#justsometingsinTasmania: Launceston and about

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When I first told some of my ex-uni mates that we were going to be spending 2 weeks in Tasmania, their first reaction was:

What are you going to do in Tas for 2 weeks?? Got so much things to do meh??’

Got okay! To be honest, I also had a bit of reservations about spending so long in Tasmania, but I figured, got nothing to do then enjoy the chill and slowpaced lifestyle lah!

For the uninitiated, here’s us sharing our trip to Tasmania!

Flights: 

Singapore Airlines has always been a top choice for us. But after comparing the prices and connecting flights, we decided that Qantas was a better way for us. Reason being:

– the prices are a lot cheaper (about 1.2k cheaper for all 5 of us); and
– connecting flights were Qantas as well (we would have to take Virgin Australia if we took SQ), so full service rather than a budget flight and got inflight entertainment!

I did the stupid thing of booking the domestic flight from Melbourne to Hobart instead of Melbourne to Launceston. So we ended up having to drive all the way up to Launceston. Bummer. We also made sure that there was 3-4 hours transit to the next flight. Initially we had only a 2 hour transit, which would have been a little tight for us on hindsight, given that we had to clear customs, wait for baggage, go to the domestic terminal and then re-check in again. So a 3-4 hour transit was good timing. Time will really fly so it won’t feel too long.

Thing about Qantas was that if you wanted to choose your seats, you would have to fork out $40 per seat. Yikes. Fortunately for us, we managed to skip the fees cos we booked the bassinet for Sarah, so yay!

What I love about the bassinets on Qantas? They are transparent!

watching a goldfish sleep

It meant that I didn’t need to keep standing up to peep and see if kiddo was still alive. haha.

The kids had two meals for this flight: supper and breakfast. I couldn’t remember if I booked Sarah’s meals but it wasn’t registered on the flight so she didn’t get any food.

Qantas Child’s meal: Supper

Qantas Child’s meal: Breakfast

Accommodation: 

We booked two Airbnbs for our stay in Tasmania, one in Launceston, the other in Hobart.

You can use our referral code for a discount off your first booking: www.airbnb.com.sg/c/donaldt380

I cannot recommend our Airbnb in Launceston more!!  The boys loved it so much they kept asking to go back. It is absolutely kids friendly cos they provided all the utensils and cutleries for kids, AND had a high chair. They also have a lovely play area in the living room. Really spacious and a nice deck in the backyard for us to have dinner!

Our Airbnb in Hobart was great as well, a different kind of accommodation, more high tech (central heating, fancy stuff). No carpets which is great (Daddy Ting is not big on carpets big time). No backyard as it was an apartment but we had a balcony where we could see the stars at night.

Car Rental: 

We went with Avis car rental for this trip and got a Hyundai Imax fitted with 2 boosters and 1 car seat. The Hyundai Imax fitted 3 adults and 3 kids, plus crap loads of luggages like this:

how much at a Hyundai Imax take??

If you intend to go to Bruny Island, some of the car rental companies may not allow to take the car over as it requires getting on a barge and some off road areas. I guess insurance doesn’t cover any damage caused by dropping in the sea or something haha. Avis allowed us to take the car to Bruny Island; all we had to do was to sign a document to say we wouldn’t take the car off road. Which was fine with us.

It cost us about A$2050 for 2 weeks of rental. We didn’t take zero excess insurance with Avis as our personal travel insurance has some coverage for any excess paid. So that would be something you may want to consider when renting a car.

All car rental companies now do charge a surcharge of varying percentages if you pick the car up from the airport. Fortunately for us, my sister could pick it up for us in the city and come pick us up. So we didn’t have to pay the 19% surcharge for Hobart Airport. However, we definitely had to pay that surcharge when we picked our rental car up at Melbourne Airport.

Note: We took up Aviva travel insurance; if you need a contact to get that travel insurance, just email me and I’ll forward you my contact! 

Luggage: 

Good grief. Good ole Tasmania. We had gorgeous weather for a few days before it got all gloomy in Launceston. Same thing happened in Hobart as well, except the reverse; rainy weather THEN sunny WTH. All this in summer. We had to pack for both cold and hot weather.

