So after spending few days in Brisbane with Norpan, and having stuffed my stomach with good food (japanese restaurant, Max Brener chocolates and more japanese food in the market) I travelled to Hobart, via Melbourne on December 22nd. I arrived at the YHA pretty late, around 10PM and hardly slept because of two heavy snorers in my room.
On the next morning, I caught the Redline bus to Sorell where I met with one of the helpers of the farm I’ll be working in: Frenchie! Hey, that’s nice :) I’m currently in Brockley Estate, in Buckland, an hourd rive from Hobart and it’s really beautiful around here. Yes, Tasmania is a bit chilly and I reckon itt’s really in winter but so far I can’t complain, I like it here. And no, no devil yet.
We are 3 helpers here: Ted, Nami and me. French, japanese, french. So for Christmas, the couple we’re working for shot a turkey and gave it to us as they would be in Hobart celebrating with the family. Today was the big day: I prepared the turkey and I have to say I was pretty nervous as it was the first time in my life doing this, and we don’t have much ingredients. Because we should have done a list of what we need and buy it but we didn’t. yeah, backpackers style!
I found recipes on the internet, tried to adapt it and made a stuffing with apples, onions, rice, beef and garlic. It took more than 2 hours to cook it, checking and putting more butter on the skin, quite a challenge!
All in all, the turkey was pretty good, and we had a large lunch after 4 hours of cooking! Turkey, garlic bread, veggies, artichokes, apple and choco cake, cheese and crackers, wine, aussie cakes… After eating, we watched my favourite Christmas movie: The Muppets Christmas Carroll while having tea and cakes.
Time really flies, man I’ve been in Tasmania for a week already!
So how are things in Brockley? Quite busy: doing breakfast for guests, cleaning the house, helping with painting the new cottage and scratching paint from the windows (my recently discovered specialty! Kekeke), helping for dinner and we even had a wedding on New Year’s Eve!
I love this place, it’s good to be busy, have some healthy fresh products, I’m learning to do a lot of new things and everybody is so nice, the hosts are very generous and they take really good care of us! The place is really peaceful and the scenery is amazing. People usually say that Tasmania is just green and cold. This is wrong. Completely wrong. Well, of course it gets cold at night and mainly because of the wind, it’s really windy and the weather is quite dry. But the landscape is incredible, it’s different everywhere, and you’d be surprised to know that the beaches are stunning here!
Yesterday we worked for New Year’s Eve, as we had the wedding (my first time doing the waitress :D) but it ended earlier than expected so after cleaning everything we went to the bosses’ house (let’s call them The Robbs) for a drink. Or maybe it was 4 bottles of champagne, 2 of red wine and 1 of white wine. We had a good time, eating 12 grapes at midnight, like they do in Spain (as Mrs Robb is Spanish, and she’s also the Chef, so imagine the amazing dishes we’re having!).
We got drunk as expected for NYE, and went to bed around 4AM. We wanted to wake up early to go to Freycinet, but obviously we were hangovered and forgot to put the alarm clock the night before so… we woke up around 12PM. Hem hem…
We had a quick breakfast and then Ted drove to Marion Bay. The road to get there is amazing, especially in the Wielangta Forest, surrounded by Blue Gum Trees, we saw 3 echidnas, and finally stopped to the beach. We took some funny pictures but the wind was very strong so we got sand everywhere. You can’t even drink water without getting sand in your mouth! The view is as pretty as Fraser Island and there was nobody else on the beach so we had a good time there, taking some model-like pictures for example.
After Marion Bay we went to Rheban Beach, Shelly Beach and finished by having Fish&Chips in Orford. I had battered scallops with chips and it was delicious!
All in all, another day in Paradise, I think I’m falling in love with Tasmania. (as expected) <3
The news finally hit the world: bushfires are burning all over Australia and Tasmania (yes, Tassie is part of Aussie but oh well, never hurts to mention!).
The view we had from our bedroom when it started.
Truth is it started two days ago, the heatwave hit Australia, and the night before we had one of the warmest night in Tasmania. Temperature rose to 45°C in Adelaide, 40°C here in Buckland.
