Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where the bloody hell are we?!

Wombats that look like koalas; possums behaving like cats; pademelons that think they are children; devils that look like giant rats; trees on steroids; Jurassic Park rainforest; turbulent oceans; sublime turquoise bays; death defying cliffs; sugary white sandy beaches…

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE WE?

Dust off the passports everyone; you’re coming on an overseas adventure!

We left Australia and sailed across the dark waters of Bass Strait to Tasmania, escaping the long humid tentacles of Melbourne as it descended into a stifling heatwave.

To be honest, I’m at a bit of a loss to write about our adventures of the past 3 weeks. How can you in words, describe a land that is so ancient, so uniquely diverse and so historically significant to Australia’s history; a place that is all at once wild and rugged, pristine and picture-perfect, quaint and cosy?

Oh Tasmania my heart belongs to thee!

All our expectations were tossed out the window on our very first day in the Apple Isle as we encountered heat wave conditions, dramatic coastal scenery, secluded coves hiding stunning beaches, rolling fields of opium poppies and people with only one head instead of two. (Sorry Tom, couldn’t resist).

Contentedly we meandered our way west, all thoughts of recent mechanical dramas set aside as the big red truck hummed smoothly along the coast. When we hit the Roaring 40’s a few days later, Kris momentarily considered putting on shoes for the first time in 3 years, a sure sign that our heat wave was gone and we promptly returned to the cold drizzly weather Tassie is so famous for.

One chilly evening we found ourselves camped alongside a remote and isolated west coast beach. We’d only passed two cars the whole day and there was not a soul in sight as we settled in for the night. Suddenly, headlights appeared on the horizon and four kids on quad bikes emerged from the thick black night. In a greeting apparently unique to this part of the world, one of the foursome turned to Kris and said, “Do ya wanna flounder?”

Not understanding this strange greeting, Kris and I turned to each other a little startled. Was this some strange Tasmanian dialect? Perhaps there was a phrasebook out there that could help us translate this weird Tasmanian language into English?

“Excuse me?” Kris replied.

“Do ya wanna flounder? Do ya like flounder?” the boy said again.


This time understanding the question, Kris replied, “Yeah, is it filleted?"

After discussing this for a moment, the four kids came to a consensus that this mysterious flounder would in fact be filleted and with that, they disappeared into the darkness. Expecting not to see them again we relaxed back and had a laugh at the strange encounter we just had.

But not 20 minutes later
the kids re-emerged from the darkness with three filleted but not quite dead flounder, freshly speared straight from the ocean and ready for us to cook up! And after presenting their payload to us they promptly vanished into the night, the smell of diesel and three almost-dead fish the only evidence of our encounter with them.

These Tasmanian folk were odd…we loved them!

I’d like to say that we left our mechanical troubles behind on the mainland but alas, no. It would seem the BRT’s repair shop interludes are directly proportional to the number of crazy roads it tackles. This time the rear diff was at the centre of the action when a tooth was ground off and spat out through the metal casing. Luckily for us, we coincidentally happened to break down directly next door to the west coast’s only 4WD mechanic so we were quickly on our way again, a new rear diff heavier, a few wads of cash lighter. At this rate, by the time we get home in July we’ll have replaced every part of the car and have a brand new 4WD.

(Just for the record, we've discovered that you actually can drive a 60’s series Landcruiser up on 2 wheels. Need I say more…)

Since then we’ve passed through ethereal countryside, climbed our way through stunning world heritage national parks, hiked along the top of death-defying ocean cliffs, and visited magnificent waterfalls, alpine plateaus and historic convict ruins.

We’ve camped on remote back roads, on the edge of heart-achingly gorgeous beaches and on rugged mountain summits. To say we are completely taken with Tasmania would be a gross understatement. Every one of you should come here and experience the magic of this place.

OK, enough of the tourism commercial. (Did I mention that we love Tasmania?!)

In four weeks we’ve managed to circumnavigate the island and are now regretfully coming to the end of our time here. Of course, no trip to Tassie would be complete without a hiking adventure and a mountain top helicopter rescue...but more about that in the next blog...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

G'day Kris and Sarah,
It is a great place hey, our 2 weeks there went waaaay too quick, but whet the appetite for a longer duration trek in the future.

Glad to hear the only major issue was the diff, hopefully it'll be all ok from here.

Cheers and hope to catch up when you hit the mainland.

Gary.....

Anonymous said...

Hello Kris & Sarah,

Is great to hear that you both are enjoying all that Tassie has to offer. Sorry to hear the 'BRT' has had a few hiccups along the way; maybe Kris should have purchased a Pajero...lol.

Keep safe & us 'Mexicans' are looking forward to catching up with you when you hit the mainland again.

Cheers
Allan

Anonymous said...

Sarah, am loving the commentary and the beautiful pictures. Keep up the great work and keep enjoying. You could turn this into a book, then, who knows, maybe another great Aussie movie! There's a campfire discussion, who would play you??
I'm off to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey next week, am soo looking forward to not coming to work, but will really miss your adventures. I'll catch up when i get back.

Jenna

SCADA Mum said...

Hi Kris & Sarah, As we can see you are missing us at all. Having the best time. Keep up the stories and the fantastic photos it is fantastic to see your travels. Yours the SCADA Mum & Crew

Colin said...

Kris & Sarah,

Finnally had time to sit down and peruse your blog. We're now back in Vic heading towards SA. Keep up the good work.

Colin
"Drive Long and Prosper"