Dirk and Elise's Trip to Tasmania: a Dirkumentary
(click on images for a bigger version)
During the week of April 8, 2001, Elise and I went to Tasmania for a conference in Hobart, a lovely port city. For those of you who do not know about Tasmania, it is the large island off the southeast coast of Australia. We arrived the week before Easter, which is Autumn in the southern hemisphere. During the first part of the trip we stayed in Hobart, the capital, and during the second part we stayed in the quaint town of Tullah for relaxation.
A simplified trip route is shown in red. The route to Tullah passes through Queenstown along a very winding and hilly road.
On Sunday we arrived from Perth (5+ hours by plane) and took a walk around the port area of Hobart and the neighborhood of Battery Point. These are some images of the area.
From the neighborhood we could see the Derwent River from many vantage points.
Part of the enjoyment of the walk was seeing old European-style architecture.
In this photo you can just barely make out Mount Wellington which was shrouded in clouds that day.
On Monday Elise went to the conference and I amused myself by walking around the port part of the city and generally being a tourist.
The Aurora Australis, this is Australia's ice breaker which services the Australian Antarctic stations. Hobart is the starting point of all Australian Antarctic expeditions. The L'Astrolabe was also in port. She is a French research ice breaker. Note the silos in the back. They are being renovated into modern luxury apartments.
This is Flipper's fish-n-chips shop. Elise really liked the shape of this floating shop so we decided to share it with you.
Two of the picturesque cray boats in the Port. Cray is short for crayfish which is what the clawless lobsters of Australia are called.
One of the main attractions of Hobart is Salamanca Place, which is full of art galleries and craft shops displaying woodturning, pottery, and woven items. I then did a more thorough walk through historic Battery Point. I then continued on to Sandy Bay, a long beach and well-to-do neighborhood on the Derwent river, via Wrest Point, the only casino <cringe> in Tasmania. It was a rather dreary day so I did not get any nice shots of the bay.
These buildings contain craft shops, galleries, and restaurants. Behind them is a court yard with more "modern" shops. Behind me is a nice park with a row of sycamore trees. To my left are the silos that are being turned into luxury apartments.
One of the cute backyard gardens in Sandy Bay which remind me a lot of the ones I've seen in Germany. It was filled with various fruit trees.
This garden was at eye level next to the sidewalk.
During my wandering I also saw a bit of wild life. No mammals, but I did see plenty of plovers and an odd magpie.
This little fellow was busy with some bread.
When I later met up with Elise, we decided to have dinner on the waterfront at the same place we ate on Sunday night, Rockerfeller's. They again had live jazz during dinner time and we enjoyed it tremendously. If you ever make it to Hobart we highly recommend it.
On Tuesday I took a tourist cruise up the Derwent River with some of the other conference spouses to the Morilla Winery and the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. We were not allowed to take any photos or video of the factory, although we got lots of free chocolate along the tour. And of course, I had to buy $15 worth of chocolate at the factory store. I should add, this trip was made at Easter-time so chocolate was in peak form <yum>.
Behind the guide are the fermenting tanks for the wine. The guide was a rather funny chap and was a hit with the whole group. Due to a high production of red grapes they have to let some ferment in the open air. Note the hand in the lower right for scale.
Did you know that red wine is red because they keep the skins with the pulp during the fermentation process? Many a fine white wine is made from red grapes, but with the skins removed. Pretty interesting stuff huh?
The remainder of Tuesday and most of Wednesday was rainy so I did not take too many photos. Mostly I went into a gallery or two or explored the city away from the port. One interesting thing I noticed was that while Hobart looks old and small near the port it is actually quite modern once you get away from the harbor. The city itself is not unlike Perth in size, but it lacks skyscrapers. It had a lot of the same shops and a similar "pedestrian" style shopping area.
After a nice lunch with Claus, Elise's project leader, and others, Elise and I left to head north and west to Tullah. We were told it would take 3 - 4 hours, but it took around 5 for us. Initially it was easy going with nice rolling countryside and we made good time, but then things got slower. The main reason being that we hit the 1st snow squalls of the season as we went through the mountains. We also were traveling at night and encountered a lot of hairpin turns, so we drove extra careful.
