<![CDATA[ARCHIESTASSIEADVENTURES.COM - Blog]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2020 06:48:38 +1100Weebly<![CDATA[The Lodge - Stanley, August 2019]]>Wed, 21 Aug 2019 10:39:38 GMThttp://archiestassieadventures.com/blog/the-lodge-stanley-august-2019​Stanley was the destination of choice for out latest weekend getaway.  Stanley is a picturesque little town on Tassie’s north-west coast, approximately 2 ½ hours drive from Launceston.
We headed off mid-afternoon on Friday, so we arrived before dark.  We’d booked a lovely looking holiday rental called ‘'The Lodge’ on the main street of Stanley.  It’s a five minute walk to the town centre one way and a five minute walk to the beach, the other.  As soon as we stopped the car, Archie was super excited.  It wasn’t just getting out of the car after the long drive, he could smell the beach and hear the waves off in the distance.  The beach is his favourite place after all, well it’s the favourite place for all of us.  
We put our gear inside the front door and took Mr Excited for a walk.  It was drizzling slightly but that doesn’t mean much to an energetic pup. We were desperately hoping the current weather wasn’t a sign of the weekend ahead as all our plans included outdoor activities and lots of walking.  The recent weather forecasts had all been foreboding.  A cold snap was on the way with three low pressure systems combining to create torrential rain, low snow falls and windy conditions for the southern eastern states!  There was a possibility we’d driven a couple of hundred kilometres to sit inside playing cards all weekend.  Time would tell…
​We had an enjoyable walk around Stanley despite the bitter cold.  The scenery is magnificent and I’m not just referring to the natural beauty. The town itself has so many beautiful old buildings, it’s like stepping back in time to the Colonial days.  Archie wanted to head to the beach, but it was far too cold for swimming, even for the water-baby.  To Archie’s great disappointment, he was still dry when we headed back to The Lodge to unpack and have dinner.  John and I cracked a couple of craft beers along with the cards and Archie settled in for the night.
The Lodge itself is a charming old building that was once a Masonic Hall.  It’s been converted to a three-bedroom residence with a large open plan kitchen/dining/lounge area.  The master bedroom has an ensuite and the main bathroom has a claw foot bath. There are views from the large picture window in the sitting area to the beach and the famous Stanley Nut.  The living area has high, timber-lined ceilings and beautiful polished wooden floors.  There are plenty of comfortable chairs and lounges to while away the hours and an old piano for those who are musically inclined.  The kitchen is stocked with all the items you need to cook and prepare meals during your stay.  We agreed we’d chosen well for our weekend getaway.   
​We started our Saturday cooking eggs and bacon and getting rugged up for the day ahead.  It was overcast with some spots of rain, but we’d already agreed that rain, hail or shine we’d stick to our plans.  John took Archie shopping through the week and bought him a flash new raincoat, just in case the weather took a turn for the worse (you can check out how handsome he looks in his new red raincoat on Instagram @archieredbordercollie).
We walked to the local bakery and grabbed a take-away coffee; all the while getting pulled in the direction of the beach by the little guy who was super keen by this stage. With coffee in hand we headed to Tatlows Beach on the southern side of the Nut which has an off-leash area. It’s a good sized beach, approximately 4.5 kilometres in length.  Plenty of room for Archie to run around and an abundance of treasures washed up on the sand to keep me occupied.  John had his fancy camera out by this stage, snapping photos of Archie who was in the surf.  It was still relatively early and freezing at 4.7 degrees, which (according to the phone weather app) felt like -1.2. Archie couldn’t have cared less.
With the beach trip ticked off Archie’s list we headed back into town to check out the local sights. Many of the old buildings are signposted with a snippet of the building’s history and notable people who occupied them. Some of the buildings date back to the 1830s and the stories accompanying them are fascinating.  Joseph Lyons was born in one of the houses in 1879. The Hon J.A. Lyons went on to become Tasmania’s first Prime Minister of Australia (1932 -1939).
​During our walk around town we also discovered that Stanley has one of only two remaining functional heritage telephone boxes in Tasmania.  Archie was suitably impressed and happy to pose for photos in the booth.
