Sunday, June 01, 2014

Searching for a New Home

We drove to Melbourne Airport on Thursday afternoon for a three day stay at Launceston, Tasmania. Why? 
Well its still a consideration for the next phase of our life. As we sat in the airport lounge we struck up a conversation with a lady who was from Launceston who mentioned how she enjoyed the lifestyle of the city - she lived in an area where we hope to see some property on this visit. She offered to help with Sue’s bag, how kind. As we boarded the plane, there she was in our row of three so we chatted some more on the less than one hour flight from Melbourne to Launceston. It takes the same time to drive from our home in Mentone by the bay to Melbourne Airport.

A pretty impressive bedroom for three nights in Launceston.
Looking out from the garden.
As we left the plane at Launceston, she offered advice on where we would pick up our hire car and also some nice places to eat in town. As we bid goodbye, Sue formally introduced herself as did our new found friend - she was also a Susan.

We picked up the hire car, unlocked with the keys in the glove box - trusting souls!!
Our accommodation, Auldington House began as a convent in the late 1800s up until it became a private hotel in 2005. Our room was huge with a large en suite and a spa bath. (and most reasonable rates I must say)

Being hungry we took the advice of our new found friend on the plane and went to Calebrisella in Wellington Street. The owner Lorenzo greeted us warmly and we exchanged pleasantries. Being bold as I’m sometimes inclined to be, I started asking questions - such as, how long have you been here, what enticed you to settle here and many other interrogations. 
It seems that Lorenzo met a Launceston lady over 30 years ago while working on a Caribbean cruise ship and they clicked. He came to Launceston and made a life for himself while building an authentic southern Italian restaurant in a city where there would have been very few Italians back then. Most Italian immigrants came to Melbourne and that’s why we have such a great Italian culture of food and coffee. We slept well that night.

Friday we went to look at two houses. Both were on the outskirts of Launceston - that’s about 15 minutes from the CBD, with views to the mountains in the distance. In the depths of winter you can see snow on the top of the mountains.
The first house was almost perfect for us and for friends to visit. What more could a man want, a four car garage with his own rumpus room and en-suite. Just a shame that it 18 months too early for us. The other we looked at was fine but not quite right.

Dinner was at the Brisbane Street Bistro with Duck for Sue and Veal for me. Nice but not up to the standard we expected.

Saturday morning started with the local Farmer's Market in the CBD and I have to say that it even had that village feel about it. Some great local produce was available but except for some locally grown garlic, there was no room in our carry on luggage.

 Late morning was another house hunting escapade looking at a recently built home at a suburb called Riverside no more than 10 minutes from the CBD. Nice but not us - too modern, no charm, but a good price. 30 minutes later we were on the other side of the city looking at a 1930s home in Newstead that oozed with charm in a delightful neighbourhood. It did require some attention in the areas of the bathroom but Sue was captivated by the kitchen.

In the afternoon we were off to meet and greet cycling people at an annual bike race - it's all about creating a new social circle in advance of making a new like elsewhere before making the big plunge.

There was an annual cycling race on and we (I) decided we needed to meet some new friends and we did. It’s important with a move to create a social circle and the sport of cycling makes it very easy. On the return to the city, we stopped in at a Vineyard called Velo. It is run by a past Australian cyclist who raced on the continent at the Tours of Spain and Italy. Michael Wilson produces a great Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay that has that French Touraine style.

The end of the afternoon was descending on us and we (I) wanted to see the Tasmanian Motor Museum in the city. They had some great examples of motoring history that started me salivating over the exotica on display. 

Saturday night we went back to see Lorenzo at his Italian restaurant with a bottle of Michael Wilson’s Pinot Noir. Again we were welcomed with open arms - just the garlic pizza and a bowl of pasta each this time but the highlight was Lorenzo's home made Limoncello. He gave us two glasses - one of an Australian commercial brand the other,  his own concoction - no competition, his knocked the socks of the other as well as ourselves.

So ended a long weekend in Launceston - it was mainly to see if we felt the same about the city, explore the real estate possibilities and see if we could fit in socially. I think we came away in a positive frame of mind and we shall keep our options open.

Although the weather was cold, the people are warm.


  1. It is a lovely city and I am impressed by the open air market and its bounty of fresh fall vegetables. Those parsnips are amazing and the vintage house gorgeous.
    It definitively is not easy to find the perfect retirement spot. As I mentioned before, my in- laws rented for 1 year in Hawaii before buying land and building their own home. It will be fun to discover Tasmania through your eyes if you chose that area to move to. I hope you go there in winter when it is dark and cold. Keep on exploring.

    1. Nadege - it was about 4 degrees at the open air market but no wind so a nice chilly autumn morning. Friends can take the chill off the weather.

  2. Sounds like you had a good time there. Great cars, houses, markets, bicycles, food and wine what more could you want :) We are off in a few days to Spain and Portugal only get back home in time to watch The Tour. Not taking the computer so contact will be limited. Be in touch on our return. Have a good week/month and take care D & N

    1. Enjoy your trip to Spain and Portugal. Le Tour is not far off now and should prove once again very exciting. I watched some of the Giro.

  3. What an exciting prospect! I think the idea of checking out the housing market is a sensible one and it all builds towards you being comfortable that the move is for you. When you've spent a lifetime building towards retirement you want to get it as right as you can, and to avoid costly mistakes (both financially and emotionally).

    The house looked wonderful. What a kitchen!

    Good luck with your deliberations.

    1. There's a lot about Launceston that offers an exciting lifestyle for our future years Gaynor. Foodie heaven, cycling, and friendly folk. Oh, forgot to mention, much $$$ in the retirement fund.


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