Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So I made it to cradle mountain with Trish and had a great time. We left early Monday morning and headed west to the national park stopping in Sheffield for a look around and some caffeine. The small town was known for its murals, but was nothing really exciting, I didn't even take any pictures. We continued our way to Cradle Mountain and arrived at about 11:30. It was a cloudy day and we had not seen any evidence of rain, but I put on my jeans just in case! We took a shuttle bus to dove lake, and picked our trail that we where going to take. The summit walk is about a 6-8 hour return walk and decided against that, plus my foot had been really sore and I didn't want to hurt it any more. We decided to do Marion's lookout walk and when returning we would take a longer trail back. We took the steep walk up, which was pretty much right up the side of the 'hill', and the last quarter of the hike had chains to help you as it was that steep. They where used with great thanks! It was only about a 45 -60 minute hike up, pretty good timing I think - especially with a sore foot! The view was pretty amazing and we stopped for a break and to eat lunch. We met a couple from Melbourne, and she had just had heart surgery in November and was out hiking.....good on her!
On the way back, Trish and I where chatting away.....we talked pretty much the whole trip! and as I was walking, I heard a bunch of flies swarming around, I glanced over and to my surprise, there was an echidna!!! I called out (wouldn't say it was a yell, but you all know me :) ) AN ECHIDNA!!!!!! I was so excited to see an echidna in the wild, and it was the first time Trish had seen one as well. We stopped and took pictures of it, and I of course had to get in there and get a picture of me with it!! Once we where finished taking pictures Trish spotted on the side of the trail..... a pile of shit......which is what the flies where attracted too. Lovely. But I guess thanks, cause if it wasn't there I would have walked right by the cute little creature!! We ended up walking for about 3 hours, don't know how many K's it was, but by the end the bottom of my foot was quite sore and I was ready to call it quits. We probably could have done the summit (which isn't really a 'summit', but its the highest point you can go) that afternoon, but i don't think my foot would have been all too happy. We headed back to the car and drove to our hostel. We where hoping to cancel our reservations and drive up to Devonport as we had finished a lot earlier then expected, but no such luck. We settled in and headed back to the Cradle Mountain lodge for some chow and drinks. Trish and I got along great and chatted till almost 10pm!! Oh yeah, and that was after moving tables as we had some lovely insects try and join us for supper - roaches. Ugh. We killed a couple baby ones on the table, but there where about 3 or 4 others that hung around on the ledge and this wooden post. We mentioned it to the waitress and the manager came by, but they didn't do anything about it. I get the hibby-jibbies just thinking about it!!! The next morning we got up and drove to Devonport. Devonport is on the northern coast and it is where the Spirit of Tasmania docks if your arriving from Melbourne or Sydney by boat. I think its about an 8 or 10 hour ride over and I've heard it can be quite rough crossing the Bass straight. I think I'll just fly thanks :) It was a cloudy day, no rain, but a bit windy, I had woken up with a sinus cold and Trish had to work in the afternoon, so we decided just to drive around and not do any walks. Thank goodness cause my head cold got worse as the day went on! On the way back to Launceston we stopped at a chocolate factory which had awesome chocolate AND fudge, a cheese factory - mmmmmm, cheese! and saw a hotel called the Lucas Hotel!!
All in all, it was a good trip....I had great company, I saw Cradle Mountain, stopped at a few other smaller towns, ate some chocolate, cheese, and the highlight: I SAW AN ECHIDNA!!!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Liffey Falls

So I have met this lady, a friend of one of my roommates, who works in the operating room at the hospital, and she loves to walk! We both work full time and were finally able to get some time off together to go for a hike, or bush walk as they call it here. Her name Trish, and she is from New Zealand, working in Tassie making some extra cash. Don't worry, she's been over to out place visiting with Sadie (my roommate) and so far she had checked out good.....nothing too crazy that I can spot!!! LOL