In general, summer in Tasmania is kinda like aircon weather. But when it gets hot, even in aircon weather, you can feel the sun scorching onto your skin. So slather up with the sunscreen. Like slap it on as liberally as you can. We used Little Innoscents Sun Lotion cos of Quentin’s sensitive skin.

So we had 2 big luggages, 2 cabins (for the boys to help push), 1 Nuna Sena travel cot, and 1 stroller. The Nuna Sena is a godsend. Seriously. I didn’t have any problems with Sarah wanting to co-sleep when we got back, unlike the boys cos they were co-sleeping with us on the previous trips.

And here is our itinerary for the northern part of Tasmania!

Day 1: Flight out from Changi

Day 2: Arrive in Hobart at 3.30pm.

We get to walk on the tarmac!

Obviously my excitement outweighs the lack of sleep that I have. Everyone’s in long sleeves except me thanks to babywearing Sarah. Like portable heater, hellooo. Haha.

It was about a 2.5 hour drive to Launceston. We picked up a couple of groceries at the nearby Woolworths before finally heading to the Airbnb.

Day 3: Hillwood Berry Farm

We all woke up late, cos hello..SG time. We had grand plans, but we ended up only leaving the house at 12.30pm (which is 9.30am in SG..so quite okay what hahahaha). Which means we could only do one place: Hillwood Berry Farm

Entrance to Hillwood Berry Farm

The quality of the PYO (pick your own) farm is fantastic! Very well taken care off farm and the kids enjoyed picking raspberries and strawberries. You basically pick how much you want and then pay for it.

This one..eating..

and more eating…

more eating

There is a little cafe where you can order some sandwiches, eat ice cream, have a freshly made berry sherbet, or some ham fritata. Also a huge sandbox, slide and chess play area.

Giant chess anyone?

By the time we were done after a late lunch, it was already 3.30pm. We ended up heading back to grab more groceries for dinner.

Daddy Ting hosed the table in the backyard down and cleaned some chairs, whilst I got to prepping dinner.

Dinner time!

2/3 of the kids.

Day 4: Van Diemens Land Creamery / House of Anvers / Mersey Bluff Lighthouse / Lilico Beach

This time we left the house slightly earlier, cos the kids sorta adjusted to the Aus timezone. It was still a hit and miss, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

We planned our itinerary with multiple stops on the way to the destination that is furthest away from our accommodation. This helped break down the journey a little for the kids and not make it too mundane for them. The iPad helped too but getting to stretch our legs and taking in some fresh air was a lot better for them.

If you are a big fan of ice cream, you need to go to Van Diemens Land Creamery So many flavours and it is not just your usual chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I had a peanut butter ice cream and it was soooo good. It is NOT sweet, rich enough to not make it too jelak. You can also peep through the window to see some ice cream being made. All freshly made on the factory premises. There is also an outlet in Hobart outside Mures. I had a pineapple ice cream there. mmMM. So so so good.

Van Diemens Land Creamy

All the ice cream you can eat!

Next stop was House of Anvers. The last time Daddy Ting brought me there during our paktor days hahha. Had a nice lunch there then. Now with 3 kids, err abit chaotic lah. House of Anvers is a Tasmanian chocolate factory. We love their rich hot chocolate drink. Daddy Ting loves their chilli hot chocolate. We had plans for a picnic so we grabbed some hot chocolate to go.

OUtside the House of Anvers tasting centre. Chocolate for buying and sampling!

If you can spare the time, have lunch there and order a hot chocolate to go with your meal! There is a little museum that explains the origins and history of chocolate, and the types of mould use for chocolates.

We headed to Mersey Bluff Lighthouse to have a picnic and enjoy the view. Totally forgot about seagulls -_-. They are pretty harmless..until they see you with food. They are not shy to grab any food off your hands (if you are not paying attention). In fact there were so many of them crowding around waiting for scraps. We had to hurry the kids to eat their meals hahaha. We did think about eating in the car..but hey, live life a little dangerously eh?

