Tag Archives: australian travel

Mud Crab – From Net to Plate in Less Than 25 Minutes

Warning: this post contain images and explanations of how to kill a mud crab

Today I had the freshest mud crab I’ve ever had in my life. In reality, it’s also the freshest seafood period I’ve ever had.

Doug, a friend of the family, lives in Bundaberg and so while Mum and I were boozing at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Doug and Hubby were setting pods to catch some muddies for dinner.

The one that didnt get away!

The one that didnt get away!

We all went and checked on them a few hours later and to my absolute delight we had caught 3 big ones and 2 babies which we threw back.

Doug is an avid fisherman and also an avid cook when it comes to the fresh stuff he catches. He showed me how to kill them with a knife through the butt into the brain and then how to pull them apart and clean them.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

We cooked using the following recipe. A dollop of butter in a bowl with about 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons of ginger, some lime zest and juice of half a lime. Mix it all together, added the crab and cooked it in a hot frypan until the shell turned pink.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

The final verdict, wow! From the nets to the plate in less than a half hour, the most amazing seafood I’ve ever had. I really wish I could have bottled the smell and the taste, I would have made a fortune.

Bundaberg Mud Crab

Dinner is served!

 

 

Maryborough – Birthplace of Mary Poppins

Maryborough, a quaint historic town born in 1847, is one of Queensland’s oldest towns.

We drove into Maryborough one afternoon for a few hours, just to see what was there.

First stop, the information centre. Even on a Thursday this place was bustling. We picked up a couple of free brochures and one of the elderly gents working the information centre gave us a quick look around the Town Hall in which the visitor centre is located.

The Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre

We decided to participate in the free self guided walking tour around the town. The brochure we were provided was a wonderful source of information with wonderful stories and a simple map to follow.

I loved walking around the town, taking some pic of the old  buildings. I read stories about  the original settlers, about births, deaths and everything inbetween. Some of the more fascinating aspects of the tour was the following (Please note, these were taken from the brochure):

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue next to the former Australian Joint Stock Bank

Hubby with the Mary Poppins statue.

“The Former Queens Hotel was rebuilt in 1883 after the 1876 fire. The Goodwin Family opened the first hotel in 1864. In 1866 , the proprietess , a young single woman saved the life of a baby who was accidently dropped into a cesspool.”

“Former Australian Joint Stock Bank – in 1899 during the time her father was the manager of this bank, Helen Lyndon Goff was born in the residence above. Later using the pseudonym PL Tavers, she wrote the Mary Poppins series of books.”

“Riverside Apartments. In 1853, Edmund Uhr built a home for his family on this site, however the house was destroyed by a fire in 1889. During rebuilding, a headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed.”

Riverside Apartments

Riverside Apartments, where the headstone marking the grave of two of the Uhr children was unearthed

“Former Customs House Hotel. The hotel was used as a setting for filming in 1989 of the movie “The Delinquents” starring Kylie Minogue.”

Former Customs House

Former Customs House

These are just a few of the intriguing sites on the walking tour, with 46 in total to see. The free self guided driving tour had plenty more sites to visit as well. All in all, a great way to spend the afternoon and a marvellous tourist experience for the budget traveller.

The Post Office - the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

The Post Office – the oldest surviving masonry Post Office in QLD and the Post Office Hotel

Tasmania – Trip Costings & Stats

Starting Point: Brisbane
NSW – Griffith
SA – Adelaide
VIC – Melbourne – Ferry across to Tasmania
TAS – Right around – Ferry across to Melbourne
SA – Adelaide
NSW – Griffith
Ending Point: Brisbane

Total Km’s: 10,000

Total Time Away: 28th February 2014 – 22nd April 2014 (7.5 weeks)

Average spent per week: $940

Budget: $800

Category Budget Actual Difference
Fuel $2,200.00 $2,043.83 $156.17
Alcohol $400.00 $515.50 ($115.50)
Food $1,450.00 $2,035.67 ($585.67)
Accommodation $500.00 $614.50 ($114.50)
Touristy stuff $850.00 $899.00 ($49.00)
Personal Items $100.00 $131.00 ($31.00)
Other $500.00 $814.50 ($314.50)
Total $6,000.00 $7,054.00 ($1,054.00)

Notes:
1. I budgeted more fuel then I think we will normally need. This was due to the long, detoured trip we took to see friends and family.
2. Alcohol – should have guessed that would happen with all of the wonderful wineries in Tassie
3. Food – same happened with food as with alcohol above
4. Accommodation – we stayed with friends and family until we got to Tassie and once we came back over to the mainland. The last 4 nights in Launceston we also stayed with friends so this helped to keep the cost down. We did take advantage of free/cheap camps in Tasmania.
5. Touristy Stuff – lots of free things done. We blew the budget with the expensive cruise around Strahan.
6. Personal – ok
7. Other – this was mainly car servicing and repairs.
8. note: this budget didn’t include the ferry fare of $700

Route Around Tas in Purple

Route Around Tas in Purple

Three Wishes Vineyard

Rosemary with her wines

Rosemary with her wines

When we travel through a wine region, I love to go to cellar doors of some of the better known wineries whose drop I enjoy. I also love to just drive around and pick small random wineries, that I’ve never heard of before, and pop in just to see what’s on offer.

A couple of days ago we were going through the Tamar Valley which is full of wineries. The first couple of cellar doors we stopped into were Pipers Brook and Jansz, fantastic cellar doors, great wines and fantastic staff. The third and last stop for the day (I’m on cellar door rations) was a winery we were driving past and I asked hubby to stop into so I could do tasting. Please note: Hubby doesn’t drink so he drives me around when I wine tasting, perfect!

