Travel With Den - Tasmaina Road Trip 2008

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  • Travel With Den - Tasmaina Road Trip 2008

    Day 1

    Day 0 was all travel from Dubbo to Melbourne. The GPS got me through Melbourne with no hassles except for once telling me to turn left to get to my friend's place, when no turn existed. It was a little fixated with traveling on the motorways and didn't like me taking minor roads. The motorways through Melbourne are great, except they make my e-tag bleep alarmingly every few kilometres. I wonder how badly my account was hit.

    The day was quite cool, grey and raining, of course. It always rains in Melbourne. My friends and I loaded ourselves into the Mk2 Batmobile and headed into the Dandenong Range. We ended up at Grant's Picnic Ground, a small area surrounded by tall stringybark trees, a species of eucalyptus that is the tallest flowering plant. We saw a few kookaburras, many mountain rosellas, and my first wild lyrebird.

    Mountain Rosella by Den Whitton, on Flickr
    My friend Deb fed it by hand but I didn't, because I know how hard they can bite.

    Wild Lyrebird by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Wood Ducks by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    From there we headed to the very top of Mount Dandenong. It would have been really nice if the sun was shining. Even so, the view was pretty spectacular. Melbourne looks good from a distance.

    Melbourne by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Then I dragged my helpless passengers down to Emerald Lakes so I could put on my anorak and look at the Puffing Billy steam train. Today's engine was a Garrett!

    Garrett by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Letting Off Steam by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Puffing Billy by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Random Photos

    "Kangaroo Apples" by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Woody Wrinkles by Den Whitton, on Flickr

    Went Out for dinner, arrived back at the accommodations at 11pm.

    Notes from 2017

    -The Mk2 Batmobile was a 2005 model Toyota Camry with a 3.3litre V6 motor. It was very good.
    Mild mannered maniac.

  • #2
    WOOHOO! Road trip!

    Those birds are beautiful. So was the locomotive pushing the cars or was it running in reverse? Stream trains are wonderful.

    Looking forward to more.


    • #3
      The engine was running in reverse - there's no turntable at the Emerald Lakes end.
      Mild mannered maniac.


      • #4
        Omg the elusive Lyrebird!!!! I trekked all over the Minnamurra rainforest, heard the beasties but never caught sight.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Glassary View Post
          Omg the elusive Lyrebird!!!! I trekked all over the Minnamurra rainforest, heard the beasties but never caught sight.
          This one is female so she doesn't do the mimicry. I've only ever seen 2; heard them, like you, but almost never see them.
          Mild mannered maniac.


          • #6
            Day 2

            Woke up at 8ish.

            The ferry sailed at 7pm, so I had most of a day to kill.

            I didn't really want to go into the city so I headed back into the Dandenong Range. I went back to Grant's for a wander through the tall Stringybark trees.

            Stringybarks by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            After driving around for a while, and ending up at Emerald Lakes again, I couldn't help myself. I had to put on the anorak and headed to Belgrave Station.

            Belgrave Station at the top of the Puffing Billy line by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            While taking photos I was accosted by a lady who said she was visiting from Tokyo. She asked me all sorts of questions about my camera. Which is a Canon. From Japan.

            Puffing Billy by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            And then it was time for lunch. Mount Dandenong Bakery Pies. Eat them; you will not be disappointed.

            After lunch I popped in to the William Ricketts Sanctuary, a patch of rainforest bought by Ricketts and filled with his ceramic sculptures. He had this amazing way of blending ceramics and stone together so you couldn't tell where the joins were. Most of his subjects are Aborigines and The Bush.

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            It rained several times and I found myself sheltering under a ceramic arch.

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            William Ricketts Sanctuary by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            Then it was time to wander through the tree ferns to a nearby cafe for a long mug of cappuccino and to dry out.

            Tree Ferns and Stringybarks by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            Bush Bridge to a large cappuccino by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            Finally it was time to go, and so I headed off to Port Melbourne. A couple of hours later I was at quarantine, being asked if I was carrying (in order of dangerousness) firearms, ammunition, fruit, vegetables, explosives, dairy products or LP Gas. I wasn't, and they let me in to the queue. The GPS insisted I turn right, but I told it we were okay and put it to bed for the night.

            Waiting To Board by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            By 7.30 I was in my room without a view. It was very comfy and worth the extra cost for a single, except I got a 4 berth cabin to myself. BONUS!

            Room Without A View by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            Then I took the camera up to the lifeboat deck to say goodbye to Melbourne.

            Goodnight Melbourne by Den Whitton, on Flickr

            At 8pm I settled down for a nice meal just as they announced we were leaving Melbourne. The engines revved up and as the ferry started to move a bunch of happy diners suddenly went greenish and dropped cutlery, pushed food away, etc. Good grief! If they were like that now, I wondered how they would cope when we left Port Philip Bay and entered Bass Strait. I coped well, in case you're wondering. I don't get seasick.

            After dinner I retired to the bar on deck 10, ordered a Cascade Draught, and sipped the yummy beer while I read my book. About halfway through the fourth beer (or second pint) I noticed the movement of the ship had changed. We were going through the heads. Time for bed, so I finished the beer and headed for my bunk. Tomorrow I'll be in Tasmania.

            Notes from 2017

            -I paid for a single cabin because I didn't want to share with a bunch of strangers, but there are very few singles on the boat so I scored the 4-berth cabin to myself.
            -The Spirit Of Tasmania I was built in Helsinki.
            - 3 metre waves is nothing.
            Last edited by Den; 8th December 2017, 19:30.
            Mild mannered maniac.


            • #7
              Nice post Den.

              I was mesmerized by the rainforest and the sculptures. I could walk around there for a good long while.

              I had to laugh when I read that fruit and vegetables were more dangerous than explosives! Funny stuff that. I don't think I would held a straight face if it were me.

              3 meter waves.... I get motion sick very easily. I would never have survived that ship.


              • #8
                The William Ricketts Sanctuary is easy to lose half a day in. Almost every rock outcrop has something, around every corner is a sculpture, what looks natural often isn't. It's an unknown gem.

                And Australian Quarantine take their job Very Seriously Indeed. There are no fruit or vegetable pests in Tasmania and they want to keep it that way.
                Last edited by Den; 10th December 2017, 04:18.
                Mild mannered maniac.


                • #9
                  Day 3

                  The alarm woke me at 6am, about an hour before we were due to dock. I slept surprisingly well, considering that all the cabins around mine were all night making the sounds of "blergh! *flush*" I found the gentle rocking of the 3 metre swell quite soothing. I don't understand some people.

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                  "Flush" really doesn't convey the alarming sounds a ship's toilets make. It's more like "fluSUCKksh gurgle." Last night I heard the noisy and excited kid from across the hall use the one in their cabin. "fluSUCKksh gurgle. WAAAAAAH! MUMMY MUMMY! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Oh good, I thought. The toilet has eaten her. But alas no, it just scared the crap out of her. Which was handy, it being a toilet and everything.

                  I went up to the deck for an early morning constitutional. The night was still dark so I didn't take my camera. Night? Morning! Who invented 6am? The bastards! The eastern sky was just bright enough to see the horizon, and still dark enough to see the lights of some fishing boats making their nightly catch. The horizon and boat lights went up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down... I took a deep breath. AH! Time for breakfast.

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                  There were few people in the bistro. I don't understand why.

                  The ferry entered the Mersey River at 6.30, and by 7am we were dock-side. The car was on deck G6, so I knew I'd be the last to be called and therefore did not panic when the call came to go to the garage. I finished breakfast (dumped 1/2 a cup of bad coffee), wandered up to my cabin and finished packing. Eventually I wandered down to the car, drove off the ferry and straight into the quarantine queue. While I waited I turned the GPS on and waited while it freaked out and had us going sideways up Hoddle Street in Melbourne until it got its bearings. The AQIS officer asked if I was carrying (in order of dangerousness) fruit, vegetables, dairy products, animals, explosives, firearms or ammunition. No? Thank you, drive on. Time to find a good coffee, but I had to settle on a McCafe. Oh well, it was drinkable.

                  Ferry Across The Mersey by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Devonport Lighthouse by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Devonport Lighthouse by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  While taking the lighthouse photos I was accosted by a strange person. Now this happens to me a lot and I don't know why. This time it happened as I was lining up the lighthouse in the viewfinder..

                  "Excuse me!" she called as she jogged over.


                  "While I was doing my stretching exercises, God spoke to me and asked me to say to you 'Be at peace.'"

                  I stared at her, then gave her my brightest, happiest smile. "Thank you! Thank you very much," I said while thinking Please Go Away. "That's kind of you to... uh... pass on the message. Thank you."

                  She smiled and jogged away.

                  Good grief. I really am a looper magnet.

                  So, caffeined up and weirded out, I headed south along the Midland Highway. Devonport to Hobart is about 250km; a long haul by Tasmanian standards but a quick trip by mine. I took it easy and stopped at a few places to look at stuff. There was also a short diversion to Ross, which upset the GPS.

                  Ross Presbetyrian Curch by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Steeple by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  On Ross Bridge by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Ross Bridge by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Eventually I hit Hobart and headed to my friend Milan's cafe in Moonah. He has excellent accommodation upstairs, and Split Cafe ("A Taste Of The Adriatic") is downstairs. Milan's goulash, Nada's cooking and Paul's coffee and chai latte make staying there an exceedingly pleasant time.

                  That afternoon I headed up to Mt Wellington to get photos and to try to look windswept and interesting. I got the windswept part right, but instead of being interesting I turned blue

                  Hobart Panorama by Den Whitton, on Flickr.

                  Alpine Flowers by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  The slopes of Mt Wellington by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Afterward I went a relaxing drive through the country up the Derwent, and around New Norfolk, until dinner time.

                  Derwent River by Den Whitton, on Flickr

                  Milan has been trying to "teach you Australians how to eat properly" since he arrived here from Slovenia in the mid 60s. He might be succeeding with the goulash. I tried some.

                  "Guess what herbs and spices are in it!" he said.

                  "Uh. Chillie," I mumbled while trying not to breathe through my nose in case my sinuses turned inside out.

                  He looked surprised. "Well... okay. I suppose I might have over-done that this time. I'll make a mild one tomorrow"

                  His cafe is getting quite a few customers because none of them have heard of half the things on the menu. I know what they are because I've known Milan for years. One poor pair of uni students read down the list of steak dishes, lamb dishes, and fish dishes. "What's goulash?"

                  "Beef stew," said Milan.


                  "Spicey rissoles." I realised Milan had been hearing these questions a lot and had Ozzed up the answers.


                  "Smoked pork sausage with the right sort of fat that doesn't melt when you cook it."

                  The pair of students went a little pale. "Uh, I'll have a hot chocolate," said one.

                  "Me too."

                  Milan looked genuinely shocked. "But... but there's no meat in that!"

                  And so after an evening of good company, goulash, good coffee and Cascade Draught Ale, I went to bed.

                  Notes form 2017

                  - Milan's also does an awesome garlic prawns dish.
                  - And his kranskis are some of the best in the country because he knows all the good kranski makers. And he knows how to cook a kranski properly.
                  - This does not involve deep frying.
                  - "rissoles" are like flattened, pan-fried meat balls (for those who are not Aus or Kiwi))
                  Mild mannered maniac.