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Old 04-23-2013, 03:20 PM   #8
huzar OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Day 3 Devonport to Strahan

We had our first taste of riding in Tasmania today. Well, I did. Hewby has been here before, on the same bike. It was early morning when we headed out from Devonport, as the ferry had dropped us off at 6:30. Our tentative plan was to head towards Cradle Mountain National Park, and then on to Strahan.

The northern portion of Tasmania is rolling hills, and very much feels like parts of the English countryside. We stopped in a little town called Sheffield for breakfast. The town calls itself the city of murals, and wall art is everywhere. In the distance, I could see the mountains of Tasmania rising through the clouds.

On the road to Sheffield:

Porwit-20130409-1369-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Having eaten our fill, we headed onwards to Cradle Mountain. This is a place that hewby has raved about for a while now, and as an added bonus, hewbys cousin is a helicopter pilot for a tourist flight company at the park. The riding is fun, and the weather is cooperating in that it is not raining and we get treated to some views.

Riding to Cradle:

Porwit-20130409-1374-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

We continue on to the park, and meet up with hewbys cousin, Dean. The weather is looking so so, with the iconic Cradle Mountain partially obscured by clouds. We talk it over, and decide to wager that the weather will improve later in the day, so for now hewby and I will take a hike through the park. We purchase park passes, and head in by bus to Dove Lake. From there, we do the loop around it. The hiking is easy, on very well maintained paths.

Hewby chats with her cousin Dean:

Porwit-20130409-1380-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The park bus takes us into the park, towards Dove Lake:

Porwit-20130409-1387-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain:

Porwit-20130409-1409-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The old boathouse on the lake:

Porwit-20130409-1424-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Easy hiking on engineered paths:

Porwit-20130409-1440-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hewby and Cradle:

Porwit-20130409-1447-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Up close and personal with the wildlife. This is (I think) a paddymellon, which is a type of small kangaroo:

Porwit-20130409-1455-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tasmanian rain forest:

Porwit-20130409-1459-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Fungus among us:

Porwit-20130409-1460-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Paths hugging the cliffs:

Porwit-20130409-1463-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

The weather improves, with the clouds clearing, and we take in some sunshine on Glacier Rock before heading back to the park entrance. Were going to get a ride in the helo! Dean takes the two of us up, along with another customer, in a Robinson R44 helicopter, and we do a 15-20 minute flight over the park. Were treated to beautiful views as we swoop around and between the peaks.

Taking in the sun at Glacier Rock:

Porwit-20130409-1487-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hewby's cousin, Dean, about to take us up:

Porwit-20130409-1505-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain from the air:

Porwit-20130409-1514-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tarns and marshes. The white ribbon is a wood plank causeway that makes up this section of the Overland Trek:

Porwit-20130409-1538-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Hewby enjoys the ride:

Porwit-20130409-1544-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

It seems our flight served as good advertising, as right after we land Dean has another two bookings, so he goes back up. Hewby and I hang out and wait for him in the helo shack, drinking tea. We get a visit from Mort, a 93yo local who lives right by the park entrance, and he regales us with a few of the many stories Im sure hes accumulated over the years. Dean finally gets back and we take our leave. We have another three or four hours riding to make it to Strahan, and given the amount of roadkill I have seen on Australian roads, I dont want to be riding too late in the day.

Hewby and Mort:

Porwit-20130409-1568-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Tourists photographing the (combat?) wombat:

Porwit-20130409-1582-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Wombat doesn't give a damn:

Porwit-20130409-1599-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Heading west and then south from Cradle, the surroundings begin to feel more and more like the PNW -- more green, moss, different vegetation. At times it even has a tundra-like appearance, with scrub and bare rock, though hewby tells me its so bare here because parts of the region were logged and mined extensively. We dont manage to outrun the setting sun, however, and we pull into Strahan in the dark as my eyes furiously scan the sides of the road, looking for wallabies with a death wish.

An aerial tram that looks like it was used to transport ore?

Porwit-20130409-1601-Orig.jpg by Marcin Porwit, on Flickr

Strahan itself is a logging/mining/fishing town that is also a tourist destination. Situated on a large bay, it feels very much like Wilapia Bay in Washington, or the mouth of the Rogue in Oregon. We look around for lodging, but prices border on ridiculous, with even a small cabin coming in at $120AUS. We decide to camp, and put the money saved towards a really nice dinner. For anyone looking for tasty, tasty food, Risby Cove restaurant is highly recommended, with excellent seafood, as one would hope for a coastal town.
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