Somewhere beyond the sea. …(Bobby Darren 1959).

Ahoy me mateys. 

Fire the canons and pass the grog! Here we be in Penzance. Home of th’ pirates and us fer th’ last three nights. (That’s enough pirate talk as me throat has gone ‘oarse and th’ parrot has long flown away).
It was such a stunningly beautiful sunny day on Friday. We woke up from our food coma from the previous evenings five coarse feast at Fifteen Cornwall, and rolled ourselves down the stairs and into the hire car for the beginning of our driving holiday. With Chloe as our chauffeur, we left Newquay after a quick walk around Fistral Beach and headed to St Ives. 

I had read that it was best to use the park and ride at Lelant Saltings rather than risk driving around looking for a parking spot in crowded St Ives. Also the twelve minute train ride that rims the Hayle estuary before spilling out onto the coast, is touted as one of Britain’s best train journeys. It didn’t disappoint.

View from the train window.

We spent the next few hours in blazing sunshine walking the cobbled streets of this seaside village, that is listed as one of the most favorite holiday destinations in the UK. No doubt the icecream vendors were making a nice profit on this fine day. We managed to luck out and grab a table outside the popular Sloop Inn in the middle of the mayhem. This establishment has been appeasing the thirsty sailors and now tourists since 1312. A great place to settle with a beer (or cider) and people watch for a while. 

Then it was back in the car and onto the Minack Theatre. Our weather app had predicted foul weather for the next few days, so we thought that we should drive past Penzance and go to the Minack whilst the sun was still shining.  In the end, it was a great decision.  The Minack Theatre, perched high above the granite cliffs of Porthcurno Beach, four miles east of Lands End. The amazing Rowena Cade made it her life’s work to personally build this imposing outdoor theatre with just the help of her elderly gardener. Unfortunately the theatre season finished last weekend but we were still able to wonder around and have a cream tea in the shop whilst perched over the Atlantic Ocean.

Saturday was wet, grey and drab. Google told us about the Farmer’s Market at Helston which was suppose to be one of the biggest and best in Cornwall. Crowded into the Old Cattle Market, the local wares were fine but on this soggy day, very limited. A local told us to ditch our plan of walking around the Lizard, the most southerly point of the UK, as it would just be a slip sliding affair, and suggested a trip to Falmouth instead.  A good call, as we spent the rest of the day popping in and out of the quirky shops on the main street. No trip to this seafaring town is complete without a visit to the National Maritime Museum. Sheltered from the rain, we wandered around the exhibits which  included a lesson on Captain Bligh- Myth, Man and Mutiny. They even had a few treasures from Pitcairn which I found amusing. 

Walking past the ducks to the Helston Farmer’s Market.

Main St, Falmouth.

Today we woke to grey skies but no rain. A late start saw us drive into Mousehole (just 2 miles west of Penzance) for a late brunch. The town surrounds the very protected boat harbour.  We sat in the cafe and watched the tide sweep out as all the boats grounded on the mud.  

On the way to Mousehole but looking back to St Michael’s Mount.

Low tide is also the best (and only) time to walk the causeway to St Michael’s Mount, the castle on the hill that dominates the view of the bay.  Bronze age settlers, monks, pilgrims and soldiers have all left their mark on the Mount, and now so to have the Australians. The castle is home to the St Aubyn family who have lived there since the 17th century and reside there still. We trekked up on the slippery cobbled stone path and toured the impressive castle. As you would expect, the views from the top made the treacherous climb worthwhile.

 

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Lastly, no trip to this corner of the country is complete without paying the five pound parking fee to visit Land’s End. Which is what we did. And I have a picture to prove it.

So as th’ fog sets ‘n, it now be time t’ bid farewell t’ this corner o’ th’ world and start settin’ th’ sails t’ north. 

Now whar’s me parrot?

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You’re the reason I’m travelling on – Don’t think twice it’s alright. .. (Bob Dylan 1963).

Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary. There are so many wonderful reasons to celebrate, and by waking up each day with the person that you want to travel through life’s ups and downs with, and is in it for the long haul, is amazing. Days are best when they are shared. It also helps when he carries all the heavy items in his backpack. Love is in the small stuff.

You stand there!

