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Hobart and the west coast

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 3 January 2009 | Views [950] | Comments [6]

Erik and I are celebrating a successful Christmas eve with a Cascade draught, of course.

Erik and I are celebrating a successful Christmas eve with a Cascade draught, of course.

First things first.  I need to do my duty as a Brit and have a moan about the weather.

The west coast of Tasmania really did live up to the warnings that I received before going there, and was pretty unfriendly.  The other duty which I successfully completed as a tourist was to be terribly unprepared.  Shorts, t-shirts and a less than waterproof tent pretty much saw to that one.

Of course, with the weather being the way it was, I didn't stop too often to take pictures, preffering to battle on against the wind and rain.

There, that's the moaning out of the way, so now I can tell you about all the great times I've had.  To do that, we need to go back to December the 23rd and Hobart...

After breakfast I took a boat trip around the harbour, and in the afternoon I took a tour of the rivulet which runs below the city, all the way from Mt Wellington to the river Derwent.

On Christmas eve I took a trip with a trainee vet from New York who I met at the hostel, called Erik. We went to the base of Mt Wellington and the Cascade brewery, which utilizes the mountain's fresh water before it reaches the city.  Afterward, Erik and I hiked up the mountain.

Christmas day seemed like a good time to make a move, so I headed north to Russell falls and Lady Barron falls in the Mount Field national park.  That evening I camped beside meadowbank lake.

Boxing day was a tough one, and after an entire day of climbing 950 metres above sea level to a place called Derwent Bridge, I took a break.  The intention had been to carry on only another 6km to a place called Lake St Clair.  I would have made it easily, but the only place to stop and take a break was a country pub.  Three pints later, and I could've been talked into anything, so the barman had no trouble in convincing me to stop at the pub for the night.

The 27th was another fun filled and action packed day. I backtracked 1km to visit a beautiful wooden sculpture called 'the wall in the wilderness'.  It's carved from three metre high slabs of pine and tells about the history of life in the central highlands of Tasmania.  The artists name is Greg Duncan.  He's a very talented man, but ultimately is a man like any other in that his projects become 'ongoing'.  The wall isn't finished yet some four years after he started, but so far so good!  I wasn't allowed to take pictures though.  Boo!

From there I carried on the ride to Lake St Clair, which was just mind bogglingly beautiful and offered lots of hiking opporunities, so I decided to stay.  By the time I got there, it was about 11am.  Plenty of time for a short walk before lunch, and then time to tackle the supposed 7 hour hike up to and around the peak of Mt Rufus.

It was 3:30 when I started up the mountain, figuring that the 7 hour allowance was taking tourist speed into account and I'd be fine.  I was a bit nervous on the way back down when I found the 3 hours to go sign.. The sun was getting pretty low, so the final stretch ended up being a kind of half run, but every now and then and root or fallen branch would slither out of the way and into the foliage.  Imagine a kind of tentative anxious type of half run, with me hoping to not get bitten on the ankle for stepping on a tail. 

After Lake St Clair came queenstown which was a bit of a ghost town.  It was prosperous in the 1900's as a mining town.  The surrounding hills have been stripped of vegetation by decades of mining exhaust fumes.  I was reminded of a wild west movie. 

From there I went to a place called Zeehan, which sounds like something from a Buck Rogers story to me.  It was actually the name of the ship belonging to Dutch seaman Abel Tasman who claimed the west coast as his discovery.

The following few days were spent doing battle with the elements and only stopping to eat or sleep.  There is a trail of empty cafes all around Tasmania to prove it.

New years eve was spent at Cradle mountain, which was beautiful, but cold and wet.  So by 9:30 I was tucked up in bed with a trashy romance novel.  Pretty wild new year's eve eh?!

And now, finally I'm back in melbourne.  Going to stay here for the week and wait for Pete to show up, so we can do some coffee drinking, cake eating and chatting before heading off on the next stage of the adventure!

The details of the adventure as always, are with the pictures.  Hope you enjoy them.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a fun new year to make up for my rather tame one.





Hi Paul. Doesn't sound very tame to us. Glad you are back on familiar territory. Hope the sun shines for the journey from now on and dries out that tent. Don't eat all the cakes in Acland Street , save a couple for Dad , he's going to pop over for a huge chocolate gateaux.(Don't worry, only joking) Actually I'm pretty glad to be where there are no creepy crawlies giving me the heebie jeebies ! Photos are great. Keep smiling.

  M & D Jan 4, 2009 7:48 AM


Happy New Year dude! Sorry for taking so long to get in touch. Fab blog - love it. Hello from a frezzing hippenham :-) xx

  Lor Jan 9, 2009 1:40 AM


Hi Paul!!
Pete showed me your blog whilst we were in the UK... I'm really enjoying reading about your travels!! (especially the reference to Australians, mobile phones and history. Tee hee!) I'm looking forward to the next post, and wish you a good trip up the coast! Looking forward to seeing you again sometime. Stay safe,
Love Jos x

  Jocelyn Hickey Jan 15, 2009 8:08 AM


Hi Paul,
It all sounds pretty exciting, hope the sun shines, enjoy your trip.
I'm strangely glad Christmas and the new year are behind us.
Take care,

Love Richard & Shirley

  Richard Harber Jan 18, 2009 10:28 PM


Well we said we would write and its only taken for you to be away for at least a month and ahalf before we have got round to it. Cool reading what you have been up to..yawn yawn...its much more interesting here...wake up inthe cold dark mornings .. go to work.. come home ..eat..sleep...wake up in the cold dark mornings...and so it goes on!! Would def rather be where you are. Sounds like you are having a cool time. Whats new with us.. a new track bike not been on a track yet - whats that saying - all the gear but no idea!! And a new set of wings on my back - will tell you more when you return.
Keep writing as we are reading. Missing you lots

Love Pete, Jay and all the little Copseys xxx

  Pete and Jay Jan 23, 2009 9:31 AM


Hey Paul!

Phil sent me the link to your blog... Wow, how fun to travel viaciously through your super adventure online. I really hope you are getting everything from your trip that you hoped to - but also that by the time your journeys comes to an end that you feel ready to come home. I definitely owe you a brewski for inviting me to your leaving drinks. We may not be travelling across Oz but there have been lots of good times in Bath since that night! Oh - and wanted to say that I'd heard rumors about your tattoo so it's cool to see it in this pic. Awesome! You look so happy. Go safely, Joy x

  Joy Jan 28, 2009 1:21 AM

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