Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

Hobart in June – Winter – Day 3 – Monday

Day 3 – Monday

We agreed not to plan what we were going to do today, but I had this idea we should go north or the opposite direction to yesterday.

That meant our destination, following the hop on hop off bus route was to head towards the Botanic Gardens.

Bur first, Rosemary had expressed a desire to go down to the water’s edge to have a look, giving an excellent view of the coastline at what was called Battery Point.

I tried to get there, but there were no roads that specifically went down to the water’s edge, but we did eventually drive-up Salamanca place, where we had walked a few days before.

It was not the same, but it did give us time to look at the line of sandstone buildings that had been there a long time and had been repurposed as Sn arts precinct.

Of course, there was only one flaw in the plan, Rosemary was not able to walk any great distance, so we were limited to what could be seen from the car.

But…

There was really nothing to see, just cars parked haphazardly on the side of the road near an entrance that led down some steps, or a few cars in a proper car park too far away from the entrance.

I was not sure what to make of it other than it was an exercise-intensive effort just to get from the car park to the gate, and then you had to walk around the gardens.

It was all too much.

Government House was on the same road, but it was not open to the public, nor was it in sight of the road, do no photographic moment there, so we were doubly disappointed.

The next phase of our unplanned tour was to go over the Tasman Bridge, perhaps to see the other side of the bay that we could see from our apartment.

Except…

When we got over the other side we veered left to follow the Derwent towards Lindisfarne where there was a yacht basin and several yacht clubs, one of which promised a view while you drank coffee.

Only problem, no parking spaces.

A good idea, unable to be acted on.

Instead, we drove around the esplanade, and continued on our way to Glenorchy, after not being able to get that coffee with a view.

Back on the main road, we take the Glenorchy exit and doesn’t take long to get there, though, by the time we’ve driven through the suburban area, we’re back on the main Hobart Road.

It was a case of don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  We missed Glenorchy.

Change of plans, looking for that elusive coffee, we head for the center of Hobart shopping, Centrepoint, hoping in that center there will be a coffee shop.  Of course, it’s Queen’s Birthday holiday so it’s possible nothing is open.

In the end, we found a parking space nearby. And a Hudson’s.  Coffee and a toasted sandwich went down very well. 

So, once again, we didn’t get to the places we were hoping to get to.  This is what tomorrow, we’re not going to state a place to visit.

Searching for locations: Salzburg, Austria

Along with My Fair Lady, another of my favorite musicals was Sound of Music and having seen it a number of times over the years, it had conjured up a number of images of Salzburg in my mind, and with them a desire to go there.  We had been to Salzburg once before, an overnight train stop between Vienna and Innsbruck, an afterthought, but what we saw then was reason enough to come back later and spend several days.

A pity then the day we arrived, and for much of our stay, it rained.  But, like hardened travelers, very little stops us from doing anything, and particularly sightseeing.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza – The Pitter in a very well-appointed room.  Breakfast included, it was a great way to start the day.  The afternoon we arrived we went for a short walk to the old city passing through the Mirabelle gardens with the Pegasus Fountain, Rose Garden, and Dwarves Garden.  Later we discovered that the archway had been used in part of the filming of Sound of Music.

We took the Festungsbahn funicular railway up to the Fortress Hohensalzburg, dating back to 1077, and the largest fortress still standing in Europe.  We spent a pleasant afternoon wandering through the rooms and exhibits and then had lunch at a café, the Salzburg Fortress Café, that overlooked the countryside.  This was where we were introduced to Mozart Gold Chocolate Cream added to our coffee.

It led us to search for the product which we eventually found in a confectionary store, Holzemayr in the Alter Markt.  Not only sis we find the Gold liqueur there was also a dark chocolate variety as well.  We bought a whole box to bring back with us, as well as a number of other chocolates including Victor Schmidt Austrian Mozart Balls, a delicious chocolate and marzipan combination.

With another afternoon to spare we visited the Salzburg Residence which previously housed Salzburg’s ruling prince-archbishops.  We visited the reception rooms and living quarters, as well as the Gallery.  It is as ornate as any of the palaces in Austria, resplendent with furnishings and paintings.  After that, the visit to Mozart’s birthplace was something of an anticlimax.

