Brenton and I took a two week holiday this month; first holiday in for ever! On Tuesday 7th we flew down to Melbourne for a couple days and stayed in the Grand Hyatt. Whoa luxury. I was still in pain and recovering from surgery so didn’t get to do much. Wednesday I spent the entire day in bed in the room, watching TV and ordering room service, while Brenton went visiting. It was pretty indulgent but also felt a bit of a waste; spending a whole day in bed watching TV which is what I could do at home anyway.
I think it helped speed up my recovery though. Thursday we flew to Launceston and picked up a hire car. Thus began a week and a half of driving around checking out Tasmania. Launceston was like a country town. Isn’t it supposed to be Tassie’s second biggest city? Then I learned that the whole of Tasmania consists of 500,000 people. The whole state! There are four times as many people just in the city of Brisbane! We visited a seahorse farm (they had weedy seadragons!) and lots of wineries, which all had white wine and Pinot Noir. When Brenton voiced his disappointment there was no Shiraz, one lady directed us down a crazy dirt road to get to the only winery that made Shiraz, run by a brain-fried hippy with constant psychedelic word vomit. He called us squares. SQUARES. Us! We went down to Cradle Mountain and stayed at a lakeside lodge so we could check out some national parks and do some walks. We walked around lake Dove, which took three hours (I was pretty sore by the end of that). Brenton got pretty badly sunburned. So much for the Antarctic sun being weak and ineffectual (Brenton insisted on referring to Tasmania as practically Antarctica the whole time we were there).
The landscape around Cradle Mountain wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before; so different to the rest of Australia. Striking. Lots of red shrubbiness (coral fern?), underground rivers with sinkholes and craggy broken mountaintops which every now and then would suddenly break into lush rainforests or yellow grasslands. We saw two wild echidnas which was pretty amazing. There were lots of wombats around too; unfortunately the only ones I saw were dead on the side of roads 🙁
After a couple days in the west we drove over to Freycinet, which took almost all day, passing fields and fields of flowering poppies within arm’s reach of the roads we were on. Yes, there were lots of “Keep Out” signs but I just couldn’t get over it. One person told us they were monitored by satellite cameras, another by laser counters, so we didn’t get too close.
We stayed at Freycinet for two nights, taking a walk up a mountain with an amazing view of Wineglass Bay. By this point I wasn’t in any more pain at all. Hooray!
Drove down to Hobart and met up with some friends who took us to the MONA festival which happened to be on and is apparently a big deal in Tasmania. Checked out the Cascade brewery. Went to the MONA gallery which was spectacular. The day after we drove up to Port Arthur to check out haunted ruins and convict history. It was pretty cool. Also we didn’t get massacred, which was nice.
For our last day we drove to Bothwell to visit the Nant distillery, in which Brenton had invested. We got some pretty special treatment (had dinner in the restaurant as the only patrons and had four staff running around just for us). The dinner was one of the best I’ve had ever, and the courses were matched with different whiskies, which was fun.
Came home and went back to work the very next day, where there were 200+ emails waiting my attention. Yay!