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Published: January 15th 2008
These cute little "devils" have teeth powerful enough to crush animal bones. You don't consider hand feeding them!
Hi Everyone! Thanks again for all of your wonderful e-mails. You don’t know how much we appreciate hearing from you. We’ve been on the road 178 days and out of our country for 115 days. We miss all of you and appreciate all of your e-mails and comments. Thanks for keeping in touch.
We are very excited to tell you about our time in Tasmania. It is a beautiful island state just southeast of mainland Australia. We spent 7 days and it was over in a blink. We realize now that you could easily spend 3 or 4 weeks touring around Tasmania. We drove up through the central inland part of the state and then headed for the east coast. There wasn’t enough time to explore the beauty of the north or the west coast, which we regret, but choices have to be made. We’ve learned from our travels that you simply can not see it all! Our goal is to see as much as we can, to talk with the locals and get a better understanding of their way of life. Australians are extremely friendly and want you to enjoy every minute of your time in their country.
Here's the teeth we mentioned.....
Our first and last nights we stayed in Hobart, the state capital. There were two nights in Swansea on the northeast coast, and two nights in Eaglehawk Neck on the southeast coast. They were all great places and quite different from one another.
The inland countryside consists of large rolling hills or small mountains. These areas have a lot farm and ranch land. Most of what we saw was tan or brown because they have been having a drought, which has continued unabated for several years.
Residents of Tasmania are in tune with global weather changes as their drought has been going on for ten years. Along our drive we saw small groupings or single trees that had died. We wondered if this was caused by the drought or a fire, although it did not look like a fire. At the information center was asked about these trees and we were told that the possums damage and kill these trees. They must have some pretty nasty possums down here as some of these trees are 50 feet tall. On our drive we saw more trees than we were expecting to see in this part of Australia.
We had a great hike in the Freychinet National Park. We took a path that ascended 600+ steps to the Wineglass Bay outlook. Why is it that all the great sights in the world are a good climb uphill? It was an amazing view and well worth the hike. Unfortunately it was a little cloudy so our photos do not adequately show you the beauty or what we saw. There was a Wallaby wandering around at the top. I imagine he was looking for food. He seemed friendly enough and was letting the kids pet him.
From there it was on to Bicheon to see the flat rocks and another blowhole. It has great spews! By accident we found a colony of several hundred Terns. They were flying around and hanging out on the rocks. They make a wonderful sound!! Towards sunset that night, we walked the beach around our hotel in Swansea, which is a sleepy seaside town. If you are in the Swansea area we can recommend the Kabuki by the Sea Restaurant. It had wonderful Japanese food. This was very unexpected, but quite nice.
On our way to Swansea, we stopped in several
small towns along the way. The architecture of these small villages is quite interesting in that they utilized a good amount of sandstone to go with their some traditional English architecture.
One of these small towns had an interesting sidewalk that contained inlayed red bricks that had the names of prisoners on them from the 19th century. Tasmania has a deep history of being a penal colony during the 1800’s and many names were listed on the bricks for such crimes as stealing livestock, among other somewhat simple crimes. What made it unusual was that they were sent here from England for a stint of 7 to 14 years for these crimes! One line of bricks contained the names of some 90 plus Americans.
Travel tip #27: make certain which town you have booked your hotel in. Dave had made a reservation in a wonderful hotel along the sea in Swansea called the Grand Hotel. When we arrived in Swansea, there was not a hotel by this name. The locals confirmed this and we discovered that the online reservation Dave made was for a place in Swansea sure enough….but in Swansea, Wales! Since that was a difficult
drive, we had to find other accommodations. We found a very nice place right on the beach and settled in nicely. We learned to triple check which web site you have been bounced to when using a server.
Good news the gasoline is much cheaper in Australia. We are only paying $1.40 to $1.45 a liter.
The drive down the east coast was very pleasant. We stayed in Eaglehawk Neck which is near Port Arthur. It was a great location that allowed us to explore all of the Tasman Penisula. This area of Tasmania contained a rather large prison, which at its peak in the middle of the 19th century had some 2000 inmates on the rather large grounds. It was totally self contained. The inmates were rehabilitated through hard work and a healthy dose of religion. After it closed around 1880, it became a very popular tourist attraction, and that continues to this day. One of the interesting facts about this prison is that it had no fences to contain the prisoners. The land at one point connects to the rest of the island through a area only about 40 meters wide that has water on both
Not your everyday signs
You won't find this sign in the U.S.!!
sides. They kept the prisoners in by posting guards there and some rather ferocious guard dogs.
We visited the Tasmanian Devil Park and got to see these endangered creatures up close during feeding time. They are small carnivorous marsupials, which are scavengers. They have sharp teeth and very powerful jaws which allow them to consume their finds completely, bones and fur as well! The devils are in big trouble in that their numbers are decreasing rapidly and a contagious form of cancer is adding to their woes. It is estimated that they will be extinct with about 15 years. Very sad indeed.
There were other animals at the park, which specializes in taking in hurt animals which can no longer survive in the wild and giving them a good home. We saw wallabies and kangaroos up close and were able to approach them for photos. There were also birds at the park as well. This was quite unlike a zoo and the animals had good homes. This rescue facility was doing a great job.
Our last day was spent in Hobart the capital city of Tasmania. It is an easy town to tour on foot. We spent
a very pleasant day surveying the wharf area, Battery Point, and Salamanca Place. We even took in movie. “American Gangster” is a good flick.
Australia Background Information:
Australia is the smallest of the continents. Including Tasmania, the continent makes up the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary state (2005 est. pop. 20,090,000),
Its largest city is Sydney, closely followed in population by Melbourne. There are five continental states ( Queensland , New South Wales , Victoria , South Australia , and Western Australia , in addition to the aforementioned Tasmania) as well as the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (an enclave within New South Wales, containing Canberra).
The Australian continent extends from east to west some 2,400 mi (3,860 km) and from north to south nearly 2,000 mi (3,220 km). It is on the whole exceedingly flat and dry. Less than 20 in. (50.8 cm) of precipitation falls annually over 70% of the land area. From the narrow coastal plain in the west the land rises abruptly in what, from the sea, appear to be mountain ranges but are actually the escarpments of a rough plateau that occupies the western half
of the continent. It is generally from 1,000 to 2,000 ft (305-610 m) high but several mountain ranges rise to nearly 5,000 ft (1,520 m); there are no permanent rivers or lakes in the region. In the southwest corner of the continent there is a small moist and fertile area, but the rest of Western Australia is arid, with large desert areas.
Australia, remote from any other continent, has many distinctive forms of plant life—notably species of giant eucalyptus—and of animal life, including the kangaroo, the koala, the flying opossum, the wallaby, the wombat, the platypus, and the spiny anteater.
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