Spirit of Tasmania




We left our stuff in our cabin and headed off to the restaurant. We have been watching the television adaptation of the great book, ‘The Slap’, which is on at 20:30 so, it being not much after 18:30, we wanted serving early or late. We were told it would be fine if we sat down immediately which we did. Then, a large group were seated in our section after us and serving them meant we didn’t get our last course until after the progamme had started. We entreated them to serve us but nothing happened. When we did get served the waiter said there were other people waiting, as if that made it OK when we had been assured we would be served. I complained but I do not expect to hear again from Spirit of Tasmania, the ship we had such poor service upon. It was a shame as we have eaten on a number of ferries in the world and not been treated as poorly as on this one. It was also a shame as we were looking forwad to the trip, which the meal payed a key part in. It was also a shame as the food was good and we enjoyed eating it. The main part of the journey we spent asleep – part of the reason for going by boat, as well as the romance, being that you got the journey and hotel room in one.
The next morning we awoke with time to shower before getting our things together and disembarking. As we walked out a man asked me if I’d hired a camper-van and what my name was. It turned out the people we hired it from had delivered it to the ferry terminal which was great service, I’d thought we would have to go into Devonport to find them. So, after doing all the things you have to do when hiring a vehicle; have how it works explained to you and walk around agreeing where there are pre-existing dents and other problems, we climbed in and drove off.
Whilst the place we eventually went to for breakfast was not too far away it took me a while to find it. We drove back and forth along some roads until I found a sign for the shopping centre I had been told we could find a cafe in. I had mastered the art of reversing the vehicle by the time we stopped.
We decided to head to Exeter on the River Tamar from Devonport on the River Mersey. Place names here refer to the place people came here from or important people, there is no logic, in terms of similar place names and river names being used together, to them. I was even more happy when I crossed a river, I have never crossed the Rubicon before, so “alea iacta est” just had to be said and quoted on my facebook account. In Exeter we went to the Information Centre who were stupendously helpful, giving us a sheet with ideas of paces to go in the Tamar Valley. The first place, Exeter Bakery was not too far away and we had great coffee and bought pies for our evening meal. On the way to it we saw the sheep looking in the window of the butchers and the headline about a politician paying for underage sex. By now the rain was falling quite hard as we drove to Blackwall then Gravelly Beach, where we stopped at the Stoney Rise vineyard where we bought a couple of bottles, one of which was cold and allowed it to be drunk at the Koklas cafe in the same village, as it was bring your own. It was a mediteranian restaurant and the food was very good, particularly the baclava, but they were a bit over proud of their mayonaise which covered everything to the detriment, for me, of the Salmon and potatoes.
After lunch we went to the site of an old flour mill up the Supply River, which also had a cascade. Walking further up the river it was possible to follow the old mill race up to the weir. We met a Hungarian, who had been riding a mountain bike fitted with an engine and had been working casually in Tasmania, who told us about the masive Bass in the river and that he had also seen Platypus in it. I didn’t see either of them. We then drove.to a spot where we could see the Batman bridge before a bit further on stopping at another place you could see it, but mainly because of the Auld Kirk on the site. Built for the Presbyterians by convict and free labour, and having fallen into disuse at times during the following almost couple of centuries. The rain, which had been falling for most of the morning had eased off so we were able to explore the graveyard.
Next up a visit to another vineyard, Tamar Ridge wines, before returning to the West Tamar Highway at Beaconsfield. After fuelling-up we headed to Beauty Point. I do not know who the eye of the beholder was who named the place, but it was certainly in his eye he saw the beauty. A brief retracing our steps before crossing the Batman bridge and driving to George Town. This was the third place settled in Australia and we saw some of the buildings from the first settlement.
We had not decided where to spend the night and started to settle down in the car park at the centre of George Town. We had made heavy use of electical impliments and wanted to recharge them. This was the point at which I realised that not only did the microwave not work if the camper-van was not plugged into the mains but all the 240 volt services, including the plugs for recharging our devices. It was now pretty bleak with it being cold, the rain coming down pretty hard outside stuck in the middle of a car park in the middle of a shopping area where everything had closed down. After a bit of discussion it was agreed that we had to go to a proper site, in order to get all the facilities we needed. There had been some leery youths hanging about and a car park in the centre did not seem to be the best place to stop. It was also raining quite hard.
It was not just the devices, we could not heat up our pies otherwise also. A few miles out of George Town was Low Head where there was a camp site with charging facilities for camper-vans. They had space and in the rain I connected the line for the charge but still the microwave did not work and the devices did not charge. Fortunately I mentioned to the owner I was new to this and he came over and showed me the switch you needed to turn on to make the van charge. A further discussion was had about discharging the washing-up and shower water after which I was advised to let it out on a not too busy section of the highway.
After which excitements we settled down for the night, ate our very good pies, drank some of the wine from the vineyards, talked to  family then slept soundly. The rain having stopped before we went to sleep.

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