This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 31


Today, we planned some time out, at the Constitution Dock area in the city, where the Taste of Tasmania Festival is being held. This is also where the race yachts berth.

The Taste of Tasmania is an event that started about ten years ago, to take advantage of the drawcard of the finish of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, and showcase Tasmania food, produce and wines.

I ate a very early lunch before we went, not being sure what I would find to like at the Taste stalls.

We drove to the Constitution Dock area, even managing to find a nearby parking place – much easier than I’d expected. Hobart is such a privileged city, like Sydney, having this dock area right at the centre of town. Here, of course, it is a very historic area, with some buildings dating from the early days of settlement.

12-31-1999 Old IXL Jam Factory Constitution Dock.jpg

Old warehouses and factories by Constitution Dock

We walked around a little and had a quick look at some of the race yachts. Could see the sailing ship “Young Endeavour” that acted as a radio ship for the race, coming in.

12-31-1999 young endeavour radio ship.jpg

The Young Endeavour radio ship coming in to dock

John was anxious to get into the Taste area, along Princes Wharf, on the southern side of the Dock area, to get his lunch! He bought a cooked quail, and after that, a “hot dog” roll, with a special kind of bratwurst type sausage in it. He had a Tasmanian apple cider; I had a coffee. We both had a delicious icecream.

Some of the food, and sampling menus on display, were really innovative and most attractive. However, I was reluctant to sample widely, being intolerant of reheated meat products. I also thought the conditions for preparation and storage were a bit dicey, here, though I was really tempted by some of the offerings at the Turkish stall!

12-31-1999 lunch taste tas.jpg

The eating area at the Taste of Tasmania

After John ate, and we looked around, we walked back to the yachts for a proper look.

12-31-1999 first 3 yachts nokia, brindabella, wild thing

The first three line honours place getters in the Sydney to Hobart race

We watched “Hi Flyer” come in from the actual race, being towed to berth, so we did get to see a finisher of sorts! She was one of the smaller boats that had gotten caught in tough conditions down the east coast. She did well to get here at all – they looked rather relieved, I thought!

12-31-1999 towed in after rough trip

Hi Flyer arriving – with some assistance

We looked at “Cadibarra 7”, the ONLY yacht to finish this year’s Melbourne to Hobart West Coaster race – she arrived earlier today. Now they had certainly had really atrocious conditions for sailing!

12-31-1999 only finisher west coaster

The ONLY yacht to complete this year’s West Coaster race from Melbourne to Hobart

It was quite windy down at the Dock, and very cool – it will be a cold night for the festivities.

About 4pm, we drove back to the caravan park. The place was really crowded and the amenities was full of people getting ready to go out and party. I was glad we were staying in!

We had a light tea – John was still feeling full after his gourmet treats. Soup and salad only.

We watched football on TV – Carlton Vs Collingwood – a treat for John the Carlton follower. It was a special Millennium match, put on out of season. Carlton won by miles. I read for most of it!

Just before midnight, we opened a bottle of sparkling burgundy – it was a Xmas present from me to John, as he really likes it. Toasted the coming Year 2000, as midnight ticked over. The world did not end!

We walked up to the top of the hill, with our glasses of wine, from where we could see quite a bit of the fireworks display in central Hobart. It was cold up there and we did not stay too long.

We continued to watch New Year TV coverages, until about 1.30am. The TV still worked. There did not seem to be any disasters, we think the world is still out there!

We did not win the $21million, but did get a bottom division win on our ticket, and also on the syndicate one.

We hope it will be a great year of travelling to come, in 2000 – and that life will continue to be good to us in the 21st century.


OUR STATISTICS FOR 1999      (1998 in brackets for comparison)

* Kms travelled for 1999:  32450kms      (29848kms)

* Kms towed van for the year:  10827kms    (8220kms)

* Cost of diesel:  $3061.47     ($2532.21)

* Average fuel consumption:  8.1kms per litre   (8.3kms per litre)  Approx 12 litres per 100kms

* Dearest diesel: $1.15 – Mt Dare  (93cpl – Seisia)

* Cheapest diesel: 56cpl – Toowoomba  (63cpl – Charters Towers)

* Accommodation costs:  $4757.35   ($4845.10)

* Dearest accommodation: $64.80 – motel Alice Springs; $26 powered site Yulara. Cabin on Spirit of Tasmania – ??

* Cheapest paid accommodation: $5 – National Parks; $10 – powered site Boulia

* Average cost of fuel and accommodation per week:$150.36. Budget allows for $200. In 1998 was $141.87.

