north to south

I had assumed our journey from the North Island to the South Island of New Zealand would be in a north-south direction. In actuality, the crossing of Cook Strait is from east to west. Named after Captain James Cook, who first mapped it in 1773, the waters of the strait are considered among the most dangerous and unpredictable in the world. The regular ferry service is often disrupted due to rough water and heavy swells from strong winds. Fortunately, our early morning sailing from Wellington was on a sea of glass.

About half of the 70 kilometre voyage is in the strait before entering the spectacular Marlborough Sounds.

Many of the small settlements, surrounded by steep, wooded hills, are only accessible by boat.

With 1500 kilometres of coastline, the islands and peninsulas of the Sounds comprise one-fifth of New Zealand’s total.

Made up of four distinctly different Sounds (Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus and Mahua), it is boggling to think that 10,000 years ago, this stunning area was actually a valley.

Three and a half hours after leaving Wellington, we arrived in Picton Harbour at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound.

As we drove out of town, we paused to look back at the breathtaking scenery and bustling harbour before continuing our South Island adventure.

Southern Swan

Strolling around The Rocks in Sydney one morning, we noticed a magnificent tall ship sailing in the harbour.

1.James Craig

The James Craig, a 19th century barque, was rescued in 1972 from Recherche Bay in Tasmania where she had been purposely sunk in 1932. Restoration began in Hobart before she was towed to Sydney in 1981 where the work was completed and she returned to the sea in 2001.

2.James Craig

Watching her gracefully glide across the water, we knew we wanted the experience and promptly signed up for a twilight dinner cruise on the Southern Swan, berthed at Campbell’s Cove, The Rocks.

3.Southern Swan

Originally named Our Svanen, the three-masted barquentine was built in Denmark in 1922 and traded as a grain carrier through the cold waters of the North Atlantic. She then sailed Baltic trade routes as a cargo vessel for Tuborg brewery until she was purchased as a private vessel in 1969. Since then, she has served as a training ship with the Canadian Sea Cadets, travelled to Vancouver for the 1986 World Expo, sailed to England for the First Fleet Re-enactment and returned to Australia for the Bicentennial First Fleet Re-enactment. She now has a lovely home with stunning harbour views.

4.Southern Swan

For two hours, we sipped champagne and enjoyed a delicious three course meal surrounded by the most beautiful harbour in the world (in my humble opinion). I was fascinated by the ropes and pulleys, works of art with a purpose.

As we neared the magnificent Sydney Heads, Bradleys Head lighthouse, built in 1905, warned of treacherous waters. The mast mounted on the point is from HMAS Sydney, renowned for her battle with the German cruiser Emden in 1914.

15.toward the heads

The tall ships cruise offers the chance of a mast climb challenge. There were no takers this time, possibly because alcohol is not to be consumed prior to a climb and, after all, it was a dinner cruise. Looking up at the mast was enough of a thrill for me.


Our time on the water went by too soon and, as the sun sank in the west, we returned to Campbell’s Cove, another wonderful experience tucked away as memories.


across the creek

Travelling across Bass Strait is affectionately referred to by Tasmanians as ‘crossing the creek’. The distance of 250km is easily traversed with a one hour plane flight. Alternatively, there is a ten hour ferry trip with a choice of day or night crossing. Four days after returning from our travels in Britain, we packed up the car and trailer and left Adelaide on our new adventure. The Spirit of Tasmania waited patiently in Melbourne,


our excitement mounted as we drove aboard.

With our possessions in storage, no jobs and nowhere to live, we celebrated with a superb meal as we set sail.


The crossing of Bass Strait was anything but smooth, my decision to splurge on a deluxe queen cabin at the front of the boat was not a good one. We were very pleased to see the sun coming up and calm waters as we approached Devonport.


After navigating the Mersey River


we disembarked and headed east for Launceston.


We stayed in a holiday apartment for two weeks, then moved into a rental property while we searched for our perfect home. The rental was very comfortable

with great views,


a manageable garden

and a park over the fence.


We didn’t realise beforehand, it was the least salubrious suburb in Launceston. No wonder the rent was so cheap! Still, we survived and we have very fond memories of our time in Launceston.


Hobart is Australia’s second oldest capital city, after Sydney. It is an intriguing mix of old and new and the waterfront precinct is captivating. The Georgian sandstone warehouses lining the dock were built in the 1830s. The IXL Jam Factory is now the Henry Jones Art Hotel and others have been converted into businesses, galleries and restaurants.


There are many fabulous restaurants to choose from, with seafood the specialty. The Drunken Admiral is very popular,

2.Drunken Admiral

unfortunately we missed out without a reservation.

Looking across Victoria Dock,

5.Victoria Dock

Mures Lower Deck offers casual dining while the Upper Deck is a unique experience with fresh seafood caught, prepared and served by this local family owned business.

6.Victoria Dock

Strolling along Franklin Wharf, we encountered a series of bronze sculptures, a tribute to the Antarctic Expedition of 1899. Louis Bernacchi was raised in Tasmania and is immortalised in this, “Self Portrait, Louis and Joe”.


Nearby are other sculptures depicting the penguins and seals of Antarctica

as well as some of the supplies and other animals present on the expedition.

Sullivans Cove, on the Derwent River, was the original landing point in 1804 of Hobart’s founder, Lieutenant Governor David Collins and the site of initial European settlement in the area.

13.Sullivan's Cove

Further along the wharf is Constitution Dock, the finishing line for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. We were very excited to be there for the celebrations.


Wild Oats XI had claimed its third consecutive line honours. Even for someone who doesn’t know a thing about yachts, I think she is a magnificent vessel.

17.Wild Oats

The dock was bustling

but this gull had seen it all before.


This heritage travelling steam crane, built in 1899, sits proudly on the wharf since retirement in 1969.

23.steam crane

Elizabeth Street Pier underwent a transformation in 1997

24.Elizabeth St pier

and now comprises an apartment style hotel, conference centre and eateries.

Moored at the pier is a full size replica of the Lady Nelson, one of the vessels arriving in 1804 with the first free settlers. She now spends her days sailing the River Derwent with passengers who wish to enjoy a tall ship sailing experience.

27.Lady Nelson

A short walk across the lawns of Parliament Square is Salamanca Place. Each Saturday there is a very busy market

offering a great variety of wares, mostly from local artisans.

Even the world famous can be seen busking in Salamanca.

Behind the market stalls are rows of sandstone buildings built in the 1830s to house grain, wool, whale oil and imported goods. They have since been converted into restaurants, galleries, craft shops and offices.


There are many laneways and squares to discover around Salamanca

and the new is starting to encroach on the old.


When a break is needed from the shopping and exploring, Irish Murphy’s is the perfect spot

39.Irish Murphy's

for a light refreshment

40.Irish Murphy's

to give you the strength to carry on.