Craig's Travels
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On The Road Again

When I last reported to you, we had just finished a lovely walk in Western Tasmania. Feeling fresh and chipper, Ronit and I caught a bus to Hobart, a lovely port town on the south end of the island, and the capital of Tassie. We spent 2 days in Hobart, admiring the cleanliness and enjoying city life after our wilderness time.

We then hired a car to drive up the east coast of Tasmania. This drive including Port Aurthur (an old prison settlement), Freycinet (pronounced Fray-sin-ay, this is a LOVELY national park with simple hikes along pristine beaches), St. Helens (a sleepy fishing village where we caught our dinner), Bay of Fires (gorgeous beaches), and the Pub in the Paddock. This last place was a hotel in the middle of a farming valley, the only local pub for miles. It attracts all the locals and was swamped during lunch, but come evening time, Ronit and I were the only ones there. This meant we had the run of the place, including access to the beer guzzling pig. All in all, we had the car for 5 days, and ended our trip back in Launceston to catch a flight to Sydney for New Years Eve.

Our New Years plans were rather hectic, due to our two friends Danny & Justine flying in during the afternoon of the 31st. Luckily, their flight was a ½-hour early, and we got out to catch the 9:00pm fireworks show over the harbour with plenty of time to drink wine and eat some cheese & crackers. After the half-ass fireworks show, we booked over to the Warren View (our neighborhood pub) and spent a few hours hanging with friends and watching the band Spurs for Jesus in the smoke-filled & over heated bar. After the band finished, we all tromped down to a friends house for the post party, which included more beers and sitting around the fire in his back yard. Unfortunately, no one was down for the sunrise hike, so we just settled for watching the Ali G movie and promptly passing out.

On Jan 2, we started our road trip. With four grown people (Danny, Justine, Ronit and me) our camping gear and backpacks, Matilda (our faithful Mitsubishi Magna) was quite full, and having some difficulties with steep hills. But she is a workhorse, and we arrived in Hunter Valley with plenty of time to set up camp before dark. The next morning with hired some bikes and spent the day pedaling around in 90-degree heat to 6 different wineries. Our tongues and legs quite tired, we headed back to the campsite for some Bar-B. The next day we hit 4 more wineries on our way out of town, and pulled into Port Macquarie around 7:30pm. Here we stayed with some friend's parents at their beach house. Gary & Judith's generosity is not to be matched, and we spent two nights BBQing, drinking wine & beers, playing cards and hot dice and sitting on the beach. Wonderful fun, but too much sun.

Yesterday, we drove up to Byron Bay, a bustling surfing town at the north end of New South Wales. We'll be here for 2 nights and tomorrow we head up to Brisbane.

The road trip is going well. It is hot, and will continue to get hotter. But we have just booked our car and boat for Fraser Island and the Whitsunday Islands (respectively) for the coming week, so we have some amazing stuff in store.

More Later
Craig



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