Thursday, February 25, 2016

Moving Inland to Fly Back to Sydney

After a beautiful day at the Bay of Fires and a nice dinner, it was time to leave St. Helens and head inland to Launceston, TAS, where we would catch a plane the next day for our return to Sydney.

Getting to Tasmania involved leaving the boat, taking a taxi to catch a train for a 3.5 hour ride to Sydney Central Station and a transfer to Sydney International Airport Terminal Station. Going back to the boat will be a reverse trip of cars, planes and trains and even a bus, then a taxi! We are learning to deal with public transportation and find it very convenient!

Our visit to Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania, is really just a stopover for the night. However, we found the drive from the coast very interesting and pleasant.

Unlike traveling in the interior of New Zealand which was miles of winding roads with hairpin turns through numerous mountain ranges, the trip was over a couple of mountain passes but then along a long valley floor following rivers. The countryside was grazing land and we saw more beef and milk cows than sheep in this region.

In a distance we could see huge areas of white flowers on both sides of the road. As we got closer, Dennis decided to take photographs so he stopped and crossed the road to do so. When he returned, he announced that the flowers looked like poppies. A few miles ahead we saw large signs warning about trespassing next to each field of white. Then it hit us!
They were fields of poppies being grown for medicinal use and under strict governmental regulation. What an interesting crop! And we could fully understand why they were out in the middle of nowhere. Just imagine what people would try if they had access to this beautiful flower in this quantity! Of course, we did not pick a pretty bouquet!

As for flights down there, the choice of carriers is limited with Virgin Australia being the major one. Fortunately, it is a Delta partner. The planes are extremely nice and comfortable which I was happy to see as we will be flying Virgin Australia to Vietnam and back to Los Angeles in 2016. 

The economy service is interesting in that soft drinks are not free – only water, coffee or tea. We did not have food service on this short flight so it will be interesting to see what we get –or don’t – on the longer flights as we have opted for Premium Economy instead of Business class.

Once back in Sydney, we were hit by the blast of 100 degree plus air as we left the train station. I know I will miss the cooler weather of Tasmania! Living on land for a week was a nice change. Now I am happy to be “home” on Trillium.

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