human behavior

Spirit of Tasmania

Posted in Australian Culture & Politics, Travel by humanb on July 3, 2012

A few months ago I travelled to Ohio for my cousin’s wedding and gave her, by way of a wedding gift, a picture frame hand crafted from Tasmanian sassafras.

“Tasmania?” she exclaimed. “You mean that’s a real place?”

Tasmania is very much real, and a fabulous place to holiday if you appreciate natural beauty. One of Australia’s six states, Tasmania is an island off the southern coast of the mainland. Since the island state is small, you can explore much of it in a matter of days.

From our home in Sydney, we drove down the coast of our state, New South Wales, stopping in the charming, one-street town of Eden for a night.

At Eden, we spent a cozy night in The Brick Room of The Crown & Anchor Inn, then slobbered over a hearty breakfast the next morning.

From Eden, we had an easy, scenic drive to the city of Melbourne – of Fashion Week, Melbourne Cup and ‘best coffee in Australia’ fame.

Well, I don’t like tennis, don’t care about fashion, and found the coffee in Melbourne eerily reminiscent of the coffee in Sydney.  Melbourne has its aesthetic charms here and there, I suppose, but it didn’t speak to me the way Tasmania would.

So after a night in Melbourne, we drove our car to the dock and into the garage of the Spirit of Tasmania, the car and passenger ferry that would take us to Tassie.

The ferry to Tasmania from Melbourne is an overnight journey with only a patch of rocky water, but enough to make some people sick.

The next morning, we awoke to find ourselves in the northern Tasmanian city of Devonport.

Devonport is far from the prettiest town, and the arrivals and departures of the ferry are no doubt the biggest happenings you’re likely to see there.  But the surroundings become rather beautiful when you hop back into the car and head east.

On our way to the northeastern corner of the state, we stopped in the small town of Bridport, where we spent most of our time at a local stretch of beach – stunning, pristine, and sparsely populated.

From Bridport, we drove to Musselroe Bay and then to Mount William National Park, home to some of Australia’s most famous wildlife.

The kangaroo.

And the wombat.

From there, we drove southwest to Launceston, a quaint little town with delicious fresh food and a pleasing aesthetic.

After an initial stay in Tassie filled with gorgeous drives, mouth-watering food, small town walks and easy beach strolls, I thought I was prepared for the next stage in our journey: a four-day hike around Cradle Mountain, well-known to hiking enthusiasts around the world. I had never heard of it.

But I’ll never forget it now.

Next Up: The Overland Track at Cradle Mountain


4 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on July 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Wonder if the Tasmanians have heard of Ohio?

    • humanb said, on July 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      They probably have. Australians have a fairly good knowledge of the US, though not of the specifics of US geography. They know where California, Vegas and New York are, but the rest is a bit fuzzy if they haven’t travelled there. Many would have heard of it, at least through US election coverage which they get here, but few would be able to tell you where it is on a US map. Of course, there are plenty of Americans that couldn’t pinpoint it on a US map too. So there ya go. 🙂

  2. Alice said, on July 4, 2012 at 4:00 am

    wow, you saw a wild wombat?! tha’s awesome! 🙂

    • humanb said, on July 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      I know! My husband (an Aussie) had never seen one in the wild either. I spotted him first, crossing the road very lazily and hastened my husband over. We followed him as he pitter-pattered through a hole in a fence and into a field. Awesome. 🙂

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