The Trip Home

From the motel in Devonport it was a short drive to the wharf to board the Spirit of Tasmania and we arrived reasonably early to queue to board the vessel.

Sunrise at Devonport

Sunrise at Devonport

Vehicles queuing behind us at Devonport

Vehicles queuing behind us at Devonport

After an hour or so we were able to drive on board to deck 6 and proceeded to take our kit up the single flight of stairs to deck level 7.

Loading on to the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport

Loading on to the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport

Loading on to the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport

Loading on to the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport

We had recliners booked on the ship but we opted for some comfortable chairs next to a widow in close proximity to the on-board cafe known as “The Pantry”. As it was a daylight sailing we stayed in this location for the entirety of the trip.

The view from the deck to the wharf

The view from the deck to the wharf

Before we sailed the Captain announced that he expected fairly smooth sailing until lunch time then a little rougher weather from there on. The swell wasn’t too bad and dropped right away when we entered Port Phillip Bay. We left Devonport at around 8:30am

We are departing from the wharf

We are departing from the wharf

Departing Devonport

Departing Devonport

Departing Devonport

Departing Devonport

Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage

Departing Devonport

Departing Devonport

The Spirit of the Sea

The Spirit of the Sea

Passing the sister ship half way out

Passing the sister ship half way out

In Port Phillip Bay

In Port Phillip Bay

and docked in Melbourne at 6:00pm when the matter of unloading the vehicles turned into a long process and we ended up being the last vehicle off the ship just after 7:00pm.

We had booked accommodation at the Big 4 caravan park in Braybrook (http://www.big4.com.au/caravan-parks/vic/greater-melbourne/ashley-gardens-big4-holiday-village) for three nights and drove from the port to the caravan park through the Melbourne traffic being guided by the GPS system in the car as we were unsure of where we were going. Arriving at the park we found reception closed but an envelope with our cabin keys waiting at the front door.

Our Cabin in Melbourne

Our Cabin in Melbourne

After shifting the gear we needed from the car to the cabin we went to the adjacent supermarket and purchased a few essentials before we had a bite to eat and turned in.

Tuesday morning, we purchased myki passes (http://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki/myki-pass/) from reception and from a bus stop near the caravan park we travelled into the CBD for a look at downtown Melbourne. Hopped off the bus in Queen Street then walked along until we came to Bourke Street; in one of the arcades off the mall we found Cafe E Torta (https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Bourke+St,+Melbourne+VIC/@-37.8150206,144.9643312,3a,75y,319h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1srf92oQ-ITttF2yubEqX6-g!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3Drf92oQ-ITttF2yubEqX6-g%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dsearch.TACTILE.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D392%26h%3D106%26yaw%3D319.71988%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x6ad65d4c71eafb39:0xaa330be4d733a) where we enjoyed very tasty cakes and delightful coffee.

We walked along Bourke Street (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourke_Street,_Melbourne) through the mall and up to the steps of Parliament House (https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Bourke+St,+Melbourne+VIC/@-37.8146149,144.966943,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x6ad65d4c71eafb39:0xaa330be4d733a)

Statuary in Bourke Street Melbourne

Statuary in Bourke Street Melbourne

Victorian Parliament House

Victorian Parliament House

Hotel Windsor

Hotel Windsor

Statuary near Parliament House Melbourne

Statuary near Parliament House Melbourne

Fountain near Parliament House Melbourne

Fountain near Parliament House Melbourne

where we then walked through the Treasury Gardens.

Two Premiers meet

Two Premiers meet

City view from Treasury Gardens Melbourne

City view from Treasury Gardens Melbourne

Fountains in Treasury Gardens Melbourne

Fountains in Treasury Gardens Melbourne

Back into Collins Street and Little Collins Street then trough to Little Bourke Street and a wander through the Chinatown area then back to the mall in search of lunch.

Collins Street Melbourne

Collins Street Melbourne

Melbourne Tram

Melbourne Tram

Statuary in Collins Place Melbourne

Statuary in Collins Place Melbourne

Chinatown in Melbourne

Chinatown in Melbourne

China Town in Melbourne

China Town in Melbourne

After enjoying a very filling lunch of pancakes at the local Lovely Pancakes franchise we wandered along the CBD streets until we found ourselves back in Queen Street and a bus stop where we caught a bus back to the caravan park for a quiet afternoon.

