Local points on interest…Two more weeks in Tasmania…Foggy morning in the valley…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Statue in Franklin commemorating World War I soldiers.

When our cleaner became ill and could not do our place, Anne arranged for another cleaner to come by at 1:30 pm. As a result, we waited to go out for our usual weekly grocery trip and plan to take photos along the way.

Cute pizza shop in Franklin.

As the time rapidly winds down until we depart Tasmania for the cruise from Sydney on March 1st, we’re now looking at only two weeks until we’re on our way to the second to the last of our seven cruises in the South Pacific over an almost two year period.

Tavern/hotel in Franklin.

Then on April 22nd, after spending 40 nights in Manly (a suburb of Sydney with harbor views), we’ll embark on the seventh and final cruise. Six of the seven cruises have embarked from the Port of Sydney, with the first in the series had departed from Hawaii in May 2015 when we made our way to this part of the world.

Boats moored in the inlet on the Huon River.

Having spent this extended period in the South Pacific, we feel comfortable with what we’ve seen in and around Australia. But have no doubt very little, in comparison to what Australia has to offer overall. 

After all, Australia and its surrounding islands could literally keep travelers on the move for a lifetime. When we finally embark on the final cruise to the USA, we’ll post all of the islands and areas we’ve visited during this 22 month period since our arrival.

Tour boat serving customers at Petty Sessions Restaurant and park.

Going forward, it’s unlikely we’ll spend this much time in and about one continent. But, the long distance from this part of the world to most others prompted us to stay for this extended period. 

We don’t anticipate we’ll ever return to the South Pacific when we still have many continents to explore or…explore further, including our own North America, which we’ll tackle down the road at some point.

Petty Sessions Restaurant.

As for our Valentine’s Day, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we kept it low-key. With few restaurants in the immediate area, most of which are more casual where it isn’t easy to accommodate my way of eating, we enjoyed yet another homemade meal and evening together after returning from our drive and shopping trip.

This popular tourist spot, Petty Sessions, has a gallery, restaurant, playground park, and boat tours.

We weren’t disappointed. How could we be when we so love our surroundings here in the beautiful Huon Valley? Although it’s cooler than we’d prefer, with us frequently bundled up in warm clothing, the area is still a feast for the eyes.

This morning’s fog was so dense we weren’t able to see across the Huon River.

In fact, all of Tasmania provides some of the most exquisite scenery we’ve seen. For the first time, when we were about to leave Penguin, Tom actually said, “Of all the places we’ve visited, I could see living in Penguin.”

But, in reality, it’s all just “talk” when either of us makes such comments. We do not envision settling down anytime shortly. And, as we traveled, we’ve found our perception and opinions as to that which may be ideal for our “older age” may change from time to time.

This is the most fog we’ve seen since arriving in Tasmania. However, by 9:00 am, it began to clear.

For those on the opposite side of the International Dateline, where it’s February 14th today, have a lovely Valentine’s Day with those you love. We’ll be thinking of you with love.

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2016:

A portion of the outdoor dining area where we dined on Valentine’s Day at Table Restaurant in New Plymouth, New Zealand, one year ago. For more photos, please click here.

Why do we book hotels along the way?…Final Market @ Franklin…

The Seed Vault’s heirloom seeds. (Non-GMO).

In a perfect world, we’d never have to bear the expense of staying overnight or longer in hotels throughout the world. But, unfortunately, in some cases, we have no alternative when there’s a one or two-day gap between cruises.

Pretty flowers outside the Palais Theatre, where the Market @ Franklin is held the last Sunday of each month.

While heading directly to a vacation/holiday home after a flight or cruise, it may not be necessary unless we’re facing a long drive from the pier or airport. In these cases, we decide if a one-night stay in a hotel may prevent us from undesirable stress in finding the property at night.

Local wood button maker display.

We easily recall the night we arrived on the island of Madeira in May 2014. (Please check this link for details for the ultra-long flight). At the time, we were too embarrassed to admit we couldn’t find the vacation home in Campanario until 3:30, two hours after we’d picked up the rental car.

Local artist display with proceeds sent to the Tibetan Refugee Support Program as shown in next photo.

The prior night we’d each only slept three or four hours, and by the time we were searching for the correct turnoff, I’d considered suggesting we pull over somewhere to sleep in the car until the sun came up.

More handmade goods with a portion of sales donated to charity.

