Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tassie Adventures

When we found out that Easter and ANZAC day lined up well this year we decided to take advantage of Chris taking some time off to take Felix on his first official vacation and spend a week in Tasmania.  

After a blissfully short flight compared to our last flights (to the US) we arrived in Hobart to chilly but sunny weather.  We picked up our campervan and headed into the city in search of some good food.  Tasmania is known for their great seafood and produce and after eating approximately a dozen oysters a day and enjoying a bunch of great meals, we'd have to agree.  Hobart itself was a pretty small city with a nice marina right down town full of fishing boats.

We stayed close to Hobart the first night and went to check out the MONA which is basically some rich guys modern art collection.  It's free for anyone who lives in Tassie and is a point of pride to all of them so we figured that we shouldn't miss it.  It included such highlights as the "trio of brooms" above, which might rival our favorites "blue" and "white" from the MOMA in NYC.

Felix seemed to enjoy the museum, riding in the carrier, bouncing his legs and chatting away to himself.  He's never seemed so loud as in a museum where everyone is quietly contemplating some weird modern art!

The next day we drove a few hours up the coast to stay in Freycinet National park and check out the famed Wineglass bay. 

We hiked up the Wineglass bay look out trail while Felix smiled at everyone that we passed.  Several hikers commented that they would love to have someone carry them to the top as well but we didn't offer any extra rides.

After about a 45 minute trek up the hill we reached the look out itself and the view was well worth the walk.  Unfortunately Felix didn't seem likely to want to continue the hike for several more hours so instead of hiking down to that beautiful beach and back up we decided to head back to the campervan.

After Felix had a bit of a snooze we continued our tour of Freycinet national park and went to the lighthouse lookout.  Amazingly we didn't see a single boat in any of this large stretch of ocean, even with some very calm seas.

After that we headed to the local fresh seafood place to pick up the day's dozen oysters, plus try some local abalone and scallops and sample the local organic cider.

On our way back to the campground we managed to catch a stunning sunset over the bay.

The next morning we started off bright and early, well maybe around 9 am after we'd had breakfast and packed up the campervan, to make our way up the coast.

Felix took the opportunity to let us know that he'd like a break from the driving and so we stopped at a random beach along the road to walk around.

This was a huge beach that we basically had to ourselves, with crystal clear water and white sand.  Although the water looked quite tempting, the cool wind blasting dissuaded us from taking a swim but it was a great place to stop for a walk.

This beach also happened to be covered in seashells of all sorts.  We thought that maybe it was all beaches in Tassie that would be like this, but this was the only one that we stopped at that was like this.

After a relaxing stroll on the beach we stopped off for lunch at the Ironhouse Brewery which was conveniently right along the highway.  There we enjoyed some great beer, and probably the best meal of the trip which is saying a lot for a place like Tassie!

That evening we completed our drive to St. Helens and drove a bit further north to the Bay of Fires on the recommendation of our Tassie friends.

We had been advised that this would be an awesome place to camp and while we checked out some of the camping spots and completely agreed, it was too cold to be without some heat at night so we've filed them away for a future summer trip.

On our way back down the coast towards Hobart the next day we had another chance to stop on a deserted beach to take a walk and stretch our legs.

We got lucky that every time we stopped the sun was out and although it did rain off and on a bit during the trip we managed to stay dry.

The "highway" in Tasmania was for the most part a single lane road in each direction that winded and twisted along the hills and wandered out to the coast and back.  It was very common to take a quick stop alongside the road to see views like these.

We treated ourselves to a hotel room in Hobart for our last evening (hooray for a real bed!) and then checked out the Salamanca markets.  After eating our way around we happily dropped off the campervan and headed back to warmer Sydney.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Felix's First Camping Trip - Freeman's Beach

We took advantage of a weekend with perfect weather to test out camping with Felix to see how he'd like it and headed north to Freeman's beach, about 1.5 hours away on the Central Coast.
Before we got to the campsite we stopped by Frazer Beach for the afternoon.  While the boys went off in a futile attempt to bring back some lobsters for dinner, the girls (and Felix) hung out in the sun tents and enjoyed the day.
Unfortunately although they found some lobsters, all they had to show for it was the antennae that came off when they tried to pull them out of the holes that they were hiding in.
After we'd all had a bit of a swim, we headed back to the campground to setup the tents.  Felix had a bit of a play around to make sure that he was happy with the setup before we took a walk down to Freeman's beach.
Turns out that spending the day at Frazer beach was definitely the right call with the wind just blasting at Freemans.  Great to have the option of two beautiful beach so close together!
Once we got back from our sand blasting it was time to tackle dinner.
 Felix also made sure to show off his newest trick of sucking on his big toe. 
 Here's a close up in case you couldn't see it well enough in the first one - yummy!
 After dinner it was time for Felix to go to bed, and for the first time we weren't those people who were up late drinking, and boy is it hard to sleep when all of the other people are!
 The next morning dawned sunny and warm and we quickly packed up to head back to Frazer beach so that the boys could have another crack at those lobsters.
 After hearing how awesome the lobster beach was we all ventured over to check it out.  It was about a 15 minute walk over the rocks before we came to a beach that was all small, really soft pebbles, I've never felt anything like it before.
Even more exciting was this stretch of isolated beach that was behind the rocks and had some huge boulders and some shallow water flowing past.
 We setup the tents there and let the kids (and adults) play in the shallows.
 Felix's swimming lessons seem to be paying off and for the first time he was happy to sit in a bit of water, and even stuck his hand into the sand a bit to see what was going on.
 Overall we'll consider the trip a success, can't wait to see where we'll take him camping next!