Between buckets and boats

TASMANIA where the grass is green, property is cheap, and temperatures are low.

Despite a small stint living on King Island, off the coast of Tasmania, as a kid, I’d never been to the Apple Isle.

So when the opportunity came up to visit my boyfriend’s Nana who had recently purchased a property down there, I jumped at the chance.

Now this house was a fixer upper, a 100 year old farm house on diary land near Smithton on the north-west of the island.
And I love an old cottage, but on arrival in Devonport, after a 13 hour journey from Toowoomba, Nana had a bit of a surprise for us.

After a hug and a hello, one of the first things she told us was- the bathroom is getting ripped out tomorrow, so you’re going to have to shower in a bucket.

As much as the idea of my 6’2″, 100kg, boyfriend showering in a bucket amused me, it was also sitting at about 2 degrees at night time.

I grew up travelling around Australia in a camper trailer and have had my fair share of “bucket showers”. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become accustomed to the luxuries of urban life.

So boyfriend and I booked a room at the hotel in town, just 8km from Nana’s cottage.

We spent the first night there before the bathroom was ripped out, and this place had character. Half the house was a century old with stunning timber walls and archways, and the bedrooms were newer as the old owners had to accommodate for a large family.

I couldn’t get over the beauty of the rolling hills of the Tasmanian dairy country, a stark contrast to the browns and beiges of drought-stricken western Queensland.

Beautiful green grass with some very well feed dairy cattle at in a paddock on Nana’s property.

Once settled in our hotel with a working shower, we headed off to explore what the region had to offer.

The town of Stanley was close by and present opportunities to see fairy penguins and seals.

A view of Stanley from on top of ‘The Nut’ which you can either climb or take a chair lift. Our lazy arses took the lift.

The penguins were only visible at night, if you got the timing right. The first night we went to the platform we were too late. We could hear their loud “coos” but they got themselves well in the scrub above the rocks.
The second night we almost missed them again, but just as we were about to leave three little birds clambered up the rocks towards their nests. I couldn’t believe how tiny they actually were.

We also went on a seal cruise from Stanley and I cannot recommend this cruise enough for anyone visiting the region.

You jump on a boat and they take you around “the nut”, where you see a stunning cliff face, out to a huge seal colony gather on a big rock off the coast.

The smell was a bit of a shock, but what can you expect from 300 seals in a small space!

Groups of them started driving off the rock as the boat came within metres of them, slow on land but swift in the water.

The water was so clear you could see them swimming below you.

Call me Captain Cass, still a better captain than Edward John Smith (too soon?).

Another highlight of the trip was Launceston. It was such a beautiful city with beautiful parks and buildings. I felt like I was in another country.

A view of Launceston from the hotel window.

We stayed at the Hotel Grand Chancellor which was in a great location in the middle of the city. There was a park next door with a very unexpected Japanese baboon exhibit!

Random baboon exhibit in a park in Launceston. See top left for monkeys.
Beautiful conservatory in the same park (it was a good park).

We took a cruise down through the gorge which was still gorge-ous despite the wind and the freezing temperatures.

Cruising towards the gorge in Launceston.

One thing I couldn’t get over throughout my visit to Tasmania, was the overall friendliness of everyone we met.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a stint in the Apple Isle. With property prices as low as they are, I might look for a farm cottage of my own!

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