A Recovered Travel Journal of Tasmania Holiday in December 2013

Documenting a holiday takes a lot of effort. It is a discipline of writing every evening during the holiday and it can be hard to find the energy to write after a long day of the tour. Then there are photographs taken whereby in their raw forms, they are quite a mess. Finding the right ones to collect and giving them the well-deserved processing takes time. Finally, publishing the journals online takes a lot of effort and cleanup as well.

I have started working on the photographs and the journal of our Tasmania holiday six years ago. Due to the sheer amount of content and I must have been distracted from my real-life activities as well, I have stopped not even halfway. Procrastination is a negative trait. Soon, more photo albums and journals are put aside waiting to be processed.

Buying a new camera setup reignites my passion for photography and journaling. I am determined to clear off my backlog. Looking back, I must say, Tasmania journal is one of the most well-preserved materials. And I wish to maintain its original form written back in 2013 in as much as possible. Even when it can be a little odd to read now (what’s up with all the OMG?).

Photo albums can be viewed in my photograph page. I have refrained from linking the albums onto a post like I have done in the past. Technology platform always changes. I try not to get myself into having to update the links all over the places when that happens.

Day 1 – Hobart (Part 1)

Omg. The plane was cold! British Airways style perhaps? I wish I had my sweater with me. The flight took eight hours from Singapore to Sydney and we only managed to sleep for an hour. I have watched The Internship and Before Midnight. My wife has watched the Owen Wilson movie and she picked Man of Steel as a second one

Then, there was a three hours transit that involved us having to collect our luggage and re-check in again. Flying through the European countries isn’t as tedious. Must be Australian style. The flight from Sydney to Tasmania took another two hours. I was asleep before the plane took off, had a neck pain by the time the snack has arrived – which is a good sign. Because at least I knew I had some sleep

Technology has changed the way we travel. Instead of bringing books to read on our holiday, we have Kindle. Instead of carrying a thick and heavy guidebook everywhere we go, we have them inside our Kindle. Getting lost on a foreign road may be a thing of the past. For A$2 a day, we have mobile data access. That means Google Maps as our companion and anything that we are unsure of – like shall we drive into Bruny Island or drink the water from the tap – Google knows.

Picked up our rental car at Hertz, we drove to Riverfront Motel, which very much resembles one of the motels we have stayed a long time ago in Melbourne. Beside the motel, there is a bay. Rather charming. Inside the motel, we had to deal with wet cloth crisis, thanks to the wet transit in Sydney. After a quick wash up, we left the motel and visit a mall nearby called Northgate. The chicken salad wrap was divine. So fresh. So much stuff inside. The size easily doubles what I used to see in Singapore.

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Next stop, we headed towards Salamanca, which is near to the heart of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania (we stayed at the northern part of Hobart). We saw a lot more shops in Salamanca as compared to where we stayed. There is a wharf in Salamanca. It is beautiful. There is a seafood restaurant by the wharf and it sells seafood too, for those who prefer to cook at home.

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Cynthia and I shared half a dozen oysters as an appetizer and we each have a fish and chip meal as the main course. Having only slept for at most two hours on the plane, we were too stoned to make any intelligent conversation. On top of that, we tried very hard not to fall asleep too early. But it is hard. I am falling asleep as I type this.

Day 2 – Bruny Island

Omg. The sun rises before five in Tasmania! For months, I have been trained in Singapore to wake up at five in the morning. But here in Tasmania, on my holiday, it is quite something.

One colleague of mine told me that I would experience four seasons in one day. He is quite right in saying so. In the morning and at night, the temperature drops to 10 degree Celsius, which is chilly enough for us to turn on the heater inside our motel room. During the day, the sun is so strong that I get a sunburn. Tomorrow, I will put on sunblock for sure.

Cynthia and I had debated which ferry to take to Bruny Island. She voted for the 11.30 one while I – someone who wants up early – wanted the 9.30 one. The trip to the ferry terminal takes about three-quarter of an hour. So I woke up at seven and managed to drag my wife out of the bed in time for the earliest ferry slot.

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We have also debated on whether or not we should drive our rental car into the ferry and into Bruny Island. We weren’t sure if the roads are sealed there. A quick chat at the tourist information counter next the terminal and we were recommended to drive into the island. Just need to avoid the unsealed roads.

Very well. And we barely able to make it in time, among the last few lucky ones who managed to squeeze into the ferry. The unlucky one would have to wait for two hours. Gosh. How lucky we were.

The ferry was fairly large. Four lanes of traffic on the lower and upper deck. Small cars like ours were inside. So were the gigantic trucks.

