Blog based on Facebook posts made by Alex Reid during a road trip around Tasmania, along with the Brooks, in January 2024.

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Friday, 19-Jan-24:

Now for the next part of our holiday - Tasmania!

Here is a map of Tasmania showing all the key places we visited...

Saturday, 20-Jan-24:
Our first outing was to visit the Port Arthur historical site, formerly a penal colony.

After an hour or two at Port Arthur, we went on a "cruise" around the coastline, including Tasman Island. Stunning coastal scenery (eg Tasman Arch), and wildlife (seals and albatross in the photos). Not a leisurely affair, though we were told the seas were very calm, so we could do things not normally possible!

Tasman Arch from the land side:

Sunday, 21-Jan-24:
Today we set out for Cradle Mountain, driving via Bothwell (home to one of the Muster Dogs featuring on ABC-TV, and we chatted to the farmer who arranges shearing for the dog owner: Bruce, we'll call him - very friendly and chatty!); then via Liffey Falls (the rain set in quite hard at this point, and although the dense rainforest scenery was terrific, we didn't venture out for the long walk to the falls - but there was a small stream nearby which maybe was downstream from the actual falls); then Mersey Valley Lookout (looking out over dense forest country); and finally Cradle Mountain area, where we obtained a Park permit and checked into our hotel (the rain having thankfully cleared by this time). I have included a photo of Liffey Falls that I took in 2003, to prove it does exist!

Our first adventure at Cradle Mountain was to visit "Devils at Cradle" Wildlife Park, where we saw devils roaming around within their enclosure, occasionally snarling at each other, being fed, occasionally deferring and waiting while the "alpha male" had his share of the food, etc.
Then we saw the quolls (2 varieties, with the spotted-tail variety coming in 2 colours, brown & black).

Following the visit to the Devils, we had a bite to eat at our hotel, then went out for a NightLife Spotting expedition. This started out in a bus, passing by a lovely cascade, and we saw lots of wallabies, pademelons, etc (sorry about the blurry photo), then we walked along a boardwalk for a kilometre or so, seeing many, many wombats (who ignored us, even though we were so close to them), and a fleeting glimpse of a quoll.

Monday, 22-Jan-24:
So, today we got to take the bus to the Cradle Mountain car park (you can't drive your car there anymore, except really early or late). We walked a little way round, just to the boatshed, and were rewarded with some stunning views...

These last 2 were taken with my phone, rather than my Canon camera:

We then journeyed towards our next accommodation, in Launceston.
Our first stop on the way was at Sheffield, famous for its murals. Just outside there is a great view of Mount Roland, and some lovely trees opposite.

Then Sheffield itself, with many buildings adorned with murals; so famous has it become, that there is an annual competition, and many of the winners are displayed in a park dedicated to the murals.

Then there is a mural on the side of Slaters Drapery commemorating their sadly missed investment oppoprtunity!

Tuesday, 23-Jan-24:
Now in Launceston, we visited Cataract Gorge: spectacular scenery, lovely spot, chairlift, suspension bridge, "inclinator", wildlife (but not so wild!).

Following a visit to the Gorge, we went up-gorge (South Esk River) to the Duck Reach power station: 111 steps down from the carpark to the suspension bridge and power station - now decommissioned, but at the time (1895) the first hydro-power in the Southern Hemisphere.

After the South Esk River gorge in Launceston, we drove to Franklin House, a National Trust property - in fact the first in Tasmania, in 1960, but built in 1838. Not ever actually a "gentleman's residence", but built by an ex-convict who was a real entrepreneur, successful at everything he set his mind to (including a period in California during the gold rush).

On returning to our apartment in Launceston, I took a walk to visit the Umbrella Shop, a National Trust property in the centre of town; but despite its website asserting it was open till 5pm, it was closed at 4:15. Never mind, the walk took me through City Park, which was delightful - lots of flowers in bloom! And some lovely private gardens, too.

Next to our apartment was a beautiful flowering gum tree:

Wednesday, 24-Jan-24:

Today (Wednesday) we drove 40km North to Beauty Point to visit Platypus House, where we saw platypuses (-pi?) and echidnas - both are Monotremes - give birth to eggs, but feed milk to their young. Here are pics of them both, with the echidnas waddling around amongst us tourists (note the backward facing rear feet - something they also share with the platypus).

After Platypus House, we went next door to Seahorse World, where they breed seahorses for worldwide distribution (and they let you handle them); there were also some other sea creatures, eg Sea Dragons, Octopuses, Pipefish, Hermit crabs, Hand Fish (which walk along the bottom on "hands").

Thursday, 25-Jan-24:

Today we left Launceston to reach the East coast of Tasmania. On the way we took a diversion to see the "Little Blue Lake" near Derby, which remained after a mine there was closed. It's rich in Aluminium and other minerals (dangerous for swimming!!).

From there we drove on towards the East coast, but again got distracted by a sign to the St Columba Falls, not very far off the main road, near Pyengana. They were worth the diversion and the short walk from the carpark to the base of the fallks, which are 90m high (highest in Tasmanai), and carry 42,000 litres/minute, peaking at 200,000 litres/min in Winter. A very beautiful waterfall.

Finally, today, we reached the coast and checked out the Bay of Fires (Larapuna). Named that way because the English explorer Furneaux who first saw this coast and saw many fires ashore, and assumed it was heavily populated. Its most characteristic feature is actually the red lichen on the rocks. Here are some views at the South end of the Bay, at Binalong Bay, near St Helen's.

We (finally!) reached Bicheno on the East coast to stay overnight, and dined on Lobster rolls at the famous Lobster Shack (views from this shown), then the Bicheno blowhole at sunset to see the penguins come ashore. Sadly, didn't see any penguins coming in, but did see a few on a rock (along with seals) offshore from the Lobster Shack.

Friday, 26-Jan-24:

Today, Australia Day, we travelled from Bicheno back to Hobart. On the way, we diverted to the Freycinet Peninsula, taking in Coles Bay, Cape Tourville (& lighthouse), Thouin Bay, Sleepy Bay, Richardsons Beach. We didn't climb up to the Wineglass Bay view (which is magnificent, but I have done it before and it takes an hour and a half to climb there and back - see my photo from 2003).

We took a small diversion before reaching Hobart to take in the picturesque town of Richmond, with its famous bridge (completed 1825, oldest stone bridge in Australia).

Saturday, 27-Jan-24:

Today (Saturday) we were in Hobart, and of course visited MONA (more on that, later), but book-ended by a visit to the Salamanca Market in the morning, and a visit to the Hobart Rivulet in the evening. The hope was to see platypuses in the rivulet, which are known to be there - but, alas, we saw none.

No visit to Hobart is complete without a visit to MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art. An amazing eclectic collection, with a few representative samples shown here (the expurgated version!).

Hobart Rivulet...

Back in Hobart, we did a walk around Salamanca Place and Battery Point, following some of the sculpture trail, taking in the Tasman memorial, the old warehouses, ther Battery Point finish line for the Sydney-Hobart yacht race; also pretty Arthur Circus, and weird 25 Runnymede.

Sunday, 28-Jan-24:

Next, today, Sunday, we drove to the summit of Mount Wellington (aka Kunanyi). Truly amazing views from the summit (1,271m above sea level).

That evening, I had one more attempt to see a platypus in the Hobart Rivulet; once again, I didn't see any. But I did see some other wildlife, and a pretty sunset.

Monday, 29-Jan-24:

Finishing our Tasmanian holiday, and returning to Perth (via Melbourne).

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Alex Reid