Wednesday 20th Nov
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear David, Happy Birthday tooooooo yooooooou! I woke a moment or two before David (which is fairly unheard of) and lay waiting and watching for the Birthday Boy to open his eyes. All I had for him was a pile of cards – not a single gift – but he loved the cards and opened them while drinking a cup of coffee that I’d made him, which is also fairly unheard of. He usually gets up first and therefore gets that job!
Our own café was a nice lazy choice of where to eat breakfast and I chose some fruit toast and David had an omelette. The fruit toast really was thickly sliced, wow! But then it was time to get on with our day 🙂
As a surprise birthday treat I told David that I would drive. Once he’d stumbled back onto his feet after the shock we found our little car that had been so terribly neglected yesterday, and I drove out of the garage door. I felt as if I was scraping the left side of it along the wall as I went, but knew that was impossible because it was such a tiny little thing!
There was no reception at all on my phone when we were in the hotel – I wasn’t receiving emails or messages in there, nor could I access the web, so we had to wait until I was out of the garage and along the street a little before I could stop and type our next destination in to the phone navigation. We can only guess that this was because we were so close to the harbour – maybe there’s a radio (etc) blackout area? But Ms America soon kicked in and we were on our way. We’d only crossed over Davey Street, not driven along it, can you believe it?
It was a pleasant enough journey and the roads were as I’d suspected – easy to drive along and fairly quiet. David found it very strange in the passenger seat and tried to take some ‘drive-by photos’ like I do, but just couldn’t settle into being ‘that person’ so he just looked at the view, and perhaps tried to avoid involuntary foot reactions – he passengers so rarely.
Twenty minutes later we were driving around trying to find where to park at our destination. We failed at that but just pulled up on a bit of grass along the side fence and walked back. At which point the parking area became blindingly obvious, had we not both been rubber-necking to the wrong side of the road.
We were at the Cadbury Factory! I won’t tell the story about this. I have a few photos to share so I’ll just pretty much tell you in dot points what there is to say.
• It was $4 each to get in and we were given a patented purple paper bag with 2 Freddo Frogs and a Marvelous Creations (popping candy in a chocolate bar). Not exactly a bargain so far!
• Inside was a gift shop and an information room that wasn’t very informative.
• The staff were all really happy, bubbly and friendly.
• Apparently they can eat as much chocolate as they like while they’re at work, but they can’t take any home.
• There was a café and David had a coffee and I had a hot chocolate made with genuine shavings of genuine chocolate – milk, white and dark all together. David also had a ‘double chocolate muffin’ that was made with normal sponge-coloured cake. We don’t know why it was ‘double-choc’.
• There was a chocolate shop and it was expensive!
That’s a very tall pack of chocolate fingers!!! From the floor to David’s elbow! It just says 500g, not how many finger are in them.
All in all the Cadbury Factory was a little disappointing, but if we hadn’t gone we would always wonder what we’d missed and for that reason alone I’m glad we went.
Back into the car and our next destination was quite a bit further on. 60 kms anyway. I don’t honestly think I’ve ever driven that far in one hit, not that it was a problem except for picking up an idiot part way along. In the 110kph limit areas he was quite a long way behind but the slower the speed limit, the closer he got – and the speed limit varied a lot! By the time we were in 80 or 70 limit areas all I could see of him was his bonnet, no headlights or anything. I bore it well and managed to ignore him for quite some time until we hit a 60 limit town and I couldn’t even see his bonnet. Nothing but windscreen in my rear-view mirror! This did unnerve me, not that I made any changes to my driving for his benefit. But then I got to a small roundabout and decided to be clear of him. I went very, VERY slowly around it, rather than straight out the other side, which is where we wanted to go. My speed was my only ‘comment on his behaviour’ and I could see the steam coming out of his ears as I continued on around the roundabout. I went one and a half times around it so that he could go straight through and be out of my hair, but he took the three quarters exit so I actually could have just gone straight through and still been rid of him. Never mind, it meant that I’d accidentally slowed him down even more than I’d planned!
Dear tail-gaters of the world; if ever I find you wrapped around a tree with your radiator steaming and your head against the steering wheel, please don’t expect much sympathy from me because you won’t get it. You are nothing but bullies and I thumb my nose at you!
So. We drove along the incredibly narrow roads looking at the incredibly green scenery and the occasional farm buildings and small hamlets. Tasmania sure is pretty! We also mourned the many animals that had gone to meet their maker because of traffic on the roads. We’ve never seen so much road kill in our lives. One corner alone had claimed 3 lives – so sad! And this was true of the whole of Tasmania, certainly not just this journey.
The roads got narrower still and the final part of the journey was even more winding, but finally we were at Mount Field National Park. It seems we’d climbed to 295 metres above sea level. There was a stoney car park with a coach parked in it, but nothing else. Signage was really poor so we got out of the car and wandered around a bit. There was a toilet – that was a welcome sight at least, but certainly not what we’d come to see!