The trip took 25 minutes and cost A$30 (return). The island has a vertical span of 100km. It is larger than our country Singapore! I was expecting to see some wildlife as I have brought along my telescopic lens. Sadly, all I saw were seagulls by a beach. I may need to venture deep into the jungle in order to see the real deals.

Bruny Island is beautiful. It is surrounded by gorgeous blue sea. The sky was blue. The cloud looked fluffy. We had an oyster tasting for breakfast and pancakes for lunch. The oysters were fresh and the pancakes had a generous serving of berries and ice-cream.

We made a few stops at the scenic spots and have decided to take the 3.30 ferry back to the mainland. While waiting for the ferry to arrive, I have ordered a cup of hot chocolate at a cafe nearby. The man at the counter asked if I wished to try a wallaby pie. I had no idea what that was. But since I felt adventurous, I said bring it on.

Outside the cafe, I asked my wife if she knew what wallabies are and she said small kangaroos. Omg. I had no idea! The pie tasted good though. Poor kangaroos.

Back in Hobart, our number one task was to look for a decent restaurant. And we did. We picked a Greek restaurant. Cynthia had sausage, which she has been craving for the whole day. I had Tasmania mussels cooked in chili, capsicum, onion, tomato, and white wine. It was divine.

Day 3 – Huonville

Omg. Our neighbor was so noisy last night. Such is the reality of staying in a motel.

I could barely wake up this morning. But since my wife yearned for some good breakfast in town, I dragged myself out of bed at eight.

The bakery is recommended by the guidebook. And we were lucky enough to have found a 2P parking lot nearby (means 2 hours free parking) instead of 1/4P parking outside the bakery. I eat fast. But I would like to take more than 15 minutes to enjoy my breakfast.

A 50km drive from our hotel to Huonville.
A 50km drive from our hotel to Huonville.

I had a pie and Cynthia had half of a baguette. After our breakfast, we headed to Huonville. Huonville has a majestic river, so pleasant to look at. Beyond Huonville and in Arve, there is a forest with a treetop walk and swing bridges called Tahune AirWalk.

Another 30km drive from Huonville into Tahune AirWalk.
Another 30km drive from Huonville into Tahune AirWalk.

We drove a lot today and we walked for more than two hours. There weren’t many people in the forest. And the only wildlife we have seen was a porcupine crossing the road. The forest has a special scent. Cynthia reckons the scent comes from the trees. The hiking today reminds me of our visit to Melbourne years ago. Perhaps nature is a core part of Australia’s beauty.

By the time we returned to our motel, it was after seven. Most shops were closed and we bought some fish and chip as a takeaway.

By the river, next to our motel, we had our dinner. The view was beautiful. All of a sudden, birds and ducks came towards us like my wife was Snow White and I was Prince Charming. We knew what they were after. The moment we left our table, the table was attacked by birds and ducks. Too bad. Cynthia and I are not messy eaters.

Day 4 – Mount Field National Park

Omg. Cynthia and I have encountered a living and breathing wallaby today inside a national park! Had I not known such a species exists, I would have thought that it was a giant black rat. And I had it for snack a couple of days ago. Oh gross.

We have encountered a platypus too, in broad daylight swimming in a stream. The western elderly couple who have discovered it told us that it is extremely rare to see a nocturnal animal such as platypus during the day. Shortly after we have arrived at the scene, it swam away. In our over-enthusiasm, Cynthia and I must have talked too loud and scared away the little cute animal.

A 65 km drive from our motel near Hobart to Mount Field National Park
A 65 km drive from our motel near Hobart to Mount Field National Park

Rewind to this morning, we had breakfast in a mall nearby. I picked a meal that gave me half a day worth of energy. In retrospect, that was the best decision made because we were going to miss our lunch later today. The Australians don’t serve food beyond mealtime. Lesson learned.

Finally, we got to check out of the motel. The accommodation was relatively more affordable. But motel being motel, it can get really noisy. The B&B in Queenstown – our next accommodation – is, in fact, a mansion. The bedroom is as big as our apartment in Singapore. The carpet is thick. The indoor environment is clean and well maintained. I don’t know what breakfast will be like. I would come back here for another holiday in a heartbeat.

The main attraction of today’s itinerary was Mount Field National Park. We have purchased an A$60 package that allows us to visit all the parks in Tasmania. It is a great value because Mount Field would have cost us A$24 to get in.

The wonderful thing about visiting a national park is that there is plenty of hiking opportunity in a relatively remote area. We hardly saw a soul inside the forest. There aren’t many photo opportunity though. Because everywhere we see, it is the same kind of trees; some are standing, some are not.

Mount Field National Park has three waterfalls. And we have seen them all. My favorite is the Horseshoe Falls. It does look like a horseshoe and is the most unique waterfall I have seen so far.

