A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about 2 toddlers in winter tasmania!

Let's go to Tassie!

"Let's go to Tassie!"
"Righto, cool!... When? How long for? Self drive or public transport with tours? What's there to see and do? You wanna pay for it!?... Ok, can we afford it?"

And so the idea was formed...

But hang on...

"What about the kids? Are we crazy?!"
"Nah, it won't be that bad. No worse than going round the world with Sonia when she was 9 - 12 months old."
"But there's 2 of them now! And they'll be 10months and 2.5yrs old!"
"That's fine, just plan accordingly!"

And so the planning began...

However, if you've ever tried to research a winter trip to Tasmania, with 2 toddlers, you'll understand the frustration that occurs from lack of information readily available. We had a fairly long list of questions, with no quick easy answers.

Ie.

  • Campervan with toddlers in winter… good or bad idea?
  • What’s the weather like for ‘shorter’ hikes/walks that time of the year?
  • Many walks available to do with a stroller?
  • How best to keep toddlers warm and dry during hikes?
  • Free camping with campervan?
  • Accessibility of camps, hikes, and other things during winter?
  • If booking into accommodation… do you need to book much in advance?
  • Are many things or areas closed during the winter season?
  • Recommendations on things to definitely do/not do with toddlers?

After reading a few other travelers’ blogs, putting questions out on various different forums, and numerous phone calls, I’d answered quite a few of our queries, but still wasn’t a hundred percent sure on others. Figured we’d just have to go and enjoy the adventure, learning along the way! Hey, we’d previously survived a three month round the world trip (July – October 2011) with one toddler and basically no research… how much worse could this be?! Maybe that’s why I was now trying to do a lot more research prior to this trip!

And so that brings me to this blog… trying to carry out this research got me thinking that if I’m having difficulty finding information and answers, maybe others could be going through a similar situation. Hence the idea of writing this, hoping our experiences would be able to help others in similar situations. Here’s to hoping it does!

Posted by Goannaray 01:28 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania questions toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

More background info...

After doing some initial basic research, we figured we had about 3.5weeks available in July to explore as much as possible. We’re from WA and are more interested in nature, but don’t mind history and other general things as well.

Basic outline:
­

  • Fly into Launceston from Perth beginning of July

­

  • Hire a car to get to Latrobe for the Winterfest, drive down to Hobart, and explore around Hobart and surrounds while based there

­

  • Stay in a hotel while we have the car and are based in Launceston and Hobart for the first week or so

­

  • Hire a campervan to drive around and explore as much of the rest of Tasmania as we can in the remaining time available

­

  • Fly out of Hobart back to Perth

I have to point out here that several dates for things like the Latrobe Chocolate Winterfest and pre-booked accommodation in Hobart, (prior to further research), had a major influence on how we had to plan things.

Posted by Goannaray 01:41 Archived in Australia Tagged itinerary 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Things we don't really want to have to miss!

In no real order of any sort!

• Latrobe Chocolate Winterfest
• Cadbury Chocolate Factory
• Mt Field National Park - Russell Falls
• Snow - Ben Lomond or Mt Field NP
• Port Arthur
• See Tasmania Devils
• Cradle Mountain National Park
• Platypus House
• Seahorse world
• Louisa’s Walk
• Lake St Claire National Park
• Montezuma Falls
• Leven Canyon
• Tasmazia
• Liffey Falls
• Ralphs Falls
• Bay of Fires
• Wineglass Bay
• Tessellated pavement
• Remarkable Caves
• Legerwood Woodcarvings
• Bruny Island Cruise – Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Posted by Goannaray 01:44 Archived in Australia Tagged things_to_see 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Some answers to questions so far...

Campervan with toddlers in winter… good or bad idea?
­

  • Won’t know till we get there

­

  • Everyone’s different regarding what they enjoy or can put up with!

­

  • Perfect example… me Vs my husband!! I enjoy camping, he doesn’t!

­

  • Will see how we go for space and general comfort as well!

­

  • If taking toddlers in a campervan though, make sure it can take the car seats you need, and that the beds are toddler safe before you book

What’s the weather like for ‘shorter’ hikes/walks that time of the year?
­

  • Most likely cold and wet

­

  • As to how cold and wet… who really knows till we actually get there!

Many walks available to do with a stroller?
­

  • There are a few

­

  • I’m guessing those that are labeled wheelchair accessible should be no problem for a stroller

How best to keep toddlers warm and dry during hikes?
­

  • We’re thinking of using an Ergo baby carrier for our then 10month old, and whoever’s carrying him, wrapping their larger size raincoat around him as well. ?? smaller umbrella as well if it’s really heavy rain to reduce water running down between adult and child. This worked well for us before in New Zealand.

­

  • For longer hikes, we’re thinking we’d also take a Kathmandu child carrier backpack for our then 2.5yr old. Wearing our own raincoat, and putting a poncho over her and the backpack. Have yet to test this method!

Free camping with campervan?
­

  • Apparently there are quite a few sites available

­

  • We’ll see what we end up doing when we get there

­

  • Also depends on if we end up deciding if we want to pay for power so we can have a heater going overnight, or if we want showers and toilets or not

Accessibility of camps, hikes, and other things during winter?
­

  • Can sometimes be inaccessible due to snow

­

  • Won’t really know till we get there

If booking into accommodation… do you need to book much in advance?
­

  • Not such an issue in winter unless there’s something happening maybe

­

  • Like possibly in Latrobe during the Chocolate Winterfest in July, but we fly into Launceston the night before so decided to stay in Launceston instead and just do a day trip.

Are many things or areas closed during the winter season?
­

  • A few are yes!!

­

  • Not many (?? 2 or 3 of the things we would’ve liked to have done), but definitely worth checking before you go.

