After three and a bit weeks I am home from Tasmania. The smallest State in Australia is very varied and absolutely lovely. I puttered around Launceston in the north, cut through the drought-stricken middle and then pottered about Hobart and district in the south.
I stumbled upon a steam engine and tractor-pulling show at Sheffield, the most highly rewarded landscape competition and exhibition in Australia at Evandale (held in a little community hall- entrance fee $5), watched teenage boys practice break dancing in an historic rotunda in City Park Launceston, looked at a delightful house at Sandfly which, if I were to buy it, the owner would have thrown in two alpacas and a dog, met a man on a beach at Bridport with eight hysterically romping border collies who froze instantly at his whistle and turned out to be sheepdog trial world champions (I watched his daughter read the evening news on TV each night, and didn’t have a pen and paper to write down his number so wrote it in the sand and took a photo of it - a digital mud-map - I love putting all this smarty-pants technology in its place from time to time ), caught an amazing play in Launceston, witnessed the carpet of woodchips left behind after the annual woodchopping competition somewhere on the Tasman Peninsula, breathed in cool crisp air that smelled right, loved the wreath of cloud tickling Mount Wellington upon whose feet Hobart rests, smiled each time I drove over the hills south of Hobart into the Huon Valley, and sighed each time I drove back over the hills and found Hobart sprinkled along the river with little boats catching the sunlight below me, and once, bobbing right under the end of a rainbow. I’d have photos but was clinging to the steering wheel and sighing and smiling and forgot all about the camera!
It felt good in Tasmania. It feels like a place you can put your arms around and hug. Hobart is the second driest capital city in Australia after Adelaide, but just over the mountains is heavy rainfall and ancient rainforest. Blistering drought grips the centre, cliffs and beaches march around the coastline, forests are either protected from, wait for, endure, or are the result of logging while the log-laden trucks make drivers on winding roads stay alert.
Numerous species of whale, giant squid, penguins, dolphins, and kelp beds are some of the treasures in the surrounding ocean.
The ferry across from Melbourne to Devonport on the North coast takes 9 - 11 hours overnight. Phew! It’s further from the mainland than I’d thought!
Hobart reminds me of a cross between Sydney and Ottawa as I remember it from my childhood- a small and kind city. Fishing boats dock in front of business-suit filled city buildings.
I loved Hobart, and fell in love with the Huon Valley. In my quest to find a lovely house with a little back gate opening onto...something lovely...I found two, but one was owned by my friend, and the other not for sale.
The plot is thickening, but it looks like it will involve a move to Tasmania one way or another!