What started as a "get out of Dodge" vacation to unwind from 7 months of home remodeling and a year of major transitions became a beautiful adventure to the lands "down under" -- New Zealand and Australia -- and a forging of new friendships, healing of the body and soul, and restoration of spiritual balance within.
Tasmania and New Zealand were not initially on my scope for this year, but they were on my "bucket list" -- places to go before I pass on. After I moved to central Virginia in March, I knew it was time for a different kind of vacation. I had been traveling to Charlottesville, VA for the past 40 years, to visit my friends Dee and Bucky Walsh, and that had been restorative in many ways. Yet my soul was calling for an adventure ... to a place I'd never been before ...
I have been following the "practical spirituality" teachings of Kryon for the past few years, and had performed on the harp for a Kryon weekend in Salt Lake City in 2017. I asked myself, "How about attending a Kryon adventure somewhere, maybe in the Celtic islands?" I've always wanted to go to Ireland and Scotland this lifetime, with my love of Celtic music. But the timeline for such a trip was well into 2019, and my feet were itching to go somewhere soon!
My new position at the University of Virginia entails various aspects of communications work, from writing for the Chief HR Office to designing newsletters, print and electronic pieces, and a new website. The website redesign project was topmost on the list of priorities for 2018, and we were scheduled to launch in July. Therefore, a Kryon adventure in the fall or early winter would be mindful of work priorities and schedules. That landed me in Tasmania!
And if I was going to travel halfway around the world for such an adventure, I might as well extend it a little and visit someplace else. Scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef was first on my mind, but early spring could bring cool and unpredictable weather. New Zealand would be AMAZING ... and I have friends there, Paul and Debs Galbraith, who used to live in Alabama while I was in that state for a few years.
With Paul and Debs' generous invitation to New Zealand, and approval of leave for November, I booked my flights, secured my visa, and signed on for a Kryon adventure in Tasmania and a visit to my friends in South Island (Nelson), New Zealand ... woo hoo!
NELSON, NEW ZEALAND
After a 5-hour flight from Dulles Airport to LAX, a 13-hour flight to Auckland, a 2-hour flight to Nelson, and about 4 hours of waiting around in airports, I finally landed (sleepless) in the beautiful small city of Nelson, New Zealand, on South Island. New Zealand is a long and narrow country, comprised of over 600 islands, but the two largest ones are known as North Island and South Island. The weather varies dramatically from north to south, with summer-like weather in the north at this time of year corresponding with occasional snowstorms in the southern tip of South Island as you get closer to Antarctica. My arrival day was brisk and breezy -- a cool spring day. I was warmly greeted by my friends Debs and Paul, and their younger son Joe. Their older son Alex (currently at university in Canada) went to school with my son Karim, at the Redmont School (a Waldorf primary school that follows the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner) in Birmingham, AL.
To help with the 19-hour time difference, I chose to stay up all day, and sleep at dark. Debs took me out for a long walk on Nelson's picturesque board walk, and we stopped for refreshments along the way. It was absolutely lovely, and a great start to my day!
Day 2: Exploring Nelson
My walk into the town of Nelson was fabulous; couldn't stop taking pictures of the gifts of Gaia -- flowers everywhere, gorgeous trees and landscapes. The town is charming, filled with a tasteful shopping district and eateries (I had falafel at an Israeli-owned cafe). Without the need to be driving myself anywhere, my hands would be free for these coming days, so I picked up some knitting needles and New Zealand wool. Debs and I made pumpkin soup with kumara (a yellow sweet potato) and tahini; yummy!
Day 3: Nelson Harbor
Another lovely day in Nelson with my friends. I made man'ouche in the morning (note to self: the flavor is not just from the za'tar, but also from the kind of flour -- don't use gluten-free flour!), then made my way to Guyton's via the Nelson harbor to pick up some salmon for a homemade sushi dinner. Stopped for lunch along the boardwalk and had the best scallop linguini I've ever had in my life! Sushi making in the evening was great fun, and the results were delicious! I started my knitting project today (a cowl-neck shawl), then pulled it out and started again when things looked "wonky" -- knitting is not my forte, but I enjoy the process!
Day 5: Kaiteriteri and Lake Rotoiti
Had a fabulous day with Paul and Debs today, visiting the pristine beaches of Kaiteriteri and Lake Rotoiti in the mountains in the south. We fed catfood to the largest swarm of huge eels I've ever seen at the lake; the seagulls and ducks competed with the eels for the food! We also took a nice walk-about in the woods surrounding the lake, with the trail alternating between steep tree roots and soft springy moss. I also tried gold kiwi ice cream, a local favorite, which was quite delicious!
The day was cool and breezy, without rain until we drove back. All in all, a fabulous day, topped off with yummy Indian food for dinner. Woo hoo!
Day 6: Roses and roses and roses galore ... oh my!
This was a lovely last day in Nelson. I walked into town today, shopped for some gifts for friends, and enjoyed lunch at Marion Square. Paul and Debs decided on an impromptu visit to the Nelson beach before sunset, and a visit to the local rose garden, which was spectacular and amazing.
