089. Overview, Review…

After such a long trip – over 11,000 klms – we take time for a bit of reflection on the good times, the tribulations, what worked well, what didn’t and any other bit of useful / useless information.

We also need to make some thanks. Much of the time we were by ourselves and made our own decisions, plans and made do with the elements.

We always had plenty to eat. Our meals always good. There were times when we were too far from a town to stock up on drinks so often dinner was a wineless affair. Besides, a night or two or three without a drink was good for us. Although it may have been cold outside, even snowing or raining we were always comfortable inside although at times we felt a little cramped. It was difficult to say put clothes away that we knew we would wear the next morning. Shoes always seemed to be in the wrong place as we had no specific storage for them and they were often wet, sandy, muddy, covered in grass and always it became a hassle to change shoes everytime we went in an out of the bus. Sigh!

Really they were minor inconveniences. We have thanked everybody after every visit and acknowledged their hospitality in the blog so we will not name everybody again.

Here are a few things which we felt worked well for us.

My Visa card.

All fuel was placed on this card as was large ticket items such as the TT Lines to / from Tasmania, other boat trips, buying the Winnebago etc. The same Visa card is also a debit card so we used that part for buying groceries, paying CP, obtaining cash and other small items. We had no problems using either part of the card anywhere we went. From memory only two stores charged an additional fee for using the credit card. Obtaining cash through anything other than a NAB ATM meant we were charged a $2 fee. This can be a problem whilst on the TT Lines Spirit of Tasmania. The fancy restaurant we dined on the first night only accepted cash or Visa. I was a little short of cash so went to use the ATM onboard ship. The ATM had a limit of $50 cash out and shut down once the shoreline umbilical cord was disconnected. In order to cash out $200 involved 4 transactions, each incurring a $2 fee plus any fee NAB charges for using non NAB ATM. Where possible we used cash out with grocery purchases. I paid for the meal with a credit card. The lineup at the ATM was quite long, slow and the ATM was due to close within 30 minutes. There was only one machine on board!

Mobile Phones.

Our mobile phones were invaluable. I have an LG TU500 which was good for reception most places we went. Donnis has a Nokia 6200 with Telestra Data Pack. Both phones had “My Hour” free calls. The data pack meant we could catch up on e-mails and upload the blog with limited photos. There were times we were in remote areas and neither phone could pull in a signal.

Camera.

Our Lumix (Panasonic) Digital Camera. Model FZ50. We took more than 1,000 photos and this camera was always handy. It has a built in anti shake feature so for the most part we obtained excellent photos even in sometimes trying conditions.

Laptop – Toshiba Quosmio.

We keep talking about all the things we use our Toshiba Quosmio Laptop for.

General computing work, keeping our daily notes and spreadsheet up to date.

As a digital television. We attach a tuner into a USB port, attach a TV cable and get the programe to do a scan of stations. Wherever there was Digital signal we received clear reception. However it was no good with analogue signal.

We played downloaded movies and TV movies we had previously recorded with the TV Tuner.

Playing DVD’s.

Internet access.

Keeping up to date with e-mails.

Brain Games.

Forget about free WiFi. Too few places and the service is generally a bit patchy and speed is usually around 10kpbs.

Rechargeable Batteries.

Whenever we were on 240 volts this little device was put to work.

Our Mobile Home.

 The Winnebago. Of course. Actually for the most part the Coaster performed very well although a little thirsty.

Ready for a few statistics? Including cash we averaged $100 per day which is more than I had anticipated spending. The following are included in the $100. Groceries came to $15.69 per day. Groceries included all our needs including cleaning, hygiene and snacks. Fuel was a big cost at $24.58 per day. Caravan park fees, boat rides and other entry fees were $21.01 per day. Meals out, which included dining with people we stayed with was only $8.32 per day. In fact we did not dine out at night except when visiting friends. Drinks were only $3.86 per day. This amount included beer, wine and spirits. Worst fuel price was $1.75 at Coles Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania. Fuel there was about 30 cents dearer than anywhere else in Tasmania. Best fuel price was right here in Airlie Beach the day we left. $1.07.9

I have praised the Toshiba Laptop but it does have a downside. It needs 7.5amps an hour to run. So to watch the TV news and perhaps a movie allow three hours and that is almost 24 amps coming out of the batteries at night. Add the fridge, lights and water / toilet pumps and if we had been sitting idle for a day and overcast conditions saw batteries get lower than I feel comfortable with. This was one reason we used CP more often than planned. Of course many Freedom sites were just not available where we wanted to be. No sense using a remote Freedom site in the bush if we wanted to be on the seaside. CP facilities are different from place to place and price is not an indicator. Coles Bay, already notorious for high fuel cost was the dearest at $40 per night which included power and water but no park lighting. Toilet and laundry facilities are a long way from the sites. There were no hot showers. In addition to the overnight fee was a park fee per vehicle. We had already purchased a $58 eight week parks pass which did save us a little money. To find the toilets at night was a bit daunting as we needed to carry a torch and there were no signs indicating where they were. There was no dump point facility. The little town of Waratah had fabulous toilet and laundry facilities. The laundry had a great washer and dryer and these were free. The nightly cost here was $20 and included power, water and great toilet and shower facilities. Old concrete water tanks were converted to a bathroom and included rubber mats, chairs and heater on the wall and an exhaust fan. Of course they were for a single person use and only accessed by key. All the people in the park were over 40 and the facilities were spotless. There were no permanent campers. Best Freedom camp site was at the Bay of Fires on Tasmania’s east coast  )Runner up was Cockle Creek the southernmost point you can drive to in Australia. I would have stayed longer but the rain was too persistant). There was a 30 day limit and had we not been on a timeframe and the weather kinder we could have stayed here 10 days instead of the 2 nights.

Gracias por ser un lector

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