Varied Weather, Varied Nature, Varied Places, Tasmania

In Tasmania you will probably have varied weather with one day of clouds and rain, but the next day could be filled with perfect sunshine. Here are some photos to show the variety.

First you have the view from Mount Wellington, close to Hobart, on a cloudy, rainy day.

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Below is the view from the uppermost top of Mount Wellington on a cloudy, foggy, rainy day. But the fog is probably there most of the time anyway.

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Here we are up in the mountainous area of Cradle Mountain. Almost like in the northern parts of Sweden, but I never found any cloudberries like you could in Sweden.

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Here I am playing hide and seek when out for the Enchanted Walk – Cradle Mountain National Park. A mossy old lady between mossy old trees.

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We walked there in the evening too. That’s when we saw wombats out on their evening strolls. This is also where the cute and original platypus may live, but we never saw them. Maybe next time. This photo looks like the perfect setting for a saga about trolls.

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In the National Park of Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair, you will find flowering plants of the more alpine kind. Here you have some of them. A Tasmanian Grevillea on the top left, and some kind of Christmas Bells on the low right. Don’t know the exact names and have no idea about the the others yet.

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On cloudy, foggy, rainy days, the roads may look like this. We didn’t mind. It just reminded us what we had “fled from” a long time ago. This photo looks like Sweden in the darker, colder months.

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Here’s something which doesn’t know what it wants. Sunshine? Or clouds and rain?

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Another cloudy, foggy, rainy day, but still interesting and full of adventure.

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Here’s time for lunch on another sunny, wonderful day in the north. Lars setting the table. We had just been to a bakery where they sold a lot of little goodies.

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When it’s half sunny in Tasmania, the colours turn on a magnificent display. In the north, I even found the red dirt, which makes for colourful pictures.

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Below:

Wow! The stripes of reddish brown, yellowish green and apple green together with the dark green and the bluish grey sky. Isn’t this slope beautiful and just like something woven? I want to buy it, but can’t afford it.

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When we arrived in Australia 40 years ago, people told us about forests in Tasmania where it’s possible to walk on top of trees. It seemed incredible at the time. Those trees were supposed to be in the windswept south, but these tightly growing ones in the north seemed ideal to take a walk on too. No, we didn’t try.

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Wherever we went, we found birch trees. In every city or town, people have planted them in their gardens, in parks and on street verges. This property had long rows of birch trees on both sides of their driveway.

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More birch trees! As I said, they’re everywhere and remind us a lot about Sweden.

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“Time for another coffee,” said Lars. Had to be the instant kind. No Latte or Cappuccino in the bush. But plenty in the towns and cities. Luckily!

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No more for now. See you later!

Hellyer Gorge, Gondwanaland, Tasmania

We had planned our route in advance when driving through Tasmania and were up in the northwest heading towards the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. In doing so we ended up at Hellyer Gorge, more or less by accident. When we saw the not so imposing sign at the roadside, we nevertheless had an immediate desire for a coffee break. Gosh, am I glad we did! And my husband too.

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This small, seemingly insignificant, detour from the Murchison Highway ended up as an amazing experience. We spent about an hour walking through an ancient relic of Gondwanaland. I couldn’t get enough of the incredible terrain from our ancient history, many hundreds of million years ago, when the Australian continent belonged to the supercontinent called Gondwanaland.

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Hellyer Gorge 4 Tasmania

Gondwana included most of the landmasses in today’s Southern Hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar and the Australian continent. The Arabian peninsula and the Indian subcontinent were also part thereof, but slowly, slowly moved into the Northern Hemisphere.

The exciting vegetation around Hellyer Gorge include Myrtle Beech, Southern Sassafras, Leatherwood and Messmate, which belongs to the Eucalyptus family. Then there are the myriad of ferns and tree ferns and towards autumn, the ground is apparently coloured by different varieties of fungi.

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The old Myrtle Forest has a mysterious atmosphere. You feel like stepping back in time and it’s easy to imagine you’re walking with dinosaurs. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park or in my own fairytale.

When we were there, the sunlight filtered its way through the leafy ferns and Hellyer River flowed with an almost singing voice. Many days in Tasmania are cloudy and rainy, mostly depending on the season, but this sunny day in spring was excellent for walking through this forest on a 15-20 min track.

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Enter this remarkable and enchanting rainforest and you feel privileged to have been gifted the experience by Mother Nature. If you have children, I bet they would be deliriously happy to stare up into a roof of fern leaves and imagine themselves to be in a different world. I must be a child at heart because I like to imagine.

Hellyer Gorge needs to be protected, since it’s so very, very special. How many people know about this wondrous place?

