Tag Archives: playgrounds

Up the Tamar River

In my head, the journey from George Town to Launceston takes days and days. I am astonished and disbelieving when M tells me we can make it there in one day. What the? Last time it took us a week or two… He tells me that last time we noodled our way upriver like the newbies we were – relishing the ability to stop for a night or two wherever took our fancy. And that’s correct – it was a lovely way to traverse the river – but this time? This time there are Very Strong Winds predicted and wherever we end up is where we’re going to have to stay for at least four days, and so we aim for Launceston.

Beauty Point and tugboat. Not going anywhere. Launceston.
I took the same photo three years ago. Nothing’s changed.

To be honest, it’s a bit of a boring journey – it takes all day, and toward the end M’s patience is thinning. I steer a little bit, but he does the majority. As we get nearer to the city I am (again) struck by deja vu; the wind is already coming up and M goes through a few different scenarios about pulling up to the jetty. I can tell he’s fidgety about how it might go. This is what happened last time.

The guy who owns the pontoons remembered us when we called him and has been very kind – he allows us to stay on the pontoon that’s reserved for the Sea Scouts for $20 a night. There’s no power or water like there is on the other pontoon (which already has an occupant) but we are here – right next to the city! We’re in the confluence of the Tamar and the North Esk Rivers.

296/365 • making dinner looking out at this - the best playground we’ve ever been to and silos that have been turned into a hotel. Last time we were here it was an industrial wasteland over there - someone got something right ✔️ •
View from the kitchen/galley window.

As we pull up (it’s fine) we can see that on the old industrial land opposite has been transformed on a large scale in the three years since we were here. There is a MASSIVE PLAYGROUND. “If you can just adjust all the fenders so they’re the right height,” says M, “I’ll do the rest.”

The Smalls are pleading to get on their scooters, pleading for me to come just a little way with them. Just a little bit further… and then we are going over a footbridge that has mysteriously appeared and we are at the park and the park? It’s AWESOME. Things are high and potentially dangerous. The slides are fast tubes of metal, there are mini trampolines embedded in the ground, a sky-walk, water features and swings over trench…

Bounce! Launceston Riverbend Park
BOING!

Small Z is rapturous. There are kids everywhere. Small DB is overwhelmed. “I’ll just stay with you,” she says to me. “I’ll look around and decide what I will go on when we come back on a school day and there’s no one else here.” Her sister is already scaling the climbing rope to the sky-walk and halfway down one of the tubular slides. We sweet-talk Small DB (“I’m too shy….”) into walking around a little with us and eventually convince her to go on one of the slides when, for some reason, there happens to be no one on it or nearby… She is reticent, and then elated.

Climbing. Launceston Riverbend Park
DB investigates…

We explore some more. Small Z is adopted by a girl her age named Taylor. Or Taylah. Or Tayla. Who attaches herself to Small Z and they go from climbing frame, to slide, to basket swing… Small DB sticks with me. Eventually Small Z gives me the signal and I saunter up to her and Taylor/Taylah/Tayla and say, “Sorry Zoe, we need to get back to the boat now, it’s getting near dinner time.”

Zoe rolls her eyes convincingly, makes her apologies and we wander off with her hissing, “I couldn’t GET AWAY.”

Halfway across the playground we stop still and die of cute. There is a caramel coloured puppy that looks like a small teddy bear. We drop to our knees and pat it until it can hardly stand upright as I quiz the owner; “What kind of dog is it? Where did you get it? Is it hard to train?”

I can feel my BoatCat midlife crisis rearing it’s evil furry head. First the Tathra bordoodle, and now this. We coo over the puppy, which I think is six months old and will not grow much bigger, until it becomes a bit ridiculous.

We walk past Taylor/Taylah/Tayla and say to her, “How CUTE is that dog!!?”
“Yeah, it’s cute. I had a dog once, but it ran away.”
We make appropriate noises, and Small DB says, “I’d like a cockatiel.”
Taylor/Taylah/Tayla nods, looking mournful.
“Yeah. I had a bird once. But it died.”

We say goodbye again.

M comes to find us, looking somewhat forlorn having been abandoned at the dock. We wander back toward the boat and stop for a celebratory drink – they have my favourite cider:

The best cider. Cheers, Launceston!
Thank you Willie Smith.

We drink to sailing journeys and exploring Launceston.

A post-icecream consult. DB and M. Launceston.
DB & M

West Arm to Gravelly Beach

Life on a boat creates quite a few inconveniences – when we tie up somewhere and there is Infrastructure – especially Thoughtful Infrastructure – I am immediately enraptured. Hastings, George Town, Gravelly Beach – I instantly want to remain for as long as possible (this, with the exception of Hastings) usually only lasts a day or two) and I bleat to M, “Let’s stay HERE. It’s so pretty! The park! The playground! The cute houses!” He humours me. It’s his job.

Gravelly Beach – we tied up to the wrong pontoon but were unaware of this until M finds out from the chandlery (one of two shops). This place has it going on – particularly if you are a little boating family with Smalls who need a run/scoot/climb/explore. They burst off the boat, flying on their scooters – straight to the skate park.

Yes. We have pulled up at a pontoon where the nearest infrastructure is a skate park and a truly fantastic playground – with free barbecues and all with a view of the boat. The Smalls are in heaven… The only other person there is a woman with her two small boys. She tells us they have been stuck inside their house for a whole week with horrible gastro – this is the first time they’ve been well enough to go out. We slowly back away until we are out of sight and then all (for we have all monkeyed around on the swings and climbing frames) wash our hands, thoroughly…

Spinning at Gravelly Beach

It’s a very very beautiful spot – the houses are generally old school with lots of beautiful gardens overlooking the water. There are fibro shacks and a great general store that has a couple of tables. M, of course, has to get a coffee made by a person using a Coffee Machine. He tries to convince me to have a cup of tea – I decline, for I am a tea-snob who has her favourite tea at home and therefore sees no reason to pay to be underwhelmed by what may turn out to be a Liptons teabag.

I send a postcard to the Mothership (I have stolen this terminology from Shauna and hope she doesn’t mind) because the general store is also a post office. We wander around a bit more – there is a tap nearby where we can top up our water, and rubbish/recycling bins as well. All the conveniences. It is good.

Gravelly Beach, over the skate park with Bella Luna in the distance