The Devil's Banquet
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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There's no question that Port Arthur is impressive. It's full of character, steeped in history and everything you'd need to take up a whole day's sightseeing. Yet we really didn't do it justice. With all we had to pack in today everything became rushed and we found the whole thing overly touristy, overly pushed, and that's not what the place is about. Maybe they have pushed the tourist angle more since the 1996 massacre and maybe you could make a day or two out of things soaking it all up at your own leisure but we weren't in the position to. Definitely got a good feel of the place though and in many ways it did have a presence about it that's hard to explain. Bit like a huge movie location with a load of added eeriness.
The road north took us to Taranna, home to the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. We made it just in time for feeding and I couldn't believe how vicious these little loveable beauties can turn in the blink of an eye. Whistle, coo and wiggle your fingers and they'll run around blowing you kisses, but throw half a wallaby in the pen and all hell breaks loose. I'm not kidding. I was astounded to learn they have an incredible 'jaw psi', which at around 2700 is not far off that of a saltwater crocodile, and worlds away from our own pathetic 200 or so. They were crunching through bone like popcorn and in a vicious frenzy that would disturb most. To think that they're no bigger than a household poodle. Oh and they do make the same noise you hear in the cartoons.
The scenic route over to Swansea was a complete joy and probably the main highlight of the day. From Taranna we took the coastal road north, ripping up some great roads and topping 220 plus. The roads are simply flawless: clear, undulating, twisty and surrounded either side by breathtaking scenery. Taking bend after bend at 170/180 became perfectly normal, as did screaming the whole way there. It was like one long incredible dream.
We rocked up in Swansea with a dead arse, and by some fluke chanced upon one of the best backpackers I've ever come across, certainly the most kitted out. It's actually built on to the museum and tavern complex and is just as modern with excellent facilities and impeccable cleanliness. You could 'smell the new'. Naturally we took it, got ourselves refreshed and spent a few hours burning our taste buds on a 'Volcano' next door in the tavern.
Tomorrow should see the highly anticipated visit to Wineglass Bay, which will mean another early start and a hair raising ride. That's if I don't wake up with an arse like a Japanese flag - that Volcano was a bit of a menace..
Where I stayed