G’day! This blog will be all about my journey around Tasmania, or as the locals call it, Tassie (sounds like Tazzy). I’ll warn you, this blog is a tad long. So let’s get to it and go to the map, a new map finally! I started in Hobart with a tour company called Under Down Under, we started in Hobart and made our way up the left side to Lake St Clair and around back to Hobart, then a day trip to Port Arthur and a day trip to Bruny Island, which is on the other map.
If you want to check it out http://www.underdownunder.com.au, and they have different Tasmania trips.
Australia! It’s like Canada in an alternate universe. Things are like the same, yet slightly different. I do blend in here very well as I’m assumed to be a local until I open my mouth. But they really like Canadians here, so I usually get a warm reception and find people have been very friendly and helpful. I did land in Perth when I arrived, but many of my plans fell through, so I really didn’t see much. My highlight was being searched at the airport like on an episode of Border Security. I was considered a high risk traveller since my starting point was Bangkok. They were really nice about it, after about 30 mins of going through my things and questioning me, I was on my way.
Tasmania in general gets a negative rep. Mainland Australians describe the people as “weird” or “backwards”, that there’s “nothing there”, “nothing to see” etc. Well I can say that is completely false. I absolutely loved Tasmania. The people were genuinely friendly and I always felt safe. The state has so much to offer; mountains, beaches, various farming, rainforest, wildlife, shopping, art scene, nightlife, seafood, wines, cheese, chocolate, they make it all in Tassie! Often negative stereotypes come from those who’ve never been there. No different in Canada where I get people who are very negative about Manitoba, often they’ve never been to the province or they went through the airport, yet they are highly opinionated on the whole province. I’m the one who’s spent majority of my life there, and they tell me what it’s like there. So when someone is giving you travel advice, ask them, have you been there? When I booked my Tassie trip, I was travelling in Southeast Asia with Australians on a tour, most were negative about me going, when I asked if they’ve been, most said no. If I listened those Aussies, I would have missed out on such an amazing experience. So keep that in mind when travelling or planning travel.
First off the temperatures in Tassie are quite cooler. Some places got down to like 2 celcius overnight. Luckily places had electric heaters. Days were anywhere between 10-18 Celsius. Normally I love cooler temps, but coming from Asia for 2 months of 35-40 Celsius with 100% humidity, my god it was nippy! The rainforest is quite cool too. lots of large gum trees and Huon pine trees, Tasmania has an old history of ship building from these pines. Very beautiful, smelled great too.
Tasmania has different types of farming. You see lots of sheep in the fields throughout the state, fruit farming, vineyards, I visited a lavender farm, and a cheese farm where they make all their own cheeses and we sampled them, very good. Fish farming has because a huge industry. They farm pacific oysters, Atlantic salmon, and lake trout. None of these are native species, but these are the right waters for them to live in. I find it interesting as Australia is very strict on what you can bring in and out of the country in terms of plants, animals, seeds, wood etc, yet they allow these farms. So what happens if they escape from the net, what’s the adverse effects? Also, they are finding the salmon feces and food is killing the bottom of the sea floor, so what’s the long term effects of that. Just a thought. The bottom pic is the Atlantic salmon fish farm and the guy is spraying food into the net. I actually ate some of those oysters, I don’t know the last time I had raw oysters, if ever, but they were directly from the ocean like hours before, they were not bad, can’t get much fresher than that!
Australia was first inhabited by an Aboriginal population until the British empire started to build jails and send its convicts there. There’s much history and remains left standing today to visit. Life was very hard for prisoners, and often they were used as slave labour to build ships, starved and lashed reguarily. It sounded very brutal and inhumane, especially since most of the crimes were petty stuff like stealing bread. I visited 2 settlements in Tasmania, the most brutal in the whole country was Sarah Island and next was Port Arthur.
Beaches! There were many beautiful beaches with white granite sand. I didn’t swim, I was actually really sick on a lot of this trip. That’s why I’m wearing a fleece jacket in +25 weather lol. The Bay of Fires was a really gorgeous beach.
In Bicheno they also have the Penguin Parade. These are wild penguins, they go out to sea at dawn and come back at dusk. So you can watch them come back home. This one here is more intimate as they will walk close to you to go back to their burrows. These aren’t my pictures, they have a no camera policy as the flash and clicking is disturbing to the Penguins. So you can request photos for free from the company. They don’t seemed bothered by a group of people watching them.