We both had to work in the afternoon, we headed out bright and early, at 0800, to a place called Liffey falls. She had the car rented prior to, as well she drove, which turned out to be about an hour away. It was a short walk, only about 40 minutes return, to the falls, which where beautiful!!! It is the start of Australia's fall time and so not much rain has fallen over the last few months, so the waterfalls are not at there best, but still beautiful. I love waterfalls and could spend all day sitting and relaxing by the water. The sound the falls make, the peace and quietness at the falls, the beautiful scenery.....all breathtaking to me! Because there was not much water coming over the falls, we decided we would cross over the rocks at the base of the falls to see the other side. Clumsy me slid off one of the rocks and both feet landed in the water. Good job Amanda. Oh well, it wasn't cold - the water or the weather, so it wasn't that bad, just more of an embarrassment that I slid and Trish, who could be my mom, didn't!!! I made back OK without slipping though, so I redeemed myself! We enjoyed the serenity of the falls for a bit, then headed back up the track to the car park. We had some time once we where done, so we stopped in a couple of small towns, Deloraine and had lunch in Longford. The drive was beautiful as always and the weather was sunny and warm....a perfect day for a hike! Below are a couple pictures from the hike as well as a wallaby and a peacock I saw at the gorge last weekend. Next Trish and I are driving out to Cradle mountain and spending the night in the national park. Should be fun!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

its only just begun....

I'd have to say I'm pretty proud of this!!!
4 continents, 12 countries and 89 cities....and I'm only 26! I can't wait to see how many more I can see! I feel like its just the beginning :)
...and yes, I will get to antarctica.....one day!

It's not that easy....

....photoshop that is!!  I got my package of Photoshop Elements 4.o in the mail as promised from St.Helen's guy....and finally sat down and played with some pictures this evening.  Well, one I only slightly adjusted, but the other I wanted to change the color of the sky.  Four hours later......

Yes, four hours!!  The original picture, which the before and after are posted below, was a very cloudy day so the sky looks white, and I wanted to change it to a blue sky.  I tried the help setting on the program, but that was not much help (when is it really??)  So I went on-line, which as most people know can take forever sometimes!!  I found a video, which in the end helped me the most, but at first it wasn't working well for me.  Oh yeah, and it took forever to download the whole video, more time wasted.  I didn't have a picture of just a sky to cut and paste in as the video suggested.   I tried to use one and duplicate it, but that was just a disaster!!!  Finally after playing with the settings on my own and making tons of mistakes which included making the koala bear blue, then making the whole picture blue and trying to 'paint in the blue sky'. Finally with a bit of help from the video....I got what I wanted!! Oh, but wait, how do I export the file back to iphoto? That was another 30 minutes of searching on forums, which was a waste cause I couldn't get an answer. So I ended up just copying to my desktop and importing. Oh computers.... Next,.......nah,forget it.....no more photoshop for awhile!! LOL


and after!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

once upon a time....

If anyone knows me, they know that I am not the most avid reader. I blame school. Yes, school. Once I finished university (or uni, as they say here), I was SO sick of reading text books, I had no desire WHAT-SO-EVER to read a novel! I would try and pick up a book to read, but would not get very far and then be drawn to the TV, or the internet, or I'd fall asleep, or I'd have to go to work.....excuses I know, but it just didn't happen. Even on holidays, I'd be out on the beach and within 10 minutes of reading, I'd be passed out on the beach chair snoring, literally (and not from the alcohol, lol)

When getting ready for my trip over to Australia I brought one book in the hopes that I might get up the energy to read, and yes, it takes energy! I started reading on the plane, and to be honest, I didn't think I'd finish it and I'd end up leaving it at some hostel. But to my surprise, I finished it, a couple weeks later, but I finished it. And that included reading on the beach for a time period longer then 15 minutes! I picked up another book....and finished that as well.  And you know what, I'm enjoying it! I have a west facing balcony, so when I get home from work I usually sit outside with my book and read for a couple of hours enjoying the sun, as well I usually read before bed.  I'd say most has to do with the fact that the TV here sucks....we only get 4, sometimes 5 channels, and to be honest, I have no desire to watch TV. I think since I've been in Australia (apart from watching sports, which was mainly the tennis when in Melbouren) I have only sat down in front of the TV about 5 times, no word of a lie. Even being here in Tasmania and 'settled' down, I don't really care to watch the TV. I go for regular walks, I've also joined the gym, and I've rented a few movies. I guess you could also say that I have done more cooking in the past month, then I have in the past three years!!! K, its not that bad, but I have no one to cook for me .....I miss you mom and Donna!!!! (as I look over at my very burnt garlic bread with a tear rolling down my cheek!!! haha)
I am currently on my 5th book, Dark Watch by Clive Cussler, and look forward to doing much more reading.....and hopefully it won't stop!!  Off I go to read now..... :)
And here is a picture of my burnt garlic bread....I wasn't lying :(  I wish I could say it was because I was reading, but I was chatting on-line....lol  

The picture doesn't do it justice, it was black as molasses and rock hard!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I did it!! lol

Yup, I rented a car, and managed to not hurt/kill anyone or anything!!