­

  • Tarkine Forest Adventures – Slide into the Tarkine: Shut during winter season

­

  • Eagles Eyrie – Maydena: Can shut depending on weather. Refund/Reschedule will be offered if this occurs they said

­

  • Westcoast Wilderness Railway: Shut due to financial issues. ?? re-opening for 2013/14 summer season

Recommendations on things to definitely do/not do with toddlers?
­

  • Depends on what your toddlers enjoy

­

  • We’ve received quite a few excellent suggestions, so will have to see what happens and how the kids enjoy them when we get there

­

  • For kids needing a baby seat, it pays to check that tour companies are able to cater for them. We’ve found several companies that wouldn’t be able to take our 10-11month old as their vehicles didn’t have an anchor point for his seat.

Posted by Goannaray 01:48 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania questions answers toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Internet sites I've found helpful...

­

­

  • www.letsgokids.com.au : Awesome site for ‘things to do, where to go, vouchers, special offers’… all family related, for each state.

­

  • www.tripadviser.com : Excellent site for wide range of general and destination information with reviews

­

­

­

  • www.tasmaniasleepervans.com.au : Yes, it is a campervan website. But they also provide excellent research resources. I particularly liked their information and list of different walks available round Tasmania

­

  • www.think-tasmania.com : General Tasmania info, plus ‘Things to Do in Tasmania: Top Ten For Kids’ is rather helpful

­

  • www.parks.tas.gov.au : National Parks site. Good for information on the parks in general, specific walks, camping…

­

  • www.forestrytas.com.au : Good for information on forestry walks. Many helpful and informative blogs by Shannon on a large number of the walks available

­

Posted by Goannaray 02:11 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania research toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Misc hints/tips...

  • Travel High Chair AlternativeKaden in the Totseat

    Kaden in the Totseat

Totseat / Mobiseat – As they say it’s ‘the washable, squashable highchair’. (www.totseat.com). Made out of cloth, clip it onto/around whatever regular chair is available, and have your child safely sit in/on there. We bought one of these off ebay for our round the world trip to use with our daughter who was 9 – 12 months at the time. Packed really small and found it extremely useful. Even now with our 10month old son, we got extremely frustrated and annoyed at ourselves for not taking it with us to visit my parents for a week, two weeks ago. Trying to eat your own meal, plus feed and hold a squirming 10month old who loves to grab anything he can reach is not fun!

  • Ipad or other tablet alternative

We hadn’t previously gotten one of these yet, so thought we’d pick one up and see how it went as an entertainment device for our 2.5yr old daughter, and as a laptop replacement for us while traveling. We ended up deciding to save a bit of money and not get the best, new, top of the range item, as we didn’t really know if it would end up being worth it or not. Plus, it’s not long till I’ll be needing a new laptop soon anyway… and many of the best tablets available, cost just as much as a new laptop! So we’re now the owners of a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Will see if it was worth it over the duration of this trip!

  • Camps 7 Book

Was recommended this book, and from numerous previous long driving trips around/through Australia and overseas… thought it looked to be a pretty good investment not only for this trip, but also for future trips within Australia. I’m not a fan of GPS systems for driving, preferring a physical map to look at to get a better ‘picture’ of what’s where, and where I want to go. I’ve photocopied the Tasmania section to take with us, and will see how useful the campsite information provided with the maps is for us in Tasmania.

  • Baby/Toddler Car Seats

We’ve decided the best option for us is to hire baby/toddler car seats through the companies we’re hiring vehicles from. Less hassle, and means we can bring other child items free of charge on the plane (Stroller, Kathmandu child carrier backpack etc).

  • Tasmania National Parks Pass

Decided to pay for it online before we go and take the corresponding printout, instead of purchasing at the park, as we may want to go into a smaller park that doesn’t have that service available, before we get to somewhere we can do that. I rang and asked, and they said the printout should be fine if you haven’t had a chance to exchange it for the physical pass/card yet.

  • Discounts

Definitely check these out!! A lot of the tourist brochures/booklets you can pick up often have local business discounts in them. The ‘Let’s Go Kids’ booklets, and online for each state are awesome sources of ideas and discounts. Also check out what discounts you can get through any of the cards/memberships you may have. For example, RACWA (RACV, NRMA, RACQ etc), YHA (Youth Hostel Australia), QANTAS Frequent Flyer. Also, we’re really lucky that our children are both younger than 3yrs. So entrance fees are not needed for them to any of the places we want to visit (as far as I know so far anyway!). Plus, our son pretty much fly’s for free as he’s under 2yrs. However… we found out that as soon as they turn 2, and you have to pay for a seat… it’s basically straight up to adult fare cause they’re taking up a seat. The downside to the age thing… they very likely won’t remember much (if any) of the trip.

Posted by Goannaray 23:25 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania tips hints toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

And the trip begins...


View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

We'd booked flights a while ago to try and get cheaper fares, and Clancy'd decided for us that the bit extra we'd pay for Qantas was worth it. I tend to agree with him! Especially for the longer WA to east coast flights! Included baggage allowance, meals, entertainment, baggage checked right through to end destination... made for a much easier experience. Particularly as we were all fighting bad headcolds.

I'd really been dreading the take off and landing, having previously experienced bad pain from blocked sinuses on a flight before. We were really lucky this time, with no pain for any of us. Breastfeeding Kaden, and everyone else sucking on throat lozenges must've worked! Having ABC 4 Kid's programs available on the inflight entertainment was a big help with Sonia, and the few toys we'd brought were very useful during the wait in Melbourne for our connecting flight to Launceston.

Another toddler issue we had to deal with that turned out different to what we expected, was bladder and bowel control. Sonia's not 100% toilet trained yet, with the occasional accident, and requiring frequent reminders and enforcement. Despite encouragement throughout the trip, and complaints of a sore tummy, it wasn't till we landed at Launceston that results were reached with longest, biggest, smelliest poo ever! And in the toilet too! We'd expected to have to change atleast one set of nappy pants.