One fire started 200m from our farm in Brockley, Buckland, Tasmania. Basically, you had: flames, river, us. Ha, that’s new. At first we thought that it could be handled pretty easily and we had to go to Orford, the next city to get some mussels and oysters because Mrs Robb had 11 guests to feed including one gastronomic critic journalist. Bad day to get into trouble… When we got a call from her saying the situation got really bad, we started to worry.
No, these are not clouds or fog, just smoke.
We went back home and got stuck on the road because the fire had crossed it. I have to mention than Mr Robb is in the Fire Brigade so he went to help everyone with the fires. Heavy smoke was everywhere; you could smell it with the windows closed. We managed to get back home, dinner was running late and almost all the landscape surrounding the farm was on fire.
Ted and I were supposed to be off this afternoon but obviously, dinner was running late, the situation was getting quite bad so we accepted to help as much as we could. It got even more challenging when the electricity went off in the middle of the dinner, and the water stopped running. Ha. We ended the work pretty late and as the fire was quite close, Mr Robb told us that we had to watch it in case the wind is changing. For the time being it should be okay as the wind was pushing the flames in the opposite side but if it was to change during the night….We would have to evacuate.
You can’t really see it but that was the helicopter carrying water above the road. See how clear the sky is when there’s no smoke.
We felt really sad about it because for us helpers, woofers, backpackers, it’s okay we’re travelers here so we can just pack a bag with passport, money, important papers and that’s it. We have the most important stuff and in the worst case we just go back home. But for them…it’s all their life: the land, the cattle, the house. Some people died those past days, fire is spreading quickly sometimes you don’t have time to react and that’s it. Game over. During the night we saw a wallaby next to our cottage, which is pretty surprising as wallabies never come on this side.
I sent a message to my brother explaining that we might have to go because of the huge bushfire and posting the news on FB about it because it was both impressive and worrying. People didn’t really react. They didn’t get how bad it was, until they got the news on TV. This is a bit sad as well: you don’t get worried until you see it on TV. Even when getting information from the people that are living here. And then you freak out because medias always make everything worse than they are. If it’s already terrible they will talk about it like it’s the end of the world….
We can’t blame people for that, I know it wouldn’t be fair but I still find it sad. We could see the hills burning all night, hearing the trees collapsing, smelling the smoke, and watching the fire from afar all night hoping the wind didn’t change. We had a very bad night as you can reckon but we were lucky enough not to get into real trouble. The helicopter flight for hours, dropping water and the firemen worked long, very long hours.
The fire is still going on. We can see the hills getting red at nightfall, during daytime you can only see the smoke. The landscape is changed but hopefully Mother Nature will do her job when this is all over. So, our situation today is: we’re safe but the neighbors’ land is not, and Mr Robb is still helping the firemen every day.
After 4 days, the fire seems to get under control as we can barely see smoke from the farm right now. We got just a little rain yesterday, we’ve been hoping for a big storm with heavy rain but only got heavy wind instead….Not helping Mother Nature, clearly NOT helping!
I told you about the hills getting red at night in my previous post so here’s a pic of what we could see from our bedroom to give you an idea.
Things are slowly getting better, the temperatures have dropped to 20°C but in other places it’s still not over. We learned yesterday that people from Bream Creek had to evacuate to Marion Bay. It got really far and we felt a bit upset because we just went around this place last week when we spent time on the beach at Marion Bay Beach!
Anyway, we had an afternoon off this week and with Ted we went to see his friends around. We drove a lot from Buckland: Hobart, Ross, Cygnet.
We found the sign funny because it sounded like a factory manufacturing women, but then learnt it’s actually a jail…Hem…
A long way to go but I could enjoy some shopping in Hobart, finally find some Sailor Moon goodies (yes, i’m an otaku and also a geeky gamer), we had a swim in Ross, next to the bridge but the drive back home at night was a bit tiring. We even spotted a small own named Bagdad! It was pretty funny for us “I didn’t think Bagdad was in Tasmania!!” Finally, we got to see a glowing vermilion sunset, after spotting a golden moon two days ago! (pretty impressive, this is the first time I’ve seen the moon like that, it looked like a movie!)
