Blogs in December 2006

Cradle Mountain

Date: 30/12/2006 | Author: Dave

I have never been to Cradle Mountain before. I only lived in Tas till I was 20 years old so that's my excuse. It is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever been. We stayed two nights at the 'Cradle Mountain Lodge', the original and closest accommodation to the National Park. Huge open fires and a great restaurant. We walked long and hard all three days. I was very proud of Ella and Florence. On our second day we hiked 9kms in one hit. I carried Florence for about 300m of this and at the end (Dove Lake) she crashed.
That evening I enjoyed our guided spotlight tour. Saw a lot of nocturnal natives. Wombats a clear favourite for me. Saw a quoll. Very rare.
Our intrepid Ella was determined to do a hard grade walk so on our last day we chose a circular 4.5 km walk for experienced walkers only. Gabby, myself, Ella (9), Ron and Nora (70+) set off on a glorious day around the Dove Valley Track. Walking the edge of sheer drops and scaling a few near vertical rock climbs..... easy? Mildly concerned that I may have to carry someone a lot heavier than Florence out of this one. Mum and Dad have walked a lot but this was the most serious 'walk' they had ever been on.
As for Cradle Mountain.... no photos can ever convey the scale, variety, smell, sound and changing colours of this most wonderful place. Go there.

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Home in Tas

Date: 29/12/2006 | Author: Dave

Always love getting off the plane in Launceston. Walking across the tarmac into the arms of my Mum (and others). Must not get too gushy, but it was emotional. Tasmania is as dry as a bone at the moment so no complaints when the BBQ at my sisters was washed out. Great day was had despite the weather. Consuming more than our fair share of very lovely Tasmanian wines..... every day, but the 'piece de resistance' comes in a bottle of 1991 Grange on Christmas day. Thank you Chuggy. Our kids are having a great time with their cousins.

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Cradle Mountain

Date: 28/12/2006 | Author: Ella

Walking in Tasmania
We went to Cradle Mountain on Boxing day. Cradle Mountain is a mountain that has a big dip in it so it looks like a baby's cradle. We stayed in a little cabin & went walking every day.
On our first day we went on a medium rated walk and we had to follow all man made things ( such as orange triangles, pink and blue ribbons and painted sticks) which prevented us from getting lost.
On the second day we went on an easy rated walk, mostly along boardwalks. People called me the little mountain goat because I was skipping along that path so fast. That walk was 9km and I was tired out after it.
On our 3rd day we went on a hard rated walk. For the 1st kilometre we went with Florence and Granny Pad, after that they headed back to the lodge as we knew they wouldn't be able to finish - Granny had a big blister from yesterday's walk & Florence has little legs. We walked on! This was a really hard task, we had to do a lot of climbing and scrambling over rocks. I liked it because I was the only child in the group ( me, mum, dad, gran & da) and I like being on my own with grown ups.
I liked Cradle Mountain because there was so much to do and Florence and I could use our walkie talkies so much.

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Our 3 walks

Date: 28/12/2006 | Author: Florence

First we went on a medium rated walk, we had to go in to the forest for some of it.
Second we went on an easy rated walk - most of it was a boardwalk but it was a very long walk - it was 9km long. I walked most of it on my own. Daddy carried me for a little bit right at the end. I fell asleep after the walk because I was so tired.
That evening we went on a spotlight tour in a jeep. We were hoping to see lots of wild animals and we did! We saw wombats, a quoll (these a very rare and extinct everywhere but Tasmania), wallabies, roufus wallabies and lots of possums. One possum even tried to come in to our cabin that night!
On our 3rd walk we saw lots of waterfalls.
I liked Cradle Mountain a lot. I enjoyed all the walking and seeing lots of wild animals.

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Cradle Walks

Date: 28/12/2006 | Author: Gabby

Definitely my favourite type of holiday - active, healthy days with lots of walking in primeaval forests with the most stunning scenery while the evenings are spent drinking lovely (Tasmanian) red wine and eating good food in front of roaring open fires. The hills & weather (cold - almost snowing - it did on Christmas day!) made it feel more like holidaying in Scotland than Australia.
The kids amazed me with their stamina on these walks (read their blogs!). We must have walked over 20km over the 3 days we were there (just a little less by Florence & Granny Pad - due to little legs & bad blisters respectively!).
We leave Tassie in a few days and mum heads home on the 3rd Jan. I am really looking forward to spending time with just the 4 of us - that will mark the real start of our incredible journey!

