Entomological Description

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Sydney, NSW, Australia
I'm a Christian husband currently finishing a Software Eng degree and wondering what God's plan for my life is. I sleep soundly in the knowledge that time will assuredly answer that question with little effort on my part.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Taswegia

I have returned from the land of milk and honey. Or at least the land of Cascade Apple Isle and rather nice cheese. For the past week and a bit I have been trapsing around the Apple Isle itself in the relative comfort of a late model Tarago hired from the good people at Thrifty. It was a fairly laid back holiday, but we managed to do a driving circuit of more or less the entire island in around 7 days, with a few days in Hobart on either side to adjust to the new level of civilisation that we were immersed in.

Tasmania is so amazingly pristine - it's very old, but most of the natural parts are still natural (if you ignore the logging and mining, which is craftily hidden from tourists) and the old cities are so amazingly well preserved that there's an interesting historical sidetrack at almost every turning.

And despite it having a reputation as a small island state - which it is mind you; we could drive across it in less than the time it takes to drive to Sydney from home - it has plenty to make you feel very small. The mountain road into Queenstown, for instance. Or Cradle mountain with its twin peaks.

And yet there was something curiously absent. For all the wandering around in forest that we did, I think the entire 12 days I was in Tasmania, I must have seen about four birds, two wombats and an echidna. And that was it. Apart from the countless seagulls that is, who still enjoy a reputation as the rodents of the beach even that far south. But the wildlife all seemed to be either missing, or just very well trained at hiding from clumsy tourists. I didn't see one Tasmanian devil, unless some of the dozen or more roadkills happened to be such a beast, but then hardly in a state fit for observation. Admittedly we didn't go to any wildlife parks or zoos, and we did get to see some Fairy Penguins at Bicheno because we went on a guided tour, but it still struck me as odd that in such a natural place as Tasmania, man seemed very alone. Maybe the rest of the wildlife saw what happened to the Tigers and decided to play it safe...

Important to note when travelling so far south: you are a good proportion of the way to Antarctica. Firstly, expect coldness. It was 35 degrees when we got on the Dash-8 at Tamworth. It was about 18 when we stepped off the 737 at Hobart. All within about 6 hours. Secondly, it stays light until about 9:30pm and sun rise is really, really early. So early I didn't ever actually see it. (I'm a creature of habit and I like my sleep at the beginning of the day rather than the end) Thirdly, expect to eat a fair bit of seafood. They like their Salmon in Tasmania. They farm it, catch it, breed it, smoke it, cure it, bake it, serve it and export it. Fishy business.

Here are a few of my favourite sights from the land down under the land down under:

Avove is Cradle Mountain, as viewed from the walking track around Dove Lake which is near its base.

Above is Macquarie Harbour, and me on top of Wanderer II, the boat we used to get out to Sarah Island and the Forest reserve.

And lastly (for now) here is one of the Oriental Lilies in the Conseratory at Hobart Royal Botanic Gardens. Some of the best gardens I've seen.

4 comments:

Martyn said...

Yo Phraser - post already!!

Martyn said...

Yo Phraser - post already!!

redbach said...

Hey marty...

Don't get much of a chance to blog these days. Funny that, considering how much time I spend in front of a computer screen. I'll try and make a new post before the session ends.

Cheers
Phraser :-D

libbiarna said...

don't make promises that you can't keep!