We’ve been relatively static this week. We had a housesit in Hobart looking after a lovely little dog called Fergus while the owners were on holiday. The house is perched on a steep hill in South Hobart overlooking the city. This is what we woke up to every morning.
And this is what we saw sitting on the deck with our sunsetter drinks each night. It’s like an oil painting it was so beautiful.
Of all the animals we’ve looked after on our house sits, Fergus takes the Gold Medal as best behaved. He was a perfect little man all week. We fell for him a little bit.
Work has been mad as well. We’ve new clients we’re implementing and existing clients we’re adding more stuff too so its been all go. We did however have enough time to visit a place I totally failed to make it to last two times we were here, Willie Smiths Apple Shed.
Willie Smiths Apple Shed
In 1888 Willie Smith planted the first apple tree on his farm. 130 years later the farm is all organic and makes several different and very excellent ciders. I first tasted one of their craft ciders in Brisbane where I had a bottle of their Bone Dry. It was delicious. After this I promised if I was ever near I’d visit and see what else they had to offer. They are based in the Huon Valley which is worth a trip on its own as it is so beautiful. Willie Smiths Apple Shed is a huge barn that houses a bar and restaurant and an event space. It even has an underground play pen for kids. We made the short drive there one weekend for lunch.
Smoked Salmon with Crispy Potatoes and Chicken and Apple Pate. It was very good. I had a glass of their Perry Cider and their Vintage Cider. That’s two glasses, one for each cider not one glass with both ciders in it. Gawd English is hard!
There are at least 5 more varieties to taste so I’ll have to come back.
The frame displays the hundreds of different apple varieties they use to make their excellent brews.
As we left Willie Smiths, at the end of the car park we saw an old float. Must have been from a boat race.
The huge metalwork head with the rusted corrugated iron hat looked pretty amazing. A lot of work has gone into this.
Farm Gate Markets, Hobart
At the weekend we arranged to meet Maddy and Steve at the market in Hobart town centre. It was only a 30 minute walk from our location so we had an enjoyable stroll there. Although it wasn’t sunny it was warm, a lovely fresh morning.
We stopped at the Food Court section for second breakfast. The choices were vast.
As you may be able to spot from the sign they even had Wallaby Burritos. Maybe next time.
Just a short walk in the other direction from where we were staying is the Cascade Brewery, the oldest brewery in Australia.
The business was founded by English settlers, Peter Degraves and brother-in-law, Major McIntosh, who arrived on Tasmania’s shores in 1824. Degraves recognised that he had access to the pure waters flowing from Mount Wellington and decided to start a brewery. I can state first hand that their beer is very, very good. Except for the stout, that’s average at best.
Hobart is a really interesting place as is all of Tasmania of course. It has a very eco-concious community spirit. We see these signs on almost every post box.
There’s a desire to preserve everything from the past that’s in good condition, even this wall advertising. This is one of my favourites, I’m glad they’ve kept it. We saw this on our walk to the markets.
If you, like me, did Latin at school you would know what this means. Pro means forward, Cras means tomorrow, Orium means place of particular function. Therefore Procrastitorium is a place where specifically, you can put stuff off till tomorrow.
A most wonderful word and a beautiful concept. We saw this while walking Fergus so I brought my camera with me on the next walk, specifically to take this picture and insert it into this blog. It is worth recognition. Last time that door was closed. Now it is open it looks like it’s where the owner is restoring an old car. The name makes a lot more sense now.
Soon, too soon, it was time to say goodbye to Fergus.
Jenni left for the big island off the north coast of Tasmania for a week on business and I headed off to set up camp on the banks of the Huon River.
We spotted this camp site while visiting Willie Smiths last week, it got great reviews on Wikicamps so I planned to check it out while Jenni was away.
They have two Tasmanian Devils they look after and there are supposed to be
Platypus’s, Platypussies, Platypi, more than one Platypus in the river. This was a big attraction but I didn’t get my hopes up. Platypus are very shy and hard to spot. Whilst we did see one when we were in Tassie last March (see picture) it was very dark and very far away. It was very exciting though.
These wild creatures are right at the top of my most interesting animals list. I’d love to get a decent viewing of one in the wild.
