(Australia) Blackman’s Bay [Housesit with Crawford, Andy & Hamish] >>> Swansea
4/23- Fun day with the Family
4/24- Started our Tasmanian Housesit!
4/25 — 5/4- Enjoying the Petsitting Lifestyle and Exploring Hobart!
5/5- Hopping around Bruny Island
5/6- Touring the Tasman Peninsula!
Fun day with the Family
+ We had a very leisurely day with the family today. Julie drove us around town to point out some of the different shopping areas and hang out spots. We took Crawford to a park to go for a short walk. In his old age, he didn’t really travel too far these days. At the park, there were tons of ducks quacking around and then we noticed there was a large flock of parrots on the ground with the ducks nibbling on things and also perched all over the power lines! (Little Corella- a species of cockatoos). We definitely missed the extraordinary bird life here in Australia!
+ That afternoon we agreed to the kids’ requests to play Wii games, including some classics like Mario Kart, Wii Sports, and Donkey Kong! We had fun just relaxing and enjoying ourselves like the good ‘ol days. Plus the kids showed us a bunch of new stuff with technology and games that made us feel old. So beating them in Mario Kart and Wii Sports made up for it! Lol.
+ In the evening Peter and Corey traded “shouts” aka getting the next round of beer from the fridge. Then they watched Peter’s favorite AFL team play on the telly.
+ Then we all sat down to another delicious dinner. They had really spoiled us with their hospitality and these gourmet meals!
+ It was another early night for everyone since we all had to be up very early to head to the airport.
Started our Tasmanian Housesit!
+ Everyone woke up at 4 am and loaded into their Toyota Prado (like a Toyota Highlander back home) to drive 30 minutes to the airport. Once there, we dropped them off and said our goodbyes. Then we headed back home and relaxed with the pets for the next few hours in the house.
+ After a short nap, we got up and had lunch. Then we just played around on the internet for a few hours until we left to head to the grocery store.
+ The Australian and New Zealand grocery stores were essentially the same as far as inside setup and even logos. They just went by a different name. But we remembered which ones we liked from our previous time in Australia and managed to get everything we needed plus Corey’s favorite chicken wings and even some Vanilla Coke and Dr. Pepper! Woohoo!
+ That night Liz cooked a fantastic dinner and then we worked on our devices until after midnight!
+ Before going to sleep, we relaxed on the bed and watched some YouTube videos . Overall a really nice day!
4/25 – 5/4:
Enjoying the Petsitting Lifestyle and Exploring Hobart!
+ Over the course of these 10 days, we did a whole bunch of catch up work, research and planning! We literally spent almost every waking moment for the first 5 or 6 days sitting in the house in front of our devices working pretty much non stop.
+ Liz had the monumental task of looking through the past thousands of pictures we’d taken in Australia and New Zealand since the beginning of December and finding the best ones to upload to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. She also had to edit and format all of the blog posts Corey had written and then post them on the blog!
+ Corey was in charge of researching and planning for all of our upcoming travels. We normally only plan one country/destination ahead of where we are but Southeast Asia was such a huge area and had so many possible destinations that we really wanted to do our homework and have specific spots on the map that were important to us before we left. This meant reading tons of travel blogs and Lonely Planet books!
+ While we worked on all these things, we were lucky enough to be accompanied by 2 adorable kitties and sweet old Crawford. The pets were absolutely fantastic and we loved spending time with them throughout the day and every evening. They would always do something silly to make us laugh and brighten our day. We would occasionally take breaks to walk Crawford (sometimes the cats tagged along too! lol) or watch the cats chase around the laser pointer.
+ The house we were in was very new and certainly made for a lovely setting to spend the day. We had fun cooking different meals each day and enjoying the cooler Tasmanian weather.
+ We also had more Skype sessions with friends and family that we missed from back home. We were especially happy to get to talk to our friend Doug and his new bride Heidi right before and after they got hitched!
+ Occasionally we headed into town for things like the popular Salamanca market on Saturday mornings and to try out local hotspots like Flippers for some tasty Fish ‘n’ Chips. Corey also went over to the Tasmanian University one afternoon to play some Ultimate Frisbee with the college kids and teach them some new tricks.
+ One afternoon we drove up to the top of Mount Wellington which overlooked Hobart and the waterfront down below. It was situated at an impressive 1,300 meters high. That’s over 4,100 feet! And so close to town, it’s crazy! Although we were each wearing long pants and our rain jackets, we weren’t prepared for how cold it would be up top. It was freezing! We lingered for 20 minutes or so taking pictures along the boardwalk and taking in the view (that lasted hundreds of miles each way!) until our toes were almost frozen off! Then we retreated to the car and cranked on the heater for the journey back down the narrow winding roads.
+ When Corey was walking Crawford one day, he met one of the neighbors walking her dog. Bibiche was really friendly and later that day she invited us out to walk around the bush reserve with her and her dog. The trails were close to the neighborhood and we had a nice time exploring for about 90 minutes. Bibiche was so friendly and gave us tips for the rest of Tasmania and Bali! After having so many days of nothing but online work, it made for a really lovely afternoon break to go for a walk with good conversation. We exchanged contact info and hopefully we will meet up again one day!
