Day 5: Going Home

No. of wrong buses I got on: 1

Time I got home: 2am

No. of times I pretended I was Snow White talking to animals: 14,000

I’m sorry I didn’t write yesterday. I guess I could have told you sooner. A part of me had this ideal scenario playing in my head where I, through some miraculous chain of events, would have enough time and energy to write a post last night. Tough luck.

Yesterday morning, I spent getting ready for the day, cleaning up, packing, making sure I had everything, and then checking out of my room. Leaving my suitcase at reception, I made my way out in search of a place to write … I mean, have breakfast … but really, write.

I found a place that was open, overlooking the street below. I had fresh air, a view, food, and a notebook. I couldn’t have asked for more. I spent the next hour or so, eating, sipping a chai latte and scribbling (and, yes, I mean scribbling. My handwriting is atrocious) in my notebook until I felt that I had, again, outstayed my welcome.

Grabbing myself a venti tea from Starbucks, I headed back out to the botanic gardens. I loved my time there the day before and I hadn’t fully explored the place.

After walking round for a while, enjoying the breeze—feeling like I was an additional character in the secret garden—I found park bench overlooking the river and began to read Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like a Book. It’s a good one. You should check it out. I’ve already finished it.

I lasted about half an hour before I moved, and found a park bench to write at.

From there, I made my way back to the hotel to pick up my suitcase, and then to the shuttle bus to the airport.

Of course, being me, the journey home was not at all smooth. Once I landed and collected my luggage, I got on what I thought was the bus to the car park where I parked my car. As it turns out I got on the wrong long term car park bus, and got a lovely night tour of the wrong car park before arriving back exactly where I started.

After disembarking and being directed to the right bus, I was finally one step closer to getting home.

The drive home was pretty smooth. Long, but smooth.

I arrived back at 2am where I promptly passed out on my bed and stayed ‘til morning.

Thus, my April trip 2017 ended.



Day 4: A Day of Pure Existence

No. of words I wrote: 1043

No. of photos I took of lizards: 16

No. of times I made a wish that my future children will be as engaged with a movie as the one that was sitting next to me: 14,000

I began the day by searching for a café to have breakfast, laptop in hand. Due to the mood I was in, I found this quite difficult. No, no, no, no, no, no … ehhhhh … no, no, no, no.

Finally deciding on a place to eat, I sat and immediately opened my laptop and began to type. I was surprised by how engrossed I got. I was determined to get as many words out of me whilst I had the chance.

I sat there for a good hour and a half, oblivious to all the people walking past, all the other diners, all of the staff. I sat and wrote until I thought I had outstayed my welcome … and my laptop was losing its charge.

I headed back to my hotel room, put my laptop on charge and decided to explore the City Botanic Gardens. They were gorgeous. The sun was out, and so were the lizards—sunbaking, enjoying the sunlight slowly heating their blood. They were obviously used to the attention. Most of them just sat there silently judging all of the people taking photos and fawning over how cool they looked. I was one of those people. They were awesome.

Next stop was the bookstore. I spent about an hour in there, browsing, taking in all of the pretty covers and just generally enjoying being in the company of books. I left having purchased two carefully chosen books.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around shops, looking at clothing and buying a few things here and there.

Back in my hotel room, nearly falling asleep, I made the decision to go and see the new Beauty and the Beast. I was seated next to a little girl who gave her own unprompted and innocence driven commentary throughout the entire thing and I have never been more happy to have my movie viewing repeatedly interrupted. In short, the movie was entirely magical. I loved it immensely.

It was the perfect end to my day.


Day 3: Animal Bonanza

No. of teas before 10am: 2

No. of times I was astounded by the innocence of children: 2

No. of times I wished that I could take an animal home: 14,000

Today ran so much smoother … probably due to the fact that I wasn’t the one in control of organisation.

Entirely by chance, I found out a couple of weeks ago that my uncle, aunt, cousin and my cousin’s friend were to be staying nearby. So they kindly offered to come and get me in their hire car and take me to the zoo for the day. It was awesome.

