Notes from our lounge room and the odd cafe

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March 15th 2021
Published: March 15th 2021
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We are all visitors to this time, this place ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb

This is a very different type of blog for us. Firstly, we won’t be writing it in a HE SAID... / SHE I (Ren) will be doing most of the writing with input from Andrew. Secondly, this Tasmanian trip will span the whole year, with day trips, long weekends and possibly week-long excursions being undertaken whenever we have the time.

As is our usual routine before we travel, we’ve started immersing ourselves in books, films and TV shows about/set in Tasmania. Tasmania has many faces and moods, but it seems that many writers and directors have chosen to focus on stories about the bleak and austere aspects of island life. It’s even been given a title – Tassie Noir – a sub-genre that captures the harsh, dark and moody aesthetic of Tasmania.

Given we are not fans of Rosehaven – the only comedy (that we know of) that’s been based in Tasmania, the creative ambiance at home has been quite heavy recently. But even though it’s been hard sitting through such brutal gothic, horror, thriller and supernatural storytelling… the haunting beauty in the way the landscapes have been captured somehow makes it palatable. There’s also something quite endearing in emphasising the obscure and slightly off-the-wall aspects of Tasmania.

Over the last decade or so, Tasmania had slowly but surely climbed up the tourism ladder and pre-covid tourism numbers were starting to get so high that we were worried about over-exposure and our fragile ecosystems being destroyed. It’s a small island with limited infrastructure outside the cities, and it really isn’t set up for the mass tourism that used to be belched out from cruise ships every summer.

I can totally understand why it’s a very exciting destination, but I would be much happier if our State and local governments looked more closely at the long-term impacts of ever-increasing tourism. Having said that, we feel for the tourism operators who are struggling at the moment. Last year, while our State borders were closed for a few months, local tourism helped to keep many operators afloat and we hope they keep flourishing this year too. It was lovely to read of many places that traditionally closed over winter but stayed open to cater for the influx of local tourists. Our State government’s travel voucher incentive program may have contributed to this cultural shift too.

I’m realising very quickly that organising a local holiday is a very different beast to organising an overseas trip. Very interestingly, planning these local trips has been a lot more time consuming than designing our overseas adventures. As it is the case all over the world at present, our tourism and hospitality industries are in major flux, and all my usual methods of travel research have been proving unreliable. I’ve had to rely heavily on trawling social media and directly calling businesses in order to get any current information.

I had also assumed that booking a series of short local trips would be much less complicated than a longer trip. That definitely hasn’t been the case. Finding the time for multiple short trips is proving more difficult than blocking out one longer holiday. The flexibility of travelling whenever we have the time is tempered by the fact that many of the trips are highly weather dependent, and travelling in Australia is also far more expensive (especially in summer/high season) than most overseas destinations. On the other hand, we don’t have to worry about getting vaccinations, packing a smallish 12kg backpack for a whole month or more, spending looong hours on long haul flights or dealing with time zone issues!

They say that every journey has an explicit aim and an implicit agenda. I’ve already covered the explicit travel aims of our Tasmanian trips in the Prologue, so I probably should now admit that one of my implicit agendas is hoping to ‘research’ and locate the best pies, servo pies (distinctly different to ‘normal’ pies), sausage rolls, egg and bacon rolls, toasties, fish and chips, bangers and mash, parmigianas and pub meals in Tasmania! And in the sweet stakes, I’ll be hunting for the best vanilla slices, custard tarts, lamingtons, apple cakes and pies! 😊

I’ve also been looking forward to supporting the very special rural roadside stalls. Farmers and producers sometimes sell their excess produce and products from unstaffed little roadside stalls with an honesty box system. I have always loved this way of shopping for local and seasonal items, and we buy local honey, jams and fresh cut flowers etc. from them on our country drives. However, I was very sad and angry when I recently read that this beautiful custom may be a thing of the past because of brazen tourist thieves cleaning out the stalls without leaving a single cent! Some stall owners have even resorted to placing security cameras to monitor the stalls. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? And yet again, here’s a feral minority wrecking things for the rest of us. 😞

Given we live in rural Tasmania and have to regularly drive 70km to Hobart (the capital) or even further when traveling to other parts of the State for work, Andrew and I are very used to spending lots of time in the car together. And despite this, or maybe because of this, we are both beyond excited to start our road trips.

On my list of road trip must-haves is great company, comfortable transport, a good playlist of happy music, reliable maps, a list of clean toilet stops, and thoroughly researched insider knowledge on the best pubs, bakeries and cafes enroute. Happily, all items have been ticked for our upcoming first trip.

