Tasmania Trip – Day 4

We started the morning with breakfast at Jam Packed and checked out of the Hotel.

We’d decided to head to Mount Field National Park and do some more rain forest walks, so we jumped in the car and headed off.

On the way we saw some signs to The Salmon Ponds so figured we’d go and check it out.

We had a great time walking around the various ponds feeding the fish, but the highlight of our visit was when we saw a platypus in the Rainbow Trout pond. Apparently there are a few of them that are wild and live in the adjacent river and come up to forage around the ponds when they feel like it.

Jen and I were stalking it for a while, taking photos of it working it’s way along the edge of the ponds and were trying to be very quiet and stay behind it and not cast shadows on it. After a while of taking photos, I realised that I was actually very close to it getting some close up shots and it was within reach. I figured I’d never get a chance like this again, so I put my hand out and touched it’s back. Of course as soon as I did that it disappeared back to the other end of the pond but it was pretty amazing to be able to touch it. For those that wonder, it felt like a wet dog.

On our way out of The Salmon Ponds we went back through the store and I told one of the ladies on the counter. She was so amazed and excited about it that she went and found the other staff to tell them about it.

We got back in the car and headed on to Mount Field National Park. It was raining (it did that a lot during our trip), but we figured we’d do one of the shorter walks since we were there anyway.

The walk was a round trip to Russell Falls which weren’t overly big, but spectacular none the less. We figured we’d keep going along the walking track and ended up at Horseshoe Falls within another 10 min.

We were having a great time and the rain had eased up so we figured we’d check out the Tall Trees walk. The trees lived up to their  name with some of them around 75-80 meters tall (the tallest recorded one in Tasmania was 98 meters). Along the way we even saw an Echidna and some kind of wallaby.

There were also lots of trees that had fallen over which gave us another sense of the size of them.

We were going to head on to the next walk along, but the path was closed due to all the rain so we turned around and headed back to the car.

We had to start heading back to the airport, but weren’t in a huge rush and were peckish, so stopped at The Possum Shed café in Westerway for food and coffee.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful as we drove back to the airport, handed in the keys for the car and sat around waiting for our plane.

It had been a wonderful trip, and a great present for my 30th. Definitely a nice way to ease into the next phase of my life. Thanks Jen 🙂

Tasmania Trip – Day 3

We started the day by checking out of St Ives hotel. We’d decided not to book our last night so we could try out somewhere else if we wanted to. My Uncle (sort of) had recommended Henry Jones Jam Factory so we decided to go down and check it out over breakfast.
We ate at the attached cafe (Jam Packed) and were quite impressed with the look and feel of the place.

I’d decided that I’d like to check out the Cascade Brewery so after breakfast we headed across town to check it out. We were 30 min early when we got there, so decided to go for a drive to kill some time.

We started heading towards Mount Wellington and figured we’d just drive for 15min then turn around and go back to the brewery.
It was a really nice drive heading up the mountain, and was interesting to see the rapidly changing vegetation as the altitude increased. After 15 min we were nearly at the top, so we figured we might as well keep going.
There was still some scattered snow in some of the shaded areas near the summit, so we parked the car and had a look around. The fob for the car didn’t work though, so it took me a few minutes to figure out how to lock the car without it. We later found out that it was due to interference from the huge antennas.
It was freezing cold and windy outside the car, and we weren’t really dressed for the snow, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the lookouts and get some great views and photos of Hobart and the surrounding areas.
After 10 min, we quickly walked back to the car to warm up again and drive down to the brewery.
We weren’t sure about doing a tour of the brewery, so just wandered in to the bar / restaurant to have a look around. When we asked at the counter, they told us that a tour was leaving in 5 min so we thought we might as well join in.
Being a Sunday, the brewery wasn’t operational, but was impressive none the less. A beautiful building with some great history.
After the tour we went back to the bar for tasting 🙂 Jen offered to drive which meant I could sample a few more without worrying too much. We grabbed a few (small) glasses and headed out to the beautiful gardens to sit and enjoy the sun and the scenery.
Jen made friends with the resident cat who seemed to have an agreement(?) with the resident duck. They didn’t seem to be too bothered by each other, but the duck did tend to keep an eye open just in case.
After a pleasant wander around the gardens we headed to Richmond to check out some of the shops and sights.
When we got there we decided to have a coffee and something light to eat and we found a little cafe that had some tables in the front garden so we sat in the sun and enjoyed the serenity for a while.
After the coffee, we took a wander around town. There were lots of antique and junk stores, and a great woodcraft shop. I bought a few little bits and pieces and then we made our way back to the car, and just down the road to the historic bridge.
From there we decided to head back to Hobart and check out the Botanic Gardens.
One thing I was looking forward to at the Gardens was seeing Pete’s vege patch. After so many years of seeing it on Gardening Australia it was nice to see it in person.

There were some amazing displays of orchids and the tulips were in full bloom which made for some beautiful garden beds. We even checked out the Japanese Garden section which was very nice, but was missing the koi and bonsai that we expected.
We ended up leaving shortly before closing time and headed back down to the  Henry Jones Jam Factory to see if they still hadvacancy. We were in luck and booked a really nice room for the night that we instantly felt at home in. The service was amazing and I’d highly recommend staying there to anyone else going to Hobart and looking for somewhere to stay.
We went for dinner at the Japanese restaurant next to the wharf and had some beautifully fresh sashimi before heading back to our room for a well earned rest.

Tasmania Trip – Day 2

We started the day by walking down to Salamanca Markets which were only a few blocks from where we were staying.
Was bigger than I expected and had lots of locally made goods and some fresh produce (even though it’s the wrong time of year for most of it).
I loved all the wood products that come from an area that is heavily involved in the timber industry. Some really amazing things, some of which were quite reasonably priced. There were also a few of artists / photographers there showing off some really nice work.
We didn’t really buy much at the markets. Just some fruit leather and a wooden apple, but would have wandered around for an hour in the drizzle.
We then walked back to the car which we’d left at the hotel and headed off to Bruny Island.

We drove south to Kettering to catch the car ferry across to Bruny Island. It was a bit windy and choppy out on the water and Jen wasn’t too comfortable with the rocking, but it only took 15min so wasn’t too bad.
Bruny Island was a bit odd. I think mainly because we were there at the wrong time of year. Most of the places we’d picked out to go and visit were closed, however we still had a nice drive around. We climbed up a lookout near the narrow stretch of the island. There was a strong wind an we had to hold on going up the stairs. We did managed to get some photos from up there though and after some more driving we found a few other photo opportunities. I imagine it would have been more exciting over summer.

We decided to grab something to eat so we called in to the local cheese makers at Bruny Island Cheese Co. Apparently they’d recently switched from goats to cows for the cheese which was a shame, but we had a nice tasting platter and cup of coffee before we headed back to the ferry.
Since we didn’t spend as much time on Bruny Island as we expected, we thought we’d fit in another adventure, so we headed back through Hobart and on towards Port Arthur.

The drive took us a bit longer than we’d expected, but there was some great scenery on the way.
We decided to stop at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park and saw feeding time and also saw a baby with it’s mum. It was very cute. The park had other animals as well and we checked out the Kangaroos who were very placid and didn’t mind us patting them at all.
We were trying to get to Port Arthur before dark though and it was getting on, so we didn’t stay as long as we’d have liked and didn’t get to see all the animals.
We got back in the car and headed on to Port Arthur.

When we arrived, we went inside to buy tickets. The cashier was rather rude and ignored the half dozen people waiting to be served while she had a conversation with a colleague. When we did finally get served, I was told that we couldn’t go in because they close at sunset (about 20min away). I then asked if there was anything we could do at Port Arthur to which she replied there wasn’t and we should come back tomorrow, even though she’d just sold tickets to the people in front of me.
I was rather pissed off at this stage as it had been a long drive down and I couldn’t believe what she had just said. I was ready to drive off but Jen went back in and was able to buy tickets to the ghost tour (apparently me asking if there was anything we could do somehow didn’t include ghost tours??).
This ticket also meant we could go in and walk around ourselves in the bit of daylight left (again, what was wrong with us just doing this??). Anyway, we went on the ghost tour and didn’t see any ghosts. We did however get to see a small portion of Port Arthur for cheaper than the normal tickets (because we didn’t stay for dinner).
After the tour we started the long drive back to Hobart. We were pretty peckish though so stopped to grab some dinner at the Fox and Hounds. It was about 7:50 when we walked in. The place was empty and we were told the kitchen was just about to close. They did say we could still get a few of the items on the menu though, so we quickly shared a seafood platter and headed back to the car.

