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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Waterfalls, Lighthouses & Beaches

The title above really does sum up Tassie, and the waterfalls here (unlike those at home) actually have water running over them! We did a circuit from Branxholm to see Ralph Falls and St Columba Falls (and of course stopped at the Pyengana Cheese Factory on the way home). This week we drove through forests on dirt roads to Evercreech Forest Reserve where there are some magnificent tall white gums, as well as another waterfall.

The Eddystone Point lighthouse is made of granite, and is the first one we’ve seen here that’s not painted white and red! From the steps of the lighthouse we could see Cape Barron Island to the north (and possibly the Strzelecki Peaks on Flinders Island behind Cape Barron, but we weren’t really sure) and just see snow on Ben Lomond to the south west.

We’ve been camped just north of Binalong Bay (Bay of Fires) for a week and have our own beach frontage worth millions. Perfect white sand, crystal clear water, water-warn granite rocks – it’s beautiful. We’ve had a few cloudy/rainy/windy days, but have still been able to have a few long walks along the beach, often stopping just to watch the waves roll in. (Actually the weather has been too good, which is why there haven’t been any new photos for a while – Dazz would rather sit out in the sun or poke around the camp fixing things than be working on the computer!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A culinary masterpiece

That's what the headline would have read if a food writer had joined us for dinner on our private beach yesterday. Fortunately there was no writer, so we didn't have to share our dinner.

It was my sister's birthday so it was the perfect opportunity for a bit of a party. She loves seafood, and the day started off sunny, so it would be the second round of abalone. Sadly for my sister, she's in Qld, and so missed her party. Sadly for us the afternoon ended up being cloudy, with just a sprinkle of rain towards the end of dinner... The food, however, was stunning.

Freshly shucked oysters with lemon, straight from the oyster farm just down the road. What could be better, sitting on the white sand, watching perfectly clear waves and eating large, plump, fresh, juicy oysters...

... Warm Abalone and Avocado Salad
Yes, the main course was stunning. After our first taste of abalone last week I thought long and hard about the flavours, had a look at a few online recipes and came up with an original.

This time the abalone was marinated in lime juice for a short time and quickly BBQ'ed in butter with a dash of oil. It went on a bed of warm rice with avocado chunks. The dressing was extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, a little finely chopped fresh ginger, a few leaves off my newly acquired 'lemon something' plant (forgotten the name already - not lemongrass), salt, and a goodly dash of Melemel (a mead infused with blackcurrent and pepperberry - a bit of sweet to balance the lime).

The flavours were amazing, and best of all, we decided they would go with numerous other varieties of seafood... maybe next time we'll try it with scallops...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crunchy Shoes

I had a rather unique experience this morning. While lying in bed, Dazz reported on a frost outside. I looked at our Max Min thermometer, and... yep it was 2 degrees inside. Later when I stepped out of our snuggy little caravan (the little blow heater was working overtime) to go to the shower, my shower shoes were frozen. I was not overly enthusiastic about putting my delicate little pinkies into frozen thongs. Hopping from foot to foot on the snow white shade cloth I screamed at Dazz "quick do something.... I'm freezing alive". Fortunately the kettle had just been boiled. My hero dazz came to the rescue, swinging down from the caravan like Tarzan, he thawed my thongs with some lovely steaming brew. I slipped in the pinkies into my lovely prewarmed thongs, and a new morning rutiual was born. Sorry there are no pictures, but I wasn't going to dilly dally in my pj's while the thongs froze to my tootsies.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Towards the East Coast

We’re not the fastest of travellers… you’ve probably worked that out by now. We’ve been here two months and haven’t made it as far as either the west coast or the east coast, yet. We’ve been to the north coast, again, and are slowly getting closer to the east coast. Maybe by the weekend… or maybe next week… it doesn’t really matter…

After leaving Burnie we did head east, through Launceston and up to Lillydale Falls Reserve. It rained all night but stopped for a while the next day so we went for the short walk to the falls. It was a pretty place with lots of mosses and lichens.

The next day we went up to Bellingham and spent a few nights there. One fine morning we set off to do a loop through Scottsdale, to Launceston, up to Low Head and back along to Bellingham. The morning was stunning, but by the time we got to Launceston it was shrouded in thick fog. Low Head was cold and windy.

We did have slightly nicer weather in Bridport – a lovely beachside caravan park. The only thing between us and our private little beach was the foreshore walking track. There were a number of walkers, runners and bike riders even though it is the middle of winter, and apparently the beaches and absolutely packed in the summer. We’re happy to be avoiding the crowds, even if it is a bit cold.

From Bridport we did a bit of a loop east to Tomahawk, through Gladstone and back to Scottsdale. It was another pretty drive, and we came across Little Blue Lake – an old tin mine that has fine white clay in the bottom. It really was blue!

The most memorable event of the past few days was our first taste of abalone! A lovely dinner at Glen & Jan’s (met them at church in Bridport) resulted in a discussion on catching the specialties of the area and where Glen has caught abalone. Just before we left he produced three frozen ones for us to take home and try! Last night I defrosted one of them and carefully prepared it according to their instructions (slice thinly, marinate in garlic and lemon juice and BBQ on a hot plate for 30 seconds on each side) and it was great. Very subtle flavours that went well with a ‘salsamole’ (my own invention – think combination of fresh tomato salsa with guacamole – chopped not mashed), and Dazz’s crispy BBQ potato slices. I’m saving the other two abalone for a nice sunny seaside lunch, and we’ll definitely take pictures J Thanks again Glen & Jan!

The weather has been overcast and showery the last few days. We’ve spent a few nights in Scottsdale and are now at Branxholm. No major sight-seeing or photography, but a few pretty drives. Like I said before, maybe we’ll get to the east coast by next week…

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the snow

For some time now we have been planning to race down to Cradle Mountain on the first sunny day after the first snow. Last Friday we did it. As you can see from the pic, it was a stunning day. There is nothing like a walk in the snow on a sunny day.

We started the 1.5 hour journey home just before dark. We were very conscious of black ice on the road, and got down to 1st gear on some of the downhill parts of the road. Early in the journey, we came accross one couple who had skidded out of control and into the bank. The tow truck was on the way.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Little Bit Quiet

Yes, we have been quiet for a few weeks as we've temporarily rejoined the ranks for those who are employed almost full-time. The bank account has been enjoying this far more than we have, but if the bank is happy then we can keep tripping.

Fortunately the weather has been fairly cold, windy and wet, so there haven't been too many days where we wished we weren't computer bound. We have had a few nice Sunday afternoon drives, with varying weather but all very enjoyable - Table Cape (Wynyard), Rocky Cape (between Wynyard & Stanley) and Guide Falls (south of Burnie).

Our house-sitting finishes on Sunday, so we're starting to think about where to next. We'll head back over towards the east, and probably go via the north-east coast. It will be nice to get back to walking and camping and not looking at a computer all day...