We decided to walk up and down the entrance road a bit and still found no clue as to where we should be, but decided to walk further in. Lo and behold, there was a stone-built Visitor Centre! Yyaaayyyyy! David went back for the car and brought it to park in this car park and we ensured that our National Parks Pass was displayed. The cost otherwise, for this one stay, would have been $24.
The little shop had a few items of food for sale and we grabbed 2 bars of rocky road thinking that they’d be nice for a snack along the way. David had packed bottles of water from the hotel. There was a sign behind the building and off we went along the asphalt path, lugging cameras and tripods with us.
The trees, undergrowth and fallen logs were all coated with thick, lush green mosses, we’ve never seen such a sight in our lives. It was so hard to walk more than a few steps without stopping to take more photos and to stand and gaze. The air felt cool, moist and restorative, it was so beautiful.
After just a very short walk we turned a corner. Well, I have goosebumps even now just at the memory. We’d gone to heaven is the best way to describe it!
We set up our tripods and just took photos for ages. Occasionally we waited for other walkers to admire and walk on – how could they do that!?!?!? But basically the falls were all our own. We had to wipe our camera lenses regularly because of the spray, but it was so worth it! David wandered off to one side and I stood there drinking in the beauty and trying to breathe the air enough to commit it to memory. The greenness, the amazing sound of the water and the feel of the light spray, even the height and levels of the falls. David estimates the falls were about the height of a 3-storey building. He’s my measurement man, I wouldn’t have a clue.
One lady that passed through told me that she’d been visiting the Falls for 30 years and this was the most water she’d ever seen cascading down them. Squee!!!
I could have stayed here forever. Nothing else mattered. But of course you eventually have to move on. We climbed up to a bit of a lookout but it wasn’t that interesting so we rejoined the path for the circuit route to see the other 2 falls as well. This involved a climb up steps made from placing rocks in strategic spots to hold the soil, and then a wooden staircase.
I made it 104 rock steps and 104 wooden ones. Not a bad climb anyway and we were soon at the head of the falls, but it didn’t hold my interest much. I did, however, have to stand by and watch while David climbed over the little piece of wire that served as a fence to keep people from climbing into the water at the head of the falls and go tumbling over them!
“It’s perfectly safe!” says he “See? You can tell where other people have stood here too!”
We moved along and not too much further ahead were the next falls, Horseshoe Falls. Named this for obvious reasons.
I really liked these falls too, but they certainly came second to Russell Falls. David wasn’t so keen on this one for some reason, but heck, look at it. That’s beauty in anyone’s books!
And so it was now time to move along to the third falls. The signs did warn that it was a longer walk, but we’re used to that so we strode out, deciding that it was past lunch time and we would eat our rocky road bars as we walked. Another healthy lunch – not!
What struck us most as we walked was the huge number of fallen trees as well as the sheer size of them! We began to wonder if falling trees were an issue around here and rather had our ears peeled (as best as either of us are able ha ha!) for creaking noises. But the only excitement was to see a little pademelon cross the path and scurry into the bush.
At last we came to 2 signs – 1 said ‘Lady Barron Falls 5 mins’ to the right and the other said ‘Visitors Centre 40 mins’ to the left. Well we hadn’t walked all this way to pike out over a 5 minute walk in each direction, even though our legs were tiring, so we turned right. The sign behind us pointing back to where we’d come from declared ‘Russell Falls 50 mins’. We’d had no idea, we had just walked and talked and enjoyed the time together, holding hands and chatting happily as we walked along the undulating hard-soil path.
Quite honestly, Lady Barron Falls did nothing for me at all, though David said he preferred them to Horseshoe Falls. Meh! Each to his own 😀
So we headed back for the promised 45 minute walk to the Visitors Centre. Nobody, I mean *nobody* had said *anything* about what awaited us on the final stretch. A steep wooden structure containing 239 steps pretty much straight up with no rest! After yesterday’s walk and then the 6kms we’d just done today this was quite an ask. We both find that when we’ve walked a long way on relatively flat ground, climbing steps at the end of it can be far more difficult than expected. I think I stopped 4 times for breath before we got to the top, though my legs did stop creaking and groaning and settled into the task at hand.
I did get rather excited about these beautiful little flowers on a couple of trees on the final part of the journey. More enthused than I’d been about Lady Barron actually tee hee!
At last though, we glimpsed the Visitors Centre in the distance and managed to just make it in time that the girl very kindly made us a coffee and a hot chocolate before locking the doors to go home. It was about 2 minutes to 4 as we’d walked in. When David mentioned the rude shock of the 239 steps at the end she said that she always advises people to do the walk in reverse. Imagine that – we’d have climbed *down* 447 steps instead of up them all! But would I have wanted to see Lady Barron Falls first? Probably not.
The circuit was 6kms in all and the brochure says 2 hours. Well that’s obviously not for people who stand in awe for ages and take photos of everything along the way because it took us a good 2½.
