Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gained 3 kilos and a life time of memories..!

Ok my dears, so want to know about Tasmania..!?! Well, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE this amazing island state of ours!

 Hundreds of photos to share.. This here Marshall's camera set on long exposure by the Tasman Sea..

But before I share some of the adventures we enjoyed, please let me just say that this post is a lot longer than you might desire...! We took hundreds of pictures and sharing this trip in brief would be impossible, so please bear with me here.. xx

 Our touring map - just follow the pink trail..

For those of you who don't know Australia well, Tasmania is one of our six states and is located off the coast - South of Melbourne. It's rugged, versatile, Heritage listed and breathtakingly beautiful!
 
 Our very first afternoon in Hobart
 Crayfish cages in the harbour

Sunset in Hobart

..We flew into Hobart (the state capital) and spent this very first afternoon of our holiday strolling around the harbour - just taking it all in. And what a lovely harbour it was! It actually reminded me a little of Copenhagen - or at least parts of it did. Which of course is lucky for Crown Princess Mary who was born here and eventually landed the Danish Crown Prince, and a lovely castle in the heart of Copenhagen.. Funny how it goes..! :)

 Hobart harbour at night

Later that same evening we feasted on some absolutely wonderful food at a quirky restaurant called 'The Drunken Admiral' (NB! The website does not do this place ANY justice! In fact it makes it look tacky, so please don't judge by their photos!).

 The Drunken Admiral himself..

I must admit that we initially chose the place for our kids (it's decked out like a pirate ship) and didn't expect anything of it at all. But hand on heart, the staff was so lovely, the menu very impressive and the food simply delicious! I mean REALLY delicious, with amazingly fresh produce, cooked with skill and care, and served in a wonderful way! Heaven!
The seafood addict that I am, I ordered the mussels and was presented with an entire pot of them - straight from the stove! Imagine a large mountain of super fresh (think caught that morning..!) and BIG black mussels in a rich tomato, garlic & thyme soup. The below recipe is not the one used by the restaurant, but not far off by the looks of it so do give it a go if you can get your hands on some fresh local mussels.


After dinner, and having saved yet another injured bird (..it seems to be my calling in this lifetime!), we headed back to the hotel and prepared for an early start & drive up the East coast.

 This beach was freckled with thousands of 'pipi shells' and flat rocks. Heaven for someone like me!


 Isabella balancing the gorgeous drift wood log. Such an 'art piece'!

Another amazing piece of drift wood - would have loved to take this one home..!


Isabella practicing her writing in the silky soft sand.

For some reason I can't resist stacking rocks like this... In Sweden it's a ritual of 'good luck'.

Pretty much everywhere is National Heritage listed and the scenery is spectacular! Mile after mile of beaches & coves intersected by cute little villages and beautiful rock formations & mountains. Being Swedish, and having lived in divine Norway, I so appreciate a mountainous landscape!
The ocean has that amazing aqua colour that still, after 12 years in Australia, makes me weak at the knees. And although we didn't see any, the waters are apparently full of dolphins, penguins and seals! Hearing this from several friendly locals made us wish we would have had time to embark on one of the spectacular 4 hour cruises that take you around some of the off shore islands - apparently an amazing experience! Next time..!

The view from the garden outside our bungalow at 'White Sands Estate'.

White Sands Estate -  via Google

For the next couple of days we called one of the ocean-front bungalows at 'White Sands Estate' our home, and from there we headed back to stunning Coles Bay where we spent a day hiking some of the shorter trails in the national park. The first one was the 'Wineglass Bay lookout' hike, which took a couple of hours - just enough for Isabella, who is still too young (5) to take on anything longer than that.

 The amazing BIG loose rocks adorning the ridge.

 These rocks are enormous and so impressive. We call them 'giant's throws' in Sweden.. :)

The trail..
Yours truly with  Oscar & Isabella, at the half-way mark.

 My darling trio sitting near the top of the mountain. See the heart shape on the right!?!

