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Now, where was I?

We hadn’t really planned any activities so we just picked a few things that interested us from the many tourist information brochures lying around the airbnb place. We decided to head over to Bridestowe Lavender Farm, which I’d heard about ages ago because of a Chinese pop star who bought one of their lavender bears and then caused a huge rush on Chinese people buying the bears, the inevitable advent of a lavender bear black market, and crackdown by the Chinese authorities. But of course it’s only just spring, so the lavender plants aren’t doing their thing yet; they’re just little grey mounds in long, curved rows. Also it was kind of grey and rainy. So we headed into the gift shop (didn’t buy a bear), and had a coffee and some lavender scones. I’m looking forward to going back in the height of summer to see the fields in all their purple glory.

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The next day the weather was entirely opposite – sunny, with bright blue skies. We went up to Platypus House and Seahorse World, a delightful destination for fans of monotremes and underwater creatures (ie, us!). Hearing facts about platypuses and echidnas somehow transports me straight back to primary school – I must have learned about them either when I was at Mascot Public before we moved to PNG, or the term in year five that I stayed at my grandpa’s when we were between PNG and Singapore and I went to Hornsby North Public School. Somehow whatever was imparted in that narrow window of learning stuck; I don’t think we were taught about Australian native animals at our overseas expat schools.

Anyway – monotremes rock!

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Echidna lunch time

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Poppy the platypus

Seahorses are pretty amazing too. They are prolific breeders, and we saw the tanks where they hatch hundreds of baby seahorses each day, then move them into various other tanks depending on how old they are. Then finally they are exported all over the world as pets. I got to hold one, as well as a sea urchin and a fat starfish (G held a hermit crab).

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Many seahorses and one majestic leafy sea dragon

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We had a bit more time to kill before we went to the Blue House for the pre-settlement inspection, so we went to the Tamar Valley Resort, which is just around the corner from the house, and played mini golf. We bent the rules a little – turns out I’m as bad at mini golf as I am at regular-sized golf, but it was still fun!

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Then we went to the house. I was a bit nervous, as it was the first time anyone else had seen the house and I didn’t know how they’d react. Of course mum noticed things that I hadn’t noticed, but then the house was also empty (whereas I’d seen it furnished). I got to have a better look at the garden (it had been raining when I’d inspected it)…it’s like having our own park. The yard is huge! And beautiful. I’m looking forward to setting up beds for vegies and fruit. And getting some chickens!

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The hills are alive…in my backyard

That night we decided to go out for dinner. Mum had heard good things about Black Cow Bistro, so we headed there for a celebratory meal (cheers to our new house and G’s upcoming birthday!). We shared two cuts between the three of us, and it was the most delicious steak I think I’ve ever eaten.

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Carnivore’s delight and sugary bliss

After dinner we drove G to the airport and after hugging our goodbyes, then it was just me and mum. In Launceston. Permanently. WEIRD.