We spent our final night in NSW at the Scrubby Creek Forest Picnic Area and it was here that Ben decided that he had had enough of Pinky (his arm cast). As it was just one day short of the three-week period he was required to have it on we agreed that it could be removed. Once again displaying our most awesome parenting skills Paul grabbed the tins snips and proceeded to cut it off. None of this fancy schmancy getting it done by a health professional lark!*
It wasn’t much of a drive before we reached our next border crossing and the first of three nights before we left the mainland. Willow Park Rest Area at Rosedale deserves a mention. This area is next to the La Trobe River and is well maintained. There is a large grassy area to park on, toilets and a large gazebo with fireplaces. A local gentleman (I think he was from The Lions Club) came by and welcomed us to Rosedale. He also gave us a greetings pack with information about Rosedale, Sale and the surrounding Gippsland Region. This was a really nice touch and we regretted being time limited. The kids had a great time getting dirty and playing under the bridge. Before leaving we were more than happy to put some gold coins in the donation box.
When we were researching dates, costs etc to get to Tasmania we discovered that it was going to be cheaper for Paul to go across on the ship the Spirit of Tasmania with the car and van, while the kids and I flew over. To be honest, a 45 minute flight from Melbourne to Launceston was also far more appealing to me than a nine-hour trip across The Bass Strait to Devonport.
So, after an early morning start from our caravan park we headed to Port Melbourne to drop Paul, Patricia and Stanley off. The boarding process took a couple of hours – this included waiting in line and the quarantine check (no fresh fruit and vegies can enter Tassie). Security personnel checked our gas cylinders and boarding passes and were aware that although we were all in the car, Paul was the only one sailing. So when we got to the boarding stage the lady that checked the ticket almost fell over to find that the kids and I were still in the car. She got all flustered and hopped onto her radio, before we knew it we were surrounded by security and being escorted into the departure lounge! The only thing missing were flashing lights and sirens! The lady was not amused but the security people thought it was funny.
So, after a very hurried goodbye Paul was safely on board the ship – without his delinquent stowaways. We hung around long enough to wave him goodbye and then the kids and I had a full day to spend in Melbourne before catching our flight.
We walked into the city from Port Melbourne which turned out to be a little further than I had anticipated! After stopping for a late breakfast we set off to explore. We spent some time at Federation Square and then decided to jump onto the free tram that goes around the city and has a running commentary pointing out various landmarks. What we hadn’t expected were the many city commuters using the trams to get around. It was stinking hot, we were all standing and the kids were getting bumped and jostled by people getting on and off. Even though I was standing right next to Emma, at one stage I even lost sight of her.
Needless to say we didn’t stay on the tram too long. Instead we headed to St Paul’s Cathedral where, after having a look around inside, we jumped on a free bus that also tours around Melbourne. We all managed to get a seat, the commentary was great and it was lovely in the air-conditioning. Definitely the way to go.
After doing a complete loop on the bus we decided to head to the Melbourne Museum. A good few hours were spent here and we all loved it. Children are free to get in, with a $10 charge for adults. There was a children’s section to play in and heaps of interactive displays. One of our favourite things was a 3D show and also seeing Phar Lap.
Before we knew it, it was time to catch a bus to the airport. After having something to eat we decided to head through to the departure lounge, where we had our second experience with security for the day! At the bottom of my bag was a small vanity wallet that had nail scissors in it. They must have shown up on the x-ray machine because my bag was quickly whisked away and the offending scissors confiscated. This was all well and good but when we unpacked our backpacks after arriving in Tasmania, we couldn’t believe it when an almost identical wallet, complete with nail scissors, was discovered in Emma’s bag!
The flight was over before we knew it. The plane took off and then levelled and as we settled in to read our books, the captain was announcing that we were coming into Launceston and the cabin crew needed to prepare for landing. My kind of flight!
After disembarking from the plane we hurried through the airport to meet Paul who had arrived in Devonport a few hours prior. He had then driven an hour to Launceston and set up the van before hurrying to the airport to collect us.
The gang was glad to be back together again and very much looking forward to jumping into bed after such a long day.
We were also looking forward to commencing our Tasmanian adventure!
*Don’t panic people, Ben had follow-up treatment (including physiotherapy) when we reached Hobart and after further x-rays it would seem the bone has grown thicker than it should have near the fracture. As a result he may require more treatment in six months time.