I decided when I woke up Wednesday morning to bite the bullet and just DO IT! So I walked down to the gool ole' Hertz dealer and rented a little Hundai Getz car. It worked out to be $50, and I had a limit of 200kms. I was given an automatic, which I think I am now grateful for, but would have driven a manual. I headed out of the parking lot, and I was off. I have to admit, the hardest part for me was getting used to the fact that most of the car was to my left, not my right!! I stopped a few blocks from the dealer to have a look at a map and make sure I knew where I was going, and I hit the curb parking.....oops. I also liked to hug the left side of the road maybe a but too much and caught myself going over the white line quite a few times....but as the day went on I was better at driving in the middle! Oh yeah, and the damn signal was on the right so I kept putting on the windshield wipers when signaling!! haha
I drove to George town, 51 km's from Launceston, which was a beautiful drive - actually all of Tasmania is beautiful and I love driving!! I'd love to be a tour guide! Not much to see or do in George town, so I headed further north to Low Head where there are a bunch of light houses built in the early 1900's. I also drove to the top of Mount George for some amazing views of Tasmania as well as George town and the Tamar river. I then headed back south and crossed the Tamar river on the Batman bridge and headed back north to Beauty Point. I stopped for lunch and had some awesome fish and chips, then made my way to Seahorse house and Platypus world! I loved it! I got to see 20-minute old baby seahorses - they where so tiny, you could barely see them! As well as some very cute platypus's and echnida's!! I love the echidna's! Did you know their tongues can get as long as 18cm's.....yes CM!!! LOL! Once I finished there is was after 4, and to be honest, there was not much else to do, so I headed back home stopping a couple times at some tourist lookout points. I drove back into Launceston a different way, and was a little nervous driving in the city because it was rush hour, there are a bunch of one-ways and it is damn near impossible to find the street signs!! But I managed - phew. I took advantage of having the car and stopped at the grocery store and of course the liquor store!!
I survived the day and am glad I did it, now I won't hesitate to rent a car and do it all over again....and I'm sure I will!
Here are some pictures from the day:

Monday, March 9, 2009

To rent a car or not too??..??....

Yes, the question of the day.....do I rent a car or not.

Now normally this would not be so much of a dilemma, however I have many things to consider this time around. The fact that I don't have a car makes it quite simple that yes, I pretty much have to rent a car in order to get around to some of the places I want to go in Tasmania. Some buses do run between towns, however timing is always an issue. I want to go to George town and Beauty point, about an hour away, and I'd have to catch the bus at 8am and the last bus leaving is at 2:15.....not giving me all that much time, and if I miss it, I'm in trouble!! I am also living in a country where they drive on the wrong side of the road....yes, the WRONG side! I have had this argument many times with the aussies, both parties win! I am pretty sure that I have gotten used to this wrong side of the road business.... I haven't been hit by a car when crossing the road, and have been trying to pay extra attention when sitting in the passenger seat trying to adjust to 'the other side'. BUT, this doesn't mean that I am 'ready' to get behind the wheel. Someone taught me to make sure you are always driver to driver....if the other person coming at you is not closest to you, you're in trouble!! I plan on renting a car when I am done working and traveling around a bit before leaving, so I'm gonna have to do it eventually, I just can't decide if I want to do it now...(tomorrow). I guess I'll see how confident I feel when I wake up tomorrow...... ;)

I've added some pictures I took while in St.Helens

Friday, March 6, 2009

you never really know someone......

yup, I have discovered that you can never really know what is going on in people's lives. I already knew this, but found out first hand over the last couple of days.....