Picnicking at Mersey Bluff. Excuse the squinty eyes

Gorgeous day and err 3 emo kids.

After lunch, we headed to Lilico Beach, a nature reserve for penguins. We headed there in the early afternoon, but if you went in the evenings, you might be able to catch some fairy penguins heading back to their huts at the reserve!

And Lilico Beach was gorgeous. We were at the northern tip of Tasmania, with a beach littered with pebbles that had been shaped and moulded over the years.

yes, squinty eyes again.

We still had some time so my sister headed to a distillery whilst we headed to the nearby Kmart! Finally..some shopping. Grabbed some shirts and shorts for the boys, a couple of $5 tops and $3.50 leggings for Sarah (damn good deal), and Daddy Ting went looking for a cheap fishing rod and bait so he could fulfill his dream of going fishing with the boys during this trip.

Day 5: Mole Creek Caves / Melita Honey Farm / Ashgrove Tasmanian Farm

Donald & I had never been there before, and we thought this might be something we would want to do! Thankfully it was fairly kid friendly, the boys weren’t too scared of the dark. Downside, no toilets in this entirely natural cave hor. Quentin HAD to go halfway through the tour and we had to use one of Sarah’s diapers for him to pee in a corner. WTH.

one of the formations.

The caves were coooooold. 9 degrees Celsius kinda cold. It was pretty amazing to see the crystals in the caves, and that they were a few hundreds of thousands years old, with liquid slowly dripping over the years and forming these stalactites and stalagmites.

We picked the Marakoopa Caves because of the….glow worms! To be honest, I thought one of the worms would fall on my face when I looked up, but it’s safe! No bugs dropped on us. But it was really really cool to be in a cave that is pitched black and only seeing these glow in the dark bugs moving very slowly.

We were definitely happy to be out of the caves and back in the sun. Had a lunch picnic near the ticketing office (and got toilet facilities too, so yay!) and the kids had another chance to run free amidst wombat / wallaby poop that was littered all over the picnic grounds. Hahahhaa, Daddy Ting’s ultimate nightmare, IF the kids fell on any of that.

We then drove off and made a stop at the Melita Honey Farm along the way where the boys and Daddy Ting obviously had their fill of EVERY single type of honey possible. There were at least 20 different flavoured honeys for sampling, with 8-10 different types of honey, cream or liquid, you name it. Sarah and I sampled some honey nougat and checked out the bees working hard!

Obviously with the weather so good, we don’t just stop eating there. We stopped by the Ashgrove Tasmania Farm which is known for their cheese, butter, milk and ICE CREAM. I reckon the kids don’t want to leave Tasmania only cos they can have ice cream every day. *roll eyes* Sarah had fallen asleep on the way and I ALMOST didn’t get to go in cos who wants to wake the baby up seriously. 

Glorious amounts of cheese. There was so much but I had only eyes for the double and triple cream brie. OMGGGGGG. And there were some on discount too. 1.50 for a nice slab of double cream brie! It was heavenly when I had it later than night. 

Dinner that night was a Jailhouse Grill. We had high hopes for their steaks but it was disappointing. The kids had some salmon to share so it was all good.

Got home and hurriedly pop the kids to bed so we could get started on the packing. HOW ON EARTH DID WE AMASS SO MUCH STUFF OVER 5 DAYS?? *slaps head* Check out was 10am the next morning so we definitely had to have everything packed and done by that night. We also had food to clear in the fridge so I would have to wake up early to cook some lunch as we were going to take the coastal route to Hobart (ie, no towns or shops till a looooong while).

Day 6: Bicheno Blowhole / Triabunna / Hobart

It started drizzling when we checked out of the Airbnb, then started to rain intermittently once we go on the highway. We initially thought of going up to Bays of Fire, then going down to the Bicheno Blowhole, then to Triabunna. It was going to add at least another hour to the journey and given the rain, we figured we weren’t going to be able to see much. So we ended up going straight for the blowhole instead.