* Number of different places stayed at: 56   (46)

* Longest stay in one place: 3 weeks and 5 days – Healesville.  (5 weeks – Atherton)

* Number of times we moved camp: 60   (53)

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 30


We had another quiet day.

John watched the Test cricket on TV. I read.

After lunch we went for a walk around the streets, and alongside the railway, for an hour or so.

The caravan park is really filling up now, as people flock in for New Year celebrations, I guess. It feels too crowded here.

Tea was soup, ham, salad.

After tea, I phoned V, thinking she would probably be out tomorrow night. She was tired from a hectic Xmas, and then having to work for the rest of the week. She was pleased with how her Boxing Day party went – all the disparate family elements mixed well, though R arrived a couple of hours late and did not stay long. It was great to talk to V.

None of the offspring has commented on whether they liked their Xmas presents! V was the only one who sent us any gifts, apart from cards. Made me appreciate her effort with the book vouchers all the more.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 29


After breakfast, we drove to Glenorchy shops to do a stock up before New Year.

Because it is the end of the 20th century coming up, and the start of a new Millennium, there have been all sorts of dire predictions being made, for a few years now. Apart from the usual way-out ideas that attach to such occasions, there is some genuine concern about how our modern computers will handle the transition to year 2000. Personally, I do not subscribe to disaster and end-of-the-world theories, but it is possible that there might be the odd computer glitch, so it seems prudent to allow for same. Food, medications, money ,fuel, reading matter…….

I stocked up on books at the Library. At the Post Office, we collected a script for John’s Celebrex – he’d phoned before Xmas and asked our doctor to send him this. This script will see him back to Melbourne, in April. We had that filled, and other needed pills too.

Bought some more tickets for the big New Year Lotto draw. Made sure we had a good supply of cash – just in case there are bank and credit union hiccups.

Drove to Claremont and bought wine, beer and bubbly. Topped up the diesel so we have a full tank – 74cpl.

After lunch, I made vegetable and barley soup.

Tea was soup, ham and salad

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 28


We were up early and left Hobart at 7.15. While we were still at White Beach, John had committed us to play in the Nubeena Bowls Club “cray” bowls day – on this day. They were trying to drum up numbers to ensure a good turnout and “leaned” on him to come back for it.

The weather was bleak looking as we left.

When we were crossing the Tasman Bridge, could see the super maxi yacht “Mari Cha 111” coming up the river towards Hobart – a huge yacht. She was just coming up to finish the fastest ever Sydney-Hobart crossing – well under two days.  Because she is a new class of yacht, she was sailing the event by special invitation and was not officially eligible for placings. It was being estimated on the radio news that the actual first place getter would finish in another couple of hours. It would have been great to be able to go to the Docks and see the winner finish, and earlier I had hoped to do so. But it became obvious yesterday that it was going to be a fast race, and that I would miss out, because of the bowls.

We went through a number a squalls of rain on the way to Nubeena, and we were having thoughts of going all that way for nothing. However, it was a bit clearer there, though cool.

It turned out to be a 10am start, not 9am as John had thought, so we could have left later!

Club officials had teamed us up with the absolute klutz of the club – who no-one ever wanted to play with, even on social days, let alone when there were prizes attached! Not a nice way to treat visitors who had gone out of their way to attend! The klutz’s wife made up the four – she was a better player. John made him lead, and me play second, because his greatest talent lay in taking out friendly bowls! So it was not a team that was going to take home any crayfish, from the outset. It was pretty obviously deliberately done by the organizers, and not a random draw.

We lost the first game, drew the second, and won the third, so we maybe did a little better than expected. It cost us $24 to enter (plus our fuel costs to get there) and we got morning and afternoon teas provided, plus a lunch of cold meats, salad, fruit salad and icecream, so there was some return for the outlay.

I think John was really disappointed by the team formation and did not have the enjoyable day he had expected. I have certainly had better days!

It was about 7pm when we got back to Hobart. Drove 238kms.

We had a light tea – ham and salad.

Early night – we were both tired.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 27


We had another quiet day. It was a public holiday in Hobart.

After lunch, we drove up to Tolosa Park, in the foothills behind Glenorchy. The park contains the lower Glenorchy Reservoir and we thought it would be a pleasant change to walk in parkland, rather than around the streets. There were picnicking groups and families there – far too many of them severely the worse for wear for alcohol. This public drinking in Tasmania is so awful, and seems so much the norm. I saw one man, sitting on the ground with a family group of men, women, children, clutching his can of beer, turn his head, vomit over his shoulder and down his back, then turn to the front again and take another drink! No-one in the group batted an eyelid! That seems typical. I find it hard to deal with.

We walked around park paths for about an hour, then drove back to camp.

The cricket in Melbourne was still getting spells of rain.

Tea was cold turkey and salads. That finished the turkey.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 26


We had a quiet day.

John was keen to watch the Boxing Day Test cricket, on TV from Melbourne. I did get to watch on TV, a bit of the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, which is the Boxing Day event that interests me. But the cricket took priority.

After lunch, we went for a walk around the local streets. Again, the area was really quiet.

In the late afternoon, a huge thunderstorm set in, in Melbourne, that disrupted the cricket and caused much local flooding. I thought of V and the family gathering she’d planned, and hoped it hadn’t been washed out.

Tea was cold turkey and salads.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 25


Xmas Day. Last year we were in Toowoomba. Wonder where we will be next year?

I got up at 8am, to stuff the turkey and get it in to cook. We are being more ambitious with Xmas lunch this year, than last, actually having a turkey. I cooked the bird in the van’s oven, but finished it off in the electric frypan, outside, to ensure it was cooked through.

John phoned family. Left a message on K’s machine. Spoke with brothers R and C, sister H, daughter R and left message on S’s machine. She phoned back – was actually very busy at work! She had received her parcel, via the diplomatic mail bag,  but had not opened it, so we do not yet know what she thought of the zircon earrings.

Our roast turkey lunch was very nice. We lingered a couple of hours over lunch. The SA people, from the only other van down in this section, came by, and we talked for an hour or so.

After lunch was all cleared up, we went for a walk, along the footpaths towards Claremont, looking at the houses with the water frontage. We walked for about an hour. Everywhere seemed really quiet.

Tea was light! Some cold turkey, salad and mango.

Finished up the day having enjoyed all the eating, but without feeling that I’d over done it.

Former colleague G phoned. They had enjoyed my card and the letter. They will be in Tasmania at the start of the Term 1 vacation and would like to catch up if it suits us. He said he’d phone again, closer to the time. That call was an unexpected pleasure.

We phoned P and K. They’d had a pleasant day with her family. I had to ask him to clear around the water meters in the front garden, since we had received an estimated water bill for the empty flat – because the reader could not find the meter! K and John had a cricket discussion.

I tried to phone V. Had to leave a message on her machine.

Overall, it was a pleasant Xmas Day. I miss the family, of course, but in some ways do not miss all the cooking and organizing I have to usually do for a big family Xmas.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 24


John went and picked up the turkey from the Glenorchy butcher, while I finished clearing up after breakfast. The turkey weighed 3.2kgs and cost $30.

For a pre-Xmas treat, I made smoked salmon and avocado sandwiches for lunch.

We went for a drive up Mt Wellington. There is no way to do this from where we are without going through part of the central city. Fortunately Hobart traffic is not too bad.

The road up the mountain is the most scenic road to drive up. There were very steep roadside drops in parts! For a road that must receive so much visitor traffic, it is extremely narrow, and has steep drops mostly unguarded. At intervals, there were signs showing where walking tracks intersected the road. There are numerous walk tracks on the mountain.

Most notable was the changing vegetation, with altitude, transitioning from forests and fern gullies at the edge of the lower suburbs, to exposed rock and sub-alpine plants at the top. There were lots of dead tree skeletons – maybe from the disastrous 1967 bushfires?

We parked in the carpark at the summit, then walked down the ZigZag walk track for a distance, until it began to get really steep. Not wanting to have to do too much of an uphill climb back, we turned around at that point.

I took some close-up photos of the alpine scrub plants, which quite intrigue me. I have a concept of a couple of good such photos, enlarged and framed in rustic wood, on a wall at home.

12-24-1999 alpine bush mt wellington.jpg

12-24-1999 mt w wildflowers.jpg

Alpine plants on Mt Wellington

We spent some time at the lookouts at the summit, and reading the explanatory information boards and signs. I noticed that whoever planned same could not do basic maths – there were a couple of glaring date discrepancies to do with the new Tasman Bridge and the accident when a ship ran into it.

The original bridge over the Derwent from the city to the eastern shore was a floating pontoon bridge that stretched around in a curve. It had an opening section to allow ships through. The new bridge, designed to take a lot more traffic, was opened in 1964. I have a photo, taken from up here in the summer of early 1964, showing both bridges crossing the river.

In 1975 a freighter collided with a bridge upright, taking out a section of the bridge roadway, sinking itself and killing some crew and some motorists who plunged over the gap in the bridge. The missing link was a major inconvenience for those who needed to travel across the river, as the next bridge was miles upstream at Bridgewater. However, it was good business for a man who built and operated little ferry boats! Repairs were done and the bridge reopened in 1977, after nearly three years. In 1984, the Bowen Bridge, near our camp, was built and opened.

12-24-1999 from mt wellington

Hobart’s northern sprawl. Bowen Bridge at right.

It was cool up on top of the mountain, at just over 1200 metres, with the occasional wisp of cloud coming over. Although it was fine down below, up here we were almost into the cloud ceiling.

12-24-1999 Hobart city from Mt Wellington

Hobart’s centre and south. Tasman Bridge at left.

We made our way back down the mountain. I found navigating through the suburbs on the lower slopes to be hard, and John was not happy with my efforts, saying I was not giving him enough advance notice when turns were coming up. When I did give him good notice about a left turn coming up, he ignored it because “it did not look right”! Tasmanian signposting could be greatly improved!

We drove 80kms today.

Back at camp, there was no one practising on the adjacent Berriedale Bowls Club rinks, so John took us both there for a practice for a couple of hours.

Then John drove off to get fish and chips for him, and chips and squid rings for me. While he was gone, I cooked the frozen fish left from last week, for me. Unfortunately, the shop was really stingy with its chips and there was not really enough for two. The squid rings were far too greasy. It was a disappointing meal.

Fairly early night for me because I would have to be up early tomorrow to cook.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 23


After breakfast, went to the Glenorchy shops. Picked up more mail. Did the final Xmas shopping. There is only the turkey now, to be picked up tomorrow.

At the Claremont shops, where John goes to get the morning papers, we bought wine at the discount outlet.

Ate bread rolls for lunch – very late.

The mail contained a Xmas gift from H – a Tatts ticket and some gem tweezers – thoughtful. There were two $20 book vouchers from V – much appreciated.

One of the wild ducks that frequent the park has a large batch of baby ducklings – we think there are about 12 of them. Their chances of survival are not great, with seagulls to attack them, aggression from other ducks, the occasional cat about the place. I feel sorry for mother duck – she has a hard task ahead of her.

12-23-1999 mother duck at Berridale CP.jpg

Mother duck and her brood

For tea, finished the vegie and barley soup I made last Monday, and had some salad.

Leave a comment

1999 Travels December 22


We went to Glenorchy Post Office to pick up the bag of mail from home. There were lots of Xmas cards in it.

We then continued on for a drive, across the other side of the river on the Bowen Bridge, then south, to Lauderdale and on to South Arm and Opossum Bay. This is the hook of land that curves around and encloses the lower Derwent estuary. We went that way just because of sheer curiosity to see what this narrow, strange looking promontory was like.

It was a pleasant drive, through some newer suburbs, initially, but then into small acreage open country, with the shallow coves of Ralphs Bay to one side. Going towards the village of South Arm, the road was right beside one of the shallow inlets, only a couple of metres from the water. There were so many places with superb views of the Derwent estuary. Water views are so easy to come by in Tasmania.

12-22-1999 DEntrecasteaux Channel from Sth Arm.jpg

The D’Entrecasteaux Channel from South Arm

We ate lunch sitting in Truck, overlooking the Derwent at Opossum Bay, which is as far as it is possible to go. This, we decided, was once an area of fishing shacks that lined the bay and both sides of a narrow lane. That lane is now the sealed road through Opossum Bay, but it is still very narrow and some front doors open virtually onto the road. Some of what were once beach front shacks have been converted into very nice, modern, beach houses, Mediterranean style. However, they are small, due to the constraints of being on a very narrow strip of land, fronting the beach.

We went for a walk along the beach, looking at the brilliant river view, and at the seaward sides of the houses we’d driven behind.

Then drove back to Hobart and went for a walk in the Botanic Gardens, where John had not yet been. We visited the Conservatory, fuschia house and Japanese garden. I was struck again by the excellent use of conifers and their display in these gardens. I am coming to think that we should use small conifers around our swimming pool, in the problem areas. Some of the ground cover ones are lovely.

I particularly wanted John to see the French Fountain, which is made completely of timber. It was built about thirty years ago, to mark the bicentenary of the first French exploration voyages around the Tasmanian coast. It is certainly unusual.

11-18-1999 french fountain, wood.jpg

The French Fountain

Refuelled at Glenorchy on the way back. 77cpl – much cheaper than on the east coast.

We drove 121kms today.

Back at the van, opened the mail and cards. Some had lovely newsy letters in too.

Tea was marmalade and soy coated chicken breasts with potato and salad. Very nice.