Tasmania 2019

 

A place Julie and I have always had on our list, Tasmania. We spent 3-weeks on the island, the first week doing the Overland Trek and a further 2-weeks touring the east coast.

 

Before travelling to Tasmania Julie and I spent a couple of nights in Adelaide, primarily to visit d'Arenburg. It had been 10-years since we last sampled their great produce.

 

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d'Arenburg has changed a lot in 10-years. This stunning Rubik's Cube has now replaced the old tasting barn; each floor presents a different theme.

 

After staying in Adelaide just long enough to enjoy d'Arenburg's Veranda Restaurant we took a flight from Adelaide to Launceston, in the north of Tasmania.

 

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We had a couple of nights in Launceston before we started the Overland Trek. Launceston has a number of good restaurants, night one we dinned at Hallam�s and night two was the Mud Bar and Restaurant. They were both very good, and much recommended.

 

We booked ourselves with the Tasmanian Walking Company for the 6-days trek on the Cradle Mountain Overland Route.

 

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(This photo was provided by http://www.taswalkingco.com.au/)

The beginning. We meet Sean and James, our guides, and our band of merry walkers.

 

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The trailhead: start of the adventure.

 

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The Overland Route takes you south from the entrance of the national park for 50-miles to Lake St Clair. The average backpack weight was 12kg (depending upon water volume), a weight that takes a few days to get used to.

 

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Day-1 is the longest day, both in distance and time, and is also the lions share of the climbing for the trip.

 

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Cradle Mountain, after which this World Heritage Site derives its name.

 

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The ground, being soft peat, is very susceptible to trenching. Boardwalks cover around half of the 50-miles!

 

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The terrain is very mixed, and usually easy-going.

 

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The views are often fabulous.

 

We also had the opportunity to climb Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain at 1617m.

 

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(This photo was provided by http://www.taswalkingco.com.au/)

 

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Leaving our heavy rucksacks, we travel light up the track to Mt Ossa.

 

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Clouds were hugging the summit, and we also had rain - warm rain compared to Scotland!

 

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The climb approximates nicely to that of climbing a Munro, with a total accent of 500m over rugged terrain.

 

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The view from the summit was cloudy, but also very atmospheric.

 

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As luck would have it the weather improved as we descended!

 

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Back down we collect our heavy sacks and head to that night's hut.

 

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The view from the hut's dinning room.

 

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We saw some great waterfalls.

 

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Great Australian flora.

 

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Approaching the end of our trek, we are now heading for the ferry at Lake St Clair.

 

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At Lake St Clair jetty awaiting the ferry.

 

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Sean and James: two weary guides.

 

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(This photo was provided by http://www.taswalkingco.com.au/)

Bruised, blistered and aching all over, we've completed the trek:-)

 

After emotional farewells, we went our separate ways. For Julie and I that meant picking-up a car and heading to Bicheno.

 

We spent 4 nights at Bicheno, allowing us three-days to explore the area.

 

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We visited Wineglass Bay.

 

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Giving Julie an opportunity to paddle.

 

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Bicheno has a nice blowhole and an atmospheric gorge.

 

We drove a little further south and visited Maria Island.

 

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We hired bicycles to explore the island.

 

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There are stunning silver-sand bays.

 

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Kangaroos everywhere.

 

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However, the wombats stole the show!

 

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After visiting Maria Island we drove further south again to Eaglehawk Neck.

 

Eaglehawk Neck is a good centre for visiting the Tasman Peninsula, and it's spectacular capes presenting the tallest cliffs in Australia!

 

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We start to make our way to Cape Hauy.

 

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Nearer to the cliffs.

 

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300m vertical!

 

Another walk in the area is the Maingon Peninsula.

 

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The Southern Ocean is very violent here cutting fabulous caves and arches.

 

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The Maingon Blowhole is certainly worth a visit. The noise rattles your chest cavity in a disturbing way!

 

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Another fabulous isolated bay: Crescent Bay on the Maingon Peninsula.

 

Also accessible from Eaglehawk Neck is the World Heritage Site of Port Arthur.

 

Port Arthur was a British penal centre during the 19th century. The geography of the Tasman Peninsula made it the perfect 'open prison'. In more recent times the site was the scene of a massacre: 35 people were killed and a further 23 wounded during a terror attack on people visiting the museum in April 1996.

 

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The museum is very much worth a visit. And there is a quite respectful memorial to the victims of the massacre.

 

The holiday was rapidly approaching its end: we headed to Hobart for our last night.

 

We enjoyed our all-to-brief a visit to Hobart, and the highlight was MONA

 

Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) is one of the most fabulous manmade spaces I have ever experienced!

 

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Art is everywhere: parking the car and trying to find the entrance!

 

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Every part of the building inspired observation: was this really a tennis court, or more a guide to find the entrance?

 

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The museum is free-entry for Tasmanians, which is truly an excellent thing. The outside art is freely available to everyone.

 

Some of the art could not be photographed, only be experienced: not by edict but rather the art itself would not work in a photo.

 

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Some pieces were visually disturbing.

 

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The messages presented by this display could only be viewed if you moved your eyes, or the camera, to draw-out the words.

 

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It is difficult to describe the effect of large blocks of colour. The blue pigment was dust, and the black was oil!

 

MONA is fabulous, so good these photos do it little justice - only a visit would truly reward you.

 

We may be back to Tasmania one day, but it is a long way away.

 

For now it's back home to Scotland and a British spring - something that the British Isles does beautifully!

 

 

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