We made pumpkin pie for dessert, in recognition of Thanksgiving today, which was very thoughtful of my sweet hosts to remember. I am so thankful for such wonderful friends and hosts, Paul and Debs. Their generosity was noteworthy, their welcome attitude delightful, and they are really superb people. I am proud to call them my friends!
An unexpected bonus!
I rode to the airport this morning in Paul's Lotus, an English-built roadster ... soooooo fun! It was the talk of the airport when I got inside! I traveled to Sydney today, and stayed at an AirBnB across the harbor from the Opera House. My host, Wayne, is a writer and a very interesting person.
I had only one full day to explore Sydney. I started by exploring Wayne's garden on the water (literally!) before heading over to "The Rocks" and the Opera House and surrounding areas. The garden was delightful, though very windy! I enjoyed a scenic ride on the local ferry across the water. The Rocks was named after some rock formations I discovered along the way while exploring the "Rock Markets" -- their version of a farmer's market, though with mostly arts and crafts, not food. It was spectacular! The artists were very gifted, the crafts high quality, and the food along the way nourishing and delicious. I happened upon some interesting birds along the way, and a Salvador Dali sculpture of a clock in the park next to the Opera House. In addition, one of the stores in the Rocks carries the most gorgeous collection of didgeridoos I've ever seen -- very tempting to have one shipped home!
Next came a visit to the nearby Botanical Gardens, which were lovely, and the "Conservatorium" -- a conservatory of music now serving gifted high school students. The Conservatorium is housed in what used to be the Governor's "stables" -- the castle picture!
I also visited the Government House and its surrounding gardens. The fig tress were amazing sculptures of intertwining limbs and trucks. It's hard not to feel the depth of beauty in Gaia when looking at these spectacular trees ...
The Sydney Opera House is an amazing piece of architecture, and looks like an exotic ship getting ready to take off across the waters. I happened upon a "dance rites" competition outside the Opera House, and enjoyed watching several tribal dance presentations, all done with the accompaniment of didgeridoos and/or sticks or drums. Beautiful! I finished the day with a scenic ferry ride back to my AirBnB room, and a long chat with my host before turning in for the night.
Day 1: Hobart
I arrived in Hobart today and Uber'd my way with an interesting Indian driver to my room at the Wrest Point Tower & Casino; I have a spectacular view of the harbor from my room! My roommate, Virginia (ironic, no?) from Melbourne, and I enjoyed a lovely dinner on the 17th floor at a restaurant that slowly revolves to make a full revolution in about an hour. We enjoyed a full 360 degree tour of the Hobart area while enjoyed a delicious meal!
Day 2: Hobart
I visited Hobart by foot today with Virginia, and we met up with a couple of other ladies attending the Kryon adventure: Debbie and Debbie! We had some of the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth salmon down at the wharf, along with some unique flavors of ice cream for dessert! The weather of cloudy and cool, but perfect for walking about. Virginia found some green shoes she loved, and I ogled at the amazing locally knitted sweaters, socks, and other winter wear.
This evening began the Kryon adventure (www.kryon.com), with a seminar open to both weeklong Tasmania adventure participants and the general public. It was delicious and profound, as always. We enjoyed a welcome dinner afterwards, so we could begin to meet each other.
Day 3: Strahan, Derwent Valley, Queenstown, and Lake St. Clair
We departed Hobart in the morning and headed for the west coast of Tasmania, and Strahan. The bus ride was long, but great fun since we stopped all along the way, and the company was very interesting! The group of 44+ energy healers and lightworkers was mostly middle-aged, and all had some very interesting stories about their entrance into the metaphysical world. My tribe!
Derwent Valley looked a lot like Virginia -- rolling hills and thick forest, with everything very green. I had no idea that much of Tasmania is rainforest -- very different from the mainland Australia, which is most well known for its desert.
We stopped at "The Wall in the Wilderness" at Derwent bridge, a remarkable huge (100 meters long, 10' high, double-sided ) wood carving depicting the history of the region, its topography and peoples, and hand carved by a local artist, Greg Duncan, who has been working on the wall for almost a decade.
We had a lovely break at Lake St. Claire, where I walked the shores and enjoyed the peace and serenity of the lake, along with a channeling by Lee Carroll of Kryon. Our next stop was Queenstown, an old copper mining town that is all but abandoned due to recent deaths in the mines. A beautiful spot, it could be rebuilt as a tourist destination except for its remoteness and difficulty to access it. We landed in the late afternoon in Strahan, and enjoyed an exceptional meal and a spectacular sunset. Woo hoo!
Day 4: Strahan and the West Coast Wilderness Railway
Today we visited Ocean Beach, one of the most western shores of the island of Tasmania, and enjoyed a long walk on the beach. It made me long to spend more time at the ocean, especially where there are no people. It was peaceful, rugged, and revitalizing.
