Tasmania - Hobart New Years Eve

We arrived back in Hobart just in time for New Years Eve.  The drive from Cradle Mountain to Hobart doesn't appear that far on thump but many of the roads were winding mountain roads so the drive took a little over 4 hours.  

The Sydney to Hobart boat race had just arrived a few days earlier and the city was buzzing with people from all over the world.  We were lucky enough to find a table at a seafood restaurant called Fish Frenzy near the waterfront and had an awesome New Years Eve dinner of Oysters, Calamari, Blue eyed fish and of course some delicious Tasmanian wine.  The lines for everything were so insane that Kingsley wisely ordered us two sets of drinks and we had a nice leisurely dinner looking out over the harbor watching the sun slowly set.  A few hours later we were one of the first in the world to ring in the New Year 2016. 

Hobart NYE 2016 Fireworks from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Tasmania - Cradle Mountain

Our next stop was the West Coast of the island, Cradle Mountain National Park which is a ruggedly beautiful world heritage site.  We spent two nights at the Big4 Caravan park located just outside of the National Park.  We had big plans to do some serious hiking throughout Cradle Mountain National Park.  Unfortunately, a few days earlier,  I was getting our lunch out of the back of the camper van while Kingsley was paragliding and as I climbed out of the van I stepped into a...dried cow patty?...dont ask...and somehow twisted my left ankle as I fell to the ground and our hummus and (gf) bread went flying.  As we reached Cradle Mountain, my dreams of hiking around the world famous Dove Lake were dashed.  However, with a tightly wrapped ace bandage I was able to hobble along part of the path and we made it as far as the famous boathouse on the lake where we sat and enjoyed our picnic lunch. 

Later we made our way back to our campsite and Kingsley, after a long nap,  made us dinner under my guidance and even carried me on his back to the restroom facilities which were a good 1/4 mile away. 

Tasmania - Ulverston Fairy Penguins

After a long day of paragliding we needed a place to camp overnight.  As this was the section of our trip devoted to flying I did not make any pre-arranged overnight bookings as the paragliding sites change with wind and I had no clue where on the island we might end up!  On this particular occasion it landed us in Ulverstone which is situated along the North West Coast on the banks of the Leven River.   We checked out a few Caravan parks and found a few with vacancies but none of the ones in town really "felt" right to me so we drove a bit out of town and found this gem:

Apex Ulverstone Caravanpark

A beautiful Caravan park located on beach with its own population of fairy Penguin’s that come out to nest just as the sun sets. Can you imagine how happy and excited this animal lover was to find out we would be sharing our campsite with FAIRY PENGUINS!  We quickly got ourselves organized and enjoyed one of my attempts at a gourmet camp stove dinner.  Which was followed by our new Tasmania favorite dessert of fresh strawberries drizzled...ok drenched in Baileys cream liquor.  We enjoyed a stunning sunset walk along the beach and just as it got dark we could hear well before we saw our little fairy penguins.  They nested overnight in some bushes at the edge of the beach a few feet from our campervan.  Now this may sound incredibly idyllic, but despite their cute size these little guys are the noisiest things I have ever heard!!  It wasn't the best night sleep we have ever had but to be able to shine a flashlight out the back window and see six or seven little guys scurry deeper into the brush was one of the highlights of the trip!

Tasmania - Paragliding The Don

No crazy Kingsley and Lynn trip would be complete without a bit of paragliding mixed in.  So Kingsley and I headed to Devonport in North Tassie to meet up with the six other resident paragliders and to learn the lay of the land. The Don is an ocean cliff soaring site, similar to what we have flown in Bali.  The actual launch site is incredibly tricky to find as its located on someones private farmland.  We eventually found our way there by pulling up to random farm houses and asking if they had seen any crazy looking wings in the skies.  Everyone we encountered were so friendly and easy going, a far cry from the litigious US paragliding scene.  Eventually we found our way to an unlocked farm gate and just kinda let ourselves in. From there we met some of the lovely local pilots and Kingsley was able to pull out his wing and fly. Happy husband! 

Paragliding Tasmania The Don from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Tasmania - Tamar Valley wine tasting

The Tamar Valley is the oldest and perhaps most developed wine region in Tasmania and is located in the north part of the island. In the small valley there are more than 30 wineries within driving distance of each other, coupled with some spectacular scenery along the way.  Had I had my way, I potentially might just have tried to visit every single winery in the Tamar Valley.  I have to admit that somewhere along our Tasmania journey I fell in love with their distinguished mineral flavored cool climate Sav Blancs.  Which are in some ways so similar to my all time favorite Marlborough NZ Sav Blancs but also have a unique taste all their own.  Thankfully Kingsley was level headed enough to limit us to a few of the best wineries in the area and we had a lovely afternoon sipping wine and eating (gf) crackers with local artisan cheeses and terrines.  We bought a few of our favorite bottles to take home and I plan to save them for a special occasion to remind us of our amazing Tasmanian holiday. 

Kingsley giving me the "this is the LAST winery" look. 

Tasmania - Friendly Beach

Friendly beach is located just north of Coles Bay and is part of the Freycinet National Park. We decided to check it out one afternoon thinking that the amiable beach name, warranted a visit.  I guess I expected to find lots of friendly people there, but instead we found this beautiful beach that went on for miles and miles with not a single-other-soul around.  It was a very blustery day so Kingsley did what any expert paraglider would do and pulled out his four line mini kite to test its "high winds" limits.  See the somewhat blurry video below. 

