Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tasmania Trip

We arrived back from Tasmania last night and we had a fantastic time. Luckily the weather was pretty great the whole time, except once we got to Hobart it was pretty overcast and rainy but it was alright, we had good weather for the important bits. Let me start off by saying I know this post is ridiculously long, so feel free to skim the pictures and call it a day-- I won't be offended. Where to even begin! 

As I said we flew into Launceston and were driving to Cradle Mountain, then down to Hobart. To help you orient yourself, here's a quick map of Tasmania. You can see Launceston up there by the top, near the top the town Deloraine is about the closest place on that map to Cradle Mountain, then near the bottom you can see Hobart.


We decided we were going to take a slightly longer route to Cradle Mountain via Devonport (which you can see smack in the middle at the very top of the state. Devonport is where the ferry from Melbourne comes in and it's a cute little city/town on the water. We had a walk along the water and then went and got some lunch to bring back and had a little picnic by the water.

By the water in Devonport, you can see some mountains in the background

We continued on our scenic route towards Cradle Mountain and it was an absolutely gorgeous day (as you can see above) and we drove through the countryside with constant views of mountains, so it was really great.

Mountain in front of us while driving

There were tons of windy roads where you had to go super slow just to get around the turn, but it made for an exciting adventure. When we were just a few minutes from where we were staying we saw a cute little wombat off to the side of the road (alive) and I was so excited to see my very first wild wombat. There would be many more.

We arrived and checked in and got the keys to our cabin, which was aptly named The Wombat. The cabin was awesome and had a little wood fire heater, which we struggled to use, but we really enjoyed it. The cabin came with a fully equipped kitchen, but seeing as there wasn't a grocery store or anything of the sort for miles we didn't actually use it. But it did come with coffee, which is all that really matters.

The outside of the cabin, called The Wombat

Cabin porch

Inside of the cabin

Lighting the fire

Cabin kitchen

We had a walk around the grounds and down the road a bit, but then came back and got the car and drove towards the entrance to the national park. Because it was getting late (dark) soon we didn't buy any day passes and planned to do that the next day, but discovered there's actually a lot of walks and interesting stuff on the other side. We set off for our walk and saw lots of wildlife, but most importantly a pademelon and a wombat! Wombats are known for coming out at dusk (which it wasn't quite yet) so the only one we saw was actually as we were leaving. We first mistook our pademelon for a wombat because all we could see was its butt, but as soon as it sat up it became clear it wasn't that. They were both super cute and I was so excited to see them.

Pademleon

Wombat

Wombat! 

And of course the walk was beautiful too.

The pathway through the woods

A creek

The same creek

Once we finished those few walks we went back to the cabin and checked on our fire then went out to try and find some wildlife. It got dark really quickly but once it did it became a huge pademelon party. We saw so many of them and we were using the flashlights on our iPhones (which aren't very strong) but we just moved them around the clearing and saw dozens of glowing eyes looking back at us, so we were basically surrounded by pademelons. They don't do anything, they're quite docile, but we were saying if you had no idea what they were or knew nothing about them you'd be totally terrified. We walked back to our cabin and right out front we saw a little wombat munching on some grass, so that was incredibly exciting. We watched him for a little while then went to get dinner.

We ate at this tavern and I had grilled salmon with roasted potatoes and vegetables with a pint of Tasmanian beer-- it was delicious. All in all we saw dozens of pademelons and six wombats so I was very pleased.

The next day we got up early, checked out, then bought the day passes to the park and went in and drove down to Dove Lake, which was beautiful. It was a gorgeous day once again so it made the scenery even more beautiful.

Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain

Reflections


We decided to drive down to Hobart on a scenic route which was a bit longer than the other ways but I'm glad we did because it was beautiful. We passed through this town called Deloraine (which is above on the map) where we stopped to have a walk, hang out at this train park (not sure you could call it a park), and then had some lunch at this cute little place. We had potato and bacon soup with grilled garlic panini and it was perfect for some chilly fall weather on a gorgeous day.

River by the train park (taken on a bridge)

I liked this house! 

Me by my train at the train park

We also passed this lake called the Great Lake on our drive and had some pretty spectacular views. 

