Channelling (10-12 July 2015) – Day 1

One of the good things about living so far away* from where I grew up is that a lot of the nearby places that Slabs and Juniordwarf haven’t been to are places I’m also not familiar with.

One of these areas is the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, which is the stretch of water between mainland Tasmania and Bruny Island. The Channel region is the area south of Hobart between the Huon Valley and the water. It includes the towns of Margate, Sung, Kettering and Woodbridge, and it’s from Kettering that you get the ferry to Bruny, as we did on one of our mini-breaks last year.

We thought that school holidays would be a good time to go away for a couple of days. I wanted to go to the beach (I’m not a beach fan, but I like them in winter), and Slabs wanted to go somewhere relatively close. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we agreed Kettering would be a good base for the weekend.

We had a few options for accommodation, and finally settled on Herons Rise Vineyard, about 1 km out of Kettering. It has 3 self-contained cottages, which you can book with or without breakfast. There is also the option of including a 2 course dinner and a bottle of wine.

Herons Rise Vineyard
Herons Rise Vineyard

I wanted to be able to see the water, so we chose the Wine Loft cottage, which is above the wine cellar. It has two bedrooms and can accommodate up to 5 people. The thought of having a home-cooked dinner rather than having to cater ourselves or go out somewhere appealed, so we booked dinner for both nights.

The Wine Loft
The Wine Loft
The Wine Loft
The Wine Loft

Kettering is actually a lot closer to Hobart than I remembered, and it took us just over half an hour to get there. Heron’s Rise is about 1 km out of the town, up the hill, and we could just see the water through the trees. Criterion satisfied!

I can see the water!
I can see the water!

Juniordwarf decided he’d have the main bedroom, which had a queen bed and a single, leaving us the other bedroom, which also had a queen bed. I’m not sure how that even happened, he did it so smoothly.

Bedrooms and loungeroom
Bedrooms and loungeroom

This trip we finally remembered the board games, and decided to teach Juniordwarf the game of Qwirkle, which Lil Sis had introduced us to several years ago. She’s so good at the game that people who play against her call her “The Cheater”, which Juniordwarf found hilarious. He came out with this classic line, which cracked me up: “Lil Sis is a cheater. We have to defeat her.” (She says it’s all lies. I believe her.)

Thanks, in at least some part, to a double Qwirkle, Slabs won the game, and Juniordwarf didn’t disgrace himself coming second. I, on the other hand, deserve a place in the hall of shame for setting up the double Qwirkle without realising it, and not even the bonus points for using all my tiles first could lift me out of last place.

Lucky I’m not competitive isn’t it.

Juniordwarf's first Qwirkle game
Juniordwarf’s first Qwirkle game

Ordering dinner turned out to be an excellent decision. Our host Gerry brought down a big box holding our meals – tonight it was chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, a potato gratin and steamed veggies – and laid it all out on the table for us. Dessert (because it was a 2-course dinner) was a divine chocolate cake with a berry compote, or whatever it is you call a sauce that includes the whole berries, and whipped cream. I decided to let my sugar-free lifestyle have a very small break, mainly because I know I’m now capable of having dessert every now and then without letting the whole thing go.

Dinner at Herons Rise
Dinner at Herons Rise

We topped it off with a bottle of one of our favourite wines, the 2003 cabernet sauvignon from Derwent Estate, that we apparently bought the very last bottles of a couple of years ago.

2003 Derwent Estate Cab Sav. Glorious!
2003 Derwent Estate Cab Sav. Glorious!

It was a lovely way to end our first night away.

* By Tasmanian standards

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