Wine and an island – a new chapter begins in Tassie

So where was I? Oh that’s right. I was up to the part where we had a manic few weeks in the big smoke, followed by some beach camping, and then a trip on a big boat to start the next chapter of our adventures – involving wine, and an island.

I can barely remember my last update, but I figure we had crossed the Nullabor and it was at a winery, or a beach, or a mountain. (We also had a bit of fun in Victorian high country, but that story belongs to Outdoria now – check it out ).

Vic high country

We were laying about, doing a whole lotta nothing, somewhere on the south east coast. Taking it easy, like we had done for the 10 months before that. And then WHAM. We arrived back in Sydney and our stress levels shot through the roof. It was fantastic to see our family and friends, but the traffic, crowds and suddenly having schedules – needing to be places at a particular time – was quite overwhelming. I thought we had toughened up a lot on our time on the road, but one train trip home from the city on a 38 degree afternoon, squished into someone’s smelly armpit, almost broke me. And after so long of being able to hang around all day in swimmers and a singlet, this whole clothes wearing business felt very restrictive. I was struggling, and very much missing my shoes-and-pants-optional camping life.

In what felt like absolute mayhem (but really was just a typical Sydney week off over New Years), we drank, BBQd, ordered takeaway, caught up with everyone we could, sat in a lot of traffic, got up to date (ish) on general life admin, and paid a visit to Kennards to visit all the stuff we hadn’t seen (or missed) for nearly a year. Eek. But it was an unfortunate necessity as we had to dig out our winter gear to prepare for our time in Tassie. Tassie is not pants-optional – Tassie is pants, and thermals, and uggies, and beanies, and electric blankets 100% necessary. We then loaded up our landcruiser, the camper trailer, and Sam’s work ute – and headed south.

We got to squeeze in a lovely, and slightly liver damaging, 10 days camping at Depot Beach on the south coast with our mates, which was a welcome relief after the city chaos. In Sydney our super generous friends had let us stay at their place back in our old neighborhood, and while it was lovely to have some walls for a while, we definitely felt like we were coming home when set up the camper trailer by the beach. Ah – our good old tent on wheels.

Being a two car family once again, I drove the ute, while Sam towed the camper trailer down to Melbourne. Out of the 48,000kms we have racked up around Australia, I have driven approximately 2 metres of those (I once had to move the car forward so we could open the door). So it was nice being in the drivers seat for a little while, with only one kid, and getting to pick my own music. Luckily my tastes are surprisingly similar to those of a nine year old girl (hence the choice of kid who got to go in the ute with me), and so after we left Depot Beach we had a very happy few days driving to Melbourne and singing (loudly and out of tunedly) to Ed Sheeran and Cold Chisel.

After a few more hours of city chaos (in the heavily populated but very tasty form of Lunar New Year celebrations in Footscray), we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania.

I had been expecting a terrible, gut churning, spew filled journey. Instead, we had a delightfully smooth sail with not one chunder. We raced up to Level 10 as soon as we got out of our cars (thanks to a great tip from @thesquishy6, one of our fave fellow travelling families), and claimed a spot on the fake grass, spread out and read, played, and watched movies for 10 hours. It was like flying, except getting to stay in the Qantas lounge for the whole trip.

Gemma SOT

Then we hopped off the boat and headed to our new home. We have rented a house down here for six months. It’s about 20 minutes out of Hobart, just as far/close as our “inner city” house was out of Sydney – but it’s in the middle of nowhere. Right on the beach (for those three weeks of warm weather that Tassie gets) and next to a national park. It is utterly blissful. We have as much, and as little, of city life as we need and want.

We spent a few days racing around getting all those things to fill a house that we hadn’t had in a year. Real glass wine glasses, real glass coffee mugs, beds, a couch…a TV!!!! And bonus – we got our bearings pretty quickly as we hot footed it all over Hobart responding to gumtree ads and picking up super cheap pre-loved furniture. When I think about how much we are spending to store our stuff in Sydney, and how ridiculously little it cost to (very basically) furnish a house down here with some great second hand bits and pieces (most of which we will sell before we leave) – well, actually I can’t bear to think about it. Be banished all thoughts of Kennards storages fees.

On 27 January 2018 we cheers-ed to one year of travelling. And what I could have done a lot better with some technical geo-tagging (if I knew how to do such things), I instead depicted in the form of what looks a dorky school project of “What did I do on my holidays”. Cheers to sharpies.

Map

And now we are officially Tasmanians. Really and truly –  new licences, new car rego – the works. I’ve been a Hobartian (rhymes with martian*) for all of five minutes, but I already go for the Hurricanes, and feel outraged about being left out of Australian state lists.  [*I may have made the phonetics up – I have no idea how to pronounce it, which probably means I am not yet a true Hobartian.]

I now live in [OTHER]. Even the NT got a guernsey in this list.

Other

Sam got a job the day we arrived. The kids have started school (woo hoo!!).

School

I have set up at home doing some writing for travel websites (which is loads of fun) and freelance corporate lawyer-ing. Admittedly, the corporate lawyering is decidedly less fun than the writing, but it is way more fun than it used to be now that I get to do it in leggings and uggies, go for bushwalks in my lunch break, and occasionally, very occasionally – when it has been warmer than 19 degrees – go for a dip, in the beach that is at the end of our driveway. And did I mention the school bus drops off and picks up the kids right in front of our house?? This place seems too good to be true. And every time I say that – the response is …Wait til winter. Oh right, the freezing bit. It’s right around the corner apparently.

Snug river

In the three weeks we have been here, we have also managed to fit in a lot of exploring. Wineglass Bay, Port Arthur, Remarkable Cave, Bruny Island.

Plus the produce down here is amazing, so we have spent quite a bit of time visiting local wineries, cheeseries, distilleries, breweries, butcheries, fruit and veg- eries. I know I am gushing (I will stop soon – promise) but after having spent so much time in the outback where nothing grows at all, it is truly nirvana.

wine and cheese

So far, so good. We are loving our Tassie pit-stop. As my then 4 year old always used to say when the car stopped, in her best Google Maps voice… “You have reached your destiny”. It seems like we have – for now.

Sunrise coningham

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I am (was?) a corporate lawyer who has packed it all in and hit the road. With my hubby, three young kids, Bonnie (our 4WD) and "The Shack" (our camper trailer), we are taking a year (or so) to forget about work and city life, enjoy our amazing country – beaches, mountains, outback, desert, food, wine and adventure – and figure out what we want to do next.

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