Around 200 km drive from Mount Field National Park to Queenstown.
Around 200 km drive from Mount Field National Park to Queenstown.

Queenstown reminds us of Storybroke in Once Upon a Time. The town is small and quiet. There are a clock tower and an antique store. Perhaps this town is run by a mayor who resembles the evil queen?

Kidding.

Day 5 – Queenstown

Omg. It was foggy outside when I look out from the window moments after I woke up. It is hard to believe. Yesterday was really warm, like summer should be. Today felt like winter in Tasmania. 

Over breakfast, the innkeeper shared with us the story of Queenstown. How it was one of the world’s most important mining town – for gold, silver, and copper. How mining has destroyed the environment. How the Indian bought over the mine. Even local news on two miners fell to their death a few days ago. 

After breakfast, we drove to a town nearby called Strahan. Maybe the weather wasn’t nice. Strahan was not as pretty as we thought. So we moved onto another town nearby called Zeehan. The town is very quiet and like most towns we have seen in Tasmania, the town center only occupies one stretch of road that can be covered within walking distance. In fact, I don’t remember seeing a traffic light after we have left Hobart. 

Strahan is about 50km from Queenstown.

West Coast Heritage Centre comes highly recommended by the guidebooks as well as the innkeeper. We had a peep from the outside and were not convinced that it worths A$15 per person to get in. So we headed back to Queenstown after lunch. 

We got into the so-called highway and while I was negotiating with the endless bends, I said to Cynthia that if we don’t visit the heritage center, we would feel like we haven’t done much today. She agreed and I made a U-turn on this so-called highway and returned to Zeehan. 

The heritage center turns out to be much bigger than we thought. It has a large outdoor section that houses all sorts of locomotive engines and related. There is even a small vintage motor show too. The heritage center is also connected to a theater next door as part of the exhibition. There are countless galleries that explain the history of the region and more. We have spent more than two hours at the heritage center all the way until it closed. Needless to say, we are pleasantly surprised by the visit. 

On our way back to Queenstown – this time is for real – Cynthia had an idea. The Paragon Theatre has just been renovated and is showing the Immortal Instrument over the weekend. Why not catch a movie since our evenings are often open? 

We had pies and nachos for dinner. Having nowhere to go, we dropped by the theatre again to see if it was opened (only one show on Friday). Upon reading the doorstep, I saw a young man walking out from a car together with his little daughter. I asked if he was a local and if he knew when the theatre would be open. He said usually earlier than this but today he was running late. 

OK. Turns out that he is the owner of the theatre! Once we were inside, he took us for a quick tour. Although he was born in Tasmania, his parents were Spain and his wife is a Brazilian. No wonder he is so friendly. We chatted a bit after the show. Turns out that he has moved into Queenstown for about a year and his full-time job is being a geologist at a mine. Wow. So running a theatre is more of a hobby, something to give back to the community. Such a cool story. 

Back to the theatre, it was a unique experience. The theatre is rather large. If it was in Singapore, it would have been able to accommodate hundreds of people. Here, there were sofas that can accommodate 60 people. In fact, throughout the movie, there were only two of us and two young girls. No wonder it is a hobby for the owner. 

Immortal Instrument is better than we thought. In fact, today was way better than we thought.

Day 6 – Cradle Mountain National Park (Part 1)

Omg. We have waited one hour in the cold from four-thirty in the afternoon for the shuttle to take us from Lake Dove back to the entrance of Cradle Mountain National Park. Had we known that it would take such a long time due to overwhelming demand, we would have driven into the park, even as we are advised not to.

Humph. 

126km from Queenstown to Cradle Mountain

This morning, reluctantly, we left our luxurious B&B in Queenstown and headed to Cradle Mountain. Fully expected that part of the road may be unsealed – and hence not covered by the insurance should there be an incident (touch wood). We were delighted that the road is sealed all the way to the national park. Yippee! The drive didn’t take long either. We stopped by the Penguin Cradle Trail, which is the highest point of the development road just under 1,000m. That was also the last place my Optus prepaid SIM card worked. I am totally cut off from the Internet at the moment. 

Ugh. 

After checking into the Cradle Mountain Chateau – a very nice hotel with a king-size bed split unit overlooking the forest – knowing that we only have less than two hours to walk and that wombats are nocturnal in nature, we headed directly to the trail that rumors to have wombats. 

We got off the shuttle and immediately, we saw a few wombats roaming around. Following the trail – an elevated walkway as the ground is muddy and wet and perhaps unsafe to walk, we stopped from time to time and took pictures of this beautiful wildlife. We thought we would see more wombats as we walked deeper into the trail. But that was the last place we saw wombats. 

