Possum Problems on the Apple Isle

taspossum2Anyone who has ever visited our lovely island of Tasmania knows how crazily abundant wildlife is here. You can’t go anywhere at night without stumbling across a wombat or dodging a kangaroo. It’s great that we have so much natural beauty here, but it comes with a price. As human and animals live together in close proximity both have had to make compromises on their lifestyles. This could not be more obvious or pronounced than right here on this beautiful island we call home.

Homeowners are often plagued by pesky marsupials and birds who are more than happy to help themselves to the freshly grown vegetables or flowers in their manicured gardens. Sometimes it seems as if the wildlife just want to get in and make a mess. Possums have been making more and more trouble recently as their numbers increase to almost plague proportions due to their protected status in Australia.

After having an issue with a possum who had somehow managed to claw its way into the roof of our home, we did some research on how to keep the pesky (but adorable) critters at bay. We wouldn’t have minded coexisting in the same dwelling as our little possum friend, however his sleeping patterns clashed with ours and he always seemed to be up partying (or fighting) with his friends until all hours of the morning. A quick search online for “How to remove possums from inside the ceiling” brought up a very informative article from the blog of a pest controller and possum removal expert in Brisbane.

They suggested that if you have a rogue possum disturbing your sleep that you find out how they are getting into your roof space and close it off. You do need to be careful however because if you trap the possum inside your roof (they may be sleeping in there during the day), you might trap them and end up with a dead possum and a terrible stench emanating throughout your house. Once locked out they will try hard to get back into their once home, so make sure you patch the hole up securely! Take a look at the video above to see how vigorously possums will try and break back into a ceiling.

Just to be sure, it’s best that you set a trap baited with apples to catch the possum once you have closed off the hole, or if the ceiling cavity is easily accessible enter it to ensure there are not possums inside before closing it off. Once you have closed off the entry the possum will try its darndest to get back in, but if you do a good enough job the possum will eventually give up and look for a new place to reside -probably in someone else’s roof!

Other tips given on the site to keep possums at bay were to use possum deterrent sprays, to cut back any trees or branches close to your home that may be giving the possums easy access to your dwelling, and to use possum spikes to stop possums using your fence as a possum highway. Other tips were to use spotlights to make the possums feel uncomfortable around your property and to build a possum box to give them somewhere more suitable to live.

If you’re having possum issues take a look at the article linked above and help your family, yourself and your possum friends live a peaceful existence on this wonderful island.

A Quick trip Across the Straight to Melbourne

While there are plenty of attractions, natural wonders and things to do on the Apple Isle, sometimes its nice to take a trip back to the hustle and bustle of Old Melbourne Town just over the Bass Straight. The journey takes around 10 hours on the Spirit of Tasmania, so if you’re making the trip it may be worth your while to book accommodation in Melbourne for a night or two, to give you some time to take it all in before heading back.

MelbourneMelbourne has a wonderful history since European settlement, almost as old as that of Tasmania, and there are a plethora of things to do there. We slept for much of our trip across the Straight, so we were wide awake and ready to go when we arrived in Melbourne at the crack of dawn. We docked at around 6 a.m. and then we were off and ready to go!

Like Hobart, Melbourne has a lot of very old colonial buildings with lots of interesting history. Our initial plan was to peruse the stalls at the Melbourne Markets but first we took a chance to get some breakfast along the Yarra at a lovely café in Southbank. The ambience along the river is fantastic and we can completely understand why dining along the Yarra is so popular with Melbourne locals.

From Southbank it was a short stroll across the river to the Crown Casino, which is an amazing sight to see. The place is huge and goes on for what seems like kilometers! We wandered around in awe inside there for a few hours before our hunger came back and lunch-time was nearly upon us. We headed out of the city to check out one of Melbourne’s most famous cake shops.

Nestled away in the leafy green suburbs just north east of the CBD lies a quaint cake store with a big reputation. One of our colleagues from Tasmania used to work at the nearby La Trobe University and their faculty would regularly purchase novelty and corporate cakes from there, of all different shapes and sizes. After seeing the photos and hearing all the incredible stories about them we had to check the place out for ourselves. Let’s just say we were not disappointed!

Wedding CakeWe took a look at several stunningly designed cakes; a perfect replica of a Formula 1 car for a young boys birthday, an intricate model of an office building cake that was being prepared for a developer’s corporate function, and a breathtaking 3-tier wedding cake that had only just been completed. We settled with a delicious double chocolate cake the flavours of which absolutely blew us away. I have never had the experience of enjoying something so rich and moist. If you are looking for cakes in Melbourne we highly recommend checking out the stunning cake shop called Amarantos in Macleod, just north of the CBD.

After our afternoon of eating we headed back to our accommodation in the city to take a rest before heading out once again to Docklands for some delicious and fresh seafood for dinner. The freshly caught scallops and fish we enjoyed were most likely from the same waters that most of our Tasmanian seafood comes from so it was absolutely superb as per usual.

After dinner and a few vinos by the water we headed home to rest up for the next days adventures. I’d tell you all about them but it’s time for me to take a break and recover from our Melbourne adventures. Stay tuned for more to tales of our mainland trip in the near future..

Skiing Tasmania

With New Zealand so close, it is hard to imagine why anyone would bother heading to a ski hill in Tasmania. But that doesn’t stop the team at Ben Lomond snow sports from operating the best little ski hill this side of bass strait!

tassie joe

Nestled right in the middle of Ben Lomond National Park, you will find this small but entertaining snow capped hill measuring in at 1453 metres above sea level, the highest visitable area in Tasmania. There are a couple of tows pulling eager punters up to the summit, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding park as far as flinders island on a clear day and an exhilarating ride down for skiers and snowboarders alike. Last season saw the introduction of snowmaking equipment that facilitates the natural snow cover and helps cover rocks to minimise damage to skis and snowboards, as well as making the snow last longer.

