After a very stressful year, I felt I needed to get away for a short while to recharge my batteries and spend time with God. I wanted to head overseas and went and got my passport and was not sure what to do.
Then I realised that Tasmania was overseas and I always wanted to go on the Spirit of Tasmania. So I got on the website and booked a passage over on the 17th and back on the 26th so I could get to the second day of the Boxing Day Test. That was the start of my planning. I had to then trust God that He would arrange all the details. As you read, you can see the way God put people and places in place so I could have one of the best holidays I can remember.
I started visiting my Uncle and Aunt where they provided me with a fantastic breakfast. Due to daylight saving and their location in NSW I had to get up extra early to see them, but it is always fantastic to see Peter and Janelle. They were very encouraging. Then I headed to Leah's Uncle and Aunt's place. Chris and Kirst have been an amazing blessing to me and they have a lot of wisdom they have gained through many years working with people. After lunch, I headed to Coffs Harbour and after a night with Mum and Dad headed off to Sydney. Benita looked after me for a night and I always enjoy spending time with her. I drove her to work and then headed off to Yass where I camped the night. The local churches were putting on a Christmas Carols show which was just through the fence of the caravan park where I was staying. It was interesting that I took the last campsite for the night. God was so good. First night in my swag, so I had fun learning how to put it up. And birds pooped on my nice new swag during the night....
On Monday morning I was up early and drove to Melbourne. Found my accommodation and enjoyed being in Melbourne with the people, trams and graffiti. The following day it was a 20-minute drive to get to the ferry and there my Tasmania adventure started. It was hard at first being by myself on a huge adventure but I really wanted God to speak to me and bring some peace after such a tough year. Before getting on the boat they looked through my car and I had to give up my gas cylinders for my camp stove... Sadly, I could not buy any in Tasmania so did very little cooking over the 10 days
. The boat was much bigger than expected and even though I booked a reclining lounge, the rest of the ship was much more exciting so I did not use it! Took 2 hours to get out of the harbour at Melbourne. It is huge!! Coffee and bought a huge lunch which was amazing. Watched Ad Astra. Second time and enjoyed it just as much this time. The theme was why look for intelligent life out there when we do not look after our relationships here on Earth. Arrived in Devonport around 6.30 pm and had time to get a campsite and set up for the night. Camped just in front of the river where the fairy entered Devonport. Great view!
Headed to Launceston Wednesday where I spent time with some very special people from Toowoomba. They are a family that I have got to know through school and they flew over on the day I was on the ferry. It was fun to deliver their Thermomix so they could cook for Christmas, and we went out to Cataract Gorge for the morning to explore. Could not ask for a better start to my time in Tasmania.
After spending time with Louise, Steve and the family I thought I would head straight to the east coast and found a small campground to stay for two days. Went for a walk in the evening and was very impressed with the light, colours and how pretty it was. As it was dark later than Toowoomba I lashed out and paid for Kayo on my phone so I could watch the cricket every night. Was a great way to fill in the evenings.
As I wanted to explore Wineglass Bay, I headed off early Thursday to see what all the fuss was about. It definitely did not disappoint. The colours were amazing and loved the walk. Only 1,000 steps down from the lookout to Wineglass Bay.
The beach was very nice. I worked out that it was 1,000 steps back up to the lookout after exploring. I was quite tired!! Took lots of photos and started to realise that the small lens was the best one for my camera. Thursday was a day driving to Port Arthur. Stopped at Eaglehawk Neck where there were 9 dog lines which stopped convicts from escaping from the Port Arthur settlement. I have written a blog about what God showed me about the Kingdom of God and the 9 things Satan uses to stop us from entering the Kingdom of God.
Enjoyed the tessellated pavement and then visited the Arch and Devil's Kitchen and the Doo village which was quite amusing. All the homes had a name with "Doo" in the name. Eg: "Can Doo". Then I headed to After camping I needed to wash clothes so I stayed in a very pretty motel called the Fox and Hounds. Meals there were amazing. Had a parma which almost defeated me.... But I was very brave! Strangely, that night was very windy and the only night that rained! God is so good!!
Port Arthur was my Saturday activity. I felt God had brought me to Port Arthur to teach me about something that He wanted me to know. After the tour, boat ride and exploring, I was amazed that the aim of the settlement was to deal with sin and work with people so they would be able to enter society again.