You have to drive carefully because wallabies, possum and other animals go on the roads and f you’re not careful you can drive them over…. We spotted a couple of wallabies and this huge Brushtail possum who almost got killed on the road by the car in front of us! Wow, scary…(I don’t have pictures sadly, they ran out too quickly, at night the focus wasn’t good on the camera)
Last Friday we spent the day in Freycinet for Ted’s last day at the farm. We drove for a while, stopped to take pictures on the way next to Oyster Bay and were greated by the impressive Hazard Moutains. The scenery was so astonishing it almost looked fake!
I was almost expecting a green screen to scroll up leaving the view empty! We took a bunch of pictures on the marina then went to have breakkie in a little café near by….Ok well it as more a breakfast burger and a beer but it was needed!
We then went to the information center to get the map of the park, pay the fee of 24$ and decided the itinerary: Sleepy Bay, Honeymoon Bay and the famous Wineglass Bay!We even filmed a little dance there but that’s another story.
I have to admit something: I hate walking. Well, not walking exactly but climbing stairs. I hate stairs. And of course, i’m not used to walk, at all. Quite shameful when you know that my brother and father love to do this and wake up at 5AM to walk all day…..xD
Anyway, when we had to climb up to Wineglass Bay lookout it was really difficult for me. Let alone when we went all the way down to the beach and had then to climb the mountain again with a freaking lot of stairs that almost killed me…. But, it was worth it. The view is amazing, the beach is as beautiful as Wihtsundays’ Whitehaven. We saw some wallabies on the beach and on the parking lot we were able to pet them as well. The walk was about 3 hours return, and i’m really proud as I managed to did it to the end, thanks to Ted mainly because he was really encouraging us on the way. I hate you by the way Ted ;) It was a real challenge for me and I’m happy I accomplished it….whinning, and panting, and suffering, and exhausted I wanted to stop at the lookout and go back but I still did it.
And yes, the water was freazing cold. As usual in Tassie xD Mr Robb told me that the name come from the time they used to kill wales on the beach, the water would turn as red as a glass of wine. Han. I’ve imagined something more glamourous…Hem.
We went home and had a nice diner all together as Ted was leaving on the next morning: dancing, drinking, eating home made lasagna and chocolate cake and got to bed really exhausted, but happy! Another day in paradise, minus a very good friend, Nami and I were really sad to see him go but well, that’s part of the game!
Sunday and Monday we had two days off so our generous hosts offered to give us a lift to Hobart as they would spend the weekend with their family. They helped us book a night at the Prickled Frog backpackers hostel and thanks to a generous american couple who tipped us 50$ we were able to enjoy a full day of shopping in the city!
On the way to Hobart, we stopped in Richmond, lovely little city where we had lunch, it looked really british and we were able to enjoy a market and a lollies shop!
We first went to a movie on Sunday (Les Miserables….I found it so boring I felt asleep…) and found a little DDR arcade so obviously I had to give it a try! The backpackers was really funky : each door had different decoration and room 21 was painted as Doctor Who’s TARDIS! I was really disappointed not to be in this one…Sigh…
Anyway, we went shopping, I bought a pair of Uggs boots, had a new haircut, bought couple of shirts to work as I only have tank tops, a new handbag (women always need a new bag!) enjoyed a chinese/thai food and fresh smoothies, walked to the Marina where we saw huge cruise boats, stopped by the Museum (which was closed for renovation…Hem) and then meet with our hosts again to do some shopping for the house before going back to Brockley.
On the way back home where we met the two previous helpers and guess what: the guy was from Reunion Island! I was really happy to meet him, we listened to music from our island and talked in creole, they spent the night at Mr and Mrs Robb’s cottage so we spent the night eating, watching videos, talking etc. A really nice weekend indeed :)
Well, I’m pretty late on the update so here what happened lately:
Nami left Brockley for Hobart to do another Helpx and a new guy came instead. Things didn’t go well as he was pretty arrogant and rude, I didn’t like him at all but thanks God he was doing at least a good job when asked.