Our night in Padstow was spent in the downstairs bedroom of our Air Bnb hosts. Peter and Pam were just so delightful and made us feel welcome from the moment our smelly and bedraggled selves walked through the door yesterday, to when we said goodbye with a belly full of breakfast and a backpack full of clean clothes this morning. Makeover complete, we set out to walk to the furthest bus stop as comfortably possible before riding the rest of the way to Newquay.  This was also our last backpacking day as Chloe will soon arrive with the hire car. Our driving holiday begins tomorrow.  

Today began with annoying, more than drenching, rain. By the time I wrangled my rain poncho over my backpack and got a few locals commenting about my similarities with a certain french humpback, the rain was gone. Off and on I played that game until I yelled to the sky- be done with it- and it stopped. We walked up and around a few coves before climbing to an impressive tower that was used as a daymark tower at Stepper Point.

Goodbye Padstow.


Wind blown at Stepper Point.


A bit of history is called for about this walk. The South West Coastal Path was created in the 19th Century not for recreational walkers but as a route for the coastguard to walk from lighthouse to lighthouse, patrolling for smugglers. I can imagine many a coastguard huddled into this tower seeking reprieve from the weather. 

We met a few more walkers today. An English couple who have walked from John o’ Groats at the northern tip of Scotland are just days away from reaching Lands End to the very south. A popular challenge for an adventurous spirit. They have achieved  the journey in between work commitments but are now putting the throatle down to complete it. As you can imagine, they flew passed us like we were standing still.  

By the time I got my camera out, they were gone.

We have also been passed by another lady for the third day in a row. Today we talked a little more. Rebecca is about our age and is walking solo whilst her husband drives ahead to pursue in his hobby of bird watching.  They meet up each night and discuss their day. It was lovely to chat for a short while, as Rebecca is even faster than the other couple. By the time we look up from our usual view of our feet, she is a blimp on the horizon. 

We ended up calling it a day at noon. I was beginning to get that old familiar squishy feeling behind my right knee that usually means its time to rest or there will be hell to pay tomorrow. We stopped at Harlyn Bay and had just asked about the whereabouts of the bus stop, when again before us appeared the big double decker beast. I must have a touch of the bus whisperer in me. Maybe that’s my superpower. An hour later we were in Newquay.

Looking towards Watergate Beach on our bus ride.

We are staying at a very interesting B+B tonight called Bedlam House. Sounds very much like One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest to me but luckily it isn’t (so I won’t be playing Nurse Ratchet tonight!).  It is however very quirky and eclectic. Outside our window is a painting of a clock on the garage with beer o’clock on the dial.

The breakfast menu on the vw at Bedlam House.

Tonight we are celebrating our anniversary;  the end of our short walk; the beginning of our driving holiday with Chloe; and all good things to come. We have booked a table at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant – Fifteen, Cornwall- which should be lovely jubbly with proper pukka tukka. 

Cheers.

Take it easy…(Eagles 1971).

We decided to have a late start today as we wanted to soak in a little more of the atmosphere that makes Port Isaac such a magical town. Also, after all the day tripping tourists loped back on their oversized busses last night, the town felt a little more real and sleepy. We dined on crab salad and crab linguine at The Mote down at the slipway and then staggered up to our room to watch the tide rise and fall in the harbour.

Leaving Port Isaac.

After a hearty breakfast taken at the Slipway Inn (and buying a few Doc Martin paraphernalia that I was comfortable carrying in my backpack) we headed up the hill and on our way to Padstow. The muddy paths were all but dried up which made the walk more enjoyable. The sun came out a few times but mostly cloud filled the sky. My feet were getting use to being enclosed in my boots for a third day in a row as I pranced up the luscious grass on the hill leaving the village. Then we hit the first of our devastating stair climbs- 168 steps up a steep slope to what must surely be close to heaven.

A place to rest before tackling to long climb.

There were more day walkers in this section, making conversation a welcoming recovery. They were quite interested that we had come from Australia to walk the path. Most of them seemed to have relatives who lived in Oz with a surprising number of them residing on the Sunshine Coast. A few of them were out walking their dogs who needed to be on a short leash or a long fall would be in their foreseeable future. 

The Lundy Hole that would be impressive in stormy seas.

I was again finding the ever onward upward/downward path exhausting. I just wanted a flat section to materialize.  Then in a moment of clarity, we decided to take an inland path after the Lundy Hole. This shortened our day by about two hours by following the dry and flat road into the seaside town of Polzeath.  

Surfing schools dominate the main road of this coastal town. The car park is situated right on the beach yet still doesn’t put a dent on its vast expanse. We watched the surfers in their head to toe wetsuits walking the 500m to the water. Legends. 

Part of the beach at Polzeath. Too big for one photo.

After downing a refreshing and revitalizing green smoothie for me and a bowl of  warming Indian soup for Michael, we left the coolest hippy religious cafe that we had ever seen. Surf boards lined the walls with the name of all the Disciples on them, should they ever turn up to catch a wave. Also there was an enclosed skateboarding ramp at the end of the hall, on those days when even a full bodysuit would be too crazy to contemplate.  Outside of this gem was the bus to Rock and a short 400m walk later we were on the ferry to Padstow, arriving just before 4pm. 

Looking back into town. The fishing boats are all behind me.

In a town famous for fresh seafood, with a harbour full of fishing boats and circling fat seagulls, tonight we dined on fish and chips by an up and coming local chef- Rick Stein. In fact this master chef has two restaurants here. One for fine dining and people who don’t wear Keen sandals, and another for riff raff like us where all meals are served in a box.  Epic. 

Kick your knees up, step in time…. (Mary Poppins 1964).

My knees are just one part of my body that is begging for relief. Unfortunately Doc Martin isn’t in today so I’ll just pop a Brufen instead. 

View from our hotel room.

We have arrived in Port Isaac or probably better known as the fictitious Port Wenn in the TV series Doc Martin. Absolutely gorgeous but it feels as if we had to step through Hell to get here. For those who know The Panorama circuit in Tallai, imagine walking up and down the steep section (right to the top) at least eight times, in between flat sections that are riddled with slosh and mud. And while you are at it, vary the surface from slippery mud, double height stair climbs and, worst of all, shards of slate. It took us a little over nine hours to walk 22km today and our knees are a – quivering. Not that I’m complaining. I’m on holiday.

Some of todays muddy paths.

Lets start at the beginning of the day when life is always full of promise and possibilities. After walking with a belly loaded with a full English breakfast yesterday, we left Boscastle this morning with nothing but a handful of cashews and a green banana to chew on. Protein and potassium – a breakfast fit for an athlete- which is probably not us. We discovered last night that Boscastle doesn’t open till 10am, so Michael made a quick dash in the rain to the local Spar and this is what he retrieved. Yum. We left the Youth Hostel as the sun was rising. The rain had stopped overnight and the sky was mostly clear with a few clouds. At 7.20am it was six degrees with a real feel of three degrees. Luckily for us, again, our day started with a brisk hill climb. One of many to come. 

We reached Tintagel just before 10am – which was perfect timing as the cafes and shops were just opening.  With so many choices we settled in at King Arthur’s Cafe. If it was good enough for him, it was fine for us.  Tintagel is the home of all things Arthurian as the castle that resides just outside this sleepy little town, is touted as belonging to him. It is unfortunate that King Arthur and his knights are fictitious. But the legend continues.

A few kilometres and two hours later the coast path dropped to Trebarwith Strand, a serene little seaside village with a rocky narrow inlet. We were warned that this would be the last of the facilities until Port Gaverne. We didn’t need much persuasion to enter The Port William Pub for a cold drink and a rest. I’m glad we didn’t decide to fill up on lunch as one hundred metres later there was a 203 stair climb. Lunch would have been a wasted meal.

The approach to Trebarwith Strand.

It took us a further four hours to limp into Port Isaac, which as my hypoglycemic coma was kicking in, was taunting me around every bend for most of the afternoon. We moved agonisingly slow as we negotiated the ongoing valleys of steep descents; at the bottom, crossing a small bridge over a crystal clear stream; then huffed and puffed on the ascent to a gate stile; then repeated the process many times. We finally downed a packet of jubes in record time and were able to attain a sugar high lasting just one last climb. 

Port Isaac

Now as I type this in our hotel room looking over the inlet to Doc Martins place, I am reminded of how much of a grump he is. Poor guy. He probably has to walk up and down hills all day.

I feel for you Doc.