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Merry Christmas from Tasmania

Date: 25/12/2006 | Author: Ella

Dear friends,
I hope you had a very merry Christmas! We went to our cousins on Christmas day just after we had opened all of our presents at Gran and Da's house. We watched a Christmas movie, we dressed up as bunnys, Scottish people and Florence dressed up as a granny. My youngest cousin, Sarah Kate took me around their land on her quad bike and we rode passed their horse, ponies and all their goats. We had a barbecue and lots of Christmas crackers. We also bounced lots on 2 gigantic trampolines put together and when my dad came on I was force jumped in to the air and nearly fell off. We had so much fun.
For Christmas I got loads of presents including a tamagotchi, a locket and pumpkin patch clothes.

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Merry Christmas from Tasmania

Date: 25/12/2006 | Author: Florence

Gran, Da & our cousins & Aunty Wendy met us Launceston airport and then we got our luggage and went to Gran and Da's house where we are staying in Tasmania. I have 3 cousins, Brennan (13) Carley (nearly 12) and Sarah Kate (8) they are all very friendly. We have been playing with them lots and have had a sleep over at their house. They have a lovely house with lots of land and loads of animals - 2 ponies, so many goats, a few ducklings, a rabbit called Izzie, chickens and many more.
We spent Christmas day at our cousins house. We played outside because it was just the right temperature - not too hot & not too cold. We made Pavlova (a traditional Australian dessert) for all the family. We ate this after our barbecue.
We got lots of presents for Christmas. My favourites were my locket, my underwater camera, my tamagotchi and my bracelet with my name on it.
Merry Christmas everybody!

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A merry chilly Tassie Christmas

Date: 25/12/2006 | Author: Gabby

Finally, we arrive in Tasmania so no more touring or separations which is great. Dave & I are getting on really well - it's good for both of us being on his turf!
The weather was great when we arrived here but most of the island was ablaze with bush fires. We managed to bring the cold wind & rain with us, much to everyone's relief but my dreams of spending Christmas day in a bikini were dashed. We still managed a barbecue at Wendy and Andrew's (Dave's sister & husband) lovely Tassie ranch. There was plenty of outdoor activity as well as the consumption of copious amounts of bubbly & gorgeous Australian red wine. The kids had a ball & I had to do nothing so a very merry Christmas was had by all...........

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The drive to Melbourne.....

Date: 21/12/2006 | Author: Florence

On the first day of our drive we stopped at a zoo called Symbio. We fed kangaroos. There was a greedy goose who ran after us trying to get the kangaroo food. Ella said it was scary. I did too. We saw a koala, a Tasmanian devil, two emus, a wombat, and many more Australian animals. The first night we stayed at Mollymook. There was a place called Mollymook golf club where we had dinner. We had a nice house with a big balcony. Our house was very near to the sea.
Our second night we stayed at Eden. We have got a friend called Eden so we bought some things for her with her name on it. It was very fun! We went on a boat trip we saw a seal and lots of dolphins. It was a lot of fun! We made a new friend. Then we carried on with our drive.
Next we stopped at a town called Sale. It was funny because it said that on most of the shops. We had a very nice cabin. We liked it but there were lots of flies. In Melbourne we stayed at a posh hotel. Last night we went to Kylie's show. It was much better than Robbie Williams show. I loved all her costumes. I liked the red one the best when she was coming down on the moon. We left early because we were tired. I wished I could see the end but I had to go to bed.

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Date: 20/12/2006 | Author: Gabby

After staying in cheap motels & cabins on our 4 day road trip we arrived in Melbourne to stay in the luxury of the Langham hotel where Robbie & all the band & crew were staying. I really don't hotels like that (even though the beds & bedding are the ultimate in luxury) - you can't open the windows so have no idea of how warm or cold it is outside, ordering a glass of wine by the pool is a chore. Anyway - the girls loved it. We went to see Kylie's last show in Melbourne - I felt quite choked as she came on the stage after all she has been through. A great theatrical show that the kids thought was great! I went to Rob's last show (without kids - Florence always falls asleep anyway!) on our last night there. We went to the end of tour party which was fun - it was good to see people let their hair down & catch up with the band & crew for the very last last time. Now the tour is over the trip really begins - we'll all have Dave's undivided attention.......or will we?