But Tom’s determination to bring the situation to a satisfactory resolution made him forge ahead until we finally found the house.  We never made it to bed that night until 4:30 am, only sleeping a few hours. We were anxious to get up, unpack, check out our new house and surroundings and head out grocery shopping.

A local artist supports the following refugee organization.

It was this experience that taught us two things; 1). Stay in a hotel rather than risk becoming stressed; 2). Please don’t be embarrassed to report our foibles to our readers. 

Custom-made buttons are displayed on these fancy shoes.

That incident was almost three years ago, and since that experience, we’ve spent many nights in hotels when there was a risk of being stuck driving on dark and unfamiliar roads in the middle of the night. 

No doubt, this has added an expense we hadn’t anticipated early on in our budgeting. But, now, we’re diligent in including this expense when we deem it an often necessary element in getting from one point to another.

Handmade doll shoes.

We always try to focus on our motto, as shown at the top of our page, which reads, “Wafting Through our World Wide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity.” We never wanted or expected this life to be stressful, but reality prevails. Sometimes it is.

Our most serious attempt at eliminating stress, considering those aspects we have control, is on the days we’re boarding a cruise. Of course, it’s one thing to miss a flight. But, to miss a cruise embarkation is another matter altogether. Can you even imagine the stress of finding flights to get to the first port of call in another country to board at that location? 

Homemade chocolate treats.

We’ve heard of many scenarios when this occurred for various reasons, most often flight cancellations or delays. To avoid this risk, we seldom plan to take a cruise without staying at a nearby hotel the prior night.

Although we must mention that we’re taking that risk with our upcoming cruise from Hobart to Sydney in 29 days, we’re flying from Hobart, a 45-minute drive to the airport from the Huon Valley, to fly directly to Sydney on a less than 90-minute flight, taking a taxi to the pier from the airport.

Once outdoors, we investigated handmade items from additional vendors, including this woodworking display.

Based on the fact this flight is in the morning, and there are other flights from Hobart to Sydney that same day, we decided to risk it. A motivator was that the hotels in Sydney for that date were over AU 397, US $300 per night plus the cost of dinner. So it didn’t make sense for the 90-minute flight.

Upcoming on November 22, 2017, we had no choice but to book a hotel when we are flying from Costa Rica to Miami, Florida, after which we’ll have an hour drive (with traffic) to Fort Lauderdale for the next day’s cruise. 

Various crafts for fundraising.

In this particular case, based on the “free” one night we’d accumulated using our site, “Hotels.com,” located here on our page, it made a lot of sense to stay overnight in Fort Lauderdale. The next day will be the US’s Thanksgiving Day, when we’ll board the cruise for another 30 night back-to-back cruise which ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Whew! Another month-long cruise!

With our Hotel.com free membership, we receive one free night for every 10 hotel stays using the site. We have used several accumulated free nights (which value is determined by the average price of the past ten night’s stays). It’s worked well for us so far.

Wood handled tools for the “barbie.”

Of course, we haven’t yet booked the flight from Costa Rica to Miami but will do so over the next few months. The above mention hotel booking is complete. It’s important to mention, for our less experienced travelers, that flights generally can’t be booked more than 330 days before the desired travel date. 

Today, rainy with an intermittent cloud cover, we’ll stay put.  Tomorrow, after posting, we’re planning on visiting the town of Geeveston for an exciting popular annual event which we’ll be sharing the following day.

Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2016:

In the early evenings, baby alpacas got together to play, running through the paddock, making us laugh over their playful antics. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Fabulous time out and about…Many new acquaintances…More new photos…

Upon entering the Market @ Franklin, we immediately met Natalie who’s  natural bath, skincare, and beauty line, Naturally Spellbound, is made with all organic products and essential oils. Natalie can be reached here

After yesterday’s post discussing our occasional lack of motivation to get out and the fact that it was a blissfully sunny day, we decided to “hit the road.” With our vacation/holiday home located on a long highway with few outlets to other areas and not feeling up to spending a few hours in the car, we headed back to Franklin.

The Market @ Franklin is held the last Sunday of every month in the historic Palais Theatre in Franklin, Huon Valley, Tasmania. This attractive venue may be rented for weddings, celebrations, and other events.

A few days ago, we’d spent the afternoon at the Australia Day celebrations in Franklin, Tasmania.  Grace, the alpaca products vendor, directed us to the brick building and on Main Street where, on the last Sunday of every month, a comprehensive farmers’ type market is held. She encouraged us to attend when sensing we’d certainly get a kick out of it.

As we moseyed along the rows of displays, this display caught our eye, especially after we were offered a sample.

