Back on the road again after a less then brief COVID induced hiatus. Travelling a little differently this time, not on the solo path trying to talk to strangers in boats and bars, dining alone and not giving a damn when I order the whole carafe of homemade vino or the whole dang lobster, I now apparently have to share them. I’m joined by Adam, who I think is pretty great and worthy of sharing a lobster with. He is also known as the father of our dog child, Gary. Adam will be providing the obviously great photos hence forth, be prepared, the photo game just got really good! (BTW photos will be available for purchase once I become his permanent agent). And now I have a professional photographer following me around I can become the influencer I’ve always had the arse to show off in a g-string bikini, in front of the natural wonders of the world. The most unnatural part will be me in said bikini. What a treat you’re in for.
Tasmania, five marvellous weeks in Tassie, the little apple isle. It was going to be three, but, well, why not? We felt it was a perfect time to escape from civilisation, hit the wilderness, breathe in the cleanest air in the world and see all of the waterfalls and whisky distilleries Tassie had to offer. We’ve driven down and caught the much smoother than predicted given the amount of calming tablets I bought, Spirit of Tasmania boat across Bass Strait.
Before we left the mainland we had a delightful “first holiday in two years celebration night” in Yass, at the Hi-Way Motor Inn sucking back second hand cigarette smoke in a room that smelt of Detol and dead undies. Picked up some Maccas, went to the local bottle shop to really get the holiday started, and upon asking the young girl behind the counter who was absolutely loving her quiet Friday night in the Yass drive-thru bottle-o if she took American Express, we were given a wide-eyed stare over her mask as she demanded, “are you from America?!”, like we’d somehow managed to share the same plane as Novak Djokovic and we should go back to where we came from. Off to a cracking start.
We arrived in Devonport, on the northern coast of Tasmania in the early hours of Sunday morning and kicked off our real holiday with an 8:29am bacon and eggs by the ocean, possum spotting by 9:32, a 10:02am cider tasting, 11:13am cheese tasting, 12:22pm waterfall walk, 1:12pm hot smoked salmon snacking, 2:35pm country meat pie eating, and a very old bottle of gifted Mumm on the verandah of our farm stay cottage in Glengarry by 4:55pm day. And we’re off!
One of the really fabulous parts of travelling in Australia at the moment, and I imagine most countries, is just how quiet it is. Tasmania is pretty quiet most of the time, but there are minimal tourists, and definitely no overseas ones. It’s mostly locals, so almost all places we’ve been to so far, we’ve been the only ones. It’s a special time to see the place you call home.
Our second day was as equally challenging with a cherry farm feast, wine tasting, grazing platter overlooking the Tamar River, an ocean swim and a sunny drive around the beautiful Tamar Valley which sits north of Launceston. I have a feeling this trip will be a whole heap of stories about good produce, good views and walks so I’ll try and level it with some informative titbits. The winding country roads are magical to drive along and the smells are delicious as you drive through the valley’s. The sun shining on fresh grass, sheep snoozing under trees, crisp mist rolling over the morning mountains, dewy gum trees tantalising your nose with their fresh scents and a sadly overwhelming amount of roadkill making you wind the window up as fast as possible as you drive past.
While doing an Explorer Tasting at Bay of Fires and House of Arras wines we found out their $240 champagne is unsurprisingly bloody delicious, but also that the population of Tasmania is small, 541,000 small over 68,401km2. The power here is also completely dominated by hydro power which means places like House of Arras, need to ship their champagne to South Australia to age, because the power supply isn’t consistent and reliable enough to risk popping it in a big airconditioned shed. Tasmanian wine is also doing so well that almost all vintages are being sold out as they become available, making Tasmanian wine a rarity and bloomin expensive. Not a bad place to be for a small vineyard.
We started day three up at the crack of dawn, which in Tassie starts at 4:30am and gets dark at about 10pm at the moment, and sneaked our way into the wetlands just outside of Launceston. In the morning light we found our inner twitcher spying black swans, white faced herons, fat ducks and a copper head snake who got way too close to my foot for comfort.
We then explored Cataract Gorge holding the winding South Esk River and an iron bridge which was built in the UK and floated all the way to Australia and put in place in 1867! We completed the 3.5km loop around the gorge, being amazed at the climbers clambering up the enormous boulders.
And onwards we go, to the north west wilderness full of winding roads, ‘wascally wombats’, waterfalls and whiskey tasting. Wish us luck.
Snake encounters: 2
Wombats/Echidnas/Tasmanian Devils: 0
Local food feasts: 3