The drive home was a bit scary. We narrowly missed a possum and wombat on the dark windy roads.
We eventually made it back to the hotel and had a good nights sleep.

Tasmania Trip – Day 1

For my 30th, Jen took me to Tasmania for a 4 day weekend.
We started off by heading down on Friday morning and arrived in Hobart about 10am.
We went and picked up our hire car which was a Nissan Tida from Budget.
I have to say it wasn’t the greatest car. It was knocked around a bit and felt fairly flimsy. In hindsight we should have gone for the next option up.
Anyway, we hopped in the car and started driving. We stopped by the hotel to see if we could do an early check-in but they weren’t interested so we went on an adventure.

We didn’t really know where we were heading, but we started driving south east of Hobart and came across the Taroona Shot Tower. We went in and had a bite to eat then checked out the tower itself. We were pretty keen to climb to the top to check out the view, but as soon as we entered, we realised we weren’t going to be doing that.

It is 58 metres tall, and it can be climbed. There are 318 steps

The problem was that these 318 steps looked like they were fairly original wood and didn’t feel very solid (I’m sure they were actually fine).

From there we headed further South East to Geeveston and then to the Tahune AirWalk.
On our way we pulled over into a picnic area that had a 10min walk we could do through the most gorgeous, moss-covered forest I’ve ever seen. Really reminded me of a scene out of Lord Of The Rings.

Then we continued on to the AirWalk. It was a bit windy and wet but absolutely beautiful. Jen was a bit disturbed by the amount of movement in the structure, but managed to make it all the way along.

Once we reached the end of it, we decided to do the Swinging Bridge walk which took us across two rivers by means of swinging bridges.
We then made our way back to the car and started the drive back to Hobart and our hotel.

We stopped off at the Apple Museum and picked up a few bits and pieces while we were there.

We stayed at St. Ives which was really much nicer than we expected for the price. It was a self serviced apartment style and we felt pretty comfortable.

Updating Google Maps in MarsDroid ROM

I’m running the MarsDroid ROM on an HTC Magic from Three in Australia.
I saw that a new version of Google Maps came out (4.1.0) that I wanted to try, but I couldn’t update via the market.
This is what I did to get it running:

geoff@desktop:~/android-sdk/tools$ ./adb root
geoff@desktop:~/android-sdk/tools$ ./adb remount
geoff@desktop:~/android-sdk/tools$ ./adb shell ls /system/app/ | grep map
geoff@desktop:~/android-sdk/tools$ ./adb shell rm /system/app/maps3.4.0-brut3-MT.apk
geoff@desktop:~/android-sdk/tools$ ./adb uninstall com.google.android.apps.maps

From there I was able to install successfully from the Market.
The version that shipped with MarsDroid has navigation outside the US, but since I don’t really use it, I wasn’t too fussed.

Trying out Tynt

I’ve just added a new script to my pages from tynt.com.

Our patent pending Tynt Insight technology tracks whats being copied off your site and automatically adds a link back to your content with every paste.

Read more: http://www.tynt.com/#ixzz0by1i2hgN

Apparently it works with images too. Free sign-up and fairly painless to add a line to the wordpress template.

Saying goodbye to a father and a friend

On the 26th of November, my dad died.
He’d been battling various forms of cancer for just over a year and as much as we’re saddened by his passing, we’re also relieved that he doesn’t have to suffer any more.

Yesterday (Monday 7th December, 2009) We held the funeral for family and friends at St Cuthbert’s Anglican Church in Carlton.
Many thanks to all of those who came along. It was great to see so many faces, many of which I haven’t seen in years.

Staff at the Botanic Gardens organised a lovely arrangement of grasses and water lilies for the coffin. Mum has posted a photo on her blog here.

He was an amazing Dad. He seemed to know everything and was a great source of knowledge throughout my life and will be inspirational for years to come.

I love you dad.

Surrey Wilfrid Laurence Jacobs 1946 - 2009
Surrey Wilfrid Laurence Jacobs 1946 - 2009

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