After much discussion, we decided that the first trip should be iconic or a standout in some way… and so we chose a trip to South Cape Bay in the far south. It’s the southernmost beach in Tasmania and Australia (excluding the Australian Antarctic Territory and an uninhabited isle or two). The trip will also take in other ‘southernmost’ elements like the southernmost point of Australia’s most southerly road, the southernmost National Park, the southernmost pub… I think you get the idea. 😉

We visited the very helpful Tasmanian Visitor Information Centre in Hobart and loaded up on maps and brochures. We had no idea that there was a free bi-monthly travel newspaper called Tasmanian Travelways (which has been great for news about seasonal regional affairs). Our social media feeds have also been working overtime to help with this trip… I have followed and liked absolutely everything to do with far south Tasmania! 😄

We are about to hit the road, so if anyone needs us, we’ll be hanging out at the bottom of Australia for a few days. 😊

EDIT – May 2022
Where did the last 12 months ago? This time last year we’d just finished an extraordinary 2020 workload and were excitedly preparing to explore our Tasmanian home in 2021. Our island State was blissfully COVID free and we thought it was the ideal time to travel.

We started really well with a fabulous trip to the ‘far south’ as stated above… but then our plans gradually went metaphorically south. The main reason was due to work getting busy. However, another contributing factor was that one of our dogs started getting too unwell to be left at kennels… and then our COVID numbers exploded when the State’s borders fully opened with no restrictions.

Even though we’ve managed a couple of shorter trips, we are very disappointed that we didn’t manage to travel as extensively as we wanted. However, I’ve decided to blog about the regions we visited on our shorter trips, and I may fill in the gaps with details and photos of trips from previous years. I also plan to update the blogs should we return to a particular region in the future.

So, with many apologies, our blog from March 2021 will be posted shortly; and hopefully this will be followed by other Tasmanian blogs in the near future. 😊


15th March 2021

Happy travelling you two.?so pleased that you will get to take the fur babies on some of your stays this time . Especially pleased for Jasper .Enjoy your time in Deep South . It will be interesting to hear how Tassie rates in hospitality from some ‘locals’ Stay safe xx
15th March 2021

Thanks Aunty Deb. We are so excited to finally do something we have been talking about for years. Jasper is very worried about the luggage she has already spotted... we wish we could explain to her that it's only a short trip away this time :)
15th March 2021

Pie, pies and more pies
Looking forward to your Tasmanian travels. Sylvia and I spent a month travelling there a few years ago when it was possible to take our car by ferry from Sydney to Devonport - love sea travel. A month is nowhere near long enough to explore Tassie. The last time my Dad visited us from the UK he decided to "research" Australian meat pies to see the best he could find. After several months of travelling around, he eventually found what he considered to be the best in a small bakery west of Albury in NSW. Sadly I can't remember the name of the town. I'm not much of a meat eater but my personal favourite was the crocodile pie from Fredopies at Frederickton near Kempsey in NSW.
15th March 2021

Re: Pie, pies and more pies
Hi John. I had forgotten that the ferry used to run from Sydney too! I've always found that the best pies and pastries tend to be in the small town bakeries - I like your Dad's pie quest :) I'll keep the crocodile pie in mind when we eventually begin our NSW travels. Our favourite pies in Tasmania tend to be the seasonal ones like scallop pies (which is reaching the end of its run about now), but we will be very open to trying anything that comes our way - in the name of 'research' of course :)
16th March 2021

After Reading your article I explore some new thing which I don’t know so Thank you for sharing this article with us.
16th March 2021

Good Travel Blog
A Blog for women solo traveller
17th March 2021

Great Plans!
Sometimes I think that the anticipation and planning that goes into a trip is at least half the fun! It sounds like you've really done your homework on your upcoming trip, so I am sure you'll have a fabulous time. Can't wait to read all about it!
21st March 2021

Re: Great Plans!
Thanks Sylvia. I get great pleasure from planning a trip! And now that I think about the three three parts of a trip - the planning of it, actually travelling, and digesting the experience / blogging about it - they are all almost as enjoyable as each other... almost :)
17th April 2021

Local Planning and more
We are finding a lot of the local travel we've wanted to do is hard to arrange because everyone is doing it. Since people can't fly off to the Caribbean or Europe .... they are staying local. I'm eager to hear what you learn about local best pies, servo pies, sausage rolls, egg and bacon rolls, toasties, fish and chips, bangers and mash, parmagianas and pub meals in Tasmania! We love all the stages of the travel experience.
9th November 2021

Re Local Planning and more
Hi Merry. I haven't logged in for many months, sorry for the late reply. Our local travels didn't go as planned - as usual, life and work got in the way. However the blog/s about the few trips we did, will hopefully be posted soon - it's on the long 'to do' list :)
8th May 2022

“Best laid plans “
An interesting read , and it shows how much pleasure we get from the planning stage ...and as I said in my previous comment you've given me food for thought about blogging about this “pandemic time “. Maybe it’s right that there should be some record about how it affected us travel bloggers . And I did get a bit of a friendly telling off for not blogging from MJ and Dave when I met them in Granada !!
9th May 2022

Re: “Best laid plans “
Indeed! There used to be a time I enjoyed impromptu trips, and I still do to some extent… but my preference is definitely a well researched one :) I hope your thoughts on blogging about the ‘pandemic years’ bear fruit. Although I’m not in much of a position to talk about writing given I’ve been so extremely slack in writing these Tasmanian trips up :)

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