We took the main highway, before exiting at Campbell Town (last town of civilisation) before we turned into the A3. The roads were fine, just a little winding at times. The boys did get a little car sick but took it really well. It was a relief for them to get out and go to the blowhole. It was freeeeezing cos of the rain, but the boys were so excited! Hahaha.

Bicheno Blowhole

I never thought I would bring my kids to experience nature as it is. I never thought my kids would appreciate it. Daddy Ting had a field day taking photos of them and then standing there with them to anticipate the next wave. It was a pretty amazing site, complete with the angry weather.

We decided to then take a break from the driving and eat the packed lunch we had prepared earlier in the morning. I was feeling a little grumpy from having to entertain the toddler at the back and so decided to reward myself with a lobster roll from a nearby fishmongers haha. *pats self on back* It’s not easy ok..and poor Sarah had developed a rash around the waistband from being cooped up in the position for so long. Daddy Ting offered to take over for the next leg and I happily handed the reins over!

The drive to Triabunna wasn’t too bad, as it was the coastal road and we could see the sea instead of barren land or just trees and hills. Daddy Ting had plans to stop by a fish and chips van that he remembered having the last time he was there. Obviously the boys were very happy about it (lunch was a little crummy).

Fish & Chips from The Fish Van

 

Portions were huge and we had plenty to go around for the 6 of us. Tummies satiated, we then headed on to Hobart.It was a mix of feelings as we headed into Hobart, driving past the airport, Rosny and then getting on the Tasman Bridge. I felt that it was homecoming. I might have even teared hahaha. It really felt good to be back in Hobart.

But oh, how much it has changed since we were last there, a good 11 years ago.

Our Airbnb was not available on the night we arrived in Hobart, so we decided to stay at the ibis Styles Hobart, a newer hotel. We booked through Expedia, via Shopback, and used a HSBC coupon code which netted us a really decent discount and rebate. (Saved about 90 bucks!). Parking is available at the hotel, but subject to availability, and is charged at $25AUD a night. Alternatively, drive around till about 6pm and there are limited free parking lots opposite the hotel that you can park at.

Till the next post about our time in Hobart!

Category: Daily

post-holiday withdrawal

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starry night.

On our 2nd night home, I asked Donald:Me: Are you having any holiday withdrawal symptoms?
Donald: I am actually.
Me: it actually felt like a really long dream being away, and then I woke up and just jumped right back into normalcy. But I keep thinking about the things we did in Aus.

When the holiday was too damn good, it is really hard to get out of the holiday mood.

I had my reservations before we left. How the kids would be like on the flight, in transit, long car rides and being out there close to nature, less of the touristy stuff.

exploring the tide pool

I worried in vain. I was surprised at how well the kids took to where we went, Oliver’s wide eyed wonder, Quentin being game at trying anything and..Sarah’s ability to eat almost anything hahahaha. They did really really well on the long car rides.

I cannot be more proud of them.

It was awesome being able to share with the kids the places we went to, explore the new areas Donald and I didn’t do when we were in Tasmania, and creating new memories with our family. We were pretty chill on most days except for days where there was a schedule we had to meet like ferry and tour timings. We didn’t really sweat about not being able to go to certain places, or switching the itinerary around cos of weather. The familiarity with the place definitely helped a lot more, and I think it will be one of the key reasons for places to travel when the kids are still young.

monster dandelion

We relaxed more in Melbourne with friends, allow the kids to have more play time. We didn’t care for going around in Melbourne cos we weren’t too familiar with the place. We spent more time with friends, meeting up and letting the kids play together at playgrounds.

It was a really good break. It definitely gave us a taste of travelling with the kids and a craving for more!

slides at the Royal Park Nature Play Playground

 

Category: Daily

before 2018

gosh it’s been a while since I last wrote a non-review related post. So hard to be able to gather my thoughts and write.

But what better than now to write something eh? Especially when we are 2.5 hours away into the new year.