Just at that moment the girl said “Oh look, there’s my friendly echidna! He comes out every evening!” So I looked out, expecting a much larger creature but couldn’t see anything until it moved. It was so small! I asked if it was photogenic and she said that it was indeed so we thanked her hurriedly and rushed out there, cameras at the ready. As is usual when shooting with either of my men, they race ahead, scare off the prey and all I get is photos of disappearing rear ends. I’d rather take photos carefully and quietly from a distance and at least get a good shot that you can zoom in and crop, and *then* start to edge closer, taking photos the whole time. We had both expected that the little fellow would stay around and not be scared of us though. So this is the best I got.
As I’ve said to David a million times, I wish that animals knew who only wanted to look, love, admire and cherish them so that they wouldn’t run away. But I would really want them to know who they should run away from too!
We set off with David driving – he’d had enough of being the sedentary passenger already. After a very short distance he stopped the car and I thought “Huh???” but then I saw.
Isn’t he amazing and gorgeous???
There was something about this holiday that the first thing we did each day seemed to be a success and the second thing was a failure and this was one of those days. For a start, I had us head off to Hamilton to see some parterre gardens, but when we got there the gardens were closed so we’d driven 45 kms for nothing except to enjoy the scenery along the way. I did at least see a laburnum tree which got me thrilled to bits and I hopped out of the car to take a photo but the wind was blowing really strongly and I didn’t do too well. I had to estimate where the branch would even be when it came to rest, which made it very hard to compose the shot, as well as everything moving so I struggled not to get blur.
As the crow flies it would be a quarter of the distance between Mt Field Park and Hamilton and I’m not entirely sure why it goes around in such a circuitous route, it wasn’t that mountainous. In fact it’s possible that it was too marshy.
During this journey is where I began my collection of place name signs because of all the familiar names from England where David and I grew up. You’ll have to wait until the end and I’ll post a collage of them all but, if you’re a family member reading this, I think I have one for everybody.
So we did the ‘walk of shame’, driving all the way back again and set off to New Norfolk to see an Oast House. Again I had seen a photo from someone that looked amazing and we wanted to see the place for ourselves. Fortunately, this was on the way home anyway because after reaching New Norfolk we drove up and down the highway 3 times and David finally glimpsed the Oast House behind a tall hedge. It was completely closed to the public, even though it’s advertised fairly widely on the web. So that was another disappointment. I got out of the car and tried to see if I could grab a shot in a thin spot of the hedge but I was kidding myself and soon gave up. If you want to know what an Oast House is I’ll leave you to Google it – had we been successful I would have told you all about it, of course!
So David drove us towards home and got some fuel on the way – after an extensive search to find how to open the fuel hatch. Dusk and heavy clouds were drawing in and it began to rain as we were 7 minutes from the hotel. Only the bottom half of Mount Wellington was visible because of cloud cover. We couldn’t grumble about the weather though, after our long walk in the beautiful sun earlier in the day. We got back to the hotel and someone – the same someone! – was still in our bay.
We showered and changed and walked under umbrellas in the rain to Mures restaurant – the one recommended by the floating fish and chip man. The downstairs was busy and the kind of place where you queued up, got your fish and chips wrapped in paper, sat to eat and then went home. This was David’s birthday meal so we looked around for how to get upstairs to the fine dining part.
It was expensive-looking up there but the staff were very lovely, down-to-earth, and happy to laugh with us so we felt very comfortable even though we weren’t quite dressed as we ‘should have been’.
David ordered the ‘red eye trevally and scallops’ caught from the restaurants very own boat and I ordered the entrée ‘Moreton Bay bugs with pasta’. I really had been rather off my food the whole time we were in Hobart and an entrée was ample. I’d left part of almost every other meal I’d had – not like me at all. But both dishes were amazing and were served with ‘myrtle bread’ with butter which was also very nice indeed. We would go here again, given a chance, in the future. I’d rate this our number one meal, followed by the Drunken Admiral, which had nice food but bad service. Mures had gorgeous food and perfect service, and the view wasn’t bad either.
David had some wine and I’d looked sadly through the drinks menu and seen only beer and wine. When David told the waitress I was looking for cocktails she said they don’t actually do them but if I told her what I’d like they would whip one up for me. The first one I could think of was a pina colada and indeed they did produce one, and very nice it was too. Not only that but reasonably priced. I was impressed and happy.
We had enjoyed a beautiful meal and drinks in a leisurely manner but by 8:45 we were both really tired. That was 5:45pm at home – so 7 hours earlier than we normally go to bed. We went back to our hotel (just out of shot on the left of the photo above) and forced ourselves to download and look at our photos of the day while we had a cuppa, just so we would go to bed at a more reasonable time.
And that was the end of David’s birthday. He’d had a good day and that’s what matters. Only 1 more full day to go in Hobart so stay tuned for the next day’s exciting adventures!
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