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AUSTRALIA | Friday, 20 June 2008 | Views [627] | Comments [1]

Just spent the past week in fortunately sunny Tasmania. I started off in Hobart the capital of the island which is ok but I think people now get the message I'm not overly bothered by cities anymore and Hobart was nothing special. So I headed up the West coast early to Mount Field National Park. I stopped here to see Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Tall Trees Walk. I've seen plenty of waterfalls now and some can get pretty lame especially in the dry season when it can be nothing more than a dribble, but these two falls were worth the effort to get to, the tall trees walk didn't do too much for me, once you have seen one tall tree the rest become a bit repetitive (maybe that's just me). Getting there early meant I was the only one around when I set off and there were plenty of wildlife around with birds and kangaroos out and about along the way.

From mount Field I continued north west to Lake St Clair Australias deepest lake. The weather is changeable up around the mountains and the light rain turned to snow, nothing that settled but it signified how chilly it was. The weather broke for the walk around the lake but it did not bring out any platypus which can be found around the lake.

Passing through Queenstown I arrived in Strahan which is a town known for its Pining, Mining and convicts. The main attractions there are a harbour cruise and a 35km steam train ride, neither of which I could be bothered to do, the weather was grey and drizzerly and not great for seeing stuff from a boat or train.

So I started my drive to Cradle Mountain, along the way I went off road (unsealed road) to swan basin which a tour guide said was worth the detour - it wasn't don't believe the hype. Getting back onto the main road I stopped at Henty Sand Dunes which almost gave me a heart attack trying to climb up the initial sand to get to the main dunes. They are quite spectacular and with the sea in the background they offer a very picturesqe landscape.

I got to Cradle Mountain park around lunch time a bit earlier than plan ned due to not doing much in Strahan. It turned out to work out for the best as I managed to walk around Dove Lake before it got dark and with bright sunshine one side of the lake and rain clouds the other I got some great photos of a rainbow over the water.

The next day was bright blue sky and perfect for the 6 hour return trip to Cradle Mountain summit, after talking to the staff at the visitors centre they said it was the best weather they had had for a week but the trail would be difficult as it was snowy on the ground and icy. So I decided to Marions Lookout which overlooks Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain in the background, it took and hour and a half to hike up there but it was well worth it. Whilst up there i spotted the summit track and thought I'd follow it for a little while and then head back after an hour or so. It was a pretty spectacular walk, or for me at least not walking up any snow capped mountains before. I just kept going hiking up the base of the mountain and then deciding that I had come so far I had to climb to the summit.

That was more difficult and fortunately I caught up with some other people doing the climb as hiking alone is not the most sensible idea I've ever had. I passed some people on the peak, it was getting far more difficult and it was hard to see where you were putting your feet. I tried to climb over a rock by hooking my left leg over and pushing myself over, ok in theory but the snow I put my weight on gave way and I fell backwards luckily my leg wedged in the rock and stopped me from slipping down the mountain but it was still a wake up call. It was a close call to stop there but I was close to the top so carried on thinking how the hell am I going to get down.

So I got to the top and then found it was another half hour or so through the rocks that I had just had a near death exerience climbing. another climber was heading back after giving up due to the conditions and one of the other climbers who had caught me up passed and commented on the people who decided not to carry on (myself included). I was gutted at the time cause I was so close but not had much experience doing this sort of thing and it was still 2 hours or so to get back to the car park.

I was releived a little when the two people that carried on passed me turned around ten minutes into it. Without the experience I didn't really know what my limits were and could not judge the conditions of the mountain either. It was indeed disapointing not to have made it to the summit but I was still excited and pleased with having that exerience of at least geting to the top.

Needless to say I made it down ok, it was very tiring and I still had a 3 hour drive north east to Port Sorrell.

Port Sorrell is a seaside town and not much to see apart from beaches. So I headed north east of Launceston on the 4 hour drive to Bicheno. Along the way I stopped at the Bay of Fires on the east coast, i walked along the white sand but it was a bit cold for a swin although the water was a lovely turquoise colour.

From Bicheno which was just a stopover town it was continuing south to Port Arthur. Along the way I visited Freycinet national park to see the sweeping views  over Wineglass Bay. There I hit my first slight gitch where they were doing maintenace work to the lookout platform, you could still get up to the lookout just not get onto the platform. So I started off the day with an hours round trip to the lookout where I snuck off the track under the lookout to get some photos of Wineglass Bay.

The next challeng was to hike up Mount Amos, which Cradle mountain just a couple of days before I thought this would be easier. Not really! It was a different challenge although it was half the time hiking i was already at the base and the only way was up. The rocks at mt Amos are smooth and difficult to get any grip on in certain places which the only other two people I saw on the mountain found out when they got to a point they could not get passed. I got to the same point and had similar problems, although I had walking shoes on i got 6 foot up one rock lost my grip and slipped, t was another heart stopping moment but I found another route around and was determined to get to the top this time. After some more chal lenging terrain and 20 minutes of thinking why am i doing this and how am i going to get down safely I made it!

My last day was spent in the hisroic town of Port Arthur. I took a 3 hour boat tour which hugged the cliffs along the south east coastline. We saw Gannetts, aussie and kiwi fur seals, no dolphins or whales this time, which was a little disapointing since they had been spotted the previous 3 days running. We did get to see some incredible caves and rock stacks including the Candle Stick, Devils Kitchen and the Tasman Arch so it was still well worth it.

In the afternoon I went to Port Arthurs historic sight were there is a prison reformer where we sent all the bad people. The main penitentiary ruins are quite impressive but the site is like a little village where as it was so remote it needed to be self contained, with other buildings including a church, govenors house, law courts, medical officers house and acountants house ofcourse as well as other buildings required to run a prison.

They are restoring many of the buildings so its partially ruins and partially fully restored buildings giving people an insight to what it was like when the prison was fully functional. The ticket also included a guided tour and a boat trip of the harbour where we passed the Isle of the Dead where prisoners were buried.

Tasmania is well worth going to and there are other things I didn't get around to in the short time I was here.



Hey mate, so pleased you kept a journal as it'll be something to look back on. Try really hard to not kill yourself if you can help it.... x

  Laura Galloway Jul 13, 2008 6:34 AM

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