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January 27th 2017
Published: September 12th 2018
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It was another early morning departure. We took the bus back to Bicheno, where we had a quick break. The bus driver took pity on us and said that we had enough time to run over to the bakery for a coffee and savoury scroll. Then it was the drive back to Launceston through the beautiful countryside. It was a bit of a trek from the bus stop to where we were staying, but we mae it in the end. We were a bit disgruntled to find out that bedding wasn't included especially as we had booked a private room. We had sleeping bags for later in our trip, but they were packed away at the bottom of our huge pack and we really didn't want to disturb everything for the sake of one night. A search through the cupboards in the room resulted in us finding a couple of blankets that we could use. The hassle of emptying and repacking the big backpack was averted. We were still feeling pretty hungry so our first stop was to get some lunch. We knew exactly where we were going, straight back to Banjo's for sandwiches, baked goods and coffee. Once again, everything was delicious and finally we were full. Then we headed to the supermarket to do our big shop for the next part of our trip. We would be heading to Cradle Mountain the next day and didn't want to be paying the extortionate prices that the caravan park we would be staying in would charge so we stocked up on a good week's worth of food. I really wanted to try some of Australian delicacy food, since I hadn't had any on my previous trip many years ago. My friend totally indulged me and we ended up getting wallaby fillets, kangaroo kebab and kangaroo sausages aka 'Kanga Bangas'. Once we had dropped the food back at the hostel, we could finally start to explore Launceston.

Since it was already the afternoon, we decided to head to Cataract Gorge, which wasn't too far away from where we were staying. On the way there, we came a cross a place called 'Penny Royal', so we had a quick look in there. It was some kind of theme park/adventure type place. I was surprised at how empty it was, there weren't many people there at all. From there, it was another five or so minutes to reach Cataract Gorge. There is a sign at the start of the gorge announcing that work started on the cliff grounds in 1890. I really liked the house that was perched on the cliff next to the start of the gorge. Looking in the opposite direction, I could see the beautifully painted red and white bridge we had just crossed to reach the start of the gorge. The walk along the path next to the gorge was pretty easy going We were treated to gorgeous views of the gorge and saw a few kayakers in the water. That looked like fun. Also, we passed a few rock climbers on the path. There were a few people about, but the trail wasn't crowded at all. As we progressed further the water became filled with rocky outcrops and seemed to be flowing a lot faster, I think I changed my mind about the kayaking if you had to do it in a spot like that. We came to the Victorian Gardens and had a look around those before heading over to Alexandra Suspension Bridge. The bridge was opened on 29th November 1904 by Lady Edeline Strickland. We took a walk over the suspension bridge, which was pretty tame. We were now at the basin area. We could see quite a few people swimming in it. There were also a lot of people relaxing on the other side of the water. That area was a little more built up as there was a swimming pool and some buildings there. We also came to a wooden looking structure called 'The Shelter'. It had been built by two local men, Cyril Shaw and Leslie Dent using chicken wire and concrete using a technique called Faux Bois, which means false wood. Well they certainly had me fooled. We headed back the way we had come and were treated to beautiful views of the gorge in the opposite direction. The walk back was easy, but we ended up stopping for a rest as after a few pretty busy days my friend felt exhausted. The warm weather wasn't helping with this.

Back at the hostel, it was time to cook dinner. We decided on the wallaby steaks and salad. This hostel definitely has one of the best kitchens of any hostel I have stayed in. It was massive with load of appliances, pans, crochery, and cutlery. There was not getting in other people's way when you were cooking, that made a refreshing change. Also the dining room was nice and big with plenty of tables and chairs. I was a bit dubious about trying the wallaby sfillets, jut in case it tasted bad and I would be gutted. My friend had told me we needed to cook it for a short amount of time or it would become to chewy. The wallaby fillets had been marinated in lemon myrtle and pepper berry. The fillets were pretty good, I enjoyed them, but wouldn't rush out to buy them again. I would maybe have them in a restaurant though. It would be nice to try them cooked by a professional, who knew how to handle them properly. After dinner, we headed out the other supermarket that was close ot our hostel to pick up a couple of things we hadn't got at the main one. Then it was back to the hostel to chill, in one of the common rooms. No late night for us as we had another early start the next day.

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13th September 2018

Penny Royal...
It was probably empty because it's well past its use by date. Andrew used to have family holidays there as a kid and loved it back then, but it needs a major upgrade to drag it forward a few decades :)
18th September 2018

Penny Royal
Thanks for the local perspective. The vibe was definitely a bit off.

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