I’ve been doing a lot of painting in the cottage, gardening, still helping with guests (but bushfires affected the business badly…), I became a professional at the whippersnipper, and I also learned to shear a sheep! Yes. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen : Me, the city girl in fancy red slim pants and 15cm heels who like to drink rosé wine in Paris on Saturday night, I freakin’ sheared a sheep! Don’t get the wrong idea, I asked to do it and guess what? Even if I was a bit scared to try, I did better than expected!
In fact the razor thing is heavy and it’s kind of hard to hold it still because it’s vibrating so much (oow, come on you dirty mind I’m doing the farmer talk here!!). I had no fear of the sheep in itself, when it was kicking and moving around I just listened to the shearer and placed my knees and legs accordingly so that it wouldn’t move anymore. It’s a bit tricky to go close to the skin to cut the wool off and not harm the sheep. The poor thing got a cut on the leg…nothing serious but I was a bit upset “I cut the sheeeeeep, oh my Gooood I cut the SHEEEEEP!!!” which gave a good laugh to the shearers. Then the sheep pooped on my shoe and I didn’t feel that sorry for it… The shearers were extremely friendly and patient, they love talking and sharing about their job and they told me I could come and help if I want to change job! Always good to know :p
On the same week, I spent the day off with a dear friend, Dani, who spoiled me as I was sleeping over at her place. We had a great time at the beach with her dogs, had a drink and then watch a movie before going to bed. It was as relaxing as spending the weekend at Grandma’s. Except that I’ve never done it before as my Grandma was living with us xD
I still love Tasmania and Brockley, the weather is nice but luckily not too hot, I now have the Helpers’ cottage for myself and some exciting projects for the next few months that i have yet to finish preparing!
Yes, all the crap you can see here is mine only…Shh!
When you look for pictures of Tasmania in tourist magazines, on Google, or Lonely planet books the picture you get every time is this: the boatshed in Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain is THE must see in Tasmania. I was lucky enough to be with generous hosts who offered to get Nami (who’s doing Helpx at the neighbors’), drove us there for the day and even prepared sandwiches and fruits for us! We were so excited we had trouble sleeping the day before, and almost screamed when we arrived on the carpark. There are several walks you can do there, but as you know I hate climbing, I don’t really fancy hiking and Nami was feeling like me. Walking on flat? Yes, for hours if you want. Climbing? No.Way.
We followed the good advice and chose to do the Dove Lake walk. It takes about 2 hours and it’s a circuit around the main lake in Cradle. Perfect for us! The walk was amazing, we took all of our time (4 hours…hem), stopping often to have a look, admire the scenery, take a break.
We even took a little detour and went on the Lake Wilks road, which is going up, is very bushy but not too difficult for lazy girls like us. We really enjoyed it a lot: you have to climb the road with your hands and feet, holding to tree roots, parts of rocks, being careful sometimes because it’s slippery (either wet or full of moss).
Finally we stopped on a wooden bridge next to a waterfall. It was magical: the sound of birds singing, the waterfall running, the smell of pine trees mixed with lemon-scented tea trees, the feel of the breeze under the burning sun, the clear blue sky with not a single cloud, the view of the tracks all the way down next to the Dove Lake.
We didn’t go further up to Lake Wilks because the path was getting too narrow, so we went back down, went through the Ballroom Forest and walked all the way to the boatshed where we had a final break, hesitating a lot about having a swim in our undies as we didn’t get any swimsuit. The water was warm compared to the cold ones we tried in Freycinet or Spring Beach.
I took a hundred pictures, it was stunning, the different perspectives you get when going around the lake, nature, fresh air, the crystal clear water and the track is very well made so it’s easy to walk.
I felt really grateful for being able to spend the day there. Cradle Mountain had an influence on me all day long. I felt full of love and compassion; I felt energetic and couldn’t sleep until 2AM because I was still too excited and happy!
So in a word, even if I really want people to know that there’s much more in Tasmania to discover and I really enjoyed everywhere I’ve been so far, I have to admit: Yes, Cradle Mountain is as special as they say and as spectacular as you imagine.
