Tuesday 24 November 2020

An Unusual Journey to Paradise

After a rough start to 2019, we entered 2020 ready to make it our year. Our plan was to return to Tasmania and settle down in the Burnie region. Well, we made it to Tassie, but settling in Burnie didn't quite work out. No worries, I don't think 2020 has actually gone to plan for anyone!

When we arrived, we stayed with our good mate Rachel. The plan was for a month while we figured ourselves out. We both got a start working... then Covid happened. The jobs disappeared, the state went into lockdown, and things weren't looking too bright. Despite the situation, we continued looking for a rental to call our own, and Burnie yielded knock-back after knock-back. We then broadened our rental applications to stretch across the state. Due to this, we ended up getting a lease for a quirky little house in a town called Bicheno. 


Now, we had been to Bicheno before. Sure. We drove through it between visiting the Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park back in 2018. Our memory of the place was minimal. What we did remember, however, was how awesome the coastline north and south of the place was. At time of writing, we've lived here for almost 5 months, and I honestly feel like we are living in paradise. 

We initially started travelling around Australia in search of that perfect place to call home. While the actual concept of the perfect place has certainly changed over the years (2013 Cameron would not have been able to accept living nowhere near a good dropzone!), we both often randomly announce how much we love living here. We have ocean views from our lounge room, less than an hour from Freycinet National Park (which I adore), I love exploring the coastline—to both the north and south—for amazing locations, and I have caught many super-tasty fish spearfishing within a kilometre of the house we rent, and many of the locations I'm discovering.

Yep, spearfishing. That has become my passion this year. I'd been out with my good mate Dane many times in NSW, just snorkelling on nice days while he shot a few fish. I'd taken a few shots, but none that landed. That was until the 28th of December 2019, when I shot a holed up blackfish. It was an easy shot that anyone could have taken, but it felt super good. It was also the 30th anniversary of my pop's passing, a man whom I never got a chance to know, but was quite the avid hunter, fisher, and spearfisher. 

After moving to Bicheno, I had to get in the water. It's crystal clear here. But, oddly enough, bloody cold in winter. I ended up getting a wetsuit, then some spearfishing gear, and have been constantly improving my abilities to provide a top feed of fish and abalone. Anyways, I do intend to go into my journey as a beginner spearo in another post! Oh, I also got an old Rav4 to be my spearfishing transport. Again, not quite a troopy, but it's not a bad little buzzbox!

While the state had its borders up, I completed a Graduate Certificate in Tourism, Environment and Cultural Heritage, a semester-long course with University of Tasmania. And now have a casual bar gig to keep me honest between shooting fish. 

Not much travelling happening now, which I'm perfectly ok with given the world's issues, but I am super-happy with how 2020 has panned out for myself, and I know that Jeni feels the same! 

On another note, the Tasmanian borders have recently opened. I must confess, I do have a slight fear of another outbreak, however, it is good that others are getting a chance to enjoy this island that has been Covid free while most other places have not. Will be amazing if tourism can boot back up and the state remains clear. Throughout the year, I've been coming up with ideas for tourism businesses. Perhaps I'll start one up sooner than later?


Tuesday 17 November 2020

End of 2018 -- What About 2019?

Well, would you look at that? We've been absolute slackers and not posted since our trip to Magnetic Island in 2018. Better late than never!

After leaving Tassie early in 2018, we were keen for some warmer climates. Our trip up the east coast was full of adventure—seeing apostles, sea-turtle hatchlings, and platypus—ending in Palmerston (just south of Darwin). Jeni landed a job she'd always wanted: lifeguarding. I slowed down on the writing and opted to get back behind the bar, working in a club.

At first, the weather up there was a nice change from that of Queenstown, Tas. Then it got hot. And hotter. And bloody humid! I found myself hiding in aircon (at home and at work) more than I thought I would. Stupid body, getting older and not acclimatising as fast as it has in the past! We did get out and have some fun, but we spent a lot of the time working.

The Beer Can Regatta is an event that happens once a year. This is a race that involves watercraft... made out of beer cans!

Litchfield National Park is one of the must see parks of the top end. It's of a decent size. We spent a couple of days exploring the various parts of the place.


While 2020 has been an incredibly bad year for many, 2019 had a rough start for us. In January, the bar I worked at (Palmerston Sports Hub) shut down. Not long after that, we were unable to register Rocky (our troopy) due to the surface rust getting a bit much. Then, not much longer after that, we had to vacate our share-accommodation. Homeless, jobless, and troopyless, we decided to fly back to NSW and plan where we wanted to head to next... after a trip to America! I did mention that we worked a lot, and it was time we enjoyed ourselves!

I'd initially semi-planned for this trip to go ahead not long after the club shut down, purchasing a ticket on the 2019 Writing Excuses Cruise. After coming home and having a few beers with my good mate Dane, it was decided that this cruise would be preceded by a USA west-coast road trip!
We had quite a blast on that trip, starting with a few margaritas in LA, a quick daytrip to Compton, explored a few NPs, like Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, and experienced some iconic places like the Hoover Dam, Vegas, and Houston's NASA base. The cruise was also a lot of fun, and I met some incredibly talented writers. I could go on, but you're here for info on Australia, not America, right? Fair enough! 
After our USA trip we ended up buying a Mazda 3 (not quite a troopy...), packed all our stuff inside, and set off to settle down back in Tasmania. So how did 2020 actually kick off for us? I'll type that up for the next post!