Title:  Our Australian Odyssey - 2001

Four Mulligans headed to Australia in September 2001


The Places we went

What we did - day by day

All the photos in one place

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Saturday 22 September

Wellington to Melbourne

Warm, cloudy

A very early start to 0400. No breakfast - just put the bags into the car and off to the airport.

Queuing at the airport but not too much time to wait, then straight on board and leave on time. Flight time is only 4 hours, so it’s tolerable. Arrival and check-in through Customs is straight-forward, but Jayne is hungry (so are the rest of us, but she owns up before us), so we divert to the food-hall for chips & muffins.

Next: collect the rental car and work-out where we’re going. That done we negotiate the freeway, trying to dodge the toll-roads. In our eagerness to do this we turn off too early and end up driving towards the city. A joint consultation of the map finds the correct destination - back the way we have come!

We find the Motor-camp at which we’re staying, but we’re too early, so we head into the city. By chance we pass the Old Melbourne Gaol, so we find a Parking Building, stash the car and set off.

The Gaol is now partially restored, and a Museum, with many of the cells holding displays. The cells are very small, and many of the stories of their inhabitants shocking. Especially troubling is how inadequate are were many of the cases which lead to executions. A very good Museum - good displays, interesting content, in a location which suits the subject matter.

After that we stroll past the National Gallery of Victoria and discover they have an exhibition of impressionist paintings. Desiree is tempted, but it’s crowded (and expensive) so we put it off until tomorrow.

Next up is food in a ‘mall’ above the central railway station. That completed we wander back to the car and then head back to Coburg. En route we stop at a supermarket (Coles) and are amused at the quaintness of their practices.

The cabin in which we are staying is OK - small, clean, neat. But there is a pool (cold Jayne says) and playground, so it gets her tick. We just stop and rest - after all, we started early and it'’ been a long day, so an early dinner and early bed-time is the order of the day.

Charlotte likes gothic buildings
Charlotte with a 'gothic pile' which took her fancy in La Trobe Street
Jayne as Bush-ranger
Jayne wearing replica 'Kelly armour' in Old Melbourne Gaol
Chinatown, Melbourne style
Street scene on 'Chinatown' in Little Bourke Street

Sunday 23 September


Warm, cloudy

A long night’s sleep didn’t help much. The bed is like boards, so I wake up stiff and sore.

The order of the day is "Into the City". We find the same parking building and a park. The Impressionists are to be missed - after all we saw them for free at The Orangerie in Paris.

We had, by chance, driven along Little Bourke Street, which is "Chinatown", so we head back there on foot. The girls are looking for gifts for their friends, and find paper lanterns.

Then to a restaurant for Yum Cha lunch - very filling, but the girls aren’t too impressed.

We do some shopping: time spent in Myers looking at clothes finds Charlotte and Jayne dresses, a big toy department in which much time (and no money) was spent, the music department (which has Capercaillie’s ‘Nadurra’ CD - I'm VERY tempted but resist!).

The afternoon is spent on a tour of the CBD on the free City Circle tram. This is crowded, but has a good commentary. We de-camp at the Immigration Museum and spend a little time there, including listening to some women singing what we assume were Macedonian folk-songs.

Returning to the Tram, we find our way back to La Trobe Street and the car-park in which is our car.

We have now mastered the route from the camp to the City, so getting back there is a breeze. Another early night is called for.

The girls wanted to take this statue home!
Statuary in 'Chinatown' in Little Bourke Street
Whatever the nuisance might have been, we didn't!
Intriquing street sign in 'Chinatown', Little Bourke Street

Monday 24 September


Warm, cloudy

The plan today is to visit an animal sanctuary to the east of the city.

We set off towards Heidelberg and then make our way to Eltham, Yarra Glen, and then to the Healesville Sanctuary.

This is a well setup operation, spread out with easy walkways and plenty of guide-maps. We make a point of attending the various talks on birds of prey, snakes, koalas, and to see the baby wombat and platypuses.

The girls are very taken with many of the unusual animals.

The only drawback is the zigzag pattern we end up following around what is a broadly circular path. As a result we pass some points several times, and cover much more ground than is necessary. After the Sanctuary we pause at the very classy ‘Eyton on Yarra’ winery, and make a couple of purchases.

