Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snaps of Tasmania

Ann Bay, NW Tasmania
Yes, Tasmania has a dark past, but having now seen quite a bit more of it, I have to tell you it is a wonderfully beautiful place. 

I took a tourist day cruise 14km up the Arthur River on the west coast, and looked at trees that are hundreds of years old in bush that has never been logged. We were told, and it was easy to believe that if the Tasmanian Tiger had survived, this is where it would be found. It was wonderful to imagine that maybe some were still there, hiding and watching. We were also told that if the locals ever saw one they would keep quiet about it because once the news got out, the "greenies" would see to it that plans presently being developed to expand logging in that area would be stopped. The "greenies"  were hated by lots of people out there, the fishermen and loggers whose livelihoods depended on being able to carry on chopping down the trees and catch whatever they could along the wild and desolate coast. 
Arthur River
I had planned to continue down that west coast along a back road through the forest, but there had been a slip, the road was blocked and I was turned back. I decided instead to go to the far southeast of the island, passing through Hobart to the Huon Valley, and the Kermandie Motel.

In the northwest the land is rather flat and the coasts wild and the beaches long and sweeping. By contrast, in the southeast, the coast is highly indented and tortuous with hundred of little bays and headlands, islands and small harbours. The land is hilly, even mountainous in places, with dense forest descending down to the long valleys of farms and cottage industries that sell raw wool and fresh home grown  vegetables, apples, cherries, jam, wild honey, and vegetables. The coffee shops are great, there are art and craft galleries everywhere, and you can stay in upmarket Hotels, B&Bs, cheap motels or set up tents in numerous campsites on secluded bays and bush sites. 

Across the road from my motel was a small marina. Fortunately the security gate was ajar when I went down at 6.30 on my first morning there, and it was such a pleasure to wander about in the still quiet morning air and admire the many beautiful yachts there. Later I took the car ferry to Bruny Island and then went for a wild ride in a high powered commercial speedboat. We went  out into a rough ocean with 30 knot southerly blowing onto the cliffs and saw seals and blowholes and a few albatross, as well as massive dolomite cliffs .

A bay in the far SE of Tasmania
Lastly I visited the extraordinary Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. It was built and paid for from the gambling winnings of a maths genius who worked a system to beat the odds at race tracks and casinos round the world! Its set on a low headland jutting out into the harbour, and has a nice restaurant, open grassy area in front of a stage, and lots of space.Inside, the art is mostly New art - but there are Egyptian Mummies there! -  all housed in a modern maze-like building thats mostly underground, dark and cool. Its a place that should really be visited  numerous times - theres much too much to see and take in at a single visit.
The Entrance to MONA with a real tennis court beside it

And then I came back to work. The Road Trip had been a great success.

1 comment:

  1. David- nice to see CASILDA my old cray boat when I lived on Huon Is near Cygnet. Tasmania is the best part of Aussie but dont tell anyone! Gary