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Tasmanian Trip 2007

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 4 April 2007 | Views [454]

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Tasmanian Trip 2007

As we reached the top of the ‘Cradle’ on Cradle Mountain, the trekking party sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Susan, celebrating her 60th in style!
On the day, it was a long 14km, 7 hour trek in windy, muddy, drizzly conditions in a stunning environment – but we made it! The cloud and drifting mist added to the atmosphere.

We enjoyed the simplicity and unspoilt nature of Tasmania – the small villages, fresh food, clean air and soft water. We came across a bunch of high school students socializing in the mall in Launceston – and, they were polite and well-mannered. A rarity on the mainland.

We had expected Tasmania to be as green as a Granny Smith apple, but found the Eastern part of Tasmania and Launceston in drought and more like a dried and forgotten apple core – like most of South Australia.

In the town of St. Helens we had a Fawlty Towers/Dickensian kind of experience. We were staying in a B&B run by John and Jill.
If it weren’t so fascinating, we would have packed our bags and fled the place.
From the time we arrived, Jill, a large person with a mountain of teased hair, was sitting at a table in the dining room, surrounded with a mess of papers and books (It seemed as if she hadn’t moved from her seat the whole time we were there and was still there the next morning when we emerged for breakfast)
While our bed linen and bathroom etc were clean and tidy, the large light hanging over the bed was covered in cobwebs.
John, the cook, was a big bald man, with a squint and a big hairy belly and was naked apart from a very short pair of shorts, opening some oysters purchased from a local oyster farm.
Jill: ‘Them oysters need some lemon on them.’
John: ‘Yairs, oysters taste better with some lemon.’
Jill: ‘Have youse got a lemon for them for their oysters?’
John: ‘Yairs, I’ll cut up some lemon for the oysters’
Jill: ‘yes, have some lemon with them oysters…..’ and so on for about 5 mins.

Most of the B&B’s and cabins we stayed in were excellent in Tassie, but you sure meet some characters on occasions.

While Tasmania has a dark past and ‘other side’ to it (Port Arthur, treatment of Aborigines in the past and symbolized in the present day by the huge logging trucks that bully their way around the narrow country roads), the experience overall was very pleasurable. Some of the highlights were:
The architecture and number of beautifully preserved buildings.
The 11.5 km walk on the circuit that included Wineglass Bay, Hazards Beach on the Freycinet Peninsula.
The taste of an apple plucked straight from the tree – crispy, juicy, ecstatic!
The conservatory and Peter Cundall’s Vegie patch at the Botanic Gardens in Hobart
A long 12km day walk around Maria Island.
Seeing a Platypus in the wild
Salamanca Market
The magnificent old & tall trees with a presence that makes you feel like kneeling before them. The Tahune Air walk.
Walking along pristine beaches with white sand and clear sparkling water.
A meal of barbecued octopus at the Touchwood Café in Stanley.
The exhibition of Huon Pine furniture in Hobart Museum.
Russell and Nelson Falls and the Franklin and Gordon Rivers. Thank you Bob Brown and all the other activists.
And lots lots more.

It was a magical 3 weeks and we only lost one sun hat, an old library book, pair of sunglasses and a pedometer.

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