View from the Bus back to Braybrook

View from the Bus back to Braybrook

Wednesday morning was a bit dreary but we managed to complete some washing and eventually got it dried despite occasional showers. We went to the nearby Ashley Hotel (http://www.ashleyhotel.com.au/) for a generous and tasty meal then wandered through the shopping centre on the way back to the caravan park to prepare for our departure next morning. There are lots to see and do in Melbourne but we didn’t schedule much time on this trip and will need to come back another time for a longer stay to see a lot more of the City.

Thursday morning, we departed the caravan park heading east toward Sale. If you don’t know the way and you are relying on a GPS in the car, then peak hour morning traffic in Melbourne is not for the feint hearted. Eventually we were out of the city heading east on the M1 and motoring along quite nicely with most of the heavy traffic heading into the City rather than out of it as we were. There is little to see along the freeway as it generally bypasses all the towns and urban centres. East of Pakenham we pulled off the highway to a rest stop for morning tea then drove on past Warragul, and Moe to Traralgon, Rosedale and then to Sale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sale,_Victoria) where we decided to take a look at the town and have some lunch.

Passing over the Bolte Bridge

Passing over the Bolte Bridge

A city shrouded in low cloud

A city shrouded in low cloud

A city shrouded in low cloud

A city shrouded in low cloud

On the way to Traralgon

On the way to Traralgon

Picturesque scenery along the Princes Highway

Picturesque scenery along the Princes Highway

Rosedale Hotel

Rosedale Hotel

We found Sale to be a quite interesting city and walked through the CBD; at a local shopping centre we bought a couple of items and then found an interesting Cafe – Mr Raymond (http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Gippsland/Food-and-wine/Cafes/TV-Mister-Raymond.aspx) where we enjoyed some delicious food for lunch.

Welcome to Sale

Welcome to Sale

Sale Hotel

Sale Hotel

Interesting footpath treatment in Sale

Interesting footpath treatment in Sale

Clock tower Sale

Clock tower Sale

Colourful footpath treatment in Sale

Colourful footpath treatment in Sale

Looking for donations to the Cancer Council

Looking for donations to the Cancer Council

Pelican statuary in Sale

Pelican statuary in Sale

Margaret's lunch in Sale

Margaret’s lunch in Sale

After Sale we drove on to Stratford and Bairnsdale (where we purchased diesel fuel for 89.5 cents per litre – and received a further discount of 4 cents per litre as it was a Woolworth’s Service Station) then on to Lakes Entrance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakes_Entrance,_Victoria).

Welcome to Bairnsdale

Welcome to Bairnsdale

The circus was in Bairnsdale

The circus was in Bairnsdale

House boat on the river

House boat on the river

Apart from enjoying the wonderful views from the lookout on the way into town, we thought we would like a coffee. There wasn’t a lot open but we did happen upon MMMTruffles (http://www.mmmtruffles.com.au/) where the proprietor brewed up a really good Latte and tempted us with the wide array of chocolates on display (https://www.facebook.com/mmmTruffles/).

Welcome to Lakes Entrance

Welcome to Lakes Entrance

Harbour view Lakes Entrance

Harbour view Lakes Entrance

Clock Tower Lakes Entrance

Clock Tower Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

Lakes Entrance view

OK we have enough photos

OK we have enough photos

From Lakes Entrance we then drove on to Orbost where had booked accommodation for the evening at the Orbost Motel (http://orbostmotel.com.au/) where the decoration strongly follows the corrugated iron theme. The stay was quite pleasant and we departed next morning heading for Canberra.

Old timber bridge on the outskirts of Orbost

Old timber bridge on the outskirts of Orbost

This replaced the Old timber bridge on the outskirts of Orbost

This replaced the Old timber bridge on the outskirts of Orbost

Dawn at Orbost

Dawn at Orbost

Parked outside the motel at Orbost

Parked outside the motel at Orbost

The road from Orbost to Canberra was very scenic and in places, very twisty. A lot of work has been and is being done by the Victoria Government on the section of the road between Orbost and the New South Wales border

Welcome to New South Wales

Welcome to New South Wales

and the result of the work was very evident. Crossing the border, it wasn’t too long before we reached the coastal town of Eden (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eden,_New_South_Wales) sitting alongside Twofold Bay (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twofold_Bay).

We drove to the town lookout above the bay and found a large naval vessel anchored in Twofold Bay. This ship was obviously of interest to the locals as they came to check its status with regularity.

