After leaving Sydney we spent two nights in Hobart. The first day we just walked around a bit, bought a pass for the Tasmanian National Parks and when the motel room was ready, we relaxed a bit. I had fetched a cold (maybe from the air conditioning), so I slept a bit. The next day we walked a bit further and visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart, which celebrated its 200th birthday last year.
Our campervan “Wolly”
On Wednesday, 9th January, we finally could pick up the first campervan of our trip. When we arrived at the Apollo office, I saw a van with a license plate containing “WOL” and I joked whether Wolly would be our van. It wasn’t, but this didn’t stop us from naming our van Wolly anyway (yeah, I know, we need help). We were the first customers at Apollo and got our van really quickly. After Lucky and Brizzy in New Zealand, Wolly is our third van and the introduction we got by Silvie was probably the most detailed one we ever got. And it was even in German. We didn’t ask her, but from her accent, we guess Silvie might be from Austria.
The van is only 6 months old and spotless clean. Silvie showed us everything and confirmed what we had read about the campervans in Australia lacking a waste water tank. In New Zealand the vans have a such a tank and you get rid of your “grey water” (the water from your sink) at dumping stations using a water hose. Apparently in Australia, the water flushes out immediately and seeps away under you van. We feel really uncomfortable about this… especially when you rinse off tomato sauce from a pot and you see the reddish puddle next to your van. This doesn’t feel right…
… which is why, after failing to put a bucket under the van, we bought a little plastic tub. This was actually a great idea, because when we arrived at the Mount Field National Park campground, we read a sign that asked campers to collect their grey water and dispose it in a drain.
Make yourself a home
We immediately went shopping for groceries at Coles and it took us more than two hours. We do have a fridge in the van, but it’s quite small (smaller than we had last time in New Zealand) and given that this is not just a one week vacation, we have to do the budget and hunt for special prices. I’m glad that Marcel convinced me to buy some plastic containers, to store our canned food once opened. During our previous trips, we mainly bought fresh vegetables, so I hadn’t though about what to do with half a can of chickpeas, beans, or mushrooms. Even when we stay at a camping site for more than one day, we often use the campervan during the day to go to places. So it’s necessary that everything is stored safely, otherwise a half can of mushrooms would make a total mess when you hit the brakes. Speaking of mushrooms: We totally love mushrooms and put them in every dish, so we usually prefer fresh ones. Unfortunately, with $11 per kg (about 6,85 €/kg; in Germany it’s less than 4€/kg), they are way too expensive in Australia.
We then took the ferry to Bruny Island and found a nice spot at the Neck Game Reserve Camping Area. The campground is close to the beach and has “long drops” which Marcel checked out. The toilet was clean and didn’t smell. I’d like to add here that similar to New Zealand, public toilets tend to be very clean and equipped with toilet paper! This is seldom the case in Germany (which is why I would usually avoid them at all cost).
At this campsite there were no washbasins though – so hand washing, tooth brushing, etc. has to be done in the van. (Coming back to the issue that it has no waste water tank 🙄). People self-register at this camping site and we paid $10 for one night.
We then started to get a bit more organized in our home. The van has some storage space below the benches where we not only put our groceries but also our little packages of clothes. Again: the IKEA pack bags are so practical! Not only to compartmentalize the backpack but also storage space in the van! You avoid total chaos and easily find what you are looking for.
After our new “home” was set, we walked a bit along the beach. I suggested to turn around, but Marcel saw, that we were quite close to the Truganini Lookout (google maps called it “The Neck Lookout”). It commemorates the Aborigianla woman, Truganini. It was more than 200 steps to get to the lookout and the view was stunning – despite the clouds. On the way back we felt quite dehydrated even though it wasn’t that warm. Lesson learned: NEVER go without water!