My Freycinet experience …

Last week I repeated a walk I did in Tasmania twenty years ago and strangely … it seemed a lot harder this time.  It’s probably fair to say that I slightly over-estimated my fitness level, and under-estimated my age!  Nevertheless, I made it to the last day, and managed to eat everything that was put in front of me (and a few things that weren’t).

Looking fresh at the beginning of the day in Bluestone Bay

The Freycinet Peninsula is one of Tasmania’s most beautiful spots, and once you get away from the usual trails and into the bush, solitude, wildlife and deserted beaches abound. Guides Nick and Sarah were very knowledgeable which greatly enriched our experience, and for the benefit of the foreigners amongst the group, we “enriched” it even further with tales of venomous snakes, spiders, ticks, leeches, sharks and other endearing Australian creatures.

I walked for four days with Freycinet Experience Walk.  Each day we were taken by vehicle or boat to a remote spot, to walk back to our comfortable eco-lodge – the only lodge within Freycinet National Park. Hidden in the sand dunes behind Friendly Beaches, the lodge with its comfy lounges, well-stocked library and indigenous art was a welcome sight at the end of each day.

Near the end of Day Two – OMG!

Somehow, the wonderful Gemma and Dan managed to produce fresh tasty food every day, even catering dairy-free, gluten-free, no red meat and vegetarian.  Unfortunately, I eat everything, and it was the thought of their food that kept me going on days two and three …

Next on my walking list will be something a little less strenuous, perhaps Bruny Island?

Share the sweetness …

If you ask me whether I prefer sweet or savoury food, I always reply with “Oh savoury, definitely”. I don’t eat biscuits and I rarely eat cake. But something strange comes over me when I go away on holiday.

This time it started in Adelaide at Lenzerheide Restaurant …

Baileys & honey crème brulee with Ferrero Rocher ice cream
Baileys & honey crème brulee with Ferrero Rocher ice cream
Chocolate plate - aero mint mousse, bounty chocolate tart, cherry ripe ice cream & snickers tart
Chocolate plate – aero mint mousse, bounty chocolate tart, cherry ripe ice cream & snickers tart

and it continued at Stamps Restaurant

then culminated at the Bridgewater Mill  in the Adelaide Hills …


After which, I moved on to Sydney and the landmark Asian restaurant Longrain 
(And I ask you, how do they expect one to take food photos under a dim yellow light ??)


I swear on a foodie bible that I shared every single dish, nevertheless I am now back in Bellingen eating soup and brown rice cakes.  I’m so lucky I don’t have a sweet tooth !

Oh Well ...

 

A Humidity Break …

Although I much prefer summer to winter, and I don’t mind a bit of steamy weather, this summer seemed a little longer and more trying than usual.  So when a friend suggested a short trip to the cooler climate of Tasmania, it was immediately appealing.

We flew in from Sydney over the Tasmanian Wilderness …

Great Western Tiers Conservation area
Great Western Tiers Conservation area

 

Enjoyed the sights and tastes of Hobart …

Hugged a few ancient towering trees in the Huon Valley …

Towering Stringybark

Wandered around the docks at Triabunna

Spent a day walking around the historic penal probation station on Maria Island

And left the island tired, slightly sunburnt but refreshed by our humidity break!

Leaving Maria Island
Leaving Maria Island

A peaceful day in Penneshaw …

There’s not a lot to do in Penneshaw.

You can take a walk on the mostly deserted beach …

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Chat to a few of the locals …

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Fossick along the tide line for interesting objects ..

Watch the ferries come and go …

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Eat fresh seafood and check out the local kids’ jellyfish creations at the pub …

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Watch molluscs making trails in the rock pools …

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And that’s about it really …

Perfect, no wonder we keep coming back !

Margaritas on the beach …

On our last night in Colombo, we decided to visit the Seafood Cove Restaurant on the private beach at the historic Mount Lavinia Hotel (which features in the 1957 film Bridge Over the River Kwai)

Sitting at our table on the sand, only metres from the waves, sipping our margaritas, we were treated to a spectacular and constantly changing palette of pinks and blues as the sun set through monsoonal clouds.

Tempted by the fresh seafood on display, we ordered lime and chilli cuttlefish, garlic butter prawns and steamed whole Modha fish. All delicious …  and a wonderful end to our time in Sri Lanka.

Sharing our house …

We’ve arrived at the second last destination on our Sri Lankan trip, the idyllic Garden House in Habaraduwa just outside the historic port of Galle.

Even though we have exclusive use of the house, we are never actually alone. First there’s the dawn chorus of grunting chattering and crashing by a troupe of Purple Faced Leaf monkeys as they make their way through the garden …

Purple Leaf monkey
Purple Faced Leaf monkey

Then when we go down for a refreshing pre-breakfast swim we might be greeted by a frog or two  with the same idea …

Frog (or is it a toad) swimming in the pool
Frog (or is it a toad?) swimming in the pool

During the day as we sit and read, nap, sip on drinks or recover from expeditions we are serenaded by exotic and colourful birds …

Rose Ringed parrot
Rose Ringed parrot
Red Vented Bulbuls

And late in the afternoon we take turns in the pool with birds having their afternoon wash …

Swimming in the pool
Swimming in the pool
Fellow swimmers
A fellow swimmer

Finally as we drop off to sleep, safely shrouded within a canopy of mosquito net, there are the sounds of unknown creatures that snuffle and scurry in the dark.

A Sri Lankan Carpenter bee …

I spied this large insect at Yala game reserve on the beach where 47 tourists and locals were swept away by the devastating 2004 tsunami.  I was standing on the beach trying to imagine how such a peaceful place could in a matter of minutes turn into a scene of devastation, when I noticed a large insect hovering around some unusual lilac coloured flowers.  I followed it through the sandhills for some time. The glare of sunlight made it almost impossible to see what I was photographing, so I was thrilled to discover later that I had managed to capture this Carpenter bee.

Xylocopa tenuiscapa
Xylocopa tenuiscapa

It was the size of a small mouse, or perhaps a large gobstopper. Now I’m suffering from bee envy!