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Published: March 18th 2007
Me on a bridge
in a rainforest.
My final day in Hobart was drenched in glorious sunshine, sat in the shade writing my postcards, then I met my pal Mitch who I met back in November on that crazy bus journey in Cambodia, the one where 7 people had to ride on the roof, we had exchanged emails as I knew then I was coming back to Melbourne, and therefore a trip to Tassy was always going to be on the cards. Introduced Mitch to some Scottish culture from the international sweet shop, a Tunnocks Caramel wafer, and a can of Irn Bru, as sticky sweet a concuction as is humanley possible to find.
We took a quick trip in the car up to the summit of Mount Wellington, by rights I should of got on my boots and already of hiked up, but it was a bit hot, so took the car right to the top for an astounding view of the spread out city of Hobart, and many miles of mountains and sea in all directions, fantastic, and in blazing sunshine too. Went manic with the camera for that one. In the evening we went out with my other pal from Cambodia Katerhine in Hobart,
it's not the busiest of nigtlifes, Hobart on a Wednesday night but it was good to be out with some locals and we found an Irish pub that served decent Guiness, and had a live band, so all good.
Next day I had to be up by 6am to hop on a bus, an adventure tour of trekking and canoeing up the West Coast of Tasmania. Starting with the usual stop at the admin office to sort out the payments etc and pickups. In a first for me I was the only British participant on a tour of 20 persons, my goodness, what's happening to us brits, are we not travelling any more? The first stop on the road out of Hobart was Mount Field National Park, for a 'wake up' Forest Walk, surrounded by Wallabies and waterfalls, but it was down by the river at the end of the walk that I stumbled across something truly special. I was on the lookout for a rare glimpse of a Duck Billed Playtipus (which I failed to spot) when to my surprise/delight/fear I spotted in a dark hollow, a Tasmanian Devil!! yes, I am one of the few who has
bad for the camera with all that spray
seen a live Tasmanian Devil in the wild (and that's not counting the people who see them as roadkill) And I was the only one to see it, having seen one in the wildlife park, I knew the stance, the run, the markings.
Continued up the road and took in Lake St Clair for luncheon stop, park of the huge World Heritage Area they have there that goes on up towards Cradle Mountain. Great little short stop further on was the viewpoint for 'Frenchmans Cap' a superb little range that proper climbers doubtless like to have a go at, I"m not a proper climber and never will be.
In misrable wet (scottish style) weather we made it to the Tullah Lodge by the lake, home for 2 nights, after supper and a beer it was time to go to bed, no wild backpacker parties that night, this trip like tasmannia is more about the outdoor stuff than the big drinking.
Friday was drenched with rain at first, a rainforest walk to the (tbc must look up) Waterfall, through proper non tropical Rainforest, highlight were the huge, and nicely refilled falls, and the Indiana Jones Temple of Doomesque
Henty Sand Dunes
Great constrast,green forest, sand, sea
suspension bridge, risking drowning the camera for shots there. The weather cleared for our lunch stop at the superb Henty Dunes, where forest meets desert dunes, meets southern ocean. Quick stop by touristy Strahan, and back to the Tullah Lodge, got out on the Canadian Style canoes for a good old paddle around the lake, again too exhausted to do much more than dinner and a couple of cold beers (tasmanian Cascade Draught of course)
Saturday, last day, no rest for the wicked, as usual regalling the group with tunes from my Mp3 player ( i guess I have the common touch ) it was up to the rather more famous Cradle Mountain Naiional Park. Did not get up there as hoped, the weather was bad, so too risky, but had some quality hiking around the main Lake, then up to one of the ridges. Being up on those hiills in the fresh air, feeling a little bit of pain, does just remind you that your're still alive and kicking.
Then the final drive to Devonport where I was dropped off at the ferry terminal, had to wait ages and there is not exactly an abundance of stuff
Atop mount wellington
with Hobart pal Mitch
to do, feeling the pain I tried to upgrade my ferry journey to a cabin but cabins were sold out, so had to make do with a airline style seat (a poor budjet airline at that) but to be fair the 'Spirit of Tasmania' is a fine big modern ship with plenty to do, inc watching dodgy old brit comedies like 'Frank Spencer' ha ha so I was happy enough with a few relaxing beers.
Sailed into Melbourne for 7am this morning, the Dandenong hills looking fine against a pinkish sunrise and the centre Skyscrapers looking good too, hopped off the Spirit, onto a tram that dropped me off just down from the house to collapse back into normality, what do I do now? god alone knows, currently considering my options, we'll see.
So Tasmania, fantastic for the outdoor activities, though you have to bear in mind that the weather is very unpredictable, but if it's bad, you know it can change very quickly for the better (but vice versa too) The island is perhaps a bit more conservative by nature than the rest of Australia, but generally they are warm friendly folk. And if you're looking for
or a bit of it, could not get up her, too risky with the weather
getting active and perhaps a break away from the overtrodden east coast trail, then checking out Tasmania is well worth it.
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