Wombatted Out

Published: September 4th 2015
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Juvenile WombatJuvenile WombatJuvenile Wombat

Foraging for food
Saturday morning arrived and it was time to go home. Looking out onto the balcony there was a blaze of green where it used to be white with snow, the only snow left seemedto be the big chunk that was on our balcony and roughly the same size as it was when we arrived. We have come full circle this week with the weather and got exactly what we wanted.

As I had packed mostly the night before, all we had to do this morning was put the final bits and pieces in the cases, it was a tight squeeze, but somehow we managed, not that we had that much more to take home with us than when we came, packing for winter holidays takes up so much more room than summer holidays.

One last check around the cabin, in the wardrobes and we think we have everything so lock the door behind us, load up the car and drive down to breakfast.

Hearts feeling pretty heavy and sad to be going home today, but we knew that would come, it is raining this morning and even the wombats haven't come out to say goodbye.

During breakfast, Margaret who is one of the waiting staff, asked us which way we were heading off the mountain, I told her which way I intended on going but she suggested an alternative route via Wilmot down to the coast and take in the chocolate and cheese factories on our way back to Launceston. I asked her roughly how long the journey would be without stopping and she said 3 1/2 hours.

Margaret is writing a tourist book on Tasmania which we may get to see before she publishes.

I reviewed my map, I had already planned the route and the timings which included a coffee stop at the Round Hill Cafe, down to Sheffield across to Deloraine and on to Launceston, I knew how long it would take and as much as the coast road would have been nice, I felt that it was going to cut it too fine for our flight which was at 2pm. We always prefer to be on the early side at the airport and knew that if we deviated, took a longer route and wanted to stop then we would
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These little cuties are enjoying the warmth of the sun in the cold snow.
be asking for trouble so I opted for my original plan which meant that if we had any delays then we would still have time.

After our hearty breakfast, we checked out handed over our guest comment card, said our goodbye's and thank you's to some of the staff that we had got to know over the week and we headed off on our not so merry way back to the airport. Still no wombats to say goodbye, perhaps it is just as well, it would have delayed our departure.

My turn to drive so I carefully head out the way we came, no more than 40 kilometres an hour to start with because of the speed limit and potential for wildlife to be on the road, again no wildlife, the rain has made them disappear.

Near the Tardis, yes I did say the Tardis, but no sign of Dr Who, I take the turn for Sheffield instead of Wilmot, and we start to wend our way down the mountain roads, a quick stop at the Round Hill cafe for a hot cup of coffee, it is still cold and rainy. As we emerge from the mountain, through Gowrie Park and toward Sheffield we are now in bright sunshine and the day has warmed fairly well.

Just a note about Gowrie Park, we passed the rest area where we had a free camp before, this used to be in the Camps 5 book that we had on our original journey, I note now it is all fenced off and the Gowrie Park Wilderness Village resides just down the road, I checked my latest Camps book and it confirms that the old free camp is no longer there, disappointing but many of these great places are disappearing now.

We drive into Sheffield, it is Saturday morning and fairly quiet "in town" we drove down the main street on the off chance that we would see something unusual like a man in a Tam O'Shanter walking an Alpaca. For our long term readers you will know that is exactly what we saw last time we were in Sheffield. In fact Mark and Clare confirmed his existence to us.

I picked up Highway 1 and drive onto Launceston with a brief stop at Deloraine, I suddenly realised that the speed of life had picked up again, a week on the mountain had slowed us right down, so picking back up to the normal speed of our life it did not seem too long until we had arrived back in Launceston.

Andy wanted to put the hire car through a car wash before we dropped it at the airport, but we couldn't find one, the rain had washed most of the dirt of anyway and we didn't consider it excessively dirty he really wanted to be sure that we would not get charged with additional charges for cleaning, but we figured we would be ok.

At the airport, we unloaded, checked that there were no bumps and scrapes and dropped the keys back in. There was nobody in fro the company that we hired from, Andy called them, he wanted to be sure that they accepted the car back in the condition that we took it. It pays to be thorough, we did not want a $3,500 excess charge suddenly appearing on the credit card. They said they would call us back before our flight if they found anything got be concerned about.

We checked in and grabbed some Lunch, the phone never rang and we boarded the flight on time. Taking off we felt sad and watched the lush green of Tasmania give way to the Bass Strait and Melbourne bound.

This stretch is just a short flight, just over an hour, so we soon landed in Melbourne (sometimes pronounced Melbin), and so begins our 3 hour wait until our flight back to Perth.

We find the Crown Bar, make ourselves comfy on the sofa, have a leisurely glass of wine but by 5pm we were told that the bar was closing. "Great" thought we could loiter until our flight, another hour and a half to go, so we made our way to the boarding gate. Sat and waited, I browsed at the sweet (lollies to Aussies) counter but was soon told that they had already closed up. Well, I wasn't going to buy any anyway, I was just looking, honest.

Eventually we boarded our flight, unfortunately not such a modern plane, we did not have personal entertainment units, we all had the same film from the drop down screens under the overhead lockers. Never mind, it would while the time away. 3.5 maybe nearly 4 hours to Perth.

Fortunately an uneventful flight, we landed in Perth at about 9pm but because of the time difference it was really 11pm for us, we were tired but had to await baggage collection. Once retrieved we headed out to the car which was parked in the short term at park. If I had not pre-booked the car parking for a full 8 days it would have cost us a whopping $395 but fortunately already pre-booked get meant that we paid only $120.00.

Jill, was waiting exactly where we left her and intact, we loaded up and soon we were back out on the freeway and heading "home".

By the time we reached home our body clock was screaming half past midnight at us yet it was only 10.30pm we checked that everything inside the house was ok, our luggage was unloaded and literally fell into bed exhausted from our days travel!


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