Finally retrieved our bags, picked up the hire car (including some fun learning how to start a car with no keyhole in console! ... Ensure foot is on the brake!), and headed to our booked accommodation for some much needed sleep! Note for future late arrivals... pick up some take away food on the way from the airport to the hotel.

Posted by Goannaray 22:03 Archived in Australia Tagged food accommodation plane flights toddler 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Latrobe Chocolate Winter Festival!!


View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

270_P7076123.jpg270_P7076129.jpg270_P7076133.jpg270_P7076134.jpgP7076137.jpg
Finally, the day for the event Clancy had said we definitely could NOT miss! The Latrobe Chocolate Winter Festival! It was going to be an awesome day filled with all things chocolate. Food, art, fashion, music, poetry, drinks, entertainment... and more!

The drive from Launceston was great, with nice views of snow on the distant tiers and mountains. There were lots of different activities and competition's for all ages, with a lot of the local businesses and organisations getting involved. Plus the all required taste testing availabilities! Using our stroller with its attached buggy board came in very handy for containing, and keeping two kids moving. However, it was a bit of a hindrance with the crowds of people.

Sonia enjoyed being able to decorate and eat her own biscuit at a stall the local IGA had set up. We all enjoyed the different things on display throughout the town, and couldn't avoid buying some chocolate that was constantly being offered, and fresh fruit from the local market. Hmm... and with Clancy there... there was no way we were going to miss the taste testing sites!

Picking up lunch to take and eat in a park turned out to be a good idea too. We found a nice park with playground, picnic tables, toilets, parking, and creek with small waterfall/rapids and bridge, just behind the shops on the main street. Coincidentally named 'Kings Park'. We're from Perth, WA, where 'Kings Park' is the major park/gardens of the city. Sonia enjoyed the playground, and also the new 'game' of mum trying to set up the camera on a rock for a self timed family photo, then rushing to join everyone else, having to catch and pick up Sonia... who by then was half way down to the camera on the rocks near the creek!

Even without the chocolate festival, the town itself and surrounding districts would be well worth a visit. Many historical sites, natural things to enjoy, and places to eat/drink. I would've liked to have gone to the Axeman's Hall of Fame, and the Warrawee Forest Reserve to try and see a platypus, but time and kids did not allow. We did however get to enjoy plenty of other things.

Chocolate Chef's...

Chocolate Chef's...


House of Anvers...

  • Parking was difficult due to it being the chocolate festival weekend, but we were lucky and got a quick spot. A free complimentary shuttle bus was operating from the town centre for the day though for those who couldn't get parking.
  • The chocolate making area had good viewing windows, and a video running as well, which was greatly appreciated when you couldn't see through the crowd of people at the windows.
  • Some good and interesting information on the history of chocolate was well displayed.
  • Taste testing was available at the small shop building to the side of the cafe and chocolate making building.
  • Was a bit crowded for us to fully enjoy the place and all it had to offer, but we still thought it was worth a visit.

Big Cherries

Big Cherries


The Cherry Shed...

  • Had an excellent set up for visitors, including families.
  • Big cherries you could climb up in and look out of.
  • There was an outdoor toddler player/area set up with door access to both the outside picnic area, and also into the inside cafe tables.
  • Sonia did not want to leave the big cherries and play area.
  • They had an aamazing and very informative set of dioramas set up inside showing all the stages of growing, to processing cherries. Including some 'hidden' things to find in each one. Managed to keep Sonic interested looking for different things long enough for us to read the information on each one!

Ashgrove Cheese Cows

Ashgrove Cheese Cows


Ashgrove Cheese...

  • The cheese tasting and numerous painted cows around the outdoor eating area were really the only things that really caught Sonia's attention.
  • We were also able to view the maturing room, and read the different informative posters. Obviously more interesting to us than the kids!

The Raspberry Farm Lake

The Raspberry Farm Lake


Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm & Cafe...

  • I popped into this one very quickly on the way home to Launceston, as both kids were sound asleep by this stage.
  • Would've been a really nice place to spend more time earlier in the day.
  • They also had an outdoor toddler play area, as well as a much larger grassed area near a lake.
  • The lake and grass picnic area looked nice. I would've enjoyed the walk around the lake, but had to keep moving unfortunately.
  • The tasting and testing of produce available was also very good.

Posted by Goannaray 23:34 Archived in Australia Tagged chocolate parks lake cafe raspberries cheese toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Misc hints/tips 2...

Remembered whilst travelling...

  • Plugs

Make sure you remember to pack both a medium/large and small/medium multifit plug for hand basins or washtubs. Especially if you're travelling with kids who aren't used to showers! I remembered to do this thankfully, and have used them at nearly every place we've stayed so far on this trip. Whether for bathing Kaden and/or Sonia, washing dishes, or washing a few quickly needed clothes. At both caravan parks and hotels.

  • Mobile Internet

If you want regular access for checking email or whatever on the net, take you own access device, or plan in time to find somewhere for access. Most people would be able to do this on their phones nowadays anyway, unless they're like us and still haven't upgraded to smart phones yet. The majority of campgrounds we've stayed at haven't had wifi available. Or if they do, we've arrived too late to be able to purchase some usage time from reception for our tablet.

  • Gumboots

This was an excellent suggestion we received from one of our friends in Hobart. She recommended we get some for Sonia. We did, and are very glad we did so! The amount of water and mud she's walked through since being here in Tasmania is amazing! Plus they're very quick and easy to get on and off which helps greatly with toileting and getting in and out of the car or campervan. Let alone the enjoyment she gets from being able to walk through water and mud!

