Monday 18th November
When looking at which hotel to stay in I had *almost* booked at the Old Customs House, which was the other side of the harbour to where we did stay. The reviews on Trip Advisor all said how fantastic the breakfasts were so we decided to go along there and have the breakfast even though we weren’t staying. We’d half-heartedly looked for this hotel yesterday but I hadn’t got the address of it with me and ‘half-hearted’ was 100% the correct term so we didn’t worry a whole lot.
Seeing as Davey Street went across the front of the harbour we expected that Old Customs House would be on a corner of Davey Street. It was not! Ha ha!!!
But before we even didn’t find it where we expected (what a wonderful sentence), I stalled to a halt before we’d walked 5 paces. There were some truly beautiful reflections in the water from the smaller boats in the sheltered water and I simply could not walk past without aiming my camera at them!
David was semi patient, but didn’t get his camera out so I tried to make it fairly fast and then we were on our way again. So it turns out that the harbour edge is not actually a straight line after all, it actually staggers in by a couple of streets further along. But we followed our noses down a big flight of stairs from Davey Street to the street below and soon managed to find the Old Customs House hotel.
Our waitress was gorgeous. Canadian I would say. As we both chose eggs, one Florentine and one Benedict, she told us that she was amazed how many couples choose exactly that. How interesting – I wonder why? The food was nicely presented and David loved his coffee afterwards. The one thing that spoiled it a little for me was the vinegar taste that poached eggs always have when they’re prepared by a chef; it never tastes quite right to me.
The building was really, really old and we were fascinated by the little wooden wedges in between the stones. This building was completed in 1840 so the stones had some history to them! Well, for Australia anyway.
Afterwards, we walked around close to the water and back to our hotel, quickly packing for our day’s planned outing, and soon we were in the car with our American friend giving us directions again. And this is where we were going…
Isn’t it beautiful? This was just a typical residential street on one side, the Derwent River on the other, but what made it special was this…
It’s the remains of the barque, Otago, that was being hauled up river to be dismantled. I believe she broke free and it was decided to leave her there. The suburb is named Otago, and the wreck lies in Otago Bay, and has been there since 1931. It seems that during her history she was in deep trouble crossing the Indian Ocean on her way to Melbourne and called in at Fremantle, Western Australia for repairs. Strange that Fremantle is our own local port when we’re at home!
After a few photos were taken we were back on the road for about 40 minutes and ended up near Richmond at a little zoo named ZooDoo. This was a pretty unique place in my opinion. As we paid our entry fee the girl said that if we hurried we would catch the lion feeding. We did hurry but, even though it was only a few steps away, we were too late. It didn’t matter. Fortunately the crowd was really small and we were able to get a clear view of the white lion and his 2 white lionesses. In the next enclosure were 2 tiny fluff balls that looked like puppies but, if you believe everything you read, they were white lion cubs! They were in dappled shade and almost impossible to photograph, but Mr Lion lay proud, despite his boredom, and endured the sharp end of my camera lens for long enough to get a few shots.
Got to love their teddy bear!
In the reptile room one of the keepers was walking around holding an albino snake and while David was standing only inches away, told us that it can, and does, strike out at times. But not to worry because the only thing that will do harm is if you pull away while its teeth are sunk into you!?!?!?! I can’t see *anyone* holding still when a snake has made a strike and has a firm hold of your arm, can you? I helped David to sidle away pronto!
Also in here was one of the keepers with a ‘living brooch’ that was really cute.
After this it was time for the meerkats to be fed and they’re David’s favourite so we had to be there! One of the keepers went and sat on the floor in their enclosure and the darling little things climbed all over him to get the food but, in the meantime, the other keeper came out with one of the babies in his arms. It seems the poor little thing had been set upon by the others and was now missing an ear. They could not return him to the pack because he would now be seen as weak and probably be killed, but they assured us he would be going to a good home as soon as he was fit enough. They seemed very happy that he had today eaten a more advanced diet than before. We could easily have brought him home ourselves!
Basically, we followed the 2 keepers around because it was now time to feed the Tasmanian Devils. We got some good shots until the keeper threw the meat in for them and then all hell broke loose! They bit, they snarled, they fought, and when one managed to get control of the meat it raced around to get away from the other. In truth – nobody was getting to eat anything because they were so busy fighting over it! I’m pretty sure their meal was a sheep’s head – I tried not to look too closely.
During the feeding, one of the keepers had another Devil around the back of his neck for people to stroke, though he warned not to touch its head, only its body. I declined that fine offer, thank you.