The Great Lake

By the time we got nearer to Hobart it got pretty grey and a little drizzly, but we arrived, parked the car and wandered a bit before having some dinner and drinks. I tried lots of local Tasmanian beer while we were in Hobart and it was fun to try some new ones I couldn't get back in Melbourne. One beer I had a couple of times that I really liked is called Cascade First Harvest and it's brewed in Tasmania, near Hobart. It's a seasonal beer and they only make a limited number of barrels-- about 400, so it was awesome to be able to have some since who knows if I will again. We ate at this really cozy restaurant that sort of resembled an American western hunting lodge, complete with a fire. I had a tandoori chicken burger and it did not disappoint. 

The next day was our last day in Tasmania, but the flight wasn't until 9:30 p.m. so we had the whole day to do stuff. It was another rainy and grey day but being in a city it didn't matter so much. We went to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) which Michael has been wanting to go to for ages and he enjoyed himself a lot. I didn't, but I'm glad he did. You did get some nice views of the hills and mountains though. 

Mountains


Much mist and fog

After that we decided to drive up a mountain, but because of the weather it was insanely foggy and once we got to the top the temperature had dropped significantly and you couldn't see anything. It was fun though and once we got out of the fog on the way down we got some nice views. 

Foggy road

View on the way down

We parked the car and walked around the city a bit more, had some linner (lunch/dinner), a couple of drinks and then headed to the airport. Here are a few more photos of the city. 

Salamanca Square


On the waterfront

The harbor

It was a fantastic trip and I loved every aspect of it. I would definitely go back because Tasmania is beautiful and interesting and I'm so glad we got to see more of it. I think this post is long enough now! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let There Be Heat

We finally have a heater, woohoo! The days are definitely getting chillier, and rainier, so it was time to finally buy one. At the moment we've only got one, but we plan to get a second one so we can have one in each main room. The one we've got is actually pretty good, it heats up the room very quickly and so far I don't see any problems with it. I'm excited though because now I don't have to go around the apartment wearing like 8 layers just so I can be comfortable.

Tonight after work I had coffee with this girl I met and she was really nice. We have a lot in common and I definitely think we'll get together again. She's really into photography as well so we spent a nice long while talking about that. She's originally from New Zealand and moved here about four months ago. So yay for new friends!

The other night Michael had a friend from work over for dinner, which was fun. I made chili and we had some mimosas and wine, so overall it was a good night.

That day though I actually went out and met some other photographers to take some photos in a park/garden in the city. If you've heard of Meetup, or not, it's basically a website for people with similar interests. You can join groups and people plan events around the interest that group is about. There are quite a few photography groups on there, and this event was to meet up at this park and take photos. I decided I might as well go since I like photography and it would be nice to meet some people. However, because the weather was cold and rainy (and it hailed) only 4 of us showed up. There was supposed to be 20. Either way though I had a lot of fun and the people were all quite nice. Maybe I'll go to another event with more people. I did take some nice photos though.

My slightly out of focus bee

Up close and personal with a flower

Cooks' Cottage



A mushroom, or if you're Michael a toasted marshmallow

Pathway

Another flower

I'm not sure what kind of flower this was,
but it was cool

I had a good time and even though my photos didn't come out great, I got to practice shooting in kind of bad light and bad weather in manual, so I learned something and met some people. Fun fact about Cooks' Cottage though, it was the home of Captain James Cook (of England) back in 18th century, but in the 1930s the owner decided he wanted to sell but said his only condition was that the house remain in England. However, because he received a much higher offer from someone in Australia he changed "England" to "The Empire" and sold the house for £800. The house was deconstructed brick by brick, shipped over, and built brick by brick here in Melbourne. Just some fun history for you. 

Tomorrow we go to Tasmania and I'm really excited. In case you forgot, we're flying into Launceston, driving to Cradle Mountain (which should be beautiful) and then driving down to Hobart. We're then flying back to Melbourne from Hobart. Apparently Cradle Mountain has lots of wild wombats and an animal called a pademelon, which is related to the kangaroo. I'm very hopeful I'll see some and some Tasmanian devils as well. Unfortunately, it's looking like it'll probably rain quite a bit while we're there, but oh well, just makes it more of an adventure! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

So... Maybe I Have a Problem

I volunteered at the op shop today and it was fun, it was quite busy, and we ended up selling an $800 bike-- not bad. Nothing too exciting happened, except this woman who kept trying to bargain the price of a table down over and over despite the fact we told her over and over that it was $40 non-negotiable. She didn't really listen. I think she was Russian. Not that that explains the bargaining, but she just kept persisting. Eventually she left without buying anything. We then had someone come in to buy a bracelet and when paying, it was $3, told me it was too expensive. If $3 is too expensive for something I'm not sure you should really be buying anything at a store. At least not now.

