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Published: March 15th 2021
We are all visitors to this time, this place ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb
This is a very different type of blog for us. Firstly, we won’t be writing it in a HE SAID...
/ SHE SAID...
style. I (Ren) will be doing most of the writing with input from Andrew. Secondly, this Tasmanian trip will span the whole year, with day trips, long weekends and possibly week-long excursions being undertaken whenever we have the time.
As is our usual routine before we travel, we’ve started immersing ourselves in books, films and TV shows about/set in Tasmania. Tasmania has many faces and moods, but it seems that many writers and directors have chosen to focus on stories about the bleak and austere aspects of island life. It’s even been given a title – Tassie Noir – a sub-genre that captures the harsh, dark and moody aesthetic of Tasmania.
Given we are not fans of Rosehaven (the only comedy that we know of that’s been based in Tasmania), the creative ambiance has been quite heavy at our place recently. But even though it’s been hard sitting through such brutal gothic, horror, thriller and supernatural storytelling… the haunting beauty in the way the landscapes have been captured somehow makes it palatable. There’s also something
quite endearing in emphasising the obscure and slightly off-the-wall aspects of Tasmania.
Over the last decade or so, Tasmania had slowly but surely climbed up the tourism ladder and pre-covid tourism numbers were starting to get so high that we were worried about over-exposure and our fragile ecosystems being destroyed. It’s a small island with limited infrastructure outside the cities, and it really isn’t set up for the mass tourism that used to be belched out from cruise ships every summer.
I can totally understand why it’s a very exciting destination, but I would be much happier if our State and local governments looked more closely at the long term impact of ever increasing tourism. Having said that, we feel for the tourism operators who are struggling at the moment. Last year, while our State borders were closed for a few months, local tourism helped to keep many operators afloat and we hope they keep flourishing this year too. It was lovely to read of many places that traditionally closed over winter but stayed open to cater for the influx of local tourists. Our State government’s travel voucher incentive program may have contributed to this cultural shift too.
I’m realising very quickly that organising a local holiday is a very different beast to organising an overseas trip. Very interestingly, planning these local trips has been a lot more time consuming than designing our overseas trips. As it is the case all over the world at present, our tourism and hospitality industry is in major flux, and all my usual methods of travel research have been proving unreliable. I’ve had to rely heavily on trawling social media and directly calling businesses in order to get any current information.
I had also assumed that booking a series of short local trips would be much less complicated than a longer trip. That definitely hasn’t been the case. Finding the time for multiple short trips is proving more difficult than blocking out one longer holiday. The flexibility of travelling whenever we have the time is tempered by the fact that many of the trips are highly weather dependent, and travelling in Australia is also far more expensive (especially in summer/high season) than most overseas destinations. On the other hand, we don’t have to worry about getting vaccinations, packing a 12kg backpack for a whole month or more, spending looong hours
on long haul flights or dealing with time zone issues!
They say that every journey has an explicit aim and an implicit agenda. I’ve already covered the explicit travel aims of our Tasmanian trips in the Prologue, so I probably should now admit that one of my implicit agendas is hoping to ‘research’ and locate the best pies, servo pies (distinctly different to ‘normal’ pies), sausage rolls, egg and bacon rolls, toasties, fish and chips, bangers and mash, parmagianas and pub meals in Tasmania! And in the sweet stakes, I’ll be hunting for the best vanilla slices, custard tarts, lamingtons, and apple cakes and pies! 😊
I’ve also been looking forward to supporting the very special rural roadside stalls. Farmers and producers sometimes sell their excess produce and products from unstaffed little roadside stalls with an honesty box system. I have always loved this way of shopping for local and seasonal items, and we buy local honey, jams and fresh cut flowers etc. from them on our country drives. However, I was very sad and angry when I recently read that this beautiful custom may be a thing of the past because of brazen tourist thieves cleaning out
the stalls without leaving a single cent! Some stall owners have even resorted to placing security cameras to monitor the stalls. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? And yet again, here’s a feral minority wrecking things for the rest of us. 😞
Given we live in rural Tasmania and have to regularly drive 70km to Hobart (the capital) or even further when traveling to other parts of the State for work, Andrew and I are very used to spending lots of time in the car together. And despite this, or maybe because of this, we are both beyond excited to start our road trips.
On my list of road trip must-haves is great company, comfortable transport, a good playlist of happy music, reliable maps, a list of clean toilet stops, and thoroughly researched insider knowledge on the best pubs, bakeries and cafes enroute. Happily, all items have been ticked for our upcoming first trip.
After much discussion, we decided that the first trip should be iconic or a standout in some way… and so we chose a trip to South Cape Bay in the far south. It’s the southernmost beach in Tasmania and Australia (excluding
the Australian Antarctic Territory and an uninhabited isle or two). The trip will also take in other ‘southernmost’ elements like the southernmost point of Australia’s most southerly road, the southernmost National Park, the southernmost pub… I think you get the idea. 😉
We visited the very helpful Tasmanian Visitor Information Centre in Hobart and loaded up on maps and brochures. We had no idea that there was a free bi-monthly travel newspaper called Tasmanian Travelways (which has been great for news about seasonal regional affairs). Our social media feeds have also been working overtime to help with this trip… I have followed and liked absolutely everything to do with far south Tasmania! 😄
We are about to hit the road, so if anyone needs us, we’ll be hanging out at the bottom of Australia for a few days. 😊
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