Months before our cruise we had to choose our day trips. The one I knew immediately that I wanted to do was to go to Highfield House in Stanley. Although we visited a few other places that day, Highfield House was the one I was looking forward to the most.
The house was built in the Regency Style in the 1830’s for the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company. We were given a guided tour of the property by the lady that manages it now. The front facade of the house has recently been painted along with some of the interior. This was paid for by a film production company who wanted to use it for a movie set. The parts of the house that weren’t required were left unpainted and undecorated as you can see from some of the photos below.
The house sits on top of a hill opposite The Nut so you get a perfect view. When we arrived the weather was nice but we could see a storm approaching. Soon after, when we were in the chapel, the storm hit and hit very hard. Every time we wanted to go back outside it would get heavier. We only had a limited time there so, in the end, I decided to brave the elements with the help of an umbrella. It wasn’t much help though because the wind had picked up. Unfortunately my camera lens got a bit wet so there are some shadows and water marks on some of the photos.
The photos below are of the interior of the house. These parts were not renovated as you can see by the walls. The house hosts these tours so they can raise money to complete the renovations.
After a great sleep on our first night, we awoke to find the ship docking in Burnie. Burnie is situated on the north-west coast of Tasmania. It’s a very blue-collar town with a population of about 20,000. They have a lot of farming, forestry and heavy manufacturing in and around the town. I believe there is also a high rate of unemployment so a lot of the town is looking at ways to develop tourism as a source of income and jobs. It is the only destination we were asked to do a survey about our experience. Having the facilities to allow cruise ships to dock in port towns can provide a huge benefit to their economies so they are keen to develop this side of their tourism industry.
The ship moves quietly towards the dock and before we knew it we were there, docked and ready to disembark for whatever activities had been organised for that day. We were going to do a bus tour to Stanley so had to wait until our time to leave. We went to the Horizon Court Buffet for breakfast. It was like organised chaos in there. Due to a health scare on board about a month before our cruise, hygiene was more of a priority as usual. There are hygiene stations all around the ship and at the entrance to all eating areas. Everyone is expected to use liquid sanitisers before entering restaurants. They were very strict for the first few days, even spraying our hands themselves. After the first few days we were able to use the dispensers ourselves.
We arrived on a cold, drizzly morning. You wouldn’t know it was just past the middle of summer.
We ate dinner in the Florentine Room each night. We chose a table of eight because we thought it would be a good way to meet people. On our first night there were 10 people at the table but two ladies said they would be moving after that night because they were part of a larger group that were split. They had made arrangements to sit closer to them. I was glad we would have a bit more room because it was quite squishy.
Entree – the strangest entree we had was this salad which was just a quarter of an iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot and parsley. The combination didn’t work for me. I at least expected the lettuce to be shredded.
I had done a lot of research on cruise cabins so knew most of them are small (unless you can afford a suite or mini-suite). Ours was slightly larger than most and also had the balcony which is like having another room. The bathroom however was absolutely tiny. It’s very hard to move around. We were really disappointed with the shower. It was the worst shower I’ve ever used. It was only on the last night that we mentioned how bad the shower was and one of the other passengers at our dinner table explained there was an adjustment we could make on the nozzle. I wish I’d brought it up earlier. I love my showers and would have liked at least one warm shower.
The room itself was always clean and comfortable. There was only one chair inside so we sat on our beds most of the time. They were very comfortable to sleep on. I took my own pillow because I often have trouble with other pillows. Our balcony had a small table and two chairs and was really nice to sit on and watch the world sail by.
Corridors on the bigger ships are always long. Our stateroom was roughly midpoint. I counted the number of steps from one of the elevators one day for a bit of fun. I think I had to take about 120 steps to get to our cabin. It sometimes felt like more if I was tired at the end of an excursion. On one of the days I turned around to see how far I’d walked when I realised how long the corridor actually was. I decided to take a photo in each direction just to show it.
Earlier this year I went on my first cruise. I have been toying with the idea of going on a cruise 13 night around New Zealand. My Mum suggested going on a smaller cruise to see if I liked it. So we decided to do a cruise on Dawn Princess from Melbourne to Hobart to Melbourne.
We left on January 24th at 4pm. It was a beautiful summers day although looking at the photos now it was also a little cloudy.
Mum has been on cruises before and wanted a balcony stateroom which turned out to be one of my favourite things about the cruise. Just being able to open the sliding door when we wanted some fresh air or to see what we were sailing past without having to go up to one of the open decks was priceless. We were able to sit on our balcony waiting for the ship to move away from the dock. It is such a smooth process that I didn’t realise straight away that it was moving. It took a few hours to sail through Port Phillip Bay. We were able to unpack and have a look around some of the ship before settling upstairs in the Horizon Court Buffet while waiting to approach Port Phillip Heads. We were able to sit at a table at the front of the door and near the door so we could go outside to the front of the ship when we were approaching the Heads. It turns out we approached the Heads during the equivalent of peak hour. There were several ships entering the Heads so we had to patiently (well maybe not THAT patiently) wait our turn. It was fascinating watching the ships entering and how we had to manoeuvre to stay out of their way.
When it was our turn to sail through the Heads the sun was beginning to set. I have always wanted to sail through the Heads. I have done it once before coming back on the ferry from Tasmania but that was before dawn so I didn’t get to see it. I have been as close to the Heads on land on both sides as is possible so the last thing was to actually sail through them. It was magical and well worth waiting for.