Other than that it was a pretty smooth-sailing shift. I met a woman from Texas which was cool, I think she married an Australian and moved here, but I was a little confused why she was talking about bringing all of her stuff over to donate because she brought so much stuff over from America. I just would have thought if you really didn't want it you wouldn't have bothered bringing it-- being short of space and all. But anyway, she said she'd be back again so maybe I'll see her again.

However, because the op shop is awesome and I still have money left of my voucher (running low now!) I didn't leave empty handed. I bought this adorable teapot, which is blue and has polka dots, so how more perfect can it be?

My teapot!
I then bought some nail polish, because I'm trying to branch out from my typical pink and red, and it was only 50c.

We'll see if I like it when it's on

Lastly, I bought an umbrella. It's just plain and black, but it's actually practical since we haven't got one and I prefer umbrellas to raincoats, and especially now that we're leaving summer I thin we'll be seeing more rainy days.

Overall, I only spent $3.50 so, as always, I did pretty well and I'm ecstatic for everything, but especially my teapot.

Tonight, I discovered Gordon Ramsay has a YouTube channel where he shows you how to make stuff in his own kitchen. And because I love Gordon with all of my heart (you can screw up your faces however you like, it won't change my feelings) I'm settling in for a nice long binge-watch of Gordon teaching me how to make things like donuts. Because then I can feed my junk food addiction without even having to go out and buy them. Until next time.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Catch Up

I just realized how long it's been since I last posted-- a week now. I kept meaning to post earlier but frankly I've been getting so tired so early on that I just kind of give up and go to bed. I guess I'm officially an old lady now. I won't give you a minute-by-minute update of the last week, mainly because you don't care, but also because I'm far too lazy to write a post that long.

I was at the op shop last Saturday which was a lot of fun (as always) and I'm kind of enjoying our new EFTPOS machine. Kind of. (EFTPOS is just a way of paying-- it's basically just a normal card machine.) It's certainly an upgrade from the old one that looked like maybe it was new 15 years ago, but it's actually irritatingly slow. It takes a good five to ten seconds for it to print its receipt (for the till) and another five to ten seconds to print a customer receipt if they want one. Now that doesn't sound like long, but imagine you have a long line of very impatient people wanting to purchase their stuff this very second because who in the world can ever wait. Yeah, that's what I thought. That's slow. Other than that it's nice and far more intuitive than the other. And it's mobile so now when people who decide to pay at the completely wrong side of the staff area (this happens a lot) you can actually bring the machine to them rather then telling them they have to pick up everything they just put on the counter, put it back in their basket and walk around to the other side. It's not the first time I've used the new machine, but if was the first time I used it that much so I really discovered its benefits and faults. Overall, it was a nice time though and its always nice to see the people who work there.

I decided the other day I was going to create a second blog as a gallery of some of my best photos and I've put off writing this post so I could share a link to it, but it's nowhere close to being finished. I've changed the template like five times but I can't decide what I like. Well, I know what template I like but I can't make the changes I want to make it better. So we'll see. I'll share it soon when I've decided what it's actually going to look like. The sad thing is actually all of the photos are on there now, it's just a matter of picking a presentation, but alas I've never been good at making decisions.

Yesterday we went to Chadstone Shopping Mall-- the biggest shopping mall there ever was. Maybe not, but it is massive. We've been there a couple of times before but we always enjoy it and this time we definitely hit the jackpot. There's a Target there and the store is relocating so everything, and I repeat everything was 50% my off. Now that's my kind of sale. We had a field day, and perhaps were a bit overzealous, but I'm pretty pleased with everything we bought.

The first thing I grabbed was this jar. Now let me explain. I've wanted one of these for years, but I've never really had a purpose for them. I'm not saying I really have a specific purpose now, but I've been going on about wanting to get one for months and I mean, it was 50% off so really there was only one answer... and it was yes.


