Some more photos of the grounds of Highfield House.
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.
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.
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.
The old cottages have been converted to accommodation since we visited but the lighthouse is no longer manned. Technology does all the work now.
Highfield House, Stanley, Tasmania. This wing of the house contains the kitchen on the ground level and the staff quarters upstairs. The house was built in the 1830’s when Australia was still very young.
Dawn Princess cruise ship, docked at Mason Cove at Port Arthur
The Blue Lake sits in an extinct volcano. It is actually one of four crater lakes in Mt Gambier. One of the others is just on the other side of the road. For most of the year it is a regular deep blue colour but in November, and almost overnight, the colour changes to a deep, intense blue. This normally lasts until February and by March it has returned to its normal colour.
All three of the above photos, when placed side-by-side, give a panoramic view of the lake.
The Pumping Station below is still used to provide fresh drinking water for Mt Gambier.
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.
Wellington, South Australia is the original punt crossing on the Murray River. It is run by the South Australian government. Every day it ferries cars, trucks and caravans from one side of the river to the other. It’s a quaint step back in time but is much cheaper than building a bridge apparently.
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
Kingscote is the largest town on Kangaroo Island with a population of around 2,000. It was established in 1836. At one stage they thought it could become the capital of South Australia but it was later decided it didn’t have enough resources so the capital was established in Adelaide on the mainland. It’s a really nice town with some great architecture. I’d love to go back there one day and spend more time exploring both Kingscote and the whole island.
Taken from the back of a ship sailing through Bass Strait.
The Remarkable Rocks sit on a hill on the edge of the island. They are made of granite and have been smoothed over millions of years. One side is very steep and slips down into the ocean. You can walk up on to the rocks but can’t go past a certain point because it is too slippery. They are covered by a beautiful orange lichen that gives the rocks a lot of interest. It’s pretty spectacular at different times of the day in different light.
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.