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End and Start

Date: 19/12/2006 | Author: Dave

That's it. Tour finished. Just short of 10 years with Rob. Fantastic last show. I do wish the band could play with that much enthusiasm all the time. I really enjoyed myself finally. A few folk showed their true colours at the end. I told you they were self-destructuing, didn't I. Anyway Claire, I stand by what I said. "I wouldn't swap you for all......" I alone listened to the multi-tracks, nearly every day. I know what was going on! And there is nearly 3000GB of it archived. Can't argue with that can they. We all seem to need an end of tour rant. Why is that? That's it. Tour finished.
Melbourne lived up to it's reputation as a great city. Bart and I spent a great night out with the lovely boys and gorgeous Connie from Sneaky Sound System. Bart and I rated the soon to close Honkey Tonks as possibly the nicest club we have been to. It gives me a very warm glow when Australia treats us this well.
Anyway, work, that is all behind me now. Family Family Family. My lovely girls get all my attention from this point forward. Off to Tasmania today. A lot of excitement as Ella and Florence head toward their cousins.

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Sydney... to Melbourne.

Date: 19/12/2006 | Author: Ella

We were in Sydney for one week and had so much fun. My dad had flown to Melbourne for work and had left Florence, Me, Granny and Mummy on our own for a few days. We went to many places, including the Australian Museum where we learnt about indigenous Australians, (aboriginals). I recorded some facts and here are two:
Religion; When the British came they thought that because the Aboriginals didn't have churches or altars they had no religion.
The Rainbow Serpent; The Rainbow Serpent is a consistent theme in Aboriginal painting and has been found in rock art up to 6000 years old.
We drove to Melbourne on the princes highway. It took three days. After an hours drive we stopped at a small wildlife park called Simbio. We fed some kangaroos there. In the kangaroo enclosure there was a mad goose. It was obviously hungry because it chased me when I was giving out the food!
The next night we stayed in a town called Mollymook. It had a lovely beach. Florence and I enjoyed climbing on the rocks in the sea.
The second night we stayed in a motel in a town called Eden. In Eden we went on a boat cruise to see if we could see some sea mammals and we did. One happy seal and a whole pod of dolphins that swam and raced with the boat.
On our third day we stayed at a caravan park and had a great dinner at a very smart restaurant, (yum yum). The caravan park was in a town called Sale.
The next day we arrived in Melbourne but just before we got there my mum got a speeding ticket!

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Sydney and beyond.........

Date: 18/12/2006 | Author: Gabby

So much for my great idea of setting up a blog - it takes all my effort to get the girls to do theirs & I have had no access to Dave's computer that I am well behind - anyway time for catch up. So what have we been up to??

Sydney was great for a week. Our Coogee apartment at coogeecastaway was lovely. It was great to be with Dave again - we almost had a row over something really petty within an hour of seeing each other but managed to swerve it - it wouldn't have been a great way to start our trip together. Tiredness can take it's toll! Our apartment was based very close to the Eastern coastal path - a perfect place for good walks & runs. A few trips on the harbour & near perfect weather made it very easy for me to fall in love with Sydney - Ella has said she would quite like to move there!

Dave had to head back on the road for the final few RW dates while we took the road & drove to Melbourne via the coastal road, the Princes Highway. It was a great drive down and certainly makes you aware of the vastness and emptiness of this huge country. The only slight blip on the trip was me getting a speeding ticket just 100km out of Melbourne. I was doing 126kmph in a 100kmph speed limit - I thought I might get away with a caution 'cos I was ever so nice to the officer but the bugger gave me a $215 fine........happy bloody Christmas to you too! If you're thinking of driving, it's definitely cheaper to fly but we have gained points on our carbon footprint - we need to after the flying we have done so far on this trip!

