It was a relatively quick flight over to Tasmania from Sydney compared to the other flights we have had up to this point, only two hours this time.  We were on Virgin Airlines this time…not one that I would recommend for anything that would be a long haul flight…they cut corners wherever they could and jammed us in as tight as we could go.  I think that plastic school chairs are more comfortable than those ones.

Whatever, we got there, and that is all that mattered.  Up to this point, I have taken pictures of airplanes wherever we were, but for some reason, Tasmanian officials were flexing some muscle that day, and they told me I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of the airplane from the outside.  What?!?  That doesn’t make any sense…but whatever….picture taken and they weren’t going to get it off of my phone.

Now that we had Robyn with us in Tasmania, we had a rental car that was a wee bit too small.   We asked for an upgrade to the Toyota Camry that we had rented, but they didn’t have anything for us, so we crammed all of our stuff in the trunk, around everyone, and under our feet.  We only needed to drive 20 minutes to our AirBnB.

Grocery shopping has never been as fun!

We arrived at our house where our host was graciously waiting outside of the house, which was lovely!  She showed us around and it was their own personal home, and they had two kids, which meant that the place was loaded with kids toys, LEGO, books, skipping ropes, foozball, and a trampoline.   There were two gaming stations, but Wilson couldn’t go on it because of circumstances beyond his control, and frankly Lulu didn’t care.

Golden Candy Sparkles having a mindful moment with a Buddah.

Everything in Hobart was 10 minutes from where we were which was perfect.  The grocery store was just around the corner, the streets were great to run on, and there was a fun playground just a short drive away.

We unloaded the car and then headed downtown to grab some seafood and take a look around.  The weather didn’t disappoint, as it was like a day in late April…overcast, a bit damp, and cool.

Hobart from the top of Mount Wellington

We poked around the waterfront and found a little courtyard with a large chessboard that the kids played on for a while.

The next day, we headed off to Bridgetown where we went to an animal conservation area and hospital for the local animals, which were mainly wombats and kangaroos.  Oh, and the Tasmanian devil of course!

Just hanging out…

The tour itself was really informative, and the animals were in pens outside with large roaming areas.  These ones were orphans more than they were injured animals.  They could have also been animals in the last stages of their rehabilitation before they were released into the wild.

The wombats were super cute!

The hospital itself was really cool as they had a one way mirror into the operating room and you could see an itty bitty wombat getting an operation on.

It was open three days a week, which has increased significantly over the last few years since it had opened.  People in the area are more aware of their services and how to contact them, day or night, should they encounter an orphan or an injured animal.  Pretty dedicated I would say!

Ok, here is the fun facts by fun killer dad section!

Did you know that wombats live in burrows are 20-30m long and they have multiple rooms in them?  Almost like an underground mansion!  They have different levels they use to regulate their temperature.  So, when the weather is hot, they go downstairs, and when they need a bit of extra warmth, they go to the top floor where their methane gas will keep them warm.

Strangely, they are the most dangerous in animals in Tasmania…..not the Tasmanian devil as you would think from their name.   When they are born, they are cute and cuddly, and they stick around with mom for two years, at which point they go through the wombat equivalent of puberty.  They change their personalities, they think they know everything, and they go berserk acting like they got nothing to lose.  They actually physically attack their mother.  Nice way to treat your mother after you were raised and nurtured for two years.

They defend their burrows pretty ferociously.  Wombats (butt facing out) will crouch down into a flat mass on the floor of the entrance way of their entrance, and if an animal tries to come in, the attacking animal climbs overtop of the wombat since they can’t be bitten on the rear.  Then the wombat who has a hard plate in its back, stands up and crushes the animal between the roof of the burrow and its back.  It has been said that it can crush the skull of a dog.  Pretty impressive.

The Tasmanian Devil is not as bad as you think.  It actually got name because of the sound they make.  Early explorers to the area heard a sound that they described as horrendous that came out in the middle of the night (as the devils are nocturnal animals).  They shriek and yell something horrible when they are trying to defend their territory.  They also do this when get together to eat they make bizarre sounds to scare each other off rather than fighting for dominance.   Their jaws are strong enough to crush bones, and they will eat an animal from tip to tail, except herbivores.  They don’t eat their stomachs since they aren’t that big on eating their veggies.

