Tuesday, December 31

Does what it says on the can

Cradle Mountain is Tasmania's most popular national park.  We understand why after spending an afternoon walking the iconic circuit around Dove Lake on New Year's Eve. That's two hours of our life we consider well spent; and a perfect way to finish 2013. We'll let the pictures do the talking...

 

Wildlife fiesta

Wildlife is visible everywhere around Cradle Mountain.  The volume and ease of access to a menagerie of native fauna was something we never expected.  Last night we went out wombat spotting. We counted at least 38 wombats over a two hour period including two youngsters.

We were also visited nightly at our luxury bush cabin by a wave of crafty, begging animals including possums and padamelons.  Our possum visitors included a mother and child. Garry couldn't resist the temptation to share our breakfast fruit.  Possums love bananas and grapes, while padamelons are partial to young pea shoots and other salad greens.

We completed our big five spotting with a visit to Devils@Cradle, a sanctuary and  research centre focused on preserving Tasmanian Devils and very cute, Spotted Quolls.

Monday, December 30

Coastal village life

Strahan was a delightful surprise.  This is the only settlement of note on Tasmania's wild and remote west coast. We wished we'd spent more time soaking up its carefully preserved village atmosphere and local sights.

The wild swept ocean beach, a few miles from town, was as desolate and dramatic as you'd ever want any remote ocean front to be.  It was a quite a contrast with the idyllic sunset we enjoyed from the balcony of our motel on the shores of Strahan's sheltered harbour.


Sunday, December 29

Tasman Arch


On the way to Port Arthur we stopped to enjoy the spectacular geology of the Tasman Peninsular.  The rugged coast is home to a number of unusual sights including the Tasman Arch and some quirky paving stone rock shelves.

 

Port Arthur

We've finally seen Australia's most famous convict ruin, the penal colony of Port Arthur.  The experience was as memorable as we'd hoped.  We based ourselves at Convict Bay, the convict colony's primary harbour.  Our B&B was the original wharf customs store and post office.

This location also made it easy to visit Tasmania's original coal mine, home to Port Arthur's worst offending convicts.  The ruins were ours to explore alone for more than an hour.

Garry and I were both surprised by the scale of Port Arthur's operation.  The site was actually home to thousands of people, all living in a compact and colourful village set into the hillside of a picturesque harbour location.

Perhaps my favourite location was the incredibly narrow neck of sand that connects the Tasman Peninsular to the rest of Tasman.  It was here that the infamous Dog Line was put in place to apprehend escaping convicts.  The site's history is immortalized by a statue of a fierce dog standing guard over the main road.

 

Thursday, December 26

The calm before the storm


Two days from now the somewhat sleepy city of Hobart will be buzzing as Sydney to Hobart yachts begin arriving. Tonight, as Garry and I wandered back from dinner, the waterfront was calm and quiet. This really is a working harbour. Fishing boats, stacked high with wicker lobster pots, are moored in rows everywhere.

We're also feeling rather chilled ourselves. The reservation system at our hotel decided I was a regular guest from Victoria. With guests pouring in from everywhere it decided the frequently visiting Mr McGregor should be upgraded to a corner suite on a high floor. As a result, Garry and I are enjoying a stunning view over the docks and harbour beyond. Thank you computer.


Posted from my iPhone

Saffire


Saffire isn't considered Australia's premier resort destination for nothing.  We enjoyed two days of truly unadulterated luxury over Christmas.  The attention to detail was evident everywhere; from the view at the foot of our bed to the attentive, professional staff always willing to fulfill our every need.


We spent the morning of Christmas Day enjoying freshly shucked oysters fed to us while wading around a local oyster farm.  Boxing Day morning was spent walking up to the Wineglass Bay lookout.  The view was as perfect as postcards suggest.