There are usually two things which every traveller or tourist plans on when they come to The Apple Isle. One is to visit the iconic and unique Port Arthur, the infamous penal settlement and model prison of its colonial era. It once was a place of immeasurable suffering inflicted on the convicts and those born to poverty, in another time. The other is to chance their luck on hopefully experiencing the beauty of Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain is part of the Tasmanian World Heritage area’s to be found in the central and South West of this gorgeous Isle. It is a World Heritage site for a very good reason. The Cradle Mountain and Lake Snt Clair National Park is simply stunning in its natural beauty and rare, breathtaking wilderness, but this is not only why it proudly carries a World Heritage Listing.
We’ve been stepping through the ancient Tarkine forests these last weeks, discovering the places reminiscent of Gondwana Land. Tasmania has some of the few remaining forests on Earth which breath quietly and tell the tale of this ancient continent. One split apart giving birth to the ark that is Australia. It is relatively easy to find a true wilderness here in the wild Tarkine, in the remote NW of Tasmania. It is a place where ancient trees loom over you, one where you can see strange water falls that appear to have been built by a childish hand, a playful spirit stacking building block upon building block in columns, to create something that is natures own version of lego-land. Continue reading →
Tasmania is proving to be something of a discovery and delight even though we have visited this wild island before. Becoming accustomed to the nightly song of the penguins has been an adventure but we have also been told that the platypus are quite prolific as well and are much treasured amongst the islands wildlife.
One of our very first delightful discoveries in our exploration of Tas’ was the many colonies of Little Penguins, also known as Fairy Penguins, that range along the coastline in colonies. Predominantly found in the shelter of the northern stretch of island, but running well down the east coast and in colonies all around the coastline of the island, these little penguins live in an intrepid harmony with the rest of the population.
In one spectacular day we ventured in a loop down from Forth, and south, inland into the Canyon Region. Our aim was to explore the Gunns Plains Caves and it was a true delight. The caves travel deep under the mountain through to the other side and much of their length is still unchartered with extensive wet caves, sinkholes and active underground streams. Geoff our guide was a wonderful, full of tales and anecdotes, he was as entertaining as the caves were beautiful.
We’re currently on the Great Nature Trail NW Tas’ having taken the Spirit of Tasmania across the Bass Strait. Our first camp was a few days at Forth, in a delightful freecamp 20ks west of Devonport. It is a spacious cricket reserve beside the Forth River with a lovely outlook and a local pub just along the walk that will take you across the river. After the most recent rains here, our world is green and lush, although there is some flooding debris to be still found around the banks. The locals will tell you that the river is still higher than it has been for some time, testament to the awesome force of water that swept down the local rivers in the most recent floods. The camp was one that came recommended as a place to wait-up for the trans-strait ferry. It was one we choose to camp up at, having got off the boat at 6:30pm and I too would highly recommend it. There are of course other spots, some closer, though this one is convenient and spacious and the village of Forth is just a country delight.
Freecamping is one of the greatest pleasures there is in being a traveller. Not because it is free, as inexperienced travellers imagine, but because of the freedom. It isn’t about camping in rest area’s and skipping those Caravan Parks but more about the involvement you have with the Aussie bush, the forestry area’s, the National Parks and those precious Reserves that dot the country. Continue reading →