Tasmania – Friday
We left Port Melbourne last evening bound for Devonport, Tas on the overnight ferry. I had hoped for a nice meal aboard, but it was only a step up from Macca’s, with a glass of wine. The evening was nice anyway as we sat on the lounge deck until 10pm, chatting, eating, reading and making plans for our trip. I did have a small accident with a very hot cup of tea spilling on my hand, but that wasn’t the end of the world. Our cabin was compact but comfortable. Too bad I had a cup of tea after dinner because I spent most of the night awake. Luckily, I am not given to seasickness, because I could feel some pretty good waves in the middle of the night.
We got a wake up call at 5:50am and went to the garage deck to claim our car by 6:30am. Once disembarked, we stopped for breakfast at the first bakery we found in Devonport. A good while later, we drove south east towards our first overnight stop in Coles Bay, near Wineglass Bay, driving off road on a refurbished stagecoach road that our GPS, Bruce, decided was the best route. Honestly!! Still, we did manage to see quite a bit of road kill, most notably a very large wombat. We kept slowing down to see what the road kill might be. Leon joked that we should have a tv show called RKI: Road Kill Investigators.
We stopped in Bechino for a long walk along the Tasman Sea shore and purchased some food for dinner. All day, I’ve been sleepy, so I managed a nap at the hostel this afternoon. Unfortunately, although it was sunny, the wind was very strong, so walking on the beach in this lovely bay was not very appealing. Of course, Leon did suggest that we might put on our swimsuits and get a full body exfoliation from the sand blasting our skin. I’ll pass, thank you…
This evening, we’ve made an early dinner of hamburgers and salad while we chatted with some of the other guests at the hostel. I met a young French girl who asked for a ride south tomorrow. We are bound for Port Arthur on the way to Hobart, so we will drive her just north of there. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so she is very grateful for a ride and a chance to save on the bus ride. By the way apparently it rains about 330 days a year in Tasmania, you can imagine that another rainy day is no surprise.
Saturday – Down to Hobart
We drove to Hobart via Port Arthur today. Port Arthur is the site of the larger penal colonies of early Australia. It’s designated as a World Heritage site. But we are all cheap and jaded, so we decided not to pay for entry into the park and just moved on towards Hobart. On the way, we stopped to see the coast and a blow hole while we had lunch which consisted of peanut butter on bread. We used our trusty plastic spoons to spread the peanut butter; I had stolen those from the coffee shop at Port Arthur (actually, we did buy tea there, so they weren’t stolen at all.) Dessert was a yummy bowl of yogurt and fresh local berry puree for me. Delish, but too large. So it got added to the yogurt tub for breakfast the next morning. We are getting quite thrifty as we go, staying in hostels and eating mostly just what we can cook (or spread).
Off to Hobart we drove, trying to make it in time for the Salamanca Market; we just made it with 30 minutes to spare. I shopped at this outdoor market and found a nice wooden pen for my VP, made of Huon pine. French explorers came to Tasmania early on, so some of the names of places, lakes and trees are French. The afternoon ended with a nice walk at the harbour and a late drive up to Mt. Wellington, a high peak overlooking the bays of Hobart. Just a terrific view!
Our accommodations were comfortable but noisy – we were over the local karaoke bar! So the boom boom didn’t stop until 2am or so. No matter. We decided to make sure Bradyn did all the Aussie things he could, so we had dinner in the pub where he ordered a parma and pot. The pub was actually quite nice and not too noisy until the lights dimmed around 9pm and the disco started. At least the brochures had warned us about the karaoke. We went back to the lounge at the hostel and met an interesting Danish retiree who travelled extensively and went scuba diving at least 200 times per year!
Sunday – Strahan
We drove west to Strahan – the south western most point in Australia (well, actually the point that is developed, because the whole south west of Tasmania is basically a giant National Park). It’s a quaint harbour town that is north of a former penal colony. Our hostel accommodation was an A-frame hut, quiet and well away from the kitchen and public areas. We took a long walk down to the harbour and saw Australia’s longest running play – a story about a ship that convicts built and stole. It was so windy and cool that blankets were provided for the audience. Leon and Bradyn were chosen, along with others, to have roles in the play. Quite entertaining!
Monday – Penguin
Who knew there was a town called Penguin? Yes, it is named for the Fairy Penguins that come ashore in that area. We never saw any, but we did stop for a long lunch of BBQ chicken, dips and veggies along the shore of the Bass Strait. Before we got there, we drove north from Strahan to see Craddle Mountain. But it was rainy and cold and overcast, so we decided there was no point in driving all the way there after stopping at a lookout.
After visiting Penguin, we drove to Devonport for a final look at the downtown area and to await our boarding time for the return trip. I had just enough time to do some shopping at the Australian Red Cross store. I did get some really good loot too! A LBD that Audrey would approve of, a summer dress, a top and a pair of tight jeans set me back only $22! Yeah me!
We boarded our ship and decided dinner wasn’t worth eating. I bought Leon a glass of wine and drank lots of water while we did crosswords and I read. The ship slipped slowly away from Tasmania as the sun set. It was a lovely site with the mountains at the horizon. Sleep came easily this time and we made it back to Bendigo in time for me to start school as usual the next morning.
What an adventure! Tasmania is very much like the south island of NZ or like BC with smaller mountains. It’s full of lakes and green and you keep expecting to see a mountain goat or a moose poke out of the forest. The forests are green but they are made of different trees from our. A lovely place…