My relentless schedule meant that we checked out of the resort at 730am and spent the next 2 hours driving to Launceston. We took the route through Elephant Pass. It cut through the mountain range and was so narrow that I concluded no elephants could have passed through the road easily!
There were many sharp bends and we even saw a barn for pancakes. It was too early so it was not opened.
When the road got easier, I volunteered to drive but Mr H had everything under wraps. I could chill, snack and nap while he drove. I reckoned for the 9-day road trip, I only got to drive 20% of the time.
That was the perk of having a seasoned long distance driver for a spouse. I enjoyed driving but not so at limited speeds. We, of course, appreciated the GPS regular warnings on speed checks. The GPS was also handy in areas where Optus had zero 3G network which was pretty often.
We finally arrived at Cataract Gorge. It was a very accessible attraction and we even bumped into a Taiwanese travel documentary filming crew!
I shared the chair lift with Z. It was a pretty nice ride which gave a quick overview of the gorge. We were not into walking so we opted for a 2-way ticket.
Mr H might have felt the need to make up for the lack of exercise and decided to check out the peak of the gorge which would be a 30min round trip of steep slopes, no proper walking paths and extremely unrecommended to attempt with kids.
So he surprised us with the enthusiasm to climb up the peak.
I was very appropriately dressed in long skirt, varinas and cambon tote. NOT.
I did not want to be a party pooper but the back of my head was sounding alarm bells. There were quite a few times when I looked down to peek at the steepness and the lack of handrails and thought to myself, how deep the ravine was and how far down would I fall… And the weather looked like it was going to pour.
Thankfully it did not.
I was quite glad when it ended and we chucked ourselves at the picnic bench to finish up the apples and sandwiches. We popped up to the Duck walk and Alexander bridge before seeking out the famed scallops pies.
There was a beef steak pie which was as delicious too.
We went to downtown to shop. The shopping streets were a tad better than I expected. We managed to score a few superheroes apparels too.
Along the street
The parallel parking was pretty cheap at $1ish per hour but there was a limit that cars could only park for one hour there. I clarified with the parking attendant and she was very sweet to approve letting us extend the parking by another half an hour.
At 315pm, we left the shopping area, refilled the fuel tank and headed to Launceston airport for our 5pm flight to Melbourne.
I got rather worried when I did not see any Qantas planes at the airport or coming down the runway. Even at 445pm, there was no sight of a Qantas plane. I got pretty upset because I had paid more for Qantas which had a better track record than Jetstar in the area of delayed or cancelled flights.
Imagine my amusement when a tiny Qantas plane sauntered into the runway at 455pm!
Z was very amused too. We sat near the wings and he actually got to see the plane retract its wheels! Despite the size of the plane and the lack of out-of-order inflight entertainment via wifi on laggard iPads, we were quite happy with the flight because of the stash of snacks provided. It was better than our Mel-Hobart flight.
Upon arrival, it took no time for the luggage to appear and domestic arrival was a breeze. Just step out of the door and that was it.
We took a station wagon cab. It cost about $60 with the toll charges. The sky bus would have been cheaper at $41 or $70 for round trips. With the luggage and the kids, cabbing made a lot more sense. Subsequently, we found out that the size of vehicle did not affect the meter fares and there was no surcharge for advanced booking.
No car seat!
We went to Short Stay Melbourne Apartments’ office at City Road to collect our keys and instructions. We booked a 2-bedroom apartment for 3 nights at $300+ a night.
The apartment overlooking Crown Casino
I was very happy with how new, clean and spacious it was.
It was 730pm when we put down our luggage and walked over to Meat & Wine company for dinner. We also picked up some groceries like kiwis, milk, water, snacks and eggs from the nearby Foodworks which actually closed at 11pm.