After about an hour’s car trip, we finally arrived at the home of Steve, Bindi, Robert and Terri Irwin – Australia Zoo. This was my first visit, and I have to say I was impressed. Of course, Steve Irwin’s aim in life was to get the general public to be as passionate about the conservation of the world’s wildlife as he was. He wanted to share his passion with the world and I think that it’s made apparent at this zoo.

We saw everything from lizards, to koalas, to kangaroos, to giraffes, to lemurs and even an alligator snapping turtle.

Over the course of the day, we witnessed the Irwins, themselves, feeding crocodiles and we saw three keepers have a play with three tiger cubs (when I say tiger cubs, we’re not talking little. We’re talking the size that could easily maul you, but still young enough to be called “cub”).

In short, I uttered the word “cute” a lot and stared at a lot of animals.

A good day, right?


Day 2: Up in the Air

No. of times I got lost: 3
No. of times I made an idiot of myself: 3
No. of times I considered napping: 14,000

The morning of day two went thus:

5.27am Woke up remembering I had not booked a shuttle to take me from the airport to my hotel.

6am Booked shuttle.

6.45am Alarm went off.

7.30am Left the bestie’s.

8.47am Arrived at airport.

After arriving at the airport, I went through the usual rigmarole – boarding pass, checked luggage, boarding, seats and tray tables in the upright position.

When we touched down and I was reunited with my luggage, I headed off on a shuttle bus to the city. Due to all of the stops we had to make along the way, I got a pretty rounded view of the city I had now found myself in.

After disembarking from the bus, I made my way around the corner to the hotel I was staying at and marched pointedly up the reception desk, told them my surname and instantly my jaw hit the desk.

‘No, I’m sorry, we don’t have a reservation under that name. Are you sure you booked with us?’

‘Yes. Well, I think so.’

”Have you got the right one? There are a few of us around the city?’

Of course, in typical Sarah fashion, I had not taken it into account that there might be more than one hotel with the same name in the same city. I mean, I knew it was a chain, but I just didn’t think that there could be two in the same suburb. Anyway, of course I had the wrong one, and of course I would be the one to make that mistake. So off I went … four blocks (approximately) to the other hotel, where I did have a booking.

Despite a few mishaps (I wouldn’t be me without them), there were a couple of things that I witnessed at the airport and on the plane, though, that made me smile.

  1. In the food court at the airport, I witnessed the children of a young family play a spelling game between themselves.
  2. I sat next to an elderly woman and her daughter whilst waiting to board and I learnt more about them in five minutes than I thought I would.
  3. I sat opposite a baby and his mum on the plane. He was a restless little soldier, but when she flicked through the pages of a magazine, he was completely mesmerised.

These three things, made me marvel at the world. Small things, small actions can make someone else’s life that much more enjoyable.

I knew I was going to be nervous today. I made myself promise I would push myself. So I did. I talked to those strangers sat next to me and I went out in the afternoon and evening even though all I wanted was to sleep.

So, on the whole a good day.

I’m off to bed. I can barely keep my eyes open.

See you tomorrow for day 3.

Psst! It’s gonna be a good one.


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Day 1: A Rocky Start.

Total no of phone calls to Dad: 4

Total no of phone calls to the bestie: 5

Total no of times I nearly cried in frustrated rage: 14,000

After a slow start to the day …


I set off from home at around 10.30am. Everything was great. I packed in record time and I had everything I needed (or so I thought).

I got ten minutes from home and realised I had left hair ties at home. Not a big deal. I could get some replacements on my way. I wouldn’t be able to survive without them. My hair falls down to the small of your back, and is sometimes quite unruly and needs to be tamed with a nice high ponytail. I digress.

Thirty minutes from home, I realised that I had wet washing in my washing machine that I hadn’t hung out. After four days away, they were going to be well and truly mouldy and unwearable. Back I went.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back on the road.

About two-thirds of the way to Melbourne, I made a loo stop, only to find that my car was struggling to start. Car troubles are not uncommon for me. They seem to happen when I least need them to happen. After a couple of tries, I got him up and running again and off I headed.

Arriving in Melbourne, I as usual with me, got lost …

But I have now finally made it to Melbourne, and am now in the comfort of my bestie’s apartment. I have cooked us both dinner of Indian-Style Lamb and Eggplant Pizzas…

and I have made her bed, given her presents … and am currently ignoring her presence because I am writing. OH GOD, I’M A TERRIBLE FRIEND.

