Tuesday, January 19, 2010
HOLIDAY IN TASMANIA
A planned holiday for three became a holiday for four after I invited Gerard's son Sascha to join us on a camping and touring holiday to Tasmania. Sascha flew to Melbourne to meet us as we sailed at night across on the Spirit of Tasmania. Both Coen and Sascha were concerned about becoming sea sick so before we sailed Coen took one motion sickness tablet and Sascha took two. Poor Coen the tablets seemed to keep him awake and he could not settle and wandered around the boat some of the night where as Sascha climbed up onto his bunk and barley surfaced for the rest of the trip. It was getting dark by the time we sailed and Gerard and I stood out on the deck watching the night lights of the city disappear behind us. We were up early the next morning to watch the sunrise over the first glimpses of Tasmania. The photo was taken from the boat as we arrived in Devonport.
Our first day was spent at Port Sorell, a beautiful beach with a tidal river. We walked along the river for hours slowly exploring but not thinking about the fact that the tide was rising and it was almost impossible to be able to walk back the same way. The river was so beautiful the next morning at high tide with the water and mountains in the background.
Sascha was keen to go back to Cradle Mountain as he had been a few years before on a hiking trip with Gerard. We walked the Pencil Pine Track, a two and a half hour walk along a track that is not maintained and at times difficult to follow.
The walk began in thick forest, dark and cool with trees covered in the most amazing moss, to high planes windy and freezing cold covered in alpine flora. Once again we descended into thick forest finally following the river and climbing up a narrow pathway to the top of the mountains again. We seemed to walk a long way along the top of the mountains before we came back to the forest near where we began. The walk was a challenge but I was so impressed by the way that Coen just went for it, he really got into the spirit of it and loved the challenge. This photo was taken from the plateau and you can see the canyon where the river runs along.
This is Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain. We walked the perimeter of the lake the following afternoon. The National Parks are so well kept in Tasmania, a lot of the walk is along a board walk.
This was a bird at Dove Lake drying off his wings. I took several photos that you can play as a slide show, watching him turning in the sun.
We spent three nights at Cradle Mountain and then headed off to Mole Creek so that Sascha and Coen could see the underground caves. The photo was taken in the mountains on the way down from Cradle Mountain, you can see how thick and beautiful the forests are. We spent two nights in Deloraine my favorite town in Tasmania before making our way to Hobart. Sascha and Coen get on really well together and Sascha is really patient with him and treats him like a little brother. Sascha flew home to Adelaide to return for work so we had the second week just the three of us.
Coen was keen to go to Port Arthur a former penal colony, part of Australia's dark past. Although both Gerard and I have mixed feelings about being in a place with such a gruesome history, we spent the day there so that Coen could explore.
The coast line around the Port Arthur area is spectacular and well worth spending a few days to have a good look around.
From Port Arthur we traveled up the east coast and stayed at Fortescue National Park. Tasmania has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. This is the famous Wine Glass Bay, rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Gerard and I walked up to the lookout where this photo was taken from. You can only get down to the bay by continuing on down the mountain. We would have liked to have been able to do the walk and camp there the night but that will have to wait till next time. We stayed the night at Coles Beach, such a beautiful place and enjoyed an early morning walk along the beach.
We worked our way up along the east coast as far as Saint Helen's then headed across through high mountain ranges with winding roads and spectacular views, coming across a few cyclists doing it tough on the big hills. Gerard made me promise never to let him take his bike back to Tasmania! This is a photo of a rock just outside of Derby, painted to look like a trout. Derby is an old copper mining town quaint but quite remote, but with rivers known for good trout fishing. After travelling through more mountain ranges we stayed three nights with friends in Bridport. It was wonderful to reconnect and Coen enjoyed cooking cakes and brownies with Raewyn. Bridport is on the coast and we enjoyed some nice walks on the beach while we were there. Time to come home came around quickly and we traveled across to Launceston, spending the day walking around and just relaxing. Heading back to Devonport to catch the ferry home. The crossing was during the day this time and it took a bit of getting used to using your 'sea legs' we decided to drive home but after stopping for dinner in Ballarat we realized that we were all still feeling like we were still on the boat. We camped the night again at Mount Langi Ghiran, any excuse to put the tent up again! We all had a wonderful time and Tasmania is the place to go in January as it is about 10 degrees C cooler there than here at home. We hope to go back again next year.