It was so fun to have mom and Todd here- they left the 15th of December. That was hard for us- right before Christmas. However- it was kindof good that it didn't really feel much like Christmas- it was still great and really fun but different. The day they left was the ward Christmas party so that was a nice distraction. Crazy though- it was in the outside court yard of the church- it was nice and sunny. There was roasted chicken and lots of summer salads and treats. None of the usual Turkey, mashed potatoes....hot food. This is the primary kids and a few of the missionaries in our ward (we have 5 sets for our ward) singing for everyone.
In Hobart there is a Saturday market- it was great. After the market we went to this little floating fish and chip shop on the pier- it lived up to the rave reviews! The boys were loving chasing the seagulls.
On our way to Port Arthur we came across these Tasmanian Devil signs- it's still crazy to see the Aussie road signs- I always do a double take. Notice the burnt land behind the sign. Just a few weeks before we arrived there were some bad fires in the area. We didn't realize we were going to travel through that part- it was sad to see. Alot of burnt bush land and quite a few houses that were burnt to the ground- only thing still standing were the brick chimneys.
The same day we found a little Tasmanian Devil sanctuary so we decided to stop. It was the best decision of the trip! The Aussie zoos are awesome but if your wanting some really unique adventures they are at these little privately owned sanctuaries that aren't crowded. We saw these cute little Devils and they had such fun personalities. They were scheduled to be fed so we headed over to their enclosure and they perked right up when we got there- we were the only ones at first. They started running around and coming right up to the glass- being quite playful.
When the carer came to feed them he told us it can be gruesome so we may not want to watch. He said they were eating Wallaby that day- he pulled a portion of the animal out of the cooler- still containing the fur and bones. He threw it in and these cute little creatures turned into beasts....or little Devils! The crush through everything- they eat every bit of it. In the wild they aren't good at hunting but they will finish off anything that has died or anything that was previously hunted and picked on by other animals. We honestly were in a bit of shock- they were stealing the food from eachother and basically beating one another up. You can see him clawing his buddy here. We now understand how they got there name- we were thinking it was a bit of an exaggeration at first but guess not!
That sanctuary had a Kangaroo and Wallaby enclosure- it was huge. When we were first in there they were all just laying around relaxing- they are obviously used to having people around because they were quite chill. We still tried to walk slow and not be too loud.
This is Brooke with a Wallaby. They are smaller than Kangaroos, they don't have as long of noses or ears. This little guy was so adorable. He liked the kids.
Our baby with a baby roo.....precious.
Once the carer got there with the food things got a little wild. The Kangaroos weren't shy. However there were a few big bully ones- like the ones with Kev. They would push the others out and get to the food so the kids and I went around to all of the ones that were chased away and fed them. I guess it's a motherly instinct to want to care for the ones who get bullied :). Notice their claws holding on to Kevins hand. At one point these guys had my hand like this and one claw was stuck on my ring- I was beginning to think he was going to get that too. You can sometimes feed a few in a big zoo but nothing as cool as this. We honestly LOVED it. A few people asked if this was our first time seeing Kangaroos.....um.....no. We just get excited.
We continued on that day to Port Arthur. It is an old convict town. Australias history goes way back with England sending prisoners over in the 1800's. Many buildings in Hobart, Tasmania are build by the convicts. This area- Port Arthur is where many of them lived. This big building below was a prison.
Wouldn't this be a funny wedding announcement picture idea.....'He asked me to be his ball 'n chain....'
This is the church in Port Arthur- it was build by the convicts and the finish work on the top and inside was done by the boys from the boys prison that held 9-17 year olds.
This was such a beautiful area. However, it was humbling and a bit eerie to read about the prisoners in the 1800's that were sent here for around 15 years for even a small theft. In 1996 a man came and did a mass murder here- killed 35 and wounded 23 people. It's an awful story and is the reason for what started the strict gun laws in Australia.
This was part of the old hospital for the convicts.
Our last day in Tasmania we took a drive up into the mountains to a cave. It was a limestone cave and we were able to tour it. It was quite a site.
After seeing how vicious the Tassie Devils were what else could my boys do but become obsessed? Kevin even says they are now his favorite Australian animal.