The fish place, the Gateway Café in Orford, Tasmania (-42.55911,147.87235)was empty on that New Year’s day, 2011.
We had gotten a late start leaving Hobart because of the parties the night before. The night before was New Year’s eve after all. The first party was at Battery Point in town (near -42.889761,147.332909) and then outside town on Sandfly Road, I think (-43.019898,147.164941). I saw the Southern Cross for the first time that night. Or was pretty sure I had. We were the only paying customers in the place. I had fish and chips for the first time in Australia, flathead, crumbed, with chips and salad. This was the best fish and chips I had had in my life up to that point. Midwestern standards are pretty low though with frozen breaded cod or some other unknownfish portions with little taste. A pretty weak baseline for comparison. My companion and loyal native driver had squid.
Although she was a Tassie, born on the Island, she was still very cautious in her driving. Luckily we were not pulled over for the swimsuit inspection. The Speedo check. Hilarious. I thought it meant everyone needed to pull over and show their Speedo’s. (being an Australian company and all).
We had stopped earlier to get camping supplies at the Anaconda store (-42.825121,147.467709). And although she constantly claimed vegetarian bona fides and was mostly a vegetarian there was some kind of Tasmanian childhood demon that caused her to want those cheap little sausages at a “sausage sizzle”. They were being sold as a fundraiser for a deserving youth organization in the area, and with all that pork fat are guaranteed to rot your gut. We picked up air mattress parts and a new air mattress at the nearby camping store. After this supply stop, it was back on the road until the stop at Orford for the fish. The petrol at a station in nearby Triabunna, as the Orford station was closed. It was all new to me. The eucalyptus (gum) trees. Everywhere. The grass like the scenery from coastal California south of San Francisco. The driving on the other side of the road. The sitting in the driver’s seat and being a passenger.
The cars were considerably smaller. Lots of Subaru Forester late models running around. Utility vehicles, “Utes”. A bit bigger than a Ford ranger and a bit heavier duty but not as bid an an older Ford F-150.
We arrived at the Gardens (-41.17712,148.273253), north of Binalong Bay, late of course, to meet all the friends. We had a lovely dinner with pleasant conversation, laughter, gaiety, dessert, wine, and coffee. With a gas powered cooler. We slept well on the deck with the sound of the waves just fifty yards away.
In the morning it was up a bit of “breckie”, eggs and toast and coffee with milk foamed with a coffee “frotha”. I suppose that was after the discussion of the importance of putting lipstick “lippie” on to make one feel a bit better. And the swimsuits were “bathers” or a “cozzie”. Then we packed everything up and headed up the coast a couple of miles to take a walk along the Bay of Fires. Absolutely gorgeous. The first beach I had seen with the incredible white sands and turquoise waters. Absolutely spectacular “specky” as they say. We parked the car at the end of a short road (-41.16337,148.282674) and headed out to walk along the beach a ways, up a ways. Just breathtaking views. A very beautiful place to visit and enjoy.
(c) 2012 Edward Weck