We begin the return journey heading for Yarra Ranges National Park. When we get to the Melbourne Highway we change plans, and head for Yarra Glen, and from there back to Heidelberg, Coburg, and a light dinner.

Wakey, wakey!
The wombats were not especially active

In fact were sleeping
It was hard to tell which was the teddy bear and which the wombat at first!
but Jayne was entranced by the baby wombat and it's teddy bear
Don't strain your neck looking for them - they're just there
The bats just hung about ignoring us
A hedgehog out during the day
while the echidna was searching for food

and about as fascinating!
and very busy it was too!
Spot the kangaroo
The kangaroo's were tame enough to pat
Snakes, birds - it's all in a day's work for this fellow!
We enjoyed the Birds of Prey demonstration
I don't really have any snacks
and were intrigued by the accuracy of the birds
Very regal
The wetlands birds are very BIG!

but not intimdated by people
They just stood there
especially the Pelican
  Least they could have done was to eat something!
whose beak can hold as much as it's belly can
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The dingoes (or is that dingos?) looked cute (but only because they were in a cage!)
and the Tasmanian Devil was noisy & smelly
Enough said!
Spooky eyes!

(if you can make them out!)
How come they don't fall out of the trees?
The Koalas are good photo subjects

because they don't move much!
15 minutes a day activity!
although they can be difficult to spot
But that's no laughing matter
whereas the Kookaburras were quite active
Of course I'm not scared of them
This fellow handles snakes
They're more scared of me
although they seemed to prefer to stay out of his reach
because they know what's going to happen - every show!
and the girls were brave enough to touch one.  Needless to say Charlotte now wants her own pet snake!

Tuesday 25 September


Cool, showery

Heavy rain overnight, especially loud on a metal roof. And the temperature is distinctly cooler than in the last couple of days.

Nonetheless we breakfast and get ready to depart. The Melbourne Museum is our first destination, navigated to without problem.

This an very impressive, modern building, with a vast acreage of open (paved) space in front and around it - difficult to miss it! However, we discover we are there too early - it doesn’t open until 1000, and we have arrived at 0915! So: I set off for the Archives Office (and some family history research); the others for Victoria Market. Our rendezvous is set for 1200 in the Museum entrance foyer.

I have to sign in at Archives, and the omens aren’t promising: they hold, almost exclusively, Victorian records. However, nothing ventured, I search for Murrell and Edie, and find some, possible, references.

Having exhausted the possibilities, I head for the rendezvous.

We have lunch in the most poorly laid-out eatery I have ever seen. After that we go to the ‘Australiana’ display for memorabilia of Melbourne. The others are keen to see the Body exhibition, so I go down to the ‘Infozone’ for more family research.

I discover there is no single listing of all convicts sent to Australia - but plenty of ship lists! Which is great if you know which ship your ancestor was on, or the date!

I spot a Robert Murrell from the 1790’s - unlikely but possible. If so, it would be old Bob’s father or even grandfather, and probably means Old Bob was born in Australia - a long way from Tunbridge Wells! I will check this elsewhere.

By now it is raining again, so we wait out the shower and then head off into town. We stagger into the David Jones store - Desiree doesn’t feel she ‘belongs’ - and decides that Myers is probably better suited to us. By now everyone is fading badly, so I stash them and collect the car so I can collect them.

This managed, the next stop is a small purchase for Sarah at the Old Melbourne Gaol, and then home in the rain - that’ll do for today!!


Wednesday 26 September

Melbourne to Ballarat


Time to move on. We have finished with Melbourne and have our sights set on Ballarat for a couple of nights.

Packing up is a breeze and there is plenty of space in the boot of the Mitsubishi Magna.

We have directions/instructions for getting to Ballarat, but they begin the central city, so back in we go. We pick up the streets listed and manage the first 4 or 5 steps - then: Oh, Oh! Missed the turn onto the freeway. As a result we spend 20 minutes touring the South Melbourne docks area trying to get back onto the track.

Once on the freeway, driving is a piece of cake. We pass an enormous ‘aerial sculpture’ of a house made of wire (or perhaps neon tubes) which is suspended over the freeway like a road-sign.

It takes approx. 1.5 hours to get to Ballarat. We find the motor-camp (same group/chain as in Melbourne) without difficulty and take a bigger cabin - with 2 bedrooms! Clothes washing is a priority, so when that’s done, and we’ve eaten, we head for town.

