1.27.2014

Tasmania

 


My husband and I decided to take a trip to Tasmania. We made the decision together to pack everything we would need into our backpacks and backpack through Tasmania. Supposedly at the time, it was Tasmania's summer. You would never guess that. When we had good weather, it was beautiful. When the weather turned on us, which it did at any and every moment- we learned to go with the flow.

It was fantastically intense. 

Below chronicles our days in Tasmania during the month of December, 2012.

Day 1:
We boarded a short flight from Melbourne, Australia and landed in Hobart, which is the main port in Tasmania. We landed in the evening and decided to stay at a backpackers hostel in Hobart. We met some awesome people there, got some great travel advice, and enjoyed a nice warm bed. 

Day 2:
We set out for Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park on the Eastern Coast. The drive was beautiful, sun was shining, and we stopped at a winery on our way to the National Park. We arrived at a breathtaking beach where we set up camp. We were literally camping right on the ocean. I felt like I never wanted to leave. We unpacked our bags and set up our tent and set out to explore the coast with our headlamps right before dusk. We saw thousands of crabs right near the edge of the water, a few stingrays, and wallabies popping their heads out of the dunes! Wallabies are like mini kangaroos, super shy, really cute. 

In the middle of the night, we woke up to pouring rain. I love rain so I went right back to sleep, and slept well. 

Day 3:
This morning, we woke up to cold pouring rain. I mean pouring. Once it started last night, it did not stop for a moment. We stayed in the tent a while longer, hoping the rain would let up. It did not. Brian got up to shower and get ready for the day. We had only packed one towel to save weight. Also, we only own one pack towel between the two of us in general. Still living the shoe-string days. So he came back, I went to shower in the ice- cold water (cold water = torture for this girl). Brian gave me words of encouragement before I left camp on showering in the cold water- "you can do it". Well I did it.  

We spent the day hiking- to the lighthouse and Wine Glass Bay. It was beautiful. The rain finally let up and it was hot! We contemplated staying at the beach for another night, but scrapped that and set out for Western Tasmania for some serious hiking. We spent the day driving through country roads through the Western Tier Mountain Range. Tasmania kept getting more and more beautiful! We also saw a ton of wildlife on our drive- wombats, wallabies, echidnas- they were all so cute!! The echidnas look like little hedgehogs with pointy noses. We saw them everywhere. Our destination was a place called Derwent Bridge, which was promised by everyone we talked to to be amazing. We ran out of gas at one point, so we pulled into a tiny town to gas up. Mind you, the only town in between where we were and where we were going. They were closed. Our hearts sank a little. I walked up to the glass-front windows, knocked on them and caught the owners eyes inside. He walked to the door, opened it a crack, and said, "we're closed". I clasped my hands together and said, "please, we just need gas". "Are you completely out?", he asked. "Yes!" I exclaimed, knowing he was softening. He opened up the pump and as I walked back to the car, I glanced at Brian both of us breathing a sigh of relief. After we filled up with gas, we visited a local wool museum. It was cool to see how the wool was harvested and made,  since the majority of our road trip was spent passing fields of thousands of sheep. My husband made a comment that there were more sheep than people in Tasmania, turns out that's completely true.

Day 4:
We woke up near Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair National Park. We decided to hike the Overland Track. I was the most excited I had been the entire trip. We were to take a boat ride that would drop us 13km up the Overland Track for us to hike back. When we left it was pouring rain and 40 degrees. Were we crazy? Yes. But we're in Tasmania, it's the Overland Track, let's do it! So we got on the boat to start this adventure. The hike was incredible. We hiked next to Lake St. Clair for most of it. Saw several huts that overlanders will sleep in when they take weeks to do the entire route. At one point, we got lost. Several paths appeared it seemed all at once, and we lost sight of what path we were supposed to be on. We stopped, took out our map, regrouped. I looked down and saw several leaches crawling up my rubber boots, a few had made it all the way up to my jeans. I looked at my husband's legs and they were covered in leaches. He quickly and calmly took these dark black creatures off himself, leaving blood running down his legs. At that exact moment it started raining harder, the small streams we had been crossing started running more like rivers. We went from hopping stones to cross them to just walking through them. I panicked a little because we were still a few hours from our destination. If we had taken a path that led us in the wrong direction for the next few hours, then we would have four more hours of hiking ahead of us. We had decided earlier that day that we weren't going to camp in the rain- just hike in it, so we didn't bring any camping gear with us. Between the rain, lack of camping equipment- we couldn't afford any mistakes. My husband went ahead on a path that led us away from the lake to see if it was the right path- breaking another rule that we've always sworn by: never separate. It was raining cats and dogs by then and he told me to "stay right there". Well after running down and back a few different paths, he figured it out. We crossed our last bridge, with the river now rushing underneath us. We made it home to a hot meal and a hostel with a warm fire. 

Day 5:
We headed back to Hobart. I was in for a huge surprise: the Sea Shepard ship was currently docked in the port! For those of you who do not know about Sea Shepard, they are a non-profit whose goal is to save the whales. The captain of the ship, Paul Watson, originally was a big part of the Green Peace movement but branched off for several reasons starting the organization Sea Shepard. I'm a huge fan of the organization, what they do, and what they stand for. Later that day, we stuffed ourself on fish and chips at a local pub, drank local beer, and wandered through the cobblestone streets looking at aboriginal art. It was an incredible trip. One I'll never forget.