 ... a closer look.. :)

 The top view! You can actually hike down this side of the mountain to the beach. Next time!

Everywhere we went we met friendly and down-to-earth people who seemed to live their lives with peace in their hearts and smiles on their faces. Add to that the abundance of wildlife - Sea Eagles soaring high above our heads and friendly Wallabies skipping around our legs - and you can imagine we felt beyond happy here!

 A friendly little Wallaby saying hello to the kids. So adorable and cute!

After a fun and energetic morning we headed down to a remotely located restaurant in the middle of the 'Freycinet National Park' and had yet another fabulous meal. The food was home-cooked and I had a scrumptious Bouillabaisse that really made me want to hug the lady in the kitchen. Really!
Feeling re-energised, full (!), and content we headed over to a breathtaking boardwalk high above the ocean. Just look at this..!


This magical trail snaked around the cliff face in the most breathtaking way. The air was so fresh, the breeze so gentle, and the light so soft and golden it left us transfixed for well over an hour. We just stood there gazing out over the Tasman Sea in total peace and harmony. It was beautiful!


As the sun started to set behind the pretty little lighthouse, we headed home.. via yet another fantastic, yet decoratively plain & modest, restaurant which was located in Bicheno (try to work out how you pronounce that name.. ha!). I had the best lamb shanks I have had in years, a big glass or local red wine and a generous serving of sticky date pudding! You can imagine the amount of weight I gained over these six days..! 3 kilos to be exact..! But it was totally worth it!! :)


The next morning we got up early again and drove all the way from the coast to the top of the Cradle Mountains. A scenic and at times adventurous, drive on small windy roads that climbed the highlands and passed through some quaint little villages. Imagine a blend of very steep climbs and sweeping valleys with fabulous animals grazing on the fertile hillsides.

 Google image of Tasmanian Highlands

Actually speaking of the animals..  We saw some splendid ones; like the 'Belted Galloway Cow' and 'Blackhead Persian Sheep'... These stunners were totally new to me and I did more than one double take when I first saw their striking black/white graphic 'stripes'! Farmyard couture in my opinion!


'Belted Galloway Cow' - via Google

'Blackheaded Persian Sheep' - also via Google

But best of all were the fields with fresh faced Lamas! Yep, you heard me right - in the middle of grass-root Tasmania were large herds of Lamas strolling peacefully next to flocks of geese & mud covered pigs! Spit in your face fabulous don't you think!?! :)

Lama via Google. Loving the side parted fringe and faint smile..! :)

So driving through this beautiful and unexpected scenery took a fair while as you can imagine, and by the time we reached Perth we were starving (again..). By fluke we found a cute little place called 'Ut Si Cafe'..!  We later found out that this is quite the destination here in the Tasmanian highlands, and in hindsight I can completely see why!



You can view lots more pictures via the 'Ut Si Cafe blog' (URL above), but imagine a cute country church converted into a sleek & welcoming gourmet cafe and art gallery. There were rows of impressive artworks hanging on crisp white walls that went on forever towards the most perfect ceiling you'll ever see - the exposed wood work is a masterpiece in its own right (see more HERE). There were huge windows that filtered in soft Autumnal light over the robust tables (that were made out of wood from an old bridge!) that were adorned with lovely large vases of Autumn foliage. We sat on antique church benches (salvaged) and comfy pillows made by local artists, whilst enjoying an array of international food-, travel- and interior- magazines. Add to that the wafts of divinity making their way out of the kitchen and wood fire oven.. Puuurrrr..!


Resisting temptation to splash out on some lovely 'Tasmanian timber veneer ornaments' by local artist Tina Eacher, we had lunch instead. This time, some silky melt-in-your-mouth, home-made gnocci draped in a light Gorgonzola & thyme sauce, and tossed with baby spinach and crunchy walnuts (grown locally!). Perfection on a plate people!

