Friday, November 18, 2016

Tasmania Day 6: Strahan - Devonport

Friday, the last day in Tasy, before we border the Spirit of Tasmania again. Also the day we nearly died (maybe). Details later.
We woke up, as humans do, departed from the cabin we stayed in and went for some supplies and fuel. Then the journey stated along the winding roads towards Zeehan and Devonport. About half an hour drive later we got a message from the Strahan accommodation we had stayed at, saying we had forgotten something. Knowing what it was (the fe***ng iPad again) we turned around and picked it up before driving the same road again. Cruising along we passed mountains, rivers and lakes again. Due to not having a filling breakfast we stopped at a bridge over a river/lake and had something to bite. Shortly after, though, we passed a very inviting looking cafe, so whilst I waited for some scones and apple crumble mum went looking for a pink robin. She heard it but didn't find it, so came back and enjoyed some scones, too. We headed out not to long after heading for Shefield. Rounding a 180° curve (nearly) going up a mountain, I caught something happening in the corner of my eye, but stayed focused on the road. Shortly after mum gasped out that a tree had dropped over the road, where we had been just 20 seconds earlier. A person in a Ute behind us didn't seem to notice a thing, so we turned round ready to call the police if necessary. Coming around the corner again, a guy was just coming up the other way and I thought both of us might be able to lift it off the road. We managed, just about, to drag it off. If that thing had come down on top of us, who knows what could have happened. Lucky us. The road was cleared and everybody carried on without a scratch.

Passing Cradle mountain, we hummed and hared about taking a walk around some lakes up there, but we were running out of time. Had a short look around Shefield, but then headed on to Devonport, where we had some of the food we had left, before boarding the boat. Now sitting in the cabin writing the blog and later, who knows. A big thanks to mum for the brilliant holiday. Was really nice seeing mountains and lakes again, can't wait to see what New Zealand is like.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tasmania Day 5: Hobart - Strahan

On today's agenda was getting places. We both are on a tight schedule, something always ill advised on a holiday, but the Spirit of Tasmania was waiting for us in Devonport on Friday evening. The next aim was Queenstown in Tasmanias Western Wilderness. Mum had heard something about a steam train in the area and the scenery looked really mountainous, so good for me.
First off we had to get out of Hobart, not that much of a problem actually, as Hobart has turned nearly all it's roads in to one way roads. The countryside outside of the city was stunning, as expected. Mountains, rivers, farms and the lot. Winding roads, though, so the drive proved interesting. Not just setting the cruise on to 100km/h and getting somewhere fast. Ocasionally I set the car modus to Sport to get that extra bit up a hill.
In the mountains we stopped at a touristy sort of area and saw large constructs of power generation, also known as hydro-electric dams. With the amount of water Tasmania has stored in lakes, completely understandable. We stopped for lunch at one of the lakes and enjoyed a sandwich at the side of a New Zealand looking scenery. The echidna sniffing around for ants sort of ruined the New Zealand felling, but it was a welcome guest anyway. Wasn't bothered about us in the slightest and we got a few good pictures. Seems like the animals were really looking for us that day. Further along the road we saw a wombat which we got some pictures from as well. I myself have never seen a live wild one, so happy I got that one. Further along I reckoned I saw a snake, too, but by the time I had turned back around it was either a stick or had gotten of the road. 
We got more and more in to Tasmanias Western Wilderness and the terrain turned increasingly rugged. Forests got replaced by swamps which were replaced by rugged bushes and rocks. On the highest spot we passed two lakes surrounded by mountains with no trees close by. A bit further on civilisation popped up again (sort of) with the mining town of Queenstown. Supposedly the steam engine runs here, but we had missed it for the day. Queenstown didn't look to bad, but we had some time to spend and carried on to Strahan, the nearest port. And on that way I finally introduced mum to something you must have seen in Australia. Coming round a corner I screeched to a halt and mum and me watched a tiger snake slither across the road behind the car. Just missed him, as he was on the other side of the road. Can't come to Australia and not see a snake.
In Strahan we lodged our booking with the tourist information and went for some fish and chips before taking a walk to the familiarly named Hogarth Falls. They don't know why it is named that way, but the name is the same.

In the evening we managed to grab some nice sunset pictures of a pier and I showed mum how to eat TimTams like an Australian.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tasmania Day 4: Hobart

Woke up refreshed in the morning, ready to explore Hobart. Had a bowl of porridge in a near by cafe, suggested by the Lonely Planet book and mum had some bacon and eggs. Back to the tourist information after that, which was open. As we found out shortly after, the Cadburrys chocolate factory was no longer open (to the public at least). So we had to scratch that of our to-do list. Instead we went to the Mona museum, an eccentric museum of art, that is by now the most viewed tourist attraction in Hobart. It was … weird. In future I'd probably prefer a museum of science, but to everyone their own taste.
After spending three hours in the museum we left it for a lunch in Subway. Following up that we wanted to up Mt. Wellington. It has a road leading up, so we took the lazy route. Prior to that, though, mum went shopping and I got a hair cut. Spur of the moment thing, but there was one next to Subway. 
The next stop was the mountain. Spectacular view from the top over Hobart and the surrounding Tasmanian countryside. Spent quite a while on top of there before heading back down and to the hostel. Three times we went in a circle to find a parking spot, but ended up a bit further away.
Later on we drove out to the Southern Arm, a land-island jutting out with a connection road. What we were searching for was the bio-luminescence that lights up the ocean with a blue colour. We headed to a beach as soon as we got there, but saw nothing (as I had expected). So back to the car and some sandwiches for dinner. I'd guessed that we were maybe a bit to early, so we waited until it was really dark. Walking down to the beach, no glow, but we carried on to the surf. Close up I yelled up to mum, as I had spotted a soft blue glow whenever the water receded from a wave. Only faintly you had to look closely to see it, but we did see it. In hopes of it getting stronger we spent a while longer on the beach. An hour later it still hadn't increased, so we packed up and called it a night. The moon was just appearing above the surrounding hills and treated us to a nearly full moon (this a couple of days after the supposed super-moon).

Back at the hostel we dropped in to bed and slept well.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tasmania Day 3: St. Helens - Hobart

The next morning we woke up to sunshine and a breakfast ready in the room. Munched down the breakfast and set of along the east coast of Tasmania, with the end goal of reaching Hobart that day. The first stretch saw us driving along a road that was a stark reminder of Scotland. No forests, rough seas to our left, rocks and sheep where ever one looked.
We passed a cafe called the pondering frog, in which mum had a scone and I tried some of their home made ice cream. The guy seemed a little stressed, but we all got everything in the end. Mum even got some advice on what to do. So after the short snack we headed to Coles Bay. Bit out of the way but we had some time to spare. Had a beach walk in Coles Bay and some lunch, after ditching a place called “Friendly Beach” as you needed to pay to access it.
We continued on along the coast, through mountainous terrain towards Hobart. Passed a lot of flooded rivers, with the bridges just staying above the waterline. Tasmania has copped a lot of water lately. Has to make up for it's reputation somehow of being the England (or New Zealand) of Australia.

We reached Hobart in the early evening and headed to the tourist information. Witnessed a mayor crash with three messed up cars on the other lane on the way, but had little problem getting in to the city. At the tourist information we saw the sign that the information was closed due to relocating, but a girl stuck her head out of the door and helped us get the accommodation information we wanted. So we headed of to some boutique hostel. The first one was fully booked, but we had luck in the second one. After a shower we headed to the highly recommended “Drunken Admiral” seafood restaurant and had a good evening meal.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tasmania Day 2: Devonport - St. Helens

Second day Tasmania, a lot better weather wise and we started travelling towards the East Coast of Tasmania. Got up a bit late and then had a heavy breakfast before going shopping for lunch and leaving Devonport. Saw the “Spirit of Tasmania I” in the port, we'd travelled on the second one.
So we left towards Launceston, driving the winding roads through the mountains filled by the heavy rainfalls from the day before. Passed a viewpoint and had a stop for some pictures, after which we headed on. Just on the Launceston town border I turned a sharp left to go towards the Tasmanian Zoo, to view a Tasmanian Devil. We never ended up getting there. Along the way I thought it was getting rather far away from our original track and when mum spotted an echidna on the side of the road I did a stop and turned around. Mum had never seen one, so I made sure she would. It didn't want to stick it's snout in the air like my first one I saw, but there is nothing you can do about that. Spiky little things they are. So instead of the zoo, mum got an echidna.
Back on to the way to St. Helens, as I wanted to reach the Bay of Fire today. Through Launceston we stopped at another viewpoint, from which you could see all the way to the ocean and Flinders Island behind that and had lunch, consisting of some sandwiches. Then onwards, mum spotted two more echidnas, I didn't. There was rather a lot of road kill around, but considering this area is wallaby infested... 
We reached St. Helens after a bit more driving and went to the tourist information to find an accommodation. Considering it is so close to the Bay of Fire, a must look at for backpackers, I thought that at least there would be a hostel here. Nope, no hostel, but we ended up staying in a really nice place called the Anchor wheel, run by a friendly couple. Dropped of some of our belongings and travelled on to the Bay of Fire. I made a wrong turn off and ended up on the wrong side of the Bay, but we backtracked and ended up on a white sandy beach. Couple of jellyfish washed up, but not the bad type (I think). Whilst mum had a short feet washing (just come from warm Cairns) I tried filming four surfers out in the water. After that a bit of rock climbing to get to a good spot to watch the sea smash against the red rocks.

Then we headed back for some fish and chips before retiring for the night.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tasmania Day 1: Devonport

Back travelling for a week, this time accompanied by mum. And our aim this time is Tasmania. As both of us have not been there yet, we thought it would be a good place to visit. Also a lot of Australians have proclaimed that it is a nice place for a holiday.
So I did manage to get one week of work. Up until now the work has been long days and demanding, but fun at the same time, as I am working with some awesome guys. Longest shift was 17 hours, but the hay wants to be cut.
Any ways, I put my car in for service at a local mechanic, and three days prior to picking up mum, I got the call that the car was going no where as the wheel bearing wouldn't work correctly anymore (why I hadn't lost both back tires is still a mystery to the mechanic). So I tried using some of the contacts to get a car to go to Tasy, but it all accumulated in to getting a rental car in Melbourne and going on board the Spirit of Tasmania in it. A huge mess actually (also the fact that I had a hangover didn't help) but we got the car and got on to the boat. Explored the boat, had a salad, a few drinks and a chat before heading to bed. Always could sleep rather well with the deep thrum of the ship engine.
The next morning we left the ferry in rain, perfect example of Tasmanian weather. Thanks for the greeting, Tasy. We got a couple of things sorted out, like the actual travel plan we wanted to do, and had some breakfast. After that we drove around the town of Devonport in the car, as I didn't really want to leave and explore Tasi in pouring rain. Ended up getting some shoping, getting some washing done, having a tea and watching a movie in a cinema. Mum found a good accommodation in a brochure and am now using the free wifi to surf the internet.

Will watch the Spirit of Tasmania leave later and get ready for travelling tomorrow.