I got to the camp site early to get a good spot as you can’t book this camp ground. The weekend I was staying is the Huon Agricultural Show and hundreds are expected to be using the camp site. Thankfully I got there before the masses and bagged a prime location, right on the river.
One of the many ducks came to check out my tent building skills.
Under Donald’s expert guidance the tent was soon up. I positioned it so we would wake up with a river view each morning.
Pretty soon though the camp ground filled up with Tasmanian country folk and their elaborate caravans, tents and camping trailers. These guys were professionals with their bbq’s and fire pits and cool boxes and loud, loud music systems that seem only to be able to play both kinds.
The lady that checked me into the camp ground and selected this site for me said she would keep the spots either side free if possible to give me a bit of space and she was true to her word.
It was Friday, a work day. As I mention in almost every blog we are working as we travel so after the tent was up I set up my hotspot and fired up the laptop to get a few hours work in.
Not a bad work environment I’d say. The ducks came around frequently to check I was still working and not on Facebook.
I saw these guys arriving. Two tractors with signs on them towing tiny camping trailers.
A bit of Googling later I discovered they are a bunch of retired farmers who tour the country supporting Mental Health awareness. Well done to them.
The sign by the river gave me some hope I might spot an elusive Platypus.
I got lost a bit in work and only realised when the temperature dropped and my fingers got too cold to type. By then it was dusk.
One of the few things I was told about Platypus is that they come out at dusk. The other thing I was told is you have to keep quiet, although I’ve also been told that’s not true. I grabbed my camera and went for a walk along the river bank being very stealthy just in case. I saw nothing. Just then Becky video called me from Northern Ireland on her way into work. We were chatting away, not being very quiet at all and right in front of me a Platypus popped it’s beak out of the water. I nearly dropped the phone. I guess they don’t care if you are quiet or not.
I rattled off a few pics and it dived under water again. I pointed the phone quickly so Becky could see it too, Platypus spotting from 11,000 miles away. We said bye and I hung around to see if it would make another appearance. I was dancing with excitement. To see a Platypus in the wild this close up is equivalent for me of seeing a Black Rhino on the Serengeti. Although it may not look it, it was very dark at this stage. He made one more appearance that night.
It was almost pitch black. If the moon wasn’t shining so brightly I wouldn’t have snagged this pic. I rushed back to the tent, uploaded the pics to the computer, then to the cloud backup just to be sure. It looks like Platypus do know how to read signs.
Starry, starry night.
Tasmania is beautiful. This camp site especially is in a cracking location. It was a cold, crisp night, about 3 Centigrade and the stars were out as they so often are here. I sat outside, wrapped up cosy in a coat full of Donald’s mates cosy feathers (I wonder if he knew) and looked around me at this beautiful night. I felt an overwhelming gratitude for this days experiences.
The nice lady picked us a prime spot. I do mean us as Jenni will be back next week and we’ll likely stay here for a few days longer. I hope Platypus makes another appearance for Jenni. One of the other campers who is a regular here says there’s another spot on the river with two Platypus and a baby one. Sunsetters by the river Platypus spotting with Jenni. Next week could be even better than this.
This is a our tent setup. Here you can clearly see my lazy mans tent fixing solution tying the end of the tent to the post with bungy cords and rope. I’m sure Donald wouldn’t approve.
According to the weather forecast it’s not going to be windy this week so I didn’t need to tie the tent down too much. However it will rain. On Wednesday. The day Jenni gets back. When you don’t tie the tent down with the guy ropes the middle bit of the tent sags a bit and I was concerned about rain pooling in the roof then seeping through so I wanted it taut. I tied down one end of the tent using the guy ropes then utilised the natural environment and tied the other end to the post using bungy cords to keep it taut but flexible if it did get stormy.
I’m shit with Photoshop so couldn’t edit it out therefore it is there, in the picture.
As I finish writing up this blog I am listening to the screams of the Tasmanian Devils they keep here (remember them?). They make a terrifyingly scary sound. I am reminded of the story of the first Europeans to invade this space lying listening to the same unfamiliar sound in an unfamiliar land wondering what was coming to get them in the night. They called them Devils because of the sound they made. I feel a little more comfortable knowing these devils are in an enclosure.
But what if that screaming wasn’t those particular Tasmanian Devils…….
Echidnas last week, Platypus this week. Love you Tasmania.
Till next time. See you soon Jenni xx.