A Day Cruise on the Gordon River, Strahan, Tasmania

We planned to have an exciting day on the Gordon River onboard the Lady Franklin and had chosen The Captain’s Premier Upper Deck seating with the company of the Captain as a guide. We chose this way to travel just from reading the description on the net. What was on offer sounded pretty good to us.

The Captain’s Premier Upper Deck is Gordon River Cruises’ luxury sightseeing experience, travelling alongside the Captain with leather seating, a private viewing deck, a dedicated guide and a gourmet lunch of local delicacies. Indulge in fresh seafood, creamy Tasmanian cheeses and select regional specialties, accompanied by complimentary Tasmanian wines and premium beers.

It was late November and holiday time, but up early to get ready for a departure at 8 am from the Strahan Harbour. (Strahan is one of those words not pronounced as it’s written. It’s pronounced ‘strawn’ in English and in Swedish it would be ‘strån’.) Learning is fun, unless you already knew.

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The morning tour was around 6 hours and well worth it – especially when you think about the glorious foods. We had the best of Tasmanian produce e.g. salmon both smoked and steamed in a sauce, free range turkey, some veggies, cheeses, bread, olives and various condiments. All from the state of plenty with the cleanest air and the cleanest water. The ultimate to eat and drink is found on the island of Tasmania and as we suspected, the food on board was scrumptious. The absolute best.

On our tour, we saw natural landmarks like Hells Gates, which marks the entrance to Macquarie Harbour from the Southern Ocean. We stopped at Sarah Island where you disembark to take a walk and a guided tour. We heard about the grim past when convicts were left on the island with no means of escape more than to try and swim through the widest, coldest river and then trek through inhospitable land to get to civilisation, if that’s the right word when there wasn’t much in the way of settlements. The journey through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in an organised way is an exciting experience today. In the past it was often a death trap for those convicts game enough to try.

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Once upon a time there was a bakery on Sarah Island. Bread was one of the staples when there wasn’t much else to eat.

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Here’s the ruin of the old bakery. My husband found it especially interesting because of his life of baking and pastry cooking.

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After Sarah Island we went on to disembark at a point where a boardwalk had been built through the temperate rainforest. Maybe we think of rainforests as hot and steaming, but this is quite the opposite because of the cool, moist air. Here we saw many different varieties of trees and an abundance of mosses, lichens and ferns. The most surprising was the brownish-orange colour of all water. This is due to the sap from the trees.

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The calm water of the Gordon River makes for perfect mirror images. See above and below.

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The tree trunks below are of the Huon Pine. The trees grow in wet and cold areas. The wood doesn’t rot even if found deep in water or mud after many years. Insects detest the Huon Pine too. There are trees in Tasmania which are 2,500 to 3,000 years old. They seem to regenerate by seeds, but most often by fallen branches. When in contact with the ground, they may grow roots to end up as new trees. They grow very slowly – only about 0,3 to 2mm in diameter per year.

The timber contains quantities of a natural preserving oil called methyl eugenol which allows it to survive on or under the forest floor for centuries. A buried Huon Pine log was documented by scientists to have been lying there for 38,000 years! As well as being a preservative, the methyl eugenol provides the timber with natural lubrication, so it can be bent, shaped or sculpted without splitting. It is also waterproof and insect resistant, making it prized as a boat building timber.

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Below are some samples of Huon Pine made into furniture from the shop in Strahan. The timber is smooth and honey coloured. Any blemish makes the wood more desirable (in my opinion). The little sofa is amazing and the rocking horse too. The tables from root stumps are also fantastic.

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The wood pieces from below are from the different trees in this area.

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Wilderness Woodwork

Morrisons on Facebook

Gordon River Cruises

Gordon River Cruises Gallery

Map of the area around Strahan, Gordon and Franklin River.

We will ensure to include a cruise on Arthur River near the Tarkine Forest in the northwest on our next trip. That time we will also go to the northeast corner and down the coast line. There’s so much to see. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favour.

Last Day in Hobart, Tasmania

2nd of December 2013 at Constitution Dock, Hobart, Tasmania

On our last day of our two week long trip to Tassie, we had just enough time for three different and important things to do in the one area.

First we had lunch at Mures on the Constitution Dock at 11 am. Yes, I know, that’s early, but we had to have something to eat before our flight was to leave and we knew there would be no other time because of our plans. And we were already hungry since we had been up early.

As we were eating our lunch quietly at Mures, we noticed a girl, a European tourist sitting just outside under the eave. Suddenly, she left her table without having finished her meal. Maybe a visit to the lady’s room. As soon as she had left, a lightning blitz happened as a crowd of seagulls dug into her food in a frenzy. There was no time for us to try and rescue anything. By the time it happened, it was already too late. When she returned, she was shocked. The seagulls were still at it. Well, this probably taught her a lesson not to leave her plate unattended.

