Tasmania – Port Arthur, Cape Huay and sinking boats

Last week my partner and I had the pleasure of visiting the lovely verdant Tasmania. Now all of you fellow Aussie out there are probably thinking why on oath would go to Tassie in the middle of bloody winter*. I could tell you that it is because of our love all things winter, or that we wanted to experience what cold actually is, or even that we really wanted to see the Cadbury factory, but in truth we went because we were luck enough to win flights from the Tassie Government “Cheeky Seats Giveaway“. This awesome campaign, with an equally awesome logo, gave us return flights to the Hobart on the proviso that we spent our tourist dollars in the relatively cash poor economy**.

Well what could we do by comply. I won’t bore you with the details of the trip except to say that you should ALL go to MONA and watch the video of two men puttering around a Loch in Scotland in a wood fired steam boat, using the boat itself as fuel!

*******  Not Details of the Trip – Start *******

Actually I will give you some details because otherwise the photos below won’t make much sense.

After spending our first day in Tassie relaxing, the second day was spent at MONA looking at some really amazing art, much of which I don’t even pretend to understand. I was impressed by the amount of interested (ready nerdy engineering) art that was there including the afore-mentioned boat, a great video of a remote control helicopter in a box, and an amazing whole of room projection showing lots of data about the galaxy as exported from somewhere that is home to smart people.  I don’t know if I can explain it in any useful way, it is quite amazing to walk around a room that strongly resembles the matrix.

Following my enlightenment at MONA we went out to Port Arthur to get some history and nature into our trip as well. Port Arthur itself is home to some amazing elements of Australian history, from early whaling and convict settlements right through the modern times with bush fires and the massacre. What really made the visit though was doing the ghost tour after dark. The passion and story-telling of the guide made it a night to remember, I don’t think I have ever jumped as much when a door slammed on queue!

From here it was off to Cape Huay and the tallest sea cliffs in the world. Growing up in Sydney, and having spent a fair bit of time on the various head lands and cliffs that bless the east coast generally I thought I was pretty well on top of how tall cliffs along the ocean could be. These sea cliffs are something else entirely!

Formed from dolomite the cliffs are sheer, angular and incredibly tall making for dramatic scenery unlike anything I’d ever seen before. To see the best of the best, and in the hope of seeing the famous Totem Pole we made our way to Fortescue Bay in the Tasman National Park and went for a stroll for a few hours our to Cape Huay. The well-formed track  took about 2.5 hours of walking to reach the cape and passed through some beautiful eucalypt forest as well as Tasmanian coastal heath zones.

Once we were the we were greeted with spectacular views, massive cliffs, tea and rainbows.

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Hope you enjoyed the photos, and not being given details of the trip!

 

* The British among your are probably thinking 8 degrees, is positively balmy still!

** The Tassie economy possibly being weak because they export delicious products like cheese, salmon, apples and seaweed instead of coal.

Flashback: Walls of Jerusalem and Overland Track

In late 2009 a few friends and I went down to Tasmania to do a walk through the Walls of Jerusalem and Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Parks. The walk linked up the ever popular overnight walk into the Walls of Jerusalem and the Overland Track by passing across the less popular tracks in between.

I was joined on the walk by friends from my scouting days, uni and travelling, so the six of us were an eclectic assortment of generally lovely people.

Tasmania Hike 2009 497

The walking crosses a vast range of landscapes and geological features including alpine mountains, glacial moraine, perched lakes, and grass fields.

The plan before leaving was something along the lines of:

Day
Start
End
Distance
Est Time
Up
Down
1
Walls of Jerusalem Car Park
Wild Dog Creek
6
3
600
60
2
Wild Dog Creek
Lake Adelaide
9
4
120
290
3
Lake Adelaide
Lake Meston
9
4
 
 
4
Lake Meston
Pine Hut Plain
12
5
 
 
5
Pine Hut Plain
New Pellion Hut
15
8
 
 
6
New Pellion Hut
Kia Ora (& Mt Ossa)
14
7
780
780
7
Kia Ora (& Mt Ossa)
Pine Valley
19
7
240
200
8
Pine Valley
Cynthia Bay
25
5
150
150
 
 
 
109
43
 

As with any walk the plans didn’t pan out exactly as intended. We shifted around campsites based on the very very wet weather, and changing levels of fitness as the walk progressed.

Some of my favourite photos from the trip are: