Season 2: Blog 1 - Launceston and Surrounds
So it's been a minute. Life gets crazy hectic busy, and while the essay (Novella? Novel? Lexicon?) that would catch you up with life since we arrived to properly live on Tassie will remain unwritten, here are some cliff notes:
- We got Jobs, then Ruth got a different Job.
- We found a rental place in Franklin in the Huon Valley. We love it here.
- We ate lots of vegan food.
- There were bushfires and we evacuated for 10 days.
- We moved the cats and our stuff over here from Perth.
- Gary the Land Rover rattled his last rattle, and became an organ donor. Rest in pieces faithful steed.
- We went back to Bluesfest for round 2.
- Adam filmed an episode of Hard Quiz.
- Everyone visited and we did all the touristy things together.
- We purchased a flash new vacuum cleaner. It is freaking awesome piece of precision engineered German technology that makes cleaning a (efficient) joy.
- Bushwalks, deep thoughts, making friends, finding community, crochet, toy soldiers, music, gardening, painting.
- Did I mention Life?
So now there might be some time and room for writing with pictures. That thing we did consistently every Sunday(ish) for 34 weeks in 2018ish. Lets see how we go.
Breakfast in Hobart at the very comfortable and friendly (go to the back lounge) Little Lotus Cafe was scrumptious and a good start to a fresh vegan food adventure (that is sort of in the name of the blog ya know!). Good food, good coffee, good vibes. And super swiftly cooked and delivered. Yum.
A winding departure from the Midlands Highway took us through Bothwell, unfortunately for Adam the Nant Distillery where all things whiskey delicious (and some times some charlatan behaviour) happen, didn't open until noon. Maybe next adventure. We drove a new un-driven-for-us road north towards Poatina, and encountered some of last years fire damaged woodlands, source of the iconic on-fire-one-week, under-snow-next-week image you might have seen kicking about.
On our way to split the lakes, we found a henge. A circle of standing stone erected in 1992 and adorned with metal sculpture, an outdoor treebound art-monument to the nature of the surrounding wilderness. The mountain air is crisp. The mountain air is clean. Mountains are great.
A winding way with frequent passings of a variety of classic cars heading southward for something took us to the ridge of the Great Western Tiers above Poatina. The pickets of trees allow the sprawling abundance of the northern lowlands to stretch away, almost a birds eye view. Altitude gives a sense of scale and scope and space and serenity that you just can't get without these mountains.
Downward and Longford-ward, we stopped in where there just happened to be a jam packed classic car show, and a very trendy little tea place. Loaded up on dead plants for water soaking, Launceston beckoned.
Two hungry humans lunched late at VegOut on George, a delicious plant based eatery with friendly ladies running the show. Their wall art was great, and so was the super friendly vibes. Nom nom nom. It's important to stay on message when your blog is kind of a food blog.
We checked into our flash little AirBnB townhouse, complete with high ceilings, stylish decor, the odd nick knack or twenty and a world map that was fun to stare at. Stumbling distance down the hill and into the very walkable Launceston CBD.
Met up with long unseen friends Jarryd and Emma for dinner at a place with Vegan in the name of the restaurant, always a good sign. In fact we likes it so much we ended up there again the next night. Nom nom nom. A cheeky drink around the corner at an also vegan friendly cocktail bar, for some delicious local whiskey, and it was back to the townhouse for a look around - funny coincidence, our holiday digs was the house Jarryd lived in from birth until five years old. Small world.
Saturday morning saw us rise early to hike up Cataract Gorge from the First Basin to Duck Reach and the old power station there - Australia's first hydro-electric power station, with rich history and old machines. Funny story - the engine in our little hybrid corolla 'Shiny' (who will never replace Gary the Land Rover, but is capable in her own way) puts out more than three times as much power as one of the original power station turbine and alternator set ups. My how technology has developed!
A lateish brunch at also excellent vegan friendly vegetarian place Mad Apple was our reward for the wander (as well as ticking off track number 17/60 from our Short Walks book - still tracking some stats!). Launceston is actually a really awesome vegan food destination!
A rest and a digest and it was off to the next food stop - the well-reviewed-by-friends Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory for lunch with friends Gareth and Michelle. Wow. I could ramble on with superlatives and lyrical musings about the place, but I think the best way I can describe how good it was is that I would drive there for lunch. From Franklin. Three and a half hours each way. Something very special in the dimensions of hospitality, service, surroundings, food provenance, wine list, knowledge and atmosphere. Just. Wow.
A short detour up to check out Huon Valley friends Gareth and Michelles new habitat in port Sorell, including tail wagging doggy bush walks with Belle, Chase and Willow, and we meandered back to Launceston through the hills behind Narawntawpu National Park, along the Tamar valley and back to the AirBnB for some more rest and digest. We got back a little late for an Italian Street Food Van Road Closure Party Thing we heard about, so ended up back at the vegan-in-the-name Thai place via a tasty Craft Beer Place. Not sure if Launceston is just quiet of a long weekend Sunday evening, or the coronavirus is doing its tourism downturn thing, but the streets were pretty quiet.
So much food. Better go walking. Specifically to the Tamar Wetlands. A boardwalk took us over swampy islands past blue velvet chested Australian Swamp Hens, Black Swans, the oboe ensemble orchestra of mother nature and various moths, flighty birds, dredging shipwrecks and some curious definitely-not-native flora. Basking in the morning sun, inhaling the alive-ness of the wetland (decay and all) and generally enjoying the view across the Tamar towards Mount Arthur and Ben Lomond were a wonderful way to spend the morning.
More coffee from Mad Apple and an easy drive south on the Midlands Highway, we listened to music and podcasts and felt some of the magic that followed us around the nation on our honeymoon.