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After lunch we went over to Salamanca. All tourists want to see and feel Salamanca. It’s a must on a trip to Hobart. We wanted to stroll around to watch and breathe in the exclusive atmosphere of the market place with al fresco restaurants and coffee shops one last time. On the weekends, the place is covered in market stalls selling everything from crafts to Tasmanian produce of all kinds. We had time for coffees, which was good.

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Weekend Markets below.

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Then we had something very exciting left to do on this day, the 2nd of December 2013, with just enough time before our flight home to Perth. We went over to visit the replica of Mawson’s Hut. This was on the exact day and time it opened for the very FIRST TIME.

The 2nd of December was the 102nd anniversary of the departure from Hobart of the Australasian Antarctic expedition 1911-14 which Douglas Mawson led.

As we arrived at the hut, we were told to wait outside until the dignitaries were finished with their visit. We were to be the first visitors from the public. Before all the special people had departed, we were allowed in. It was exciting to see all the exhibits, but it was hot in the hut and I was almost glad to be out after we had finished our tour with writing our names in the guestbook. So, for prosperity, we’re in THE FIRST BOOK. Maybe on the first or second page. I don’t remember now, but we have definitely gone down in history as amongst the very first visitors.

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The Baltic pine used when they built the replica hut was sourced from Finland. The same source was used as 100 years earlier.

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Below is Douglas Mawson’s bed with a gollywog as his mascot.

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Below is the now “ancient” communication system used at the time.

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Last photo in Hobart. We can’t wait to get back to the Apple Isle.

Exciting one day. More exciting the next.

Tasmania – Explore the possibilities!

For those interested to know more:

Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum

 

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania

The Freycinet National Park is located on the east coast and around 2 1/2 hours northeast of Hobart. Sparkling clear water, often turquoise coloured, granite and red and yellow-orange lichen covered rocks. You even have a Wineglass Bay. What could go wrong? Nothing. It’s a beautiful part of the world and eye candy for the soul.

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This was just a little bit of my take on Freycinet.

For more, please go to this link:

Exploring the Earth – Freycinet

Old and New Houses in Tasmania

On this small island state of Australia, you may see many different styles of houses. Some old, some new, some modern and some due – for renovations.

I will start with a barrack in ruins from the days when convicts were allocated to slave away for the elite in their agricultural endeavours. This ruin is located at Cape Grim, close to Stanley in the north. This area seems to have a grim beginning even if it’s far from menacing in today’s world.

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It’s hard to tell the size of the old Convict Barracks, but it doesn’t look very big. However, around 20 people had to make do with living here. I was at this place in spring, late November, and it was cold, windy and rainy like it usually is in the most southern part of Australia. Almost like the weather in Sweden in November, even if November in Sweden may have snow in the later part of the month. So, imagine the poor people living in these conditions.

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Below is the nice place where the rich people lived at the time they had convicts to work on their property. This is not to say that it’s anything wrong with this place today. I would have loved to live in that house now.

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Below is a majestic old building in Hobart, which we had as a view from where we were staying. They built beautiful houses in the past. Probably made to last too.

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The quaint little house below has become a business in Richmond.

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Here are a few older style houses.

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Below is a new house and below that one is an old one.

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Below we have The Cabin in the Woods, luxury accommodation in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. A raven like bird – Black Currawong, visited us many times a day and always when we had lunch or dinner on the balcony.

It’s not every day you walk the same path as a wombat, which is also heading the same way. He was down at my feet since they don’t always hurry. The wildlife at Cradle Mountain is spectacular and almost towards the tame kind.

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This is the inside of the cabin/cottage/shack with a spa bath in the middle (behind the big wooden rounded wall). Lots of wood, fireplace, King Size bed, kitchen area and a beautiful bathroom. That’s all you need living life in the wilderness.

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Below is a magnificent modern house close to Hobart. The view from the back looks out over the Derwent River.

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This is the house from the front.

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Below is a cottage for rent located close to Hobart.

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The Town of Murals – Sheffield, in the northwest, close to Devonport where the ferries – Spirit of Tasmania docks. Below is one of the many houses with murals. Use your search engine and look for Sheffield murals, then click on “images” and you can see many. The town must have a massive amount of artists because a massive amount of houses have been fantastically decorated. They’re the real tourist attractions.

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The two houses below look like they’re due for renovation. They are close to the ferry going to Maria Island on the east coast.

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Here’s another beautiful house in Smithon, in the north, up on a steep hill, with a fabulous view. We had accommodation in this private house and it was excellent.

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Below is the view over Duck River – low tide and high tide.

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Last, but not least, this is a house, I would almost be scared to live in – especially in bad weather. The house is on a steep slope looking out over Bass Strait. Only the roof top may be seen. What a view the people must have!

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Here’s a link to a handy map of Tasmania.