About George & Shelly .... Off The Track

Married couple who love 4WDing, camping and travelling around this great country of ours. Join us on our journeys around Australia.

All about George & Shelly

We all love to pry into other people’s lives, right?! Well here’s your chance to find out who George and Shelly really are.  You read all about our travels and what we have been up to, but we thought it might be fun to get to know us a little better, so here goes ……..


SO WHO ARE WE?

Shelly is our ‘organiser’.  She is responsible for majority of our trip planning, accommodation bookings and research for our trips.  She is one of the most organised people you would ever meet, with lists and spreadsheets and folders available for every part of our trips!  She is also our social media expert, our blog writer and photographer.

George on the other hand is responsible for everything to do with the 4WD’s and camper trailer.  We never leave home without a fully serviced vehicle with only the best of everything.  Ensuring that we are safe and the vehicles are mechanically safe and sound is George’s no 1 priority.  George will happily spend hours, days or even longer researching new ‘things’ for our 4WD’s.


HOW DID WE MEET?

We met back in 2003 when George was managing a performance mechanical workshop and Shelly took her car in there to have some mods done …. Shelly got more than your usual amount of phone calls about her car while it was in the workshop for that week!

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Funny story is that we did actually initially meet way back in 1997, George remembered meeting Shelly, but he obviously didn’t make much of an impression on her at the time as she doesn’t remember him at all!  The first meeting was with Shelly’s other car, her parents paid to have her car lowered and some other work done for her 21st birthday.  George was in charge of wrapping the car in a big ribbon!

Fast forward to 2003.  George had just moved back to Sydney and gone back to his old job and in walks Shelly to query about getting extractors on her new car. To be honest, Shelly couldn’t have looked worse that day, she was unwell and certainly wasn’t out to make an impression at all ….. and George happily clarifies that she definitely didn’t make any impression! Our next meeting a few days later was a different story though and look at us now!

We married in 2013 in a beautiful relaxed ceremony at Richmond and a reception back at our house, it was the perfect day with family and friends and the perfect mix of fun, love and laughter.


OUR LIFE

We live in Sydney with our two dogs, our English Staffy, Gelly and American Staffy, Charli.  Gelly is the most stubborn, lovable, opinionated and vocal dog you’ll ever meet, we’ve never known a dog with as much personality as Gelly! Charli on the other hand is our little problem child.  She came to us with a number of problems that have taken us years to help her overcome, she destroys everything she can get her teeth or paws on (gardens, pool tables, 4WD mud flaps and trailer wiring, fences, shoes, clothing, fish pond filter) and if that wasn’t enough she also suffers severe separation anxiety and was even on puppy Xanax for a while!

Between the two of them we’ve had a broken leg (lucky us, we got the dog with a one in a million break …. what does that mean you ask? Well that means a top surgeon and a very expensive vet bill!). We’ve also had two torn cruciate ligaments, a torn meniscus and even a suspected snake bite (which turned out to be that Charli had probably choked Gelly by pulling on her collar and caused a retinal haemorrhage!) ….. let me tell you, all of this adds up to some very expensive vet work, lucky we love them.

We also have Bob (17 years old!) and Al the Cockatiels, Dodge the frog, Sam the snake and numerous fish!

We obviously love 4WDing and camping, but we also really enjoy our cruises and have done quite a few over the years.  During our down time we love nothing more than spending time with the dogs, whether that’s at home or jumping in the car to go for a drive somewhere, they both love the car and love 4WDing and being in the bush.

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We also love spending time with friends, a backyard BBQ or a visit to the pub is our idea of a good night.  Don’t get us wrong, the odd night at a top restaurant or a weekend at the Palazzo Versace is amazing and we do this every now and then, but as a general rule we don’t need all the fancy things, as long as we are with each other, family or friends, we are happy.


OUR VEHICLES

We own two Toyota Prado’s, a 150 series which is our touring vehicle and tows our Cub Brumby camper trailer, and a 90 series which has retired from touring and is now Shelly’s daily driver and our weekend 4WD trips vehicle.

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OUR ADVENTURES

You all know that we love to travel and go exploring, but another thing we enjoy doing is experiencing new things together.  It’s always been the one thing that we love, over the years we’ve both exposed each other to different things we love and shared many new joint experiences.  This can be anything from climbing the Harbour Bridge to exploring an underground mine to flying in a Helicopter.  Below are some of the great things we’ve shared together.


