Tasmania. It’s a bit of a devil.

15 Dec

Friday

So, back on the plane again. A 3 hour hop to Sydney, then a lot of confusion trying to work out what time zone I am in. It may have been a night drinking with Peter and Linda that hasn’t helped… it’s a long time since I have had a hangover that bad….

Anyway, into Tasmania. I like Hobart – it’s a nice quiet city but strangely cute – so I have been down to the docks, wandered round town and seen the Saturday market. I met a Dutch girl on the bus back from the airport – she’s decided t get round Tasmania as fast as possible so she can get back to her boyfriend in Sydney.. So we decided to hire a car and tour Tas. Welcome to the Tim and Esther road trip….

It turns out that outside of Hobart there’s not much cheap accommodation, so our itinerary is based on where we sleep..

Sunday

Anyway, into a car, and off to Wineglass bay – a couple of hours walk in the Freycinet national park until we come across a beautiful wineglass shaped bay from a lovely lookout point…

Wineglass Bay (3)

…descending the steep steps we are greeted (politely) by a wallaby. Said marsupial is busy escaping from a kid who is chasing it round the bay – it looks a little relieved to see us.

Wallaby (3)

So, having passed the time of day, we climb back over the hill and off on the long haul run to Launceston. Every now and then we stop the car, run out like crazed Japanese tourists and take pictures of beaches and hills and mountains and Japanese tourists (they were in the way)

To Launceston (2)

And into Launceston. We arrive just too late for anywhere to eat (in a holiday town? In summer??) so KFC it is, then. The Japanese tourists are now in our dorm…

Monday

And off the next day to Cradle Mountain national park. Now, here I should give away the other part of our secret. The planning process is based on a copy of the ’60 best walks in Tasmania’ leaflet and a copy of the free map from the Tourist Centre. And guesswork.

So far the guesswork is paying off – the road winds through incredible hills and up breathtaking mountains (cue more leaping out of the car).

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake (45)Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake (49)

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake (60)Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake (44)

So it’s a very pleasant walk round Dove Lake for a couple of hours, and then off to Queenstown. Lonely Planet describe this as a place where “kids with hoodies and crooked teeth look menacing on rusty BMX bikes – and then the weather closes in and you feel you’re in a slasher movie”. It’s not that bad, actually, but it is an isolated mining town – the destructive strip mining on the hills above are ugly and yet eerily beautiful at the same time.

In search of food (not even a KFC in Queenstown) we charge off to Strahan – but it’s not much better – this time it’s an isolated fishing town and the BMX kids are replaced by equally menacing fishermen.

Tuesday

Day 3 dawns and we’re off on the Lyell Highway. This road winds through wonderful woods an amazing hills – every so often we consult the magic book, then leap out of the car to walk on another wooded walk to another magical waterfall.

And then there’s a trip to Lake St Clair. Although we walk round Platypus Bay, there’s none of the little critters to be seen (not surprising since it’s high noon and platypus are dawn and dusk creatures). But I do have a subtly spooky experience on the aboriginal walk Larmairremener tabelti… watch this space

And on the way out of the park I have to screech to a halt to avoid an Echidna crossing the road without looking both ways first. Honestly. In the UK hedgehogs have always been in the forefront of road safety programming.

Echidna (2)

Cute, isn’t it?

Another couple of brief walks, and then into Mt Field National Park (screeching to a halt to avoid ANOTHER echidna. What IS it with these creatures?) – more very tall trees, and more waterfalls.. Keeping very quiet just in case we can see something exciting – there are kookaburras laughing in the canopy above us –  and finally, hiding nervously in the undergrowth, I find a pandemelon who hops away quick before I can get a good photo.

Pandemelon-1Russell Falls (8)Russell Falls (17)

Back to Hobart tonight – and another adventure tomorrow!

Wednesday

It’s Tasmania at its stormiest…we decide that some cliff walks would be good, so we head off down the Tasman Peninsula to find some… and there are some pretty amazing walks going on! The cliffs are incredible formations of sea caves, sea arches and blow holes, stacks and pavements… so much to see in such a little space. The weather closes in around us, storm filled clouds and winds that threaten to whip us off our feet – or, if not, at least slap us with spray and blow our hats off.

Tasman bay Walk (3)Tasman bay Walk (35)Tasman bay Walk (34)Tasman bay Walk (42)

I have to take a trip to Kettering, Tasmania – since I was born in Kettering, England. This Kettering is a pretty harbour town, the gateway to the Bruny Islands. My hometown is an old boot and shoe town.

Kettering (2)

And finally, a trip to the top of Mt Wellington. The views from half way up are gorgeous. The views from the top are non existent, because it’s covered in cloud. But fortunately I manage to get back to the top to see the sights, and witness a beautiful sunset. Deep wow.

From Mt Wellington (23)From Mt Wellington (36)From Mt Wellington (46)From Mt Wellington (53)

And that’s it. Road trip over. The next few days I am going to do some working and some studying – so maybe not much to post… but then again, who knows….

(This Live Writer product is cool – it takes me half the time to publish twice as many photos.  Double win!)

Oh – and the route….

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