Posted by Goannaray 22:04 Archived in Australia Tagged winter tasmania tips hints toddlers 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Launceston to Hobart...

Via Campbell Town, Ross, & Oatlands

sunny
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

A nice frosty morning to leave our accommodation in Launceston for Hobart. We'd stayed at the Village Family Motor Inn and enjoyed our brief stop there. Breakfast included, Playground which Sonia didn't want to leave, Games room for older kids, Heated pool which we didn't get time to test out, and about the only downside for us was the lack of a bath for Kaden. The room did have a big handbasin though which worked perfectly fine for the job.

The drive from Launceston to Hobart along the number one or Midlands Highway, otherwise known as the Heritage Highway, travels though large tracts of pasture and farmland with many historical towns to visit. The ones we visited were Campbell Town, Ross, and Oatlands. Everyone's colds were still going strong, so it was both good and bad that every time we started driving again, the kids would almost immediately fall asleep. Good, in that it made for a peaceful drive and they needed the sleep. Bad, as the stops at towns were relatively frequent and woke them up.

It also seemed to be the day for stuff to fall off vehicles! Between Launceston and Hobart, we saw one truck lose a strap off the machinery he was carrying, one truck lose a right angle plastic guard thing that prevents the fraying of straps going over his load of 1000L water/chemical tank containers, and dodged two small square hay bales before passing the driver of a ute re-tying his load of hay beside the highway.

We stopped to look at the 'Red Bridge' that convicts built in 1838. Sonia and Kaden enjoyed the swings and chasing the ducks, while I managed a closer look at the amazing tree stump woodcarvings near the bridge.
Campbell Town Ducks

Campbell Town Ducks

Red Bridge, Campbell Town

Red Bridge, Campbell Town

Tree Stump Wood Carving, Campbell Town

Tree Stump Wood Carving, Campbell Town

The town of Ross had numerous old buildings to look at, but we mainly stopped to look at the 'Ross Bridge' that convicts had completed in 1836 over the Macquarie River. Well worth the stop to look at. We passed a film in the making on the way through town to get to the information centre and Tasmanian Wool Centre which we all had a quick look through. Rather interesting information and history on things pertaining to that area and Tasmania, and wool in general. I enjoyed it a bit more than what Clancy or the kids did though as I'm more interested in that sort of thing, having grown up and enjoyed working with merino sheep.

I would have liked to have been able to walk out to look at the Female Factory Site, but Clancy and the kids reckoned it was time to keep moving after a detour to have a play on the playground coming back from looking at the bridge.
View from hill in Ross

View from hill in Ross

Old Church in Ross

Old Church in Ross

Ross Bridge Sign

Ross Bridge Sign

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Ross Bridge

Macquarie River, Ross

Macquarie River, Ross

There was no way we could go past Oatlands without stopping in to look at the Callington Mill. We all enjoyed a tasty lunch there, and I stayed in the warmth of the cafe to breastfeed Kaden while Clancy and Sonia went to play on the awesome playground behind the mill. We then had enough time to walk down to look at Lake Dulverton where we saw a pair of Swans and numerous other birds on the lake, but didn't have time to do any of the walks available. So it was back up to the mill, where Sonia and I went on a tour of the mill while Clancy and Kaden wandered around town, seeing what could be found.
Callington Mill

Callington Mill

Sonia and Wombat, Oatlands

Sonia and Wombat, Oatlands

Playground near Callington Mill

Playground near Callington Mill

Lake Dulverton, Oatlands

Lake Dulverton, Oatlands

Sonia and I really enjoyed the Callington Mill tour. Me with all the information, history, and seeing how it all worked (I'd grown up grinding our own wheat with a home made electric stone grinder), and Sonia with all the climbing up and down steps to get to each floor. She also enjoyed having her own special hard hat to wear! No camera's were allowed inside the mill though, just in case they accidentally fell in, and there was no touching of the grain allowed either. I purposely had to remember this one, as I knew that both Sonia and I would each want to grab a handful when we saw it! (I'm so used to doing this to look at the grain and eat/chew some when at my parents farm!).
Sonia's Hard Hat!

Sonia's Hard Hat!

We finished the tour and Sonia amused herself jumping in and out of triangle shadows made by a wooden gate, while I looked at some more information on the entrance sign. It was then a round about route following Sonia's lead (which she thoroughly enjoyed being able to freely do) through the mill gardens to find Clancy and Kaden.
Triangle Shadows

Triangle Shadows

Callington Mill

Callington Mill

This town was also full of old buildings and interesting shops that I would've happily spent more time wandering amongst like Clancy had been able to do. But it was time to move on and enjoy the numerous different topiary along the main street, and silhouette signs beside the highway heading south. Sonia enjoyed looking out for the different silhouette pictures, before once again falling asleep.
Old Woolpress, Oatlands

Old Woolpress, Oatlands

We eventually got to Hobart, where our first stop was to the neighbours of one of my school friends who lived there. My friend and her family had flown out for a trip back to WA to see family the same time that we'd left for Tasmania. They'd left a bundle of winter gear for us and the kids, plus other things (toys, books, crayons, paper etc.), with their neighbours for us to pick up if we wanted it. We enjoyed a nice quick visit with them, then on towards the centre of Hobart to find our accommodation for the next seven nights.

  • Woolmers Inn, Sandy Bay

Two bedroom apartment which we'd picked up on a special deal through Ezy Flights.
Were able to save money and cook our own meals in the apartment kitchen.
Shopping centre 2 blocks away, and numerous other shops and restaurants very close.
Relatively close for walking to Hobarts central sights/highlights.
Good heating.

Posted by Goannaray 21:40 Archived in Australia Tagged bridges winter tasmania ross toddlers oatlands callington_mill campbell_town 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

'Busier' Days... 'Slower' Days...

