South to Hobart

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We chose to drive a “scenic” route down to Hobart. What an adventure! The road was narrow, steep, winding and spectacular!

I am hoping Lauren has taken some pics as we found we were so spell-bound by the mountain range that we forgot!

We drove along the edge of the Central Plateau Conservation and chose a lunch spot by the Great Lake near Miena. After some much needed lunch we did manage to get some pics!

It was a fairly long day on the road for us all but we were so happy to get to Hobart and some nice warm showers!

Devonport and Forth Valley

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We have been non-stop down here!

Non stop great company, non-stop sight-seeing, non-stop eating great food, non-stop sampling local beers/ciders and non-stop exhausted! 🤣

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We chose to spend our first few nights at an awesome camp about 10min from Devonport. Forth Valley Recreation Ground is a beautiful green oval that the locals are happy to have you stay at for a small donation.

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From there each day we went out and explored the impressive country side. We honestly have done so much I can’t even remember where we have been!

Highlights (in no particular order) have been:

  • A drive out towards Sheffield
  • A tasting paddle of local cider
  • Famous Tasmainian scallop pie
  • Beaconsfield Mining Centre
  • Various chocolate and cheese factories
  • Launceston
  • Boags beer experience
  • A dodgey “haunted” boat ride on a fake lake.

There was certainly plently happening with tired eyes limping back into camp each afternoon. We have hardly found time to stop and blog. What a great part of the world!

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Melbourne and the Spirit Of Tasmania

20190929_170024.jpgIt was a nice easy drive down from Beechworth to the Spirit of Tasmania dock near St Kilda. We were thankful it was a Sunday afternoon as the traffic was not too bad. I think Richmonds win in the GF may have contributed to the lazy Sunday feel.

We met up with Matt, Lauren, Lilly and Hamish on Fitzroy St down by the bay. While we were there we figured a quick look at The Block was in order. Noah was keen to place an order on house No. 1 but we reminded him the price tag was around the 3 million mark!

We also started what seems to be the gastronomic theme of this trip… beer, wine & cheese!

The load onto the boat was pretty seemless. They certainly have got it down to a fine art as we were quarantine checked, firearm checked and background checked in no time. Deemed worthy to grace the pristene shores of Van Diemans Land we were loaded into the belly of the big ferry.

 

More beer awaited us inside…

“Playing” in Beechworth.

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Our first stop was the lovely town of Beechworth. We haven’t seen our good friends Millie, Tilly, Mya and Maisie Player for three years… to that exact weekend actually!

Alex was sadly missing as he had been dragged to some sort of big AFL game on the “MCG”. I hope he was backing The Tigers! But, there was also the addition of Hayley from NZ, a cousin of the girls.

It was the perfect start to our trip. While we were heading out to feed the horses I said to Millie, “I feel so relaxed!”. We had only been there a matter of hours and had slipped right into holiday mode.

Our Saturday consisted of:

  • Eating a massive country breakfast
  • Bottomless coffee mugs
  • Motor bike rides
  • Horsing around
  • Grand final watching at the pub
  • Bonfire with added Smores

It was so good to see such good friends again. We need to make sure it isn’t so long next time. We had so much fun playing at the Players!

Tassie bound we are!

Big Red Bash – the wrap up.

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We have been back for three days now and I just realised that we didn’t finish the blog on the trip.

We had an uneventful run home. We shot out of Birdsville slowly along with plenty of other traffic. The drive to Windorah was interesting with the dust and amount of other people trying to get out. Most drivers were sensible and considerate but as expected some didn’t seem to want to make it home.

We came across a beautiful campsite at place called Cooper Creek. We were thankful that we could finally put up the shower tent and with full tanks could each have some long, hot showers!

We enjoyed a fire in Weirdo and took in beautiful night sky.

We had a long way to travel home so the days were spent in the car with over night stays in Cunnumulla and back over the border in Bourke.

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So we are now home, unpacking, de-dusting, repairing and preparing. It was so much family fun!

Stay tuned for our upcoming “Smiths Go South” 2 week Tassie jaunt!

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BRB day 3… the ‘Oils!

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Dusty day 3 of Big Red Bash 2019. We were getting pretty stinky by now!

You see a big part of the event was the environmental considerations. First up were the interesting “enviro-toilets” that Noah euphemistically coined the phrase of “putting some sawdust in the hole”.

They were basically drop toilets with wheely-bins under. You did what you had to do and tipped a tin cup of sawdust on top. Apparently the contents were being composted off site. They may sound terible but they were really pretty good! The “Dunny Angel” volunteers staffed them constantly, keeping them in good nick.

All grey water was collected and no showers were provided. This ment baby-wipes all round trying to get off layer on layer of dust.

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Enough of that mundane stuff like personal hygiene and cleanliness… we were here for the music!