Grace was right.  No more than moments after entering the door of the historic Palais Theatre, we encountered Natalia, who not only represents her fine products (photo shown here) but also is the organizer of the year-round event as shown here:

“The Market @ Franklin

The Market @ Franklin in the Palais Theatre on the last Sunday of the month all year round. Come along and enjoy a great market day out, and inspect the wares, crafts, and fresh produce of Huon Valley’s locals. The Huon Valley Growers and Makers Market features 30+ stalls showcasing and selling the best produce and craft of the Huon Valley, including seasonal fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs, jams, chutney, honey, cakes, pies and olive oil, plants, seedlings, and herbs, ceramic wooden and textile crafts, jewelry, and alpaca products. 
For stall enquires please contact Natalie via email: natalie@simplyspellbound.com.au

After tasting the naturally “smoked” sea salt, we couldn’t resist making a purchase from Smoked Salt Tasmania.

We chatted with Natalie for quite a while, taking photos of her beautiful display and reveling in this wonderful area of the Huon Valley. As is the case of many we’ve met in Tasmania, their roots started in one of the big cities on Australia’s mainland.

Much to our pleasure, we engaged in a lengthy conversation with Miffy and Don, the owners and creators of this unique product, Smoked Salt Tasmania. For more information on the most delicious salt on the planet, please click here. They may also be reached at Facebook: Smoked Salt Tasmania. What a delightful couple!

Many have shared that they’d longed for the less hectic lifestyle of big city life to eventually relocate to Tasmania for a simpler, easy-paced life on this remote island. Less than a two-hour flight to Sydney and more to other big cities, many locals have found the move to Tasmania fulfilling in many ways.

There were a few homegrown vegetables left, but we had all we needed.  We arrived at the market around noon after we’d uploaded the day’s post.

After we left Natalie, we headed toward the many other booths/displays offering a wide array of fine products. 

The vendors couldn’t have been more friendly. Once again, we ran into alpaca farmer and product maker Grace. Seeing her once again was comparable to running into a longtime friend.

Cute, homemade little felt booties. 

As we continued on our way, it didn’t take long to meet the delightful couple, Don and Miffy, who innovated the delicious, Smoked Salt Tasmania, a bag of which we couldn’t resist purchasing at the cost of AU 15, US $11.34. 

All the displays were set up beautifully, and overall, prices were reasonable.

Naturally aged in barrels (without the use of any of the popular toxic smoke seasoning or other chemicals), the smoked salt is made using natural sea salt harvested in Tasmania. The sample we were offered on a little slip of paper sent our taste buds on a frenzy. I couldn’t wait to get back “home” to use the salt in some way for our dinner. It was indeed a flavor-bursting treat.

More items are included in Julia’s display.

Not only did the product excite us, but after our lengthy conversation with Don and Miffy, they invited us to visit them at their home in Snug. We just may do that during our remaining month in this area of Tasmania.

After viewing all the remaining displays, drooling over a few food offerings, we headed back outdoors, where additional items were offered for sale. With too many photos for one day’s post, we’ll include the remaining photos in tomorrow’s post.

The homemade cupcakes looked delicious.

Rushing a little today with Marguerite, our cleaner, arriving shortly, we’ll wrap it up for today and see you tomorrow with more. Cloudy and rainy, we’re heading out for our weekly grocery shopping in Huonville in order to be out of her way while she cleans.

Have a peaceful and yet meaningful day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2016:

Many signs and names of towns are were based on the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, the Māori who’s language has had official language status, with the right to use it in legal settings such as in court, since the Maori Language Act 1987. There are around 70,000 native speakers of Maori out of a population of over 500,000 Māori people, with 161,000 of the country’s 4 million residents claiming conversational ability in Māori.” For more photos, please click here.

Historical carved statues along the river….Australians never forget….More new out and about photos…

The opposite side of the above carving is shown overlooking the Huon River.

Although it’s summer in Tasmania, it’s not sunny every day, nor is it warm. It seems the sunny days alternate with cloudy days with an occasional few sunny days in a row.

We were fascinated by the tree carvings along the Huon River. This particular statue is in memoriam to all who fought in the Boar Wars from 1899 to 1902.  (Zoom in to read plaque).

The locals find the sunny warm days to be “hot,” but from whence we’ve come over these past years, it’s definitely not “hot” to us. So there’s no need for air-con in Tasmania.

We walked along the shore of the Huon River, spotting this kayaker.

