Friday, January 27, 2012

Tasmania

I don't often post about my travels on this blog (not that I have another blog, just that... you know what I mean!) but a few weeks back I was in Tasmania for a few days and it is a pretty cool place.

We (my lady and I) flew into Launceston and immediately went for a long walk along the harbor before finding a proper trail to take a crack at. The whole country seems set up specifically for hikes, camping and picnics in stunning surroundings. If you hate nature and fresh air, or love concrete, you would hate Tasmania.

01: Gorge in Launceston, a 30 minute walk along this little river that ended in a valley with a lake, picnic tables, a public swimming pool and two peacocks. Strange to see a public swimming pool 30 feet from a big natural lake at the base of a small waterfall. At least, strange to see a free one.

02: That afternoon we went to the King Solomon Caves and had our picture taken. All our photos are pretty bad because of the low lighting. The guide took this one. I asked for our money back because my face was blurry. No, I didn’t because I am not a jerk. I look better a little blurry anyway.

The next morning we headed over to Cradle mountain which is about three hours west of Launceston. On the way we stopped at a place called “Devil’s Gullet”.

03: Awesome tree fungus all over everything! There were tons of dead trees in certain areas, either from drought or flooding, but many of them were covered in this furry green moss.

04: “Devil’s Gullet” was basically a 15 minute walk to the edge of a cliff that overlooks a valley and some rocky mountains. When we got there it was completely clear with a spectacular view and then about a minute and a half later we couldn’t see anything at all through the fog (actual fog, not LA “fog”).

05: My wife Keppie. Happy about the fog. Little did she know that she was covered in extremely large aggressive mosquitos. Luckily they didn’t go for the face, just for the legs, through the jeans. Directly after this photo was taken I looked down at her legs and her jeans looked furry. Seriously. Thats how many mosquitos were on her.

06: After running around flailing our arms and slapping at our legs to get the mosquitos off we returned to the edge of the cliff a few more times. It was really stunning. We just couldn’t stand in one place for more that about seven seconds at a time.

07: On the walk back to the car (the car that, we later learned, had somehow filled with freaking mosquitos) I snapped a few photos of the landscape in the fog. We saw many many wallabies as we walked. Also, the sky in Tasmania is crazy. Lots of these photos look a little blown out, not because we are poor photographers (I swear it!... really...) but because the light was so strange. It was so bright, even when it was raining. Something to do with how far south it is. And how there is no ozone layer directly above Tasmania. No joke.

Cradle Mountain is the Northern tip of a massive state park. About a third of the state is state park and another solid chunk (which is a standard Australian measurement...) is protected land. 

08: We decided to go for a walk around Dove Lake before we sorted out where we were staying. We took a shuttle into the park and as soon as we got dropped off it started raining pretty hard. I was grumpy at first because I didn’t have my raincoat and so was soaking wet. The worst part was actually not being able to see through my glasses in the rain and having them fog up all the time (I am pretty new to wearing glasses). Such a pain in the ass! 

09: Keppie had her raincoat and her perfect 20/20 vision and was all about “powering through”. 

10: When we finally got back, soaking wet and cold as hell the rain instantly cleared. We checked into our room and saw all sorts of wildlife out the window. This is a wombat. Probably the cutest creature of all time, just begging for a cuddle. Its really frustrating that this photo is so unimpressive. This thing was only about 10 feet from us.

11: Wallaby. I ate one of these for dinner our first night. They taste even cuter than they look. I gave each piece of my wallaby steak a little hig before I ate it.

12: Echidna, australia’s porcupine. We saw this on a little trail called “Enchanted walk” outside where we ate dinner.

13: This is a picture of some of the seriously enchanted shit from the walk... Soooo fucking enchanted!

The third day we drove to Strahan. There were tons of other enchanted walks we wanted to go on in Cradle Mountain but time was short and it was pouring rain. Strahan is a logging town about three hours southwest of where we were. It has a rich full history of prison labor, murder and drinking. A very pretty port town.

14: This beach was really windy, the waves broke in rows of six or seven and when the tide was out the beach must be a massive. The water was freezing though, coming in from the pole.

16: Through the woods to a little water fall. We got wet again in a flash downpour on the way back.  I did a great, "Actually I don't think thats rain honey, I think thats just a few drops coming off the trees."... Right before we were completely soaked. After that I didn’t go anywhere without my raincoat.

The next day we took a boat ride up the Gordon River in the rainforest. It was cold and wet again, but very pretty. We sat with some really (unintentionally) funny women on the boat. They had brought their dogs, which I guess wouldn’t have been a problem except that dogs are not allowed in national parks, ie one third of Tasmania/the reason people go to tasmania in the first place. Luckily one of the women told us that she “didn’t see the point of walks anyway”. Another amazing thing about these ladies is that we couldn't decide if they were mother and daughter or partners... which is a really wonderful ambiguity. We asked them clever questions to try to figure it out but we never did.

18: Out in the bay in Strahan.

19: The Gordon River heading into the rainforest (which also had some really enchanting shit in it).

That afternoon we headed to Hobart, which is the largest city in Tasmania but quite small by US standards. It took the rest of the day to get there, following tiny winding roads through mountains and rainforest in the rain which turned the two hours trip into something like six. 
The next day we went to the MONA, which was probably the coolest museum I’ve ever been to, though we took no pictures (it was underground! What do you want from me!.. jeez). They had a massive Wim Delvoye exhibit (yes we saw the poo machines), they had a few great Anselm Kiefer pieces, Erwin Worm's "Fat Car" (which I have always wanted to see) and lots of other fun stuff.

The rest of our time was spent driving around to different areas like Port Arthur and Freycinet. 

20: Port Arthur was all about Australia’s shady criminal past, or rather, reformatory past. This was in Eaglehawks Neck on the way back from Port Arthur. Notice the awesome rainbow. And the awesome name... Eaglehawks Neck.

21: Freycinet was just about the prettiest place I have ever been but we only had about two hours there as it was our last day. Not bad though. This is from a hill overlooking Wineglass Bay... boring! 

22: Ugh...just another silly beach somewhere.

Well, thats pretty much all we did.
Lazy.

Ugh...