Tasmania Mania

Published: December 19th 2008
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Back in Melbourne from Tassie. I just finished hiking the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Claire. It was a 7-day trek and we covered over 100km.

I was surprised to see how green and non-flat Tasmania is compared with the rest of Australia that I've seen. I had heard that Tasmania is the closest to BC that Australia gets and I was certainly reminded of home as we drove through the state. There are a lot more sheep in Tassie though.

I'd say the theme of our trip at least for the first couple of days was 'lower your standards'. We started walking with rain drizzling but that quickly turned to a complete downpour. We had planned on doing a side trip up cradle mountain, but it was so miserable we lowered our standards and settled for a side trip to a snow bank so Ro could touch snow for the first time in Australia. Apparently it was very cold.

We arrived at the first backcountry hut completely soaked and found it packed to the rafters. We lowered our standards for accommodations and the ranger gave us a second, small, unheated old hut. It actually turned out to be pretty sweet. We had the whole space to ourselves and had paddymellons and a wombat right outside the hut.

The next day was even worse for weather. We had sleet and hail but less wind. It seemed much better to me though as I changed from the shorts and cotton t-shirt I wore the day before to a wool t-shirt, pants, and gaiters.

This was actually a good way to start the trip. By getting all the worst weather out of the way on the first few days we could really enjoy the mediocre weather that followed. People got really happy and excited to see blue sky of any kind. A day that was cloudy and overcast but dry became a 'clear' day. We did a side trip and climbed Mt. Ossa, the tallest mountain in Tasmania. It was pretty mellow by BC standards but still fun. The summit was completely socked in with clouds and fog and we couldn't see anything. We lowered our standards though and were satisfied that it was not raining or too windy, so we enjoyed a break and a snack at the top.

The rest of the trip went pretty smoothly. Better weather, lighter packs, and getting used to walking all day seemed to make it much easier.

We did another side trip to the Pine Valley Hut and did an ascent the next day of Mt. Acropolis. The weather was perfect that day and it was incredibly scenic at the top. The rock is called dolerite and it forms these really picturesque pillars. I brought climbing shoes and chalk to the top and played around a little bit on it. There was a really easy sequence of moves that would have brought me to the top of a pillar right next to the summit but the pillars seemed to be made of broken and stacked blocks so I sketched out and downclimbed off and out. Probably would have been fine but I didn't want to solo climb when the rest of the party were hikers. Next time.

We hiked out in the morning a week after starting and enjoyed hot chocolate or coffee at the visitor centre before catching the bus to Hobart. We rented a car and spent the next day at a berry farm eating all the strawberries and cherries we could fit in our bellies. In the afternoon we did a tour of Port Arthur which used to be a convict prison. I learned a lot about 'punishment by transportation' that I didn't know before. It was also my first real touristy/historical thing in Australia. I really enjoyed it.

We camped another night in a national park off the beach and went to a winery for a tasting about midday. Do you know what's great after a week of hiking and carrying all your food on your back? Really nice wine with a lunch of strawberries, cherries, cheese, and bread. They dropped my off at the airport and I returned once again to Melbourne to pick up the rest of my climbing gear and head to Sydney.

Additional photos below
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Port ArthurPort Arthur
Port Arthur

Convict Town

26th December 2008

hey mountain man, did you happen to run into a jolly old man hanging off any rocks there? i hear climbing's the new in thing at the north pole, after petting polar bears. merry christmas! i'm back in vancouver under 3 layers of snow (kind of a shock since i got to the airport in flip flops). I feel compelled to tell you to have a little fun once in a while ok, it will be good for you :], and keep uploading those second best pictures. toodles
28th December 2008

the trifle wasn't the same
Hey Andrew a belated Merry Christmas to you. We sure did miss you. I especially missed you because I had to sub in as trifle maker. I blew it on the first try and had to start again mid-afternoon Christmas Eve. So I hearby decree that you are no longer allowed to travel over Christmas. We need your skilled trifle making abilities! I took a picture of it so we can debrief on your return. Looks like you are having a great time! I am envious. Be safe. Be smart. and dont let those Aussie girls distract you...
31st December 2008

Hey Andrew, hope you had a great foreign Christmas, and that you have a wonderful foreign New Years.

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