Tasmania

Trip Start Feb 21, 2006
1
Trip End Feb 25, 2006


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

So it was a very last minute decision; the beginning of the week I was contemplating on going to Tasmania and even helped out in the planning process. But further consideration left me to thinking that I would be better off staying around for O-week (week for students where activities are planned and such) and get to know Geelong a bit better, find a part time job, and figure out my schedule. I thought, "There will be other times that I will be able to make it down there, no worries." While Kalvin, Kyle, Sian, and Carl decided to leave Monday of orientation, I said that I wasn't going. I woke up Wednesday morning, looked outside, and started to kick myself for the decision. A quick look online showed that I would be able to still get on the flight- I booked my tickets about 2 hours before we left on the train to the Melbourne to catch the Jetstar flight to Launceton, Tasmania.
We had rented a car, which ended up being a gray Nissan Pacer, which reminded me of the Ford Focus that I drove in High School, but it had four doors, was automatic, and the steering wheel was on the right side of the car! The videos of taking off were fantastic, Kalvin started as the navigator and we were en camino to the East Coast to St. Mary's/St. Helen's. Off the bat it was obvious that there was only one way to get around the state of Tassie, which was by automobile hire, and we had got our lovely Shiloh through Hertz. Buses were close to nonexistent, couldn't/wouldn't go to the places that we wanted, and were expensive. For a Wednesday-Sunday we each paid $39 in total plus split 2 tanks of gas-a great deal and a ton of fun having our own transport.
That night we drove through the countryside, populated sparsely by lone sheep and horses... it made me think of all the wise ass jokes made about the place from other Australians. During our first orientation meeting we were shown a picture of a man driving a motorcycle, dressed up in Amish fashion, with his passenger being a sheep. The land was a dull khaki color with a few rolling hills- not too much better than Nebraska during the bleak spring months. After continuing our journey, there were more of the small towns, but the scenery became much nicer. Arriving around 7 PM we had two frugal things in mind- food and shelter. Not the wisest decision, but the stomach came first and we headed to this little pizza shop in town. I think I choose the wrong food if I try something new- this is a plague that has been with me since Spain I believe. My pizza was good, but it tasted on the salty side due to the archovies and it could have been better.
We stayed at YHA after touring in the dark for quite a while looking for something that was Hotel 8ish, in the idea that we could all share a room. The next morning we went to the Bay of Fire just north of St. Mary's and then took off down the coast...the most impressive scenery there was Cole's Bay and Freycinet National Park, which held the infamous Wineglass bay. After the 40 minute hike uphill, there was a "wild" kangaroo that I got to pet (and he even licked me!). There are so many tourists that go up there he was quite used to us. Then we walked around on some of some of the most impressive, gorgeous white beaches. It did me extremely well anyways! Honeymoon beach displayed the most multitudes of colors that showed off the blue-green water, bleach white sand, dark green seaweed, and the beaches were littered with the little blue bubbles of deceased jellyfish,
Day three, or Friday, we were in Port Arthur, which was one of the highlights of my trip. It's hard to believe that there are so few people that do really live in Tasmania- every town that we came across on the coast was itty bitty- Australians have the tendency to make fun of this state in the south, and I can understand why. Even I can tell that their accents are not the same as the mainlander's, but that was more at night with a bunch of drunkards meandering the streets of Hobart, so that probably isn't the best impression that I may have gotten.
In Port Arthur, the main thing that I wanted to do was the Ghost Tour of one of the first convict camps, which turned out to be stupendous! The ruins were in pretty good shape, and tours were going all the time, so they have had a lot of practice doing so. But, the guys were talking to us all about the past stories and what have happened to participants on the trip, so it seemed quite realistic. If they didn't actually happen, I would be very, very surprised. I guess I believe in ghosts, as I do in angels... but for some reason I wasn't scared!
The next day we took off early to Hobart, the capital, after a little hike around the coast to a place where we thought there would be penguins. Not so much the case! I was at the wheel, and we headed into town- full of one ways and driving on the left side of the street. I loved it. New things, new experiences... and I did fine! The hostel we stayed at was called "The Pickled Frog," I believe it was, and it was fine until we went to the kitchen. The nastiest place I have ever been in, no doubt no lie... Sian and I raided the free food to make this pasta/canned tomatoes/garlic and butter combination that actually turned out pretty good. The next morning we went up Mount Wellington and had ammazzzing views- they were just gorgeous, and I am so happy that we did that. The only thing that could've made it better was if we would've hiked it instead and then biked down, but which wasn't possible with our time crunch. My flight left Saturday night, and on the way from Hobart to Launceston, we stopped and did a couple of wine tastings. See video of singing in the car... Poor Kalvin- he ended up being our DD for the day, and we were quite thankful! Beautiful country; if you like the outdoors, it is a complete must!
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6339 on

Very interesting to read as we'll be visiting Tasmania in March 2010 and there is not much literature about this part of Australia ! Hope not much has changed since 2006 when you were there.
Lore (from New Zealand)

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