Cadbury Chocolate Factory and The Springs area on Mt Wellington

semi-overcast
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

P7096255.jpgP7096251.jpgP7096244.jpgP7090422.jpg

One thing you learn very quickly when dealing with young children, (especially near toddler age!), is that no matter what you're trying to do, it'll take double, or triple... or even quadruple the amount of time it normally would! Apply this to travel, and you've either got to accept it and alter your traveling style to accommodate, or be constantly fighting it, yet trying to remain calm at the same time. Unfortunately, I think I find myself in the latter category way too often! To try and reduce the frequency of this occurring, I thought it'd be a good idea to try and alternate 'busier' days with 'slower' ones.

Considering I'm now writing this in hindsight after returning home... Yes, it was an excellent idea, but wasn't always achieved for various reasons. Same goes for this blog! I'd been hoping to not get any further than about a week behind with our experiences. Let's just say I was lucky to only be a day or two behind with notes in my journal! Very thankful I persevered and can now use them to help complete these blog entries. I have great respect for those who are trying to study, or do anything involving sitting down with pen and paper or at a computer for any length of time, with two or more toddlers also requiring their constant attention!

And yes, Tuesday the 9th of July 2013 had been planned to hopefully be one of those 'slower' days. But did we succeed?... With a trip to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, a trip to a local GP for Clancy, some grocery shopping and lunch back at our hotel/apartment, and finally a fun afternoon trip up Mount Wellington to see some snow... I'm glad to say I think we did! (Relatively so!)

Sonia enjoying the Cadbury delivery truck!

Sonia enjoying the Cadbury delivery truck!


Cadbury Chocolate Factory

  • As Clancy says, not actually being able to go on a factory tour 'feels like a let down'.
  • We still enjoyed the talk and video provided on how they operated and made their chocolate though.
  • Cheap/discounted chocolate available in their shop was good. Couldn't help picking up a few things.
  • The only thing Sonia really enjoyed was the Cadbury
  • Clancy 'meant to ask how many Oompa Loompa's they have working at the factory. Because I (he) hadn't seen any at that stage.' - If anyone else has ever seen any, or asked this question... we'd love to know!!

View from the springs carpark lookout on Mt Wellington

View from the springs carpark lookout on Mt Wellington

The Springs, Mount Wellington

  • The Pinnacle Road was closed at The Springs car park which was at the second gate.
  • There's a great sign at the bottom of the road before you get up too far, letting you know at which gate the road is closed from.
  • There were large patches of snow which by now was mostly ice, which Sonia thoroughly enjoyed playing with. She mainly just wanted to hold it between her hands!
  • Clancy found some snow soft enough to make two snowballs. One of which had to get thrown at me and Kaden! The other being given to Sonia and Kaden to enjoy... which promptly got eaten!
  • I went and asked one of the council workers who was there directing traffic, and he recommended we check out the Hobart City Council website for updated information on the mountain and road if we were thinking about going up again another day.

Posted by Goannaray 23:35 Archived in Australia Tagged snow chocolate winter tasmania hobart toddlers mt_wellington cadbury_chocolate_factory 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Bruny Island Cruises

sunny
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

P7106295.jpgP7106290.jpgP7106311.jpgP7106317.jpgP7106327.jpgP7106335.jpgP7106362.jpgP7106370_Stitch.jpg

Before leaving for Tasmania, we decided we'd splurge on one big tour while we were there. After some research into different tours available all over the state, we decided on Bruny Island Cruises. One of two Pennicott Wilderness Journeys available to do in Tasmania, and well worth the expense.

There were three different options we could choose from;
1. Drive to Bruny Island ourselves and start the 3hr wilderness cruise from their Bruny Island Cruise office in Adventure Bay.
2. Drive to Kettering and catch their 9am daily tour bus which would then take us to their Adventure Bay office for the 3hr cruise.
3. Do the full day tour from Hobart. Leaving Hobart at 8am and returning around 5:30pm which would include all the above plus morning tea and lunch.

We couldn't figure out which option would best suit us, so decided to go with what they'd recommended to us considering we had two toddlers tagging along, and drove to their office in Adventure Bay to start the tour from there. Glad we did, as we were able to take extra things with us, and could do things before and after the cruise at our own pace. Ie, toileting Sonia, eating lunch, enjoying the Neck lookout point and chocolate factory. For anyone else who has two or more young children and would like to do the cruise, I'd definitely recommend doing the same, and to take some extra warm clothing.

Kettering Panorama

Kettering Panorama

Kaden and Clancy on the ferry to Bruny Island

Kaden and Clancy on the ferry to Bruny Island

I'll point out here for those who're thinking of taking a hire car to Bruny Island... check you're allowed to do so before booking. Or be willing to undertake the risks involved. I'd seen and/or heard that many of the hire car companies wouldn't allow their vehicles to go to Bruny Island when I was doing my research. We ended up hiring our car through Avis, and they allowed us to take the car over to Bruny Island, so long as we signed an 'Avis Bruny Island Authorisation' document prior to, or at pick up.

Ginger tablets were provided for those who wanted them once on the boat, and all the staff were really great! They really knew their stuff, and made it feel like as if it was a total pleasure to them to be able to share these special places with us all. They were extremely helpful, and very accommodating and tolerant of screaming, unhappy kids! Both Sonia and Kaden seemed to be in a generally grumpy mood all day unfortunately with nothing seeming to ever happen the way they wanted it to! We'd had to wake them up earlier than usual to ensure we made it down to the ferry at Kettering in time (45minutes from Hobart to Kettering, Ferry departed at 9:30am, Recommended we arrive 20-30minutes early), neither child had wanted to eat a proper breakfast, and they both really disliked the wind with a passion! Particularly when the boat was moving forward, increasing the wind level.