Ballarat is a curious mix - very much a rural service town (of 83,000 people!) with wide streets and a scruffy, aging appearance. But it also retains a pleasing number of older/Victorian-era buildings, which preserve real links with it’s past - the Mining Exchange, Town Hall, numerous pubs. The Exchange has marvellously intricate wrought-iron work around it’s balcony, as do other pubs which also retain their 2-storied verandahs.

We wander about looking at the buildings and stumble into the Mechanic’s Institute Library - still operating as a lending library, and holding some newspapers and books from the 1860’s and 1870’s - when it opened!

The girls get absorbed in a demonstration of candy-making, and the car gets a parking ticket! Damn!

Next stop is the Eureka Stockade Centre (or HERE). A stunning building (very modern and sculptural) set in a quiet, suburban backwater street. The displays are first-rate - a mix of sound, holograms, static illustrated text-panels, and models. You wend your way around the displays, maximising the use of the interior space. The only problem is that they are arranged ‘back to front’; that is, when you have finished reading a panel (from left to right) the next one is to your left.

There are also 2 very good short documentary films and artefacts from an archeological dig.

Fascinating stuff, and a wonderful story (and a lovely flag!).

Late in the afternoon we repair to the camp to collect the laundry and rest.

The evening meal is in Irish Murphy’s pub in town - big helpings of nice (plain) food - good surroundings (it’s franchised, but done well, for all that) and a Guinness or 2!

Then a short stop at the supermarket before home and bed for me while the others watch a video.

Entry ticket to the Gold Museum

Entry ticket to the Gold Museum

Entry ticket to Sovereign Hill

Entry ticket to Sovereign Hill

The Eureka Flag is now claimed by the Independence Movement

The Mining Exchange in Ballarat

was typical of the carefully preserved buildings

Desiree hanging about the cabin at Ballarat

Thursday 27 September


Clear, sunny

Today is "Sovereign Hill Day" (and night). We just mooch about for the morning - doing the washing, Jayne plays on the playground, table tennis, etc.

By late morning we are ‘mooched out’ so we pack up cameras, etc and set off. Sovereign Hill is all of 2 blocks away, so we’re there in about 2 minutes.

We negotiate the carpark and buy tickets for the entry and the "show" - separate. The complex is quite large and we’ve set aside the rest of the day to it.

We start at an Interpretive Centre which sets the immigration scene, with displays and a video presentation. After that we move outside to an area of ‘gold-panning’, with tents, camp-fires, bridges, a little stream, etc. We begin to explore, including going down into an underground mine. Desiree backs out of this, siting claustrophobia. At the bottom of the mine is a holographic presentation depicting conditions in the mine, and the discovery of the ‘Welcome Nugget’. Good sound effects and lighting in a real mine-shaft.

After that we move along the ‘streets’ looking at other mining equipment, a general store, sweet-making, gold-pouring, furniture shop, drapers, etc.

The overall effect is very good - well-stocked shops, real people in period costume doing things like making sweets, maintaining the machinery, acting as policemen, etc.

We have lunch on-site, attend a pantomime, the girls go on a coach-ride, while I have a beer. Jayne eventually does some gold-panning (and ‘finds’ a few flakes), we see a troop of re-coats march through the town, fire a musket volley and lower the flag.

The afternoon is getting late so Charlotte decides she needs to buy candles as gifts before we leave. We have done about all we can (or can cope with) so we head off to the Gold Museum, which is across the other side of the carpark. This is a detailed, immaculate homage to gold, funded originally by a local enthusiast and numismatist. A very well constructed, narrow-focus, specialist institution.

By 1700 we have done our dash so we head back to the motorcamp for a snack and a rest.

By 1930 the others have had a spa, and we have dressed warmly so we head back to Sovereign Hill.

The evening show is a ‘light and sound’ spectacular, depicting the Battle of the Eureka Stockade. It begins in the auditorium we were in when we first arrived. After that the whole audience moves outside for stages 2 and 3, on the area in which we were gold-panning earlier.

We then board special open-sided electric buses and move to stage 4. This is a whole new part of the site. Here, seated in a special ‘theatre’ (with a wall which opens out) we watch the final events - all without actors; just sound effects, a narration, and lighting (including fires). All up, it lasts about 80 minutes, but is superbly done - a flawless performance, and well worth the effort.

The girls are tired and worn out - but we know the Eureka Stockade story inside out!!

The centrepiece of Sovereign Hill is the Gold-panning stream

Desiree tried panning

and eventually ..

Jayne also had a go

eventually gaining a licence

As did lots of others

and Charlotte was very patient

The coach ride was anticipated

not very comfortable

but pretty close to the real thing

even if it took a bit of waiting

while others got in the way!

The locals meanwhile provided a little light relief

And then the Redcoats appeared

"Up the Rebels!"

Friday 28 September

Ballarat to Bendigo

Warm, sunny

Once we’ve paid up and checked out we have a couple of minor tasks in town - pay the parking fine (Desiree claims to be dumb tourist who didn’t understand the rules, so we have a chance of getting off it!), buying some hand-made sweets and a hat for me.

Those done we eventually find the highway and head out of town.

The highway takes us into the hills, through Castlemaine and Daylesford (a hill-side spa town). We haven’t booked ahead so we try each motel we pass on the way into Bendigo. Most are too expensive, but we finally find one next to the Catholic Cathedral, and less than 1km from the Information Centre.

After settling in we wander into Town, visit the Information Centre, and then to the Library for research.

We’re trying to find some/any trace of Murrells or Edies in the area. I find birth records for Edward and Janet Barry Edie but precious little else.

Afterwards Desiree and the girls do a little shopping before we go back to the motel to rest.

Dinner in a restaurant in town and then back to bed - although the water supply is problematic. Turns out the Toby wasn’t turned back on after some work earlier in the day!


Saturday 29 September

Bendigo - Melbourne - Hobart

Sunny, warm

No rush required today - we just have to drive easily to Melbourne, which is exactly what we do after we have had a look through the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bendigo - an impressive stone edifice reflecting the prosperity and confidence of the Irish in the region.

We are trying to navigate from the Hume Highway to find a shopping mall (Brand Smart) to fill in some time when the phone rings. It’s Cherie from Hobart. Turns out she and Anton are coming to Melbourne, but our paths should cross (briefly) at Hobart Airport.

We give up on Brand Smart, lunch at MacDonalds, and then go to the airport and just mooch about.

Jayne has a pair of scissors and her souvenir ‘thumb-cuffs’ (a souvenir from Melbourne Gaol) confiscated, to be collected when we return. The flight is only 70 minutes, and Cherie and Anton are waiting. They say hello, hand over their car-keys and disappear to get on the plane we have just arrived in.

So we load up and head for town. We find a motel in Glenorchy that has the hardest and least comfortable bed we’ve ever suffered (although Charlotte and Jayne have 4 very soft ones to choose from!). As a result I have a very sleepless night.

The girls in the Bendigo Cathedral cloisters
The girls strolled amongst the cloisters
Oz_Bendigo_Cathedral02_thumb.jpg (3298 bytes)
at the Catherdral of the Sacred Heart
Oz_Bendigo_Cathedral01_thumb.jpg (5916 bytes)
which is a striking example of antipodean gothic architecture (spot the gargoyles and griffens!)

Sunday 30 September

Hobart to Launceston

Cloudy, warm

The Midland Highway takes us into the ranges and over a series of central plains or plateaux. The landscape is reminiscent of New Zealand, or at least parts of the the North Island, and is more abrupt and higher than mainland Victoria.

The journey takes about 2 hours, without stops en route, as we pass up the opportunity to stop at the many small towns/villages through which we pass.

We arrive in Launceston at about 1202 but the Information Office closes at 1200 and is already deserted! We have a brief stroll to ease our legs, then lunch. Desiree uses the phone to track down somewhere to stay. We settle on a unit at Grindelwald, a Swiss-style resort on a hill overlooking the Tamar River. It's expensive, but has playground, pool, etc. We find our way to it and settle in, making use of the amenities to fill in a lazy Sunday afternoon.

That night we are treated to a spectacular thunder-storm. Although some distance away, the light show is brilliant and very visible. The frogs in the pond which our unit overlooks are incessant - right throughout the night, with ducks and swans joining the chorus at regular intervals! All in all, not very restful, again!

Our unit had balconies from which

we could survey the neighbouring lake

On the other side was a courtyard

with shops, seats, a well and a restaurant

all accessed through a fancy arch-way

Monday 1 October


Cloudy, cooler

A gentle start to the day means we almost miss out on our ‘complimentary’ continental breakfast. We’re just in time, and savour the fruit, cereal, and toast.

Fed and watered, we head off into town. The Visitor’s Centre is now open but not especially useful. We do however get information about the various routes back ‘south’ to Hobart.

Next stop is the Launceston Museum. I am surprised by the displays about tin, as I wasn’t aware of it’s importance to Tasmania. Overall the museum is a small provincial institution, well-meaning but fairly traditional. However, they are trying, with a Chinese Joss House display and an extensive pottery and ceramics display.

Finishing there Jayne is fading fast and in need of food. Lunch is a mix of Subway for me and Chinese of the others in a ‘food hall’.

The next stop is the Cataract Gorge. A pleasant stroll along the side of a river feeding into the Tamar, the Gorge has impressive rock formations, although the caratacts are very tame rapids. We even see a group of climbers practising on one of the outcrops.

The Gorge also has a 19th century pleasure garden - cum - botanical garden, but the whole affair seems over-rated.

Back at the resort, the girls want a swim and then to learn how to play pool. A lesson from me is sure to put them off!

That leaves dinner and an early night for me while the girls watch Jack and the Beanstalk.

Desiree & Charlotte took their ease half-way along the path

So Jayne did as well

We spotted a kangaroo just along the path

in the middle of the daffodils - truly!!

if you look carefully it is mid-picture

The Gorge has a very pleasant walkway

which wends it's way along the side of the Gorge

affording nice views

and rest stops so walkers can watch others practising their rock-climbing

Tuesday 2 October

Launceston to Bicheno

Sunny, warm

We’re heading back to Hobart via the East Coast with a stop-over mid-way.

Packing and eating is getting to be an easy routine by now, and we’re almost old-hands at it.

Final photos, feeding the swans and cygnets and trout in the lake and then we’re off.

The route is back down the Heritage Highway (nice title) to Campbell Town, where we’ll turn east. We pass through some nice country, crossing a range of hills with a lot of forestry activity, although whether it is plantation or natural growth is hard to tell.

We’re headed for Bicheno - a small town (village) on the coast which is probably quite busy in summer but is quiet at present.

We book into a cheap but pleasant motel. I nap, Charlotte reads, Jayne and Desiree stroll. Then we watch TV and read and have dinner in the adjoining pub. The kids and Desiree watch the second part of Jack and Beanstalk while I write up this over a Guinness - can’t be all bad!


Wednesday 3 October

Bicheno to Hobart

Cloudy, cool

Despite heavy overnight rain the day begins with clearing clouds and the roads drying off.

The day won’t be a long one, so we are not in any hurry, but still get away about 0930. We wander southwards, stopping at the Coombend Winery en route.

Everyone else dozes off (well, Charlotte is determinedly wakeful) as we troll south along a route which in places reminds me of the Kaikoura coast, only not so dramatic. We reach Sorell and stop for lunch. By chance I park in front of the Gordon Highlander pub, but we pass up the chance and instead eat at the Sorell Internet Café - very tasty and everyone enjoys their food - something of a break-through!

We’re only a few minutes outside of Hobart, so we’re there by early afternoon. Although we’re booked into the Mayfair Motel we test a few others - either no family rooms or too expensive. So: the Mayfair it is. A curious mix of 1960’s concrete block units clipped onto a 2-storey 1920’s house. Our unit is upstairs in the house and is a real hodge-podge of styles, completely lacking in taste, but with some interesting touches, like leather furniture! The bed isn’t hard, but kapok-like.

Once we’ve left the bags we drive into town get lost almost immediately, but end up at the Information Office. From there we stroll around the waterfront and past the Parliament House.

Interesting stone buildings. Especially on Salamanca Street which has a lovely complex of small boutiques, craft shops and galleries, around which we wander, ending by strolling up hill to Battery Point, with cute 19th century housing in a village setting.

We retrieve the car and take a quick drive around it before finding a supermarket to provide dinner, which as to be prepared in a microwave.

After dinner we watch ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and then collapse into bed.