Punishing them cruelly and then forcing religion on them did not do much to "rehabilitate" them, but made them even more bitter and angry. When punishment did not work they started the latest system of dealing with sin by putting men in solitary confinement. They removed all noise and connection with other humans and just let them think their thoughts. And yes... They were allowed to read the Bible. It just sent men mad. At the end of Port Arthur, they had just a huge number of men who were broken physically, mentally and spiritually. The picture below is the church they had to attend on Sunday. They were locked in separate compartments and could not talk to each other. They got around this by singing the songs but changing the words to communicate with each other. Quite clever!
They had to be looked after by society and lived a sad, lonely life until they died. God is calling us to do not what the world things are the best practice but to seek God on how He wants us to do things so we can be most effective. I will write a blog on this later.
After a cold night at Port Arthur, I headed to Hobart. It was a lovely drive. Drove up to Mount Wellington and found the view quite amazing.
Cool, but what an amazing place. Drove off to the Hobart main street. When I arrived I was surprised to find that all the car parks had meters on them and you needed to feed the meters every day. So glad I read the instructions as I saw a parking inspector walk past my car just as I headed off to explore. Loved looking around and even had a coffee an a place called Beau jangles. Made my day. Then I headed to Constitution Dock where I wanted to look at the Mawson's Hut replica. Found a park and as I explored I discovered some boats that were tied up at the dock and were selling fish and chips.
Great feed and view. Then as I was very curious, went to the museum and was quite amazed at what Mawson's Hut looked like and the conditions they lived in. The lady who looked after the place was a volunteer and was very helpful. Headed off early to my caravan park as the next day was a huge drive to Cradle Mountain.
On Monday I was keen to get started early. I spoke to my mate Glyn on Sunday and he told me of a little village called Ross which was on the way.
An amazing place. The houses were all stone and had a delicious apple turnover with a coffee. This was where the dividing line was between the north and south Tasmania. Tasmania was divided in half and had two heads ....... Of parliament. Found a nice place full of murals then hit the road to Cradle Mountain. When I arrived I could not believe the number of cars in the car park and that you could not drive in the park but had to catch a shuttle bus. Fortunately, I had a campsite at the campground over the road and could walk to the place where the shuttle busses left.
Walked around Dove Lake and really enjoyed just seeing the different plants, patterns in the water and being able to enjoy a good walk. After Dove Lake, I took the trail back to the next bust stop. On the way, some people were stopped on the boardwalk and I was annoyed as I wanted to catch the bus. Then when I stopped and looked around I saw quite a large number of large wombats eating the grass. What amazing creatures..
So pleased I stopped. The night was uneventful and was actually cool. 4 degrees is lovely when you are in a swag!
Tuesday was a day I had been looking forward to all the holidays. Stanley is one of my favourite places in Tasmania. You would be a nut to miss it!!
Had to get a chair lift to the top of the big mountain, or the "Nut" which is the name people commonly call it.
Love the walk around the hill and the view is amazing. The buildings were amazing and just needed to get photographed. Had a Mocca and brownie slice straight from the oven. A Christmas Eve treat! Cooked soup in the camp oven for dinner. Very content. Quite a day!
Around 5 am I awoke on Christmas day and felt God say "Do you want to toss and turn in bed or come and walk on the beach with me?" What could I say? God up and put warm clothes on and really felt God's presence and I went for a walk, prayed and just had time worshipping Jesus. The sunrise was so pretty.
It was a special way to start Christmas Day. Had a quick breakfast and drove to Devonport to get ready to leave the next day. I was quite surprised to get a call from Steve who invited me to have Christmas dinner with Louise's family about 90 minutes from Devonport. My first reaction was "NO!" Fear said no as I was camping just near the ferry, but God has been telling me to not make decisions based on fear. So I rang back and said I would love to. The best decision. Having time with Steve, Louise and their family and extended family was a real blessing from God. Felt like I was part of the family. After thinking that I would be by myself for Christmas, God surrounded me with family.
Got back to Devonport around 11 pm very happy and so pleased I did not make a decision based on fear. My last night on the island and the best one yet!
Early the next morning I got myself on the ferry and settled down to another enjoyable trip. I noticed a lady in her early 70's sitting just over from me so I started a conversation with her. Sue lived the next street over from where I was on Christmas evening and knew the people who lived both sides of where I was. Very small world. We talked for the whole trip and just felt it was such a blessing to meet such an amazing lady. I felt how much God loved her and how special she was to Him. Made the trip go so quick!
In Melbourne, I found my apartment and was so pleased to put the car away for 4 nights. So excited to be heading to the MCG to watch Days 2 and 3 of the Boxing Day Test. There were 60,000 on the first day and 40,000 the next which was quite big! God reminded me of the crowd of witnesses that surround me and that I am part of the cloud of witnesses that encourage others.
Quite powerful. Loved walking along the Melbourne streets and was amazed at how many people were around. On Sunday the 19th, I arranged to have time with Sarah and Bryden, good friends from Bundaberg.
Crazy that they were free on the same day I was so we wandered around Melbourne together. Bryden suggested going to church together but I did not want to drive around Melbourne. God challenged me to not make a decision based on fear so I got up early Sunday morning and got in the car to go.....the battery was flat and needed replacing. It took RACV 2.5 hours to get to me and in that time Sarah and Bryden found that church was not on that day and they instead went out for coffee with people who turned up for church. So pleased it did not happen on Monday when I had to drive to Canberra. The time with Sarah and Bryden was a gift from God.
On leaving Melbourne on Monday morning I was looking forward to visiting the War Memorial and meeting up with Steve, a very special friend who I taught with while in Katherine and enjoyed bushwalking and canoeing with. When I arrived in Canberra it was very smoky, and over my time there it got even worse. My motel was old but nice and my room was tiny but very comfortable. I did my washing and rested. Tuesday I woke and found that the War memorial had three-hour parking. What was I to do with my car? I used Google Maps and to my surprise found that God had placed me in a motel that was the closest to the Memorial. I was only a 10-minute walk away. So I left my car at the motel and walked! When I entered the Memorial I really felt that God had something to speak to me about. After going on a 90-minute tour, which was so interesting,
I had lunch and found a bomber that had been operating over Germany in the Second World War. While so many planes were destroyed and over 50.000 men lost their lives on the Allied side, this bomber went on over 60 runs and for the men in the plane, no one even got a scratch. 200 men who flew in this plane were transferred to other planes and died. It reminded me that we are in a war but when we are abiding in Christ we are protected from harm. The weapons cannot destroy us.
In the afternoon I arranged to meet up with Steve. It was so good to catch up with a very good friend and I was honoured when Oliver and Matthew came to say hello. As it was New Year's Eve we went drove to the main street of Canberra and enjoyed a meal, ice-cream and coffee. Steve's wife came and had a coffee with us which was like icing on the cake. I could not have asked for a better way to end the year. I thank God for the special people He places in my life!
As the fires had cut off the highway to Sydney I contacted Scott and we worked out an alternative route to his place. I was going to go through Sydney but this was too dangerous so I went inland. It took around 3.5 hours of driving to get our of the heavy smoke. It was quite bad! Around lunchtime I found myself entering the town of Gulgong. The day before Steve gave me Alan and Robyn's address and they just happened to live in this town. I rang and we spend a couple of hours catching up which I greatly enjoyed. I was so amazed at how God had arranged for us to connect. I call it a miracle. I drove to Quirindi to spend time with my brother Scott and his wife Les. As always I really enjoyed catching up with Scott and loved playing golf, table tennis, darts and even paddling on the dam. He is very happy where he lives and I just love hanging out with him. One day I will beat him at some sports but for now, it is good he feels happy beating me!
The trip to Coffs Harbour was very pretty. Armidale and Dorigo have had some rain so there was water and green grass. Some dams were full. I really enjoyed catching up and spending time with Mum and Dad. They are very special people to me and God. It is so good to talk with them and not only hear what God is doing in their lives but be able to share what God is doing in mine. They have been able to really minister to me as I have been going through this tough patch in my life.
The holiday was amazing. Only planning the trip two weeks before the end of school and seeing how God put everything together really encouraged me that God was wanting to be part of every part of my life. As I have submitted to Him and given my life to Him, He has continued to put very special people in my path and encourage me on my journey. I was not sure how I would go on such a big journey by myself, but God kept me safe, spoke to me through the journey, provided for me and surrounded me with wonderful friends and family. The holiday has allowed me to take stock of who He is in my life and strengthened me for what is ahead.