​Once we’d had our fill of the historic sights of Stanley we headed back to The Lodge for lunch before jumping in the car and heading further west.  First stop was Marrawah - a ‘'don’t blink or you’ll miss it’ little place on the west coast; about an hour from Stanley.  We went straight to the local beach which was pretty wild.  There were a few drops of rain here and there that felt more like needles on your skin, with the strong winds.  Despite the inclement weather it was hard not to notice the raw beauty of the place.  The waves were fierce and as they came crashing in, they sent large sprays of sea mist high into the sky.  No wonder Marrawah is renowned as a surfer’s paradise, with waves recorded at 19 metres high.  It was looking very ‘'Point Break’ when we were there.  You’d have to be either exceptionally brave or stupid to head out with a board in those conditions.
We bundled back into the warm car to thaw out and headed to the Edge of the World which was only fifteen minutes away.  The drive takes you through Arthur River, Tasmania’s westernmost settlement.  The last Tasmanian Tiger was captured near Arthur River in the 1920’s and it’s easy to see how there could still be a few lurking around the thick bush surrounding the little town.  I really loved the single lane bridge across Arthur River.  There was something quite daunting yet exciting about driving across the long, skinny bridge.  We could see the red boat off to one side that will take you for cruises down Arthur River.  Not only were we too late for the cruise but I very much doubt they’d let our four-legged companion on board. Postscript – I took the photo of the Bridge 
​We turned right once we’d crossed the bridge and headed for the Edge of the World.  It was immediately obvious it was another special place whilst also being wild as hell.  The Roaring Forties (winds) were in full swing, whipping the waves into a frenzy. There were enormous piles of large tree trunks all along the shoreline; instead of the usual twigs and pieces of driftwood you’d find along a beach.   This was yet another testament to the ferocious climate of the west coast and the strength of mother nature.  I’m not sure Archie knew what to make of it all with the wind ripping through his fur and playing havoc with his ears.  I haven’t seen his ears so unruly since he was a little puppy.  
From this, the most western point of Tasmania, the next land mass is Argentina - 15,000 kilometres away. Looking out over the water at the Edge of the World, there’s a plaque facing the ocean inscribed with a gorgeous little poem by Brian Inder:
I cast my pebble into the shore of Eternity
To be washed by the Ocean of Time
It has shape, form, and substance
It is me
One day I will be no more                                  
But my pebble will remain here
On the shore of eternity
Mute witness from the aeons
That today I came and stood
At the edge of the world
​We blew back into the car and drove to Bluff Hill Point, just north of Arthur River, about half an hour’s drive off the main road.  There’s a small lighthouse at the end of one road and to my absolute surprise a couple of shacks down the end of another road.  These would have to have been the most remote shacks I’ve ever seen.  I’m guessing they’re owned by people who value their privacy and like to ‘'check out’ from the world every now and then.  We eventually found the beach, making for one happy puppy. Archie and I played frisbee while John took photos. 
The drive back to The Lodge was quiet apart from the Glorious Sons rocking it out on the stereo – we were all exhausted.  Archie was famished, demolishing his dinner in record time and jumped straight onto his bed. John and I grabbed some flake and chips from one of the local takeaways which was absolutely delicious, if not cheap. We cracked a couple of beers and pulled out the cards, but it wasn’t for long as we were wrecked after our big day.   
Sunday morning was stunning; the sun was out and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.  John and Archie went to the local bakery to grab coffees and a couple of egg and bacon muffins while I started packing up.  The muffins were fresh and super tasty (much better than your mcmuffin variety).  We packed up the car and headed back to Tatlows Beach for a bit of frisbee action before the long car ride.
​We farewelled Stanley, promising to return in the near future and headed inland to Dip Falls which is about a 45 minute drive.  The countryside is lush dairy farming land, dotted with cows, dams and the odd house and milking shed.  It’s an enjoyable drive with many interesting sights throughout the rolling green hills.
Dip Falls was the start of our Sunday stair affair with 209 stairs down to the base of the Falls.  There was plenty of water crashing down the magnificent falls which are somewhere between 20 and 30 metres high.   You can’t get down amongst the rocks and water as the platform is enclosed but you still get a great view.  The cascading water makes quite a roar and you get some spray from where you stand on the landing.  Definitely worth the effort (including the stairs).  Cue the fancy camera
​Photoshoot complete we climbed the stairs and went for a walk along one of the roads that was cut off by a fallen tree.  We were trying to locate the Big Tree but despite seeing many large trees I don’t believe we saw ‘the one’.  Back in the car we headed for Leven Canyon.  We stopped at the Blue Hills Honey Café at Mawbanna on our way.  I gave Archie some lunch and John grabbed takeaway coffees to go with our double-baked caramel slice from the Stanley bakery (highly recommended).  