+ We also visited the famous MONA museum where we browsed around for a few hours admiring the very unique artwork. Most of it was extremely odd and/or sexually explicit and it was definitely not our favorite museum. The only good thing was the admission price included an audio tour with descriptions or stories for most pieces that we could listen to.
+ After MONA we went over to Tasmania’s only Disc Golf course for a round of frisbee/disc golf! This course was Australia’s oldest disc golf course! (only from the 80s so not really that old) To our surprise, it was the largest course we’d ever seen! Some of the holes were 350+ meters long! Plus it had a lot of steep uphills and downhills. With limited daylight left, we had to move fast. Liz didn’t feel like running so she chose to stay back and read her book in the car while Corey ran around the course as fast as he could, just managing to get to all 18 holes just before it was too dark to continue. Success!
+ Although we didn’t manage to plan everything out until we reached Southeast Asia, we did make some award bookings to get from Hobart to Perth (via Sydney) and finished our research for Western Australia and our upcoming tour around Tasmania.
+ On the 4th, we got everything organized and tidied up for the family to come back home. Then we picked up some pizza and beer to treat them to dinner as they had already done for us twice! After they arrived back home we played a couple more games of Mario Kart with the kids that night before swapping stories about our time around Hobart and their holiday in Fiji.
Hopping around Bruny Island
+ Julie and Peter had been nice enough to offer the use of their SUV for a week after they returned so that we could tour Tasmania. This was very nice of them and would certainly cut down on the cost of exploring.
+ Today we would just be exploring a little bit South of Hobart and visiting Bruny Island. Bruny Island is known for it’s population of white wallabies and also the fact that it is an island, off an island, off an island!
+ Drove South to Kettering and caught the car ferry to Bruny Island. Once there, we unloaded and headed up to the North part of the island to check out the views back over the mainland across the bay.
+ From there, we spent the day exploring all over Bruny Island! We visited both National Parks the island contained, did some nice hiking in the bush, and climbed up to the top of the lookout located in the middle of “The Neck”. It gave us a great view over the sparkling water in every direction!
+ Towards the end of the day with dwindling daylight, we hiked out onto a peninsula and experienced some nice secluded wilderness and silence and then on the way back to the car we ran into a whole bunch of Wallabies! They would let us get to within a few feet before bounding off!
+ Now that it was already pitch black by 5:45 pm, we had to catch the ferry back over the bay and drive back to the house in Blackman’s Bay. On the way back we finally saw a white wallaby! These albino creatures are super unique and can only be found here! He was cuter than the other ones!
+ After the brief stop for the white wallaby, we raced back to the other end of the island to catch the ferry. Luckily we made it there just in time.
+ Back at the house we had dinner with the family and then drinks with Peter while we watched some AFL on the telly. Then we spent the night at the Coad Family’s House ready to start the full tour of Tasmania tomorrow.
Touring the Tasman Peninsula!
+ After some quick breakfast (and more Mario Kart!) we packed up the SUV with all of our stuff and said goodbye to the family as we set out to drive around Tasmania for the next 6 days.
+ Drove from Blackman’s Bay towards Port Arthur to start the journey. We wanted to see some of the spectacular coastline views but opted for the cheap budget route of hiking instead of taking an expensive cruise.
+ Explored most all of the popular hotspots of the Tasman Peninsula including: Eaglehawk Neck, the Tessellated Pavement, the Blow Hole, and the Tasman Arch. They were all cool and different in their own right and worth the effort to get out to them. The Tessellated Pavement was pretty similar to the Giant’s Causeway, just not quite as vertical with it’s basalt columns.
+ After visiting those, we drove for half an hour out along a dirt road to Cape Huay and did the Cape Huay walking trail. It was a nice 3.5 hour RT journey out onto the peninsula jutting into the remote waters. In fact, if you headed directly west from here you wouldn’t hit land until South America! That means passing right underneath Africa! Insane!
+ The hike was incredible and managed to give us some “Wow” moments which honestly can go missing from time to time these days after this much extended travel. Sometimes we hesitate to undertake 3-4 hour hikes if we feel they may not be “worth the effort”, but we were glad we did this one!
+ Liz saw a Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo on the trail in front of her. Then it flew off into the trees where should tried to get a good picture. This thing was huge! over 2 feet tall with a bright yellow tail! It was impressive how well this big parrot was so well camouflaged in the relatively bare trees!
+ When we’d returned to the car, we drove 2 hours North to Swansea and checked into our hostel, Swansea Backpackers.
– Ate at a random bistro in some sort of gambling hotel lodge. It was the only thing open in this whole town even though it was only 715pm! We split an order of “Parmi” (chicken parm) which was basically chicken parm with diced ham on top!
+ After successfully finding dinner we went back to our hostel for the night.