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Tasmania cruise – day 2 Burnie

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.

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We arrived on a cold, drizzly morning. You wouldn’t know it was just past the middle of summer.

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Tasmania cruise – our stateroom

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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.

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That small room in the corner is the bathroom.

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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.

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Tasmania cruise – day 1

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.

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The Seabourn Odyssey and Spirit of Tasmania were also docked at Station Pier.

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.

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Watching Melbourne disappear as we began our cruise

Vic/SA: Cape Nelson Lighthouse, Portland

The lighthouse sits atop jagged cliffs, more than 50m above the sea on the Victorian coast at Portland. I think this is where I fell in love with lighthouses. Ever since, if I’m near a lighthouse I just have to go and see it. This one is still operational and provides a beacon over Bass Strait, one of the most dangerous waters in the world.

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The old cottages have been converted to accommodation since we visited but the lighthouse is no longer manned. Technology does all the work now.

Victoria/South Australia: Larry the Lobster

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Larry the Lobster sits outside The Big Lobster cafe in the small South Australian town of Kingston SE. He is nicknamed Larry the Lobster and was built to attract people and encourage them to stop and try some of the local food and wine. It certainly worked for us. After driving for hours without a break it was just what we needed.

Victoria/South Australia: Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, Kangaroo Island

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By the time we drove to Cape Willoughby along a very rough road, a storm was approaching. In the end it didn’t hit land but moved out to sea. The result was the very moody sky in the above photo. The building in the foreground is the cellar door for Dudley Wines. We had just left there

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Victoria/South Australia: Admiral’s Arch

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This is my favourite photo taken on our road trip in Victoria and South Australia. It’s one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken.

Admiral’s Arch is in Cape du Couedic in Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island. It was quite a long walk along the boardwalk that lead down to the arch. We were really tired because it had been a long day of driving, catching the ferry then driving another 100kms to the other end of Kangaroo Island. We almost decided not to continue, not knowing what we were going to look at. A man overheard us talking about not continuing and stopped to tell us it is definitely worth the walk. We decided to continue. The boardwalk got very windy and every step I took down the stairs, I thought about having to walk back up. I really was that tired.

Once we got to the bottom and turned around we saw the arch and thought ‘Wow’. It was stunning. Especially as the sun was setting over the ocean behind the arch. I hardly noticed the walk back up all the steps with the memory of Admiral’s Arch.

Victoria/South Australia: Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

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These cute but very noisy Australian Sea Lions call Seal Bay home. There are different tours you can do to see them. We chose the Boardwalk tour because it was a self-guided tour but unfortunately we weren’t allowed on to the beach to get close to them. To do that you have to do the guided tour. We were able to watch them making their way very slowly up the beach to their homes in the sand dunes. You can almost feel their pain as they drag their heavy bodies across the sand. They have filled up on so much food from the sea that they can hardly move. Some don’t make it in one go and have to have a nap before completing their journey. They are very cute to watch though.

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Victoria/South Australia: Kangaroo Island

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The destination on our road trip was Kangaroo Island. It’s Australia’s 3rd largest island and is just off the coast of South Australia. You can fly from Cape Jervis on the mainland or take the ferry. If you know me you will know I would have chosen the ferry because I hate small planes. And small boats. So the ferry was the only option.

We got my car and drove off the ferry. Once we got to the top of the hill we weren’t sure what to see so we stopped to find an information office. They gave us a few suggestions and maps and we headed off to the town of Kingscote where we were staying. I noticed the view in the above photo in the rear vision mirror so stopped to take the photo. You can see across the sparkling ocean to the mainland of South Australia. It’s a stunning view.

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Melbourne’s Night Noodle Market

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November is Good Food Month in Melbourne and this is the 2nd time the Night Noodle Market has been run. It’s one of the feature events on the calendar. Held at Birrarung Marr, on the banks of the Yarra River, there are around 50 stalls run by well-known restaurants. You can wait an hour or more to get a table at some of these restaurants so just being able to walk up to a stall and try a few sample dishes is great. We got there quite late so some of the restaurants had sold out.

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We only had a chance to buy one meal so we chose the dumpling from Let’s Do Yum Cha. I introduced my Mum to the pork bun. They are an acquired taste but I have grown to like them.

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