It was a very pleasant drive through to Leven Canyon which is a little over two hours from Dip Falls. More cows, quaint little farm houses and lush greenery.  Archie was keen to stretch his legs by the time we arrived and had plenty of room to do so.  Had I done my research on Leven Canyon I’d know there were two walking options:  the circuit walk that takes around 45 minutes with the accompanying 697 steps OR the easy 20 minute walk from the car park to Cruickshanks Lookout (cutting out all the steep sections).  Having not done my research however, we headed off on the circuit walk that started down a fairly steep decline. I’m a smart woman, so I know that what goes down must come back up.
​The walk was breathtakingly beautiful.  Giant tree ferns, moss-covered rocks and enormous trees were the main features. Archie was in his element sniffing and weeing on everything he could.  The weather was perfect and quite mild (as opposed to the day before).  We meandered through the forest for some time before we hit the stairs.  It took me a few dozen stairs to cotton on that this was going to be ongoing for some time.  Let me just remind you, there were 697 stairs that I didn’t know about.  I may have complained slightly.  I may have said to John “you forgot to mention the stairs to me” (or words to that effect).  On a serious note, it was a great walk and I’m so glad I did the circuit.  
We reached Cruickshanks lookout which has a view to die for; the pictures just don’t do it justice.  It’s hard to believe you can experience such a remote place, that’s so easily accessible.  You can see 275 metres straight down into the Canyon below to the Leven River and across to the snow-capped Black Bluff.  It’s stunning!  There’s plenty of information around about Leven Canyon and how it was first discovered. We were lucky enough to see three wedge tailed eagles off in the distance gliding and dipping amongst the trees. The thick bushland would undoubtedly harbour a multitude of different native wildlife.  When we visit these kinds of places, I often think it’d be hardly surprising if there were some forgotten creatures living out their days in the thick scrub.   
​The base of the viewing platform is made from a metal grate.  It’s handy for being able to see what’s underneath you, but not at all conducive to little puppy feet.  Poor Archie looked quite comical trying to walk around the platform, balancing precariously on the metal dividers.  He looked like he was straddling a tightrope.  Lucky for him he’s spoiled rotten, so I took my coat off for him to lay on while he had a well-deserved drink.  Cue the fancy camera again.
​I was pretty relieved to know there were no more stairs and it was an easy stroll back to the main car park.  We’ll definitely go back and do the walk again; I know what to expect next time. It was time to hit the road and head home.  Our north-west adventure had come to an end and we’d all had a pretty awesome weekend. Until next time, choose your own adventure just make sure you take your best friend along.
<![CDATA[Thalia Haven - July 2019]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2019 22:40:57 GMThttp://archiestassieadventures.com/blog/thalia-haven-july-2019​I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase ‘heaven on earth’.  It’s a phrase that’s repeated throughout the guestbook at Thalia Haven; our favourite place in the world.
​It was John’s birthday weekend, so we packed up and headed off just after lunch on Friday.  This is our eighth stay at Thalia over the last two years (almost to the weekend).  The first time was also John’s birthday and we had a little ten-week-old Archie with us; on his first trip away.  It would be fair to say that we set the bar sky high that weekend.
Thalia Haven is approximately twenty minutes south of Swansea on Tasmania’s east coast.  The house sits atop one of the many peninsulas along the Great Eastern Drive, on 130 acres.  The entrance to the property is unassuming, providing no indication of the luxury awaiting you at the end of the road.  After turning off the main highway you follow the farm road which passes through a series of gates on your way to the house. With the opening and closing of each gate, you get further away from the outside world and closer to a feeling of inner peace.
Fun fact – after eight visits to Thalia it’s still hilarious to drive off, just as I reach for the car door handle, after I’ve opened and closed a gate.  Every gate. Every time.  We even have video footage to remind us how funny it is.
