Review on Huon Valley holiday home with many photos…Two days and counting.

View of a small portion of the Huon River from the lawn of the rental in Castle Forbes Bay.

None of today’s photos of the property we rented for six weeks in the Huon Valley are ours.  We “borrowed” them from Anne and Rob’s listing on AirBnB, found here.  We’d have taken photos but with packing in full force, the house is somewhat cluttered.
In 48 hours we’ll have arrived at the Hobart International Airport for the less than two hour flight at 10:10 am to Sydney.  Shortly after 12:00 pm we’ll arrive in Sydney and take a taxi to head to the Overseas Passenger Terminal in the Sydney Harbour. Once again  we’ll embark on another cruise in the South Pacific.
 

View of the property from the river.

So far, including Wednesday’s cruise, we’ll have sailed on six cruises in the South Pacific in this past almost two years.  With one more cruise remaining at the end of April, in 54 days we’ll sail from Sydney to Seattle as we make our way back to the US. 

We’ll have 40 days between both cruises during which we’ll stay in a property in Manly, very similar to this house in the Huon Valley where one area is occupied by the owner and another full apartment with all facilities constitutes the rental portion.

I’ve sat on the sofa while Tom lounges in this red chair, both very comfortable.  See dining table and chairs in the background

Oddly, when we lived in Trinity Beach, Australia beginning on June 11, 2015, we stayed in yet another similar property whereby we lived on the fully equipped main floor while the owners occupied the second level.

Overall, we prefer to live in a single family home for the added privacy but with costs so high for rents in Australia, these types of situations have been our only sensible option.

That’s not to say that any of the owners intrude upon our privacy in any manner. They have not.  They’ve been kind, helpful and available when needed.  Anne and Rob, our landlords for this property have been exceptional, making many efforts to ensure we had a pleasant stay and undoubtedly, we have.

Plenty of amenities and gadgets are available in this kitchen, making cooking a breeze.  When I needed an item, Anne quickly provided it, such as a big mixing bowl, baking pans, hand blender.

The property is in perfect condition with no obvious repairs, painting or replacement needed.  Everything works.  The furniture in the living room has been comfortable especially when we’ve spent more time staying in due to my recent illness during these past six weeks than we may have spent in other areas. 

Previously in Penguin, Tasmania when I wasn’t as ill, we were often out and about, walking, exploring and seeing the local sites and points of interest.  Here in the Huon Valley, we’ve only done as much exploring as our 100’s of photos indicate, not every day but at least once or twice a week.

The view when sitting on the sofa in the living room which includes lots of games, books, and decor items. 

The house is well equipped with suitable dishes, flatware, pots and pans, kitchen utencils and gadgets.  Even the cupboards contained a variety of teas, spices, oils and other products, similar to those in Penguin.

The bed is comfortable along with the bedding.  A poor quality or flimsy sheet pillows and blankets situation can totally ruin an otherwise comfortable bed.  But, here, the bedding was of the utmost quality, the pillows comfortable, the covers suitable for a variety of weather conditions.

We’ve kept our luggage in the second bedroom which is located on a lower level.

Anne and Rob invitied Tom for his first fishing-on-the-ocean experience which he thoroughly enjoyed leaving us with enough fish filets for a few meals. We coated the filets in beaten eggs and coconut flour pan frying them in coconut oil, our favorite way to eat fish.

The availability of fresh produce plucked from the abundant garden was a huge perk we’d never expected.  I was particularly thrilled when I was able to make salads using celery, cabbage and greens from the garden.  Tom, who’s favorite vegetable is green beans, enjoyed them with many meals.

Seating on the veranda.

The Wi-Fi here, although tricky over te first few days of our arrival, ending up working well for us.  With the 400 gig allotment each 30 days, at night we were easily able to stream HBO’s Game of Thrones entire six seasons.  On only a few rare occasions did we have to await the return of the signal when it slipped away momentarily.

Although we watch little TV, we’ve been able to check out local and some world news from time to time.  During the day when we’re in, we may have news on in the background but neither of us pays much attention. 

It has been delightful to have fluffy robes to use while here as shown in the second en suite bathroom.  Both bathroom have heated towel racks but we’ve never used them.

Right now, snippets from the Academy Awards Red Carpet event is on.  The  awards show will be broadcast live from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm.  Since we’ve seen none of the movies, we have little interest in the awards show itself.

The grounds and the pool are beautifully maintained by Anne and Rob, who are also retired, spending considerable time working and maintaining the property. The views of the Huon River is breathtaking as shown in a few of today’s photos and many photos over the past weeks.

This is the master bedroom which now has a sofa by the windows. 

We’d highly recommend this property to any travelers.  For information, click here and they’ll respond quickly.  Also, feel free to contact us with any specific questions that perhaps only a renter would experience. 