Recently, we’ve been using a floor fan at night we found in a closet. It was a bit warm with the heavy duvet on the bed, and the fan running on low has left us in perfect comfort. The noise from the fan is soothing as well.

Pretty scenery along the river banks.

There is an aircon/heating unit in the lounge (living room), but we’ll never use it during our remaining 31 days in Tasmania. It’s comfortable with the screened windows open during the day. By dark, we close them as it cools down considerably.

River overlook,

We’ve yet to use the pristine swimming pool. It hasn’t been warm enough to inspire us to swim. Nor have we embarked on any walks in this immediate neighborhood, although we continue to drive throughout the area to explore. 

Mother and child wood carving.

The property is tucked away from the main Highway A6, which winds through the Huon Valley.  We don’t hear traffic noise since there isn’t much traffic, but the narrow, winding two-lane road is hazardous for walking.  We’ve noticed cars and trucks zipping along at quite a pace, often locals familiars with the bends and turns.

Sign on the carving, “Timber-getting became a major industry”…

I must admit, after the busy period in Penguin, we’re enjoying some quiet time. Neither of us is feeling overly motivated to go out sightseeing, although we make a point of getting out every few days to explore and take photos.

Roses blooming in the front yard of the home across the road from the river banks.

As we’ve mentioned many times in the past…we’re just like you. We don’t always feel like sightseeing. Instead, staying “home,” cooking a nice meal, throwing in a load of laundry, working on projects (for us, future travel research and bookings) is our definition of a good day. 

We continued on the river walk for more impressive river views. 

Funnily, staying put for a few days grounds us. Without a home of our own nor a place we return to for repacking and laundry creates an environment of seeming everyday life which has proven to be an important part in preventing us from becoming “bored” or “tired” of traveling.  Does this make sense?

In reality, our style of living is exactly how we want it to be, on our terms, including when, where, and what we prefer to do with our time. So we dine when we’re hungry, sleep when we’re tired, and talk when we feel like talking.

The Huon Manor Bistro, located across the road from the river, was closed on Australia Day.

We always provide one another the space to become mindless in an online game, to browse online for hours at a time, or in saying “no” if one of us wants to do something and the other is not up to it for one reason or another.  

Perhaps, this laissez-faire attitude and easy-paced attitude is what makes this journey work for us. However, if we didn’t strive to continue our playful harmony every day, one could quickly become anxious to return to a “normal” life, living in one location, having an established home.

Gorgeous yellow roses.

Neither of us has lost one iota of enthusiasm for our nomadic lifestyle of world travel. But, sure, we discuss the future with its hard reality that someday we’ll have to stop due to health concerns. 

It was a cloudy day, but the views were good anyway.

For now, we’re happy, content, and filled with a childlike wonder of what is yet to come, whether it’s a quiet day at “home” or the excitement of a new adventure. It’s all good.

We hope your day today is good as well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2016:

The Sugarloaf Islands and Paritutu Rock, located in New Plymouth as seen from a distance from Okurukuru Winery. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Australia Day to our Australian/Tasmanian friends and readers…Saving more of $$$$…

Our friend Terry (and past landlord in Penguin) sent us this beautiful photo of another seal on Sisters Beach, Tasmania where he and his wife Fran are spending time at their cabin. Thanks, Terry!  This is quite a gem!

Today is Australia Day, a national day of celebration. This morning while researching online for information Australia Day to share with our readers, I stumbled across this interesting article as shown below at this link (edited to fit our page):

“Australia Day 2017: What does the average Aussie really look like?

Matt Wade
by Matt Wade                                        

Numbers can paint a vivid picture of how a nation has changed.  A century ago the average Aussie was a 24-year-old male farmer. Fifty years ago, it was a 29-year-old male office clerk. But today, it’s a 38-year-old female sales assistant.

Australia reaches population milestone

Earlier this year, statistics confirmed what we already knew, Australia’s population is rapidly growing; but you might be surprised to learn which city will be our biggest by 2050.

Let’s call our typical Aussie Rebecca – that was the most popular name for girls born in 1979 (it was Michael for boys). She is married and lives with her husband and two children, a boy and a girl aged nine and six, in a stand-alone house with three bedrooms in a suburb of one of Australia’s capital cities. They have a pet.

Rebecca completed year 12, has a Certificate in Business and Management and is employed as a sales assistant – the nation’s most common occupation for women and men these days. She does 32 hours of paid work each week (the average is 41 hours for men) and another five hours or more unpaid work around the house. The household’s annual disposable income is $88,500 (after tax). Rebecca takes five days of sick/carers leave each year and 16 days of annual leave.