But, what we were in Salzburg for, the Sound of Music tour, and the places we visited:

The Mirabelle gardens, where Maria sang Do Re Mi in front of the gates to the gardens.  We spent some time here before and after the tour, and also has a look inside the Mirabelle Palace, which is not open to the public as it is the city administrative offices.

Leopoldskron Palace where the boating scene was filmed as well as exteriors.  They were not allowed to film inside the place and were only allowed to use the exterior.  An interesting tidbit of information, one of the children nearly drowned.

Heilbrunn palace is now home to the gazebo where Rolf and Leisl sang their song, ‘16 going on 17’.  The interesting part of this was the fact the Gazebo used to film the scene was much larger than the actual Gazebo on display.

The walkway from the fortress back to the old city passes Nonnberg Abbey where Maria was a novice, and where the opening scenes were filmed.  A number of scenes were filmed here, including the song ‘Maria’ in the courtyard.  The tour only showed the exterior of the Abbey.

Salzburg lake district where panorama and picnic scenes were filmed.  Even on the dullest of days, during which throughout our tour in continually rained, the scenery was still magnificent.

Mondsee church, where the wedding scenes were filmed.  It was surprising just how small the church really is.  It was also a stop to have afternoon tea or some ‘famous’ apple strudel.

Needless to say, we watched Sound of Music straight after the tour and managed to pick out all of the places we had been to.  The only downside to the tour, singing along to the songs.  I’m sorry, but I do not sing, and some of those that were, well, I say no more.

Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

Hobart in June – Winter – Day 4 – Tuesday

Day 4 – Tuesday

We’re up early because there’s an informal breakfast put on by the resort at 9, with waffles, ice cream, and berries.

It also meant that we will be able to embark on an adventure a lot earlier than we have been previously, somewhere about 10:30.

Breakfast ends at about 10 and we take a few minutes to decide what we’re going to do.  The best option is the go-to Port Arthur, nearly 100km away, about an hour and a half drive.

The weather is great considering so far we’ve had rain and more rain, insidious cold, and snow, so for the day to be sunny with blue skies is as if the planets have lined up.

Nearly 100 km driving in rain to visit a penal colony 8n the rain was not a good prospect.

Along the way, there are a number of scenic points and intermittent views of the water which in places gives views out to sea, but it seems mostly over estuaries because the water is quite calm.

Only as we approach Port Arthur do we get to see the ocean stretch out to the horizon, and there are lookout points over rocks that display the end result of the ocean’s fury with land.

There are several viewing points for landmarks such as the Blowhole. These we will stop at on the way back

Along with a lavender factory and cafe.

Not far from that lavender factory is a Tasmanian Devil union, which seems to be an odd name for scything, but we don’t stop to see exactly what it is

Just at noon, we arrive at the Port Arthur site to be greeted by two overflow carparks, then a three-tiered carpark.  We try for the first, and closest, and get a park, more by good luck than anything else.

Good luck getting into the settlement other than through the edifice built across the whole front.  This is how you make people feel secure.  Not even an ant could get past it.

There us a restaurant, a Cafe, a gift shop, and entrance.  The cost is $45 for an adult, $20 for children, and $36 for us.

And from what I can see if the settlement, and the activities included in the admission price, we could not do any of it, so coming was not exactly a waste of time, we had to come to at least see it.

Maybe when Rosemary can walk again.

We spend time in the gift shop, I get a book that had photos of what we’re missing, sad then we head back.

Lunch at a seafood restaurant beckons.

On the way back we visit the Lavender farm, and, of course, pick up a few lavender items.

Hotel Dunally Seafood Restaurant, or so the sign outside says.

We saw this place on the way to Poet Arthur and if time allowed, we would check it out for lunch.

About 1 30 pm we go in.

Sadly, the locally caught Flounder is unavailable, no one had been able to go out and get it, so there is no fresh fish at all, not even the flathead.

Asked about the flathead, but it’s frozen seafood out of a bag and fried.  For a seafood restaurant, it’s very disappointing that it lacks fresh seafood.