It wasn't too bad though, as it wasn't long before they fell asleep. Most probably from the motion and vibrations, similar to driving in a car. We were very thankful for the recommendation to sit at the back of the boat. It might not have had the best vantage point, but it was much calmer and less windy. They were really considerate though, and turned the boat around at each major sight so those at the back, or on the opposite side of the boat could see as well. Sonia was also able to lay down and sleep, all rugged up while Clancy stood for a bit. I initially had Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier on my front under my big jacket, with the massive raincoat they provided over the both of us. He didn't much like this, preferring to just be held in my arms, with me holding jackets around him. Less cramped and more free, allowing him to move and suck his thumb easier.

P7100429.jpgWell wrapped!

Well wrapped!

Sonia trying to get out of the wind

Sonia trying to get out of the wind

P7106280.jpgP7106291.jpgP7106306.jpgP7106295.jpgP7106318.jpgP7106322.jpgP7106334.jpg

All the things we saw were amazing!! Rocks, cliffs, islands, seaweed, albatross, seals (Their smell nearly tipped Clancy over the edge of his control on his sea sickness!), friendly prions zipping around just above the surfaces of the waves, and we even got to see a whale spouting! One of the crew spotted it's first spout, and with a bit of patience, the rest of us got to see it's second surfacing spout. Shooting through between the rock columns, and going part way into a sea cave was also a lot of fun!

The crew were also keeping a helpful eye out for those who might have been struggling with sea-sickness. Encouraging them to come stand near the back with them, and to watch the horizon. The barbecue shapes and timtams passed around on the return trip were greatly appreciated, and got us thinking about the hot food Clancy had ordered prior to our departure, that would be ready for us on our return.

P7106336.jpgP7100445.jpgP7100447.jpgP7100453.jpg

We took our time enjoying lunch with Sonia and Kaden, so didn't have time to get down to see the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, or many of the other things we had listed for our day on Bruny Island. The view from the Neck lookout was worth the number of steps needed to climb to the top. Sonia wasn't such a fan of them either until Clancy and I brought up the '1... 2... 3... Jump!' game. Holding a hand each and helping her to jump a step or two. Only after she'd walked up three steps by herself each time mind you! The Ergo baby carrier came in handy once again here for Kaden, and once she'd gotten to the top, Sonia couldn't help but exploit her momentary freedom to explore further. Quickly being brought back by Clancy.

The final stop before getting back onto the ferry and heading for home, was the Bruny Island Providore, or Chocolate Factory as it's otherwise known. Sonia and Kaden had fun playing with the penguin sign, while Clancy decided which flavours of fudge he wanted. Keeping in mind he'd have to share it with the rest us!

P7106360.jpgP7106363_Stitch.jpgP7106367.jpgP7106380.jpgFreedom! Lets go!

Freedom! Lets go!

Oh no you don't!

Oh no you don't!

Our 2 little penguins!

Our 2 little penguins!

To really enjoy all that Bruny Island and the southwest of Tasmania has to offer, I'd definitely recommend either staying over a night on the island, or atleast staying somewhere a lot closer than Hobart, and doing other things in the area at the same time. It was good to have Hobart as a base, but it would've made seeing everything south west of Hobart a lot easier time wise, to have stayed a night or two down there somewhere.

Posted by Goannaray 09:24 Archived in Australia Tagged boat coast tasmania whales cruise ferry seals bruny_island toddlers sea_caves 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Another day around Hobart...

Mt Wellington, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Shot Tower

overcast
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

Mt Wellington

P7110013_-_Copy.jpgP7110007.jpgP7110008.jpgPanoramic view from the top of Mt Wellington view

Panoramic view from the top of Mt Wellington view

  • We checked the Hobart City Council website to see that the road up to the top of Mt Wellington was open, and off we went.
  • It was raining in Hobart when we left, so we didn't know what we would find when we got to the top. Turned out to be overcast but fine which was good.
  • There was still plenty of snow around to enjoy, with some older kids having fun sliding down a small slope not too far from the main carpark.
  • I enjoyed climbing up to the trig point marker with Sonia to enjoy the awesome 360 degree views.
  • The slightly circular information building was just as cold inside as out, and looked like it had previously had a fair bit of snow blown into it! Interesting history and stories to read about in there.
  • Once again, Sonia and Kaden did not like the cold wind that was constantly blowing.
  • They did enjoy eating and throwing snow at Dad though!
  • I would've liked more time to be able to explore, do some walks, and play some more in the snow with the kids, but it was time to go find Tassie Devils.

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

P1010466.jpgP7110018.jpgP1010470.jpgP1010477.jpgP1010468.jpgP1010474.jpgThere it is!

There it is!

What's over here?

What's over here?

  • There were plenty of different Australian animals to look at, including numerous Tasmanian Devils.
  • Both Kaden and Sonia enjoyed all the animals.
  • Sonia didn't listen to Mum and Dad frequently telling her to keep her fingers away, which allowed a pink and grey galah to get a good hold on one of her fingers! No broken skin though, and no problems keeping fingers away after that!
  • She also wasn't too sure about the big kangaroos coming chasing her for food. She still wanted to, and enjoyed feeding them though, so long as they weren't right close beside her. Preferring to give the feed pellets out of her bag of pellets to us, to feed to the roo's.
  • There was a great perspex full length viewing wall for one Tassie Devil enclosure, which was great for Sonia and Kaden. Meaning we didn't have to lift them up to see over the walls.
  • We caught the beginning of a tour after looking at all the animals, but had to leave early because the kids were starting to really complain, and really needing food by then. It was very interesting and engaging though, so well worth going on if you get the chance.
  • There were quite a number of picnic areas available, and we'd definitely recommend taking your own food if you're there over lunchtime, as meals are not available to be purchased there.
  • We ended up getting lunch at the bakery in Brighton, just down the hill from the sanctuary.

