Beloved had a conference in Hobart last week, so E and I tagged along. (D'Arcy had school and four airfares is a scary thing these days).
We met up with a friend at Salamanca Square, where the children played in the fountain, despite it being pretty bloody cold.
One of the fun things about going on holiday seems to be playing in the new environment, you don't need much to have fun, so E and I spent a lot of time wandering in Salamanca. We found an excellent park and playground just behind the square which was over-run with not one, but two school groups when we arrived. Fortunately they buggered off after about half an hour and so we had it to ourselves with a couple of other families. Erik had some good plays with a much older girl and her younger sister.
More fun was to be had in the hotel room. Friday was very rainy, and so we spent quite most of the day inside.
It was my uncle's birthday while we were there (he lives up the Derwent), and we met up with him. I'd bought a kilo of smoked salmon at the Tassal shop for $11 (!) so we sat down to enjoy it with him. It turns out salmon is a favourite of Erik's too!
When we'd finished with Hobart we headed down to the Tasman Peninsula for a couple of days. It was lovely, but the weather was foul, really cold and wet. We stayed in a good, but very kitch cottage that was filled with ladybird stuff. Erik loved it. "Go Ladybug house?" he'd say every time we were on our way home. Our intention was to go to Port Arthur, via the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park.
We had a fab time at the devil park. I'd never seen live devils before, and they are an excellent animal. Unfortunately they're under great threat from a very aggressive, contagious cancer (Devil Facial Tumour Disease) that is spread by biting each other (which they do a lot). I'll let you google it for yourselves, but the photos are really depressing. The disease has killed about 80-90% of the population since it emerged 15 years ago, and of the remining 20%, 50% are infected, and the death rate is 100%. So not much hope for the devil at this point unless the small number of uninfected devils are resistant and can be a new breeding population.
As well as devils the park has quolls (which are super cute, and related to devils), kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons . Also a number of birds that have been either rescued or surrendered as pets, so the park runs a show with them, and some of them you can get quite close to. Kermit the frogmouth, for example. He was hit by a car (as they often are) and his wing was broken and couldn't be repaired enough for him to fly. So he spends his days on this stick, which the staff lodge high up in a tree and get him down for the show. He's pretty happy, and it's better than being dead.
After the devil park we headed off for Port Arthur, but of course Erik fell asleep in the car, so we drove around for a while. When he woke up again, we went back to PA, but by that time it was quite late, and given the size of the site, the lateness of the hour, and the extremity of the entry charge, we elected not to go in. A bit disappointing, but a sensible decision all up. Beloved and E wouldn't've enjoyed all the walking enough to justify it. So we got back in the car and headed up the peninsula, stopping at the lookout for the tessellated pavement , which was pretty interesting, but not all that visible because the tide was coming in. We had a nice short walk along the path to it though, which was just what Erik needed.
Next day we headed back to the devil park (it was really good fun, and Erik loved watching the devils and quolls being fed. If I get my act together I'll put some video of them up). and from then on to Richmond where we stayed in an old farmhouse. We didn't have a lot of time there, but they have all kinds of things you can do on the farm. I did introduce Erik to a sheep though. And a lion.
He was in the entry hall of the old manor house, which has the reception area and rooms upstairs, though we were staying in more of an apartment in the renovated barn.
All up a great time away. Holidays with toddlers are an interesting thing. If we'd been two adults on our own, we'd've spent far more time driving and covered a lot more of the island, but as it was, we got to see my uncle four times, which was a lot of the reason we all went, so that worked out well.