We opt for the seafood bake, with chips and salad.  It’s not going to be fresh seafood, but maybe the closest thing to it, with prawns, scallops, and calamari, as well as fish pieces.

WE then decided to go back to Daci and Daci again, for another cake.

And got a look at some of the other cakes

Searching for locations: O’Reilly’s Vineyard, Canungra, Queensland, Australia

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards located on Lamington National Park Road, Canungra, Queensland, is a 15-acre vineyard with the 163-year-old historic homestead ‘Killowen’ set up with dining rooms and long verandahs, and extensive grounds that are next to the Canungra creek where it is possible to find Platypus and turtles while partaking in a picnic.

There are about 6,000 vines of the (white) Semillon, Verdelho and (red) Chambourcin, Shiraz and Petit Vedot varieties.

We visited there in December when the vines were just starting to produce fruit. 

That fruit is usually harvested in February and then turned into wine.
The setting for picnics is, on a warm Summer’s day is idyllic, where you can wade in the creek, or go looking for a platypus.  We did not see one there the day we visited but did spend some time sitting beside the creek.

Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

Hobart in June – Winter – Day 2 – Sunday

It is not raining when we woke, but it had been most of the night.  After a cold start, the weather, seems to have improved, if only for the time being.

Today’s expedition is the Cascade Brewery, which doesn’t have tours at the moment because of staff issues with Covid, but does have a bar and restaurant.  There is also a historic site, an old women’s prison, and botanical gardens.  I’m not sure how far we’ll get in the gardens, but the bar and restaurant is looking good.

We get there and decide on lunch first then a visit to the women’s prison.

Fail.  The bar and restaurant are packed and there are no tables left.  Time for a photograph of the old brewery, and move on.

Instead of going to the prison, just down the road, we go off in a different direction, to Mt Wellington, thinking it might give excellent views of Hobart.

Only a sign says the road is supposed to be closed, but it is not, so we and a dozen others are venturing up the road towards the summit.

The road was probably opened temporarily, but it is getting more treacherous as the snow appears and the road is wet.  We make it about 2km before deciding it’s unsafe.

The adventure continues because at the bottom of the hill we decided to go to Huonville, hoping to chance upon the apple orchards and all things apple.

It was an immense letdown.  There was nothing, except for one innocuous building with a sign out front saying it was open, but for all intents and purposes looked like it was completely empty.

Until you drove around the back to the carpark where there were hundreds of cars, and inside, totally packed.

It’s where everyone in Huonville had gone.

And not where we were going to get a distinctly Tasmanian meal.

We had to settle for another pie from Banjo’s in Sandy Bay.

Searching for locations: O’Reilly’s Vineyard, Canungra, Queensland, Australia

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards located on Lamington National Park Road, Canungra, Queensland, is a 15-acre vineyard with the 163-year-old historic homestead ‘Killowen’ set up with dining rooms and long verandahs, and extensive grounds that are next to the Canungra creek where it is possible to find Platypus and turtles while partaking in a picnic.

There are about 6,000 vines of the (white) Semillon, Verdelho and (red) Chambourcin, Shiraz and Petit Vedot varieties.

We visited there in December when the vines were just starting to produce fruit. 

That fruit is usually harvested in February and then turned into wine.
The setting for picnics is, on a warm Summer’s day is idyllic, where you can wade in the creek, or go looking for a platypus.  We did not see one there the day we visited but did spend some time sitting beside the creek.

Travelling after a pandemic: Destination Hobart

Hobart in June – Winter – Day 3 – Monday

Day 3 – Monday

We agreed not to plan what we were going to do today, but I had this idea we should go north or the opposite direction to yesterday.

That meant our destination, following the hop on hop off bus route was to head towards the Botanic Gardens.

Bur first, Rosemary had expressed a desire to go down to the water’s edge to have a look, giving an excellent view of the coastline at what was called Battery Point.

I tried to get there, but there were no roads that specifically went down to the water’s edge, but we did eventually drive-up Salamanca place, where we had walked a few days before.