The winery is called Three Wishes Vineyard and wow! We drove up to a stunning manse with a quaint side building. We seemed to be the only ones there as the car park was empty, perfect for a chat with who ever was running the cellar door that day. We were lucky enough that Rosemary, the owner, was on cellardoor duty, she called us in and launched into a history lesson about the property and what an amazing tale!

The cellar door, converted servants quarters

The cellar door, converted servants quarters

Rosemary and her husband have been on the property for about 20 years. They have only a small farm which produces about 500 cases of wine a year comprising of chardy, riesling and pinot noir varieties.

The magnificent manse next to the cellardoor was built in the late 1800’s and added onto in the early 1900’s. No one currently lives in the manse; however, there is said to be a resident ghost that has been known to open doors.

The haunted manse

The haunted manse

The cellar door is a building along side the manse and it was an old servants work building, which was once separated into male and female work quarters; however, Rosemary has knocked out the dividing wall and created an amazing space for receiving visitors. You can now walk through the cellar door and onto a back deck to stand in awe of the sweep views of the surrounding hills speckled with vineyards, herds of cows, ancient trees and a winding river.

Views from the cellar door

Views from the cellar door

All of this before I’d even tried the wine and I wasn’t disappointed as the wines were fantastic!

My ratings for the winery:
Service: 5/5
Wine: 5/5
Estate and grounds: 5/5
Overall Experience: 5/5 – great winery, will definitely visit again!

General Information:
Charges for tastings: there was a sign saying there was a charge but when I asked about it Rosemary said not to worry
My favourite wines: Pinot Noir
Address: 655 Craigburn Rd, Hillwood Tasmania
Website: http://www.threewishesvineyard.com/
Other amenities onsite: Lovely back deck where you can enjoy a glass of wine and the views, toilets.

Freycinet National Park

FreycinetWe drove to Freycinet National Park (pronounced frey sin aye) for the 3 hour Wineglass Bay walking circuit, one of Tasmania’s 60 short walks. We were so lucky to have amazing weather, perfect for photos.

Originally we were just going to walk to Wineglass Bay lookout; however, I really wanted to walk down to the bay. I always see the lookout view photos, but never any of down in the bay.

View of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

View of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

I’m so glad we did! Perfect beach white sand and clear azure waves, paradise! The extra walk down to the bay, and back up again, is pretty challenging which I loved! I will leave hubby behind next time, he did not love it so much 🙂

View from the rocks in Wineglass Bay

View from the rocks in Wineglass Bay

We stayed for 2 nights at the national park campgrounds. Both nights we had noisy neighbours who were up until all hours of the morning. There is nothing worse then camping next to inconsiderate people. Rant over!

On the upside, the campground was right on Richardson beach it was just like having a private beach. After the Wineglass Bay trek I decided to get some colour so I walked right to the end of the beach, over some rocks and onto another empty beach, I could really get use to this!

Cole Bay SunriseI also managed to get a couple of lovely sunrise shots at Richardson Beach. Unfortunately I missed out on the mountains been lit up red from the sunrise just by a couple of minutes. It’s amazing how you can miss a stunning shot just by being 2 minutes late, damn! There was still enough colour for some pics anyway.

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet

Port Arthur

I hadn’t planned on visiting Port Arthur on our trip as I’m not terribly familiar or interested in Australian history. I did however, want to see The Isle of the Dead in Port Arthur. Can’t see one without the other so we went for a day and I’m so glad we did.

I could go on about the history of Port Arthur in this blog; but, really you could research that in your spare time. There were a few things that did really fascinate me while we were here and so I will make mention.

The way the tourists are managed throughout Port Arthur is very well done. I have a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management which really doesn’t get much of a workout. What I do like to check out while at tourist attractions is how the attraction manages the tourists and I thought Port Arthur did this very well. As part of the bronze ticket, the cheapest ticket you can buy, you get an ipod with a self guided tour so you can walk around on your own and have all the information at your finger tips. You are also entitled to participate in an introductory tour which goes every hour and a guide will walk you around and provide you with the information found on the ipod and other relevant stories.

I also found the tour guides and staff in general to be fantastic. They are obviously passionate and very knowledgable about Port Arthur and liked to share stories about the convicts, the jailers and their families to really make the experience come alive for us visitors.

As the main motivation for visiting Port Arthur was The Isle of the Dead tour we booked and went on it first. The Isle of the Dead is a small island off the Tasman peninsula. It was used as the graveyard for Port Arthur from 1833 to 1877. Around 1100 dead are buried here. Basically anyone who died was buried here so not only the convicts but  officials, soldiers and their families. On the lower side of the island the convicts were buried, mostly without headstones in mass graves. It was forbidden to place headstones on a convicts graves; however, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. The soldiers, officials and their families were  buried on the higher north-western corner of the Island, class rules were strictly enforced in life and death for these people.

The tour guide was engaging and obviously loved her job, she told us stories of some of the dead, the grave keepers, families and interesting burial facts.

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The other place I wanted to make mention of in this blog is the Coal Mines Historic Site. Port Arthur is on one side of the Tasman Peninsula and the Coal Mine is a drive to the other. It’s free to see, you just drive up and park. We didn’t know anything about the Coal Mine; but, a guy at the caravan park said that we had to go and see it so we did. We were the only people there at the time so had the whole place to ourselves and it was spectacular.

We had a detailed information brochure and map of the area so we self toured around. It was worth the short drive out to see it.

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins