Sunday, January 08, 2012

Melbourne-Tassie Holiday 2011 - Day 15

Overnight it was pouring with rain which made me very glad that I looked at Cradle Mountain last night as it would be shrouded in cloud and an utter disappointment today. And so it proved to be. After breakfast I looked for some fuel but it was $1.965/L at the visitor centre and I asked if fuel would be available in the town of Moina, some 24 kms away. A woman who lived in Perth but worked at the park said that it would be.

In a bid to conserve fuel I drove at 60-70 km/h which was a good idea as the cafe/servo at Moina was closed for winter. Winter which finished six weeks ago mind you. The nearest fuel was, you guessed it, at the visitor centre 24 kms back up the road (and up the mountain). I decided to drive to Staverton and was a little disappointed to find only three or four houses and one antique fuel bowser. Knocked on a couple of doors to ask where the nearest petrol station was and one guy told me that it was 15 kms down the road (in Sheffield). Drove very slowly until we reached Sheffield then discovered a petrol station that was completely automated. I must have driven for close to 25-30 kms with the low fuel light coming on and off.

On the journey to put fuel in I'd noticed a sign for a town called Nowhere Else and decided to backtrack to investigate. Turned out to be nothing more than a couple of farms. Bit of traffic about though.

Back in Sheffield I found murals all about the town. No wonder they call it the Town of Murals. Very pretty and a great tourist attraction. Bought some souvenirs and asked for directions to Marakoopa for the caves to which the shop owner quickly provided a map.

As I approached the turnoff for Marakoopa Caves I noticed that we only had a few minutes until the next tour started - but we weren't the last to join. Brian, the guide, gave a great tour complete with stalactites, stalagmites, mightytites, flow, melted cheese, straws, pendutites, two rivers and glowworms! He has done more than 1755 tours. We went 400m inside the cave and weren't disappointed. The fine for breaking off some of the furniture for a souvenir is $15,000 and they've fined three people to date. Tour finished at 1pm and we headed to Perth, Tasmania. I drove quite slowly as fuel was getting low once again.

By the time we arrived in Perth it was raining quite heavily. No postcards available, except at the post office which was closed, so we hunted for food. I ate a wallaby sausage at Utsi - a cafe made from a converted church. The lady at the visitor centre at Cradle Mountain had said to try the food there. Finally found a place that sold food, the restaurant at the petrol station, and we had nachos and a King Island pie. Not bad.

Asked for directions to the airport, as there were two ways to go. They told me the quicker way which was about three kilometres further - not that I had the fuel for it.

Well, I'm sure that the car was out of fuel. My rental agreement was that I purchased a tank of fuel and any fuel that was in the vehicle was free for Avis. They weren't getting any freebies from me, not after the insurance incident at the start of the car hire. At Avis' desk the girl tried to inform me that the total price payable would have fuel added to the rental/insurance, etc, but I pointed out that I had paid for a tank of fuel. After telling her she was then able to inform me that I was correct. Their slogan, "We Try Harder", may be correct in that they try it on. Not a pleasant experience, really.

Quite a queue for the check-in for Qantas Link. And right behind us was a Japanese family that took the cave tour with us. Down in the waiting lounge there was a Jetstar flight that was delayed for 30 mins. We started boarding at our scheduled departure time and so were some 20-25 mins late in leaving. With a 150 km/h headwind we weren't going to make up any time into Melbourne. No probs as we had four hours to kill anyway.

Melbourne-Tassie Trip 2011 Photo Album No.3 - See photos 105-162.


Anonymous said...

Wow what fun. Great food and fun you just cannot beat that. Good for you. Mitch

honkeie2 said...

I love road trips!