It was not the same, but it did give us time to look at the line of sandstone buildings that had been there a long time and had been repurposed as Sn arts precinct.

Of course, there was only one flaw in the plan, Rosemary was not able to walk any great distance, so we were limited to what could be seen from the car.

But…

There was really nothing to see, just cars parked haphazardly on the side of the road near an entrance that led down some steps, or a few cars in a proper car park too far away from the entrance.

I was not sure what to make of it other than it was an exercise-intensive effort just to get from the car park to the gate, and then you had to walk around the gardens.

It was all too much.

Government House was on the same road, but it was not open to the public, nor was it in sight of the road, do no photographic moment there, so we were doubly disappointed.

The next phase of our unplanned tour was to go over the Tasman Bridge, perhaps to see the other side of the bay that we could see from our apartment.

Except…

When we got over the other side we veered left to follow the Derwent towards Lindisfarne where there was a yacht basin and several yacht clubs, one of which promised a view while you drank coffee.

Only problem, no parking spaces.

A good idea, unable to be acted on.

Instead, we drove around the esplanade, and continued on our way to Glenorchy, after not being able to get that coffee with a view.

Back on the main road, we take the Glenorchy exit and doesn’t take long to get there, though, by the time we’ve driven through the suburban area, we’re back on the main Hobart Road.

It was a case of don’t blink or you’ll miss it.  We missed Glenorchy.

Change of plans, looking for that elusive coffee, we head for the center of Hobart shopping, Centrepoint, hoping in that center there will be a coffee shop.  Of course, it’s Queen’s Birthday holiday so it’s possible nothing is open.

In the end, we found a parking space nearby. And a Hudson’s.  Coffee and a toasted sandwich went down very well. 

So, once again, we didn’t get to the places we were hoping to get to.  This is what tomorrow, we’re not going to state a place to visit.

Love you like that – A Review

It seems that for the last year or so all we’ve been able to see at the movies is Australian films.

That might be because Hollywood has not been producing too many films because of COVID safety protocols, but for whatever reason, there’s been a flurry of Australian-made films hitting the cinemas.

And, once upon a time, I used to cringe when viewing anything made in this country, simply because of what was perceived to be our national identity and unique sense of humour.

We still have that, but toned back to the point where we still have that sense of uniqueness, but these days is displayed in a more contemporary setting, one that could be here, or almost mistaken for anywhere else in the world.

Of course, there are some characters that are seemingly over the top, but these seem to be more for comic light relief from a number of more serious themes that play out, one who finds it difficult to propose marriage, one who laments not knowing his mother, an missing-in-action husband, and the drifting apart of a brother and sister.

And then there is Mim, the woman washed ashore with amnesia, who arrives fortuitously to resolve all of the above, over the course of a single day, or the two hours running time, time that passed quickly and didn’t fail to entertain.

While the premise might have stretched the imagination a little too far, at least everything was tied up in a neat package in the end.

It rates four stars out of five.

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

Searching for locations: Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, and resorts Wyndham style

We have stayed in two different types of accommodation in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, as a timeshare owner who can trade their week for a week anywhere in the world.

Both are resorts, but different sorts of resorts.  The first was a typical RCI resort, where everything is laid back and relaxing, with all the amenities one can expect from a resort.

The other, this one, the Wyndham in Coffs Harbour, is very different, and you notice it when you walk in the front door.  You are virtually assaulted by hard-nosed timeshare sales staff who really don’t take no for an answer, and then when you finally escape, ring you every day to make an appointment.

I left the phone off the hook.

Aside from that, the place is excellent, the accommodation very good, and the situation one of the best with what could be called a private beach.  There are also a number of bushwalks that cater to old people like me.

As you can see, lakes and greenery, and even a putting green.

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And in places, they try very hard to hide the ugly multi-story buildings in amongst the trees

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It is only a short walk to the ‘private beach’ and it is sufficiently long enough for a morning walk before breakfast.  You could even try to catch some fish for breakfast, though I’m not sure if anyone actually caught anything

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Or you can just stare out to sea

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And, back in the room, this is the view we had from our verandah

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