Sunday, May 19, 2013

Australia -May 2013

I left home on May 2nd to spend 10 days in San Francisco before leaving for Australia. The first four days Miss Hannah and I were solo while Sean and Michelle went to New York City for an engagement party which turned out to be a wedding. Miss Hannah and I had a great four days baking cookies, going to the park to play and have a picnic. She is such a little darling and is talking a lot more - she certainly knows what she wants especially when it comes to special treats from GG!

Sean, Michelle and I went to the Canucks vs sharks game in San Jose - I tried cheering for the Canucks even though I was out numbered - however it did not help as they lost and are now out of the playoffs.

My friend's Janice and Neil came to San Francisco to celebrate Neil's birthday. I took the Bart into town on Friday to spend the day with them. First was an introduction to Blue Bottle coffee, then a few hours in Ross's dress for less followed by lunch at the Cheesecake Factory on the 8th floor of Macy's, then a walk down market street to the Embarcadero. Sean and Michelle recommended a restaurant in the Castro district of San Francisco. The food was fabulous and the sights were very interesting! We then headed off to the fairmont hotel to the Tonga Room and danced the night away - there was a live band playing on a barge in a pool - the place felt a like the Tiki Tiki room at Disneyland (except for adults only). We had a great day and I caught the last train back to San Mateo.

On Saturday Sean, Michelle, Hannah and I went to Erika and Tim's for a lovely BBQ. Sunday was Mother's Day - Michelle and I were treated to bacon and homemade waffles!!! That evening I flew to LA to catch my flight to Sydney. I was very lucky to have three seats together so I got to lay down and sleep for 8 hours of the 14 hour flight. Not business class but the next best thing!

I arrived in Sydney at 6:10 am and immediately called Gaille to pick me up - lucky Gaille - what a way to wake up on your birthday- sorry Gaille! Gaille took me to see the new home they have just purchased, we had lunch with her mum and went out to Manly beach for a Mexican birthday dinner. The next day we went to breakfast with a friend of gaille's and then Trish who we stayed with in Noosa in February happened to be passing through Sydney and had a couple hour layover at the airport, so off we went to meet her for coffee - it was great to see her again. That night gaille's dad took us out for dinner to a shanghai restaurant. The food was delicious and some menu items were very unusual such as the sweet and sour barramundi.

May 16th I was off to Tasmania to spend a few days with the girls I met in Darwin last June. Jenny arranged for all of us plus their mum and brother's girlfriend(JJ) to go up the east coast of Tassie and visit Freycinet national park and hike to Wineglass Bay, staying overnight at the piermont resort.

Freycinet is a national park on the east coast of Tasmania, Australia, 125 km northeast of Hobart. It occupies a large part of the Freycinet Peninsula, named after French navigator Louis de Freycinet, and Schouten Island.

Bordering the national park is the small settlement of Coles Bay, and the largest close town is Swansea. Freycinet contains part of the rugged Tasmanian coastline and includes the secluded Wineglass Bay, voted by several travel authorities as one of the world's ten best beaches. Famous features of the park include its red and pink granite formations and a series of jagged granite peaks in a line, called "The Hazards".

In order to get to wineglass bay one must first endure a 45 minute uphill climb to wineglass lookout and then down 1.5 km to the secluded beach. The terrain is easily walkable but the climb uphill proved to be more difficult than I had expected. In the end Jenny and I were the brave souls who embarked on this adventure. Before we started the walk in the car park we met a new friend.

These wild wallabies are so tame they come up to you and eat out of your hand.

Views during the climb - if you look closely you can see a rainbow in the second picture

Wineglass bay from the lookout










Jenny and I very proud we made it too the lookout - only through Jenny's encouragement.

We had planned to eat lunch at the lookout and then make our way down to the beach but the weather was windy, cool and drizzling so we decided to head back to the car park - not to mention the 1.5 km journey to the bay was downhill which would mean a 1.5km uphill climb back to the lookout then down to the car park - just did not seem all that appealing.

On our way back to the resort we drove to Friendly Beaches. Spectacular views, miles of unspoiled white sand beaches, and low-key camping by the sea are the main features of The Friendly Beaches, which were added to the Freycinet National Park in 1992. Gravel roads lead to car parks overlooking the beaches.








Driving into the resort I was able to capture the most amazing picture of a rainbow with my new camera.

Yes I really did take these pictures


The Piermont Resort is very similar to resorts around the Parksville area of Vancouver island. These pictures are views from the balcony of our cabin.

The possum moved and decided to take a pooh while I was taking this shot.

Dinner at the resort

The rest of the evening was filled with wine and jockularity.

The next morning the weather was glorious - warm and sunny. We were able to sit out on the balcony in our PJ's to enjoy the beautifully sunrise.





My Tassie sisters!

Our cabin - beautiful accommodation


After breakfast we took a walk around the resort and along the beach.

One of the other smaller cabins at the resort.


Before leaving the area we drove into the little town of Swansea where another beautiful beach is located.

We then drove back to Hobart stopping along the way at a pub for lunch. Tasmania is another jewel of Australia that should not be missed. Saturday night was Chinese takeaway and overnight at Kerry and Rick's house. Sunday morning it was off to the airport for my 8:40 am flight back to Sydney, however I was 5 minutes late and the checkin was closed. Oh well thanks to staff travel I just went on the Internet and requested a refund for this light and was able to get business class on the next qantas flight. When I arrived in Sydney I was to take the train to Sutherland where Marianne's sister Jenny was to pick me up. Guess what ?? the trains were not running - so after two buses and two hours I finally arrived at Sutherland. All my washing is now done and I have repacked - tomorrow i must be up at 5am and it is goodbye to Australia as I travel on the 14 hour flight to South Africa. Thank you to everyone who has made my short visit to Australia so enjoyable - what does Arnold say 'I'll be back'.

Note - not sure if I will have Internet access on my SA safari but I will upload blogs as soon as I do.

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