Tasmanian Travels - Feb 21 - 24, 2010

For some weird reason (maybe because I am....) I was HUGELY into the idea of going to Tasmania. Hadn't heard of anything about it, didn't know anything about it, didn't put two-and-two together and realize that was the home of the Tasmania devil - I just thought it was THE COOLEST place to go on my Australian vacation. I just had one travelling partner with me this time - we had rented a car - he had already been there and kind of knew his way of the land, and I was so excited!!

So off we go at 5h30 a.m. to the Sydney airport (am getting so incredibly sick of cabs here. Truly my only complaint against Australia....) and a quick hour later, I arrive in a the teeny little Hobart airport.

With the cutest little welcoming dog. Okay...he's not a welcoming dog. He personally sniffs all carry on and checked luggage for flora and fauna.
He walks along the luggage belt, climbing over suitcases if he needs to, never getting too far away from his boss, sniffing along. He ended up finding a suitcase with two peaches in it! Quite a nose and I completely fell in love with him....
And then it was off to Hobart downtown. Nothing really exciting to report. A sort of crappy tourist dinner and a fairly dissapointing up-scale-but-not-really-hotel night stay and we were off driving on a mini-road trip.

The scenery was gorgeous....

One of our first stops - Port Aurthur. This is where a world famous prison was built and all of prisonners shipped from Scotland and England arrested on...sometimes some fairly bogus charges (examples to follow). The younger prisoners were taught a trade and some where given land when realeased. Enough of the history lesson, I'm sure you can google to find out more about it rather than reading it on here.

On the water side of the prison there were chains of guard dogs in case someone tried to escape. This bronze statue was kind of in the middle of....nowhere (of nowhere)....to serve as a historic monument?? I don't know. I just wanted my picture taken with it.

Next stop Dootown. So...every house names their house "Do" something. Examples:

Did I mention Tasmania was kind of a weird place?

Next stop - more sightseeing.
I didn't want to climb down these rocks.....

But I did want to try driving on the left hand side of the road. Ahem...I'm sorry - it's reffered to as the "correct" side of the road. Now...this is a bit risky since...I'm not the best driver on the right side of the road... but...it's a rental car I guess... :S

Next stop - a little beach. I wanted a few pictures taken...but this one seemed so....boring....

So I thought I'd climb out a bit in the water to get some better shots....

Much better and less of a posed pose!! But now I'm freezing!!! I'm used to the Indian Ocean - the Pacific Ocean is FREEZING!! (Yes, the MG beaches and waters have spoiled me...)

The idea was a great one...unfortunately, I'm a clumsy mess, and on the way back in got soaking wet. Like....who couldn't see that one coming...

So...the next....five hours or so were spent driving from town to town to find accomdoation. Hotel, Motel, Bed and Breakfast...whatever. Anything. It turns out - we had picked the few days where some kind of horse racing cup was going on - and there was NOTHING available. There wasn't even anything open to eat!?!! This was a bit of a worry from me... I don't exactly do well on low blood sugar (remember the Paris tantrum??)

Every restaurant or store had a some kind of sign that read something like:
This cafe (that I missed getting a picture) reads "Closed Wednesdays and August".

Great. So... we kept on driving....and driving.... our destination - Launceston - it looked like a big enough city that would have food, accommodation, etc....

We arrived at 22h57....and found a restaurant that was open until 23h00....
Ahh...much better. Next stop - accomodation....

There was NONE to be found. This helpful lady at one hotel called EVERYWHERE and got the same answer - all booked up because of the horse racing cup....Urgh. We drove around for another hour or so...and then called it quits. We stopped in the parking lot of the biggest and nicest hotel (for safety??) and then used our clothes and beach towels as blankets. I FROZE most of the night. Tasmania can get pretty chilly in the evenings. And MG has made me a wimp when it comes to the cold.

Nothing says luxury vacation like sleeping in the back seat of an SUV. Did I mention I'm six feet tall? This was just a little uncomfortable...

But soon enough it was morning, and we went back to McDonalds for breakfast and a (hot!!!)coffee and then we were off to continue the road trip. Even better - this resort about 150km away that was booked up the night before had accomodation for tonight! The scenery seemed more beautiful now that I knew I had a warm (and fancy) place to spend the night!

I have thousands of pictures of the amazing scenery of Tasmania (but am on a limited internet service here...so here's just the one...). People must visit Tasmania for the scenery, because apart from that...there isn't much else that's here...

...Apart from the crazy kangaroos and wallabeys that can lift up your car at night?!?!

After a few hours - we arrived at the resort. Shower, makeup, and new duds and off to a nice supper.

Some good food, good conversation, and great Tasmanian wine - and I was ready for a good night's sleep. It's kind of cold in Tasmania - so they had electric blankets. It was soooo nice especially after freezing my butt off the night before in the car!!!

And in the morning - I woke up to this - my first wildlife sighting! (Well....alive that is...I saw at least....thirty or so dead tasmanian devils on the road...ick.)

(thankfully it wasn't at night and my car wasn't around for it to lift up!)

He looked pretty cute, so I threw some of my cherry tomatoes at him to eat. He liked them...and then ran off.
And the view from my room wasn't too shabby! I kind of felt like I was in Jasper or something.

We stopped at a cafe...and I keep forgetting how expensive things are here. I can buy two good bottles of Australia wine for under $15CDN... but a Timbit (or donut holes for any non-Canadians...)...
$2.50 each? Obviously the Australians don't have the love for donuts that Canadians/Americans do - or they would all be broke! (but Tasmanians must get their sugar from somewhere....because I was watching the morning news and they have a staggering rate of 1 in 3 for diabetes!)

I bought a lemon one and saved it for later....I've never eaten a $2.50 Timbit/donut hole before...so I wanted to make sure it was well enjoyed.

After breakfast, it was off for more driving and more sightseeing...

I thought these rocks would be a fabulous place for me to practice my yoga moves!

Unfortunately (but very predictably), I fell...and cut up my foot. And now I can't get a pedicure until my cuts heal a bit more. (I know....life is very rough for me. :))

The next town we stopped in had bricks along mainstreet with the name, crime, and sentence of the prisonners that were shipped here.

See what I mean about some of the bogus charges? Do you think a Cabinetmaker would steal furniture? Um...wouldn't he just make his own? And life?! Yikes!

And what does a 17 year old desert? Does this mean he was late for curfew? I thought I had it bad when I was grounded for being late for curfew...this guy got 14 years in prison!

And Mr. Blades was charged with receiving money - but served his time in Bermuda. So that's how it all started....

Poor Benjamin...he stole a pocket book and then drowned on the way to prison? Poor guy.

Another sign I liked. My curiousness wanted to touch the pole...but...being a prison island and all...I figured I'd keep my distance.

Another weird thing...this is Main Street of one of the towns. And every main street would be the same. Over half of the towns we stopped in, we'd try to count the number of people we'd actually see.
All in all - Tasmania was a neat place to visit - ONCE. It was...pretty creepy at times (I won't even get into the Tasmanian version of the Bates Motel - complete with creepy son...or the lower IQ of most of it's residents (I doubt any of them would stumble onto this blog)) but was pretty interesting with amazing scenery...and a one....unique...road trip.

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