Travelling Tasmania

Trip Start Sep 24, 2006
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Trip End Sep 01, 2007


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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Well here I am in Tassie, Tasmania to the rest of us.  Got here on Tuesday a.m. after a nice 11 hour voyage on the 'Spirit of Tasmania I' ferry across the Bass Strait of the Tasman Sea.  Felt like I was part of a 'recliner Sleep-a-thon" with a 100 or more people in the "Business Class Lounge", a euphanism for 'those that cannot afford cabins'. Anyway, landed in Devonport, a nicely manicured seaside town (as have been Hobart and Launceston).  I stayed in MacWright House backpackers and I had a room with a bunkbed and double bed by myself.  But it is no wonder that Australians call their winters cold as there is no central heating. Space heaters are used sparingly and most common areas have no heat at all.  WHen there are space heaters in the bedrooms, they are put on only for a few hours and then cut out. Bathrooms have no heat at all.  It is about 3 above in the morning, rise to maybe 10 during the day but damp.  I really pile on the clothes, but what is strange is that many backpackers dress in shorts and flip flops no matter what the climate. . The locals also don't dress for the weather 
Anyway on Tuesday after I got settled in my  hostel, I walked the 5 km downtown as I missed the hourly buses that go part way as I kept mis reading the timetable - uhm maybe lack of sleep on the ferry? - but made my way to the tourist agency which was very helpful as I didn't know what I could see and do in Tasmania in the few short days I had here ie Tuesday a.m to Sat. evening (today).  They suggested a tour, and I opted for the 'Underdownunder' 2 days 1 night tour starting in Hobart and finishing in Launceston.  They babooked my hostel accommodation in Hobart Wed. night at Montgomery hotel and backpackers, my bus ticket to Hobart on Wed. with Tassielink and my hostel in Launceston caleld Launceston backpackers in about 3/4 hour which would have taken me much longer to do and lots of internet $.  After that I finally reached mom and dad on the pay phone on the street, and then went to the Aboriginal Museum called Tiagarra and had a tour by Neta, a Tomandgennie Tasmanian aboriginal descendent. I learned a lot about their culture, and was surprised to learn that there are many different aboriginal groups in this small state and they have been here for 35,000 years, having crossed from mainland Australia over the then land bridge to Tasmania. Sea levels have risen since then, submerging the connection.
Anyway, left Devenport at 8 a.m. Wed. and travelled the 4 hours by bus to the capital city of Hobart, which is totally beautiful. TOok a city bus tour which as it is winter low season, had only about 5 other passengers, one of which was a nurse from Thunder Bay who had been working in Aust for a year due to nursing shortage here, after being checked into a 6 bed dorm at Montgomery's and was the only one there at t he time, (3 more people came during the evening) . Turned out of my dorm mates, Ruth McAnn, a 24 year old from Dublin, was also going on the NorthEast tour I was on so we were both picked up by the tour on Thurs. am by our tour guide 'Dutchie" called that because he was born in Holland and his last name is 'Dutchie'!
Got on the bus with a group who had been together for a day already but by the end of the 2 day tour we were all good international friends  from Taiwan, China, Ireland, ENgland, Belgium, Germany and me from Canada. 9 people, 2 men, rest women and me of course oldest by far, except for Dutchie who it turns out  is about my age. But as has been the case until in all my travels, age is only a  state of mind, and people are people.  We went to the supermarket and got food and cooked in the dorm kitchen in Bechine the first night in a wonderful hostel (but cold) and last night here in Launceston we went out to a Food Mall which has every kind of ethnic food and was jam packed as it appears it is quite the Friday night dinner place. 
 To summarize where we went, what we saw, as I have to catch the bus now from Launceston to Devanport and then the ferry back to Melbourne tonight at 7 p.m. - Friendly Beach at Bicheno, Mount Amos (climbed 1.5 hours return), Wineglass Bay, Cataract Falls, St. COlumba Falls, Rainfroest with Mrytle Trees. Got out along the way several times to take pics and hike, spectacular waves, surf, beaches etc. Would love to rent a car at some point and come back and do West coast which is supposed to be wonderful. But it is similar to our own Van Island and East Coast but lots of sheep here and they grow the best hops in the world apparently.  Ruth and I were the only ones to stop here and the rest carried on today to Cradle Mountain for another 4 days of the tour. She is flying to Mel tonight at by coincidence we are both staying in the Greenhouse Hostel, she tonight until Tuesday and me just tomorrow night as I hope to go on Ocean Road tour to Adelaide on Mon. got to send this now, time running out!
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