15 Random facts

  1. Footy teams – Canterbury Bulldogs (George), Wests Tigers (Shelly).
  2. Guilty pleasure? Chocolate & Slurpees (George), Massages (Shelly).
  3. Holden or Ford?  Ford (George), Holden (Shelly).
  4. We have ‘date night’ once a week.
  5. In our wedding vows George promised to let Shelly watch Home & Away and Neighbours each night and Shelly promised not to annoy George while he’s playing Playstation!
  6. No matter what, whether happy, sad or angry, we kiss each other good night every night.
  7. When we travel, George does 95% of the driving, but Shelly does 95% of the singing!
  8. Early on in our relationship we split up for a year and then got back together again, obviously we were meant to be!
  9. Our dog Gelly was named after the two of us … George & Shelly.
  10. In our younger years we have both been pulled over for drag racing, one of us more lucky than the other with the outcome! (obviously this was in the past with previous vehicles we’ve owned as Prado’s aren’t known for their drag racing abilities!).
  11. George has a habit of testing the fuel economy and fuel empty light of vehicles and we once had to be towed off the F3 motorway after running out of fuel.  Must tell you that we were about 2km from the end of the freeway and a service station!  Not embarrassing at all to be dropped off a tow truck right at the fuel pump!
  12. We’ve been incredibly lucky and have never ever had a flat tyre on either 4WD in all of our trips.
  13. We used to live in a rental property that came complete with its own family of mice, it wasn’t unusual to be sitting in the lounge room and see one wander by!
  14. We have visited every state in Australia, driven across every state border and visited the northern-most, eastern-most and western-most points of the Australian continent.
  15. Our dream (and plan at some stage) is to travel Australia for a year or two and move to Queensland.

 

Our Cub Campers Video

Earlier this year we briefly mentioned in our Year in Review blog that we had been approached by Cub Campers to be interviewed for their ‘Cub Stories’.

Late in 2017 we were approached by Cub Campers to see if we would like to feature in one of their ‘Cub Stories’, after they had seen our adventures on Instagram.  We love our Cub Brumby and the freedom it’s brought to us so we were more than happy to tell everyone all about it!

On Australia Day 2018 we headed away for a long weekend camping trip with some friends and it was here that we met up with Fiona from Cub Campers to film our story.

People who follow us on Social Media would have already seen the video, but we’ve had a few other people ask about it, so here it is!

The above video is from the Cub Campers YouTube channel and remains the property of Cub Campers.

The day we filmed was incredibly hot, we had our friends heckling from the sidelines and we had two whingeing dogs to deal with (thanks to Emma for babysitting them while we were interviewed!), but it was a lot of fun and it was great to meet Fiona and learn a little more about the Cub Campers business.

www.cubcampers.com.au

 

REVIEW: Shower Ezy

IMG_0765Anyone who has been camping or caravanning for a while knows how important it is to keep the clutter to a minimum. You start off thinking you need everything with you or you just won’t survive a night away from home …. let alone a week or more! Over time you soon come to realise that you have too much ‘stuff’ that just doesn’t get used and takes up precious space or weight allowances. So when you find a product that saves space and makes your life a little easier, you do excited!

Every now and then a product comes along and we just think ‘wow, why didn’t we think of that’! Well this is one of those products. And guess what, this idea came about by another camper who had that exact lightbulb moment, another camper just like you and I who wanted to make life easier.

This product couldn’t be easier, everything simply clips together on your lanyard, you walk to the shower and hang it over the shower head or the hook on the door and everything is right there at your fingertips.  No more leaving bottles behind after your shower, no more rummaging through bags to find what you are looking for and no more having to put things on the dirty floor.

So, before we go any further we must say that the wonderful people at Shower Ezy provided us with the Shower Ezy – ‘The Complete Set’ for free for us to review.  So below we will give our honest opinion of the product.  We did also purchase a few things ourselves so will review them as well.


Products

Shower Ezy offer a range of different products including silicone bottles of 2 different sizes, toothbrush/toothpaste bag, toiletries bag, body loofas, mini LED USB torch, soap bag/holders and key fob …. they’ve got it all covered.

Their ‘Adventure Pack’ is your go-to pack which includes everything, a lanyard, silicone bottles, loofah, microfiber towel, USB torch and toothbrush/toothpaste bag, as well as a water-resistant drawstring bag to store it all in.  How awesome is that!