Rainy days and Mondays… (The Carpenters 1971)

The hotel rattled and creaked for most of the night. Our room was in the lee of the building and hence we were able to crack open the window without getting wet by the sideways rain. Sleep was fitful but we were warm and dry. We spoke with the landlady this morning (who has more of a touch of Sybil Fawlty than she probably would admit) as she prepared us a bountiful breakfast. 

“Oh yeah, it is frightfully windy but at least it should be fine for most of the day. Awlright? ”

She was almost right.

We set off at 8am with the intention of getting to Crackington Haven by lunch (14.5km) and then Boscastle by 5pm (9.5km), which is when they open the doors of the Youth Hostel, our accommodation for the night.  It was a brisk 8 degrees with a wind chill factor of 5 degrees when we left the warmth of Elements into a 30 knot breeze. Luckily for us we rejoined the walk on one of the many uphill sections of the day so we started warming up quickly.  

We thought that we had a great pace on even though we were negotiating the sideways tilt that came with putting each foot a little to the east to adjust to the westerly gale. The sun was mostly shining and the views were majestic as we traversed sheer drop off cliff paths. Then we hit the stairs. 

Our guidebook had mentioned that there would be just under 1000 stairs to traverse and descend on todays walk. These stairs were mostly a wooden slate holding up the muddy water of yesterdays rain. Wonderful. Also they were sufficiently apart to allow for one and a half steps per rise and fall. Great. Now I’m sounding like Sybil Fawlty. 

By the time we had descended into the seaside village of Crackington Haven five hours later, Michael was bearing the cuts and grazes of two falls into the brambles. With a choice of two cafes, the winner was the one located close to the Public Toilets. Lunch was the specialty of the cafe, a Cornish pasties probably made from the relatives of the cows that we walked passed today. We were sore but with a mighty effort we rose from the table, filled up our water bottles and went outside to put our backpacks on….when it started to rain….then the bus for Boscastle pulled up in front of us.

 It was a sign.

So here we are, a little early for the hostel to open and wasting time moving from cafe to cafe, sucking in the warmth and wifi for the cost of a coffee. The rain continues to fall in spits and spats as we wonder around this gorgeous little village with all the other tourists. We trekked down to see the harbour walls which make it a safe haven for boats but also extremely dangerous to enter on days like today. 

 

On Monday 16th August 2004, a flash flood occurred in Boscastle after an eight hour deluge. The village was in total ruin. Since then they have rebuilt it to its current glory and worthy to grace any Cornish biscuit tin. 

Luckily for us the rain today is annoying but patchy. The promise of tomorrow is cloudy but no rain. 

We’ll see.

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam. … (Bob Dylan 1964)

Well here we are again. 

Same activity, different location. 

We have come to the conclusion that the lust for slow travel is our true calling. Maybe it is a Darwinian phenomenon that dictates that as our age advances, our bodies intuitively slow to a crawl. So in this spirit we have walked, hiked, plodded and crept over many kilometres of  natures finest paths and trails. We may not be fly and floppers (that era will eventually come when the lure of a sun lounge and a smorgasbord will satisfy), we are fly and foot trotters. And for this reason, you lucky devils, you get to enjoy the trail without the sweat, the lounge without the blisters, and the path less travelled through my witty comments and failing eyesight. 

In previous years we have been devotees of the Camino, twice walking to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella in Spain following in the footsteps of many a pilgrim before us to lay before the boney remains of the great wanderer himself, Saint James. This time we are going a different way. The old country beckons and not just to return to the ancestoral shores that flung our forefathers to the penal colony on the  other side of the world for which, as a proud Australian, I am ever grateful, but to take advantage of visiting our daughter who now calls London home. 

Planning a holiday that would incorporate a long distance walk in close proximity to our daughter was tricky and not for lack of choice. The UK is littered with world class National Trails that crisscross this small island nation. The winner was eventually decided.

The South West Coast Path is a 1014 km (630 mile) well-traversed National trail that hugs the coast from Minehead in Devon to Poole in Dorset. It takes in the most westerly and southerly aspects of mainland England. Two birds, one stone. 

Due to time constraints we can only manage a few days backpacking and a few more day-trekking from the comforts of our hire car. In fact unlike our previous walks we have had to prebook accommodation along the way as cheap hostels are a rarity. So we will mostly be staying in B&B’s. This has the advantage of knowing that we can take our time and still be safely tucked up in a warm bed at night no matter what hour we crawl in. Also our backpacks are lighter without the weight of a sleeping bag which is oddly in direct  corrolation to our equally emptying wallet.

