So we’ve reached the Promised Land, but we’re tired. So our first day was a day of rest — settling at a local park and enjoying the scenery.

Mersey Bluff Lighthouse from the Tasmanian ferry, December 2012
The first Tasmanian land that we see is the Mersey Bluff with its brilliant lighthouse keeping guard.

I was woken early this morning by an announcement over the ship’s intercom, and after collecting our belongings together I woke the girls. With queues and quarantine inspections, it took another hour after we docked before we were driving down the streets of Devonport.

Tasmania has strict quarantine regulations which meant we couldn’t bring any fresh fruit or vegetables into the state. This meant that our first stop here was to stock up on local produce. I asked the shopkeeper where we should go for a quiet day’s play, and she recommended Bells Parade.

Bells Parade, Latrobe, Tasmania, December 2012
At this location, the Mersey River sits calmly within its brick banks, reflecting the world around it and doubling the beauty we see.

Bells Parade gets its name from one Robert Bell who built a wharf and a store at this location in 1855. The foundations of older buildings are still visible along the water’s edge. Our girls enjoyed speculating about what the constructions were.

Bells Parade, Latrobe, Tasmania, December 2012
This rotunda adds to the beauty of the location. The park was extensively restored and beautified in 1988 as part of Australia's bicentenary celebrations.

Bells Parade, Latrobe, Tasmania, December 2012
A small, nondescript playground is located close to picnic tables, electric barbecues and toilets. From the number of public toilets on offer, this park must attract great crowds at certain times of the year.

Our day was spent on the playground, roaming the lawns, playing games with toys and seemingly endless trips to the toilets. I sat in a chair and finished some crocheting, and Dell and I napped together in the sun.

The girls were tired from being woken early, and so I packed us up well before dusk so we could drive to find a place to spend the night. Even though the drive from the ferry’s dock to Bells Parade was less than nine kilometres, the number of dead wildlife resting at the side of the road has convinced me to stick to driving in daylight hours.

It took us less than an hour to reach Launceston, driving on good roads through fields of opium poppies and other more anonymous crops. We’ve been offered the use of an empty flat, and that has given us base on the island — a place to receive mail, somewhere to wash clothes and friends to come back to.

View over Launceston, Tasmania, December 2012
As the sun's final rays warm the houses of Launceston's valley, I am thankful to be here, grateful to be once again welcomed to a new place, and relieved that we have reached our destination and can finally rest.