Friday, 22 March 2013

Tremendous Tassie


When last we left our unlikely heroes, they were torn between going to work on a farm and travelling around the Apple Isle some more.  How did they get out of this sticky situation?  To find out stay tuned for this week’s thrilling episode of “Into the Good Life”!

What do you think happened, of course we kept travelling!  We wanted to see what Tasmania had on offer that we hadn’t got around to seeing yet.  Just for the sake of research of course, so we could tell future visitors our honest opinion on planned Tassie itineraries and make useful suggestions.
Cor on the South Cape


So in pretty short order we went to southernmost point of Tasmania at Cockles Creek and walked an overnight to South Cape Bay.  We were rewarded with an echidna snuffling by the trail, some brilliant geological formations and some amazing views south towards Antarctica.  Though again I disturbed TWO tiger snakes, screamed like a girl, hitched up my skirts and legged it, leaving poor Cor trailing in my wake.  Really have to do something about that reaction, it’s getting embarrassing….. but it DID hiss at me!
Our echidna!!

We popped by the Hastings Caves down there as well, very interesting caves, saw a cave cricket, glow worms, a type of cave spider and by the trail outside, two lyrebirds and a platypus paddling away in the creek, bold as brass.  Awesome ornithoryncus anatinus scenes.
Just a tiny bit of the awesome geology on the South Cape coast
We then opened up the throttle on Chuck the truck, heading up to Strahan on the west coast (rainy!) via St Claire Lake (on the south end of the overland track – crowded!), then up to Wynyard and Stanley in the north, and across to Arthur River in the west.

We went for a cruise on the Arthur River up in the Tarkine wilderness.  You may have heard about this as being a bit of a contentious area in relation to planned mining of iron ore in this area.  Some of the people in Arthur River were odd to say the least.  I had a difference of opinion with one of the tour people on the boat.  Credit to him, he was doing a job trying to keep the mystery of the Tarkine wilderness alive by saying that Tasmanian tigers could still be in this pristine wild area, citing unconfirmed sightings in the 70’s.  My thought is that it is this very thinking that allows people to shuffle off responsibility for the man-made extinction of the tigers, right when the Tasmanian devil faces a not-too-dissimilar fate.  Even if there were some tigers left, the same guy then argued AGAINST World Heritage listing for the area.  He suggested that World Heritage status for the Tarkine would stop the locals up at Arthur Creek from “going where they want and doing what they want” and that is why the majority were against it.  To hear one of these locals talking about driving along in a boat shooting cormorants for fun gives you an idea of what he means.  They don’t tell anyone when they find Aboriginal sites, as any outside interest may interfere with (their ideas of) personal freedom.

We then got to experience the opposite personality type in Geoff of Kings Run Wilderness Tours.  Geoff’s family used to run cattle along the coastal heathland near the Tarkine, but when he found it tough going he was a willing audience for a biologist friend who told him he had something special in his section of coastline, and more importantly, there were people who were willing to pay to experience it.  Geoff picks you up in his ute, driving you to a deserted beach shack with a slightly incongruous 3 metre wide double glazed window in the side.  After walking about the beach for a bit Geoff takes us for a walk around the area, showing us the middens left by the original Manegin Aboriginal people, their tool-making areas, places where they hunted seals and their hut depressions.  His property has just been accepted for World Heritage status, and this has allowed him to stop 4wd access to the beach where these sites are, earning him the vitriol of locals who would like to 4wd and ride four-wheelers all over the place.  You can see old tracks nearly running right over 900 year old fur seal hunting pits.  Despite this you can see his pride in being able to share this special place with people.
Kings Run on the West Coast

Around dusk we adjourn to the fishing shack, Geoff breaks out the wine and nibblies and turns on the baby monitor.  You see, just outside that incongruous window, is some roadkill staked to the ground with a light on it and a baby monitor hidden in the grass nearby.  After an hour Geoff hears a noise, and after getting ourselves settled in our seats (with wine in hand of course), turns out the lights in the hut and opens the curtains.  There he is, a beat-up looking Tasmanian devil proceeding to go to town on the possum carcass out there.  We sit and watch this guy munch away, gradually getting fatter and fatter.  He looked like he had already eaten, and was just topping up, but it was great.   We watch this guy for about an hour, before he scarpers and shortly thereafter another male turns up, a bit bigger but with more white on his body.  After an hour of furious demolition the devil manages to get the carcass off the stake and scarpers with it, running straight into another devil out in the dark and proceeding to have a bit of a set to.  That was our cue to go, so we jumped in the back of the truck and spotlighted some animals on the way to the gate.  It really couldn’t have been a better conclusion to the evening, or to one of the best experiences we have had in Tasmania.
Oh you devil!
After Arthur River we trucked across the country, and spent a couple of nights around Launceston, catching up with some people my sister Elisa introduced us to, Kate and Amy.  These two have been travelling and working around Tasmania for a few months and had some great stories to tell, and some great advice too.  Check out their blog at www.wrightemery.wordpress.com.
The world's largest motorboat at the Cherry Shed

We now find ourselves in the Bay of Fires in the north east.  We are going to do some walking and camp overnight out there tomorrow, with a view to making our way back down to Hobart and start WWoOFing next week (if someone will have us).

I promise to be more regular with this blogging thing, the only problem has been that despite supposedly having Australia’s fastest internet with the National Broadband Network, no bloody place we stay is actually connected to it!  Plus the fact that this travel shit keeps you pretty busy.

Palya peeps!
On a clear day you can see Antartica (no, not really)