When we started this crazy journey, we didn’t plan to travel to the somewhat remote island of Tasmania. But we are so very glad we had the opportunity, thanks to our new Tasmanian friends who we met in Penang. They generously let us crash at their “Shabin” (Aussie “Shack” + Canadian “Cabin” = Shabin).
One of the great things about extended travel is that you can make it up as you go along, changing course when opportunity arises. (Mind you, this isn’t entirely true when your journey includes three young kids, but there is definitely more flexibility when you purchase one-way tickets, one trip leg at a time).
And this last leg has been as wonderful as it’s been unexpected. While we are fortunate to live in an amazingly beautiful place (west coast of Canada), the island of Tasmania has awed and amazed us.In addition to natural and rugged scenery unlike anything we have seen, Tasmania is so diverse and varied. Drive down the road for 30 minutes and you’ll more than likely find yourself somewhere very different. For a relatively small island it is quite remarkable.
There are times I think I might be at home along the west coast of BC, then in Ireland, then on some deserted, white-sanded Caribbean beach (albeit a lot colder and windier), then the coast of California, then the English countryside. And then there are places and sights I simply never imagined.
Clean air, crystal clear, blue green water and beautiful beaches. A perfect place to tour and soak up the great outdoors.
Of course it is not all about the scenery; the beer, wine and cheese is worth the trip as well! And for the non-vegetarians, lots of delicious meat and scallop pies!
Two things we have been struck by here in Tassie: the people are very laid back and chill, and they have done a remarkable job of retaining their history. During our time here, we visited many a quaint town. If we didn’t see cars driving by, we might have momentarily thought we had time traveled to the 1800s. Just as well that wasn’t the case, as life was pretty tough here for the thousands of convicts who were shipped from England to one of many convict sites on Tasmania.
And now a word from Cate…
Hey guys! Cate here!
Today I’m just recapping what we’ve done the past week in Tassie, including a second road trip. This time up North!
We based ourselves in Launceston for a couple of nights, which was great since we got to hand glide near Cataract Gorge!
One of our days in Launceston we toured the Tamar Valley and visited the Platypus House and Echidna Garden. It is apparently uncommon to see platypus in the wild, so it was cool seeing them here. The males are very dangerous due to a spur they have that can shoot out venom, killing small animals and causing larger animals and humans excruciating pain. They’re one of the two egg-laying mammals in the world. (Note: If your teacher tells you mammals don’t lay eggs — like one of mine once did — tell them they’re wrong!)
We also saw echidnas (the second egg-laying mammal) in the garden; These creatures are tame and quite friendly, stopping to let us pet them and meandering around our feet. We saw them eat baby food! Yes, human baby food.
Next up, the Nut. It is a volcanic plug in the northwest town of Stanley, about two hours’ drive from Launceston. Volcanic plugs are made up of magma which came out of a vent from an active volcano, as Wikipedia described it. It was cool climbing up and fun to ride the very windy chairlift down. On the Nut we saw teeny-tiny Stanley from viewing points and even got a glimpse of a few wallabies (as well as a very fat cat; we doubt it was a wild animal).
The town of Stanley is also very cute and we even got to stay overnight in an apartment above the historic post office!
Back at the “Shabin” we got to visit the MONA in Hobart (Museum of Old and New Art), which was pretty incredible! In addition to paintings and photographs, this museum also features lots of other cool things, like a ginormous sculpture of a “fat sports car,” artsy ping-pong tables and a completely white “library” with blank books and shelves. The place was pretty darn awesome!
Then there was the Bonorong Sanctuary just outside of Hobart, with a guided tour, and “Kanga-Country” where we got to feed kangaroos for the second time! We also met and learned about koalas and wombats, and saw Tassie devils being fed (they’re very cute, actually, just not when they’re eating fluffy baby ducks and bits of rabbit meat!)
Anyways, that’s all for now! Bye guys!
Thanks again to Brian, Gina and Madi for their wonderful hospitality. Time to plan a trip to Canada, no??