Day 1 – 11th February, 2010

More than 50% off!!

Daytime ferry

“Spirit of Tasmania”

$49 each way

It had been my intention this year – the off year from having to travel abroad – to see a little more of my own country.  The timing was right.  I bought the ticket without further ado.  A little research… and I realised it was cheaper to take my own car, than renting one.   And of course, I could take all my camping equipment as well as other requirements, from home.

Boarding for vehicles was between 6.30am and 8.15am, for a 9am departure.  I was terrified I would sleep in, and had two alarms set as well as getting family to call me.  Having to go through the city to Station Pier, the thought of peak-hour traffic added a further worry.

I arrived at the ferry – or should I say, in Beach St, the road leading up to the ferry, well before eight; and it was great comfort realising that all those vehicles in front of me, as well as those behind me, were bound for the same destination.

By 9am we had cleared all formalities, and were firmly parked on one of the garage decks.  It would be more than half an hour before we actually departed.

West Gate Bridge across the Yarra as seen through morning peak hour smog.  Taken from the ferry shortly after departure.

I love travelling by ferry, or any boat for that matter…  (perhaps that love comes from the month long journey from Europe to our new home downunder, all those years ago.)  and this day was going to be great.   It was a fine day and the sea was as smooth as glass as I settled myself on deck seven.   There was a huge screened TV on nearby, a power outlet for my computer and I had brought a good book as well as  something to eat and drink for this nine hour journey.

Entry into Tasmania was slow and frustrating.  No one had mentioned the hold up at quarantine, and it was well after 8pm before I was on my way to the hostel.  On top of this, it was pouring rain.

The Gingerbread House hostel is above the Hawley House Restaurant, and accessed via the fire escape from the back of the building.  Advertised as boutique backpacker accommodation, the upper floor in this 1885 building has been sadly neglected.  The only things this place had going for it are that it is a stone’s throw from the ferry terminal and there were smoke alarms installed.  The bed was comfortable, but the kitchen was an absolute disgrace…. as were the bathrooms.

Tomorrow, off to Stanley.

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