Feeling totally exhausted from the wait for the shuttle in our return trip, we have abandoned our initial plan to dine at the nearest town Tullah. Instead, we paid A$38 per person for a hotel buffet. 

Man. Australia is an expensive place to live.

Day 7 – Cradle Mountain National Park (Part 2)

Omg. We returned to the same spot we have visited yesterday and spent half an hour in the rain photographing quite possibly the same wombat we have seen yesterday. 

People say that wombats are nocturnal. To see a wombat wandering in the wilderness before noon could either mean that this particular wombat is an early riser. As traditional wisdom says, the birds that wake up early get the worms. Except there seems to be plenty of food in this national park. Or, this particular wombat is having insomnia. 

After yesterday’s terrible experience with the park’s shuttle, we have decided to drive into the park. Even though the road is narrow and windy. The rain was pretty bad this morning. We parked at Lake Dove, did a very short walk to see what possibly be the Glacier Rock, and we turned back. So glad that we did a hike yesterday late afternoon when the weather was still OK. 

On our way back, Cynthia has spotted a wombat at the very same spot we saw one yesterday. Hence the omg opening in this journal entry. 

Enough of Cradle Mountain National Park, we drove out to one of the nearest towns called Sheffield. It is a town full of wall murals. The only shops that were open at four in the afternoon were a supermarket and a cafe. So we stopped for an hour having some hot drink and sharing a delicious mint fudge. Still too early for dinner, we drove further north and into Devonport. 

Devonport is a rather big town. We have finally seen traffic light after days of not seeing one. The town is next to the sea and is facing the Bass Strait and the Australia mainland. We had dinner in an Irish pub before heading back to Cradle Mountain. 

The return drive was rather exciting. First, it was desirable to reach the hotel before sunset at nine. Because the road could be dark and the speed limit drops to 65 at night. Second, part of the road was foggy. Third, we began to see animals like wallabies dashing across the road. Killing one would leave a scar in my soul. 

And we made it to the national park before sunset. We stopped along the road several times to observe the wallabies and the wombats. We love nature in Australia.

Day 8 – Launceston (Part 1)

Omg. We are running out of cash very soon unless we implement some sort of money-saving measures. We just had Chinese food for dinner. A$12.90 per person is considered as a standard meal in Australia. Guess what we have? 2 dishes and rice. Back in Singapore, that would have cost no more than S$3.50.

This morning, we departed fun Cradle Mountain and headed towards Deloraine. Instead of driving via Sheffield as recommended by Google Maps, we took a small road cutting through the Mole Creek Karst National Park instead. That drive was easily one of the most scenic routes we have taken thus far. It was like going through a giant forest. The landscape of a massive greenfield, trees that are tall and gigantic. I love it. 

100km drive from Cradle Mountain to Deloraine

Deloraine is charming. There are rural farmlands surrounding the town and the town itself is lovely, buzzing with people. Deloraine has a park sandwiched between a river and a railway track. We had lunch in Deloraine, took a slow walk along the river admiring a duck and her ducklings swimming on the water before heading to out today’s destination – Launceston. 

A short 50km drive from Deloraine to Launceston

Some say Launceston and Tasmania’s capital Hobart rival each other. Personally, I prefer Launceston for her architecture and a seemingly larger shopping area. But Hobart has a beautiful wharf. Taking in all, I would say that it is a tie. 

Because our inn is rather close to the city center, we have decided to leave our car behind and walk the city instead. I think to really tour a city is best on foot. 

At least we get to save some money on parking and petrol.

Day 9 – Narawntapu National Park

Omg. Narawntapu National Park is beautiful! Uniquely so, this park has access to a beach. We stopped by various parts of the beach. Each is beautiful in its own way. We drove along the gravel road and at one end of the beach, there was a campsite. We took out our Subway packed lunch and enjoyed the scenery as we had our lunch.

After our meal, we started our hike into the park and into the wilderness. We have encountered quite a number of wallabies mostly under the shade. They are awfully shy animals. Cynthia and I have to move in slowly and I would attempt to take some pictures from a distance. One time, I saw a wallaby hopping towards me in the middle of the road and I stopped dead. The wallaby saw me and it stopped dead too. We looked at each other for a couple of seconds and it hopped away, oblivious of my existence.

We hike for four hours, desperate to find wombats. But we found none. According to the ranger, wombats often come out during overcast weather. Unfortunately, today was bright and sunny. Just when we have given up hope, near the visitor car park, we saw a wombat wandering in a giant green field kept on eating whatever it was eating.

It is a real pity that the wombats in Narawntapu National Park are suffering from a disease that causes hair loss and loss of sight. The wombats we saw did not look healthy at all. But they still went about their routine and kept eating. I hope they will be cured soon.

We left the park at five forty, rushing back to Launceston. Because we wouldn’t want to miss dinner. Today was Christmas Eve so we have decided to give ourselves a treat. We had our dinner at Cataract on Paterson. They ran out of oysters so we had scallops as a starter instead. Delicious. The main course was steak. We had desserts too. And a bottle of Tasmania sparkling wine. All for A$128.

Day 10 – Launceston (Part 2)

Omg. All the shops and most restaurants are closed on Christmas day! We were searching high and low for food. In the end, I took the executive decision to buy some sandwiches from a petrol station for lunch. I added in a bottle of chocolate milk and Cynthia has requested for a packet of chips. We ate our meal at our inn, alfresco style. This worked out better than we thought. 

Dinner time, we drove around town. I wanted Steakhouse but we would need to wait for two hours to be seated. I was starving. So we picked a Thai restaurant that turns out pretty good. The spice is lacking though, an Australian version of Thai cuisine I suppose. But it wasn’t that expensive. It was still expensive, as more than double of what would have cost in Singapore.

Cynthia wanted to attend a Christmas Mass in Launceston. I suspect she picked an inn right next to the Church so that we could attend Mass, even on foot. 

It was a cozy environment. As though people know each other within the community. There were no altar boys at all, which is a rather depressing scene to see. The two priests took turns to help out each other. The crowd was pretty mature. A lack of young Catholic generation is also depressing to see. 

The choir was great. During the homily, the priest deliberately stood closer to the crowd. Like in Hong Kong and unlike say Singapore and Indonesia, the Mass was wrapped up in an hour sharp. I felt the tradition. But did not quite feel the passion. 

After Mass, Cynthia did laundry. We had lunch and headed to Cataract Gorge Reserve nearby. Unlike the gorges, we have visited in Europe, this one we could walk along the water. We saw wildlife too such as porcupine, wallaby, peacock, and duck. And we saw some swimming in the gorge alongside the ducks. Being one with nature cannot be more appropriate than that. 

Next on our agenda was George Town, which was less than an hour’s drive from Launceston. Due to public holiday, the entire town was closed. We took a walk along the pier, watching people fishing, and played some Ingress. It was a relaxing day.

A short 50km drive to George Town.

Day 11 – Freycinet National Park

Omg. We were attacked by hordes and hordes of mosquitoes at Freycinet National Park. We must have killed several dozens during our four hours hike. These are not Asian size mosquitoes. These are of Australian size, huge and capable to penetrate through T-shirts, socks, even jeans! Lesson learned. Always bring along insect repellent when going for a hike. 

This morning, I should have woken up early. Because we have a long drive ahead of us. But I just couldn’t. It is so unlike me. Guess I was tired. Or pleased that after not having much sleep in the majority of 2013, I can finally have some sleep.

By the time we checked out of our inn, it was close to ten. First stop was the supermarket as we ran out of drinking water. Hooray! The supermarket was open on Boxing Day. Next was breakfast. We had no idea how to turn back to tje town center. On the left was a highway. On the right was another highway. Cynthia asked me to turn right. But I spotted a signpost saying Southern Launceston so I turned left. Bam! We saw McDonald’s. I have been thinking of McDonald’s breakfast since the day before. That must be some kind of divine intervention. 

The drive to Freycinet National Park was long. Knowing that if we were to miss the lunch hours, we would have nothing to eat till evening. So we made a stop at Swansea, barely an hour from our breakfast, we had lunch. Swansea is a fishing town. The crayfish at the counter looked delicious. Unfortunately, we did not have time to enjoy crayfish. So we had fresh oysters, green salad, and fish and chips instead.

A 135km drive from Launceston to Swansea.

The park is famous for Coles Bay and Wineglass Bay. The hike to the lookouts was pretty OK. But the one-hour return hike to Wineglass Bay was rather tough, classified as grade 4 difficulty in Australian standard. It reminds us of our Mount Kinabalu climb.

After our hike to the bay, we took another short hike to Cape Tourville, which has a lighthouse overlooking the ocean. It was a magnificent sight. 

Our resort is at Triabunna. By the time we left the park, it would be too late to have dinner at our resort. So we stopped by Swansea again. No more fish and chips for dinner! I had a steak and boy, that was such a delicious meal. To say that I was starving was an understatement.

60km from Swansea to our Resort.

Day 12 – Waubes Bay Etc.

Omg. I managed to answer one of the quiz questions on the ABC radio correctly! Actually I got a few right, which is a much better improvement on yesterday’s quiz on science and planets. Today, it was on old tech gadgets. Which year the first iPod was released? I don’t own any Apple products in my life. Having said that, I did bring an iPod for my wife in the early year of our marriage. We got married in 2000. I must have bought her one in 2001 when I had to travel often. And I guessed right. Woohoo!

