Waterwords

When I saw the theme for this week’s photo challenge, I delved straight into my Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) folder, as the Tasmanian gallery is filled with the unusual.

My final choice involved the piece that had an art ignoramus like me transfixed for the longest time. The backdrop is a high wall of what appears to be stone, with two side panels of the same material, creating a 3D frame. This transverses two levels and from a metal beam at the top, where lights are strategically placed, water shoots out at regular intervals, creating different words, that once formed, plunge to oblivion.

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So, in order to take the picture, I had to practice a bit so that I could actually get the word and try to catch the effect. As you see, I finally shot ‘shooting’, which I thought was even more unusual.

The words seem to be unrelated to anything, but maybe if I spent the day there…And what do I call this – a water feature? water words? water wall? waterfall? word fall?

To get the full scale, I put another shot here ( I think the word is smash):

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Look, even if you are not into art, like me, you have to visit this place. So many extraordinary visions will stay with me forever. Tasmania is a picturesque place in itself – see one of my blogs on the Island.

Safe travels. Take a camera, but turn the flash off.

 

Tasmania’s St Marys, Cornwall and saucy Evandale

We had read so much and heard other travellers speak of St Marys and the quirky shops there, that it became one of our last destinations.

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While being very pretty, and sustaining brightly-coloured flowers, the opening hours of most of the shops did not include Sunday morning. So we had a quick stroll, took some snaps and made our way to Evandale.

There is a tourist paper that Tasmania makes readily available, Travelways, and this alerted us to an area called Cornwall, an old coal mining district still in operation and a family sauce-making business in Evandale. Cornwall was like so many mining areas in Australia – victims of the change in politics and environmental action. The history of the miners and the monument was very interesting and alluded to plenty of stories and local heroes.

The Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company was an absolute treat. Easy to access and find, just off the main road, we were able to try about 13 sauces, I think. We bought home jam, sauce and pickles and were shocked at the low cost. I think the plum and pepperberry relish was the favourite and disappeared very quickly. We will be ordering online, for sure.

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So, if you get time, stop by these two towns (but check opening hours) and be delighted.

Safe travels.

Bicheno and Waubs Bay

It is an easy drive from Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park to Bicheno, where there are many accommodation options. We took a cabin in Bicheno Cabin Park, which had very good facilities and was a five minute walk to Waubs Bay. The sound of the surf at night was only just louder than the rain.

Of course, you cannot speak of Bicheno without mentioning the blowhole. We drove the short distance there and headed across sand and lichen-covered rocks to the attraction. You can hear it from the road, but don’t realise it until you have seen it. Shooting pretty high, it is the most accessible blowhole I have visited and fascinating enough to capture your interest for at least 30 minutes. I would be wary of taking young children nearby, as the waves from the ocean crash over the rocks that form the blowhole and it is not hard to imagine anyone getting swept out to sea.

There are a number of bakeries and eateries, a supermarket and a gallery. We tried to find the lookout but were unsuccessful and as the hour was late we couldn’t ask anyone in time to catch the view.

Waub’s Bay was a good spot for exploration and we saw a couple of young surfers in the water. Again, if I had young children I would keep an eye on them, with all the rocks and constant waves, but if you didn’t have a wetsuit I wouldn’t be heading in anyway.

Apparently, Waubs Bay is named after Wauba Debar, an Aboriginal woman of the area with a remarkable story. She and her family endured terrible things at the hands of sealers, yet she married one and saved him and another sailor during a storm, as she was an exceptional swimmer. When she died an early death in the mid-1800s, members of Bicheno raised funds to build a monument to commemorate her heroic deed. We did not have time to find her memorial.

Safe Travels.

On our way to Freycinet

With limited time to complete our dash around Tasmania, we left Hobart and faced a demanding day of driving, touring and hiking. Our main destination was Freycinet National Park.

Orford was prettily situated around the river and we were not deterred by the light showers that set in. En route to Swansea we stopped at Spiky Bridge, the aptly named way for cattle to cross the creek without being tempted to edge over the sides. It is quite unique, I believe, and just one of the many structures built by convicts in the early 19th century. As the two farmers who owned the adjoining paddocks told us – Tasmania (and maybe Australia) owed so much of its early growth to the convicts.

Swansea was, for us, a refreshment stop and short walk through the town. It is picturesque and has historic buildings and great eateries.

The way to Coles Bay is strewn with possible diversions and the one that tempted us was Devil’s Corner Cellar Door. We had heard of it, through another traveller who was doing a wine tour of the region and our brief stop and climb to the view certainly revealed many supporters of a nice drop. The view from the tower is soul-warming and if we visit this way again we will make time to taste the culinary delights teasing us from the compact, welcoming cellar.

Arriving at the Freycinet National Park Visitor centre we were well-informed about what would be suitable for us, given time and goals. We decided on the Wineglass Bay Lookout walk (3km return, 1 – 1.5 hours) and the Cape Toureville lighthouse walk.  The first was steep and a little slippery uphill, with more steps than the sign indicates in the last stretch, but the view is worth it and there is always the kudos once you return. Beware the suicide selfie tourist who plants themselves in the middle of all the best shots.

Some of the path is interesting in itself, with rocks and flora to satisfy everyone.

The lighthouse walk was very easy , with good firm paths and gave pretty views in all directions. There was a variety of geography.

Good walking shoes and determination are in order. Take water and read the advice to walkers.

We didn’t stay in the park, as it was Easter and everywhere was booked out, but we saw such a variety of accommodation options – campsites, cabins, tents, resorts.

Safe Travels!

Hobart

Our real discovery of Hobart began with a cool sunrise! But we had arrived there the afternoon before.

Mona – the museum of old and new art- was first on the Hobart agenda and despite the fact that I am not very interested in art (I visited as a result of ‘top ten things to do’ and my husband’s interest) we stayed there for about 2 hours. There are some amazing and thought provoking displays, as well as the quirky and the just plain boring.

With about an hour of daylight left, we set our sights on Mt Wellington. It is a long and winding road, narrow and steep. There are painted markers on the road, telling you how far you have to travel to the summit, but at about 5km the cloud set in. By the time we got to the top, brief slits of red sunset managed to appear on occasion, but the swirling mass of sunset-tipped cumulus nimbus obliterated the view of Hobart we hoped to get that day.

The next day we headed out to Mount Nelson, reported to have views that were sometimes better than Wellington, as they were more reliable. The stories of the keepers of the signal station, from 1811 to 1969, where they used Semaphore over great distances, were inspiring and moving. The views were quite lovely but trees had clearly grown to obscure some angles.

We didn’t really give ourselves enough time in Hobart and feel we missed the architecture of the town and the character of the wharf, along with historical and general sites like the Botanical Gardens. OK, the Cadbury chocolate factory, too.

The roads and suburbs are easy to navigate, whether you are walking or driving. We had great weather while there – around 23C each day and there were nearby places that I would visit if I went again, such as Richmond. The townships are enticing in their history and manageable size. Top Ten Tips should add ‘one or two days to explore one of those quaint towns you passed through/by.’

On our exit, we stopped to say farewell to Mt Wellington and the Tasman Bridge.

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Safe Travels. Drive slowly in fog.

Port Arthur

We made an early start to Port Arthur, via Sorrell, stopping at Tessellation Pavement, the Devil’s Kitchen, Tasman Blowhole and Admiral’s Arch. The rugged coastline made it easy to understand how so many convicts, attempting escape, met their death. It also gave some insight into how bad things must have been in penal settlements.

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The Port was easy to get to and had so much to offer, just as all the reviews suggested. The ticket was $39 each for adults with no concession  and included a 40 minute tour of the near garden, the penitentiary, asylum, hospital, commissary residence and the church.

After this we had some time to wander at will until our boat trip (also included in the cost) to neighbouring Puer Island (a prison for boys under 15) and Isle of the Dead, as well as giving some information about the bay and the escapes that had been planned, the early ship-building and other industries. The tour guides were very informative and although we could have spent the day there, we both felt that we had received good value, memorable stories and outstanding photographs.

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A very Aussie fancy dress  – The funniest story we heard was about a convict who had been a tinker and traveller. He decided that to escape he would need a disguise and a guard would be too hard, a civilian was too much like a convict, so he caught and skinned a kangaroo. Draping the skin over him, he made his way to the narrow stretch of land that would lead him to freedom, where guard dogs were kept hungry in order to catch any escapees. The dogs smelt him but the soldiers, rarely seeing fresh meat, also thought the big kangaroo was worth a shot. Realising that he was close to being killed, he called out that it was he and was caught, sent back to the penitentiary and received 100 lashes.

Port Arthur is definitely worth a visit. Publications say you can spend a day there and I can see how that is possible. Many stay or arrive for the ghost tours. We were there for about 4 hours and we didn’t see some things, but I felt it was fine. We had time to buy up at one of the souvenir shops, so I’m happy.

Safe travels. It may be cool but you’ll need suncream, water and hat because the sun bites.