Thanks to Anne and Rob for an extraordinary stay at your lovely property.   We’ve already written positive statements in your “guest book” and over the next few days, post reviews online.

The master bath has worked well for us.

My single suitcase is already packed with the exception of the items I’ve been wearing the past few days.  Tomorrow, Tom will pack his clothing while I pack the third bag with miscellanous items we’ll collect from around the house.

Tomorrow, I’ll briefly report on my condition after today’s final contact with Dr. Angela Retchford in Geeveston.  On departure day in two days, we’ll include the total expenses for the six weeks we spent in the Huon Valley.

Have a pleasant day!

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Photo from one year ago today, February 27, 2016:
Tom was excited to see this Minnesota State Trooper vehicle when we toured AmeriCarna in New Zealand last year on this date.  How ironic!  For more photos from the car show, please click here.

Political views online?…Will we or won’t we?

These flowers are often seen growing along the highways.

Based on the fact we don’t discuss politics here, a reader might speculate that we’re out of touch.  At times, we haven’t had a TV and have had to rely upon online news which is often “fake” news, as they say, or biased in one way or another.

Years ago, I had no interest in politics.  However, one can’t be married to or in the daily presence of Tom Lyman and avoid endless conversations about a plethora of topics, including politics. 

Small meat pies are popular in Australia.

In a way, his enthusiasm for world and local news has inspired me to research with an innate desire to acquire sufficient knowledge and understanding about politics to engage in lively conversations on a daily basis.

As for sharing our views online, I stay mum regarding my political views on all forms of social media, including in our posts, while Tom is highly vocal on Facebook. 

Sailing is a popular activity in Tasmania.

We may not always agree on certain topics but we both tend to base our views on our personal research based on combination of varying sources of information both online and on TV news as available. 

The bottom line for both of us is clear…we avoid getting into deep and lengthy political conversations with people we meet along the way.  There are plenty of other engaging topics to discuss while on cruises and when meeting people in our daily lives.


Farm view from a hill.

Of course, I do occasionally spew out a few choice comments about the production of food, the overuse of statin and other drugs and the medical profession’s slanted view that only prescription medication is the solution for all that ails us. 

The bright blue Huon River which is not muddy and murky like some rivers throughout the world.

Sure, there are times prescribed medication is a solution to health issues that otherwise can’t be resolved with diet, exercise, low stress and a healthy lifestyle.  I’ve certainly fallen into that realm, taking three little pills a day and a handful of supplements. And, believe me, I’ve tried to eliminate these three meds with alternative solutions, to no avail. 

Tom only takes three 50 mg B6 each day (spread throughout the day) to prevent kidney stones.  For him, its worked for the past 12 years after three surgeries in three years in 2003, 2004, and 2005.  (Our comment is not intended as medical advice.  Please check with your doctor about B6 treatment if you are prone to kidney stones).

Blacksmith shop.

Why is the mention of politics and medicine in the same post?  Simple answer.  They’re closely related.  Through considerable research over these past years, its become clear to us.  However, we won’t get into all of this here in our posts. That’s never been our intention nor will it be in the future.

Our goals for our site remains constant…to share the nuances of dally life as world travelers.  In an email we received today from one of our new readers who began reading our posts from the beginning on March 15, 2012, we’ve evolved in many ways.  

View of the Huon River between the trees.

However, our goals, our joys and our appreciation for this life have remained the same.  We continue to be humbled and in awe of the world around us, its people, its diversity and its wonders of nature.

May your day bring you joy and appreciation.

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Photo from one year ago today, February 3, 2016:

Colorful apartment building in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  For more details, please click here.

Pretty, funny, yummy and cute…Do we always have exceptional views?

Cute.  Last evening I took this photo through the glass of the window in our living room when we happened to see this rabbit on the shore of the Huon River.

Our heading for today’s post certainly connotes the theme of most of our desired photos; pretty, funny, yummy and cute.  On occasion, we get lucky and acquire of shot of a scene or situation even we consider to be acceptable.

Both of us are always on the lookout for photo ops not only when we’re out exploring but also on days when we’re staying in, frequently looking out the window for possibilities. 

Cute, boys and their cars!  Tom and a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500.

Unfortunately, the set up of this otherwise ideal vacation home isn’t perfect for photo taking when indoors.  Views of the Huon River in front of us is somewhat impeded by the glass of the windows which don’t open adequately for photo taking.

The main floor of this upper level unit (in a two unit house) has a door to a small veranda but most of the river views are blocked by trees and vegetation.  However, we are able to capture a stunning scene through the glass of the windows which don’t open adequately for a glass-free shot.

Funny.  Extra large calf nursing from almost same-sized mom.