On the final leg to the house you pass the track to your own private beach.  Archie knows it well by now and will be leading the way on the morning’s walk. As you drive up to the house, you can see the view out to the left, over Great Oyster Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula. The view is spectacular any time of the day, but at sunrise and sunset it’s particularly breathtaking. Thalia is completely off grid, powered by solar roof panels and wind generated from its own little windmill near the house. There’s no television or Wi-Fi and when you see the surroundings you can understand why. Thalia is the pinnacle of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
​When we arrive, I always make a bee-line for the front of the house to take in the view, breathe in the crisp, clean air, and reflect on how grateful I am to be here. Archie is a bit quicker off the mark, leaping from the car, winding his way through the lavender filled garden and taking in the new smells. Being John’s birthday, we have some friends joining us for the weekend including Archie’s two best friends, Harry and Megan (the original Harry and Megan). There were lots of squeals and wagging tails when the three were reunited.  
Thalia sleeps eight people very comfortably in four separate pavilions. The dolerite stone buildings are a work of art in themselves with the beautiful rocks creating a tapestry of shapes, colours and textures.  Recycled timber from an old bridge in NSW has been used for the house’s posts, beams and lintels, adding to the rich character of the property.  Each pavilion has been carefully positioned so it has a view out to the ocean. The separate buildings are connected by a central courtyard, full of olive trees. Standing in the courtyard you could be forgiven for thinking you were in another time and place; somewhere ancient perhaps.
John and I took up residence in the main house which follows the sloping landscape of the peninsula.  The three main rooms in the house (kitchen/dining, lounge room and bedroom) are open plan but have a sense of being three distinct areas. This has been cleverly achieved by stepping down (or up) to each of these areas via three steps. The kitchen/dining and lounge are also separated by an enormous, beautifully crafted stone fireplace and chimney. The fireplace is two-sided, so you can enjoy an open fire in the kitchen or the lounge area.  There’s plenty of room in the house to congregate, share meals or just laze around.
The main building also has a bathroom off the bedroom and a separate toilet with convenient access from both the bedroom and living areas.  Outside the French doors of the bedroom is THAT bath.  Potentially the most photographed bath in Australia but undoubtedly the one with the best view.  There is also an outdoor shower if you want to brave the elements and did I mention the wood-fired sauna?  The open-plan style of the main pavilion means you have views over Great Oyster Bay from wherever you are in the house; yes, even the toilet and bathroom if you’re happy to leave the doors open.
​The other three buildings are generously sized, two of which contain king-sized beds which are cosy and comfortable.  On a previous trip one of our friends had a doona made after discovering what was used on the beds at Thalia.  All the beds feel like you’re sleeping on a big, fluffy cloud.  
The third room has a double bed and two single beds.  There’s a bathroom attached to the first pavilion, which can be accessed via the room or from a door outside.  The bathroom is shared between the guests in the outer buildings and accessed via the courtyard
Our unpacking routine at Thalia is down to a fine art now, so once that’s complete it’s time to grab a beer, take in the view, and wait for the others to arrive.  As great lovers of music, the Bose iPod dock is a highly valued addition at Thalia and is playing our latest favourite tunes, not long after we arrive.  Archie (as always) is keen for some frisbee action before it gets dark and the large grassed area by the side of the house is the perfect spot. 
​We’re much more organised when we go away as a group, these days.  I think the turning point came when five of us brought a dozen eggs each, for a two day stay.  Food is now coordinated via a Messenger group, with each of us taking on responsibility for one or two meals.  This approach minimises food waste and results in each of us spending less time in the kitchen.  John and I purchased, prepared and cooked two meals for the whole weekend.  
Friday night we assembled a gourmet platter with some of our favourite fare.  Anything is easy to prepare and cook in Thalia’s gourmet kitchen and everything you need is provided (including a great selection of different sized platter boards).  There are also breakfast cereals, spices, condiments and other staple foods provided in the pantry.
​Low-level Aurora activity had been forecast for Friday evening.   Once the sun went down, John grabbed his camera and head torch, and disappeared into the darkness.   His trusty assistant (me) waited back at the house for the signal to kill the lights. By this time, the dogs were completely worn out and after some bed-hopping, (Archie’s bed always seems to be popular) were sound asleep.  When John returned, he was slightly disappointed he hadn’t seen any of the lights he was chasing.  He may not have been so lucky with the Aurora, but the Milky Way didn’t disappoint.