After my allergic reaction, and being given tuesday off as well has having wed/thur already off, I planned and headed out to St.Helens, east coast Tasmania. I hoped on a bus tuesday afternoon and arrived 2 1/2 hours later to the small hamlet of St. Helens, population of about 2000. I stayed at the YHA, a cute little house converted into a hostel.  I had pre-arranged with a tour guide to hopefully take a one day tour of all the sights/beaches/walks on the wednesday, however, I was the only one booked and he would not take just one person, and no one at the hostel was interested in going. Brent, one of the owners, suggested I talk to Trevor, a traveller staying for 6 nights. I originally asked if he wanted to take the tour with me, but he said no as he had his own rental car, but he would take me as long as I helped pay for petrol. I thought, yeah, sure, he's in his 50's, seems like a nice guy, and Brent suggest I talk to him. So Wednesday morning, I got up, had brekky, and we were off in his rental car to Binalong bay and the bay of fires - a world renowned beach. Not long after we left, I found out that he was an amateur photographer just like me, and so we got along great! He taugh me some things about taking photos, and I was never rushed to get to the next place! We sent to many beaches and sights that day, had lunch back at the hostel, then headed up to the northeast coast of Tasmania to see some more sights and take more photos. The weather was really intermittent and we had showers on and off all day, but we where lucky in that it always seems to poor when we where driving. He mentioned that he was going to go to St.Helen's point and take pictures of the sunset and I went with him. We got there quite early, so went for a short walk on this path, and we started talking. I already knew that he was divorced and had 2 kids, originally from the UK, but lived in Brisbane and has been in Australia for 30 some odd years. I also then found out that he has suffered from depression, as well as was diagnosed with bipolar a couple years ago, was found in Singapore in a psychotic state, spent a night in jail, as well as some time in a psyhc ward getting put on meds. I never felt scared or harmed, but I have to admit I did feel a wee bit uneasy when he was first telling me this.  I was somewhat relieved to be back at the hostel around other people!! 

The next day I was unsure whether I should go out with him again, but I decided that he was completely harmless and it was nice to have some company while traveling. I learned more about him that day, more about his personality and decided at the end of the day that that was enough.....thank goodness I was heading home the next morning!! He gets very passionate about politics and certain beliefs, and you could hear it in his voice when he talks about it. He hates the Americans. And I'm sure if I was American, he wouldn't have offered to take me out to see the sights. He also got very irritated when he was hungry, which I found very annoying. We stopped at this cafe that made cheese (the Holy Cow! Cafe) to have some lunch on Thursday, he ordered some soup and I ordered the burger. We unfortunately just arrived after a bunch of bikers had arrived, so we had to wait a bit. It was only about 10 minutes max that we waited and my burger came out first and he said to the waitress, "what, I order the soup and she gets her burger first??". He never said it in a rude or angry tone, but you could tell he was very irritated!! I was like, dude, take a chill pill!!!!
Anyways, it was a very interesting two days with him, and am glad I am home!!! He is going to mail me photoshop for mac because he doesn't use it, so I am very greatfull for that!! Below are some photos I took

Monday, March 2, 2009

my first encounter with the australian health care system....as a patient!!

Yup, I had to make my way to the emerg department as a patient yesterday.....damn allergies.

So this is the story.....I had no intentions of buying my supper at the hospital, but as it turned out, I forgot my tuna at home. A piece of bread and cheese and crackers was not going to cut it!! I decided I would buy something to eat at the cafeteria. The options are usually what the patients get, and that day was sweet and sour pork, something else that I can't remember or gnocchi pasta with bacon and chicken in a white cream sauce. Of course I go for the pasta!! I asked if there was any pesto in it, they said no. I didn't specifically ask if there was any nuts and didn't say that I had allergies. Anyways, I also got some veggies, and potatoes. I sat down, had some of the potatoes, and veggies, then decided to try the pasta, had one gnocchi, mmmm, it was tasty, then had another bite......then I could tell. My throat felt funny, my lip started to swell up a wee bit. I pushed my plate away, explained to two of the girls that where with me what was happening. I went up to the cafeteria, explained what was happening, and they said none of those ingredients where in the pasta. They couldn't find the exact recipe in their book, and so I have no idea what I reacted to. The only thing I can think of is the oil they used?? I grabbed my stuff and went straight to emerg, they got me settled. Put an IV in me, gave me 150mg of hydrocortisone, 150 of ranitidine, and an antihistamine/anti nausea drug. I was unaware the the anti-histamine was also an anti-nausea drug, and I was feeling nauseous, and to be honest, I would have rather just vomited the shit up instead of keeping it in my system....oh well, it eventually did settle. They kept me for about 3 hours and by then, my throat was feeling better, my nausea had subsided, and I wanted to get the hell outta there! They gave me 50mg of predisone to take over the next 2 days, and I have some benadryl at home.
I felt bad having to leave the ward last night and of course we where already down a nurse apart from me having to leave. Thank goodness my patients where on the mend, and there was not much that needed to be done for them. The doctor also told me that I should not go to work today :) No complaints on my behalf, and it works out even better because I have the next two days scheduled off!!
So I guess no more hospital food for me....I just have to remember to bring my damn lunch/supper!!