What a month! I feel like I begin every blog with that but honestly it just keeps getting more incredible. The first week of Feb started with a quick 6 days in Melbourne with the lovely Sarah Fowkes, a long term family friend also visiting Australia. We felt like we needed to make the most of everyday to get to know the city as well as the surrounding area.
Our first day was spent exploring the Mornington Peninsula, a lovely stretch of beaches along the coastline, with some old friends I met whilst on the East Coast. On our way back passing through St Kilda, we walked to the end of the pier to see the little penguins that gather there each evening. We then spent a few days wandering around the city exploring the botanical gardens, river, different suburbs and art galleries.
My lunch at Alimentary Eatery.
One of my favourite Melbourne moments was going to eat at Alimentary Eatery which is the restaurant who have written one of my most loved cookery books! The building itself is beautiful and the menu all looks delicious. I opted to try three different salads as their salad recipes have been a great inspiration to me for my catering, all were very tasty and I would recommend a visit if you’re in the city.
Smoothie bowl in St Kilda.
The 12 Apostles.
The Great Ocean Road is a must do when in Melbourne so we hired a car and made the drive along the dramatic coastline to see The 12 Apostles (along with half the Chinese population). The drive was beautiful with one minute being at sea level curving around the bends and the next being in forest or green rolling hills. It was a long day with 4 hours driving each way but well worth it.
I flew into Tasmania in the pouring rain which was surprisingly good news as the state had been experiencing devastating bush fires so the rain was getting everything back under control. It was a bit of a last minute decision to go but one of the best I’ve ever made. I could talk about it for hours so if you want to go I’ll definitely advise you where to visit (and even come with you as a tour guide), rather then writing everything on here.
There were so many highlights, in fact everyday bought something new from mountains to lakes to little islands and long sandy beaches, and the wildlife was amazing to see. When I landed into Hobart the Australian Wooden Boat Festival was taking place and I sat and watch the opening parade, with hundreds of boats sailing into the harbour. The next few days were full of events including live music and cookery demos so I definitely made the most of the free samples.
Hugging the second tallest type of tree in the world.
I met two girls wanting to do a road trip for a week so we set off in our little car packed to the brim with our backpacks and camping gear. Mt Field National Park was definitely a highlight doing a walk to see three waterfalls and the very very tall trees. Our first night of camping went out the window when it started to snow in the day and we just didn’t have enough to keep us warm in the tent...who knew it snowed in Australian summer?! Instead we stayed on a horse ranch and when going to find the toilet in a little shack outside in the middle of the night I looked up to see the whole of the Milky Way, such an incredible moment.
Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain.
I had to put all my layers on and treat myself to some gloves and a hat on our visit to Cradle Mountain where it was snowing once again. I’m so happy we got to see it in the snow as this is very rare in the summer. The walk around the lake was lovely and by the end the sun was out and I was down to my vest top.
Camping was great fun and I took the roll of head chef cooking on our little gas stove. We also visited The Bay of Fires famous for its bright orange rocks and Wineglass Bay which has 1000 steep steps down to the beach. Somehow we were slower on the way down than the way back up! Our last couple of days were spent at Port Arthur, a historical site where the English sent their convicts back in the day and in the Huon Valley which was just as pretty as the rest of Tasmania. We even spotted a platypus in a river!
A little bay in Bicheno.
I said bye to the girls and carried on the road trip as a solo traveller. We had covered a lot of the popular spots but I wanted to drive back around the island to see some other sites and also repeat a few bits we had done. Solo travel is so liberating as you can do whatever you like whenever you want. It also pushes me to meet loads of new people, of all ages, from all over the world.
Morning porridge with freshly picked blackberries.
Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain - this time in the sunshine.
My days were all planned around lovely walks in the areas I travelled to. As you can imagine Mum is over the moon at my new love of hiking! I was lucky to have sunshine everyday and even up at Cradle Mountain, 10 days after my last visit, I had 27 degrees rather than snow.
I had the chance to see so much wildlife whilst in Tas. The devils make an awful screeching noise which is where they get their name from as the first Europeans thought they could hear something screaming through the forest. They are very hard to see in the wild so I visited a sanctuary where they are trying to get the numbers up again. I also saw platypus and echidnas, both of which are egg laying mammals, and so many wallabies. I even saw a shark in Hobart harbour which gave me the fright of my life.
Lake Lilia at Cradle Mountain.
My trip to Tas ended on the West Coast in the remote town of Strathan where I went on a cruise down the River Gordon and also to the longest running play in Australia. The play was a two man show about some convicts who stole a boat to escape to South America. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen and there was loads of audience participation and I even had to go on stage at one point!
I can’t say enough about my time on this little island and encourage anyone travelling to this side of the world to go. People say it’s a mix of the best bits of Australia and New Zealand and I now see why.
Onto the next part of my adventure where I’ll be meeting Mum and Dad at Christchurch Airport in NZL after 6 months apart. We’re all so excited to see each other I just have to get through a night sleeping at the airport before I board my plane!!