Who needs street names! I do have to add, I never seen a place that had well kept public bathrooms in every town.
If you like to hike, walk up hill or climb stairs, then this state is for you! There are many hiking trails and national parks. I feel like I walked and hiked my way around that state. One hike I particularly enjoyed was Dove Lake at Cradle mountain. After hiking the trail around the lake, you can hike down to an area that has wild wombats. I was very lucky to spot 2 of them.
i was very fortunate to see a platypus in the wild, I found out is very rare to see them in the wild. There was a creek behind one of my hostels, so I waited an hour at sunset and he appeared.
I was able to see wild wallabys. They are typically the gray ones you see, but on Bruny Island in one section, there’s a rare white wallaby only found here, we were lucky to spot it. Even my guide who grew up in Tasmania never saw one before….oh and they taste good too, similar to bison. That’s a wallaby rendang, it’s like a meat pie sort of. Very good!
Theres many wildlife sanctuaries around the country. We visited one in Tasmania. It gets animals that are injured, or the mother was killed and the baby was orphaned.
The koala, more rare to find in the wild.
The Tasmanian Devil, also more rare to find in the wild.
The Kangaroos! This was one of my favourite things to do. You can go and feed them, and they eat from your hand. I’m not sure what their deal is as these can’t be rescued kangaroos. I think they just breed and live here, they are quite domesticated. I saw a male really trying to stick it to a female, he wasn’t successful. Maybe he has been since.
I like how the moms have their babies in the pouch, and you just randomly see tails, legs or heads hanging out.
Heres the Joey in the pouch, then he’s climbing out…
Then voila, baby is out! It amazes me they can lug around a baby of this size. My god, that would bruise the hell outta me.
Bruny Island was beautiful. You can do a safari to see these big seals, my tour didn’t include that, I didn’t realize that till I got there. Oh well, still got to see the white wallaby.
The black swan is a wild native bird to Tasmania, you see them all over. They have red beaks and red eyes.
Last but not least, Hobart. I thought Hobart was an interesting little city. There’s mountains and water. If you go, 2 things are a MUST. The Saturday Salamanca market, it’s Australia’s best outdoor market. It had great products and great food, I could have shopped all day. You must also check out the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). I’ve never seen an art museum like this in my life. Even people who aren’t into museums and art were telling me I had to go. There’s so much mixed media. My right brain was over stimulated and my left brain is still trying to process it. It was so odd and interesting. The last pic is an artist grew bacteria in those chambers and you can see the feeding times and pooping times. I was there’s for the pooping. That’s just a tip of the iceberg of what kind of displays were there.
Halloween. So halloween traditionally was not much of a thing on this side of the world. I did see some Halloween candy in the grocery stores, and the odd person dressed up on Halloween night. There’s lots of ghost tours throughout the state on most nights as there’s this rich old history of settlers and convicts. Whether you believe in it or not, I highly recommend. I just happened to book on Halloween, and the guide was a fantastic storyteller. It was a 2 hour walking tour in Hobart to Battery Point. We stopped outside these great old houses and he told stories about the apparent hauntings. We went into one old mansion and down into these old tunnels. If anything you get a lot of history out of it. Quite entertaining. The port Arthur one has great reviews, so if you are there overnight, you might want to consider it.
Then I had to come back to the creepiest hostel I have ever stayed in. When a trip advisor comment says the place looks like it’s out of The Shining, believe them! I spent 3 night here.
So overall, this state far exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend, I could have stayed longer. You really can do most things Australian except the outback. It was also a bit cheaper than mainland Australia which is a bonus. If you drive in Australia, I think renting a car and driving around the state is a good way of doing it.
I arrived in Adelaide a couple days ago, I’ve mostly been resting trying to get over whatever the hell I caught. Im feeling much better and head out in the morning for a 7 day tour in the outback. I go Adelaide up to Alice Springs. It’s quite hot there now 35-40 degrees Celsius, it’ll be like Asia all over again. Hope everyone is well, until next time!
Ugh, I can’t end this blog with my creepy hostel pics….let’s look at kangaroos again…