So … day one has been a rocky one. But I eventually made it here, and dinner turned out to be a smashing success.

I’m now off to spend some quality time with my favourite person!

See you tomorrow!


Travel Log: A Hurrah to Hobart Day 5

So, it’s been a few days since day 5. I have no excuse other than tiredness and an immediate return to work. It’s amazing how much travelling takes the energy from your bones.

On Friday, our last day in Hobart, we had a lovely bruch down at the Brooke Street pier overlooking the water. The sun was out and the food was glorious.

From there, we went back to the museum and art gallery, because we didn’t get enough to look around on day 3. An exhibition entitled ‘The Tempest’ was on and showcase a range of sea scape representations of ‘tempest’ as well as internal ones.

Having thoroughly exhausted all the museum and art gallery had to offer, we went on a bit of a spending spree, buying loved ones and ourselves the presents we felt were warranted. We had tried to reign ourselves in over the last few days, but felt it was finally time to buy up.

The rest of the day, we played a waiting game. Our flight wasn’t leaving until 9.30pm, so we flitted in and out of coffee shops and a few well known retail stores (only window shopping because we had reached out spending limits).

We arrived at the airport about 3hrs early for our flight.

Once we arrived at my friend’s home, we fell into bed before I embarked on my 4hr drive to my own home.

Friday’s lesson: do not book a flight that late at night unless you have something planned to fill in the day.

Travel Log: Hilly Hobart Day 4

We started today with a walk in a cloud. At 10am, we met the bus and driver that would take us up to the summit of Mount Wellington.

All week we had wondered whether we would be blessed with snow on our visit and whether we would actually be able to see anything because of the cloud that the mountain constantly seemed to be wearing like a top hat.

As the bus crept higher, the cloud got worse and by the time we actually reached the summit, the furthest we could see was about 2-3 metres in front of us.

The forecast was telling us that it was 2 degrees Celsius when we stepped off the bus. It felt like it was -10. The wind was positively arctic and did not let up one bit.

By the time we got on the bus, our bodies were considering shutting down, but we carried on and began our desent.
The kindly bus driver stopped along the way so that we could take photos of the view of the city below.

Soon after arriving back in the city, we boarded a ferry to MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art. We sat at the back of the boat and watched to world go by.

The museum itself has many ingenius and abstract exhibits, as well as a few designed to shock and alienate.

Once we made our way through it all, we stopped at the cafe and had a pot of tea overlooking the Derwent River.

By the time we were back on solid ground in the city, we were starved, so we went in search of a burger place we had heard was great. It was a bit of a hike, but we eventually found the German themed Burger Haus nestled in the hills of North Hobart.

Lastly, because our day was filled with decadence, we stopped off on our way home at a gelato place for dessert.

Lesson for today: wearing two coats on Mount Wellington is never a joke.

Travel Log: Haunting Hobart Day 3

Today we experienced the joys of Hop-On-Hop-Off. To be honest, I love them. It’s a way of experiencing a city without the trouble of trying to navigate your way around.

At 10am, we were down at the first stop, ready to meet the double decker bus that would take us around the city.

From the top deck, we saw Battery Point, St George’s Church and Princes Park as well as some enchanting historic architecture before finally disembarking at the stop for Female Factory in the Cascades region of Hobart.

This place affected me more than I thought it would. For those of you who don’t know, Female Factory is kind of like the female equivalent of Port Arthur.
Female convicts sent to the Female Factory were made to work to carry out their sentence — this mostly comprised of laundry.
I found the place eerie and depressing though thoroughly interesting.

Once we were finished there, we headed up the hill to the Cascade Brewery where we had a Cascade beer (meaning my friend had the majority of a beer and I had two mouthfuls which made my face involuntarily distort).

Thoroughly amused by my utter dislike of the taste of alcohol, we got back on the bus and headed to The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens.

Here we saw a baby Huon Pine tree – native to Tasmania and takes 1000 years to become a mature adult! It took us a good 20 minutes to find the tree – lucky I like a good puzzle.

