Thursday 15th April 2004
We made it safely back to the mainland after a great two months
in Tasmania. Last night was quite a leisurely pack up and move
to the dock at East Devonport to board the Spirit of Tasmania II.
We made the line up by about 7:05pm and after being issued our
boarding pass and cabin keys, we waited in line until about 8pm
when vehicles started moving onto the ferry. We were held back
due to the length of the caravan and didn't drive on until about
8:45pm, (we had to park with the trucks and buses) however it was
an easy drive straight through the centre isle of the ferry to
we were able
third or fourth vehicle off the ferry in Melbourne.
Once on board, 'one of us' was very keen to sample the white wine
so the 'other one' had to breast the bar to satisfy that request
(and to sample a Cascade Draft as well). With thirst being quenched,
it was extremely interesting to watch the ship pull away from the
do a 180 degree
turn on the spot in the narrow channel before heading out to sea
en route to Melbourne. The maneuverability of this large ship
is quite amazing.
After getting out to sea, 'one of us' realised we hadn't had dinner,
so we decided to try the Buffet restaurant and were very pleasantly
food available at a cost of only fourteen dollars for a main course.
By the time we had finished the meal, along with a couple of glasses
of wine, the night was getting on and the cabin beds were calling
very loudly. 'One of us' complained that the bed the 'other on'
was in was calling loudly all night! However the trip across
the Bass Strait was once again a very smooth crossing.
We arrived in Melbourne right on 7am and were off the ferry shortly
after, but where we were was a bit of a different matter. We followed
the West Gate Highway signs, only to discover before we got onto
it was going to take us the wrong way, we should have been
looking for the West Gate Bridge signs instead. After a 'U' turn
with the caravan on behind and a bit of a deviation around the
city streets, we made it onto the highway, traveled
over the bridge and eventually onto the Western Freeway, heading
in the direction of Ballarat.
The drive to Ballarat was a little strange after our time in Tasmania,
the road was almost straight and although it does rise to 427 metres
above sea level, there were no steep mountain climbs. We arrived
at the Ballarat Goldfields Holiday Park at about 8:50 am and booked
in for the next three nights. Prior to boarding the ferry last
night we rang Sovereign Hill and booked tickets for a day visit
and then entry to the 'Blood on the Southern Cross' light show
in the evening on Friday.
After settling in for a while we then drove into the centre of
Ballarat looking for a Police Station and then a Post Office to
have Pam's motor drivers licence photo verified and then post it
to Western Australia. Then the hunt was on to find the Coles store
that we knew was in there somewhere. After a lap or two or more
we eventually found it hiding behind the Safeway store (Woolworths)
so we did our weekly shopping and replenished our fruit and vegetables
that we had given away before returning to Victoria. (We then found
out on our arrival that it was only the lettuce that we could not
bring back onto the mainland.)
Although we did get some sleep on the Spirit of Tasmania it really
feels like it has been two days wrapped up into one, so it is now
time to put the feet up and catch up on some of the lost sleep.