August 31, 2013
Bicheno, Tasmania- In order to post this blog I am sitting outside the reception area of our accommodations, using our 30 minutes of free Internet access. Hopefully it will work!
We have had a fabulous first day in Tasmania! Jim rallied the troops early because there was so much we could do today. We were on the road up Mt. Wellington shortly after 7 AM. This was a bit of a challenge for the boys who were out until after 1 AM, but they did not complain!
It was a clear morning and our view from Mt. Wellington (1291 m) was spectacular, plus we had the place to ourselves! We didn’t linger because it was a windy 3 degrees C. We took our photos and headed down the mountain.
Our next destination was the Salamanca Market. Jim and I just missed it the first time we were in Hobart and Liz had done some Tasmania reading before arriving and this was on her list of Things To Do. We arrived just as it was officially opening and we spent 90 minutes looking at over 300 vendor stalls! Everything from apples to zucchini and everything in between, with food and non-food items. Most vendors proudly promoted the fact that their wares were locally grown or made. We ate brekky there and we bought a few souvenirs. It was a great day to wander this wonderful market! But it was time to move on.
Jim and I were excited to take the kids to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) a museum we so enjoyed when we were first in Hobart. We tried not to be too excited about this place, but that was difficult because we had such an incredible experience here. Well, we didn’t need to worry. The kids were hooked after about 10 minutes in the place! We were amazed, disconcerted, grossed-out, awed, confused, surprised and delighted by what we saw. Jim and I were surprised to find that some of the art installations that we remembered from our first visit had been replaced with something new! I was a bit sad that my favorite water wall was now idle while a trampoline with bells attached to it took its place! The kids enjoyed jumping on the trampoline trying to get the biggest bell to ring! One of the most unusual art installations was the excrement machine. A series of 7 suspended glass vessels re-created the digestive process, resulting with poop being excreted at the last vessel! This installation needs to be feed daily and there is a slightly nasty aroma associated with this art project!
Once we finished viewing the exhibits, we ate lunch at cafe at the museum, choosing to eat outside, overlooking the harbor area. We were entertained by 3 chickens and a rooster roaming the outside eating area, when a male peacock showed up. He paraded around the grassy area, ending up by the glass windows near the gift shop. Before too long the female peacock arrived and the show started. The male raised and spread his beautiful feathers and strutted around for the lady. He made all his mating moves and she did not give him the time of day! All of us having lunch outside stopped eating to watch this amazing mating ritual. Even the wait staff was grabbing their cameras to document this event! We watched until the female jumped up onto wall and took the wind out of the male’s sails! It was amazing!
Once again it was time to move on! After a stop at the Cellar Door at MONA to purchase some wine and beer that is made on site, we started our journey north to the town of Bicheno. We stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs and arrived here about 5 PM. After carrying all of our luggage into our 3-bedroom bungalow, we took a walk down by the ocean where we found a great rock formation which caused a great wave splash when the waves rolled in!
Our reason for spending the night in Becheno was to see the Little Penguins come in from the ocean to their nests for the night. These are the same type of penguins that we saw at Phillip Island, but on a much smaller scale. We saw about 15 penguins, but we were part of a small group of people on this tour which let us get very close to the little penguins. The 2 guides shared lots of information and it was a delightful experience!
So that was our day. We did so many wonderful things and had great weather in which to do them. The high temps hit 19 degrees!
Tomorrow is another day full of potential things to do so we hope to get another early start. We’ll see how long the kids do these early mornings before revolting!