This is a guest post from my sister Katie who is joining us in Tasmania!
G’day from the Land Down Under!
Not wanting to eat leftover taco meat for breakfast, Paige and I headed out early Sunday morning to the Penguin Country Bakehouse. To our delight, the small town bakery had a large selection of goodies and coffees, and was a nice break from the cold rain. To our dismay, when we returned to our apartment, we realized that we had locked ourselves out. We attempted to adopt the Aussie “no worries” attitude but after 40 minutes (that turned our hot coffees into iced versions) we became frazzled. While Mike was homeschooling, Paige and I would take turns running to the front of the apartment, jumping on the street, waving our arms and yelling. I’m pretty sure everyone except Mike and the kids saw us.
After regaining access to the apartment, we packed up our stuff and spun out of there as fast as the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. We couldn’t say goodbye to Penguin without taking a picture in front of the giant penguin statue, and we definitely couldn’t say goodbye without visiting the town’s weekend market. What we believed to be a farmer’s market turned out to be something else entirely, and we ended up walking through stalls that ranged from crocheted tea cozies to a room full of Pokemon trading cards. Julie preferred the lemon tree that was in the yard of the house next door.
Next stop on our journey was Cradle Mountain, and Paige surprised me by booking accommodations in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. We started at the visitor’s centre where staff recommended that we purchase a shuttle bus pass that would take us to all of the walking trails, hop on-hop off style. Paige and Mike had Dove Lake on their list, while the kids wanted to go on the Enchanted Walk to see wombats. Both sights did not disappoint.
The Enchanted Walk was appropriately named, as the flora and fauna made the setting look like a fairy tale. We were told to stay 2m away from the wildlife, but it was difficult to do so when a wallaby crossed our path on the boardwalk. Isabella was so excited, I thought that she was going to pass out. Little did we know what awaited us at the end of the walk. Mike, Paige and I didn’t believe Julie when she cried out “Kangaroo!” and the three of us stood with our jaws on the floor when we saw a joey hopping in the rain. We also each had a heart attack when the mama kangaroo jumped towards us. Isabella told me that her life flashed before her eyes. So did Mike’s when he almost stepped on a wombat. You read that correctly – while pointing to a wombat across the pond, Mike almost missed the one grazing next to him.
While the kids and I were content with the Enchanted Walk and our soaked shoes, Mike and Paige pushed us to check out Dove Lake. We all agreed to take the 20 minute walk over the 2 hour one. I took pictures next to what Paige called “The Instagram Shed” and Isabella and Julie ran ahead examining various types of animal scat. We were pleased with how well maintained the walking routes were, and were equally happy to hop on the warm shuttle bus home. To Mike’s groans, we shopped at the park store, where we found park badges to add to our collections.
When we arrived at our cabin, named Tallow-Wood, it was my turn to pass out in joy. The cabin was stunning – big beds covered in plaid blankets, a woodfire, and the best smelling bath soaps! Even the washrooms had rustic touches like wooden toilet paper holders. I wished that we could have stayed there longer. Paige found a copy of City Slickers which we took to be a sign and watched immediately. We cried laughing.
Dinner was at the Cradle Mountain Tavern Bar and Bistro, where we had a very healthy meal of schnitzel, fries, gravy, and a pitcher of Tasmanian beer (the kids had water). On the way out, a certain somebody (Paige) spotted a wallaby and she and the kids gave chase. Although they were sad to leave, I assured them that I took about 100 photos of different angles of the wallaby, most of which were blurry. We were in for more surprises though, as our short drive back to Tallow-Wood was at dusk. To the tune of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love,” we sang “The Power of Dusk” and pointed out red wallabies, white wallabies, and wombats. Back at the cabin, the kids and I followed a Youtube tutorial and drew pictures of the animals that we saw. I laughed at the kids’ names for their wombats (Waffles for Izzie and Wombetta for Julie) and then watched the cricket World Cup final. I’ve been having an all around fantastic trip but this day was hands down my favourite.
Where We Stayed
- Tallow-Wood Cabin at Cradle Mountain Highlanders – rustic cabin, warm and cozy
Food We Liked
- Lamingtons – sponge cake dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut
By the Numbers
- The last shuttle bus pickup from Dove Lake – 5:30pm
- Calls/texts/emails to mike to let us back into the apartment – 13
- Times Mike got startled by the wallaby outside our cabin – 2
- Tim Tams I consumed – 3
Quotes of the Day (Bonus)
- “I just know that he’s blogging right now!” – Paige, pacing outside the apartment, angry that Mike wasn’t picking up the phone.
- “I’m in Australia and I’m going to have to buy myself a sweater.” – Katie
- “I saw that.” – Julie, when she spotted the kangaroo and joey, as well as when she saw the kiss scene in City Slickers.
- “I’m going 10 in a 50 zone!” – Mike, whenever we told him to slow down for wildlife.
- “This is the greatest day of my life!” – Isabella