In the afternoon we rode on the West Coast Wilderness Railway from Regatta Point in Strahan to Dubbil Barril (no, that's not a typo), and back (the train conductors physically turned the train around at the end of the line, you'll see pictures of that). We went into the rainforest with the train -- the track cut through rock, deep forest, and over deep gullies and rivers. All was built by hand -- no explosives -- and took two years to complete. Remarkable! It was built for the copper mining operations, which took the copper ore to Queenstown and then throughout Tasmania and eventually to the mainland of Australia.
The ferns in the forest were amazing, reaching over 10' in height! We had a honey tasting break along the way, and I picked up a tiny jar of chocolate honey. Yum! The rain forest was comprised of Huon pine, myrtle, and sassafras trees, among others. This was a very nice day in and around Strahan!
Day 5: Cruise on Gordon River, Travel to Cradle Mountain
Today was very sunny! We traveled by boat from Strahan, first to the ocean, which was exceptionally calm, and then up the Gordon River into the rainforest of Huon pine, sassafras, and myrtle trees, and to Sarah Island, a "hell on earth" penitentiary colony that developed later into a thriving boat-building business before it finally closed in the 20th century. After a couple of days of cool and on-and-off rainy weather, the sunny day was glorious! Kryon said that weather can be affected by a group of light-workers working in collaboration with Gaia, and that affecting weather in one place affects weather elsewhere as well -- so it's always good to ask "if it's appropriate for the region" when requesting weather changes!
The cruise was magnificent. It reminded me of early years in Saudi Arabia, where my family would go out to the Red Sea by launch most weekends to spearfish for our next week's dinner catch. I enjoyed sitting with the captain on the upper level, and learning about the history of the region through his eyes. By the way, you'll see a crazy photo of a boat with 144 water skiers behind it! This was a world-record-breaking event that took place is Tasmania. Having learned to ski when I was young, and recalling how difficult it was to have just TWO people getting up at the same time due to the additional drag on the boat, I can't IMAGINE how difficult a feat it was to have 145 people get up at the same time! Zoom in on that photo close to see what an amazing thing that was!
We then traveled by bus to Cradle Mountain, which is at the top of the Cradle Mountain/Lake St. Clair National Park in central Tasmania, and arrived in time to see some wombats and pademelons (they look like little kangaroos or wallabies). So cute!
Day 6: Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake
Today was a very strenuous day ... 15,000+ steps UP Marion Point, leading to a spectacular view of Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake, and the surrounding area. The climb was dangerous, treacherous, extremely steep ... and fabulous! I overheated very quickly, but preferred that to being cold. At some points, we had chains to hold on to for climb or descent ... it was that steep! Thankfully, everyone made it just fine (10 of us took up the bus driver's offer to summit the Point), and we enjoyed our lunch at the top before coming back down a slightly different (but equally treacherous) way.
Upon our return, I explored the ranger station, which was very educational, and enjoyed a short 20-minute walk on a nearby rain forest trail. After a much needed shower, I boarded the bus again and visited the "Devils@Cradle" -- a facility that houses and breeds Tasmanian devils and three species of quolls. Many Tasmanian devils (which got their name from the screaming sound they make when arguing with each other) have developed a facial cancer, causing them to eventually be unable to eat, and consequently die. The cancer has been shown to NOT be caused by anything man-made, thankfully. However, their species is going extinct. The Devils@Cradle facility is trying hard to not let that happen. Their dwindling numbers is leading to an unwanted abundance of wallabies, wombats, and other small rodents that they prey on.
Day 7: Sheffield, Launceston
We left the serenity of Cradle Mountain and stopped in several places as we made our way south in Tasmania. First stop was Sheffield, where we viewed impressive outdoor murals throughout the city, along with mosaics in the local park.
Then came chocolate tasting at the Anvers Chocolate Factory (which also had some lovely roses and posies outside), followed by cheese tasting at Ashgrove Cheese.
The next stop took us to the Cataract Gorge, just outside Launceston, which was lovely. Cataract Gorge boasts the world's longest chairlift. Arriving in Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania, was a bit shocking after being out in the wilderness, but we grounded ourselves in Gaia's energy at the City Park, which had magnificent redwoods nestled amongst other gentle giants.
Day 8: Freycinet Peninsula, Return to Hobart
We drove from Launceston to the east coast of "Tazi" and then south, visiting Campbell Town (cool carved wooden statues along the road), the Freycinet Peninsula (took a walk around the lighthouse, saw a cotton ball-like flower bush), and Cape Tourville. We fed a little wallabe there, which was lovely. Today was the last day of the Kryon Tasmania adventure, and we celebrated with a lovely catered dinner in Hobart. The trip has been as I had hoped -- lots of connections with other light-workers, made some new friends, and had time to recharge.
Tommorw I'll fly to Sydney, and stay the night with Debbie, one of my new Aussie friends, then continue the journey home the following day. Good on ye!
Copyright 2017 Cynthia Douglass | All Rights Reserved