Demographer Mark McCrindle estimates that Rebecca’s family has lived in the house for five years and is paying off a mortgage. They have $427,847 equity in the property, which is the bulk of the family’s wealth. They have another $65,880 worth of household possessions such as furniture and equipment.

Rebecca was born in Australia – despite our cultural diversity the average Australian was born here, as were both of their parents. But it’s a very different story in some parts of our big cities. In Sydney’s Haymarket for instance, 88 per cent of the population were born overseas.
Rebecca’s household has two cars which each travel an average of 14,000 kilometers (8699 miles) a year. Over the past 40 years the share of households with two or more motor vehicles has doubled, from 26 per cent to around 54 per cent. Like 69 percent of all commuters, Rebecca drives to work.

Despite the growing proportion of Australians with no religion, or a non-Christian religious affiliation, Rebecca is a Catholic and speaks only English at home. She has “English, Australian, Irish, or Scottish ancestry” according to the Bureau of Statistics. Rebecca is 164cm tall (5’4″) and weighs 68kg  (150 pounds). The average man is 178cm (5’8″) and weighs 85kg (187)pounds. She exercises three times a week and gets 7.2 hours of sleep per night.

Rebecca can expect to live until 85.3 years – about four years more than her male counterparts. Mr. McCrindle said demographic averages shed light on Australia’s collective “personality”.

“These statistics show we are working hard, we are saving hard and we are juggling multiple roles,” he said.

“It points to a pretty conscientious, busy nation that is just getting on with it.”

View from the highway as we head back from Huonville.

This above article defines life for the average Australian, although the lives of many may vary substantially based on income and lifestyle. In the next few days Australia’s population will reach 24,000,000.

The significance of Australia Day, is described as follows from this site:

“On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It’s the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It’s the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.
Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander, Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788 (you can read a comprehensive history of the evolution of Australia Day here).

Though 26 January marks this specific event, today Australia Day celebrations reflect contemporary Australia: our diverse society and landscape, our remarkable achievements and our bright future. It also is an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s history, and to consider how we can make Australia an even better place in the future.

On Australia Day, half of the nation’s population of 24 million attend either an organized community event, or get together with family and friends with the intention of celebrating our national day. Many more, spend the public holiday relaxing with family and friends.

Yet Australia Day is much more than barbeques and fireworks. It is more than another public holiday. It is more than the pride and excitement of new citizens who call themselves Australian for the first time on 26 January after being conferred citizenship.

At its core, Australia Day is a day driven by communities, and the celebrations held in each town, suburb or city – unified by the celebration of what’s great about Australia and being Australian – are the foundation of its ongoing success.”

The Huon River is very wide in this area.

We’re honored and excited to be here in Australia on this special day in history. Today, we’re off to the celebrations in the town of Franklin, returning tomorrow with photos. 

As to the mention in today’s heading regarding our “Saving more $$$$” we’re pleased that Tom’s diligence in checking daily for price reductions on our already booked cruises have benefited us to such a degree.

Over this past month, the cruise from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina we’ve saved a total of AU 2,641, US $2,000.  We’d booked the cruise while aboard ship which provides an added opportunity for perks and yet, still allows our rep at Vacations to Go to receive full credit for the transaction.

The dock on the property here in Castle Bay Forbes on the Huon River.

To reap the benefits of these price drops, which in this case was a total of three price reductions, we contact Brooklyn/Shanon, our rep at Vacations to Go who immediately gets to work to confirm the price drop with the cruise line (Celebrity in this case) and then issue new documents at the lowest price which are promptly sent to us via email. 

During this particular price drop we were able to maintain the perks we received at the time of booking which included free Wi-Fi, paid gratuities and AU 396, US $300 cabin credit. We’re thrilled to say the least.

Our vacation/holiday home on the Huon River, as shown from the river side. We live on the top floor with a second bedroom and en suite bath in our lower level while the owners, Anne and Rob, live on the lower level.

The skies are cloudy now, but we expect it to clear by the time we head out for Franklin. However, rain or shine, we won’t miss this special event.

Have a sunny day wherever you may be both in your heart and in your skies!

Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2016:

Although a little tough to see with the long lashes, Mont Blanc had blue eyes.  (We fell in love with him, but sadly, he eventually died).He was the “cria’ that had escaped the paddock leaving us in a quandary with the owners at work. For the rest of this story as to how he was returned to his mother, please click here.