And now we got to what makes ZooDoo different – we all boarded a safari vehicle. And when I say ‘all’ I think all of the visitors were on board, including one who was even more sweet than most…
Naawwww, it’s the baby meerkat!!!
Anyway, we were driven into some separate fields, and in each we were given the relevant food to feed the animals there. First was a field of emus and ostriches, and everyone was given plastic cups of what looked like dried grass, but the birds clamoured around the vehicle and pecked hungrily amidst the shrieks of delight from all of the people on board, regardless of age or gender.
Then off we went into the camel field and fed them some… dried grass. But they looked happy and enthusiastic about it as the passengers on the safari bus fed them and stroked them too. We did feed the camels from 20 litre drums, not plastic cups you’ll be glad to hear.
And next it was off to feed the llamas; this time with bare hands, and strict instructions to keep your hands and fingers flat, and guess what we fed them? Dried grass. Yummeeeeey! About now, the little boy of about 2, sitting on his mother’s lap started to chew and had a rather mysterious look on his face. I said to her “Umm, I think your little boy has just eaten some llama food”. The response told me loud and clear he wasn’t a first child – she laughed and said “That’d be about right!”
We were then taken back to the safari vehicle stop and made steps to find the ZooDoo Loo – which was named as such, I didn’t dream it up! And we wandered around some more, taking photos and chatting happily in the warm sun.
We decided on some lunch, but were disappointed in their range of food. David ended up with a sandwich and I had a packet of twisties, each followed by a coffee. Other than ice cream, this was about all they had to offer, but we sat under an umbrella at a picnic bench and enjoyed the time and the sit.
After this was a little ‘pet the animals’ area with some rabbits and brightly coloured chickens but the poor things were really hot and sprawled out virtually panting. It barely qualified as a warm day by Perth standards but the Tasmanians were feeling it.
There was also a fairly large indoor pool where you could pay to go inside a large plastic ball and roll around, try to walk – and fail by the looks of the 2 lads and their mum’s efforts. We had a laugh as we watched them anyway.
I decided that I would be brave and drive the little tin can with a sewing machine motor and we set off towards our next destination, Richmond itself. For quite some distance I had no idea what the speed limit was on the road we were travelling. David couldn’t remember what it had been before we got to the zoo so I stuck to 70 – and David told me what I’d been telling him when he drove “You’re too far to the right, get closer to the kerb!!!” Or words to that effect, because there were no kerbs on this country road. Many days later we saw a sign that informed us that the speed limit on Tasmanian country roads was 90 for sealed and 80 for gravel ‘unless signposted otherwise’ – but we didn’t know this at the time and 70 seemed quite enough on the narrow, twisting, hilly road. There were no other cars behind me to hint that they were not satisfied with what I was doing anyway.
I got to Richmond fairly quickly after eventually taking a left turn, and parked next to a really tall kerb – so tall that it had 2 steps all the way along its length to help people climb up it! And you can already guess I’m sure… What happens when a large-car driver gets into a small car? Yes, I parked far, far away from the kerb. In fact I took a photo to laugh at! I could open the entire door’s width without hitting the kerb!
Exactly level with where I’d parked was a driveway into a miniature village version of Hobart in its infancy. We’d had no idea this was in Richmond – we’d come to see the bridge! But we are not people who miss out on things that present themselves so we walked along the long, hedge-lined driveway and into the little cottage at the end to pay the lady our fee to look around. She gave us large, laminated maps and some of the buildings were highlighted in yellow to show that they still stand in the city today.
And I loved this photo because I have both a reflection (coming towards the front) and a shadow (on the left) of the galleon.
We had a really nice talk with the lady as we handed back our maps and it was quite some time before we walked back down the driveway and decided to leave the car where it was and meander around the town to see what there was to see. We eventually came across the bridge, down a bit of a steep hill. Let’s face it, nowhere was flat in Tasmania!!! I’d seen a really gorgeous photo of this bridge with its reflection in the water, but it was now around 2pm on a sunny day and it just didn’t want to play ball, photographically.
We just got some ordinary photos of it anyway and got a kick out of this rubbish bin. Particularly with the lid on the top to make sure you complied.
And also a smile from watching a mother goose who seemed to have 2 goslings and 2 ducklings following her around. She was proud of them all and was not bothered in the least.
And that’s all for today, though there’s still a lot more to show and tell about what we did that day. I will continue the story in a day or two. Thank you for reading and I hope you’re enjoying it!
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