Thursday 4 October


Cloudy, cool

More rain overnight, which continues fitfully into the morning. The others are going to ‘laze’ at home while I go to the Archives Office and collect Cherie and Anton and Lily.

I’m at Archives on the dot of 0900 but they don’t open until 0930, and nor does the Library, which is just up the road.

Once it is open, I don’t make much progress, but pause to get out to the airport. Having rushed there, I find their plane is 30 minutes late. Eventually, I find them and we head off back into town; Anton rushes off to work, Cherie is welcomed by their dog, and they have insisted we continue to use their car, so I pop back to the Mayfair for lunch. By co-incidence this is only a street or two away from Cherie and Anton’s.

After that, the others are off to the movies while I return to Archives. The afternoon is not productive, but maybe I have proved something - even if only negatively! Can’t find any trace of Murrell in Tasmania.

So it’s a final wander through town with the others, shop for dinner, and back to the Mayfair for the evening.


Friday 5 October


Overcast, drizzly

We’re going to Port Arthur today. It is beyond the airport and we need to turn off at Sorell, so we’re retracing our steps of Wednesday - no matter.

We pause at a site of ‘tessellated pavements’ - these are a geological feature which has produced regular, rectangular blocks of rock which look astonishingly like tiles, but much larger and in the sea, or at least the inter-tidal zone.

Next we stop to look at the ‘Officers’ Quarters’ for the troops stationed at Eaglehawk Neck. These troops patrolled the boundary fence for the convict settlements. The Neck is only 100 metres wide so a ‘dog-line’ of guard dogs was installed - apparently to good effect! The building is in various states of repair and restoration, having been added to and changed over the years. But an interesting place.

Then onto Port Arthur.

We join a tour lead by a woman originally from Rotorua. The site is in various stages of conservation and restoration. It is quite different from Sovereign Hill, but could learn some lessons from it.

The site is quite extensive, but unfortunately has a number of buildings closed.

Despite overcast conditions and very soggy ground we cover almost the whole site, and also take the 20-minute boat trip around The Isle of The Dead, although we don’t land. The highlight of this little trip is the mulled wine - very tasty!

Some of the buildings are of an impressive style, although somehow the scale isn’t right. Also disturbing is that such brutality should occur in such a lovely setting.

The reminders are chilling, especially in the Separate prison, modelled on Pentonville. We have all be ‘assigned’, as part of the entrance ticket, a ‘character’ whose story we have tracked down in the Interpretive Gallery - mine is a 64-year old called Ebenzer Brickelbank (or Brittlebank)!

After most of the buildings have closed for the day, we grab a very quick meal and then start the "Ghost Tour". Charlotte has been waiting 2 weeks for this!

Unfortunately Jayne finds the story-telling a little too effective, so she and Desiree back out, leaving Charlotte and I to complete the Tour. Very good story-telling, with some effective stunts and audience manipulation.

The drive home afterwards is slow, in the dark and rain, but we get there safely!

All have sore feet, however, after all the walking we’ve done.

Desiree was determined to check out this feature

so while she did so,

and the rest of us dutifully complied!

Here they are - fascinating, huh!

The prison blocks look forbidding - even in decay!

The Church was the victim of bush-fires

but the girls enjoyed climbing into the bell-tower

The church makes a very picturesque ruin

and a grand spot for Charlotte to practise her posing

The staff (Officers) and their families had a lovely formal garden in which to promenade

and the 'better off' (i.e. the officers and professionals) had superior accommodation

such as this lovely house

The kookaburras don't seem put off by the history

or the restoration work which continues

Jayne made sure she read everything that was available

The Guard Towers are actually quite small

but the beds in the Hospital appear to float in space - very surreal!

'Father Ted' sermonising in the Special Prison Chapel

while the family listened attentively (!) in the stalls

but we all needed to sit down every so often

Saturday 6 October


Fine, cool

We sleep in, after last night’s late finish. But when we have surfaced and got moving, we head off to the Salamanca Market.

This is already crowded by the time we arrive about 09458. We spend the next 3 hours wandering and looking - a mass of tat, kitsch, crafts, and food. A diverse range of people - well worth a look.

