House sitting, Sand, Snow and Budget!

Housesitting

From Bruny Island We headed straight to our house sit. Housesitting is something that we had considered incorporating into our travels around Australia to break up life in our home on wheels as well as saving on accomodation costs. Little did we know that houssitting would be so helpful to get maintenance done, air out the van and also explore a large area close to a city.

We picked up our first housesit through the Travelling Australia with Kids Facebook page. Some other travelling families who I had been speaking with about housesitting tagged me in a Facebook post, and 15 minutes later we had locked in the housesit on the south side of Hobart for 10 days.

The housesit had us looking after a cheeky puppy in a beautiful bush setting close to Hobart. It was great to have a lounge to sit on and watch telly, a kitchen to do some cooking, and a “normal” washing machine to get all the soft furnishings clean. The kids loved being able to build lego and not pack it away daily. We were lucky to have such chilled out owners for our first housesit, and I know not all will be like that, but it is nice to break up life living in a caravan. 

During our time at the housesit we explored the Hobart area, and visited many areas that we might not have had we not done the sit. For us the free activities that we enjoyed were;

  • Mount Nelson Signal Station
  • Kingston, Blackmans Bay, and Fort Pierson loop drive.
  • Flowerpot, Verona Sands, Eggs & Bacon Bay to Cygnet loop drive
  • Salamanca Markets, Federation Dock, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • GASP Sculptures near Glenorchy

Car and Van Maintenance

Between all the exploring we were able to do some much needed maintenance on the car and van. We were lucky that the home owners were happy to receive some packages for us to be able to do maintenance. We did maintenance like a service on the car, tyre rotations on the car and van as well as some repairs to the coolant system that had popped up.

Our biggest learning curve after living in Tassies moist and cool climate was the hidden moisture issues we found when we started emptying out the van. We knew that there was some issues, but some had been hidden from us by soft furnishings. We found that due to having an east-west bed we had had moisture dripping down the side of the bed and growing mould in the bed base and also onto the quilt. There was also moisture in cupboards under the sink (from the oven temps), in the bathroom cupboard (from the hot water system), and even in the overhead cupboards where we store our food. It was a real eye-opening experience for us.

We realised that for the rest of the time we are in the cooler locations we are going to have to be more proactive about moisture. We found these awesome SunSack reusable moisture absorbing pouches for $9.95 each. They absorb moisture and the picture on the front changes to let you know it is time to dry them out in the sun or microwave. We placed these sacks in various places around the van where moisture had been the most issue. We have also been much more vigilant with opening windows daily to create airflow, and also drying up any condensation each morning with a towel.

Aussie House Sitters

Since this housesit we have registered ourselves with Aussie House Sitters and have locked in 2 more housesits for when we get back to Melbourne. We believe that when we do our first housesit we will have already saved ourselves the cost of joining the Aussie House Sitters website, and any sits after that will be a bonus. I think if your timeframes have some flexibility then housesitting will absolutely be worth it to save on costs and break up your trip around Oz.

If you want a discount on joining Aussie House Sitters then hit us up for a discount code!

From Sand to Snow

Post housesit we headed for the end of the road. Cockle Creek was a location that was always on our list, for the fishing and oysters mainly. We arrived at the Cockle Creek Campground which compare with the summer months was sparse with campers and had plenty of space to enjoy the minimal phone and tv service. We met up with two other travelling families while here – Kasuba’s Caravanning and the Red Nomad & Co. Kids loved exploring and playing on the beach while the parents fished the crystal clear waters. We collected ourselves some of the famous Cockle Creek Oysters at low tide and enjoyed a couple for breakfast and lunch. A couple was all that was needed to make a meal.

From here our final location in the south was Port Arthur. We headed across to Dunalley and parked ourselves up at the Free RV camp next to the Dunalley Hotel. From here it is a nice drive towards Port Arthur. We started the day with a visit to the Tessellated Pavement. Little did we know that the loaves and pans are formed depending on how much salt, water and air they see!

Then we headed to the Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen where we learnt again about how the seas created these amazing forms of art!

From here it was on to Port Arthur. OMG what an amazing place. I remembered it from my visit almost 20 years ago, but for the kids some of the stories of how the convicts lived, worked and died was a real learning curve. We enjoyed the included Intro tour and the Cruise on the harbour, but the stories as part of the Escape tour (additional cost) were amazing feats of ingenuity and courage.

As part of your entry you are given a playing card, and this relates to a convict. We all really enjoyed finding out about our convicts!

We finished the day at sundown checking out the Dog line at Eaglehawke Neck. This is where they had ferocious dogs lined up to stop the convicts escaping! They look pretty scary in my book!

From Dunalley we made the swift decision to tick off a big bucketlist item and go camping in the snow! We had seen Hocking’s Home Away from Home enjoy some epic snowfall in the central highlands so decided we would make our way there. We drove, very carefully, up into the central highlands in the hope of seeing falling snow. Little did we know we would make it right up onto the plateau and have a full afternoon of falling snow! 

There were squeals of excitement from the backseat that brought tears to my eyes. Reminding us exactly why we are on this crazy adventure as a family!

The smiles were stuck to our faces all afternoon. We have had snow fights, built snowmen, made snow angels and FaceTimed family with falling snow! It was an epic afternoon and it couldn’t have happened without my amazing husband agreeing to drive our 7.5 tonne setup on the icy roads!

Overnight we had limited snow, so we were so lucky to have had the afternoon before. We had an adventure trying to get out of the place too, with haulage hill on the north side of the central tablelands closed due to ice. We had a long day driving around the lakes and finally making it to camp later afternoon. Was it worth the extra time and cost, absolutely! Whenever you can have a once in a lifetime experience like this one it is always worth changing your plans to make it happen.

From the snow we headed for the beaches of the north west. With only 4 weeks left in Tassie it is time to tick off the last quarter of the state.

Budget

Here is a quick overview of our budget. Please remember that all families travel differently and this is just OUR budget for the month of May. In May we have travelled 2544 km and had 5 fuel top ups.

  Month Per week
Accommodation $230 $52
Food $1,406 $317
Fuel $955 $216
Alcohol (Bruny Island) $704 $159
Eating Out (Bruny Island) $1007 $227
Experiences $239 $54
Maintenance $1198 $270
Other (phone, internet, on road bills,
at home costs, maintenance, medical, permits)
$1,999 $451
Total $7,738 $1,747

This month we completed a lot of maintenance on the van and car. As well as this we lived it up on Bruny Island spending up on food and alcohol. We also drove plenty of km’s and therefore spent up on fuel.

We met some amazing travelling families in Tassie in May. We met Family 4 Adventure and McCullock Family in Derwent Bridge, Kasuba’s Caravanning and Red Nomad and Co in Cockle Creek, and finished up the month with One Day we Should. More of our adventures with them next month.

We have seen the big fork, the big baby whale, the big cherry and the big motorbike tractor this past month. This month has been a big one and if you have made it to the end of this post then well done!

If you have any questions hit us up below.

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