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There and Back Again

Third Tramp in Tasmania

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 10 May 2012 | Views [628]

What is it that has lured us back to Tasmania for the third time? Is it the strange mixture of wilderness; the dark convict history; good food (especially the apples); beautiful old buildings and quaint wooden cottages; the feeling of an earlier time and all set against the tension between tree felling and conservation?

It was all of that.

Added to the above, was a visit to MONA and Bathurst Harbour.

 As in earlier trips we did some great walks:

·         The Tarn Shelf in Mt Field with the turning of the golden leaved fagus (beech) and shifting clouds was atmospheric.

·         The 18km/7 hour tramp along Lake St Clair (from Narcissus Hut to Cynthia Bay) included magnificent views of Mt Ida, Mt Olympus and the Acropolis (lots of ancient Greek names in these parts), fungi of all colours and sizes and the towering trees.

·         Mt Hartz lived up to its reputation with gale force winds and freezing rain. People have died on this mountain so we limited our walk to the Waratah lookout and a short walk to Arve Falls.

We were inspired to take the journey to Bathurst Harbour and Melaleuca after reading Deny King’s biography. The small plane flew over rugged dolomite mountains, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, vast forests and the beautiful coastline. You can only get to this area by boat, plane or foot – we hope it stays this way. The tour included a boat trip on Bathurst Harbour/Port Davey (bigger than Sydney Harbour).  It’s difficult to describe this area except to say it leaves you feeling joyous, fully alive and humble.

A curious contrast was the visit to MONA. It starts with a ferry ride down the Derwent and the 99 steps climb to the museum. We spent over 5 hours exploring the 3 levels – you feel like a kid taken on a weird and wonderful ride – totally engaging and aided by your personal ipod to explain each installation, provide audio and then later send you an email with the details of your journey.

The final 6 days were spent in Hobart: markets, Salamanca Place, the quaint CWA shop, Tasmanian art gallery/museum and the Cascade Female Factory 1825-56 (ie female convict goal) with a moving performance by 2 actors in the pouring rain. It was a cruel and terrible place little known about.  http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/index.php/convict-institutions/female-factories/cascades-ff

We were more fortunate staying in our cosy nest ‘The Fireman’s Loft’.


May 2012


Tags: bathurst harbour, bushwalking, deny king, fagus, mona, tasmania, trekking

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