​We lit two of the three open fires – one in the kitchen/dining and one outside so we could spend the evening drifting between the two.  The platter provided ample grazing opportunities throughout the night and was a lovely accompaniment to the selection of craft beers we’d brought along.  Everyone had finally arrived, so the card games continued, the beer and wine flowed, the laughter ratcheted up a notch, and it all equated to John having a fantastic birthday.  
Waking up at Thalia is not easy to describe and pictures don’t do it justice.  From the super comfortable king-sized bed in the main house you can see the sun start to peek over the horizon.  As the light overtakes the dark, the colour starts to spill across the sky and ocean.  It’s mesmerising.  You even forget feeling a little second hand from the beers the night before.  Saturday morning was no exception; so, we snuggled in to the doona and watched one of nature’s greatest shows.
​There are no sleep-ins with Archie who is always eager to get up and play with his friends and head to the beach.  Once he’s awake it’s not long until the whole household is up and about.  We were treated to Mexican style burritos for Saturday morning breakfast.  I thoroughly enjoyed all the meals at the weekend, but I think the breakfast burritos were my favourite.  Fried chorizo, scrambled egg, guacamole and salsa combined in a tortilla; fried and served with sour cream.  I’m partial to a good breakfast and I think this one is a keeper for future trips.
After breakfast, showers, and a mandatory frisbee throwing session we headed to the beach, which is a short walk, south of the house.  As you wander along the road there are a couple of trees off to your right that are home to a pair of white bellied (or breasted) sea eagles.  There are less than 200 pairs of these magnificent birds in Tasmania and it’s always a treat seeing them.  John has some great photos of the eagles from our previous visits to Thalia but is always keen for more.  Needless to say, he went off stalking them again (with camera in hand) as the rest of us kept on to the beach.
​The pups reached the sand first and were straight in for a dip, despite the icy water temperature.  It was a lovely mild day, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was hard to believe we were in the middle of a Tassie winter.  With the beach all to ourselves, we meandered to the far end where there’s a small rivulet. It’s roughly a half hour walk; depending on how quick you meander, of course.  Archie has always enjoyed swimming in the rivulet as he doesn’t have to be on the lookout for freak waves threatening to dump him.  He’s a great little swimmer and looks just as handsome when he’s drenched.
​It was a slow walk back to the house for some lazing around and looking at the ever-changing view.  The Thai green curry chicken was easy to prepare for lunch as we’d made it at home before we came.   We heated up the curry, cooked rice and opened a beer.  We were on holidays after all.  Archie was still a ball of energy, so the frisbee came back out after lunch. 
We played more cards, drank beer and ate jalapeno poppers.  They were delicious but weren’t for the faint hearted; think, jalapeno roulette.  The heat ranged from mild to eye-watering, and up to full hiccups.
A leg of lamb was prepared to slow cook for dinner.  We said goodbye to one of our friends and welcomed another.  Marmalade joined the four paws group and settled in nicely.  Archie was shattered by late afternoon.  Once he’d eaten dinner, he took himself off to the other end of the house and crashed out for the night.  The rest of the evening went similar to the one before – eating, drinking, laughing, playing cards and generally having a fantastic time. 
​The lamb was sensational, cooked to perfection in the steam injection oven.  The remainder of the night may have included some bad singing and tequila; but I can’t confirm or deny that.  
Sunday was heralded by another heart stopping sunrise.  We ate warm croissants for breakfast – ham, cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese which were delicious (we do like to eat well when we’re away).  Archie led the way to the beach for our usual morning walk as we farewelled our two Hobart friends.  Our remaining friends packed up and said goodbye when we returned from the beach.  There was just the three of us then, for one last night in paradise.  
The sunset on Sunday evening was so beautiful it rivalled the last two morning’s sunrises.  Cue the fancy camera.  The sky and sea were both pink and the mountains in the far-off distance changed various shades of blue and mauve.  The pink seaside daisies in the foreground just topped off the magical scene.  You could easily sit and watch it all day.  
Alas, the sun disappears all too quickly and the colours soon fade; but then come the stars.  With no city lights they’re big and bright and it’s easy to pick out the various constellations.  The waves crashing on the rocks out the front of the house are a constant, comforting sound that gives you cause to reflect (again) on how lucky you are to be here.