As a result, the above photo of the rabbit was taken last evening around 7 pm through the glass of the windows.  I didn’t expect it to be as clear as it was due to the distance and also the water marks on the glass after a number of rainy days.  

Tom always calls it “safari luck” when I get a good shot, while I have a tendency  to fluff my feathers a bit over finally learning to get it right after all these years.  With a less-than-professional camera and my amateurish skills I suppose that on occasion I’m lucky under the right circumstances.

Yummy apples.

While researching vacation homes we don’t necessarily list an easily accessible, view-rich veranda as a criteria. However, when we discover its available, its a definite bonus.

As most of our long term readers have observed, in most cases, we have some type of view in itself an important criteria which we’ve learned from past experience.  Only in a few cases over these past 51 months have we lived in properties without a view.

Pretty scene.

In only four of our past vacation homes were we dealing with a lack of an astounding view including Kenya (a basic backyard view), Morocco (living in the souk with no exterior view except from the difficult-to-access rooftop), the second house in Fiji (a backyard pool view only) and Phuket, Thailand (a backyard pool view only).

As we continue on, we find ourselves fine tuning our criteria but cost and availability are often factors in determining the prospect of achieving such a finite expectation.

Yummy looking baked goods.

When booking hotels for only one or two nights, we’re seldom willing to pay extra for a view. Although in many hotels we’ve been fortunate to have stunning city views, bodies of water or mountain views.  Without a doubt, views have the potential to make or break the quality of the experience.

In Morocco, living in a riad (a two story house with an open air center courtyard) we didn’t have a single window looking outdoors.  Instead, we’d look up to the sky as shown in this photo below:

Looking up at the sky, day and night, is a rare treat, from inside the riad, defined as traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. (This huge house was for the two of us only).  For more photos of this property, please click here.

Don’t get me wrong, the house in Morocco was amazing.  However, the lack of a view had a definite impact on the quality of our experience.  After awhile, one can feel a little trapped especially, as was the case in that particular location, it was impossible to rent a car with no parking available in the souks. 

In any case, it was a good experience from which we gleaned a lot of knowledge adding to our repertoire of interesting (to us) times in our world travels.  We’ve accepted that location is not always perfect for the nuances that work best for our needs.


Pretty scene of the Huon River near our vacation homes in Castle Forbes Bay.


As for this location, the property, the views, the landlords and the people in the area, we couldn’t ask for more.  Comparable to Penguin, some of the most friendly people on the planet live here.

Already, after only a little over two weeks since our arrival in the Huon Valley, we’ve been sending email back and forth to people we’ve met along the way.  Of course, meeting locals requires a diligent effort on our part to get out to locations that attracts locals to ensure face-to-face encounters.  We’re always seeking such opportunities as evidenced by our photos.

Pretty roses growing in the yard..

Today, rain or shine, we’re heading out to another of those events where locals may be found mulling around, photos of which we hope to share over the next several days.

Rain or shine, snow, sleet or hail, have a safe day!

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Photo from one year ago today, February 1, 2016:

Cloudy, rainy view of Mount Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  For more details, please click here.

Culture in Australia…Australian diversity…Continuation of Australia Day photos…

This fish mascot wandered about the celebration for photo ops.

In June, 2015 we posted a brief history of diversity in Australia at this link while we were living in Trinity Beach during our first foray into life on the continent.  Australia has a rich indigenous history some of which may be found at this link. 

“Smallest Pancakes in Town”

Unfortunately, we’ve had little opportunity to get up close and personal with the indigenous citizens of Australia as we have in some other parts of the world.  However, we’ve had more readily available contact with the non-indigenous citizens, comprising over 90% of the population, easily encountered in day to day life.

Homemade jellies, jams and condiments.

Now in Tasmania for three months with only 3% of the population as indigenous citizens, interacting with their traditions is equally unlikely as it was when we lived in the mainland with 6% of the general population whom identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

During our many months living amongst the Aussies we’ve found a unique culture that emerged over the centuries as people from many lands migrated to the continent seeking a new and better way of life.  All these cultures are revered and held in high regard. 

Clever and pleasing-to-the-senses soaps.

This morning,  Prime Minister Malcomb Turnbull made an eloquent speech honoring the Chinese New Year, Year of the Rooster, and the Chinese people’s influence and value to Australia.

Not unlike many western civilization, the melding of nationalities contributes to a distinct persona that may be clearly defined over the centuries.  That culture in itself is different in many ways from our experiences in our old lives in the US and in many countries in which we’ve lived over these past 51 months.

Food or soaps?  Soaps!

After living in Trinity Beach, close to Cairns, Australia for three months, spending a few months on cruises with mostly Australian passengers, we’ve come to the point of having somewhat of a grasp on Australian culture.

