I did it all for the BBQ.

Any excuse to take a couple of days off and head up to the north west corner of Tasmania is a good excuse, as far as I’m concerned, and when my friend in Burnie offered up her little Weber BBQ to the first taker, I put my hand up. Excuse given, I roped in my partner in crime and we hit the road… first stop being the Texas Pantry in Moonah, maybe fifteen minutes down the road, because sustenance was required for our big day.

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Sustenance and sandwiches. (Reuben not bad, but I prefer Montreal style aka TOO MUCH MEAT.)

The next detour was for beautiful Ross (no, not a dude, not a beautiful dude but a beautiful little town) to visit the bakery. We’d recently seen this article from the local paper that claimed Ross Village Bakery was the inspiration for a Miyazaki film, so we had to go and see with our own eyes.

But first, look at Ross.

But first, look at Ross.

I’m not inclined to believe it was the inspiration, and even the resemblance is a little fuzzy, but sure. Whatever gets you excited. I’m all for excitement about things, and if the wooden-walled bakery in Ross is going to draw tourists out there and they’re going to be excited and stay excited and spend their tourist dollars, then that’s wonderful for all involved. I was a little more cynical about the bakery, but what I wasn’t cynical about was Ross in autumn.

Look at it.

Look at it.

From Ross we were going to make a beeline for Burnie, but as we were turning off for the north west, I spotted something with my eagle eye. Something else I’d recently read about. The new Tasmanian Food & Wine Conservatory! Who knew Sassafras was so close to the north west? Not me. Probably lots of other people, but not me.

Revoltingly picturesque.

Revoltingly picturesque.

We were close to closing time, but the lovely ladies were still happy to make us coffees (and sell me my beloved Henrys ginger beer, still only available up north at this time) before we carried on our merry way to Burnie and the BBQ.

Our delightful friend Jenny was willing to host us at her place, despite us only knowing each other On The Internet until we pulled up in her driveway. Such is the joy of online friendships these days! Who am I kidding, I’ve been showing up at online friends’ doors for ten years or so now, and I will frown at anyone who says online friendships don’t count as real friendships.

Moving on.

Jenny and her partner Jeremy took us down to a classy establishment on the Burnie waterfront to drink cocktails with little fluoro animals perched on the rims, and then we all went wandering to try to spy the penguins that live under the boardwalk. Based on our utter lack of success this evening, to this day I refuse to believe that these penguins exist, possibly even doubting that any penguins exist anywhere in the wild. I’ve been lied to and I won’t stand for it. I did, however, get a fun shadow shot of the four of us, right around the moment we gave up hope.

Four people, zero penguins.

Four people, zero penguins.

I did at least get treated to a cat on the trip. Travel cats are very important to me, as a person very fond of cats (we’re not saying crazy cat lady, it’s not necessary). This one wasn’t overly friendly but did have the benefit of a white C mark on her black face. No, her name was not Ceefa. She didn’t particularly want to snuggle but she was still a cat, and that was good enough.

Sunny girl.

Sunny girl.

So we drank our drinks in Burnie, we had our sleepover, we DID remember to load the weber BBQ into the car and then we bundled back in to start the journey back home again. Now, I can’t do a journey without stopping at a few places on the to-do list, and for us that morning Ulverstone was the place to be, so I could finally eat at Thirty Three Cups.

It helped that Jenny couldn’t hold back from raving about their smoked chicken and corn fritters dish.

Three fritters, please.

Three fritters, please.

Correct. She raved so much that nobody wanted to be left out. And that was despite everything else on the menu looking super appealing, too! The specials board almost tempted me away but in the end, I had to be a part of it. And hot DIGGITY, nobody was even mildly disappointed! In fact, I’m going to be very hard pressed to order anything but the fritters on future visits—and oh yes, there will be future visits. Thirty Three Cups is now a must-visit.

We also traipsed through a few stores full of homewares and knick-knacks, jewellery and antiques, and my biggest regret is that I didn’t purchase this.

Totes grouse.

Totes grouse.

Never mind. Maybe it’ll be there waiting for me on my return…

And thus our spontaneous BBQ adventure did endeth, travelling back down the highway to Hobart, marvelling at the beautiful autumnal scenes and trying to remember to stay focused on the road enough to not crash and die so that one day soon we can do it all again.

Eyes on the road, please.

Eyes on the road, please.

12 October 2013, or Twelve:

Happy Tasmemianniversary to me! I made it, I really made it! And I couldn’t be happier. Today is a day for celebration.

I wake up in Stanley, on the north west coast of Tasmania. When I did the ol’ campervan trip around the state with Fran back in July 2011, Stanley was a favourite corner for me. Ever since moving down here, I’d resolved to getting back up to Stanley again for a visit… and while this weekend wasn’t entirely planned this way (I’m a lot less regularly spontaneous than you may think), it turns out it’s the perfect way to celebrate one year on the island.

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Just as magical as I remembered.

How crazy beautiful is this? Welcome to Stanley. That’s the Nut. It’s not a mountain but a volcanic plug, which means that a LONG time ago (see: 20 to 75 MILLION YEARS AGO) it was an active volcano—A FREAKING VOLCANO—but then the plug was created when magma hardened within a vent on the volcano. From wikipedia: If a plug is preserved, erosion may remove the surrounding rock while the erosion-resistant plug remains, producing a distinctive upstanding landform. Which is what happened to the Nut.

Which you can find out for yourself if you a) trek up the path or b) catch the chairlift to the top.

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So many options. (Two options.)

Of course today I catch the chairlift. I have a collection of reasons for this:

  • I love chairlifts
  • the chairlift wasn’t operating when I first visited in the campervan with Fran in the dead of winter and I was heartbroken
  • I haven’t had any coffee and I didn’t sleep particularly well last night
  • CHAIRLIFTS!!!
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Hide your childish grin, you are almost thirty.

The ride up in the chairlift also gives me time to contemplate exactly what I’m going to do up the top. The full circuit of the Nut is around 2km and takes around half an hour. I have a long drive ahead of me, so I decide to just walk to the first lookout (around 500m) and then back.

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From around Trig Point Marker. Facing north, looking west.

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