Meet the Ashlands

Meet the Ashlands: Yee ha! Nothing finer on a spring day in Tasmania than an oar, a crayfish pot and a parked boat. If you think kids these days are all hooked on cell phones and the internet, you haven’t met Melissa and Judd Ashland’s family. They’re keen!

Slowly, I’m coming to grips with the notion that I may be touring Tasmania by bike and boat instead of a horse, as I’d hoped. Like Mick Jagger sang, you don’t always get what you want – but added that you get what you need. In my case, it’s been a ten-dollar bike. In the Ashland family’s case, it’s a whopping fine vacation built on some pretty basic gear. While scouting a campsite on Cockle Creek on Tasmania’s southern tip, they showed me just how much fun you can have with tinkering, imagination and everyday stuff like a bus, boat and crab pot. Here are a few shots of a family having a whopping Tasmanian summer break.

Melissa and Judd hail from Geeveston, Tasmania, just outside Hobart. For the past years, in ever-larger vehicles, they take their kids, all half-dozen of them, on summer vacation. Judd’s latest moving summer home is the bus he’s rebuilt from almost scratch. You can see it in the background. In the foreground, Bailey, center, is enjoying a baked bean snack.

Girl power: Klarissa (foreground) displays some rowing jubilation. Days, the Ashlands fish from their aluminum skiff. Evenings, they enjoy the catch. In its previous life, the skiff was used by crayfishermen to fish the shallow waters. Now, powered by a trusty Mariner outboard engine, Judd and his family use it to put food on the table – for now. With the kids growing larger, Judd hopes to buy an 18-footer.

Feet and crayfish pot: Judd found this old crayfish pot a while back. Made in the traditional style of tea tree branches and wire, he says it’s well over twenty years old. When he salvaged it, it was pretty beat up. Over the years, he’s patched it repeatedly. Still, it sits nice and quiet on the bottom, a definite plus when it comes to luring crabs and lobsters inside. He reckons it catches more crays than the new traps. They’re made of plastic and don’t sit as quietly. Though he plans to retire it one day, he says it won’t be soon.

Next generation rower

It all got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be neat to actually put to sea on a boat? See the Southern Ocean from the deck of a fine vessel? Then, a few days later, standing on the end of a pier, something really odd happened…..

(Thanks Judd, Melissa, Bailey, Jamari, Bailey, Kyle, Ellie May, Kioni and Klarissa for visiting with me – and giving me my first taste of Tasmanian crayfish!

2010-12-16 13:50:42

hi bernie
sometimes the best things happen with simple beginnings.. chance happenings.. keep em coming..luv peta

Melissa & judd
2010-12-21 18:07:23

Hi bernie, How did you enjoy your trip on our finest waters? The kids were so excited to see there photos on your web sight. Were u heading now, you been conversation in our vechile at our tea table the kids keep asking is Bernie back mum, the will remember you for years to come I,m sure. Thanks for the fascinating story’s and may you have a great Christmas and new year your newest friends from far south Melissa, judd and the tribe xx

butterbean carpenter
2011-01-05 20:17:55

Howdy Bernie, HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM TEXAS!!!!!!!

I can’t believe you are not equine outfitted,yet!! How about a ‘roo?? Brumby? TD r koala?

A bicycle?? Man those things are dangerous! If you get a stick in the spokes you’ll flip! Front wheel wobbles will put you down and give you ‘sand/gravel rash’.. BE CAREFUL!! A mule will take care of you..a bike’ll just lay there…

It looks like you’re working on a tan and doing a good job..


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1 year ago

HI Bernie!
I remember you from when I was just a child! I was one of the little girls one the boat! Melissa and Judd’s daughter (Klarissa)
Forever one if my favourite memories!
I hope you’re travelling well and enjoying life to fullest still!
Much love <3

1 year ago
Reply to  Klarissa


1 year ago

Hi Bernie
It’s kionee from way down south many Years later we remember your $10 bike and your kind nature you truly left a great memory for us all we haven’t forgotten you we hunted down your website just to read some of your adventures:) and to look back on your trip down the southern coast of Tasmania hope you’re travelling safe kionee – Melissa and Judd’s daughter

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