We went to the Dandenongs on the weekend – it’s a part of my new year’s resolution to go on more day trips, you might not have noticed yet, but it is slowly starting to happen – looking to visit an Autumn Garden show. But, apparently emmy got the dates wrong, even though I did mention to her that the Autumn show had a date set for 23rd/24th April and that it was not open on the weekend, she told me that she had some kind of pass, so I accepted that she would definitely not be out of her mind. Anyway, come Saturday and we drove up the mountain to Sassafras for this show, we stopped to have lunch beforehand at Ripe Cafe, which is in the same area as Cafe de Beaumarchais and Miss Marples Tea Room.
Looking at the ridiculous queue for Miss Marples, I definitely did not want to go there, and emmy didn’t want to visit Cafe de Beaumarchais again, so we went with Ripe Cafe. I ordered eggs benedict this time, while emmy went with chilli tomatoes on toast, I also had a hot chocolate. To be honest, the eggs benedict were a bit underwhelming, served with ham for starters (I much prefer salmon), and one of the poached eggs was overcooked (not runny at all!), the muffins underneath also seemed to be a little under toasted, lacking crunch. It’s quite a nice place, too bad that the kitchen didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
After lunch, we had a quick look through a couple shops before heading on our way to the Autumn Garden show, which of course was closed, due to it being the 16th of April, and not the 23rd or 24th when the garden was meant to be open. So emmy, in all of her wisdom managed to persuade me to take us up to the Sky High Mount Dandenong Observatory to save a wasted day (it was just close enough that our low petrol tank would not drain away before we found a petrol station). Turned out that even despite cloud and mist blowing over the view, we did manage to have a good time up there (also the Secret Garden was closed as well) visiting the maze and the other small garden in the area.
The maze is quite nice for young families, as long as you’re not after a real challenge as it’s not very difficult and you can pretty much see over the top of the maze to find the stamp points that you’re looking for, and then there aren’t that many dead-ends to complete it. Some good fun had by all, and weather permitting, we’ll be back this weekend to visit the Autumn garden show, while it’s open.
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It’s a couple of weeks ago now, which is pretty slack of me, but over the Easter long weekend we took a short trip down to the north of Tasmania (around Cradle Mountain mostly) to wander around the nature areas around there.
Originally, I planned to summit Cradle Mountain but decided not to as I didn’t want to leave Em to wander around aimlessly by herself. So basically, the trip itinerary read:
Actually, I think we pretty much did do things according to plan, but unfortunately the weather didn’t co-operate with us, leaving us a bit damp and dreary. The weather for the most part was reasonable, sunny patches here and there, but the day we went to Cradle Mountain was pretty miserable. We did get to walk around Sheffield and see the murals around town, which are pretty nice, also did a short walk to the Alum Cliffs where there is a nice view, would have been better if there was anything other than cloud in the sky, also walked up to the top of Kimberley’s Lookout for a view of Mount Roland and Sheffield, fairly ok.
I didn’t think that there was going to be enough to do at Cradle Mountain for the whole day (the two projected walks are listed as 1-2 hour walks) so we went looking for a lookout over Lake Barrington in the morning, we didn’t find it and instead spent a couple of hours driving around in the wet before deciding to head to Cradle Mountain National Park. We got there a bit after noon, and decided to just do the Dove Lake circuit as the weather was not great and apparently the Crater Lake circuit is a bit hazardous in that situation (for average/lazy walkers). The Dove Lake circuit is a 6km walk (I think) around Dove Lake and pretty much going right underneath the summit of Cradle Mountain at the far end, half of it is board walked and the rest is gravel. It’s a pretty easy walk (but took us about two and a half hours, maybe I’m slow, probably with the photos) and includes some nice sections such as Glacier Rock, the boat shed, the Enchanted Ballroom, and some other nice lookout points. Despite the grey and wet weather we toughed it out and even caught a glimpse of the Cradle Mountain peak, it’s possible that the weather would have been clear in the morning but on the day that we went, I don’t think it was. My suggestion for Cradle Mountain National Park, go early, also, go in Summer. Despite that, we had a pretty good time getting all wet out there, and then settled in for a nice dinner at the Cradle Mountain Lodge, Highland Restaurant, it’s a pretty swanky restaurant, I ordered the salmon, while Em ordered the venison, a couple of starters, and a dessert (a very good cake with a mango blanket!). A very lovely dinner, most tasty, I would definitely recommend it, it’s probably better if you’re staying there as well, don’t have to worry about driving home in the dark. Hey, the Enchanted Walk around the Lodge is also a nice little stroll.
We went to Devonport looking for things to do but didn’t really find anything apart from the lighthouse at Mersey Bluff, which was quite nice, except for the fact that I probably got carried away taking jumping photos (it was a little chilly and windy). After that we were kind of desperately looking for something to do, and ended up going to an arboretum (tree zoo?) about 20 minutes south of Devonport. That was a bit boring as there seems to be a lot of work (or tree growing) still to do. We did spot a platypus in the lake diving around everywhere, didn’t get a good look of anything but its back though. Back toward Sheffield and on to Tasmazia, a big maze complex near Sheffield. This was actually quite fun, we had some issues navigating through a couple of the mazes but they’re not really that difficult to solve (given enough time :D). It’s also a very picturesque place, what with the big green hedges and imposing Mount Roland standing in the background. I would recommend against the restaurant/pancake parlour though, unless you’re really into sweet pancakes dishes.
Finally, my plan for Easter Monday was to head to Launceston and wander around, but we weren’t really able to find anything that seemed particularly interesting so we ended up stopping in Chudleigh, a very small town that has a honey farm. Went in and bought some honey along with a million tourists that just got off a bus before continuing on our way to Launceston. Quite desperately we decided to head to a “Swiss” village called Grindelwald north of Launceston (fortunately everything is really close in Tasmania), this was a bit of a dud, just a couple of cafes/bakeries, nothing to write home about that’s for sure. We then headed up to Brady’s Lookout (which would be good with some blue skies and perhaps a few of the tall trees out of the way) before heading to Cataract Gorge, which is only a couple of kilometres out of Launceston, with plenty of time on our hands we decided to do the Duck Reach walk to the power station. It’s about an hour each way (maybe less I can’t quite remember), there are some nice views along the way, but the water level seemed relatively low to me, I reckon it would be a lot more interesting if the water was really gushing, a pretty easy walk, although very undulating with some quite steep bits.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to go to Tasmania any more unless it’s Summer time, we’ve been at the start of Winter, and in the middle of Autumn now, and for me, it’s too cold, I definitely want to see more though, Freycinet NP and Wineglass Bay spring to mind and even another go at Cradle Mountain in good weather are still on my wish list. Some of the big lakes on the island could surely be nice, it can be a bit boring, but maybe we’re not looking in the right places.
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