Living rurally does not mean living in isolation, in fact you rely on your neighbours a lot more than in the city, therefore one of the first tasks as the new vineyard managers was to attend a drinks session with the neighbours and people who have connections with Charles Reuben Estate. What a great bunch of people.
Most of the farm owners in this area do not make 100% of their income off their land. They all have other jobs in the one of the neighbouring towns; however it is abundantly obvious that their passion is their farms and creating their own lifestyle business.
I was intrigued by some of the amazing people and how they created income. One amazing entrepreneur I met was Clare from Port Arthur Lavender. As well as growing lavender on her farm and creating products from the oil, Clare owns several other businesses that have grown exponentially in recent years.
Three years ago she added a cafe to her lavender business, so that tourists who stopped by to view the lavender and distillery could have a coffee and a scone. Little did she know that the business would grow so quickly that within a year she would have to rip out her small oven and install an industrial kitchen.
As well as a thriving lavender business, Clare also runs tourist accommodation as well as being a mum to three children. Wow I am in awe. I am looking forward to catching up with Claire again for coffee once school returns.
A cold frosty Devonport morning greeted us as we drove off the Spirit of Tasmania at 6.45am. We grabbed an overpriced but hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs at a nearby motel before hitting the road Richmond bound.
There were whinges of how cold it felt from our poor Sydney born children but once we were on the road and the car had warmed up, the whinging soon gave way to exclamations of amazement as they stared out the window at field upon field of frosted grass.
The long stretches of straight motorway soon gave way to long, winding sealed roads that lead us into the hills that surround Richmond. The frost soon burned off, the fields of white giving way to the sight of the tough brown grass that covered the hills. I am sure as winter fades and the vines spring back to life this area will look amazing.
We arrived at Charles Reuben our new home for the next six months around 11.30am, after introductions and a brief lunch we moved into the accommodation on the property. Now the adventure is about to begin.
Chrales Reuben Estate Tasmania
The Spirit of Tasmania only does overnight sailings during the winter months, but you still get a spectacular view of Melbourne’s city lights as you depart.
Boarding Spirit of Tasmania was smooth and painless; we drove aboard, parked in the non-descript car park and were in our tiny cabin within 15 minutes. The cabins were small; neutrally coloured, comprised four bunk beds, and a tiny bathroom which contained a toilet and a miniscule shower. We were told we were only able to bring a small carry-on bag each into our cabin and it is clear as to why.
After dropping our bags in our room we headed up to Bar 7 for a glass of Shiraz (the kids had fruit juice). We found a table that was perfectly poised to watch the sunset and the bright lights of Melbourne drift away over the horizon as we left the port. Once it was pitch black outside it was time for a bistro style dinner at TMK (The Market Kitchen), the ferry’s on board restaurant. We retired to our cabin after that as we had a long day ahead of us the next day starting at 5.45am and we wanted to get the kids into bed.
The captain warned us that once we passed the Melbourne heads at about 9pm we would have some rough sailing conditions due to strong winds. Little did I know how rough as I lay on the top bunk I was trying not to vomit as the bed tilted roughly backwards and forwards length ways. Going to the bathroom was a mission in itself as I stumbled toward the tiny en-suite like a drunk, crashing into the bunks as I went. Unable to sleep I lay there listening to the creaking sounds as the life rafts outside swayed heavily on their ropes. The good news was that the rough weather soon gave way to a gentler rocking helping me drift off into a peaceful slumber.
At 5.45am we were woken by a firm but friendly voice telling us that it was time to get up and prepare for disembarking at 6.30am. We were called back to our cars by deck number, once we reached our car it was only a few minutes before the doors opened and we were able to drive off the ferry into the cold Devonport fog.
The Spirit of Tasmania is a great way to travel, the on boarding and disembarking process was easy and efficient, I would highly recommend it.
We left Sydney 7th July around 5.30pm, already 2 hours behind schedule. Our plan to lead a simpler less cluttered life but in reality we are still fairly shallow when it comes to hanging on to stuff. Hence the needed to make a number of unplanned trips to our storage unit to store items we cannot bring ourselves to get rid of.
Just when we believed we had finished ferrying our belongings back and forth to the unit and we were down to a few essentials, we realised that we could still not fit all the remaining items into our Mitsubishi Outlander and had to make yet another trip to the storage unit.
The aim for that evening was to make it out of the city, on our long car journey to Melbourne and that we did, we got to Goulburn had MacDonalds for dinner and checked into the very lovely Best Western.
We planned to do no more than four hours driving a day as anyone with young kids knows that to do much more would mean arguments fights and constant whining from the backseat. On the second day we drove from Goulburn to Wangaretta, with just a short stop at the Criterion Hotel in Gundagai for lunch – I would not recommend – ‘nuff said.
On Sunday we continued to Melbourne. Just was we were nearing the city we got a call from the Adina Hotels and Apartments in St Kilda asking us why we did not show up last night. Er we were supposed to be booked for tonight, said Paul. I checked the paper work and indeed Paul had booked us for Saturday night rather than Sunday. We asked if they could book us another room they said yes but because we booked through Expedia they can’t refund the previous night. Fair enough it was our stupid mistake, at least they had a room for us that night.
The staff at the Adina were brilliant, they not only booked us another room at a heavy discount they were so apologetic about not being able to refund us; they upgraded us from a suite to a two bedroom apartment. Now that’s what I call service Adina and we will be back and we will recommend you to others.
That evening we had a relaxing meal at chez Reid always good to catch up with friends.