FOLLOW the Platypus Man to New Zealand … and beyond!

Almost three years after his epic journey to Tasmania the Platypus Man will set off in October on his greatest adventure, and quite possibly his last great adventure, a trip of around 51 days to New Zealand.

There’s loads to see and do in New Zealand:  We will marvel at its volcanic landscapes and geothermal wonders, and be inspired by its magnificent mountain and coastal scenery.  We will explore the charms of small-town New Zealand, and learn about Maori culture. We will enjoy brilliant views of whales, dolphins and exotic birds.  We will see lots of sheep and drink lots of wine. We will fly business class for the only time in our lives.  

But we definitely won’t go bungee jumping!

My New Zealand blog is already live on the Internet.  You can sign up to receive every post, illustrated by Mrs P’s wonderful photos, sent direct to your email account as soon as it’s published online.  Click here to visit the blog, then click on the link that invites you to Follow Blog via Email.


And that’s not all.  I have another blog for you to savour!  Now I’m 64 is a random collection of pieces about the natural world, as well as stuff that has caught my attention, events and experiences that have fired me up or made me chuckle, places that have inspired me and people I’ve been pleased to know. 

I’ve scheduled weekly posts during our visit to New Zealand covering topics as varied as memories of my time at Cambridge University, unwelcome milestones on the road to decrepitude, birding versus twitching, the British Birdwatching Fair, the joy of NHS health checks, blogging, knocking down walls, and building museums for the future.

Oh, I nearly forgot, there will also be posts on “The curse of Glastonbury” and “Keeping the zombies in.”

Go on, admit it, you’re intrigued aren’t you?  Especially by the zombies! So visit Now I’m 64 right now, click on the lined symbol on the top right of the banner photograph and sign up to Follow Blog via Email.

If you don’t I’ll send the zombies round to get you!

The last post

This is my last ever post on Platypus Pandemonium.  The story of our 4,500km trip through Tasmania has been told, and it’s time to move on.

To anyone who has been following this blog over the weeks I’d like to say a big “thank you,” particularly those of you who sent comments or messages of support.  I hope you enjoyed the ride.

To anyone hankering after more photos of Tassie, Julie is gradually posting the best on Flickr.  You can log on to her album of our trip to Tasmania here.

To anyone who stumbles across Platypus Pandemonium in the future and fancies a trip to Tasmania I offer you free, gratis, and for nothing two pieces of advice:

  1. Go for it. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you.
  2. Get in touch with Susie at Tasmanian Odyssey. Susie helped us put together a great trip and I’m sure she’d be pleased to do the same for anyone else who wants to sample the joys of Tassie.

And as for the blogging itself, towards the start of our trip I spoke over dinner one night with a Tasmanian blogger who’s made of bit of a name for herself online.  She talked about the challenges inherent in a decent blog, of honing her technique and “finding [her] voice.”  It didn’t mean too much at the time, but looking back today I can see it all makes sense.  Blogging has been a challenge but also a lot of fun.  and as I scroll back through 83 posts written over a period of around 18 weeks I’m pleased with the results.  I hope you liked them too.

I’m fairly confident that I’ll have another go at blogging, possibly about other travels to foreign parts (Newfoundland is beckoning), or maybe exploring the trials and tribulations of retirement, or … who knows, let’s see how the fancy takes me.

Meanwhile, with all good wishes for the New Year 2017, it’s a cheery au revoir from the venerable Platypus Man.

Burdick 201, N25.9
The venerable Platypus Man

8 January 2017

Posting again

I’m pleased to report we’re safely back in the UK, albeit tortured by jet-lag.  I’ll start catching up on the missing posts later today, but I don’t imagine that I’ll be done before the end of the month.

The bad news is that, having looked at Platypus Pandemonium on a decent sized screen (the notebook we had with us in Tassie is rather small) I can see that we’ve over-compressed some of the photos, making them pixelated and distorting the colours (no, wombats aren’t green!)  The blog therefore isn’t doing all Julie’s photos justice, so we’ll need to reload some of them over the next couple of weeks to sort it out.

The good news is that Julie has tracked down a local supplier of Devil’s Corner, a Tassie sparkling wine that we grew to love during our time there.  Guess where we’ll be going on Saturday?  Looks like it could be a very merry Christmas!

We’ll meet again …

I’m writing this in a hotel room in downtown Melbourne while catching up with last week’s episode of The Archers on BBC iPlayer.  Outside it’s bloody noisy, a constant roar of traffic intermingled with bursts of shouting and raucous (probably drunken?) laughter.  God, how I hate city centres.

This will be my last post before I get back to the UK (we set off for the airport tomorrow morning) but I will continue this account of our travels on my return.  I’m almost two weeks behind with my posts and there’s a lot still to tell … including how our trip nearly came to an abrupt end on Flinders Island a couple of days ago.  Plainly all is now well, but for a few hours things got pretty hairy.  Want to know more?  Then keep reading Platypus Pandemonium, where posts will continue until around the end of December.

Meanwhile, just to keep you interested, here’s another cute wombat photo:


[10 December]


Internet meltdown

Hi there.  I never truly appreciated the quality of our home broadband connection until I tried to blog from rural Tasmania.  I’m currently sitting in the lounge of our accommodation in St Helen’s, which is on the north-east coast of Tasmania.  It’s a smallish seaside town, although there aren’t too many visitors on the streets right now – school holidays begin in early December, so things will pick up soon we’re assured.

Anyway, St Helen’s is not the remotest part of Tassie we’ve been to, but the broadband here is so meagre that embedding photos with my posts is proving impossible.  I’ll therefore continue to stockpile material until we log on to a broadband connection worthy of the description (I already have a week’s backlog due to previous Internet access problems.)

For the same reason, Julie is unable to upload photos to Flickr, and we’re even struggling to connect to email.  Normal service will be resumed in due course, but quite possibly not be before we get to Melbourne eight days from now.

So, what can you look forward to from the Platypus?  Here are some of things I’ll be writing about and illustrating with Julie’s photos:

  • Tasmanian Devils – both in the wild and part of the captive breeding programme
  • Wombats … lots of cute wombats
  • Penguins (again)
  • Logging (again)
  • Inspiring gardens
  • Amazing scenery
  • More birds of the week
  • Kangaroos (at last!)
  • The voyages of Captain Quirk (aka Julie)
  • The road to hell (aka the rough slippery twisting gravel road with the sheer drop on Julie’s side that we took today over the mountains as we journeyed between two waterfalls.  Spoiler alert: we survived, but I aged a couple of years in the process.)

So do keep logging on.  I’ll keep posting even after we’re back in the UK until the story is fully told.  I bet you can hardly contain your excitement.

And much, much more.

Back by popular demand

My humble apologies, Platypus Pandemonium has been offline again due to lack of access to the Internet, which is a salutary reminder that much of Tasmania is pretty remote from life in the 21st century.  I have a number of posts written and ready to publish, so I’ll get on with that over the next two days.  However, for anyone who’s been patiently awaiting the return of the venerable Platypus here’s your reward, a couple of sunset pictures Julie took at Strahan on 21 November.


We both reckon this was just about the best sunset we’ve ever seen. At the time we were relaxing in a waterfront cabin, and as Julie began taking photos of the sunset unfolding we looked around us to see people emerging from other cabins and the restaurant to gaze in wonder at the sight.


Ever since we’ve been here we’ve been waiting for a decent sunset and this was certainly worth waiting for. There are plenty of other photos from that evening so I’ll post one or two more in due course.

G’day possums

Observant followers of Platypus Pandemonium will have noticed a lack of posts in recent days. We’ve been travelling through the wild heart of Tassie, where Internet access is harder to find than a black cat in coal bunker; today we’ve finally escaped to the idyllic west coast, where they do have Internet but it’s slower than a slug on vallium.

I haven’t spent my evenings idly reading a trashy novel or drinking cheap wine* but have instead committed pen to paper and written out in long-hand accounts of our various adventures to share with you at a later date.  I’ll see if I can manage to post any later this afternoon, before the Internet connection finally gives up the ghost altogether.

* actually, that’s not strictly true, there has been some idle drinking of wine (though to be fair it wasn’t particularly cheap), but only because to my delight I have discovered that sparkling Tasmanian Chardonay Pinot Noir lubricates the creative juices. Well, that’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it.