Our next and very last stop before we hit wilderness was Deloraine, where I accidentally bumped in to a man strolling down the street with his pet Alpaca (!)... At this stage, having had supreme gourmet food in a minute 20 house town, seen the happy Lamas skip around on the surrounding hills, and marveled over couture farmyard animals, I was not all that surprised about this somewhat bizarre event. Expect the unexpected when in Tasmania!. In fact the Alpaca looked just as home here as it would in South America.. despite being dressed up in a fabulous stripy 'blanket-vest' and multi-coloured pom poms..! It was a perfect Diana Vreeland 'Why Don't You..' moment.. :)

 Alpaca via Google - apparently the perfect companion

After another hour or so in the car we arrived at our hotel, the 'Cradle Mountain Chateau' - a comfy alpine hotel located in the 'Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park'.
We had booked a so called 'spa room' which not only had a lovely big bath, but also a panoramic view of the forest through a floor to ceiling glass wall. Every morning (early) we'd slide it right open and say hello to some lovely little Wallabies, Wombats and Bilbys. There were apparently lots of 'Tasmanian Devils' too but we didn't see any as these are mostly nocturnal.

Our view as we were driving into the mountains in veils of rain and mist. So dramatic!

Despite the heavy rain, we explored the beautiful hiking trails in the national park and had such a wonderful time together. There were wet, tired, and miserable little ones at times for sure, but this was easily remedied with hot cocoa in front of the big fire place in our hotel library!

 This is the rainbow we were rewarded with for braving the rain at Dove Lake. Stunning!!

Another visual reward having completed a one-hour walk in the rainforest.

Amazing purpouse built board walks to minimize the impact of tourism on the national park.

The last leg of our trip was to drive through the incredible - though at times nail-bitingly tight - roads down the Central Plateau, through the Wild Rivers National Park. The pass through Queenstown was the most surreal I think, with it's almost alien landscape of mineral coloured rock formations and barren mountain tops.

 Serpentine roads over the Central Plateau via Queenstown..So windy we got 'seasick' after a while..!

This drive took us all day (c 7 hours) through dense rainforest, over barren mountain passes, over lush rolling hills, across rivers and waterfalls, and all the way down to Hobart where we slept one final night before flying back to Sydney. What an adventure!

All in all a trip that will stay with us for a long time, and whilst I will for sure loose the holiday weight I will never loose the memories!
Hugs and thanks to those of you who stayed with me through out this marathon post..!  :)

xx Charlotta

All photos by me & Marshall, unless otherwise stated.

44 comments:

Tina said...

Låter som en helt underbar semester för dig och din lilla fina familj!!! Så mycket fina foton, inte svårt alls att drömma sig bort!!!
Miljöombyte gör en alltid gott, visst!?
Skönt att höra att du unnat dig av allt gott till fullo. De där kilona ramlar fort av ska du se:)!!!
Massor med kramar och önskan om en fin dag!!!

tinajo said...

Oh man - I just died a bit! I SO need to see that one day, fantastic pics! :-)

Blue Fruit said...

Loved this and scooped up every last image and every last word to share the experience through your post.

Tasmania really is one of the most beautiful spots in Australia, and so very different to the mainland.

What an incredible trip you had ~ you had time to see it all properly instead of rushing about like crazy things. And something special to remember for years yet.

Kerry said...

Charlotta, I am so envious. This is one of the very few places in our country that I haven't been to! Your pictures and words make me more determined to do it :) Glad you had such a wonderful time x

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

Love the shot of the three of you at the half way mark and the one with the kids and the Wallaby! Such a wonderful trip and beautifully shared with us all, thank you.

Sarah B said...

I'm so glad you loved it down here in Tassie. I know I'm biased but I love it here. I adore the diversity of the landscape. A few of those restaurants I hadn't heard of so that's great to know :)

LINDA from OEKE said...

Read every single word.
Fell in love with Tassie.
Definately on top of our next holiday list because of you.


ps. love the 'south of melbourne' bit (-:

A Perfect Gray said...

I think the best word for those photos and possibly that trip is 'enchanting.' so wonderful, charlotta. you and your family are so fortunate to have these experiences...

love to you! donna

Anci said...

Åh, vilken resa !! Och så många fina bilder !
Men också vilket fantastisk långt inlägg du har gjort, det skulle nog jag inte klara :)

Kramar
Anci

caroline @ patagonia gifts said...

oh Charlotta, such an amazing post! loved so much the photos! thanks for sharing so beautiful places with us. some day I hope I will visit this enchanting country! xo

eddieross said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures!!!!! It looks like you had a fabulous trip. Thanks for sharing some of your memories!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Xo,
E + J

A Casa da Vá said...

Charlotta my dear this sounds amazing... I am beyond inspired to visit Tasmania! You are one great photographer - do you know that?

It is precious that your lit ones are experiencing so much at such young ages, how amazing!

Hugs & kisses from Rio!
http://acasadava.blogspot.com

Casa Très Chic said...

Hi, Charlotta!
Fantastic pics, inspiring adventure, Tasmania is wonderful, good for you!
A fabulous day to you.
Xo
Tereza

claire said...

Oh, I have such an ache to visit Tassie, and this post makes it even stronger. Simply beautiful x

First House on the Right said...

Welcome back Charlotta! What beautiful photos you have of your trip, it certainly looks like you've had the most wonderful time! Nicolex

Lex said...

Hi Charlotta,

What a beautiful post! I felt refreshed myself just reading it!!! So glad you had such a fantastic trip away with your family and for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us!

A fellow seafood lover myself, my tummy was rumbling reading all about your lovely meals and that boardwalk....oh wow!!

Lex. xx

Priscila Peters said...

Wow. These images look incredible. I love to travel and if I don't know a place, I like to see photos of it, at least.
Thank you for sharing.

Claudia Lane said...

I've just found your blog, am loving all your images they are stunning. I've never been to Tasmania and I really want to go now...I have an Isabella too except mine is 15...do I need to add anything else? he he! will be back no doubt. Am following
xo

designchic said...

How spectacular...loved living vicariously through each and every image..thanks for the beautiful tour!!

Luciane at HomeBunch.com said...

This is my very first time here and I'm loving your posts!

This post is simply amazing! WOW!!!

Have a blessed day!

xo

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

shopgirl said...

What an amazing trip Charlotta! Australians are so lucky to have such beauty and clean air. I hope they will do all to preserve it.

p.s. wonderful photos and the lama is adorable! Thanks for this virtual trip. Almost forgot to mention. I'm having a giveaway today and on Sunday.

xoxo

michele at hellolovelyinc said...

omg these images were beyond inspiring. i was mesmerized by the photo of the stacked stones. there is something special in that simple gesture that made me feel warm and calm. the farmyard couture? LOVE. and the photo of the lama is absolutely lovely!

thank you for sharing so many lovely memories and moments of goodness on your journey.


hugs.

michele

Emma at The Marion House Book said...

Beautiful, some of these photos remind me of the West coast in Canada. Would love to visit sometime!

Rachael said...

Charlotta,

These pictures are simply divine and it looks like you have had the most amazing time. Thanks for such a fantastic post. I have been promising my husband when we moved back from London we would go there, now two kids later, it may just be the perfect time.

Welcome back. x

victoria | vmac+cheese said...

I adore mussels and that recipe sounds really delicious. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Welcome back!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Charlotta
This all looks so wonderful.. you know I have never been to Tasmania.. on the list with many other spots in our lovely land.. I'm always too keen to go OS... but having viewed all this beauty.. I think I'll have to get there sooner rather than later..

Loved all your gorgeous shots..and lovely to see you and the kids!! Hoping it wasn't too hard coming home!! hehehe

Have a great week.. ciao xxx julie

Danielle {freshquince} said...

Wow that was a gorgeous tour...thanks so much for sharing! At some point in my live you have convinced me that I need to go there! xx Danielle

My Beautiful Life said...