Archie, John and I had a lovely peaceful night.  Archie was tired but happy and didn’t move far out of his bed all evening.   John and I played jalapeno roulette again and grazed on snacks.   We’d eaten so much food over the last few days, we weren’t overly hungry.  After a few quiet beers we called it a night.
For the first time I can remember, we awoke Monday morning at Thalia to a very cloudy day with pouring rain. This interfered with our plans to go to Dolphin Sands Beach on our way back to Launceston.  By the time we packed the car and headed off (around 9.30) the clouds had disappeared, the sky was blue, and the sun was sparkling off the water.  We said goodbye to Thalia and promised to return soon.  Next stop was Swansea to grab a coffee before hitting Dolphin Sands Beach for a nice long walk and some beachcombing. 
Around 12.30, we jumped back in the car and drove towards Cranbrook (roughly 20 kilometres north of Swansea). I’d come across a Facebook post about Craigie Knowe Vineyard earlier in the week and discovered (after conversing over Facebook) that it’s dog friendly. The turn off to the vineyard is just before Cranbrook and only ten minutes off the main (Tasman) Highway.
A glass of their Pinot and a share platter was the perfect way to finish off our fantastic east coast weekend.  The cellar door sits amongst the vines in the most picturesque setting which includes some beautiful old buildings from the 1840s.  The staff are lovely and the food and wine, superb.  We’ll definitely call in again next time we’re down that way.  There are water bowls for your four-legged friends and plenty of places to tether a leash.  Archie gives it two paws up
​Another adventure done and dusted.  Archie was absolutely pooped but still smiling when we drove into the garage at home. Where to next, is the question?

Until then choose your own adventure, just make sure you take your best friend along.
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<![CDATA[Beach Haven - Dolphin Sands, June 2019]]>Tue, 25 Jun 2019 06:28:54 GMThttp://archiestassieadventures.com/blog/beach-haven-dolphin-sands-june-2019Welcome to our very first blog of our puppy friendly adventures in Tasmania. 
Last weekend we headed from our home town of Launceston to Dolphin Sands; fifteen minutes north of Swansea.  We found a cosy looking two-bedroom house on Airbnb called Beach Haven that fronts on to Nine Mile Beach.  You can usually book last minute accommodation in winter In Tassie (as we did) but in summer most holiday rentals are heavily booked; requiring a little more planning.  Dolphin Sands is one of our favourite places to stay so we’re always on the lookout for puppy friendly accommodation along that part of the coast.  If you don’t mind the cooler weather, autumn and winter are great months to get out and about.  Often the days are spectacular with clear blue skies and sparkling sunshine.  Some of the best sunsets and sunrises occur during the winter months and they always look better from the beach.

Beach Haven is located about half way along Dolphin Sands and is set back from the road on a five acre bush block.  The house has an open plan kitchen, dining and lounge with a wood heater, two bedrooms and a large corner spa in the bathroom.  The kitchen is stocked with most of the basics to prepare, cook and eat your meals.  Swansea is only a fifteen minute drive from the house should you need anything.  We sometimes indulge in the pizzas from the Old Bark Mill but brought all our groceries and other essentials with us this time.
The house itself is clean, tidy and comfortable and warms up nicely once the wood heater roars into action. There’s plenty of chopped wood on hand for the cold winter nights and electric blankets on the beds for those who need the extra warmth.  Being avid craft beer drinkers, we were also impressed with the second fridge or ‘'beer fridge’ as we preferred to call it.  You can see a couple of the neighbouring houses from the block but they are far enough away, so they don’t intrude on your privacy.  The tops of the Hazard Mountains are visible from the house which is a lovely reminder of where you are; a one-minute walk from the beach.  
We arrived about 4.30pm on the Friday and Archie knew exactly where we were, even though he couldn’t see the water.  We headed over the sand dune to the beach to catch the last glimpse of the sun bouncing off the beautiful mountains.   It certainly didn’t disappoint with hues of pink and mauve framing the iconic rocks. The pictures never do it justice and it’s a view we never tire of.

