26 Mar – 01 Apr 2021
“Oh look- car wash!” I braced myself against the passenger window as David took an earlier exit off the roundabout than the SatNav’s instructions.
“Really?” I asked chuckling still braced against the window. We were fresh off the Spirit of Tasmania, navigating our way out of Davenport and I didn’t remember the car being particularly dirty.
“Yes” He said decisively. What can I say, my husband likes a clean car. I guess it’s only 5 months old. He gave it the works including the foaming conditioner and a blow dry. Yes. A blow dry.
With plenty of time to kill before we were due into Stanley, we mapped a route that hugged the coast and stopped anywhere that’s looked interesting.
“Pull over, when you can.” I was keen to take a closer look at the coast with the jagged black rocks. Just outside of Ulverstone the road ran parallel with the shore.
We were both still drowsy from the crazy-early disembarkation from the Ferry, despite a post stakeout-breakfast snooze in the car. Coffee was on our mind, as we approached the coastal village of Penguin.
We found a bakery with a lovely view of the bikes strapped to the back of the car, and shared a hot cross bun while staring droopy eyed into our coffee. It was 8.30am and we’d been awake for four hours.
Freshly caffeinated, we continued our meandering course to Boat Harbour Bay, a tiny pristine bay complete with pastel boxy beach houses nestled into the side of a hill. Settling onto a timber bench we soaked in some sunshine and watched the clear turquoise waves ripple ashore.
Too tired and wired on coffee to really take anything in, we decided to just get to Stanley and try our luck at checking in early.
I messaged the property via the ’Bookings’ app but we still hadn’t received an answer by the time we rolled into Stanley. So we parked at the beach reserve picnic area, pushed the seats back, pulled out a pillow and settled in for another snooze.
Later we explored the beach and popped into the village for supplies.
The Pelican, our ‘Beachside Retreat’, is one of four cabins on a stretch of private beach of a cattle property, 5 mins from Stanley.
It’s fully open plan in the literal sense – there are no internal doors, not even for the bathroom. Yeah, that’s a bit weird. It’s light and airy and the views from every area are sensational. It’s also completely private being densely planted native vegetation between the cabins.
“Oh wow! Oh my God, it’s perfect!” Breathed Dave gravitating straight to the floor to ceiling windows. He opened the glass door and we stood on the balcony for a moment, taking in the view.
“Goooood choice! Clever wifey!” he joked as we unpacked the car.
Over the week we were captivated by the ever changing view. The different moods as the weather changed, as the tide came in, and went out. Way out. As squalls formed out to sea and blew onto shore or across the horizon. As the sun set over the water in a dazzling display of colour. The full moon’s silvery light was so bright, we had to climb out of bed to watch it sink into the ocean.
“It’s got a very English vibe, it reminds me of something, Northumberland, childhood maybe.” Dave said standing at the huge window watching as a pair of huge sea eagles hovered overhead. “…a magical quality.”
I love how much David loves this view. On another day he said, “I don’t know why, but this might be my perfect view. It’s more interesting than a sea view, with its tide up and down and the different bird life.” I turned from roughing out a painting composition, and looked at David standing at the full length window contemplating the shimmering view. My contented husband.
The light quality of this place, has inspired us to get back to painting. Pulling out my last few oil paintings and seeing them in a different light, really helped to get them finished. The motivation to paint continued and over a couple of days, I started and finished a costal scene from Philip Island.
I resolved to paint a scene from each of the locations we visit. I think I’ll include another tab on the blog to keep track of my sketches and paintings as we go. A visual travel diary. Who knows, perhaps we can have an exhibition when we return to Sydney.
David was setup at a table looking directly over the estuary and he was prolific. When he wasn’t painting, he had his portable studio out and was busy composing.
“Come on, let’s go and explore the estuary” Dave said dropping his paint brush and looking at me, eyebrows raised.
“Okay, then!” I agreed “I need to let this dry, before I keep fussing with it” I said stepping back from the canvas for a better look.
We booted up and and jumped down off the veranda onto the overgrown dune and tried to find the overgrown path. We knew to expect erosion at the dune edge from our introductory chat with the property owner.
“Can you go first…” thinking of spiders, “and watch for snakes?” I followed behind my galant man as he pushed through the bracken. It was only a few meters to the edge of the dune, and then a steep scramble down onto the beach.
It was low tide, on our first day. As we walked along the sore our boots sank into the sand, by a good few centimetres. It felt really strange to walk through.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out to be quicksand…” He said looking at our boots.
A squall had formed out to sea and was headed our way so we turned and beach combed our way back. I was interested in the pristine patterns.
David said “Imagine owning our own private beach.”
We also found a rhythm for exercising again. We need to focus on strength training to prevent injury and help with our running and riding endurance.
I’m itching to get my knee match-fit for trail running so I’d go for a warm-up run before we did a HIIT session. I ran down our driveway through the property to the road and back. It was only about 1.5k return.
There is a menagerie of animals along the front paddocks leading from the road to the farmhouse. Besides sheep and cows, there were bored looking camels, a pair of donkeys, llama, emu and ostriches, turkeys, geese, peacocks including a snowy white one, and a Macaw parrot in a cage. I hate seeing birds in cages.
I tied to quietly past the paddocks, but the sight of a girl jogging caused quite the ruckus. The macaw screeched and wolf-whistled, a young brown Llama ran towards me and then away, the geese squawked and the donkeys trotted over to me.
I stopped. I love donkeys. I patted them through the fence. I’m pretty sure they expected me to feed them. The skittish Llama came back when he saw me talking to the donkeys. His fur was so soft. I jogged on past the camels who looked at me down their nose and continued chewing.
The days are going so fast, and the week flashed by.
Suddenly, it was time to leave.