I overslept, again. We got out of the resort at ten and took a few minutes to drive to Triabunna town center for breakfast. Cynthia had a muffin while I a bowl of porridge, the Western-style. It was delicious. 

Eleven o’clock, we started the trip to Bicheno, one and a half hour’s drive from Triabunna. Cynthia thinks that it is far. Come to think of it, it is about the same drive from Oxford to London, when I was a student. Not that far at all. 

Lunch at Blue Edge Bicheno was equally delicious. The bread and pies are award-winning. We think so too. Bought a bottle of insect repellent from a pharmacy next door, we started our beach visit. 

Looking back, we have only visited Waubes Bay, Redbill Beach, Denison Beach along the eastern coastal drive. But it felt more than that. Rock hopping at Redbill Beach was the highlight of the day. We wanted to get to the far edge so as to get a better vantage point. And we did it. It was beautiful up there. Seagulls were resting on the rocks. Some flew. Because the wind was so strong, the seagulls were momentarily suspended gracefully in midair. The sea and the sky were so blue that it hurt my eyes. What beautiful scenery. 

We drove as far as a remote town called Seymore, which doesn’t even have sealed roads. There is a campsite by the beach but it was closed. It was getting late so we halted our northern expedition and turned back. 

Got the last table from an Italian restaurant in Bicheno. The woodfired Kilpatrick oysters and the spicy Red Devil pizza were delicious. What a delightful day for our stomachs!

Day 13 – Maria Island

Omg. Wombats are so cute! 

We woke up early, had our homemade breakfast (ahem cereal with milk and hot tea), and we made sandwiches for our lunch at Maria Island as there are no shop or restaurant inside the national park.

At the wharf, Cynthia and I have contemplated if we should rent a bike. The island is rather large. Impossible to cover on foot in one day. Having a bike may allow us to get to places faster. But we were told that some terrains can be challenging and since Cynthia has no experience with mountain biking, we have decided not to rent one. Now that we have been to a part of Maria Island, there are trails that are not accessible to bikes, like along the beach. We are happy to walk, for five and a half hours.

The boat ride from Triabunna to Maria Island only took 45 minutes. But the sea was rough. At one point, both of us thought we might have to throw up. The boat traveled rather fast, at around 30 to 35 knots. Once we reached the national park, we proceeded to register our walk at an old jailhouse. Our first destination was the Painted Cliff as recommended by the boat captain. Because the tide is low, it is easier to go round the cliff. 

The cliff by any standard is not huge. However, it is special because of the corrosion over the years, the face of the cliff forms a layered pattern. We hopped around the rocks near the coastline in order to traverse the cliff. There were some scary moments because the face of the cliff is sloped downwards, and it is sandy. Straight down is the sea. 

After our visit to the cliff, we had our lunch nearby and returned to Darlington the town center. We met a ranger and I asked what the large birds were that are commonly seen on the island. It turns out they are Australian geese that at one time were endangered. So the Australian moved some of them here for conservation purpose. This reminds me. According to the boat captain, Tasmanian Devils are introduced into Maria Island too for the same purpose. 

Before we bid the ranger farewell, she recommended that we shall visit the reservoir – her favorite track in the park. We took up her suggestion. Hiking to the reservoir felt like hiking in Narawntapu National Park. According to the pamphlet, the reservoir was built by the convicts a long time ago. Tasmania is so full of history. 

After we have reached the reservoir, we wanted to see how far we could go without missing the boat. We pushed into Fossil Cliff. During our hike, we lost the trail. Lucky I have downloaded the map while we were in Darlington. We followed the compass and direction from Google Maps, trekked through miles and miles of animal poops, we have reached Fossil Cliff. 

Fossil Cliff is magnificent. It was windy. Looking down from the edge, I felt vertigo. We couldn’t stay long and we made haste to return to the pier. 

In the end, we were early for the boat. So far, we have seen a black snake, an iguana, geese, some birds that look like black chicken, even tadpoles. But we have not seen the wombats, though we have seen their unique cube-shaped droppings. Just when we have given up hope, Cynthia has spotted one in the open. Then other. I took plenty of pictures of these cute animals before one went away and one returned to its burrow. 

The boat ride back was not as bad as this morning. For dinner, we popped by a town nearby called Orford. I had a pizza. It was a wallaby salami. Surely I am not going to eat something that can be commonly found in Singapore, am I?