Whether its their easygoing style of living, ways in which they’ve embraced their love of their homeland, their penchant for humor and lightheartedness, their seriousness and determination in dealing with important issues, and their commitment to integrity and ethics, the Aussies embody a special demeanor we’ve found to be enchanting.


Tom checked out the baked goods but resisted.

From this university site, we gleaned the following description of the Australian culture which we found clear and concise:

“Australians are generally laid-back, open and direct. They say what they mean and are generally more individual and outgoing than many other cultures.  You may think that most Australians live in the ‘outback’ out in the country. In fact, more than three quarters of Australians live in cities and in urban centres, mainly along the coast.
Some key values that reflect the Australian way of life include:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • Democracy
  • Equality regardless of sex, marital status, religion, nationality, disability or sexual preference
  • Peacefulness
  • A ‘fair go’ (equal opportunity) for all and support for the underdog.

In most practical ways, Australia is an egalitarian society in that there are no formal class distinctions. There is no segregation between people of different incomes or backgrounds and everyone is free to live where they like, attend university and follow whichever religion and occupation they choose. (Continued below).


There was a long queue at the ice cream booth.

What are Australians like?

In the workplace and among friends, Australians generally call each other by their first names. When meeting someone for the first time, it is usual to shake the person’s right hand with your right hand. People who do not know each other generally do not kiss or hug when meeting. Australians show respect by looking people in the eye, however they don’t stand as close or have as much physical contact (such as hugs and kisses) as other cultures.

You may find that your Australian friends have difficulty pronouncing your name, at first. Be patient and prepared that you may need to repeat your name or say it slowly at the beginning. As friendships develop, you may find that your friends give you a nickname, which is very common in Australia and is a form of endearment.

Sport Culture

Australians love their sport and most people watch the finals of major sporting events, even if they don’t normally have an interest in the sport. Popular events include the State of Origin and Melbourne Cup.

Men and Women

 Men and women are treated equally in Australia. Women make up nearly 50% of the workforce and most women remain in the workplace after they marry, and many after they’ve had children. Women are also free to breastfeed in public.

There are no social rules regarding friendships or dating in Australia. Friendships with members of the opposite sex, and social events with both sexes are common. It is also common for couples to live together before they are married, or for men and women to live in a share-house together.

People in Australia generally don’t have servants, and men and women equally share the cooking and domestic duties in the home. (Continued below).


The batter fried mushrooms smelled delicious.

Language

Australians often use humour and are considered to be quite sarcastic. The Australian sense of irony may be difficult for you to grasp at first but you’ll get used to it. The Australian accent and use of ‘slang’ may also be confusing, but if there is ever anything you don’t understand, just ask.

Aussie Slang

  • Arvo – afternoon
  • Aussie – Australian
  • Barbie – BBQ/barbeque
  • Bloke – man/guy
  • Boardies – board shorts
  • Brekkie – breakfast
  • Brizzie – Brisbane
  • G’day – good day/hello
  • Goldy – Gold Coast
  • Mozzie – mosquito
  • No worries – no problem/that’s OK
  • Roo – kangaroo
  • Snags – sausages
  • Sunnies – sunglasses
  • Telly – TV
  • Togs – swimsuit/bikini

Of course, there are countless Aussie expressions that are far removed from our familiar use of the language.  Its never a matter of what’s correct use of the language.  Instead, it revolves around cultural language differences from one country/continent to another.

Homemade pillows and casual furnishings.

We’ve enjoyed the Aussie’s use of the English language as unique and entertaining from our own experience such as:

  • When moving from one home to another, they say “move house.”  Whereby in the US its referred to as “moving.”  That simple difference makes us chuckle over their easy use of the language.
  • They don’t say “sports” in reference to sporting type activities.  Instead, the say “sport” in reference to any such activities. 
  • Comparable to the UK, when referring to a  person “in the hospital,” they say “in hospital” a simple dropping of the word “the” in the sentence.

Scented handmade soaps are popular in Tasmania as personal and gift items.

Its these little nuances that make us smile.  There are endless examples of these types of language differences which ultimately are easily understood by unfamiliar visitors.

Pretty bouquets.

We’ve found that Australian news, although serious when appropriate, is often hilarious over the more lighthearted storylines.  At times, they may use a swear word or slang expression we’d never heard from newscasters in our old lives. 


Handcrafter products made with wood.

On each occasion, we find ourselves laughing out loud, loving the ease and humor they include in telling a story. Even their locally produced TV drama series illicit a sense of humor and lightness.

Although we’re a bit isolated in this remote area of Castle Bay Forbes in southern Tasmania, with little interaction with locals on a day to day basis, we can’t help but grasp every moment possible to spend with these special people.

Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2016:

The grapes were robust and ripe for the picking at the Okurukuru Taranaki Winery near New Plymouth, New Zealand.  For more details, please click here.