Ten years ago, I met the love of my life.
I remember the date, and will always be able to remember it, because it was the same day that Muse played at the Brisbane Riverstage, back when Muse were still cool (it was the Absolution tour). A small gang of us gathered together to go see it, and this gang kind of remains bonded by heart forever, and it all started at that Muse gig. I think I’d met Emma through the boys before that night, but it was only then that we actually got to talking and found out we both worked administration desk jobs when most of our friends had cool, fun, interesting lives that we lived through vicariously. We swapped work email addresses and the rest, as they say, is tucked away in a nutshell, or something like that.
So, September 2014 marked ten years of cool times with my best gal: the Ann to my Leslie, the Bey to my Nicki, the Wayne to my Garth, the Emma to my Mem. This was a good excuse for her to come visit me for a week of lady dates and minor splurges in the name of hetero-lifemateship.
Emma visited in my first year of Tasmanian life, accompanied by her husband Phil. We didn’t explore much beyond Hobart then (apart from a fun afternoon down the Huon at a Willie Smiths open day—before the Apple Shed was renovated), so for Em’s next visit we decided to go a little all out on a tour of a couple of my favourite places.
Day one involved a big drive, talking literally non-stop the whole way up the highway to Launceston and finally stopping for lunch before Em had a car nap as we wound up the north west. I always seem to drive that road in the late afternoon, prime time for the setting sun to stab me in the eyeballs. Maybe one day I’ll be sensible enough to spend a night in Launceston and then get up early to drive the coastline? This was not that day.
Stanley, little town of my heart! I make no secret of loving this corner of the north west the most… it’s probably my favourite place on the whole island, for sentimental reasons and volcanic plug reasons and just look at that green grass. The north west is always so beautifully green. We settled into our sweet accommodation at Stanley Seaview Inn, then headed down to the Stanley Hotel for dinner. The seafood chowder wasn’t as amazing as my memory of it, but after dinner we bought a bottle of wine from the little bottleshop space and (after we got back to the Inn, realised the wine had a cork and there was no corkscrew at the Inn, got back in the car and drove back to the hotel and got them to open the bottle for us and then drove back to the Inn again) we grabbed some blankets from our room, sat out on the bench looking out at the township and the glorious Nut, and drank the bottle.
The next morning it was time to conquer THE NUT! And by conquer I do not mean walk up it. No. Chairlifts all the way, but then the 2km circuit around the top of the volcanic plug. It was just as magical as I remembered.
Sorry not sorry for the photo spam, you know?
We actually started our morning gathering our strength with fresh savoury muffins at Touchwood Cafe, staring up at what we were about to conquer. I mean, it’s kind of hard not to be dwarfed by the nut anywhere you are in Stanley—in the town itself it’s more overwhelming than kunanyi is to Hobart, to be honest!
Once breakfast and the nut had been completed, we were back in the car to head toward our next destination… with a couple of detours for things like cider. Mostly cider. It was a big two and a half hour drive, ok?
A two and a half hour drive…
Tenth anniversaries call for fancy accommodation, so we splurged and went for a King Billy suite at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, just for the one night. We had grand plans of doing a walk or two in the national park and then coming back to the suite to crawl into the hot tub and pat ourselves on the backs for our efforts, but once we got to the suite we realised we should probably just make the most of the ridiculously huge space that we had been granted, and never leave it.
We only left the suite to go eat dinner in the Lodge restaurant. The rest of the time we were dancing around the suite and being held hostage in the hot tub by a terrifyingly entitled possum. The possum was made less menacing and more fluffy-friendly when we cast our minds to the pademelon greeting committee we’d encountered earlier, in particular our BPF (Best Pademelon Forever) Steve.
Steve showed up maybe fifteen minutes after we’d checked in, and he camped out on our front doorstep for hours. Hours. Steve was determined. The pademelons around the Lodge are fat and happy fluffers, tame as heck thanks to all the tourists. We tried to resist. We really did. We’re bad people. We gave Steve the complementary finger foods from our suite, because to be honest they were better suited to pademelons than humans. Maybe that was the secret point.
Once we’d completely tuckered ourselves out (partly from the drinking and dancing, partly from the end of the adrenaline rush that came from escaping the spa possum and making a wild dash back inside), it was time to sleep in the enormous king bed. SO SOFT, SO FLUFFY.
We awoke the next morning with Edvard Grieg’s Morgenstumming in our heads, basically. Pademelons nibbled dewy blades of grass out the window as the sun rose in the sky. Gross.
The Cradle mountain portion of the trip was concluded with a complementary breakfast buffet over at the lodge, and then more food stops on our way back to Hobart. Most trips should be built around eating and drinking, in my humble opinion. In fact, in surveying our holiday photos I realised I should have taken even more photos of Emma eating.
These will do for now.
Once we were back in Hobart, there was a little less exploring. We revisited the Huon Valley so I could show Emma the Apple Shed, renovated and opened since her last visit, and we dropped by Cygnet to eat dumpling soups at the Lotus Eaters.
Apart from that, we sat around at my place and watched every episode of Outlander that existed by then, and talked a whole lotta shop. We wore these amazing tops for most of the week. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way, not for a second.