’17 Jun: Tasmania
Including a bus tour of the mountains. And it’s cold. June 23-July 1.
First stop – the Saturday market in Salamanca, a waterfront neighborhood in Hobart.
“The market has an eclectic mix of over 300 stallholders, showcasing the best that Tasmania has to offer. You will find delicious food, artisan jewelry, fine Tasmanian handcrafted timbers, handmade clothing, as well as vintage collectables, pottery, plants and flowers.”
I didn’t really have the scale of it all until…
The Museum of Everything is 30 rooms of a fascinating curated collection of objects produced by what the curator calls ‘outsider art’.
A-may-zing is all I can say. The exhibit opened in the middle of June and will run for one year. You can read this article in The Art Museum for a discussion that expresses a lot of what I was thinking.
Arriving back in Hobart I thought to take a stroll around and then I got myself lost. It was dark and cold so I thought to stop in a hotel where they always have maps and wifi for their guests.
I opened the door to what I thought was a little run-down mom and pop hotel, The Shamrock, But Wait! It turned out to be the liveliest place I saw in Hobart. I didn’t intend to have any dinner but dinner intended me to have it!
((I’m typing this from a bar across the street from my hotel on the evening of the 27th because the hotel internet is ‘down’ and no internet has really worked much since this tour kicked off. On to the story.))
It’s the first morning of my Tassie tour and pick-up time was 6:45am. Here we loading other guests. We were 23 in total, a very full bus with only one empty seat.
((If you’ve checked in you will have noticed that the internet in the bar wasn’t so hot either! Maybe tonight? We’ll see!)
From the brochure for the first day:
“We leave Hobart and drive through the Derwent Valley – travelling east to west across the island. You’ll see the beautiful Russell Falls, walk among the Mt Field National Park Tall Trees, and visit Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, Lake St Clair. Explore the pristine Franklin-Gordon Wild River National Park and end the day in Strahan.”
A look at an example of the small towns where we stopped to pick up groceries or have a coffee break.
And what have we here? Why, it’s a kookaburra who is in fact sitting in an old gum tree, not so much laughing and gay though.
Wiki: “Eucalyptus regnans, known variously as mountain ash, swamp gum, or stringy gum, is a species of Eucalyptus native to Tasmania and the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia. It is the tallest flowering plant and one of the tallest trees in the world, second to the coast redwood.”
There are more than 70 kinds of eucalyptus and many of then are here.
…here she is lookin’ good!
Here’s what the National Park brochure says about Franklin-Gordon Wild River National Park.
“The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park was proclaimed in 1981. This park together with the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair and the Southwest National Parks, were declared as the Tasmanian World Heritage Area in 1982. The World Heritage Area is one of only three remaining temperate wilderness areas in the Southern Hemisphere and is home to flora and fauna endemic to Tasmania.”
A currawong who looks like a crow or a raven but, according to wiki: “Currawongs … are part of a larger group of African shrike-like birds including bushshrikes, helmetshrikes, ioras, and vangas, which were defined as the superfamily Malaconotoidea by Cacraft and colleagues in 2004.
“They are thus only distantly related to crows and ravens, which are in a separate superfamily Corvoidea.”
So not a crow or a raven.
From the brochure:
“In the untouched wilderness of Tasmania’s West Coast we will explore the shifting sands of Henty Dunes. Then we continue into the Tarkine Rainforest and walk to Tasmania’s highest waterfall – Montezuma Falls. Or you can choose to join the world famous Gordon River Cruise (optional, at your own expense).”
I didn’t do any of these things! The walk to Montezuma Falls took 4+ hours in the rain and ankle deep mud. I decided to do the river cruise instead But the river cruise wasn’t running so we had a steam train ride on offer instead.
A view out the back and the steam trail we leave behind.
Wiki: “The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a reconstruction of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company railway in Tasmania between Queenstown and Regatta Point, Strahan. The railway is significant because of its Abt system to conquer the mountainous terrain through rainforest, with original locomotives still operating on the railway today. Now operating as a tourist experience with a focus on sharing the history of Tasmania’s West Coast, the original railway began operations in 1897 as the only link between Queenstown and the port of Strahan.”
Good morning! We stayed here two nights and every morning this dog came out to greet us.
From the brochure:
“Around 950m above sea level is the World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Claire National Park, where you choose a walk to suit you. With an extensive range of tracks, stroll around Dove Lake or challenge yourself with a hike to Marion’s Lookout. A short drive takes us through Sheffield, the ‘town of murals’, to Launceston.”
Marion’s Lookout wasn’t an option because it was snowing which didn’t change my plans.
There were also these steps.
And most time consuming were the sections of icy rocks, large and small, covering trails at 45 degree angles up and down. I picked my way through those ‘paths’ because, as we know, #1, No Falling, and once getting past those rocks I didn’t want to turn back for a photo.
All the kids hopped and skipped along as if it were in fact a boardwalk, but I wasn’t last to arrive back and that’s all I cared about, and it was gorgeous and I had fun!
Jacob gathering the crowd.
From the brochure:
“We make our way to the East Coast and the beautiful Bay of Fires. If the conditions are right, this is the perfect place for a swim. Tasmania’s most scenic coastal drive takes you from St Helens to Bicheno, where you may want to join an evening viewing of the Little Penguins (optional at your own expense and seasonal).”
On the program we were going to see a different animal park tomorrow but the company decided to try out this place instead and it was good.
One reason might have been that it was just the two Under Down Under buses so it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been.
They made a speech too about how this was not a park or a zoo but rather a sanctuary for abandoned and injured animals and a breeding program for endangered species.
And then later in the evening we had a chance for a side-trip to see penguins.
It really was a March of the Penguins, the smallest penguins in the world, called Fairy Penguins or Little Blue Penguins, and they marched out of the sea in great numbers, right by we observers even to walking between our legs.
No photos were allowed on the tour so I got these from their website.
((Here it is actually late July 2 in Broome and I’ve just paid for internet in hopes I can get this done. Also I’ve got a cold. Oh well!))
We were off for another 7am call time which meant we got more fantastic sunrise colors.
From the brochure:
“An early start means we are the first to the Wineglass Bay lookout, beating the crowds and the heat for that postcard photo. Relax on the secluded beach or choose the more challenging Mt Amos or Hazards Beach walk. Meet the iconic Tasmanian devil as we stop at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, before a short drive back to Hobart.”
It didn’t turn out like this since we’d been to the Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday.
This is the kickoff to Wineglass Bay vistas and we had the choice to do a moderate hike (my limit for sure!) or the hard one.
Here’s what the park sign says about the hard one:
“Difficult and very steep. Suited to physically fit, experienced and well-equipped walkers only. Boulder scrambling required – very slippery when wet.”
They and I were the only ones staying in a motel instead of the hostel. I think I decided to go for the motel because of the ‘rustic’ condition of the hostels as noted in the brochure. I totally don’t mind bathroom-down-the-hall but bathroom-outside-across-the-lawn-in-the-rain-and-cold I could pass.
So we were together waiting for the bus every morning and got friendly. They called me Grandma, or Mommy, or Aunty, depending. They thought I was SO old. I thought it was cute!