So beautiful 

The best part was that it came with mojito mix in it too-- so you weren't just getting the jar but cocktail mix. Win win. The downside is that it didn't come with any instructions but 4 packets of mix so we're not really sure what proportions of anything is supposed to make it so we'll just have to see.

Unfortunately the sale had been going on too long so there were no heaters left for us to get half price, but there was lots else-- although picked over. We get a new bed sheet, but were irritated to discover that it wasn't $6 like we thought (and where it was sitting) but was actually $25 at full price, but still it's a nice sheet and we need a second sheet for when Krista comes to visit anyway. We also got two new pretty turquoise pillow cases (which I don't have a photo of because they're currently drying after we washed them).

New sheet-- of course it's blue

We got some other bits and bobs and I got a new nail polish that's coral colored. At first I didn't like it when I put it on last night, but it's grown on me and now I'm quite fond of it. I'm pretty pleased with what we got, even though most of it was unnecessary. We didn't get anything else at Chadstone, except some groceries from the grocery store... in the mall. (I told you it was huge.)

In other news I've been trying to learn to edit some of my photos a bit more and today I spent a very long time trying to clone things out of photos. Although it's quite difficult I think I've gotten the hang of it and am now quite enjoying it. Here are two samples of my cloning things out.

Now you see them...

Now you don't

And this one.

There's a chair there...

And now it's gone!

It's not that impressive, but I've been having fun with it.

That's about all I think, there's obviously way more but it's a waste of my time and yours to write it all out. I have work tomorrow and then we're in Tasmania next week from Wednesday to Friday and I'm super excited. We'll by flying into Launceston, driving to Cradle Mountain and staying there, then driving down to Hobart and staying there, then flying back on Friday. A bit of a whirlwind trip but I'm excited and I will write before we leave and try not to leave it another week again.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Sunny Day

Today was super sunny, not necessarily warm, but sunny and it was nice. I went into work this morning and was there until about 4:45 and it was a pretty busy day. To be honest by the end I was exhausted and my lunch was three giant sausage rolls I bought from 7-11, which was maybe not the best idea ever.

I'm still loving the canvas things we got from Ikea and now that we have a second lamp it's hard to imagine ever functioning with just the one we had before, so I think they were pretty good purchases. As I discovered upon waking up this morning, my new shoes gave me a big blister and I don't understand how it happened because they didn't really hurt. However, I still love them and I still maintain they're really comfy-- because honestly a shoe that gives you a blister you can't feel? That's totally winning right there.

In other news I've joined this website where I get free books in exchange for writing a review for them once I'm done. You can get paid for certain reviews (in addition to getting the book for free) but I've not done any of those yet. I'm pretty excited about it because there's nothing better to me than a free book and to be paid for something I would do anyway for fun is awesome. So far I've only written one review and it's the first review I've ever written, but I'm sure I'll improve the more I do. The book was a little strange but I enjoyed it. And for free who really cares anyway-- I couldn't be too upset about it.

That's about all for now, but to end this post here's a photo of me holding a giant toy wombat in the airport (a photo I forgot existed until tonight).


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Some New Purchases

Well Easter came and went, the clocks changed and the weather has dipped quite chilly consistently now. Winter is definitely beginning now, so we (I) bought some stuff. First off, I met this girl named Emma from the UK and she seems really nice and we had a coffee the other day and chatted which was a lot of fun. After that I went to Target and even though I wasn't going there for this, I ended up buying new shoes. I saw them and I just loved them and then I saw they only had one pair in my size so it was basically a sign. They're super comfy and I wore them all of today. 

Trying them on in the store

More in love with them in the store

Wearing them today

I'm very pleased with them and although I thought they were kind of a lot considering they were part of the Target Collection I bought them anyway, but I'm totally loving them.

Then today we went to K-mart and Ikea where we bought a lamp and these awesome canvas travel things. It took us forever and lots of trial and error to hang them perfectly and ended up downloading a leveler and using pencil to mark on the walls. I think they turned out pretty great.

Next to our new lamp

I really love them and it uses some of the space in the corner. They're in the corner now with out new lamp, which we got since now that it gets dark fairly early one lamp isn't bright enough.

Canvases and the new lamp

I'm very pleased with all of the recent purchases.

Tomorrow I go into work so that'll be good since it's been a week since I was there last due to the holidays. Then on Saturday I'm back in the op shop so I'm really excited for that since it's been a while and it'll be good to catch up with everyone again.