Now these guys really have thought of everything, even the bottles are sized at 98ml to suit the carry on baggage limits of airline requirements (which is required to be 100ml or less).  So many people are travelling with carry on luggage nowadays so this makes it ultra easy.


Our Review

We are reviewing the products we have received.

Shower Ezy – The Complete Set – This set sells for $34.50.  This set is what started the whole venture of Shower Ezy, it’s the complete set of everything you need to make shower time easier.  It includes a lanyard in your choice of colours (Orange, Hot Pink, Navy Blue or Turquoise) we chose Hot Pink (ok, ‘we’ didn’t choose Hot Pink, Shelly chose Hot Pink)!

As well as the lanyard, you receive 3 silicone bottles and a body loofa.

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Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


Mini LED Torch – USB Rechargeable – This torch sells for $4.20, doesn’t get much better than that!  It’s water-resistant and rechargeable by USB which makes it super handy for us to charge either in the 4WD or the camper trailer.  To be honest, for such a small torch it’s quite bright, it would be perfect to take to the toilet/shower at night or keep in the camper trailer for late night toilet calls!  It’s so small and lightweight that you could even keep it in your handbag to have on hand for any occasion.

Click here to view.

*We purchased this product.


Body Loofa – This product sells for $3.95.  This loofa is a smaller size which is perfect for camping and it’s easy to attach and detach from the lanyard.

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Click here to view.


Toothbrush/Toothpaste Bag  – This product sells for $4.50.  This little bag is designed to hold your toothbrush/toothpaste/razor.  Made from mesh, with a nylon base, it means it will dry quickly so no need to worry about putting your wet razor or toothbrush back in here.  The drawstring pull keeps everything safe and secure and it’s easy to clip onto your lanyard.

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Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


Key Fob  – This product sells for $3.90 and is designed to keep your keys safe and secure.  The design makes it easy to clip on and off the lanyard, so no chance of losing your keys while you visit the amenities block.  George has already claimed our one of these!IMG_0758

Click here to view.

*We were gifted this product for free.


The bottles are designed from non-drip, non-spill, non-toxic food grade silicone and can hold whatever you like, eg shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shower gel, moisturiser, sunscreen.  Each bottle features a twisting lid to display what you have inside.  There is one blank display, aswell as Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap and Lotion.

Personally we are going to keep one of these in the 4WD with sunscreen, waterless handwash and aloe vera in the bottles.  This way they are always on hand when we are out and about and easy to just grab the lanyard when going to the beach or for a walk.

Buy one for each of the kids and no more arguments about who is going to use the shampoo first, no more carting different bottles to the shower block and no more leaving things behind after your shower.IMG_0760

Whether you are into camping or not, this would be handy.  Think hotels, weekends away, school camps, work conferences etc.  What you use this for and how you use it is totally up to you, the options are endless, just think about what is going to work for you.

Lastly we need to say that the one thing that really stood out about this company was the personal service that we received, the personal emails to let us know our order was on its way and even the personal note with our order to say ‘thanks’.  Also included is a little flyer on how to use the bottles.  It’s this personal service that you don’t often receive nowadays so it was certainly a pleasant surprise.


Ordering

Ordering couldn’t be easier, this is all done online via their easy to use website. There is a small shipping charge, as you would expect, and orders are posted out via Australia Post satchel, with tracking numbers.


Contact Details

Shower Ezy are based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

www.showerezy.com.au

showerezy@gmail.com

Search for Shower Ezy on Facebook

 

We have no affiliation with Shower Ezy and all views are our own, based on our own personal thoughts and experiences.

A day of tragedy … and the luckiest Monaro around

This story starts on Sunday 5th January 1975 and it details the incredible life and death situation that one family found themselves in.  This was definitely one lucky family, someone was certainly watching over them that night.

On this fateful night the Lake Illawarra cargo ship lost control and collided with the pylons of the Tasman Bridge in Hobart, Tasmania and this resulted in a large section of bridge collapsing into the river, taking the ship down with it.  Unfortunately a number of cars that were travelling on the bridge at the time were also sent crashing down into the Derwent River.

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Frank & Sylvia Manley and their young children were returning home from a day out and were unfortunately crossing the bridge at that exact moment.  They were travelling along the bridge when Sylvia noticed the lights disappear in front of the car and then realised that the bridge was gone and she screamed for Frank to stop.  The car slid towards the edge of the bridge, coming to a halt with the car swinging and front wheels dangling over the edge.  As the car teetered on the edge of the bridge, they slowly made their way out of the vehicle.  All this while, the Manley’s had no idea what had even happened as this emergency situation was unfolding around them.

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According to Frank, the only thing that stopped their car from tipping over the edge of the bridge was the casing of the automatic transmission, which gripped into the surface of the bridge.

From stories we’ve read, Frank has joked that he was glad he purchased an automatic as if he’d purchased a four speed manual they would have all died that night!

Little did the Manley’s know that what started out as a family day out would end in such tragedy and their car would be splashed across news screens and newspapers across the country …. and would ultimately make this probably the most famous and photographed HQ GTS Monaro of all time.

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Another vehicle, a Holden station wagon was also left stranded on the edge of the bridge and is seen in all the photographs from that night, but this vehicle did not receive the same publicity.  Although, the owners of the wagon were also very fortunate that night as they were hit from behind by another vehicle that couldn’t stop and luckily they too came to rest safely at the edge of the bridge.

This exact car is on display at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania in Launceston

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Click here to see a video about this unfortunate event and an interview with Frank & Sylvia Manley.

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Sadly, 12 people died that night, seven crew from the cargo ship and five people from within the cars that went over the bridge.

The bridge collapse had a huge impact on the residents of Hobart as the city was suddenly cut in two.  As most schools, hospitals and businesses were located on the western side, the eastern residents were severely affected.   The bridge was subsequently repaired and reopened in late 1977.

On the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, a plaque was unveiled that simply read ….

In memory of those who died

In recognition of those who were affected

In acknowledgement of those who assisted

The Tasmanian Community remembers the Tasman Bridge disaster of 5th January 1975.

Another plaque was unveiled for the 40th anniversary and at 9.27pm, the exact time of the event 40 years earlier, the lights were dimmed, traffic was stopped and there was a minute’s silence to remember and pay respects.

A very interesting story, one of tragedy and of luck but one that has been firmly placed into the history of Tasmania forever.

Tasmania ….. it’s a wrap!

So this is it, our last blog post on our Tassie trip, hope you all enjoyed reading about our visit!

Our first visit to Tasmania and to say we loved it would be an understatement.  This place is beautiful, the views are amazing and it’s filled with history and stories of life of days gone by.  Just as you think it can’t get any better, you turn that next corner and again you feel yourself saying ‘wow’.

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We left early on a Thursday morning for our flight and arrived in Hobart to a cloudy, overcast and rainy morning, not the start to our holiday that we wanted.

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Luckily for us the cloud quickly burnt off and it turned into a glorious day ….. as were the next 4 days aswell.

We were so incredibly lucky with the weather, apparently they were having a mini heat wave and we just managed to arrive in the middle of it which was perfect for us!

The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, the scenery was spectacular and the food was delicious, what more could you possibly ask for.

Now 5 days in Tasmania is nowhere near enough time, but it’s all we had and of course we made the most of it.  The black line on the map below shows where we travelled during our stay, so yeah we did a bit of driving!

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Before we left Shelly’s dad had said ‘watch out for all the roadkill’.  Now the last time he had been down there was before Shelly was born (so over 40 years ago!) and with all the outback travel we do, we thought we knew all about roadkill and it wouldn’t surprise us.  Boy were we wrong!  There are dead animals everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE!  You drive 2 minutes from the city centre and there is roadkill, the highways are full of it and get onto the smaller country roads and it only gets worse.  So note to everyone, watch out for the roadkill!

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As you could imagine, with all the roadkill around, this obviously means there are lots of little animals running around after dark so we were not overly excited about driving home from Cradle Mountain in the dark … this is where the 4WD with its spot lights, lightbar and bull bar comes in handy!  You don’t feel quite as safe and secure in a little Toyota Corolla!

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Who said Corolla’s can’t go 4WDing!

 

Hopefully next time we visit Tasmania will be with the Prado and camper and we will spend significantly longer there as, although we covered a lot in a few short days, you could easily spend a month or more exploring and doing some 4WDing.

So what was our absolute favourite thing about Tasmania?

George’s highlight was visiting Port Arthur, although we will go back again as we didn’t have long enough to fully explore.  He loved every part of Tasmania and was astounded by how picturesque and full of history it was.

Shelly’s highlight was visiting Devils @ Cradle and being able to pat a Tasmanian Devil, Port Arthur was a very close second.  She too was blown away by the ever-changing scenery and how incredibly beautiful it is.

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We also managed to knock off a couple of ‘Big Things’ for our list, the Big Cherry and the Big Platypus, both in Latrobe.

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The one and only thing we didn’t enjoy about Tasmania was how narrow the roads were and how many people insist on driving on the wrong side of the road.  You have no idea the amount of near misses we had, the amount of times we came around a corner to have a car heading straight for us.  Please be careful people.

After our visit, we now don’t know why it took us so long to visit Tasmania and we can’t wait to go back.  Make sure this is on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit ….. just one of many magical places Australia has to offer.

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Tassie Trip Day 5: Richmond

What a beautiful old town Richmond is, you can see why this is one of Tasmania’s most popular destinations for tourists.  This town is steeped in history and as you take a drive through the village your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the beautiful architecture of the old buildings, some dating back to the early 1820’s.

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You’ll find Richmond about a 20 min drive from Hobart, in the Coal River Valley.  The town itself is home to many cafes, restaurants and galleries, each operating out of resorted Georgian buildings that line the streets.  Visiting this town is like taking a step back in time, there is so much to learn and the buildings are like a work of art.

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Many of the homes are restored to their original standing, whilst the newer style homes are built to fit in with the surrounding architecture.  It’s hard to explain just how picture perfect Richmond is.  Even the surrounding towns are filled with beautiful wineries, it simply is one of the most spectacular areas of Tasmania.

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In the 1820’s, the gaol and courthouse were built, as Richmond had become an important convict station and a military post.  Built in 1825, the Richmond Gaol is the oldest gaol in Australia.

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Unfortunately both times we drove through Richmond were outside the opening hours of the gaol, so we were unable to stand inside the stone walls.

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The most famous landmark of Richmond (and our initial main reason for visiting) is the Richmond Bridge.  Building of the bridge commenced in 1823 and the bridge was officially opened in April 1825.

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This Heritage Listed sandstone bridge spans the Coal River and it is now the oldest bridge in Australia.  This amazing structure was built by convict labour and the design was an engineering achievement at the time.  In fact, for 10 years after it was built it had the longest span of any bridge in Australia.

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Now I’m sure that this isn’t the only one in the area, but the ghost of George Grover reportedly haunts the bridge.  Legend has it that Mr Grover was not a nice man by any means and often whipped the convicts as they quarried sandstone from nearby Butchers Hill.  One night he was attacked by the work gang pushing the cart and they threw his body onto the rocks below the bridge and his ghost is said to have haunted the arches of the bridge ever since.

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Never one to pass up the chance to visit a cemetery or photograph a church, next on our stop was St John’s Catholic Church.  Built in 1836, this is Australia’s oldest existing Catholic Church.

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Should you pay a visit to Richmond?  ……. for sure!  This area is beautiful beyond words.  I don’t think either of us could live in Tasmania as we like our hot sunny days too much (definitely couldn’t survive a winter in Tasmania!), BUT if we were to move there, we both agreed that this was the perfect place.

Tassie Trip Day 5: Cataract Gorge

A visit to Launceston is not complete without a visit to Cataract Gorge.  Just a 15 minute walk from the city centre and you’ll be in this paradise known as Cataract Gorge.

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The Gorge Scenic Chairlift, built in 1972, covers 457 meters, but the central span of 308 metres is believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world.

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As you travel slowly over the naturally formed basin below you can appreciate the magnificent views of this ancient rock gorge, plenty of time to take in the scenery and take photographs.

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We were quite unaware of what to expect when arriving at Cataract Gorge, but it’s spectacular, there are long expanses of green grass to relax under a tree, there are many walking and hiking trails, the chairlift and a swimming pool, a cafe and a restaurant.

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Of course there is also the wildlife that are wondering around, we saw plenty of birds and lizards, wallabies and peacocks.

The Alexandra Suspension bridge was first built in 1904, but was washed away by floods and subsequently later rebuilt.

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Information:

The Main car park is at the First Basin.  Follow the signs from York or Frederick Streets. Entry is free to walk around, but there is a charge for the scenic chairlift.

