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Memories for a lifetime

The last family vacation

By Natasja RosePublished 19 days ago 3 min read
Bruny Island, Tasmania

Twenty years ago, I embarked on the last trip I would ever take with both of my sisters.

They say that family holidays are where you make memories that last a lifetime. In this case, they had to, because there would never be another one.

Our vacation started with me being sent to the Chemist for "Miracle Workers", aka the strongest anti-Travel-Sickness medication the Pharmacists could legally give. Old Mrs Mac laughed sympathetically when I repeated the request word for word.

Mum gets seasick on a harbour ferry, so she was NOT looking forward to the 3-day Spirit of Tasmania cruise from Sydney to Launceston.

I - armed with books, notebook, the ability to spend hours watching the waves and an immunity to motion sickness - was thrilled. A mini cruise, and a road trip? Best of both worlds!

(As it turned out, I was the only one of the four of us who didn't get sea-sick at least once. Even Mum's Miracle Workers could only do so much...)

Once we arrived in Launceston, we would spend the next ten days driving around Tasmania, the smallest of Australia's states, and the one most frequently left off world maps.

Bruny Island's highest point, many years after first falling in love with Tasmania

We went on a bushwalk, and later to a Spa, our first day. Sally and I were far less the outdoorsy types that Mum and Alicia were, so the Spa was a semi-apology for subjecting us to hours of fresh air, steep hills, and the malevolent daystar.

The day after that, we hit the Road. Alicia, who was on her Learner's Permit, decided that Tasmanian country roads would be the perfect opportunity to rack up her required driving hours... but quickly discovered just how much roadkill there was on said roads.

Dead animals are not something Alicia dealt well with at the time, but she persevered.

From Launceston, we went to Devonport and Burnie, then down to Cradle Mountain, where we spend a day on a much gentler bushwalk. Dinner that night was in a pub dating back to the Convict-era, and my first introduction to Loreena McKennitt, one of my enduring favourite artists, through her cover of The Highwayman.

The next two days were spent travelling through the National parks. Most of one day was spent on a lake cruise, where Alicia got to show off her Barista skills, on the way down to Queenstown, a tiny mining town, and from there to Port Arthur.

Known in centuries past as a 'Living Hell' for convicts and proof that there was a worse destination for Misbehaving Convicts than Mainland Australia, Port Arthur was also the site of the massacre that brought about Australia's strict gun laws. So, not the place to go ghost hunting... there are plenty, but they are probably not kindly disposed toward interlopers.

Despite it's dark Past, Port Arthur was a beautiful place, with a lot of buildings that withstood time and weather. Sally and I enjoyed the opportunity to dress up in period clothing and get our History Nerd on.

The final stop of our journey was Hobart, where we visited the Salamanca Markets and other sights before re-boarding the Spirit of Tasmania for our journey home the following day.

Rather unhappily, we were watching the news on our last night, and saw the early coverage of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Bit of a downer to end the holiday on, especially since Mum and I both had co-workers who had gone back to Sri Lanka for the holidays...

Mum, Sally and Alicia all spent the majority of the voyage home hunched miserably over whatever receptacle they could find, and thus was inspired the Care Career that dominated the next two decades of my life...

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About the Creator

Natasja Rose

I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).

I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.

I live in Sydney, Australia

Follow me on Facebook or Medium if you like my work!

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Comments (2)

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  • Hannah Moore11 days ago

    I loved Tasmania when I went, but I would not do that ferry crossing if you paid me!

  • Rozefun19 days ago


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