Tassie Week 5, Camp # 72 – Goats Bluff & 73 – Cambridge, Days 332 – 338

We had decided to change locations. Staying in the same area but to the caravan park we had hoped to stay in but was full over the long weekend. The timing of the move worked in well with solar activity forecasts of the possibility of capturing the Auora Australis. We had missed a few opportunities and had promised we’d be more committed and find a south facing free camp next time.

Sunset at Goats Bluff

Since being in Tassie we have been learning about the Southern lights or Auora Australis and Ken has been learning more and more about astro-photography. So while Ken worked, the girls and I spent the day scouting the coast for a do-able south facing campsite so we might pull up for the night or two and have a chance for all of us to witness it. The girls where very patient as we didn’t have much luck. In the end we decided to chance it and take the van and park up in the car park of a well known lookout spot, Goats Bluff.

What a spot!

This spot has the added bonus of being able to also capture bioluminescence in the water as well as the Auora if she shows. It really is a thing of great beauty but also great luck, many, many elements need to come together. Enough solar activity, favorable solar winds, clear skies, ideally no moon, not to be occurring during daylight hours an uninterrupted south facing view, minimal light pollution and there are probably more. But you’ve gotta be in it to win it.

So we snuck (not that a 22ft van can sneek in anywhere), in to the car park just on sunset and settled in for the night. We planned to keep the girls in the usual bed / sleep routine and only wake them if the skies lite up, and Ken and I would take turns. A few other hard core Auora chasers rolled in and we could have made a tidy packet if we sold coffee out of the van.

Goats Bluff – Top south facing spot for Aurora photography

Ken being the adventurous type jumped the fence and scouted the cliffs for the best location only to surprise one of the main Auora chasers of Tassie. When Chris rolled up Ken was well settled into what he though was his secret location, but it was a great little meeting as Chris was happy to share both is location and knowledge with Ken. However that is where the luck for the evening runs out. ‘The Lady’ (as the Auora is called by the faithful) never turned up. We waited till nearly 2 a.m., it was freezing cold and we knew we’d need to make an early get away.

There was some colour in the night sky but no obvious Aurora that night.
Nice shots of the Milky Way with the new lens

We departed early and picked up breakfast on route to the Barilla Holiday Park in Cambridge, just a 20 min drive to Hobart. We set up, got some schooling done before heading up Kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Hobart is set on the Derwent estuary and towering over the city is Kunanyi. Some 1,271m or 4170 ft. It’s an epic drive and amazing views. Snow had been forecast over 900m and as this may be our only chance of falling snow on this trip, we had to give it a go.

View on the drive up Kunanyi / Mt Wellington

It wasn’t exactly snow more like sleet but it was extreme and certainly a new experience. Lulu had fallen asleep in the car on the way up and it was freezing outside so we kept our time at the top brief. The geology and flora was beauty to behold, when you could drag your eyes from the fabulous views. What a spectacular city Hobart is.

With a serious hankering for hot chips I was on the hunt for a coeliac safe venue and yet again Hobart delivered. Delivering Ken a few more hours of peace to work we stayed in the city for dinner and explored around Constitution Dock and Franklin Square. Loving the city vibe and all these lovely outing with our 3 delightful daughters. They really are just so amazing and such a great help with Lulu. Feeling very fortunate and grateful.

The next day we put school on hold opting to hit the museums of Hobart. First the state museum and secondly Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum. The kids love a museum but Mawson’s was a fabulous visit and something really special. An epic tale of an expedition that departed from Hobart in 1911 to the South Pole.

Three men and 11 Huskies in the final expedition party and Douglas Mawson’s was the only survivor. The story is tragic and gripping and with the museum being set in a Replica of there accommodation it’s easy to be transported to the life they may have been experiencing. For Georgia it was all about those lovely dogs. She is passionate about all animals and spent the entire time talking note on all the details she could find and the dogs.

By then Ken was needing a break so he met us in town for dinner and a stunning sunset. We are finding Tassie just awesome for eating out and catering for Georgies coeliac needs but it eventually comes unstuck and somewhere along the line we get some contamination and Georgie has pain again and her symptoms return.

The whole fam out for dinner on a beautiful sunset in Hobart

We have always enjoyed eating out so much and really finding it hard to change this mindset. I really know we just cant eat out anymore but then we keep finding ourselves doing it. We get away with it a few times but eventually the inevitable happens and we are back at square one. Then I spent the next few days feeling guilty because really I know better. Ugh!

Friday the 15th of March was the ‘School Strike for Climate Change’ march through the streets of Hobart. We spent the morning making signs and discussing topics and issue around climate change and the power of people to change the world and the various way we can effect change.

The girls weren’t sure what to expect and make of it but in the end got right into the protest and the sense of being part of a movement. Thrill to plant the seeds of activism in our girls. I hope traveling through our great country and living so closely with the elements gives them an appreciation for the delicate balance of our environment.

We rounded out the week with a day trip to Port Arthur. We’d left it to the end of the week hoping Ken would be able to join us but unfortunately he was still under pressure to get his work completed. Having prepared a picnic lunch and snacks we got away early to as it was an hours drive each way.

What a fantastic day and a well organized attraction. Tours and boat cruise included it was a fascinating insight into the workings of a penal colony. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Imagining it was going to be a place of brutality and suffering we were to learn that Port Arthur was in fact a new breed of prison. The foundation of our current justice system, no longer with the focus on physical punishment but punishment of the mind, rehabilitation and a religious regime to reform the soul.

It is for these reasons that it is a place of global significance being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage convict site. It was a beautiful day with clear blue sky and the girls were just wonderful taking it all in. Charlotte in particular loves history and enjoys the story’s, facts and information on tours.

As we left Port Arthur I noticed signs for Remarkable Cave and Ken said it was worth a look. Just coming into the soft beautiful afternoon/evening light and being so close we couldn’t not go. And remarkable it was for us today it was dry calm but i’d seen footage of surging water flooding through the cave and engulfing the viewing point. No such danger for us today, just a beautiful walk and lovely lookout.

A delight drive home but it was a long day. All this sight seeing and being out of the van while trying to keep up with meals, washing, school, food shopping, cleaning, blogging and planning is exhausting. Many great moments shared with the girls which I have loved, adored and cherished, but its and intense pace. Looking forward to some quiet time soon – hopefully, and having Kenny back!