They are also called “devils” because their ears turn red when they get excited … to the point where they look like horns.  They are only the size of rice when they are born after the three week gestation period, and they are born with 30-40 siblings, but only 3-4 survive based on the available nutrition to them in their mothers pouch.

They used to be in Australia, but have been extinct there for some time….so now you only find them in Tasmania.  They have a contagious facial tumor that has depleted the population to only 15% of what it used to be.

A closed cousin to the wombat is the famous Koala!  They had some there as well (visitors – as they aren’t native to Tasmania…only Australia), and boy are they cute.  You could just go up and give them a big squeeze, except for the fact that there have massive claws that could rip through you.

They don’t move very fast most of the time, as their diet only relies on bamboo shoots which is very poor as an energy source.  As such, they sleep 20-22h a day, and they only wake up to eat, roll over, and hit the snooze button.

 

Then we got to play around, pet, and feed some kangaroos!  This was a lot of fun, but super scary since they have claws that can slice you open from top to bottom in one fell swoop.  No joke, this is how they kill someone who is attacking them.  I just hope that it isn’t any one of us.  There were a couple of moms with Joey’s in their pouch hopping around, and it was cool to see them hopping around with them in there.

This joey went in backwards…

I always thought that the babies were placed neatly in the pouch, or they had a certain way to be in the pouch.  Not true.  They just climb in there any way that they can.  Head first, feet first, and sideways.

The big draw was for each of the kids to feed a joey while they were in the pouch…

But they were pretty cute!

Massive kangaroo claws that will slice you from top to bottom if you weren’t careful.

Ooooo, scratchy scratch!!

Yes, this happened right in front of all of us. They actually have a pretty small penis. Interesting fact number 437.

After we left the sanctuary, we stopped for a couple of roadkills to see if there was any life left in the animal, or if there was a joey in its pouch as that is often a way that orphaned babies are found.

After we were done there we went back home and dropped the kids off so that Deb and I could go out to the airport to change the car over to a Rav4 which would (hopefully) offer up some more room for us.   

You never know who you will run into in downtown Hobart!

We returned home, grabbed the kids and made our way up Mount Wellington, which is the highest point in Hobart.  It is sort of like the Tasmanian equivalent to Table Mountain in Cape Town.  Sometimes it is covered at the top in a nice blanket of clouds, but today the sun was shining and we thought it would be a good time to go up to have a look around.

The road up to the top was incredibly windy and very narrow at times.  And in the usual Aussie fashion, there was no guardrail at the edge of the steep cliffs most of the time.  There were tour buses coming down at us at full speed too!  These guys were nuts!

We reached the top and the wind was whistling and there was a significant temperature change from the town, in that it was very cold.  We didn’t have any cold weather gear, so we ran around at the top for a little while, and Robyn found her first geocache…but we had to get out of there before the sun went down since we didn’t want  to go down the hill in the dark.

The next day we went back up to the top to take a look around again since there were a lot of hikes at the top, but we couldn’t get to do them the night before do to the wind and cold.  Deb and Lulu didn’t come up with us since Lulu was on a hiking strike.

We saw a lot more this time around, and it wasn’t as cold!

We went back down and dropped Wilson off with Robyn and Lulu and Deb and I headed for an hour to walk around the downtown core of Hobart.  We got back to the house and Lulu, Robyn and I went down to the playground where they had some new fandangled toys for us to try out, including a spinning pole…time to try out some pole dancing!!

There were a lot of laughs, but then we had to head home to sort out our clothes and gear and pack our bags for the big hike the next day!

Sorting it all out…

Packing it up…

And math homework too…

We spent the rest of the day reorganizing and repacking our gear so that we could be ready for our departure early in the morning to get down to Port Arthur for our next big active adventure on the Three Capes Track, which will be our biggest family hike to date as it is a four day hike that will have us walking down 48km of the Tasmania coast.

Robyn and her bag of extra clothes that she wasn’t going to take on the hike. Maybe she brought too many clothes with her!

Off to bed and will be ready to rise for what will be a big adventure.