As some of you may know, I have recently returned from a twelve day trip to Tasmania with my family. (And in case you know very little about Australian geography, Tasmania is the little triangle island at the bottom - not a country in Africa) We have been frequent visitors there for the purpose of catching up with good friends and family, however very rarely have we ever been able to see any tourist attractions as we are usually too busy attending to various events, travelling, and visiting people while there. This time though, we endeavoured to do as much "touristy stuff" as possible!
The beginning of our trip began early. Like, really early. Quarter to three in the morning early. We were all yawning and gathering last minute stuff in the dead of the morning on about three hours sleep. (I was too energized to get much more) Once on the road, some of us tried to snooze, but mostly we just listened to tunes and chatted all the way to Sydney airport, a two and a half hour's drive. Listening to the Piano Guys in the wee hours of the morning is a great way to pass time.
Arriving at the airport, we dumped all our luggage on the sidewalk, and let Dad and Jacob take our Suburban to the airport parking down the road whilst we hustled everyone into the terminal along with our ten tonnes of baggage dragging along behind us. Checking in at 6:30am was a nightmare, and I was just aching to see another Australian face, as it felt as though I had walked through the doors of a transporter and landed in the middle of China. It's hard to believe just how many different nationalities live in Sydney! After checking in all our luggage, we went through security screening with a lot less paraphernalia in tow, and sat down at the nearest café table to wait for Dad and Jacob. We had breakfast of hard boiled eggs and yoghurt whilst we waited. It made for light travelling with such an easy breakfast. I sat at the table kicking my foot and trying to download Myst on my iPod with the terminal's poor wifi connection until Dad and Jacob turned up. They slung down their breakfast quickly and we made our way to our gate where - miracle of miracles! - we didn't even have to sit down and wait, it was boarding as we got there. So we got straight in line and were on the plane without any waiting period! It was the first time we jagged it so well.
The flight was a good one, with very little turbulence. I feel like a veteran at flying now, even though the thrill of the takeoff and landing never gets old. We waited impatiently for our luggage to come around on the conveyor when we landed in Launceston, and breathed a sigh of relief when we got all nine bags and two guitars off it safely. My precious had made it!
From there, we dragged all our luggage - again - across the carpark in the bright morning sun towards our rental van, and Dad was cackling to himself as he unlocked it. Our rental vans in Tassie are always gutless, and Dad gets a kick out of the horn. He is always interested in how fast or how much grunt he can get out of it, and that generally makes the trip a little more exciting. We loaded up all our luggage in the back, slamming the lid shut so nothing would fall out, and got on our way.
Blackberries were in season, and we stopped at a park where there was a hedge of them. It was warm in the sun, and such pleasant weather, so we all ate carrot cake bought from the bakery and picked blackberries whilst we stretched our legs.
Eventually we made it to our accommodation down in Hobart, after three hours drive and a detour to look at Lake Leak (don't ever waste your time if you visit Tas). It was a comfortable two story house, with a balcony that you could see the beach from, and we had it all to ourselves. We had a great time settling in, and exploring every nook and cranny. We really did like that house, and we hope to stay there again someday. (Also we all liked the beds. Not too hard, not too soft. Big plus.)
The next morning we all got up and decided to take a drive around Hobart and visit all the music shops my brother Isaac and I had discovered with some friends on a previous trip. As a bunch of musicholics, we can spend hours upon hours in music shops, racing from every department and every instrument stand and back. Jacob got to try out a cello, Olivia got to play a grand piano, and I found the keyboard of my dreams! I was very happy to find the keyboard I'd like for my birthday, as I had been on the lookout for a good one for a long time.
After that, we bought KFC chicken, chips and gravy and ate that in a park. It was heavenly! Whatever Colonel Sanders put on those feathered beasts, he really knew what he was doing. Anyway! After our scrumptious, unhealthy lunch, we decided to continue in our unhealthiness and visit the Cadbury chocolate factory. Cadbury is the biggest chocolate brand in Australia, so of course, we were excited. Once we arrived and clambered out of the van, we were amazed and excited to smell chocolate wafting on the breeze. You could almost taste the air! It was as surreal as a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We had a great time learning all about how the chocolate is made and processed via a video tour of the factory, and we went out into the shop and stocked up on as much chocolate as we dared, as all the past use by date chocolate was much cheaper. I was delighted. What could be better than cheap chocolate?
