Sadly our time in Australia is coming to an end, the three months now seem to have flown by although we feel as if we have been away forever. Every day has been a real adventure which we will remember for the rest of our lives.
We haven’t left yet though, just a couple of days remaining down in Hobart on the south coast of Tasmania. Now we have to be honest in that visiting Tasmania was not top of our ‘Australia Wishlist’ and it wasn’t even a definite on the itinerary originally. We are so glad that we did decide to go though as it has been the jewel in the crown of our JWalking trip down under so far. Who knew? Perhaps it helped that we didn’t have any preconceived ideas of what it would be like? All we can say is that Tasmania has been absolutely amazing.
Last Days of Hobart
Our last few days back in the capital city were spent at Pennys house in New Town to the north. We planned a restful, almost lazy, stay where we would just be able to have the odd walk and generally get ready for the journey to New Zealand. There wasn’t a lot to do but we decided to just sit back and take five, or ten.
Of course the first day there we set off for the Botanical Gardens walking along the Tamar River and kept going around the gardens, along the military Memorial Walk, into the city, and out to the Cenotaph. The usual 6 or 7 miles! Not sure why we get so carried away but it’s undoubtedly the best way to see a place. We have really fallen for Hobart bigtime, it has so much history and character and the scenery is just incredible.
A visit to the Tasmanian Museum followed that and then something very unusual for us, shopping! I’m really not a big shopping fan, in fact I can’t stand it, and strangely Jo is not a shopper either. So getting a new pair of trainers (runners) for her and a new suitcase for me was quite an ordeal.
The plan was to just chill out and relax for the remaining time in Hobart and luckilly for us Pennys house was perfect. Set in a quiet road and with a beautiful deck out the back it was a real restful haven for our last hours in Australia (sounds dramatic doesn’t it). Bit of reading, even some TV, and the odd glass of wine for Mrs JWalker were pretty much it.
On to New Zealand
We’re getting a bit good at packing now after so many flights and transfers so it’s fairly easy to get ready to go each time. Of course my new suitcase meant I had to re-analyse the space and devise a new packing strategy. I’m sure that most of you will know that I’m a little obsessive about neatness and tidiness so it took a while. I could write a full 500 page breakdown on the SPM (strategic packing model) and the CPP (clothing preparation procedure) that I operate but I’m not sure you would appreciate that!
So lunchtime departure from Hobart via the airport bus, Penny generously gave us a lift to the pick up point in the middle of having her hair done so big thanks and hugs to her. Easy drive to the airport but massive excitment for both of us when we spied Camp Joey loading another shuttle bus. We almost cheered. Flight to Melbourne then onto Christchurch in New Zealand by way of Virgin Australia. Bye Bye Oz.
Before we started our little trip we had the usual knowledge about Australia and knew about Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef like most people do. We planned our stays to try and get a flavour of each area and city that we were visiting and hoped to be able to see as much as possible within our carefully worked out budget. We fortunately managed to visit and experience everything that we had hoped to and did so much more along the way. What we never ever considered though was the people that we would meet along the way, and it is these meetings however brief that have made our trip so unforgettable.
Every single one of our Airbnb hosts has been fabulous and we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them all. Each stay has been so different with the only constant being that the hosts have all been so welcoming and friendly. We have lived in their houses, shared their lives, and been part of their world for a short time and will never forget them.
Jo and I would like to say a massive thank you to Belinda and KQ, Trisha, Luisa and Orlando, Phil, Lizeth and Ezri, Marlene, Carolyn and David, Liz, Kerry, Kate and Mal, Rosa and David, and of course Penny for making our stays so incredible. And of course a huge thanks to our great friends Shelagh and Brian for looking after us in Melbourne and doing so much.
And a huge thank you to everyone at home and around the world that has supported us by reading our blog, leaving the odd comment, and generally keeping in touch across the miles. We really do appreciate it. Thanks.
3.12 – 5.12.2015