The Shot Tower

P7110063_Stitch_-_Copy.jpgP7110062_-_Copy.jpgP7110044.jpgP7110047_Stitch2.jpgP7110057.jpgP7110066.jpg

  • We got there just as the staff were finishing up counting the cash in the till ready to close. They were really great, allowing me to quickly go through the museum and up all the steps to the top of the tower while Clancy stayed with the kids who were asleep in the car.
  • The small museum had a short video giving a brief summary of the tower, and plenty of other posters and pictures to help further explain its history. I found it rather interesting learning about how it all worked.
  • Climbing up the internal wooden spiral stairway totally reminded me of all the towers and castles we'd previously explored throughout Europe.
  • The views from the top were spectacular, and you're able to walk all the way around the top of the tower.

Posted by Goannaray 17:41 Archived in Australia Tagged snow tasmania shot_tower toddlers mt_wellington bonorong_wildlife_sanctuary tasmanian_devils 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

A slice of Arve Road and the Tahune Airwalk

... and gumboots!

overcast
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

This turned out to be one of those days where looking back over it, you think 'There's sooo much more I could have got done'. But then, considering the things that popped up... you actually didn't do too badly!

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Clancy had needed to visit a doctor earlier in the week, where he had been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia and told to visit the hospital emergency department if things worsened. Well things had slightly degenerated since then, so it was decided a trip to emergency was warranted before we left Hobart, to confirm that things were still ok. And clarify what level of physical activity would be recommended or not. Considering we'd planned to do a lot of walks involving carrying both children, this could drastically alter our travel plans. If not destroy them altogether.

We figured going in and being able to act on whatever results were given during regular business hours would be the best thing to do, just in case a total new set of plans were needed to be made. Having experienced numerous emergency room wait times elsewhere, we were pleasantly surprised and got seen rather quickly! The staff member who assessed Clancy was great, and explained things very well. The verdict on how much he was able to do was also rather reassuring. Stating that easy to moderate walks should be fine so long as Clancy took it easy, and didn't try carrying Sonia for any of them! Worked fine for him! I didn't mind too much either, as it meant we wouldn't have to totally change our previous plans. Alter them yes, but not start again from scratch and miss out on many of the things we really wanted to see.

So having gained this knowledge, it was time to get back to exploring Tasmania! And for today... it was the Arve Road and Tahune Airwalk.

P7126396.jpgP1010491.jpgP7126388.jpg

Geeveston

  • We got to Geeveston in time for us to once again enjoy a local bakery's hot food.
  • Clancy then took Sonia to find the towns local playground, while I visited the library to quickly print off some documents and feed Kaden.
  • Looked like there was a nice area of parkland with a creek/river running through it to explore if we'd had the time for a walk as well.
  • There were also many wonderful woodcarvings of local people who'd had an impact on the community.
  • The Forest and Heritage Centre then became our meeting point, where we all enjoyed the museum, tasting different types of honey, and picked up information on Arve Road, and tickets for the airwalk.
  • Sonia really enjoyed the playground and interactive items in the museum

Arve Road

  • This's the road out to the Tahune Airwalk from Geeveston.
  • There were numerous well signed things we could look at or do along the way.

P1010499.jpgP7126424.jpgP1010498.jpg

Keogh's Creek Walk

  • A nice short loop walk, with boardwalk running beside and crossing over Keogh's Creek.
  • Sonia enjoyed being able to run free and explore (until she got reigned in by us telling her she had to be able to see us!), and climbing up into the base of a big tree.
  • I carried Kaden in the Ergo carrier, but could have easily used the pram.

P7126433_Stitch.jpgP7126435.jpg

West Creek Lookout

  • This was a nice lookout to see the tops of trees and bushes covering the slopes of a deep steep valley right beside the road.
  • The sign about bushfires, and how some firefighters saved themselves in the fire of 1967 really caught my interest having experienced a few smaller fires myself in farmland.

Arve Picnic Area

  • This area looked really nice beside the Arve River as we drove past

P7126456_Stitch.jpg

Big Tree Lookout

  • We actually stopped in to look at this one on the way back out from the Tahune Airwalk.
  • The lookout platform was under repair, however we were still able to see the tree and read the information signs.

Tahune Airwalk

P7126437.jpgP7126441.jpgP7126446.jpgP7126448.jpgP7126452.jpgP1010511.jpgP1010516.jpg

  • This was a great walk and well worth the cost to go on it.
  • I carried Kaden in the Ergo baby carrier as we weren't sure how many steps were likely to be involved.
  • Following the main walking tracks from the river up to the start of the airwalk platform there were quite a few steps. But the platform itself would've been fine for a pram, and it looked like they catered for wheelchair access as well with a labeled parking area beside the start of the actual airwalk platform entrance.
  • Looking out through, and then over the trees was awesome. Gave you a totally different perspective. Enabling you to appreciate the bush on a whole new level.
  • The view from the cantilever lookout was awesome!
  • Sonia once again loved being able to run free. She also liked the perspex at the end of the cantilever lookout. Totally scaring Clancy as she leant against it to look out!
  • Sonia didn't really want to keep walking after we got off the airwalk platform. Continually asking to be carried. We managed to encourage her to keep walking, counting the number of steps in each block of steps with her, and making Clancy tally them all up together! (Got up to about 67 steps. Started counting part way through though). Plus keeping an eye out for fungi.
  • There were some nice picnic areas beside the river.
  • I would've liked to have been able to do more of the walks available, but once again, kids and time did not allow.

Sonia and her starry pink gumboots!

Sonia and her starry pink gumboots!