The Botanic Gardens here is also the home of a subantartic garden which is basically a building which contains Antarctic plants and simulates the Antarctic climate – super cool in both senses of the word!

We ended our visit to the gardens with a Tasmanian blend pot of tea and a slice of red velvet cake in the cafe.

The rest of the afternoon comprised of visiting one of Hobart’s famous bakeries and drooling over the many desserts on display in the cabinets, briefly visiting the museum and art gallery before it promptly closed 15 minutes later, and visiting a bookstore (more drooling ensued on my part).

Lesson learned today: hills are not my friends…

Travel Log: Picturesque Port Arthur Day 2

Today, after a night of listening to the constant slamming of doors throughout the night, we ventured out into the chilly Hobart morning to meet our tour bus for the day.

Our guide and bus driver, a lovely local Tasmanian chock full of Dad jokes, filled out ears with plenty of convict information on our hour and three quarter drive down the penninsula to the historic site of Port Arthur penal colony.

It was my third time there; I went twice with a school trip — a tour during the day and then that night for a ghost tour which has actually scarred me for life (sorry lovely ghost tour lady!) — and it was so much better than I remember it.

Any one who knows me, even a little bit, knows that I am a super history nerd and this played right into my hands. We began our Port Arthur visit with a 40 minute walking tour of the grounds. I found this beneficial in terms of getting your bearings. The Port Arthur settlement is actually quite big! Bring your walking boots! The tour gave us some great stories from the convict days and a general gist of what life was like when all of the buildings you see around you were in use.

After the tour, we began to explore on our own, strolling the remains of buildings like the church, government cottage and the penitentiary and the other buildings in pristine condition llike the commandant’s cottage and other little cottages dotted throughout the settlement.

In the middle of exploring time came out boat cruise. We stood out on the upper deck for twenty minutes as we drifted out into the harbour and around a small island called The Isle of the Dead — this is where all of the convicts, soldiers and officials who lived on the settlement were buried. You can see the headstones from the boat!

At 3pm, we had to say goodbye to our beloved Port Arthur, and make the trip back home. It wasn’t without perks, though, because we stopped at two natural geological anomalies in the Tasman National Park called Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen where we saw the penninsula at its finest.

Lesson for today: consider buying a house near Port Arthur to enable historical obsession.

Travel Log: Historic Hobart Day 1

It’s currently 6.30pm in beautiful Hobart. The sun has set and all the light globes are blazing in the buildings that are not alone.
It’s my 4th time here, my friend’s 1st. It’s my first time back in 10 years.

Though Hobart is a capital city, a crowd of trees is never far away. The histoic buildings, like customs house and cascade brewery, make a standard capital city picturesque and wonderful.

We set our alarms for 6.30am — an abominable time — and were on our way to the airport by 7am. The temperature was icy and the sun hadn’t bothered to open its eyes yet.

Both of us had set roles our trip ahead. My friend, driver; me, navigator. There was one problem with that scenario… I am the worst navigator.

Everything was fine until we got close to the airport. I got distracted and started talking about something entirely different and then… “Shit! There goes the exit!”

It took about 10-15 minutes to turn around and take the exit again from the opposite direction, which I guess in hindsight is really not the biggest time delay, but internally I was blaming myself for our potentially missing the plane and having to go home before our holiday had even begun.

But, of course, we had left plenty of time for potential delays — being two women riddled with anxiety — and we reached the airport with close to 2 hours to spare.

After checking into our hotel and setting up, i.e. dumping our bags on the ground and spread-eagling on the bed before eventually deciding that, though a rogue mouse in the ceiling kept us up for the majority of the previous night, we should probably go and explore our surrounds.

Off we went, brave and intrepid, with no coats (another stupid mistake) and went off in the general direction of the water, with Google Maps on my friend’s phone as a guide.

After about 15 minutes of walking, and still no sign of water, we consulted the map again and realised that instead of heading in the correct direction from the off, we had been heading in entirely the wrong direction. So back we went from whence we came, stopping briefly at the hotel to pick up mild insulation in clothing form before heading on our way again.

Here, we found a place for a late lunch and a drink and a few shops to browse before we made the trek back to the hotel and stocked up on snacky supplies.

Today’s lesson learned: neither of us were born to be navigators.