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

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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.

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

Tessellated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck, Port Arthur, Tasmania

Tasmania is an island state situated south of the Australian landmass. If you drive an hour south of Hobart, which is the capital, you may end up at Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula. This is also on the road leading to Port Arthur.

At Eaglehawk is a strip of land called the Neck. It’s only 30 meters wide at one point and 400 meters long. This thin piece of land connects the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula. Steps lead down to the shoreline where it may be possible to walk on the tessellated pavement, but be aware of that this is a tidal area.

In the times when Port Arthur held convicts in the penitentiary and someone tried to escape, the narrow Eaglehawk Neck stopped them. At that point the authorities had set up a so called Dog Line, which was a line of dogs chained together to form a barrier. Must have been almost impossible to break through unless the convict brought a load of meat to feed the hungry beasts.

You can read more about the natural geological curiosity of the Tessellated Pavement on the net. Other nearby wonders are the Tasman’s Arch, the Devil’s Kitchen and the Blowhole. Some similar formation is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

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It’s mind boggling how nature was able to produce almost perfect squares and rectangles.

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Here we have some almost perfect steps. It’s quite interesting to imagine them to be real steps. But, of course, they were not, since there is a geological explanation to this phenomena.

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I find it intriguing to see all those squares and rectangles, which look so well made. It’s like a paved area from ancient times.

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A short track leads to steps where you can get down to the pavement.

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Here you are! Be aware of tides! There are times when you cannot walk on the pavement.

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On our trip to the Tessellated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck, we travelled on to Port Arthur, which is an old convict colony. A beautiful place now, but not in the past for many reasons.

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On a cloudy day with a bit of rain.

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The grounds include many ornamental trees such as this old oak tree. European trees were planted on the grounds and in some private gardens from the 1830’s.

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This was the penitentiary at Port Arthur. The sombre building seems to be the most photographed at this historic site.

This website has extensive information about the History of Port Arthur.

Tasmanian Rock Art

I’ve always been fascinated by Australian Aboriginal Rock Art. Nothing beats that ancient art formed on cliff walls by the very first Australians. My photos on this post show a different kind of rock art.

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The rock art in my photos is smaller and made by Mother Nature. My rocks, which are not my rocks per se, but belong to Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, are in my opinion like beautiful, artistic maps, especially one which looks like a picture of Africa (as the one above).

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These rocks may be found around the Enchanted Walk, which is a short walk where kids may also admire the landscape and almost interact with the wildlife. If lucky, they may even see a platypus or maybe more than one. We had a few wombats walking close to our feet.

The rocks may apparently support around 30 species of lichen. The lichen, a combination of algae and fungus, always occur together. I think these rocks look like the most expensive art work (like the one above, which also seems a bit like a bloody Christmas ham). Sorry, but I wasn’t swearing. It’s more like it looks stained with blood.

Why is it that I always love to pick up stones? However, these ones I couldn’t pick up. They were too big, apart from that they belong to the national park and people just cannot “borrow” rocks from national parks.

But next time you’re at a beach somewhere, you may see a woman with grey hair looking for pebbles and it could be me. My husband always stresses and wants to pull out his hair, the little he has left, when I want to bring a load of rocks or pebbles home. Especially when we had a caravan and I almost filled every cupboard with stones of some kind.

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Here’s another map of an unknown country or continent. Maybe it’s a bit like Africa too with Madagascar on the wrong side. Or is it South America? It’s hard to imagine that nature is able to show such magnificent pictures on rocks. Or is it more like I’m a whacko? But then again; who doesn’t like rocks? Most women like rocks, at least of the more expensive kind. I like these better though.

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Wow! Another one, which also looks incredibly beautiful. I wish I could have taken them home. But then the plane Hobart to Melbourne and then on to Perth wouldn’t be able to lift.

Last, but not least, here’s a photo of Dove Lake. It’s early morning at the old boat shed.

Cradle Mountain (1,545 m) with Dove Lake, which is 934 m above sea level. Cold and windy, but an amazingly beautiful area of Tasmania’s Wilderness Heritage Area.

Tasmanian Rock Art

This was a little bit about Tasmania and probably what most people would pass without looking twice. Not my blog post, of course. But are the stones too easy to walk past without looking? Not for me. But what do you think?

The two rocks below are from a different area of Tasmania. They’re not as dramatic as the ones above. Milder and prettier maybe. But still nice enough to include here.

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This is all for now. When I return to Tasmania, I will look for more rocks.