On the return trip to Hobart, we decided to finally act on the recommendation we'd been given by my high school friend, and see if we could pick up some gumboots for Sonia. I didn't like our chances of finding anything then though as it was after 4:30pm, with many places shutting at 4pm. Was then rather surprised to find the St Vincents store in Huonville still open when we stopped so Clancy could pick up some take away chicken and chips for tea.

I grabbed one of Sonia's shoes to take as a size sample (she was fast asleep), and went to see if they had anything... nope... smaller, and much bigger... but none anywhere really near Sonia's size. Back to the car, where Sonia'd woken up and I realised the Mitre10 we'd parked in front of was also still open for another minute or two. So in we rushed to find plenty of kids gumboots in army camouflage colouring, or sparkly pink with silver stars. You can guess which one's Sonia wanted! Sorry, Kaden... pink it's going to be when you get older unless Sonia totally wears them out first! Finding the right size was then not as easy as we'd thought it'd be with all the different sizes available. I narrowed it down to 7's and 8's, with 7's looking like they fit really well right then, but 8's looking like they may have been a bit too big, but had better growth room available. Decided on the 8's, and off we went, just as they started shutting up for the night.

The next morning however, when Sonia was having fun running around with her new boots... I soon realised that we probably should've grabbed the 7's. When she'd put her feet into them and stood still, allowing me to squash the toes to see how much room there was, she'd pushed her feet as far forward as they'd go, leaving half an inch or so between her heel and the back of the boot! So yes, that's why the 7's would've felt too small for her toes to grow, and why they would've looked a better fit when she walked. Oh well, she didn't seem to have any issues walking in the 8's (or running and jumping for that matter!), so we kept them, and didn't need to struggle at any time to get them on or off whenever we got in/out of the car or campervan when we had that.

But in summary of the Arve Road and Tahune Airwalk day... we really did manage to see and do a fair bit. Especially considering the late start we'd had to the day. What with the much shorter number of daylight hours, and experiencing a day at Bruny Island, a day to do the Tahune Airwalk, and a future day to do the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, it was really confirming that being able to stay more local to see and do what was available in an area, would've dramatically improved a lot of things in general.

Posted by Goannaray 01:44 Archived in Australia Tagged trees tasmania river walk bridge creek playground toddlers geeveston arve_road tahune_airwalk 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs

rain
View Tasmania with 2 toddlers! (Winter 2013) on Goannaray's travel map.

P7136458_-_Copy.jpgP7136472_-_Copy.jpgP7136491_-_Copy.jpgP7136526_-_Copy.jpgP7136544_-_Copy.jpgP7136555_-_Copy.jpg

For a slower day where you're able to do a variety of things close together, the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are well worth it. The way the whole area has been set up accentuates all the natural sights really well, creating a totally relaxing atmosphere. Nice walks, interesting information signs, pool, outdoor and undercover picnic areas with big fireplaces, hot showers in the change rooms... They also cater for wheelchairs (excluding cave entry unfortunately). We all totally enjoyed our day exploring this area, and also managed to return in time to get all our accumulated clothes washing done!

Roads

  • Clancy enjoyed the C636 road heading to Southport, saying that he'd like to do it on his motorbike.
  • We found the dirt road off the C636 that takes you into the caves and thermal springs to be very corrugated and rather slippery, considering all the rain it had recently had, and continued to get while we were there.

Newdegate Cave

P7136487_-_Copy.jpgP7136479_-_Copy.jpgP1010519.jpg

  • You need to book your ticket at the information centre (this's well signposted) before continuing onto the cave parking area.
  • We parked beside an old tree stump with a rather old looking can on top of it at the cave parking area, which rather fascinated me!
  • It was then a further five minute walk along a boardwalk and up some steps to the cave entrance, where we had to wait for the tour guide to enter the cave.
  • The cave had a lot of interesting formations, and the tour was very informative.
  • According to the brochure we'd picked up, there were approximately 245 steps each way inside the cave.
  • Sonia enjoyed the steps, but also wanted 'up' for a fair number of times too. It was definitely easier for her to walk up the steps than down.
  • Kaden didn't really want to be in the Ergo baby carrier on Clancy's back though!

Thermal Springs

P7136489_Stitch.jpgP1010530.jpgP1010533.jpgMe feel water dad!

Me feel water dad!

P7136521_-_Copy.jpgP7136530_-_Copy.jpgP7136548_-_Copy.jpg

  • We enjoyed lunch at the information centre - Felt like forever waiting for the kids to finish so we could go see the thermal springs, but that's kids!
  • Exchanged our national parks pass printout for the correct access pass while waiting for the kids to finish lunch. It came with a little passbook that you could stamp at each place you went to as well. Was really great for those places that still had the stamps. Many parks no longer had them unfortunately. Cradle Mountain National Park staff explained to us that their stamps for the passbook had been stolen!
  • The thermal pool area was really nice. Could see why the brochure mentioned it being a local picnic spot. - Picnic and moss/grass areas, pool, barbecues, large sheltered area with numerous wood fireplaces, change rooms with nice hot showers, toddlers paddle pool.
  • Sonia enjoyed the pools, but they were still too cold for me and Clancy. I'd probably enjoy them more in summer.
  • The Platypus walk and Thermal Springs circuit walk were also really good. Going through various different types of bushland, allowing you to see and feel some of the thermal spring water at it's source, and also have a chance to look for platypus. We didn't get to see any.
  • Sonia enjoyed running and looking at all the different things along the sides of the track while I carried Kaden. We could've used the pram, but didn't think the walks were really long enough to warrant a trip back out to the car to get it.

Posted by Goannaray 23:24 Archived in Australia Tagged trees tasmania walk cave creek pool thermal_springs tree_stump hastings_cave_ and_thermal_springs patypus 2_toddlers_in_winter_tasmania! Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 15 of 35) Page [1] 2 3 » Next