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The Meaning of Life Explained
8th Nov 2016 - 11th Nov 2016
Save the Little Devils in Middle Earth!

Most of you likely only know the Tasmanian Devil from the Warner Brothers cartoons but they are alive, if not well, in Tasmania today.  Since the extinction of the marsupial Tasmanian Tiger in 1936 the devil has become the default icon of the island state.  However, for the last 20 years, these feisty, stinky little guys have been struggling against "devil facial tumor disease" and things are not looking good for them at the moment.  Hopefully, they do better than the tiger.  

Tasmania is not what people think of when Australia comes up I.e. green, wet and cool with the Antarctic the next stop.  While we're here we'd like to see a devil, a platypus and an echidna but, given our marsupial luck so far, we're not so optimistic.  Abby, Des and I spent three nights in the small city of Hobart at an Airbnb house on a hilltop in the North of the town overlooking the harbor.  The great outdoors is the main reason to come here but we arrive in the afternoon so there's time for a look around the local North Hobart strip and then walk down to the CBD, harbor and the Salamanca old town area.  

Hobart is in the South of the island and virtually all the SW is an enormous mountainous wilderness.  We take the only road that goes any distance to the West, first going through dramatic farmland that would fit right into Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and then head uphill to Mt Field National Park.  We only have time for a quick visit but see an amazing group of waterfalls and a grove of giant old growth gum trees.  There are platypuses and devils here but we're not lucky enough to see any except for unfortunate roadkill.  After dark there is a 30 MPH speed limit to keep down the fatalities.

We want to take the road deep into the wilds to where it ends at a huge dam, but it winds endlessly and there is not enough time, so we make do with a few snapshots of the interior peaks.  There is world class backpacking to be done here, but it's out of our league on this trip.  Following the Derwent River back to town, internet signal is restored and we're in shock as the US election results filter in.

 Later on in the evening, still in a daze, there is no option but to drink heavily at The Winston (or was that the Winchester?), the Pancho Villa tequila bar and The Republic, a decent rocking live music venue right in North Hobart:   Tranquilized, we fall into dark slumber.

The next morning confirms that yesterday was not a bad dream and we carry on with a day trip to the Tasman Peninsular, albeit with Sean & Abby shell-shocked.  Last night's commiserations makes for a late start so we never make it Port Arthur, a big tourist draw centered on the confinement of the convicts who made up most of Tasmania's original white population.  Instead, there is Tasman NP along the way with dramatic coastal viewpoints and points of interest such as natural arches, blowholes and unusual geometric rock formations.  After ditching Port Arthur, we make a stop at the village of Richmond, a very English looking, and suitably picturesque, tourist spot.   We'll just have to come back again sometime as we've barely made a dent in what Tasmania has to offer if you're willing to put up with some wind, cold and rain. 

After a leisurely home made breakfast at the excellent Airbnb, featuring continued disbelieving election dialog, it's time to drop the SUV back off at the airport and head back to Sydney to spend a few days with Sister Ann and her family.

Next: The Lucky Country
Previous: Brothers and Sons

Diary Photos

Abby and Des ponder man's insignificance

The mighty swamp gun tree

Fern tree avenue

Abby and Russell Falls

The amazing Russell Falls

Tasmanian Devil in trouble

Western Wilderness from a distance

The Shire

Derwent River

Des and Abby looking for hobbits

Tasmanian devil - I kill you!

Tasmanian devil - What are you looking at?

Tasman Peninsula viewpoint

Abby & Des at the tesselated pavement natural site

Sean & Abby also tesselating

Tasman Arch

Tasman Peninsular coastline

Devil's kitchen

Blowhole not blowing

Seafood snacks

The Richmond Arms

Bushfire near Richmond

The Richmond bridge

Richmond landscape

Manly ferry approaching Circular Quay

The crew taking it easy

Opera House and ferry

Mystery structure

Circular Quay jacarandas

Mini Jabirus at the Quay

Renovated shipping storage building in The Rocks

The Australian Hotel in The Rocks

Ann & Abby on the bridge

Eddie, Des and Clair on the bridge

Sean, Abby, Des, Eddie on the ........

Abby & Sean, wait for it, on the bridge

The Bridge

Chinese glamorous grannies at the Opera House

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