The naval vessel at Twofold Bay

The naval vessel at Twofold Bay

Harbour at Eden

Harbour at Eden

Killer whale museum at Eden

Killer whale museum at Eden

Downtown Eden

Downtown Eden

We had morning tea at the lookout and then drove on to the town of Bega (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bega,_New_South_Wales) of cheese fame and stopped for a visit to the Bega Cheese Factory (http://www.begacheese.com.au/) at the edge of the town.

Bega Cheese Visitors Centre

Bega Cheese Visitors Centre

No wonder they have good cheese at Bega with cows like this

No wonder they have good cheese at Bega with cows like this

From Bega we drove along the Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooma) where we visited one of the local hotels for a very filling lunch before driving the final stage of our run to Canberra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra).

Along the Snowy Mountains highway on the way to Cooma

Along the Snowy Mountains highway on the way to Cooma

Teddy Bears 'n' Wool at Bemboka

Teddy Bears ‘n’ Wool at Bemboka

Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

View from Fred Piper Memorial Lookout

On the road between Cooma and Canberra

On the road between Cooma and Canberra

You are entering the Australian Capital Territory

You are entering the Australian Capital Territory

Solar Farm not far from Canberra

Solar Farm not far from Canberra

In Canberra we stayed the night at the Little National Hotel (http://littlenationalhotel.com.au/) which was quite a different experience for us. We had a bit of a walk about the streets in the afternoon but didn’t go very far as it was quite a hot, energy sapping day.

The Tree the Duke of Yorke planted

The Tree the Duke of Yorke planted

Duke of Yorke planted the tree

Duke of Yorke planted the tree

Old Parliament House Canberra

Old Parliament House Canberra

Hilton, Curtin and Chifley

Hilton, Curtin and Chifley

Rubbing shoulders with Prime Ministers

Rubbing shoulders with Prime Ministers

The War Memorial seen through the heat haze from Old Parliament House

The War Memorial seen through the heat haze from Old Parliament House

Old Parliament House showing some of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Old Parliament House showing some of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy

The National Press Club Canberra

The National Press Club Canberra

Saturday morning saw us on the road quite early and our plan was to drive to Yass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yass,_New_South_Wales) where we would find some breakfast and fill the vehicle. We took the turnoff into Yass

Welcome to Yass

Welcome to Yass

and found a service station then went in search of Maccas for coffee. As it turned out we could have stayed on the highway as the McDonald’s was located at the service centre at the western edge of Yass – fuel was also the same price here as we paid in town.

From Yass our destination for the day was Dubbo so we travelled by some “calmer” roads through Boorowa, Cowra (where we stopped for morning tea),

We are at Canowindra

We are at Canowindra

Canowindra, Molong and Wellington.

Wellington lies ahead

Wellington lies ahead

We pulled up in Wellington in search of a meal and found the Cow and Calf where we were able to partake of a very satisfying lunch.

The Cow and Calf at Wellington

The Cow and Calf at Wellington

Suspension footbridge at Wellington

Suspension footbridge at Wellington

From Wellington we drove the short distance to Dubbo and checked into the Matilda Motel for the evening.

Even though it would be a long day – 968 kilometres – we decided we would drive the rest of the way home on Sunday. We rose at 5:00am (daylight saving time), had breakfast and hit the road at 6:30. The journey took us up the Newell Highway through Gilgandra, Coonabarrabran and Narrabri where we stopped for a break behind the Information Centre.  The camera didn’t come out all day so there are no photos to include here.

Pushing on we encountered a very wide (8.5 metres) load between Bellata and Gurley and had to pull right off the road to allow the convoy to pass. We bypassed Moree along the new road and pulled into Goondiwindi just before 11:00am (Qld time) – we picked up an hour as a result of the changed daylight saving timezone. After more fuel for the car and the body we pushed on through Inglewood, Warwick and into Brisbane where we drove into a shopping centre at Brown Plains to have a short rest. We arrived at our home on the Sunshine Coast at 5:30pm.

Our return home wrapped up our Tasmania 2016 jaunt after being away for some 24 days and travelling almost 5,700 kilometres. We slept in many different beds, having stayed in 14 different accommodation establishments. We were very pleased with the performance of our vehicle which averaged about 6.5 litres per hundred kilometres (fuel consumption) during the trip. We did enjoy the journey but returning home is always good.

Until next time.

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