Tuesday 23 April 2013

Travelogue - Tasmania Day One - Launceston

We flew out of Sydney early on a crystal clear Sunday morning.  Even though both Will and Lucy have flown before, this was probably the first time they were really aware of what was going on.  Lucy was totally up for it, and very excited to be near the window, but Will was quite anxious and felt every bump and slight change in air speed the entire flight to Launceston.  Even though I generally enjoy flying, his anxiety probably heightened my own and I was very glad when we finally landed.

Before we left I checked the weather forecast and was pleasently surprised to see a lovely day forecast for Launceston and 23 degrees (celcius).  Imagine our surprise as the pilot cheerily informed us we could expect a chilly 12 degrees on landing!



Once landed we headed for a quick lunch at the waterfront, and then straight out to one of Launceston's most famous attractions - Cataract Gorge What an amazing place.  Five minutes drive from town and you find yourself in an immense wild area of bushland, cliffs and the beautiful South Esk River.  We parked at the main carpark and spent then next two hours or so rambling along pathways through the gorge, it was as though we were a million miles from anywhere. 

At First Basin is the world's longest single span chairlift, but at $40 for all of us to go over one way we decided to save our pennies and instead head over the Alexandra Suspension Bridge.

Coffee (of course) was soon on the agenda and we decided to pull up at the very picturesque kiosk.  Watch out for the overly friendly (or perhaps murderous?) peacocks who will steal your food as soon as look at you.  The location of the kiosk may not be able to be faulted, it really was beautful sitting out in the courtyard, but I can honestly say - worst coffee ever.  Ever.  Note to self - avoid any cafe that only serves coffee in mugs.  Coffee snob? Probably.

After a few hours at the Gorge we headed back into town and searched out City Park, a beautiful, green oasis in the middle of the city.  Here you will find beautiful gardens, fountains and a glass conservatory with piddling cherubs (much to Will's amusement).  Also a glass walled enclosure of Japanese macaques, a gift from Japanese sister city Ikeda (go figure) were very easy to watch for ages as they played and caused general mayhem. 

By now we were all well and truly weary and ready for a rest.  We checked in at our hotel - Auldington.  A convent since the late 1800's it has recently been converted to a private hotel.  The rooms were very comfy and reasonably large and most important of all after a day spent walking around in the cold, lots of hot water in the shower. 

Our Lonely Planet Guide was our go to source for most things culinary and so off we headed to Pickled Evenings for a very tasty Indian feast.  Ignore the strange name - the food was fantastic.  Lucy spent most of the night sucking every last bit of lamb off a cutlet bone - she really is her mother's daughter!  It was lovely to finally tuck ourselves in for the night and enjoy a great nights sleep, ready for another great day.

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