job, or a vote for the Greens will reduce your superannuation, lower the value of your house and mean no roads, farms, mines or dams!! You can image a Green Monty Python type village in Tassie, where people wander around saying “mud – mud! You lucky bugger, I wish I had mud to build my house with, we only have biodegradable leaves and our house falls apart every week!”
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Ulverstone 10 – 15 Nov 2007
Woke up with just enough time to enjoy the ship gliding into Devonport Harbour. It was a perfect crisp sunny morning. The sun seems sharper, similar to when you go to the snow. Devonport looked very attractive with houses and town buildings gently set out on the harbour’s edge and masses of greenery. We explored the town by car and were very impressed with the bountiful displays of FLOWERS! It felt like the UK! The rhododendrons are still in full flower and lots of beds of flowers that would not grow so profusely in NSW! For those that care, how about lilacs, beds of cineraria, foxgloves, polyanthus, apple or cherry blossom everywhere?
We found a great produce market and delighted in purchase of large cheap bunches of rhubarb, bag of apples, Dutch Cream potatoes (never heard of them before), raspberry jam and an apple Linzer tart.
Drove east looking out for a quiet location so we can rest up and get some things sorted out. Happily stopped in Ulverstone which is turning out to be a great stop. We are right on the beach with a few shrubs in front. The weather has been mostly spectacularly sunny with a touch of coolness but really close to perfect. Took a drive along the old coastal drive to the next town, Penguin, and were amazed at the colourful flowers growing on the sides of the road and railway line. The rail is unprotected by fences and right next to the road and the flowers are planted right up to the track. There were even little arches of flowers leading to pathways across the line and reminded us of Cottington Green, Canberra. All informally done without OHS restrictions - couldn’t dream of it in NSW!
Peter did a U-turn into a house with an antique sale sign out the front and was entertained by the eccentric owner who Peter recognised as a controversial painter, famous for painting 1,000s of innuendoes in the style of Monet, Streeton, Whitely, Dobell etc. (that were fraudulently on sold by others as originals). He was a hyperactive and knowledgeable character with a house full of extraordinary antiques and paintings.
We stayed on in our camp spot in Ulverston for 6 nights, taking the car out for drives or going on long walks around the estuaries and long coastal areas.
We discovered, belatedly, after hearing noises like growling ducks at night, that we were in the middle of penguin rookery. So for the last three nights we were out on duty observing the delightful tiny Fairy Penguins. They are currently laying eggs and taking turns to go out to sea to eat leaving their mate behind in the bush beside us. At night they come out on to the lawn and cause havoc to some mobile home people in the park by partying under their home. Parties start at 1030pm! Even though they are shy they tolerate you watching them.
Melbourne 7 - 9 Nov 2007
Meandered down to Melbourne along the back roads and visited a number of country towns. Stopped at Euroa, which was a delightful town where Heather’s relatives had lived some years ago. Roses everywhere! Peter was very happy to find Euroa was the location of a bakery he had visited a number of years ago! We purchased a scrumptious apple strudel just like the one he got last time!
Stayed out the front of Trudy and Ian’s house for 2 nights. It is good to connect with family and interact with their kids again! Trudy made a lovely diner and Katie and Carl came over for a great vegetarian meal.
Katie was just finishing off the editing of her film and was looking more relaxed while Carl is still happy in his job. Katie was looking very good after a successful diet!
Spent our last afternoon at Port Melbourne with Katie, relaxing by the water in Jimmy, with the Spirit of Tasmania in the background.
Spent a lot of time boarding the ship but eventually we were comfortably on board. We were definitely impressed with our accommodation as our expectation was much less. The fear of sea sickness was unnecessary as we slept very well and the sea was quite calm. Lucky so far!
Wangaratta 2 - 6 Nov 2007
Leaving home was hectic! We decided to stay the night in the motorhome at home and head straight to Wangaratta in one day to be there on time for the start of the Jazz and Blues Festival. Very long drive - about 8 hours. We caught up with our travelling friends John and Robyn that evening and they provided a very welcome meal. Into the music! It is always hard to pick the best music as there are so many 1st class local and international acts to listen to. Enjoyed listening to Ian Date, George Washingmachine, Jim Conway, Ian Cunningham, Harper, Lily Dior, as well as international acts such as Judy Carmichael, Julien Wilson, Alan Brown, Jody Williams and Hamilton Loomis.
The weather was cold and grey, raining on and off most days! The sun shone for a day so we headed out to Baileys Winery and Milawa Cheese Factory to listen to jazz and blues with Robyn and John. Melbourne Cup Day was spectacular - sunny weather and lots of fun, as we went out to the Wangaratta Races. Peter again backed an outsider for a spectacular win. We parked in the bushy car park next to a little river and enjoyed Robyn and John’s company until dusk! Overnight the frogs made a big chorus that was soothing and reminded us why we like to camp out.