Friday, January 29, 2010

Western and northern Tasmania

Max and Priscilla making the crossing on the "Fatman Barge" across the Pieman River.

And the same river from Mount Donaldson.

A Tasmanian devil. This poor thing was a road kill, we did not see a live one.

The "nut' at Stanley is Tasmania's version of Uluru. It is a volcanic outcrop. Reminds me a little of Mt Manganui in New Zealand. But the nut is rather larger and it has chairlifts going up and down and a 2 kms walk on the top.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Western Tasmania continued

A shot of Ocean Beach at Strahan. A wonderful beach but a.) not swimming weather - this is Tasmania after all - and b.) not a swimming beach because of the currents. But a wonderful, wide and long beach to look at and with those mountains in the background. We camped here.

Summer in Tasmania!!!!!! Only NZ does bad weather better than Tassie.

This photo was taken of us (no, Andrew is not a character from The Name of the Rose) on Sarah Island on the Gordon River. Sarah Island was an island where the worst convicts were kept but it was closed when Port Arthur was opened. We did a cruise on the Gordon River but the weather was rather bad on the day. The wonderful lunch was the only compensation.

Two shots of rainforests as we have not seen them elsewhere. It gets pretty wet on the western side of Tasmania.

But overall, Tassie does not get all that much rain, we gather. Hobart has the second lowest rainfall of all Australian capital cities.

Another nice mossy shot.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Western coast of Tasmania

A shot of the Franklin Valley and Frenchman's Cap from the Donaghy's Hill lookout.

This is the very shallow part of the Franklin River.

For many people the Franklin River became in the early 1980s a symbol of the recognition of environmental conservation values. Conservationists campaigned fiercely to save the Franklin River from flooding with the proposed construction of the Gordon below Franklin dam. In 1983 the High Court ruled 4 votes to 3 that the Commonwealth could stop the dam from being built in Tasmania.

The Wall in the Wilderness at Derwent Bridge in southwest Tasmania near Lake St Clair, is an extraordinary gallery. It houses a giant wall made up of 35 panels of carvings made of Huon pine by artist Greg Duncan. It is planned that the final work will consist of 100 panels. It is evolving art. Each panel is one metre wide, three metres high and 100 mm thick. The panels together illustrate two aspects of Tasmania’s twin industries: forestry and hydro-electricity.

The photo above is of one panel.

The gallery also houses many of Greg’s still lives, made of wood and bronze, each fabulously detailed and nuanced.

No photography is allowed in the gallery. Both these photos are from the book The Wall which is for sale for $22. The book contains detailed photos of each panel as well as of his smaller pieces of work referred to as “still lives”.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is Tasmania’s top tourist attraction. It is on a very beautiful piece of land, the Tasman Peninsula.

The penal settlement was established in 1830 and it was here that the repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies were sent. It was a punishment station for serious repeat offenders and the regime was very harsh. It also contained some experimental correctional procedures and the modern asylum was set up at Port Arthur.

This was my first opportunity to enjoy some form of "culture" on this trip. There were a series of short plays presented at various venues at the Port Arthur penal settlement complex. The plays were entertaining and informative and illustrated the harsh life at the penal colony. This play was titled a Boy's Life, the story of a young boy sent out to Point Puer which was the juvenile part of the penal colony.
The above photo shows Andrew sitting in a isolated booth in the chapel at Port Arthur. Even in the chapel the prisoners were isolated, note the doors that separate the booths.
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Southwest Tasmania

The Gordon Dam is a sight to behold – an enormously high dam wall holding back water many times the volume of water in Sydney Harbour. It is built in a very deep and narrow gorge and the design of it is an arch dam.

Arch dams need much less material to achieve the strength than normal gravity dams. The enormous upstream load is transferred through the curves of the dam and into the rock of the abutments and foundation. Furthermore, the Gordon Dam is an arch dam with a double curve. As well as the obvious side to side curve, the dam is also curved top to bottom – the crest overhangs the base several metres.

The Gordon River above the dam.

And an arch of a different kind. Tasman’s Arch at Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula is what is left of the roof of a large sea cave, or tunnel, that was created by wave action over many thousands of years. This immensely slow process or erosion is continuing and the arch will eventually collapse. It will end up like the photo below which is of the Devil’s Kitchen.

The rock afces without the arch.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Newdegate Caves Hastings Tasmania

We had a wonderful 45 minute tour of the dolomite caves near Hastings. We were 40m underground when at the lowest level of the caves. Most caves in Australia are made of limestone but these caves are of dolomite.