Day 14 – Hobart (Part 2)

Omg. Old Woolstore Apartment is so luxurious. Thanks to the boat race that took place from Sydney to Hobart, almost all the accommodations in around Hobart were fully booked one month ago. It cost us close to A$300 a night. But we love the room. It is spacious, clean and modern. It has a kitchen and a dishwasher. The bathroom has a ceiling heater and a washing machine that comes with a dryer. Even the beers in the refrigerator cost lesser than the restaurants outside!

This morning, we checked out of that resort rated zero at ten and contemplating if we should head straight to Bonorong Wildlife Park. Because the next day tour world is at 2.30pm, we still had time to stop by another destination and have time. So we picked Richmond. 

Richmond is a beautiful town. There are flowers of all kinds everywhere. The buildings are colorful. We tried the pie and savory pancake at Ashmore as recommended by the guidebook. The meal was delicious. 

We reached Bonorong Wildlife Park after one and it rained. Thankfully, by the time we toured the park, the rain has stopped. According to the staffs, this park is solely funded by visitors and donations. Its main function is to take care of the orphaned or injured animals due to roadkill incidents. 

We saw a baby wombat that is utterly cute (and we were told that its cuteness would vanish when he becomes two years old). We saw quite a few Tasmanian Devils, finally. There were kangaroos everywhere. Cynthia had a fun time feeding the kangaroos and shall I say terrorizing the baby wombat. We stayed until four-thirty. Three hours we have spent in the park and we love it. 

After our visit to the park, we headed to Hobart where we would stay for two nights. At the wharf, a different restaurant this time, we had seafood dinner. In this particular restaurant called Fish Frenzy, they served oysters with wasabi and sweet soy sauce. We have not tried that combo before. I must say, it was wonderful. It is like having oyster sashimi. Except, I don’t recall seeing oysters being served in a sashimi style in any Japanese restaurant before.

Day 15 – Mount Wellington

Omg. It is freezing cold at the Mount Wellington Pinnacle. A half an hour drive and 1,270m above sea level, the wind is exceptionally strong up at the peak. With the air (and the cloud I suppose) traveling at such fast speed, no wonder the weather changes so rapidly in Tasmania. 

This entire trip is the longest we have planned so far. And we are getting tired, all ready to go home. Woke up late this morning, we had breakfast at the hotel/apartment. Dropped by Woolworth to pick up some bottled water, inside the car and at the car park, we were contemplating how to spend the rest of the day. 

The weather was so so. Museum visit could be a good idea. Just that we aren’t interested in any around Hobart. Since our plan was to use the tripod and take some couple photos – as part of our family tradition, we always dedicate one day for couple photos – we headed to Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. 

It is a charming garden. Rather small. But we saw many interesting plants and flowers. Unique to this garden are the sculptures in around the garden. Some are built using natural materials such as wood and mud. 

Four hours we have spent in the Botanical Gardens having fun photographing ourselves. Challenging though because the light condition changes so fast. By the time we were done, we have decided to visit Mount Wellington. 

After our visit to the peak, we returned to Salamanca area for dinner, just like what we did when we first landed on Tasmania. We picked a different restaurant. Or rather a pub. We had burgers on the second floor of the pub all by ourselves. While the food was so so, the music was great. We managed to tag the music while we were there. 

  • Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs
  • Little Talks – Of Monsters And Men
  • White Room – Cream 
  • Jungle – Emma Louise 
  • Don’t Stop – Foster The People 
  • Your Drums, Your Love – AlunaGeorge
  • Hell – Tegan And Sara
  • She Said – Plan B
  • 12:51 – The Strokes
  • All I Want Is You – Ball Park Music 
  • Endless Sun – The Money Go Round 
  • Love Lockdown – Kanye West 
  • Out Of Limits – The Marketts
  • Mr. Brightside – The Killers

A Compilation Of Our Tasmania Holiday Google+ Posts

Last December, my wife and I have visited Tasmania. Every year, we pick a destination to visit. We must be one of the last few couples on earth to embrace new technology. It was only recently when we have started to plan and book the accommodation for our entire holiday in advance and in the comfort of our home.

The magnificent Painted Cliff taken using my mobile phone.

But time has changed. We too have embraced new technology for our Tasmania trip. No longer do we need to carry the heavy guidebooks everywhere we go. Instead, we bought the electronic version from Amazon.com and load them into my Nexus 7 tablet. It is not as intuitive because I still prefer to flip through a book looking for what I want. However, electronic version does have its merits. It is extremely easy to search for a place when all of a sudden, we pass by a town and wonder if it is worth visiting – for example.

In Australia, for A$2 a day, we were able to access the Internet on my mobile phone using a prepaid SIM card. 500MB a day. Tethered that to my 7 inches tablet Nexus 7, there are many things we could do!

