In town we stopped at the Fisherman’s Club where we had a glass of beer and ale. After leaving refreshed we headed down to Asling’s Beach where we walked alongside the water to a rock pool at the end of the beach. After walking down the Maritime Heritage Walkway that borders the beach we went over to Lake Curalo where they had built a nice wooden walkway all around the lake. We did see a few small sheep farms that backed up to the lake and took a few pictures of the sheep. We met a few folks from our ship that suggested we walk over to the local golf course where they had seen some kangaroos. This turned out to be the highlight of the day. When we got to the golf course we took a beer/wine break while we watched some men playing lawn bowling. In the distance we noticed a few kangaroos and we went out to see them more closely. We first ran across a small family (mother with two young ones) around a tree. We took several pictures before heading over to another area that had over 20 kangaroos. They were just sitting and watching us closely. When you got within about 20-30 feet, they would just hop away. It was hilarious to watch golfers hit up onto a green where kangaroos were hopping across the green. When the golf carts came up the kangaroos would scamper away. We took many pictures and videos of these kangaroos on the golf course. After that we walked back to the port where we took the tender back to our ship.
It is very easy to get into the Melbourne city center from the port. For $15 you can get an all-day transportation pass and either take the tram or the bus into town and back. We elected to take the 45 minute walk along a walkway that followed the tram tracks all the way into the city. It was a very pleasant walk. Once in the city we walked into the Crown Entertainment Plaza which was a hotel, conference center, casino, theater, and shopping mall along with many restaurants and bars everywhere. The atrium in this building had a very nice display set up for the Lunar New Year 2019. This plaza is located on the Yarra River right across from the Melbourne Aquarium.
From there we walked to the Queen Victoria Market that everyone talked so highly of. It was just a very large flea market with a nice farmers market attached. Across from the main marketplace was an indoor market with various food places to eat. We tried a sandwich and soup that were both very good. We then decided to head to a Costco that was over in the Dockland District. We found that an Australian Costco had many items unique to Australian’s cooking and lifestyle. The building itself looked a little different with an underground parking lot and the outside of the building being black and red. The Costco was located right next to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel (large Ferris wheel). We walked around the Dockland District looking at a few of its many shops
From there we headed back to the city center where we viewed the historic looking Flinder’s Street Train Station which is right next to St Paul’s Cathedral and Federation Square. This square was quite unique with several very unusually shaped buildings containing some of the local art museums. Behind Federation Square was a small park which bordered the Yarra River. There were at least 50 regatta boats being placed into the river for what appeared to be training lessons. Coaches would ride bikes along the river bank and yell out instructions to the rowers on the boats. Around the bank of the river we could see Rod Laver's Stadium which had just held the Australian Tennis Open Finals only two days before. We walked back along the opposite side of the river and visited Southgate which was a very nice river walk area loaded with bars and restaurants. We stopped at a bar on the river underneath one of the pedestrian bridges for a quick beer and spritzer. At that point we decided to walk back to the port. By the end of the day we found we had walked 18 miles around Melbourne!
We had booked a tour through Viator at this port. The tour started out with a bus ride up to Mount Wellington. This was a summit that overlooked Hobart and the surrounding area. It had a fairly flat plateau at the top which was over 4,200 feet above sea level. It was cold and windy at the top and hazy skies.
The bus then took us to a small town called Richmond which was in the wine area of Tasmania. The village had the oldest bridge built in Australia back in the mid-1800s. Next to the bridge was an old church. It was a very picturesque setting with wild flowers blooming all around and ducks floating down the river. The town itself contained many small shops, bakeries and restaurants located in some historic buildings. The town was originally formed around one of the first prisons built in the area. It seems much of Australia’s history was created by the prisons built and the prisoners who served their time and became upstanding citizens. If they didn’t become good citizens, they were hanged for even the smallest crime such as stealing.
Our final stop on the tour was Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. This was one of the main reasons we booked this tour in order to see the famous Tasmanian Devils. This is an endangered species due to several reasons. Over 100 years ago man introduced dogs, cats and dingoes to the area which greatly reduced the population because starvation and attacks. The devils are meat eating rodents and look like over-sized rats (but much cuter). The main reason right now that the devils population has dwindled to only 50,000 is a cancer called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD). Tasmanian Devils contract this disease when bitten by another devil that has the disease. If they get this disease there is an 80-90% chance they will die. There is no known cure for the disease which has been around for over 10 years killing off 100’s of thousands of Tasmanian Devils. This preserve had 17 devils of which we only really viewed 3. We watched them get fed and watched them fight each other. Although they look very cute, they have some very sharp teeth! This sanctuary also had a very large quantity of kangaroos that just lounged around and allowed you to feed and pet them. It was another great opportunity to have an up close encounter with one of Australia’s most famous animals. There was also a Koala Bear that was in a small tree that we were allowed to take close-up pictures. We also saw one wombat at this sanctuary which was very shy but liked to be held. We were able to spend a little more time on this preserve and enjoyed getting some good pictures of these unique animals.
We then drove into town followed by a quick tour of the city before heading back to the ship. After dinner, we went back to visit and walk around the town. It was an enjoyable day in Tasmania!
Greg & Sharon