We checked in at the Hillcrest Tourist Park in St Helens in the early afternoon so decided to go back into town to do some food shopping for Christmas lunch as well as a few last minute presents.
On Christmas Eve, we went for a drive in the hills, doing short walks at Blue Tier Reserve (Goblin Walk), Anchor Stampers (an old Tin mine) and Halls Falls. We stopped for some more cheeses at Pyengana Cheese on the way to St Columba Falls (where we had lunch) and Ralphs Falls. After dinner (delicious Gem Fish from Salty Seas fish shop) we went back into town for the annual Christmas Eve parade.
Christmas day was very exciting for the kids as Santa had managed to find us despite our distance from home. They were both very pleased with their main present from Santa, which consisted of a MS Real microchip and Micro SD card for their Nintendo DS game consoles. Santa was also good enough to have pre-loaded a number of their favourite DS games onto their cards! Their presents from family included K-Mart vouchers, that they're looking forward to spending in Hobart, as well as a good deal of
money, most of which has been invested in their bank account. In fact, all their presents were happily accepted with great appreciation, although they are still a bit puzzled why Santa also included a packet of Coco Pops!
Despite us missing family and friends, we managed to have a very relaxing day and a Christmas lunch that seemed just about as good as we were used to, not to mention the added bonus of Mark not having to work! We enjoyed pickled octopus, prawns stir-fried with garlic and coriander, ham, turkey, potato salad, gourmet cheese, kalamata olives and green olives stuffed with fetta. Alex cracked open the champagne while Mark did not let a few beers go to waste. Dessert was also a treat with whipped cream-filled meringues topped with fresh raspberries, kiwi fruit, banana and passion fruit. It was about as close to pavlova as you can get and it is is amazing what you can achieve if you put your mind to it, or in our case, our stomachs and taste buds!
On Boxing day, we checked out the local beaches, drove down to Eureka Farm for some more berries (strawberries and youngberries) and their famous
White Knight walk
300 yr old 90m White Gum
summer puddings (delicious!), and continued on through St Marys pass to Mathinna Falls and then to Evercreech Forest Reserve ('White Knight' and Evercreech Falls walks). We had an interesting trip back to St Helens via the mainly logging dirt roads in the hinterland, that weren't very well sign-posted. A GPS would have come in handy, but we were lucky to be within the NextG mobile network most of the time, so can say a big thank you to Google Maps for guiding our trip home before Annelies began to panic too much. Alex was very good at hiding her anxiety about not knowing exactly where we were!
On Saturday we packed up and headed down the coast towards Coles Bay.
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