Website:  www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au 

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Tassie Trip Day 5:  The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

Both of us enjoy our cars, we both have differing views on what we like best but we can both appreciate our old cars, so a visit to The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania was a must for us.

The museum has plenty of vehicles from days gone by, as well as a mezzanine level packed with motorcycles.  All of these cars are privately owned and whilst some come with stories of their own, combined they all play an important part in our history of automobiles.  This is one of Australia’s most significant motoring collections.

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These small air compressors were a common sight in garages in the early 1930’s.  In the 1920’s they were revolutionary, having made the hand pump obsolete.  This is the famous Michelin Rubber Man pump made in Paris in 1926.

 


Information:

Open 7 days a week.

Address:  Cnr Willis Street & Cimitiere Street, Launceston, Tasmania

Website:  http://www.namt.com.au

Telephone:  (03) 6334 888

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Tassie Trip Day 4: Devils @ Cradle

‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’, you hear that phrase thrown around all the time, but we are about to use it again …. yes, this was another of those once in a lifetime experiences that was truly amazing.

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Devils@cradle is a wildlife conservation facility located in the world heritage wilderness area of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania.  This great facility focuses on Tasmania’s three carnivorous marsupials, the Tasmanian Devil and the Eastern and Spotted-tail Quoll.

The sanctuary not only raises public awareness and much needed funds for these animals, but it forms part of a nation-wide captive breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil.

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Their Field Monitoring Program collects data from within the Cradle Mountain area by use of remote cameras, road kill surveys, spotlight surveys and speaking with locals and visitors about their experiences and possible interactions.

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The keepers at this facility are all very knowledgeable and passionate about the devils and are committed to ensuring the long-term survival of this unique species.

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Both the Tasmanian Devil and the quoll are nocturnal creatures and quite shy and for this reason it’s actually quite uncommon to see one in the wild.

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Tasmanian Devils are currently listed as a vulnerable species under the threatened species act.  There are numerous issues impacting the long-term outlook for the Devils, but one of the more severe factors is Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

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A lot of you will be aware of Devil Facial Tumour Disease, but for those of you who have not heard of this (particularly our overseas followers), this is a debilitating cancer which is so wide-spread that it’s affecting up to 50% of wild Tasmanian Devils.  The disease is characterised by the development of ulcerated tumours which appear around the jaws and head of the devil.  The disease is fatal and an affected devil will generally starve to death within 3-5 months.

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DFTD is such a complex issue and there is no treatment or vaccine.  It appears that each tumour that is found is identical, with the same genetic code, which means that environmental stimulants can be ruled out and these tumours are being transferred directly between the individual devils.

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One reason for this could be inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity of the devil population and this is resulting in the tumours ‘transplanting’ from one devil to another.  At this stage it is near impossible to control this and this is why places like ‘Devils @ Cradle’ are so important for the future preservation of this species.

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One thing to keep in mind if visiting the sanctuary is to take a warm jacket!  The day we visited it was summer and we had been in shorts and t-shirts all day, but by the time we reached the sanctuary (which is around 850m above sea level) it was absolutely freezing and our change of clothes and jackets we took with us were greatly appreciated!

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The tour we took part in was called ‘Dine with the Devil’ and this was a chance to have an up close and personal interaction with the devils in a small group – in our case, it was a personal tour for just the two of us!

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We were supplied with a beautiful platter of Tasmanian salmon, cheese and crackers, olives, dip, wine and beers.

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After spending time watching these cute little guys playing we had the unforgettable experience of meeting one of the young devils up close and patting her.

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After a walk around the sanctuary grounds and learning a little more about the devils and quolls, it was time to feed the hungry devils and roast some marshmallows around the campfire.

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These devils may be small, but they are strong, you wouldn’t believe the weight pulling on that rope.  We were stunned at just how quickly the devils devoured their meal aswell, all completely gone … fur, bones and all!

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The tour ran for around 1 hour and we had a little extra time to watch the devils playing before and after the tour.


InformationYou can choose from Day Keeper Tours, After Dark Feeding Tours and of course, the Dine with the Devil tour that we did.

Website:  www.devilsatcradle.com

Email: info@devilsatcradle.com

Phone: 03 6492 1491

Address: 3950 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania


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If you are interested in donating to this worthy cause, here is the link http://devilsatcradle.com/content.php?id=donations

Tassie Trip Day 4: Platypus House

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Who doesn’t love a Platypus!  These elusive little creatures are very rarely seen in the wild and to be up close and personal with them was quite an experience.  Plus, then throw in some echidnas aswell and you are set for a truly unforgettable experience.