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Our first days in Australia

Date: 13/12/2006 | Author: Ella

It's good to be in Sydney. Our apartment which is overlooking the Pacific ocean and Wedding cake Island) (which is a cluster of rocks just over sea level) is beautiful.
We have been to Taronga Zoo (by ferry) which is a fabulous place with hundreds of animals. We have seen monkeys, alligators, crocodiles and more. There was an Australian animals area and in there it had all Australian animals like possums, a platypus,wallabies and kangaroos (one kangaroo had a joey in it's pouch!).
We have also been to a Robbie Williams concert with my big, 20 year old sister Jess and her friends - it was great fun.
We have had so much fun and only been here for 4 days!

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In Australia

Date: 13/12/2006 | Author: Florence

In Australia a lady showed us to our house by the beach. First we had a sleep because the aeroplane wasn't comfy then we went to Bondi beach for a swim & we had a shower on the beach. Then we had lunch. The next day we stayed in bed until midday!!. On Saturday we went to a market and then to Robbie Williams' show. The next day we went to the zoo by ferry it was great fun.

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Date: 10/12/2006 | Author: Dave

Always good to get to Sydney. One of the worlds great cities. Not staying at the work hotel here, but have a hire-car instead. Straight to my number one daughter, Jessica's new house in Kellyville for the first night. Fantastic to see her.
Early rise and back to the airport to meet Gabby and the kids arriving from Thailand. I nearly cried with joy when I saw them.
We had not been apart for nearly as long as we are used to, but perhaps my feelings there had to do with this being the start of something quite monumental in our family history.
Off to Coogee to check into our apartment, where Gab and I had a fight straight away, over nothing. Perhaps, the 'start of something monumental' had a part in that as well. Very deflating. Anyway that passed and we settled into our first day. The four girls had a morning sleep having not slept for long on the flight while I went to Wylies bathes (a sea pool). A regular swimming spot from my days living in Sydney in the 80's. South Coogee means a lot to me. I remember sitting on the cliff top near Wylies overlooking Wedding Cake Island in 1994 when Gabby and I were in the first six months of our relationship.
That afternoon we all swam at Bondi (gorgeous) and then managed to walk into Ottos at Wooloomooloo for dinner that evening. They were fully booked when I called earlier. Superb restaurant. Great service.
The next day was a work day, with our first Sydney show the day after. A shocking band performance. I think they are self-destructing before our very eyes and ears. Only 5 shows to go. I'm sure though, we will make it to the end 'reasonably' intact. I am neglecting my normal work duties a little at the moment. It annoys me doing this but I have trouble juggling the added pressures of Sydney with my work. Worse than doing London shows for me! Need Sherif to work with me next year. More about that later. Picture is from South Coogee looking past Wylies to Coogee Beach.

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Our Snorkelling Trip

Date: 04/12/2006 | Author: Ella

The next day all of the family went on a snorkelling trip. We saw many fish and went to about five islands and one of them was islands joined by a strip of sand, but the sand was under the water so it looked like people were walking on water, it was so cool.
After that we didn't do anything really exciting but we did have fun.

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The Ashes

Date: 03/12/2006 | Author: Dave

Managed to get into the 2nd Ashes test in Adelaide today. Went with Gareth, and caught up with my Tasmanian cousin Leanne and her husband Mark for the first time in 15 years. Very nice. They are coming to the show on Tuesday and we can continue the chat. Also attending, I think, will be the English Cricket Team. That should be fun! I have had members of the Australian Cricket team at FOH once back in the early 90's in Durban/South Africa. They consumed all of the lager that we had in for them and lost their one day game, the very next day. .......Not my fault.

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We move to Adelaide

Date: 02/12/2006 | Author: Dave

Well, as two consecutive hotels go.... nice beach views from room. Had text from Gabby tonight. She needed a judgement on a Scrabble disagreement with her mother. Sorted that and then straight back to sleep. My one luxury item on our trip is a classic Scrabble set. Complete with rules. Can't wait to see my girls. Not long now.

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We are in Thailand

Date: 01/12/2006 | Author: Florence

We've got a lovely house by the beach. We visited a few other beaches and at one of them we saw lots and lots of monkeys. We are having an amazing time. We swam in the sea to cool us down. Me and Ella run around in the rain when it rains. It is a lot of fun! The rain is very warm.

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