I loved reading this! It was as if I was watching the travel channel, but with more insider tid bits. Loved this Charlotta! Here are my favorites: All of your photos (you are a fantastic photographer!), the picture of isabella on the driftwood;I love driftwood; my mimi and I used to look for it on the beach; the bird rescue; I once stopped two lanes on a four lane road to jump out of my car and rescue an injured little bird that I nursed back to health (so we are bird rescue sisters); all the mountainous landscape photos-just breathtaking; white sands estates-just gorgeous; the amazing rainbow touching the ground that you were rewarded with at dove lake; the llamas and pet alpaca-hubby loves them and said he would like to raise them on a farm one day...; and your kids petting a wallaby(how cute). Loved it all. Thank you so much for taking us all to Tasmania!!!

Malvini FF said...

WOW ... so beautifull! ... a bit jealous, healthy jealousy though!
those Crayfish cages and driftwoods are to dy for ... then again, the nature and journey trough your pictures is amazing.

vxx

Style Attic said...

Now that is a vacation! I loved the journey, it wasn't long...I was just getting warmed up! Thank you for sharing your beautiful family, scenery from gorgeous Australia and your personal photos. Life is so good isn't it?! I am starting to realize that the more I try to keep my weight under control, the more I gain. If I don't think about it and just live, it all seems to even out more. I finished my first detox...oh it was hard. By the end it felt so right and I felt so accomplished. Thank you again and again for all your help :) It's so great to see a post full of zest from you. Warmest hugs, Kelly

Meera @ firstsense said...

Sounded like the perfect family vacation! The rainbow at Dove Lake looks magical! The llama photo made me laugh! :)

All your photos are so lovely and you have beautifully conveyed your memories. Thank you for sharing, Charlotta!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

Meera xx

Splenderosa said...

Charlotta, what an amazing holiday for your family. I love that you enjoyed the landscape so much...just like me. I prefer being outdoors no matter the weather. Your photos actually do remind one of the Pacific Northwest environs, which is also quite beautiful. Your pics of the water are breathtaking, the children, you & Marshall all are adorable. More of you, please! Great post, my dearest, sending love...

LiveLikeYou said...

Wow what an amazing vacation!! It's just so incredibly beautiful you can almost smell the fresh air just by looking at the pictures!! It's on my list to visit in my lifetime!! Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures, even the animals are perfect!!

Toñi Buendia said...

Oh!! what's a nice blog!!beautiful, nice, so nice...kisses from spain

My Beautiful Life said...

Charlotta,

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Much love,

MBL

design elements said...

Charlotta, this sounds wonderful! the images are simply lovely. thanks for sharing. Happy new week to you!

Jaz said...

Wherever people go for holidays or business trips they need accommodation and there is plenty to choose from.

Hoteles Rio

Peggy and Fritz said...

Simply stunning. What breathtaking pictures of nature. I cannot imagine being on that trip. I felt like I was on vacation with you. Thanks for posting the journey. Makes me want to get on the first plane to Australia.

Stacey said...

Wow! I just added Tasmania to my list of places that i'd love, love to visit! What a treat you gave us by sharing your vacation pics with us! Thank you! I drank it all up-it looks like the perfect vacation! Welcome back and warm hugs to you:-). XX

Renée Finberg said...

this is outstanding.
thank you.
i wish i were there!!!
xx

Alena said...

Looks like it was totally worth gaining 3 kilos over!! Amazing images. I really hope I can visit someday!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Rosa Marrero said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/coquinete/4412670867/in/faves-rosamarrero/

5th and state said...

hello dearest
what amazing images and your photographic skills are stellar.
i must say that tasmania was never on my 'radar', as of this moment i feel an urgent need to go, such beauty!
ps; the children are growing and remain as cute as possible.
xoxo
debra

Charlotta Ward said...

Darlings, I really am so overwhelmed that so many of you took time to read this MEGA post!
It just proves what lovely and loyal friends you all are.

I really appreciate all your comments and feel so chuffed by all the praise on my photography. THANK YOU!!

Warmest and happiest hugs to you.

xx Charlotta

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