Day 159 – This is Tasmania (As I Expected It)
We heard a little community radio yesterday afternoon, and on it the presenter was talking about the clear day that was forecast for tomorrow (today). To my absolute shock, it was perfectly clear when I stepped out of the car a little after 7AM this morning. I was excited, so I pushed Risa to wake up early so we could make the most of this weather before the clouds/rain inevitably came.
I wanted to visit a rocky dolerite outcrop/lookout called Devils Gullet. We drove through a few small towns, including the picture perfect Mole Creek where we found some cherry blossom trees that were possibly more beautiful than any I’d seen in Japan! If only they had more of them in the one area this place would make for an amazing hanami (BBQ/alcohol party underneath the cherry blossoms) party!
The scenery was everything I’d expected Tasmania to be, beautiful, lush, green, and rugged. There was plenty of happy looking livestock (unlike the ones in Northern Territory that I feel sad for, scratching around in the barren rocky desert).
We even came across a few more echidnas, and I couldn’t resist pulling over to terrorise it for a few minutes while I photograph it. This guy was much smaller (~20cm), but wasn’t as shy as the other one we stopped to photograph last week. It was pretty funny, after every shot I took on my camera, the loud shutter noise would make it hide into a ball, and slowly his face would pop back up.
The drive up to Devils Gullet was pretty serious, we rose nearly 800m vertically, and along the way we had amazing views out to the central mountains, including a snowy Cradle Mountain. Seeing this vista made me want to do the overland hike more than ever (if only I could have a week of days like today…).
The drive ended suddenly on a plain. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but followed the 500m walking trail anyway. It wasn’t until we were 20m from the end of the trail that we finally saw the incredible, breath taking view. Today was just getting better and better – I could hardly contain my excitement! It was perfection, vivid blue skies, snow-capped mountains on the horizon, (very) rugged mountains at our feet and green as far as I could see.
The lookout extended right to the edge of the cliff, and for once I was feeling very nervous about looking over the edge (I was paranoid about dropping my camera or something else valuable). We were lucky that it was quite a still/calm day, as I imagine that the wind here must be intense at times.
Now, this is probably the high point of the day. Things got a little messed up from here on… I had heard of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, but I didn’t know a great deal about it. We drove there, firstly driving back down from Devils Gullet. Driving up the hills we’ve been going slow to keep the engine temperature down (until I can replace the broken t-piece with the genuine part), but going downhill was equally hard on the brakes. By the time we’d reached the bottom, the brakes were smoking! It was then another 23km of slow going on steep unsealed roads, only to find the road suddenly ending at a car park. There was just the single sign, warning that it was a 3-4hr walk to the base of the Jerusalem Walls, and that weather can change quickly. This is where I realised the failures in my research – I knew that there was a full day trek to the walls, but I’d wrongly interpreted that there were other, shorter trails, too. It was too late to do an 8 hour hike, so our only choice was to return back to where we’d come from. Risa was less than impressed, and I can’t blame her…
After seeing Cradle Mountain with a nice dusting of snow, I really, really, really wanted to go back there to see it again, doubly so with this perfectly clear day. It was a 50km detour (one-way) and I couldn’t sell Risa on the idea. I tried, and tried, and tried but realised it wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t perfect weather when we visited the first time, but it was for all intents, good enough… It killed me on the inside, but we kept driving.
There were never ending mountain passes that made travel spectacular and fun, but also incredibly slow (to keep temperatures right down, we were driving anywhere from 30kph). We eventually crossed the last of the big ranges (Mount Roland) and from here it was rolling green hills – more of my Tasmanian vision. If I ever come back to Tasmania, I really hope that I can do it on a motorbike or a sports car. It was a perfect Saturday and the bikes were certainly out in numbers, and I was more than a little jealous…
We made a quick stop in Sheffield, mainly because we had loads of time to kill before catching the ferry tonight (oh, did I already mention that we moved the ferry date forward by a few days? We covered all we wanted to see in Tasmania, so decided to leave and go to the MotoGP in Philip Island). This town’s tourist gimmick are the colourful murals that are painted on the sides of buildings. To be honest, I was expecting more buildings to be painted, and I was also expecting something a little more impressive from the murals… but, it’s certainly something … different.
We had seen so many advertisements for a Marble Factory in all the tourist brochures that we’d picked up, so we had to go inside and have a look. Some of the marbles were just incredible, and I have absolutely no idea how they are created! They looked like little underwater worlds, but it was all created with glass, and then housed inside a perfect glass marble. I didn’t even bother to ask how much they were, as I knew I couldn’t afford one (nor do I have a use for one anyway). They also had some Rube Goldberg-esque machines that were sending marbles down tracks, but sadly the whole shop was plastered with ‘no photography’ signs (which I saw after taking my first photo).
We had a quick wonder around the centre of town, lots of old buildings, a kid with ADHD singing tunes on an out of tune piano, bearded bikers in chaps drinking Boags by their hogs, and a fudge shop (among other things).
It was yet more beautiful flowing roads back to Devonport where we found a free warm shower (Devonport Surf Life Saving Club), which gave me the perfect opportunity to go for a quick swim (mostly to say that I’ve been for a swim in Tasmania – and yes, it was cold).
But, at least we have something exciting to look forward to tomorrow! It’s just a shame that Casey isn’t there to mix up the Spanish domination of the MotoGP…
１５ ９日目 １０月 １9日（土 ） タスマニア最終日
峠から峠へ移動し、Deville’s Gullet という場所に行ってきました。
１０分ほどで、 Deville’s Guletに到着。 突然視界が開け、大きな崖が柱状になっている景色が目の前に。
その途中シェフィールドという小さな町へ立ち寄りました。 この村の建物の壁には、様々な絵が書かれていました。 観光客を呼ぶには、小さな町は色々知恵を絞りますね。
晴れてるからといっても、パーカーが必要な寒さ。 なのに、子供達や若者が泳いでる！ 信じられん、、、
明日は、MOTO GP観戦！！！！ まさか今年は行けるとは思っていなかったので、最高に楽しみ♡