We are woefully underprepared for the first days walk but what we lack in training, we have gained in girth which is shockingly supersized and surely to be a disadvantage. Of course I have studied the guidebook and chosen what I think are places and paths of interest. Weather will not be a deterrent as we have crossed to the dark side. We have bought weatherproof boots. A first for us.  We have stood in the camp and comfort of joggers for all of our previous walks as we watched the many blistered boot ladened pilgrim complain of their tortured journey and swore that we would never walk in their shoes. However  we feel that England in October is going to be more hit rain than sunsoaked missed. So we have tried to break in our new boots but are not quite pedally hardened yet. Time will tell if this was a good move or not.

We landed in London on Friday evening after the usual harrowing time squished into the flying sardine can provided by the tiny people of Thai Airways. After realigning our spinal processes we have spent the last day and a half with Chloe enjoying the sights and sounds of her life in Bromley with a side trip to Greenwich.

Today it has taken us (bare with me) a bus/ train/ tube/ bus/ train /bus / train/ then a gorgeous double decker bus to take us to Bude, the start of our walk along the South West Coast Path. The rain started blowing sideways with 5km to go. We quickly rummaged into our backpacks to retrieve our new rain ponchos. In hindsight, wind and rain don’t bode well with a tent on your back. Luckily for us it was an onshore gale and apparently a remnant of Hurricane Maria who is still wrecking havoc around the Atlantic. Our rain ponchos thwacked with such force that buttons popped and it threatened to fly back to London. So we toughed up, took off the rain gear and slogged it up the track for 2km. Yes I know, pathetic distance but still a challenge for us. I wonder how we will go on our 25km walk tomorrow. Lets hope Maria finally calms down and decides to go on a holiday herself.

For Auld Lang Syne

The weather forecast was for humid rain.

 Interesting. 

It basically means, once you are wet, you stay soaked and sodden as the humidity doesn’t allow for anything to dry. 

Great.

We have just completed the Three Capes Track in Tasmania and thought I would share my experience with you. Even though I have mostly written about my walking adventures on various Caminos across  Spain,  I do actually walk in other places. So for old times sake, here is another travelling story.

The Three Capes Track is a much lauded, multimillion dollar project of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service which only opened on the 21st December, 2015. The money crunchers only predicted that 3000 people would walk the four day/three night trek in the first year, but my ticket says that I am number 10,085. Apparently the 10,000th person walked two days before us. At $500 a person, they are well and truly on their way to the cost redemption. 

The brochure touts “carefully conceived, lovingly crafted”, the 46km track is a mix of boardwalks, gravel pathways and many thousands of stone steps. Noone should get lost if they just stay on the path. With only 48 beds per cabin, there is only ever a maximum of 48 on each leg at one time. Lucky us, we have our full quota.

We began on the 28th December in drizzling rain catching our Grayline Coach out of Hobart to Port Arthur, ninty minutes down the road. Michael and I had woken early to watch the Sydney to Hobart yachts entering Constitution Dock. It was amazing standing next to the race record holder Perpetual Loyal as she sat motionless with bottles of Bolinger on deck. 

The drive down to Port Arthur  was filled with gruesome stories of the regions convict days by Nigel, the unflappable and highly entertaining coach driver. By the time we exited the vehicle, all I wanted to do was beeline for the booking desk and leave. Having been to Port Arthur before and experienced the heeby-jeebies of this haunted town where two hundred years earlier, only the worst of the worst convicts were interned, the vibe is less than friendly. After booking in and receiving our parks ticket and guidebook, we bought our last meal from the cafe before walking down to the boat that would ferry us over to the start of the walk. 

Alas all is not as it seems, for although the walk started just across the Bay at Denmans Cove, for the next hour we were “treated” to an exhilarating ride in wet and windy weather on a jetboat. Even though we were all prepared for rain in our wet weather gear, we were handed bright orange, floor length plastic jackets that tasted of salt. In between viewing only the inside visor of my raincoat, we would stop long enough to emerge like a turtle and watch the bird life and seacliffs before again retreating under the coat for protection. It was with great relief when we landed on the beach and exited the boat like soldiers going to battle. As it was still drizzling, the rain washed away the salt in no time as we started our ascent to the first cabin at Surveyors, 4km up the track. 

