Arriving in Launceston
We got stung at the airport by Jetstar for an extra $70 (more than the cost of the flight), for not adding an additional baggage allowance when booking online. Fuck you Jetstar! Not the best start and definitely not a needed expense after being financially crippled in Melbourne.
However it proved to be the only mishap of a pretty fantastic visit which we really couldn’t have timed any better as Melbourne was just beginning to become scorched in a 45° heat wave.
We were picked up at Launceston airport by my uncle Phillip- whom I had last seen some 5 years prior. Phillip had kindly agreed to chaperon us around Tasmania, letting us sleep in his family home in Launceston and at a beach house along the East Coast- something both Jay and myself are hugely thankful for.
Tasmania wasn’t in the initial travelling itinerary, ergo, I was very ill prepared as to what to see and do. With evening drawing in, we sat on the porch of Phillip’s home and trawled through a series of guide books and pamphlets and, guided by Phillip and Phillipa’s advice, began to figure out some sort of plan. We decided we would head East with the family to stay in Dolphin Sands and take things from there.
Completing our first day in Tassie, we were continuously topped up with beer, wine and were treated to a fantastic steak dinner- cooked by Phillipa. A welcome change from goon and $1 noodles.
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To the East
We woke in the morning and packed our things into Phillip’s truck, before receiving a short historical and informative tour around Launceston and the surrounding suburbs.
Without going into extensive detail, Launceston is Tasmania’s second largest city, with a population of around 130,000 people. It is named after a place in England and it would not be too hard to distinguish the city to 1800 England, with small ornate Georgian and Tudor houses forming most residential streets and road names such as George, John, Cambridge and Elizabeth common.
It forms between the valleys of the Tamar river and is the Northern gateway to Tasmania.
45 minutes south of Launceston is Campbell Town. We stopped off for a coffee and quick tour around the street long ‘town’.
Phillip, in tour guide mode, explained about the logging industry that once thrived through Tasmania. A shrine of a large logged tree in the middle of Campbell Town park further explained about the impacts of the logging tyrants who built a substantial empire from the logging process.
More striking however, was the posthumous revelation and celebration of convicts that were sent by the British empire to Campbell Town. Individual bricks lined the streets revealing names and crimes of the convicts; Some of the sins listed were laughable- stealing a table cloth, breaking a machine, stealing shoes- the usual.
We drove a further hour Eastwards through drought stricken forests, charred baron lands and golden wheat fields before eventually reaching Dolphin Sands on the East Coast of Tasmania.
Arriving at midday, we were greeted by Phillipa, Fiontan and the dogs who had taken another car to the hut. We were also introduced to some of Fiontan’s school friends and their dad Steve- a peculiar character to say the least.
Steve and his sons had been fishing prior to our arrival, managing to catch some Salmon, whitefish and a large skater (stingray). They left the stingray back at sea, but the other fish would accompany heaps of sausages, kangaroo burgers and kebabs as part of a BBQ banquette- proper Ozzie cooking!
In true Australian style, we headed down to the beach for a few hours before our ‘Barbie’. The weather had become slightly overcast and the sea a little wild, but after some persuasion from the younger boys, we jumped in, spending the time body-boarding in the waves, playing football and swimming around the rocks.
We returned to the shack a while later and Phillip fired up the BBQ, while Jay and myself satisfied our daily intake of beer.
You can’t go wrong with an Australian BBQ in the bush- it was awesome!
After our feast Phillip, Jay and myself headed back to the sea for an evening dip; Before the sun faded, the squawking, indigenous birds staked their claim for tree-space and we retreated to the shack to play Poker and drink more beer. Life is good!