The nice pastoral countryside of Tasmania. We were treated with several rainbows during our trip.
The 1st snow we have seen in 2 years.
We arrived in Tullah after 8pm and "missed" dinner at our hotel. However, they were having the company "Christmas Party" so they made us a nice barbecue dinner since the coals were still hot. Christmas at Easter you say?? Well it was more of a good bye to one of the employees so I guess they delayed it a few months.
The 1st full day there we went to Cradle Mountain. It is probably the most visited site in Tasmania due to its World Heritage status and shear beauty. There is a nice visitors center when you enter the park. I had to buy a winter hat there. All I had was my bush hat and that does not keep in the heat. How was I supposed to know it would be this cold? Just outside the center was a short nature walk and we saw the cutest wallaby hopping around.
The cute little wallaby.
After equipping my head for the cold weather, Elise and I walked around Dove Lake, which sits at the base of the mountain(s). The walk took us about 3 hours. The tour book says it should only take around 2 hours, but Elise and I tend to enjoy looking around more than most folks.
Here are some attemps at artsy nature shots. It was overcast for a good part of the day and even threatened to snow so the lighting was not in my favor.
A nice picture of Elise and me with Cradle Mt. and a quaint boathouse in the background. I'm sure everyone who goes hiking here takes this shot.
On the last part of the trek the sun was coming out and Elise and I saw a fair number of "snow devils" on the lake. These are little mini-tornadoes of snow twirling over the lake. At times they would catch the sun and form rainbows on the lake.
A "snow devil" rainbow.
We took our camcorder and have a bunch of footage, but we ran out of time on the tape so we recorded over some Perth stuff on the tape. However soon after that we ran out of battery life. Oh the worries of tourists.
Here is a composite of the last few seconds of the tape.
The next day Elise and I went horseback riding with one of the locals in Tullah. She gave us a nice rundown of the local history and we got to ride on some nice horses. After the ride we rested and went to Montezuma Falls in the nearby town of Roseberry. The walk to the falls took us 1.5 hours along an old railroad track. In places the old "sleepers" (railroad ties) where still present so at times it was tough going. This area is quite rainy and can get over 1 meter of rain per year. We saw many tasty looking mushroom. Elise: <blech!>
Dirk on a horse: <clip> <clop> <clip> <clop>
Some yummy Ziegenbart mushrooms.
Elise and I at the falls.
As Elise and I got to our car at the Montezuma Falls parking area we were greeted by this little Pink Robin. He was soooooo very cute.
The next day it was time to go home and we decided to take some photos of the Tullah Lakeside Chalet. The Chalet was the barracks for the hydroelectric scheme which left here in 1992 (or 1997 - we can't remember). The owner is rebuilding the barracks to look less like a barracks and more like a hotel and is slowly getting there. The "mess hall" already looks like a ski lodge with fireplaces and log beams. We spent both nights around the fireplace enjoying the fire and chatting with other guests.
The outside of the Chalet with the main fireplace chimney.
Roseberry Lake early in the morning as seen from the hotel lawn.
On the drive back to Hobart from Tullah, we finally got to see the countryside that we missed during our dark snowy drive on Wednesday night. Boy, did we miss out big time!
Lake Plimsoll on the road home.
A panoramic view of Lakes area. This particular lake, like many others in the area, was created by flooding a valley for hydroelectric power.
This is Frenchman's Cap, one of the many beautiful peaks in the highlands.
Part of the moorlands on the east side of the mountains. From here on, it is downhill for several hundred kilometers to Hobart.
When we got to Hobart we had several hours to kill so we stopped in the Royal Botanical Gardens for a nice walk. Elise spent time here when she visited Hobart for a job interview two years ago. The assemblage in the gardens represents all areas of Tasmania and of course a collection of the European and North American plants that were brought with the settlers.
A west coast "tropical" waterfall. We saw the real thing back in Tullah.
The obligatory Japanese garden in the Botanical Garden.
Well, that was our the trip in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed our photos. Once we have our act together we'll put a CD together with small movies from the trip.