Part 1…Booked two new vacation homes…Filling an 88 day gap in the itinerary…

View of Penguin Beach across the street from the new house we booked in northern Tasmania. Today’s photos were copied from the owner’s listing on VRBO.

Choosing a location to fill a gap from December 3, 2016, to March 1, 2017, was challenging. In the Southern Hemisphere, where we’ll still be at the time, that period is during the high season, summer holiday, when kids are out of school and families from Australia travel to relatively nearby locations.

Should any of our readers be interested in renting this lovely property or learning more about it, please click here for details and pricing.

Many Australians stay in the South Pacific when they go on holiday to save both time and money and to get to warmer climates readily available on many choice islands during the cooler seasons.

This is comparable to travelers with families in North America who tend to stay on the continent and in the Caribbean when they travel as a family during school breaks whether winter during the Christmas season or summer.

Ah, a spacious living room with views.

As we perused many locations in the South Pacific during this time frame, we were stymied, having the most difficulty we’ve had in the past. Prices topped the charts, far exceeding our budget, which in extreme cases, we’re willing to adjust if absolutely necessary.

However, this gap didn’t represent a scenario that drove us to be willing to stretch the budget when we have bigger fish to fry in the future when we travel to a new continent in 2017, after leaving the US for a visit.

Another issue impeding our success in finding new locations has been the realities of a slow Internet signal we faced in Australia and now again here in Fiji, as it jumps back and forth from online to “limited” many times per day.

Fully equipped kitchen with an average-sized refrigerator (yeah!), an oven and a microwave, and a dishwasher! 

In the past week, Mario has worked hard to resolve these issues and it has improved considerably although still presenting problems in the afternoons the perfect time for us to do research after I’ve completed the daily post.

After thoroughly scouring HomeAway with no luck, using the link on our site, we clicked another link on HomeAway’s page (at the bottom), VRBO, a popular site owned by Homeaway as well.  

We’ve found it easiest to peruse one site at a time rather than jump back and forth trying to figure where we left off when there are often 1000’s of options listed in a single area.

We always keep the table set for the next meal, inviting the preparation of good homemade food.  However, there are many restaurants in the area some we may actually try.

We chose to spend three months in Tasmania after hearing such glowing reports on our last cruise and on publications online as to its beauty, its people, and its wildlife. As an Australian island, with manageable visa requirements, wifi, and the ability to shop for foods at various local farms, this is an ideal location for us.

The challenge was totally predicated on finding a property with water views, wifi, and a fully equipped kitchen.  A few days ago, Tom expressed a great idea. Why not take this gap, dividing it in half into two six week segments and stay on two distinctly different areas of the island? 

I loved this idea. It would give us an opportunity to casually explore the island from two entirely different home-based locations. We could travel the north portion of the island at our leisure and then, be close to the capital city of Hobart, the most popular tourist location on the island.

The private house has three bedrooms. Note the flat-screen TV on the wall. What a treat!

We’d been turned down by several property owners who didn’t want to “tie-down” their property with one renter over the entire summer holiday making it unavailable for possible “regulars” who’d yet to book at this distant future, willing to pay premium prices for the short term rentals during peak season.

The task was challenging, breaking it up into two options, Group 1 and Group 2, the north and close to Hobart, respectively. After days of research with the WiFi on and off, we both vigorously spent the past few days on a mission. We narrowed it down to eight options at the VRBO site. 

I sent Tom an email with each listing and together, albeit slowly, we reviewed all the pluses and minuses of each property, finally narrowing it down to a mere three properties, one in Group 1 and two in Group 2. 

The sunrise over Penguin Beach. Can’t wait to see this in person! Then again, we’re not wishing for time to pass quickly. We’re very content where we are now in Savusavu, Fiji even on the seemingly endless rainy days, still continuing yet today.

Contacting each listing owner separately with basically the same verbiage, except for the variances in dates between the groups, we heard back from one last night, after which we booked it paying the deposit at the Australian version for vacation rentals, Stayz, a secure site. 

Later in the evening, we heard back from a second but decided to wait overnight for a possible proposal from the third owner. Alas, early this morning an email had arrived with the third proposal. After once again reviewing each of the remaining two options, we decided on the third, accepting by email and shortly later, paying the reasonable deposit once again at Stayz.

Both properties are confirmed and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Today, we’ll share the first location with a few photos, a single-family house, located in Penguin, Tasmania.

We couldn’t be more excited knowing that penguins actually wander about the beach. Here’s a quote about Penguin from a site describing areas of Tasmania:


Penguin is a picturesque seaside town with a pretty esplanade, scenic walking trails, great coastal drives, and a quirky collection of penguins on the street.

Sitting on the edge of mighty Bass Strait, Penguin takes its name from a nearby penguin rookery and it’s obvious this town dearly loves its little feathered friends. There’s a 10-foot penguin that makes a quirky photo opportunity, while the real thing can be seen each night at Penguin Point.

On Sundays, Penguin hosts Tasmania’s largest undercover market with more than 200 stalls selling food and wine, woodcraft, and second-hand goods.  The coastal road between Ulverstone and Wynyard is a beautiful scenic drive with sweeping ocean views, great picnics spots, and clean beaches for seaside walks and fun.

Look out for the expansive wild garden that blooms year-round between the road and railway line and explore one of the many walking tracks across the Dial Range, with stunning views over Penguin and the north-west coast. There are plenty of eateries and places to stay.

Penguin is a 15-min drive (17 km) east of Burnie.”

Those who have followed us these past years know how this location is suitable for us and how much we’ll love our time spent in Penguin.

We’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2 and the second booking in Tasmania, where we’ll be closer to the capital city of Hobart. At least while we’re still housebound in rainy weather, we’ll be busy logging the new locations in our spreadsheet and updating the itinerary. Stay tuned.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2014:

One of the last photos of Vancouver as we began to make our way toward Hawaii on a cruise on the Celebrity Solstice. For more details and the final Vancouver post, please click here.




Comments and responses Part 1…Booked two new vacation homes…Filling an 88 day gap in the itinerary…

  1. Staci Finch Thompson Reply

    How exciting! Glad you found the places, and this one looks just great. I'm sure it will be wonderful!

  2. Jessica Reply

    Staci, thanks for writing. We're so relieved to have this big gap resolved in such great locations. Today, I'm doing Part 2 with more photos. Keep an eye out for this one too!

    Hope all is great for you and Glenn!

    Jess & Tom

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