For example …

Google Maps. With that, we will never get lost, except when the mobile signal is gone. Still, what I do is to cache the maps for offline browsing. A little bit tedious. But that can be done. Wife doesn’t get stressed up reading a map. I don’t get stressed up driving without knowing where we are heading. It is perfect.

And of course, in every trip we go, I keep a diary. Because so much happens during our holiday, it is impossible to remember all the details. So I write them down, on pen and paper. The reality is that it is very hard to keep a readable journal written after a long day of travel. Most of the time, I can hardly read what I have written!

Google Drive. With that, I can write my journey online, using my tablet! It is perfect because for the first time in history, I can read everything I have written. A little bit tedious to type on a tablet. And when there is no data signal, Drive just wouldn’t open my journal. Still, I can write on Evernote as a backup plan.

And the best of all? Google+ the social networking website, my one and only. Everywhere we go, I take picture using my phone (and my DSLR of course). I transfer the mobile phone photos to my tablet, process them using Snapseed, and on the spot, I can share the pictures to Google+ with a location tag! It is like live blogging on our Tasmania trip. We love it so much that I am going to compile all our holiday posts into here, for our future reading pleasure (because Google+ does not seem to have a … erm … timeline feature).Those that are marked are our favorites.

  1. Our road tip plan
  2. Checking into a motel
  3. Heading to Hobart for dinner
  4. University of Tasmania
  5. The oysters were so fresh!
  6. Taking a ferry to Bruny Island
  7. *** A view from a memorial
  8. The pancake here were divine!
  9. First Catholic Church we found in Tasmania and it was closed
  10. Captain Cook landed here once upon a time
  11. A wallaby pie, enough said
  12. Cynthia wanted a brekkie
  13. A campsite by a river
  14. Port Huon
  15. River Huon
  16. Some walk can be really long, like 6 to 12 days
  17. A swing bridge
  18. (Recap) Huon River by a campsite
  19. A live wallaby!
  20. Lady Barron Falls
  21. A beautiful B&B we have stayed in
  22. Queenstown, looks like Storybroke!
  23. I love eating steak in Australia
  24. A local library
  25. And we played Ingress
  26. Another Catholic Church we have found (and it was closed)
  27. A car that Agent Coulson would love to have
  28. Locomotive panel
  29. *** Queenstown landscape
  30. Crocoite
  31. The Paragon Theatre (good story)
  32. Crossing a lake, not!
  33. Birds in a cage
  34. Penguin Cradle Trail
  35. Cradle Mountain
  36. Sheffield, a town of murals
  37. Devonport by the coast
  38. Neptune at Devonport
  39. Molly Malones at Devonport
  40. *** A beautiful sight on our way to Deloraine
  41. Lunch at Deloraine
  42. *** Meandering River
  43. A windmill next to our inn
  44. Drinking consultants …
  45. *** (Recap) Hiking at Cradle Mountain
  46. Wombat pool (or poos)
  47. Launceston post office
  48. Narawntapu National Park entrance
  49. Hiking through the vegetation and into the beach
  50. *** A kiss from the Tasmania sky
  51. Walking along the beach of Narawntapu
  52. Photosphere of the beach
  53. My camera and I
  54. *** Wombat and I
  55. Hiking through a tiny sandy road
  56. Heading to the beach
  57. Christmas Mass at Launceston
  58. Cataract Gorge
  59. Pier of George Town
  60. (Recap) Cataract Gorge from another angle
  61. Tasmania weather
  62. Boxing Day at McDonald’s
  63. This is Swansea
  64. *** Wineglass Bay
  65. A lighthouse at Cap Tourville
  66. This steak was divine, best we have ever had so far
  67. And the dessert
  68. (Recap) 18 days?
  69. (Recap) Photosphere of Wineglass Bay
  70. A squid farming boat
  71. An award winning bakery
  72. Waubes Bay
  73. Redbill Beach
  74. *** We are the champions …
  75. Cynthia and the beach
  76. A gallery
  77. Waubes Bay from another angle
  78. Italian food in Tasmania
  79. Arriving at Maria Island
  80. Found some native geese
  81. Hiking at Maria Island
  82. A creek and a beach
  83. Cynthia photographing Painted Cliff
  84. *** The magnificent Painted Cliff 
  85. Walking round the cliff was kind of challenging
  86. Resting at the reservoir
  87. *** Going off the grid
  88. *** The magnificent Fossil Cliff
  89. *** A video of a wombat!
  90. Strange flowers at Richmond
  91. *** A kangaroo posing with Cynthia
  92. This was where Sydney-Hobart race ended
  93. Found this in our luxury hotel
  94. *** A video of Cynthia and the kangaroos
  95. Lily Pond at Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden
  96. Flowers that smelled really good
  97. *** Pinnacle of Mount Wellington