Burnie is known for being a Paper Town. Not that it is made of paper but there’s a huge mill where they used to produce paper and sell it all around the world. The factory got closed in 2010 but you can still see it even though most of it has been destroyed. All around the city you can see the words “Paper” with a little history, the information center is decorated with statues made of paper, and the funny thing you can find and buy there is paper made out of poo!
Don’t freak out, it’s animal poo and no, it does not smell anything. You can find kangaroo poo paper, wombat poo paper, apple paper, denim paper…all sorts of things, and same goes for the envelopes! I bought some to write to my family and friend, along with those typical tourist magnets.
On the day we went to Cradle Mountain we also stopped by Sheffield, small town known for its murals all over. I didn’t get any picture sadly because I was sleepy in the car on the way back but Google it to have a look.
Today, we went to the Penguin Market. No, it’s not a zoo where you can see penguins. The town itself is called Penguin. The market is covered and quite big. You can find all sorts of things, from second hand, antiques to handmade soaps, jewelry, stones, food and live band playing. I found a wonderful Sherlock Holmes book /Detective game from 1982 for less than 10$, bought some speckles, and found some Doctor Who books that I didn’t buy. Only because I have to save money for Japan and can’t transport it in my backpack…Hem.
After Penguin, we went to Latrobe, capital of platypus, to a shop called Reliquaire. This shop is amazing, a real attraction in itself! The staff is dressed with fairy or nutcracker costumes, they give you a map of the shop when you enter and you have props, objects, expensive collection dolls, statues, jewelry, stuffs and stuffs e-very-where. It’s like being in the Tiger cave in Aladdin! They separated each room by theme; I loved the costumes section but went crazy in the Doctor Who section. Yes, they had a room dedicated to Doctor Who’s goodies, with a TARDIS as big as me, the music from the old seasons playing, a TARDIS bin that made sound when you open it, the action figures, the Lego figurines, the screwdrivers, the key rings, magnets,…*sigh*
The sad thing is you can’t take pictures in the shop, it’s forbidden so you just have to go and remember it but I never ever saw a shop like this, so if you get the chance, stop by Reliquaire!
Four months ago I decided that I wanted a new tattoo.(I have one on my left ankle which is almost 10 years old). The first idea came with a couple of friends, but as I don’t really like having the same design as someone else, no matter who they are, I decided to draw the design myself.
Then, after a month, one tattoo became two. Three months later, after sketching and finally getting what I wanted (and of course making up my mind on th question: "now, I know what, but where??"), I decided that I wanted to get tattooed in Tasmania.
That’s when I found Tassie Ink Tattoo & Percing. I took time to carefully look at the online portfolio, the comments, then went to the studio to have a look, show my designs and get a quote. Everything looked perfect to me, I learned that my tattooist was a girl named Candice, even better that would be a change for once, and took an appointment for the next month.
Waiting for the D-Day was really long and when finally I got to Hobart I was very VERY excited. Two of my friends came with me, the studio where Candice is decorated with things I love: Beetlejuice, The Crow, Elvis. She’s a big Elvis fan, just like my mom so you can guess taht I grew up listening to the King and seeing the statues were to me a sign that I did choose the perfect studio! Plus, I liked the boots she was wearing.
The job was done carefully, we took time to discuss the design, if I wanted shading, where exactly do I want to have it, Candice gave me advice about the wrist design to get something clean and pretty but also about where exactly to put it.
It took 2 hours more or less of work to get everything done, I was so thrilled I almost cry. I kept telling my friend to give me the camera back so I can have one more look to the design on my neck. And one more. Perfect!
Okay, just once more. Gosh, it’s pretty, I’m so happy! Wait, let me look at it a bit longer!
To those who asked me “so did it hurt?” The answer is: yes, of course it did. I mean it always do hurt at some point! The most difficult part was the middle circle on my wrist. But I kept my mouth shut, I didn’t want to make the artist unconfortable but crying or whining, it’s a choice you make, you know it’s going to hurt and there’s nothing the tattooist can do about it.
Anyway, I do recommend the place, have a look on their Facebook page and if you want to get tattooed, take your time, ask questions, go to the studio, and then: Enjoy :)