Today was the best of the best! Midnight Oil had arrived and were due on stage tonight. The excitement in the BRB community was palpable.

The artist bill on day 3 consisted of Neil Murry, Steve Kilby of the Church, Busby Marou and Kasey Chambers. A bit of something for everyone in there. I am also pretty sure Steve Kilby has had a “bit of something” before his performace as he did not seem to be functioning too well 🤔. All the other acts were great.

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Busby Marou is a favorite of ours and they did not disappoint. They were filming for an upcoming Queensland Tourism advert. All of the Smiths will surely be featured spruking the cane toad state as “beautiful one day, perfect the next”.

One of their songs Best Part of Me has been earworming Chloe. She has declared they were her favorite band from the whole 3 days.

Although Kasey Chambers’ music is not on our “favorites” playlist, we did enjoy her performance and stage presence. Her in-between song banter was genuinely hilarious and gave me a new appreciation of what she has achieved over her long career.

And then there was the almighty Midnight Oil. It was clear a vast majority of the 10 000 strong crowd were here to see Mr Garrett and his mates finish their world tour on home turf.

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Their connection with the aussie outback and indigenous culture made this venue on Big Red so so special. They blew away the crowd with a massive long set that inclued two encores and a good selection of their signature hits.

Noah, Chloe, Kaz and I worked our way into the mosh pit up the front and had a blast! What an experience!

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Big Red Bash – day 2

 

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We were tired, dusty and happy as we flopped into bed after day 1. Still dusty but not so tired the next morning we made the stroll up the famous Big Red sand dune for a look.

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It was just beautiful up there. Kaz took heaps if her great photographs. Chloe rolled around on the steep hills with all the other kids while Noah and I hatched a plan to grab Jack and come back here for a “boys trip” across the Simpson. I really am looking forward to going back up on another trip without the crowds.

Once the music was back on we were treated to the likes of The Chantoozies, 1927, Mark Gable, Bjorn Again, Chocolate Starfish and the Living End.

My favorites were both bands I wouldn’t normally go for. Chocolate Starfish and The Living End absolutely tore it up… unreal! What great live acts.

Both these bands have Bjorn Again to thank for really warming the crowd up. They were brillant and for the first time got every single one of the (reportedly) 10 000 strong crowd on their feet. What a great moment.

A nice moment was a tribute to INXS which featured a few of the great artists singing classics like Never Tear Us Apart, Devil Inside and Steve Balbi doing Don’t Change – he really got the crowd going.

We rolled back into bed double-dusty and exhausted. We were treated to an “after concert” by a keen fire side fellow on his guitar. He sang with gusto and confidence but sadly no-one in our tent would have turned our red “Voice” chairs.

Day 3 to follow…

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Roll-in Day BRB2019

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We were up bright and early as we had an idea the road out to “Bashville” (thats what they call the site) could be busy. As we headed on out we were really impressed at the welcome at the gates and how quickly we were escorted to our camp spot. Lots of cars, dust and people about but generally a smooth and stress free experience.

We set up in a flash like the seasoned professionals that we are. After meeting the new neighbours we loaded the esky and promptly headed to the concert area.

There was soon and official opening of the ‘Bash done by important people. A very moving “Welcome To Country” was actually a highlight of the day for us as we have become very aware of acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we are so privileged to experience.

The national anthem was included in this ceremony with half of it being sung in what I assume is the local dialect (think of the style the NZ anthem is presented). It was brillant and we would love to see this done all the time.

Dale Ryder of Boom Crash Opera, was first up and brought back many happy memories of seeing BCO at Patricks Night Club in Penant Hills… 30 years ago! The likes of Mark Williams and Richard Clapton kept the memories flooding back.

One of the best acts on the first night was Steve Balbi of Noiseworks fame. He has been a solo act for a lot of years now and did not disappoint.

He put in a great set consisting of mainly his own material but also a few wildly reworked Noiseworks classics. I will be sure not to miss him when he is next in Orange as he was fantastic.

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The next two days were so epic I am going to blog them up in a second post.

Birdsville

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The day had nearly arrived. We got ourselves to Birdsville the afternoon before, what did we find?

Unsurprisingly there were a few other people around. The place was mayhem! There were cars and people everywhere. Closed roads, a cop on every corner moving traffic around and orange jumpsuit SES people organising the really really long fuel queue.

 

After doing a lap of what is normally a sleepy few streets, we joined that queue and the girls promptly abandoned ship and for a look around. As well as the mission of finding the ticket collection point they found hot chips and doughnuts.

We refueled and camped at the town common with all the people we met in the fuel and doughnut queue that day. It may sound like no fun at all but, there was good vibes, friendly smiles and excitement in the air!

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The Birdsville town common was very green!

The ‘Bash starts tomorrow and will no doubt need its own blog post so stay tuned.