The photo above shows stalactites.

These are helictites.

These are flowstones.

Flowstone floor.

Fantastic formations. It was a great tour.
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Hartz Mountain National Park Tasmania

This is the view from the Hartz Peak which Andrew climbed. I only went as far as Lake Esperance.

Hartz Lake.

Another lovely artistic shot, this time of a sinkhole, Duckhole Lake in the national park.

Another view of the peaks of the national park near the Arve Falls.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bruny Island Tasmania

We took the ferry from Kettering to Bruny Island ($35 with Max and Priscilla – return) and we spent 5 days camping on South Bruny Island. Wonderful place with great scenery.

We camped at both the Neck campgrounds and at Cloudy Bay. The above photo shows the Neck, a narrow strip of land, connecting North and South Bruny Islands. The Tasman Sea on one side and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel on the other.

At Cloudy Bay you have to drive on the beach to reach the campground.

At the Neck, there is a fairy penguin rookery, where one can see the penguins coming in from the sea after a full day of hunting, as darkness begins, to feed their babies waiting in burrows on the shore. The baby penguins squawk loudly and hungrily as they wait for their parents. Unfortunately this sight is not conducive to photography as it takes place in darkness with torchlight.

We did a jetboat tour around the top of South Bruny which was $100 per person lasting 3 hours. It was well worth it and we enjoyed it very much. We saw wonderful scenery and plenty of wildlife including NZ fur seal colonies, both baby seals as well as chilling out males at a separate colony, kormorands (commonly known as shags) as well as dolphins swimming around and under our boat.

The photo above is of The Monument, two stacks of dollarite. The boat sped between the two pillars and it was fun.

We climbed Fluted Cape (272m) which provided magnificent views of the same cliffs we saw on the cruise from the top down plus some great views over the horizon. Photo above shows the cliffs.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hobart continued

This is the Narryna Heritage Museum on Hampden Road another beautiful old house. The house is beautifully proportioned and preserved with all the rooms fully furnished and the outside areas, with stables etc very much maintained in their original state. A very sensitively presented heritage building.

The kitchen.
This is the Synagogue in Hobart in Argyle Street. It was built in 1845 and is Georgian but from the Egyptian revival period - according to information supplied by my friend Jenny Ransley, a former Hobart resident.

This is the fare offered at a cafe in Hampden Street. I cannot resist taking photos of interesting foods even if I was not able to sample them. These are lamb shanks in pastry with fetta cheese and spinach. Don't they look scrumptious?
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Hobart Tasmania

Tasmania is just lovely. Very much like New Zealand with Hobart closely resembling Wellington, with its situation, weather and water views. This is a view of Hobart from Mount Wellington soaring high above the city.

The buildings are somewhat different, the Hobart ones being generally brick buildings to Wellington’s mainly wooden houses. This is one lovely old Hobart building that I captured.

We went to the Salamanca markets held on Saturday, which are enjoyable, albeit very touristy and the prices being commensurately high. We also went on Sunday to the trash and treasure markets at the Hobart Showgrounds, where our camping spot actually was, and we enjoyed those markets very much. I was able to indulge my opportunity shopping cravings to my heart’s content.

We were given to understand that there is a similar Sunday market at Sorrell but as we were booked to do the Cascades Brewery tour we did not have time to go there. The Sorrell Sunday markets are supposed to be very good.

The Cascades Brewery occupies a beautiful old building in Hobart with 3 acres of gardens which are very nicely laid out. While we were on the tour a wedding was being held in the gardens.

The tour costs $20 per person and we think Cascades makes a very tidy profit from these. There were 16 in our group and they run about 4 tours each day and they seem to be fully subscribed. The tour included a sampling of the Cascades produce, beer as well as cider.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


We came over on the daytime ferry with Max and Priscilla. The journey was pleasant and took 9 hours and cost $409.

Tasmania is beautiful and such a small pocket of a variety of landscapes not unlike NZ. This is a leafy drive near the Great Lake going to see Liffey Falls.

Liffey Falls where the water has eroded the softer rocks to form a series of stepped benches over which the water cascades.

Pine Lake, a high mountain lake where we took a walk on a boardwalk. The highest point in this area is 1200m.

Tasmania is full of water, lakes and rivers. It is, as people warned us, quite chilly and it is January.
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