After a few happy snaps of the happy hound, we headed back to the house to unpack and unwind.  John lit the fire (which was already set) and I opened a couple of beers and organised Archie’s dinner.  Being our wedding anniversary weekend, we had a nice selection of craft beers – sours for me and IPAs (amongst others) for John. Archie was in his bed counting sheep as soon as he finished his dinner; wet, sandy, smiling and no doubt thinking of his coming day at the beach.  John and I turned to sampling some of our beers, snacked on a cheese platter I threw together and played a few games of cards.
The following morning, we drove into Swansea after breakfast to grab a coffee before meandering around the town and its many beaches.  Swansea (originally named Waterloo Point) has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Even in the height of summer you can be the only person for miles on the sand.  Being settled in the early 1820s, there are some striking historic buildings throughout the town; many set against stunning natural backdrops.  It’s virtually impossible to walk anywhere near a beach without Archie enthusiastically heading in that direction so it wasn’t long before we ended up on Waterloo Beach, heading towards the point.
The Waterloo Point walk is a must-do for both people and on-leash puppies.  The easy forty minute return walk, winds along the Loontitetermairrelehoiner track and wraps around the cliffs over-looking Great Oyster Bay, Schouten Island and over to Freycinet.  The iconic Hazards are also part of the outlook, changing colour throughout the day with the weather and position of the sun.  There’s a seat about half way along the walk where you can sit and take in the magnificent panoramic views.  We continued along the track to the next beach with Archie in tow and just kept going…

​After a couple of hours of walking around in the winter sun we headed back to the house for lunch before trouping off to Nine Mile Beach to finish the day.  The rest of the afternoon was a standard day at the beach for us.  Archie swam, chased his frisbee and dropped sticks at our feet, I fossicked amongst the shells and other beach treasures and John played with his fancy camera; taking random photos of us all and the stunning setting.  We were lucky enough to see another colourful beach sunset before calling it a day and heading back to light the fire.  Press repeat for night two - Archie had dinner and then was out like a light after his big day while we finished off our anniversary beers over a few games of cards.  
​Sunday morning arrived quicker than any of us would have liked.  We packed up the car after breakfast, headed to Swansea for our morning coffee and then continued south to explore some of the beaches between Swansea and Rocky Hills.  We called in to four beaches, all no more than 20 minutes south of Swansea and all puppy-friendly.  The beaches are well signed and indicate where puppies can go and if they need to be on leash.
First stop was Cressy Beach, which has easy, flat access and takes about half an hour to walk to one end.  It’s a sheltered beach with some decent waves and mostly sand with only a small cluster of rocks to navigate on your walk to the end.  Alternatively, you can avoid the rocks by turning right when you enter the beach.  There was a couple of people down the right-hand end, so we turned left but as usual around Swansea, we pretty much had the beach to ourselves.  Archie was in his element with his early morning swim, in between longing glances at the back-pack carrying his frisbee.  No need to guess who won that battle of wills.
​Spiky Beach was our next stop and my favourite of the day with its incredible views from the top of the track, across to the mountains and down to the beach.  It’s a five minute steepish walk to an intimate little beach with rock pools and crashing waves.   There was a small group of people on the beach when we arrived, but we soon had the beach to ourselves after the mandatory oh he’s so cute comments directed at Archie.  This would be a great little beach to while away a day on with a picnic hamper, so we’ll definitely be back.
​Kelvedon Beach (spelled Kelvendon on the sign) was a much larger beach with easy beach access from the parking area and a flat walk.  There were a couple of paddle boarders enjoying the surf when we arrived, despite the cooler June conditions.  We came across large collections of beautifully coloured shells along the beach which made for great pictures with our accommodating dog model.  The frisbee had a good work-out here as well.
​Last stop was Mayfield Beach that is well known amongst campers and caravaners as a scenic spot to stop for an evening or two.  The campground has lovely beach views, basic amenities and level access to the beach.  It’s very busy in summer but there were only a handful of campers set up when we arrived.  There’s a beautiful old bridge about ten minutes into the beach walk that Archie was keen to check out.  The beach itself is quite long and after walking for nearly an hour we hadn’t made it to the end.  There’s a small island at the far right-hand side of the beach that would be worth a closer look. It’s on the list for next time as sadly it was time for us to head home.
We’re going back to the east coast next month and staying somewhere very special, so until then choose your own adventure, just make sure you take your best friend along.