Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Aahhh, Tasmania. It was the first place I have regretted leaving, wishing we had more time. It felt like we barely scratched the surface of such a wonderfully incredible and diverse place. And the friendships we forged there have made our trip rich in a way that can’t be described. Bleary eyed off the ferry in Devonport, we made the decision to rent a car, as we had heard that it would be impossible to get to many of the destinations we wanted to see with shuttle service. A good deal, and we were on our way with the mist beginning to rise out of the Eucalyptus valley, broken by rolling farmland. Through Launceston to Ben Lomond, checking out road kill along the way, trying to figure out what the animals were. A dirt road took us up through the forest, two snakes and an Echidna scurrying out of the way. We stopped for the Echidna, originally mistaking it for some porcupine, but it did the characteristic ritual of burying its nose in the ground. The locals call it the “I can’t see you so you can’t see me” ritual. Ben Lemon was nothing short of magical, huge pillars above tree line. The mist rolling through in the mornings and evenings.
After a couple of days getting schooled, we decided to move down the coast. Found a great whole foods store in St. Marys (no apostrophes here) and tasted the delights of Eucalyptus candy (a little strong for my taste) and Turkish delights (reminded me of my great grandmother for some reason as its made with rosewater). Driving down Elephants pass we caught our first glimpse of the Tasmanian coastline and as we dropped down further we saw the white sand beaches set against an aqua ocean and a deep cobalt sky. Utterly breathtaking. We stopped in Bicheno (pronounced Bisheno) for some much needed protein and then headed out towards Friendly Beaches. Little did we know we would be spending quite a bit of time at this Friendly beach. Our first exposure to Wallabies (aptly named Bennett’s Wallaby, no joke)….weird, and huge biting ants.
From Friendly beaches we decided to head down to the Freycinet peninsula where there was gorgeous sea cliffs. It promptly rained for the next five days and we were only able to get in a route or two. After the fifth day we bailed, having rescued the tent from the pond and headed back toward Bicheno for some groceries and internet. Headed back up to St. Marys to go to a cliff that we had passed on our way out of Ben Lomond and ended up doing a couple of climbs in between rain storms. Bailed out when the rain hit and then made our way back down to Freycinet (stopping again at the Friendly beaches for Wallaby burgers, VERY tasty, especially when wallabies are watching you eat them!!!!) We went back to the sea cliffs just in time to do a climb and meet Bob and Anna…one of the most serendipitous meetings of our trip! An hour later we were sharing wine and talking like long lost friends in the back of Anna’s car as rain poured down and possums tried to crawl on Bennett.
We stayed for another few days after they left and then headed down to Hobart, the capitol of Tasmania, to stay with Anna. We enjoyed her generosity for 5 days, showers, and a real bed in a real house .luxury. Did some great climbs together and then headed up the wild coast to catch our flight out of Launceston. Stayed with Bob and his incredible family outside of Exeter on the night before our flight out, it was a wonderful way to end the trip. There is still so much to explore here….
I think of the people we love all the time, so in a way we are all making this journey together and it has been more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you all for your love and support. Dana