We make a few purchases, and then go back to the motel for some lunch. A rest and a nap, and then we’re off to visit Cherie and Anton and Lily. Desiree manages to snaffle Lily, and so spends the next 1.5 hours cuddling her while we chat about all manner of things.

We leave in the midst of a very heavy downpour for the supermarket to get dinner. The evening will feature another "Ghost Tour" - this time of the Penitentiary Chapel and Criminal Courts. Desiree and Charlotte are the victims this time, while Jayne and I go back to the Motel and watch videos.

The Tour is apparently not as good as that Port Arthur - the storytelling isn’t as effective, and the environs are gruesomely real - down to the place where the last hanging occurred in 1958 (?)


Sunday 7 October


Wet, cold

After collecting Sunday papers, the morning is spent reading them while the kids watch videos.

We venture to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the afternoon, but I’m disappointed. The displays are old-hat and the approach traditional - glass cases, static displays, reliance on text, and stuffed animals!

The art galleries are not much better, and the Aboriginal section merely cursory.

So we call it short and retreat to the warmth of the Motel and the VCR before going to Cherie and Anton’s for a lovely dinner. A very pleasant evening - good food, nice wines, and fun chatting and catching up.


Monday 8 October


Partly Cloudy

Today is CHOCOLATE DAY - something we’ve all been looking forward to! The start of Daylight Saving causes only brief time-keeping confusion. Once that is out of the way, we’re off to the Cadbury Factory.

This is a little way up the Derwent River, and only about 20 minutes drive away so we’re there in good time - and it is just as well we had booked, because there are a lot of others there as well.

Once marshaled into a tour group and kitted out with earmuffs and hairnets, we are taken through the factory to observe the production of that much loved delicacy.

Lovely smells, fascinating process machinery - hypnotic almost - and invitations to taste at various points all make for an interesting hour or so.

The factory also has it’s own chocolate supermarket, where prices aren’t all that much cheaper. Still we buy some oddities, like peppermint Crunchie bars, and Turkish Delight blocks for me! Perhaps the only thing missing from their merchandising is a selection of some of their very clever posters as posters.

Despite all that chocolate we still need some lunch, which we find at a food-court in a mall at Glenorchy. Charlotte gets noodles, I get a sandwich and Jayne gets MacDonalds!

On the way back to town we stop to give the car a good clean - inside and out.

Final stop will be the John Elliott Classics Museum at the University. This is buried deep inside one of the buildings, but we find it eventually. Desiree is impressed with the size of the collection, Charlotte and I are bored, and Jayne is persistent and systematic, ensuring she eyeballs everything. Especially enthralling for her is the display of coins - she is becoming something of a numismatist.

That covered, we return to the motel to finish off what food we have and prepare for the return home.


Tuesday 9 October

Hobart - Melbourne - Wellington

Cool, cloudy

The last day.

We re-pack, with surprising ease, given that we have been shopping!

Having paid up, we wander to a nearby deli for bread and salami etc. for lunch, while Jayne has a play in a playground.

We then go to Cherie’s to return the car, a final chat and lunch before leaving. For something to do, Jayne, Charlotte and I take Max the dog for a walk. He is very well behaved - doesn’t run about, and declines our invitation to chase sticks, being quite happy just to stay beside us.

That done, we eat a light lunch with Cherie & Lily, then pile into a taxi for the ride to the airport. The plane is on time, and flight time is just over 1 hour so we’re in Melbourne fairly quickly.

The location of the International Lounges causes a degree of confusion, which is overcome. On the way we have to reclaim Jayne’s scissors and thumb-cuffs from airport security. This done, we avoid a repeat exercise and post them home in an envelope Desiree had bought for the purpose.

We then go through Immigration and customs to the lounge and the final duty-free shopping. Perfume, a camera for Sarah, drink, and, at last, a boomerang for Jayne, will do! Then it is just a case of hanging about until boarding is called. This is delayed, but not by much.

Daylight Saving hasn’t started in Victoria, so I am completely confused about what the actual time is, but pleased that on the flight home we’re told what the local time is so I can adjust my watch. The flight is mercifully empty, so space is not a problem.

Sarah and Craig are waiting for us to emerge from Customs, where we bravely declared all our food and my hat et al and managed to pass through without any further checks.

A drive home, deliver Craig, no unpacking, just find the toilet bags, and then fall into bed - that’s the expedition done!