The two tows open up a considerable amount of terrain, and those with the adequate snow gear can easily hike a bit further along the top of the hill to access the untouched snow. although this can prove to be unforgiving to the base of your skis. There is a varying level of pitch and some of the regulars have created a small snowboard park with a fun box and small kicker.

If you are in need of snow gear, this ski shop hires snowboards, skis and snow boots for the day or week, and also has a variety of ski gloves, ski jackets, and snow goggles available for purchase with eftpos and paypal accepted. Beside the ski shop there is a cozy cafe that whips up some of the best hot chocolate on the planet! It’s a welcome break from the elements if the weather turns south and starts blowing up a gale.

If you have only just begun to snowboard or ski, and live locally, then there is no excuse to not try your luck up at Ben Lomond snow sports. The ski area is especially good for kids who want to toboggan, or are learning to ski or snowboard. There is even a ski school on the hill with SIA approved ski instructors running the classes and there is the option for private lessons.

So next time you see a heavy patch of weather coming over Tasmania, Grab your snowboard boots, strap your skis to the roof of the car and hit the road so you can be the first one down the hill when Ben Lomond opens the lift!

 

Salamanca Markets- The Thriftiest Place in Town

Now without trying to sound like too much of a snobby ‘mainlander,’ Tasmanians aren’t the hippest of folks getting around. That being said, what the creative custodians of the apple isle lack in style they doubly make up for in imagination and the Salamanca markets is a melting pot for all of Tasmania’s creativity.

 sea shepard

With more than 300 stalls on any given Saturday, you will see collections of artwork from impressionists, timber statues of Tasmanian possums carved by dreamers and more practical creations like oak snowboards and bowls for the realists. There will be buskers serenading you as you meander your way through the stalls, their joyful tunes carried on the brisk morning wind that accompanies Hobart’s streets. You’ll see potters creating the beginnings of beautiful ceramics, you’ll come across potheads informing you of all the wonders of hemp made products.

The truth is, the experience you have at the Salamanca markets is going to vary each time you visit as there will always be something you missed or overlooked the last time you were there.

My last visit I came across two of my favourite things: cake and a good book. The cake stall was owned by a little old lady originally from Melbourne. She had moved down to Tasmania to retire but she said she grew tired of having nothing to do so she started baking, and bake she did! Birthday cakes, wedding cakes, christening cakes, you name it, grammy had baked it. Now I’m not much of a baker myself but I am a cake lover and I can honestly say I had never eaten a better dark chocolate mud cake as the one I ate that day.

toy run hobartI found a quiet bench just a short walk away from the market and sat down to enjoy my cake and read my new book about Tasmania’s wildlife. I love Australian animals you see, possums, snakes, birds, all types, as long as they are not living in my roof. The morning briskness began to fade and a warm ray of sunlight splashed over my face. I looked up from my book and pondered for a moment on the pleasantness of Salamanca square. All of a sudden I hear a rumble, and just as turn my head, I see thousands of motorbikes heading toward me, their engines growling fiercely. Must be the yearly Toy run!  Better get moving before I get run over!

Step Back in Time to the Richmond Township.

richmondbridge

With sandstone arches reminiscent of a colonial English town, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Richmond Bridge, set against the hills of the Coal River Valley, was somewhere in the heart of  Britain’s countryside. These perfectly constructed arches have straddled Tasmania’s Coal River since their completion in 1825. The bridge was built using convict labourers who were too malnourished and poorly treated to enjoy its picturesque setting and framing views of one of Richmond Township’s oldest churches. The Richmond Bridge, which although not the architectural feat of some of today’s gigantic structures has long inspired artists, day trippers and lovers of beautiful places almost since it was finished. It is almost impossible to not see a family feeding the geese or a young couple snuggled up on a picnic blanket when you drive by.  

top of mt Wellington The town of Richmond is a beautiful spectacle in itself. Frozen in time, the township plays host to modern day tourists arriving in droves prepared to take a step back to a simpler way of life. The township features a colonial gaol, positioned on the banks of the coal river, some beautiful antique shops that have a range of goods that give the impression they were left behind by the convicts, a pub, a maze, and a professionally crafted miniature village that you could stare at for hours and still not have discovered all its wonder.

The model town is a replica of Hobart from the 1820’s. Reconstructed from the original city plans, this little village portrays a precise glimpse at life in Tasmania’s heart during this time. Taking Modelers Andrew and John Quick over 3 years to create, this labour of love is definitely worth a visit.

Before you reach the town the convict tourist trail winds its way through a collection of vineyards and cheese makers all eager to please with Camembert, triple brie and smoked cheddar deliciously complementing a fine selection of young vine pinot noirs and earthy, caramel merlots. If you have got room for dessert the cakes from the local cake shop are to die for, with some of the creamiest cheesecakes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring on offer. These cakes are so popular with the locals and visitors alike that the owners are constantly sending cakes to Melbourne and Adelaide to people who recently visited this delightful cake shop.

So after a half day trip out to Richmond, Tasmania, you will be amazed by the town’s resemblance to mother England, You’ll be so full of cheese and cake that you think you might burst, you might be a little tipsy from too much wine tasting, but one thing is for sure; you’ll be happy you made the trip!