Mummy, you know so long I never go out with you alone?’ the eldest one told me this morning when we went out to the nearby mall with Sarah in tow.

do you like coming out alone with me?’ I asked. He nodded. ‘Haha..you gotta share the attention with your brother and sister leh..’ I teased him. He then snuggled closer to me and held onto my hand.

I missed it too, I thought to myself. Oliver and I had all the world to ourselves for 2 years before the arrival of Quentin. We also had all the time in the world to explore, go on adventures and go on playdates. The experiences that Oliver had..was nothing Quentin and Sarah would ever get.

In a blink of an eye, it is almost 6 years since we had Oliver. I felt for him when he said it. Has it been almost 6 years? In another 6 months, Daddy Ting and I will be thrust into another phase of parenthood as we prepare ourselves and Oliver for primary school. Could we ever be ready? Each of the kids are so different.

In a blink of an eye, the middle child is struggling to be taken noticed and prove that he can be independent.

I want to do the buckle! You must teach me! I want to learn!! Why you don’t let me learn!?’ Quentin cried as we moved out of the carpark. We had been in a hurry. Obviously kiddo is not gonna listen about how we were in a hurry and we couldn’t wait for him to figure out how to fit the buckles to his car seat in together and lock it in.

He has grown up too. His latest antics of whining hasn’t gone unnoticed unfortunately. And it is always the negative behaviour that gets picked up. Then the guilt kicks in when he explains why he did what he had to do, cos..it all made sense then. We need to learn how to pause before we react.

But he is the joker in his own way. He hams it up and it cracks Daddy Ting and I up so much.

We are splitting the boys up next year at school. Quentin in the morning, Oliver in the afternoon. For practical reasons and for Quentin. To be able to spend more one on one time with the kids. Give us another chance, alright? I’ll try and do better with you.

Sarah. She has her own language now. At 14mo, she was self-feeding. And she can successfully feed herself throughout an entire meal. She picks things up very easily, especially movements and actions. She signs a lot more and she still doesn’t really say words. Emotionally..she is so affectionate to both Daddy Ting and I. Argh. So damn sweet. She is a little charmer.

BUT. Insufficient sleep throws her to the other spectrum of what she is mostly. OMFG. She goes from sweet to tantrum in 3 secs. Like throws herself on the floor, and cries. Tries flopping around. Seriously. Where did she even pick it up from??

Two weeks ago, she finally weaned off the boob. I CAN HAS MY BOOBS BACK! It was bittersweet. After breasting for 6 years, I’m ready to say bye and move on. With the decision to not have anymore kids (sans accidents hor), I think we can move on in life. Not that we weren’t moving on, but move on from the baby stage of life. I cleared my wardrobe last weekend and packed all my maternity and nursing clothes away. I packed away Sarah’s 1st year worth of clothes, keeping the ones that were of sentimental value.

Moving on with such changes. How to not get emotional watching the kids grow up leh? Just this afternoon, I added shelves to the boys’ tables cos I figured they should get used to tidying up their table in a different manner as compared to just stacking everything up.

They were stoked. It made them feel a little more grown up. It was just a simple modification of adding a $2 Daiso shelf, and giving them a book/paper folder made out of cereal boxes. Recycling FTW! The boys are familiar with my recycling methods and being environmentally friendly.

The bond between the three. Quentin and Sarah are definitely closer. But Sarah has this quiet adoration for Oliver. She wouldn’t let him hold her hand but she knows he is something. The boys definitely play really well with each other now and Quentin knows how to retaliate if Oliver gives him grief. The physical fighting has started, though half the time it ends up in giggles. Hahaha. I don’t know how that is going to work out between the 3 of them but I’m heartened. There are bad moments, but it has been mostly the good.

2017 has been mostly a year of bad medical news. Deaths, falls, admission to hospital, early warnings of deteriorating health if we are not watchful. Sometimes we take life for granted. Says me, as I munch on the last Famous Amos double chocolate cookie. Hahaha. WTH right.

In 2018, I resolve to try and live more healthily and make an impact in the kids life, the people around me and on the environment.

It’s time to get a grip on life by the horns and live life even more fully.

Category: Daily