Friendly Beach Kite flying Kingsley from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Tasmania - Wineglass bay Christmas Hike

Wineglass bay is perhaps one of the best known tourist spots in Tasmania.  There is a lookout point that you can hike to which is incredibly popular, however, reading reviews on how many people do this hike everyday made me a little skittish that it might not be worth it.  Walking in the heat of the day surrounded by hundreds of other people is exactly why we were taking a break from Singapore over the holidays. But don't be alarmed,  I have become a clever little traveler and have learned over the years to try and do the busiest most popular things on days when most other people have other things to do.  Christmas day being an ideal example.  So, after a delicious Christmas campsite "breakie",  we began our hike up to the Wineglass bay lookout point without a single soul in site!  It was a glorious day for a hike and the spectacular view at the top was the icing on our Christmas cake! 

This is the overflow parking lot which is usually full of tourists cars but on Christmas day all we found were a few friendly wallabies. 

Tasmania - Tascamper "Rudolf" Caravan

We rented our little caravan from Tascamper, which is owned by a lovely guy named Peter.  We had a wonderful experience working with Tascamper and would highly recommend this company should you ever find yourself in need of a caravan in Tasmania.  The caravans are clean, well maintained, have a comfy bed and come with an awning and table and chairs.  Which in my opinion are essential items when camping but surprisingly many companies did not offer these items with the caravans.  

In addition, Kingsley and I brought along a few of our own items to make everything a bit more homey and festive. The most important of those obviously being the Rudolf antlers and nose and the battery powered led Christmas lights.  All in all our Rudolf caravan was just perfect for the two of us. 

An Evening Camping from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Tasmania - Coles Bay

Beautiful Coles Bay was the first stop on our 10 day caravan trek around Tasmania.  Coles bay, and the east coast of Tasmania in general is just beautiful.  We couldn't get over how few people we encountered on these stunning beaches.  Kingsley and I stayed at the Big4 Illuka Freycinet Holiday Park in Coles Bay which sits right at the entrance of the Freycinet peninsula and National Park. The Holiday Park was clean with a lovely mini mart and restaurant and an easy two minute amble to arrive at the beach.  The only downside of the Caravan park was the lack of trees and shade,  we were initially placed in a dry dusty site with no grass, trees or sun protection.  Once I had a look at it I went back to the front desk and firmly asked for something else.  With a bit of creative juggling, they were able to move us to campsite 133 which had grass and more trees and privacy which worked perfectly for us.  Our first night in the campsite I tested out my new portable kitchen and made us Kangaroo burgers which were delicious. 

Picnic lunch at Prosser Bay, on our way up the coast.  We stopped here for lunch a little nap (after our red eye flight from Singapore) and some kite flying on our way up to Coles Bay. 

Kite Flying Coles Bay from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Unfortunately our crazy travel adventures began early this trip when on our first night at the Caravan park Kingsley left the headlights on overnight.   On Christmas Eve we woke to a dead battery.  I wanted to go immediately to our campsite neighbors and beg for jumper cables but Kingsley insisted he knew this "old school" way to do a rolling jump start.  The only thing required was for me to "give it a little push".   Somehow I got myself roped into this crazy idea and found myself behind our camper van pushing with all my might!  The video below is just hilarious but captures perfectly our haphazard scheme and our eventual, surprising success. 

Caravan Rolling Start from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

The stunning skies and beautiful deserted beaches were exactly what we need to unwind and reset ourselves from the furiously paced last few months.  We stayed in Coles Bay for four nights which is the minimum stay during peak season and for  us that was just the right amount of time to see the sites, and get ourselves into vacation mode.

On Boxing day and our last day in Coles Bay, we were discovered by a three legged dog on the beach named Tipi.  Tipi is the self appointed beach seagull hunter.  You can't imagine how impressive it is to see a three legged dog run down a beach, falling often but always righting her self again and carrying on.  Her determination and grit was inspiring to watch and left an impression on both Kingsley and I. 

Singapore Waterspout

December is often the rainiest month in Singapore with big thunderstorms that roll through for an hour or two each day torrentially covering the city and then drifting back out to sea.  Here are a few awesome photos of a waterspout that went directly over our condo and then out to sea. The power of Mother Nature always leaves me in awe. 

Seattle Santa Visit

In early December I made a quick trip to Seattle, as my mom went through a fairly major surgery.  It was a week and a half of high stress and very little sleep. However,  the surgery went exactly as expected and my mom is now, thankfully, recovering very well.  Despite a very limited social agenda, I will still able to squeeze in a visit with a few friends AND to sneak in a quick visit to Santa with my friend Jen. 

Christmas Party's of 2015

This year has been an exceptionally busy Christmas season.  With our calendars overflowing with end of year celebrations,  I am feeling so thankful for the amazing friendships we have made over the last few years living in Singapore.

Fiesta Blanc Christmas party

COSMO Squash end of year party - 
the Singapore Cricket Club team got 3rd place in the league.

Cutis Medical Clinic - Christmas Party
with my amazing nursing team

Book Club Christmas brunch at Sara's house

CE LA VI - Christmas party