We came home via a little town called Richmond, and visited a very old stone bridge, capturing some pretty photos. We also did a lot of wandering around the old style village streets, looking into shops and peeking into windows. We had a generally fun, laughing time as we made our own unique observations of the sights around us. We also went and explored a miniature town of early Hobart, which was a fascinating learning curve. We had a great time at that little town.
The next day we went to Port Arthur. Talk about a beautiful place! It's amazing how something so cruel and heartless at the time could become something so incredibly beautiful and fascinating.
We spent the whole day at Port Arthur, though we didn't even get to see everything. You could spend days wandering around that historic site, it was an amazing time.
The next day we spent visiting friends, and that was a lovely time. We went out and visited my friend and her husband's block of land, and stopped at a lolly shop on the way home and splurged some more. It was sooo good catching up with these wonderful people!
The next day we went to Bruny Island, and it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Our friend the day before told us, upon being asked what was at Bruny Island, "Uhh... grass... trees... dirt..." and he was pretty much right. However the beaches were quite spectacular, and we stopped at the sweetest little shop and had fish and chips for lunch. It was a heavenly little haven, and we were so relaxed and refreshed after the windy road upon stopping there!
The best part of the Bruny Island trip was probably the ferry ride over. We had to wait for it going, so Jacob and I got our guitars out, opened the van door and played a few tunes, for the spectators walking past. We received one round of applause, so that was pretty cool. We also sat in the back of the van with the hatch open eating paddlepop iceblocks in the sun whilst waiting for the return trip, that was very pleasant.
On arriving back at the house, everyone went and had a sleep whilst I walked down to the beach with my Bible and notebook. It was a pleasant time sitting down by the breezy shore on the grass, and that was where I wrote my previous blog post.
The next day we drove up to the top of Mount Wellington, and saw very little for the cloud when we got to the top. However the view on the way up was quite spectacular. We also went to the Salamanca Markets, where we looked at the variety of fascinating things for sale, and people playing musical instruments. Jacob - who hadn't left his guitar at home during any point of our trip - fetched his guitar and made $8 busking, which he was rather proud of. We spent the afternoon at our friends' place again, and went for a walk in the gorgeous afternoon sunshine through apple orchards, laughing and talking together, whilst watching our friend walk the dog, amongst other random antics that ended up with him going for a swim a dam (without the dog). It was a wonderful time together.
The next day we drove up the east coast of Tasmania to get back to Launceston. It was an exquisite drive through beautiful country, and I was very camera happy with my iPod the entire time. We stopped at a beautiful beach at one point, and walked along the sand collecting shells (yes, I still collect shells). We had a nice morning tea there and a pleasant break from the driving before getting back on the road. Storms were rolling over and it was raining for the majority of the four hour drive (scenic route). I also very nearly lost my temper when my Dad and brothers stopped the van to remove a fallen branch, and a rude person drive past without stopping or helping taking pictures of them. They were lucky I didn't have any rocks handy... *coughcough*
That afternoon we gathered a few things from our house and drove to visit our friends the Dodwells who lived an hour and a half away from where we were staying. It was so good to catch up with their family again, and we stayed the night there so we were closer to our aunty whom we went and visited the next morning before returning to spend the rest of the day with the Dodwells. We had a wonderful time, Bek and I got to chat for hours and all our siblings got to catch up with each other. It was pleasant weather, and we got to go for a lovely walk, and spend time relaxing in their beautiful home and company.
Which brings me to the last day, in which we relaxed that morning before spending the rest of the afternoon packing up to leave. We got the airport early, and found our plane would be delayed due to bad weather in Sydney. Joy. We had to wait around for a long time, in which Caleb bought a snake egg that supposedly should hatch (it did, and it was disgusting!) and everyone else lounged about or browsed the shops at the terminal. By the time we landed in Sydney, it was late, and it took the car parking place forever to come get us to take us back to our beloved Suburban. It was unbelievably good to get in our own car again (the seats in the van were hard!) Some of us snoozed a bit on the way home, and I blearily chatted a few of you in the wee hours of the morning. By the time we got home, it was 2:30am and we were all dead on our feet, collapsing into bed.
Thus, the end of our trip! We had a lovely awesome time, and made so many memories. It doesn't even feel like we went now, and it reminds me of how everything will eventually fade in this life. All we truly have to hold is memories. It pays to make good ones.