This place is likely to be as close as you’re ever going to get to either of these creatures and we absolutely loved it.  Unfortunately the playful little platypus turned out to be quite hard to photograph, so we didn’t get too many good pics.

The Platypus House was established to educate and provide public awareness and understanding of these two monotremes.   What is a monotreme you might ask?  Well, let us explain (as we are experts now!)  Don’t worry, we had no idea up until a few weeks ago either!

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Monotremes are one of the three main groups of living mammals, along with placentals and marsupials and they are distinguished by the fact that they are egg laying mammals, rather than birthing live young.  There are only 2 egg-laying mammals left on the planet and they are the platypus and the echidna.

Platypus House is home to Tasmanian platypuses and Tasmanian echidnas, both of which are unique to Tasmania and not seen anywhere else in the world.

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Once you enter the Platypus House you are shown a video about platypus and given a lot of information about them, before being taken on a guided tour of the facility, firstly starting with the platypus pools to see them playing and watch them feeding.  You then walk through the echidna garden to watch them feeding and wandering around.  Now this was a cool experience watching these cute little creatures wobble around the room, even climbing over people’s feet if you happened to be in the way!


Platypus

img_3100So many words to describe the platypus … beautiful, mysterious, majestic, cute, odd, elusive, playful.

These unusual little things swim, but they have feet.  They have a duck like bill, a long flat body and a tail like a beaver or otter …. this is one strange-looking creature, but really, could they be any cuter!

Thousands of years of isolation have made the Tasmanian Platypus genetically discrete from other Australian Platypuses and makes them one of the most unique animals on earth.

Platypuses actually have two separate layers of fur, which help to keep them warm and dry.  They spend all day swimming around and hunting for their food but when they come back to land to eat, this two-layer fur feature keeps them warm as the second layer has basically kept their skin dry.

You see, when the platypus is on land, the two layers of fur trap air between them and help keep his body dry and make him more buoyant when swimming.  Once he enters the water, the little air pockets are released between the fur.

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Did you know …..

Male platypus have spurs on their hind feet that can deliver venom into their victim.   

Yes they may look like these soft, cute, cuddly and playful creatures and you just want to pat them, but think again.  We were told that if you are injected the effects are immediate and long-lasting, the extreme pain can apparently last for 3 months!.  Initially the excruciating pain is so bad that even morphine doesn’t help alleviate it.  But that’s only the beginning, soon you can become nauseated and suffer from cold sweats and swelling starts.   img_3099

Now we were told that a human is not going to die from this, although they may feel like they would rather than deal with the pain they are feeling!, but if it were a baby or a small animal it’s highly likely the result would be fatal.

And in case you were wondering, yes it’s only the nasty males that want to harm you!  The females are born with a spur, but it does not have any venom and generally falls off before adulthood.


Echidna

IMG_0407Echidnas are strange-looking too!  They have long beaks, are covered in spikes and are very awkward, but again, like the platypus, watch these little guys in action and they are just so adorable, you can’t help but love them.

Echidnas are very common across Australia, but, like their platypus mates, they are actually seldom seen by people in the wild.

Anyone who knows our little Gelly – or staffys in general, will know that they are little bulldozers and they won’t stop for anything, if you are in their way they are going through no matter what!  Well being in this garden was like being surrounded by little spikey Gelly’s who did what they wanted and walked where they wanted, whether you were in their way or not, one walked straight over the top of my foot!

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Did you know …..

*The spikes on the Echidna are very strong and sharp and are used for defence.  When they are feeling threatened, they will curl up and leave only their sharp spines exposed.

*A baby Echidna is called a ‘Puggle’.

*Echidnas have no teeth.

Spend a few minutes watching these guys walking around your feet and you can’t help but fall in love.  

 


InformationPlatypus House is open 7 days a week and is a 45min drive north of Launceston.  Your entry to Platypus House includes a guided tour of the platypus pools to see them playing and feeding and also a walk through the echidna garden to watch them feeding.

* Platypus House and Seahorse World are located next to each other.  You can purchase a ‘Tamar Triple Pass’ which gives you access to Seahorse World, Platypus House and Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre and offers a large saving on entry fees.

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