Tassie the Magnificent Part 2

April 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

TASMANIA_2014-737PINNOCHIO IN THE WINDOW OF A WOOD SHOPCampbell Town Tasmania We picked up a rental car in Hobart and hit the road for the east coast. Let's not dwell on the process of renting a car I had already booked for a specific time and paid for; suffice to say that Rob later commented he was pleased to see that vestiges of old-style Tasmanian (non)service still existed.

Once out of Hobart (an easy enough manoeuvre) we struck out on the open road for the Freycinet Peninsula. Before long we were oohing and aahing about the scenery and the  impossibly cute towns we were passing through. Unfortunately 'cute" is a word that seemed to come up a lot during our travels. Unfortunate because it conjours up images of twee little villages with lace doilies and devonshire teas. Which is partly true, but in Tasmania cute seems to work without becoming cloying. The sturdy Georgian and colonial architecture, the old bits of machinery, the rustic cottages, are all the real deal.The dark history of Tasmania, with its convict past and genocidal slaughter of its indigenous people, seem imbued in the land and the towns, so the urge to describe so many things as "cute" is tempered by the realisation that beneath that refined colonial surface lies a violent past.
















We reached the Freycinet Peninsula (Coles Bay, to be accurate) in the early afternoon and were immediately drawn to the place. Wonderful topography, crystal clear waters and a range of strange, foreboding mountains known as The Hazards that brooded over the whole like keepers of the strange. We went mad and splashed out on accommodation at the Edge of the Bay Resort which was far out of our proposed budget, but I'm afraid that's the way we tend to travel. Its part of our Fuck Art Let's Dance philosophy I guess. When I awoke at dawn the next morning and saw this view from my bed I knew we'd made the right decision.

DAWN AT COLES BAY, FREYCINET PENINSULASpectacular! The Hazards are on the horizon.

Shortly afterwards my wife decided a walk was in order and was so taken with the serenity and clarity of the water that she braved the chill and took a dip in her lingerie. Brave girl. That's the ever present Hazards in the distance. Beautiful rocks there too, with a fiery patina of some sort of mineral or fungal staining.
















Rob had insisted that we should climb the route to the Wineglass Bay lookout in the national park. An easy stroll, he said. I knew the bastard was lying when I saw this sign at the start of the trail.

WINEGLASS BAY SIGN"The walk to Wineglass Bay lookout may be the hardest walk you do in Tasmania".

We made it however, but it left me feeling confused. I was glad for the exercise, since that's something I normally try to avoid, but I have never understood the fascination of the Australian bush, and this walk proved to be no exception. Yes, there were some interesting rocks and the occasional spectacular view to a bay, but for the most part one is scrambling vertically up or down through dun-coloured vegetation that just looks a mess to my visually anal sensibilities. The way down was fun though - I could cheerfully tell people on the way up that they didn't have far to go in a tone of voice that suggested I did this walk every day before breakfast. Mr Smug.

After a couple of days tooling around Freycinet and the Bay of Fires we came back to Hobart through a road in the middle of the island that was once one of the most used coach routes from Hobart to Launceston. Once again we passed through a number of almost impossibly cute towns, but they were all fascinating, and the Georgian architecture outstanding. Its pretty cool to be able to drive through history that is still very much alive. We stayed in a cottage in Ross overnight that was very ancient (by Australian standards) and it was a bit like sleeping in a museum; we had a suite of rooms including a parlour and a kitchen/dining room. I was sorry I had  neglected to pack a frock coat. Then it was back to Hobart for a last night at the Walls' idyll, with the  promise of a quick visit to the Salamanca markets the next day before we caught the plane. More on that later....

SWEET'S BODY WORKS, FINGALSeems to still be working. SWEET'S BODY WORKS, FINGALNice to know his body still works. His building looks pretty shabby though.



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