Arriving wet and bedraggled, that is when I acknowledged the day’s forecast. Absolutely nothing dried until the sun came out on day 3. Even though we hung things up over the fire or over every dry surface, the dampness evaded every fibre of our belongings.

The cabins are award winning designer glamping. The bunk beds were clean and comfortable with memory foam mattresses to rest those weary bones after a days walking. The communal kitchen and dining room were equipped with gas stove tops and kettles a plenty, with a scattering of pots and pans to rehydrate all those dehydrated packets of food that most of us carried. There were enough seating for all of us and a small selection of games to entertain and amuse the bored. The drop toilets are set well away from the cabins- good for the olfactory senses but a tad too far when the weather turns foul. There were a few grumbles and suggestions were offered from most of our group. A light in the cabins would have been useful being the main grievance. 

So Day 1 ended with a glimpse in between bouts of rain and hovering mist, towards Cape Raoul- actually not on the track but included as one of the three capes. We were told that our room selection would be the same for the next two nights. We lucked out and were paired with a fantastic couple from Melbourne – Trevor and Jenny.  Same demographic and years of travel experience.  They were the perfect cabin buddies. 

Day 2 arrived in a drizzle. Donning our still wet clothes we ventured out for the 11km trek to the next hut, Munro. On a clear day, the views are said to be spectacular. Reminiscent of my first day on the Camino, we trudged through the rain and fog stopping only twice to take photos of architectural benches too soaked to sit on and a view we later learnt was Arthur’s Peak. As part of this experience, the Tassie Parks people have included various encounters to enjoy along the way.  Matching up with the guidebook, you can interact with the environment or learn more of the local history, flora and fauna, as you walk the track. Unfortunately it is ill advised to get the book out when it is raining cats and dogs, so we read up about each before leaving for the day. Great concept in better weather.

As we had reached Munro by 10.30am and with nothing else to do (with a forecast of more rain to come), Michael and I left in the heavy mist to walk the 14km return trip out to Cape Pillar but this time without a laden backpack. Our thinking was that at least it wasn’t raining now,  just heavy mist that might lift as we approached the Cape. Not our day. Heavy mist shroaded everything including the spectacular Blade that we had no hope of seeing. I was able to see one wall of dolerite cliff but I’m not sure what it was as we had left the guidebook behind. It was wonderful walking without a pack. We had covered 25km on Day 2 and our legs were well and truly feeling the assault.

Day 3 arrived with a clap of thunder followed by a torrential downpour. As we were watching the misery from the communal kitchen, the rain lessened, the mist lifted and we spied something that sent us all in a frenzy. We saw the sea below us as the view slowly cleared revealing a rugged coastline.  Everyone packed their bags quickly to take advantage of the sunshine. As we had already covered the first 14km of todays scheduled walk yesterday (making yesterdays trek a massive 25km in miserable conditions), we left Munro and headed for Retakunna just a short 3km away. With our friends thinking the same thought, we used every bit of available rail space that was basking in sunshine at our new hut to finally dry our gear. Still wanting to walk a little more,  I asked if anyone else was up for adventure and wanted to climb up to the top of Mt Fortescue for a short hike. This was to be the first stage of day 4’s walk. I left alone. The view out to Cape Pillar was spectacular but the climb up the 783 stairs was excruciating.  And to think I get to do it all over again on Day 4.

Last day turned out to be the best in weather and terrain. In 14km we passed through a variety of woodland and forests as again I summited Mt Fortescue and walked beside the edges of the dolerite cliffs. The views that we had been missing from the start of our journey were breathtakingly  stunning.  Michael’s fear of heights well and truly kicked on as I straddled cliff edges to get a better look (and photo).

  We were to be picked up by the 2pm shuttle at Fortescue Bay so we left early enough to allow for time to walk to the end of Cape Hauy. This was a two hour detour off the path that was mainly steps up climbing. Amazing to view from a far but torturous on weary legs. It was well worth the pain.


So the journey ended with a 30min drive back to Port Arthur where we were met but the lovely Tania who drove us back to Hobart. We wined and dined last night on more food than we had eaten in 4 days. As we stood and watched the fireworks we said goodbye to the past year and welcomed in 2017 with a bang.

Happy New Year folks.