Jan 10 - cont'd.
Tasmania. A driver picks
us up at the Launceston airport and takes us to the Hatherley House.
Listed on the National Register, it is a grand old 1830's mansion that has been
re-crafted to retain its original character and style while the interior rooms
has been transformed into a combination of ultra modern fixtures, wonderful
artwork and well placed antiques.
We spend the afternoon exploring Launceston, Australia's
third oldest city. We stumble upon the Design Centre of Tasmania and spend
time enjoying the Tasmanian workmanship in contemporary wood pieces.
Launceston is referred to as the "garden city" because of its
many parks and public squares. The City Park is a Victorian garden
including a monkey house and the Prince's Square centered on a bronze fountain
from the 1858 Paris Exhibition. On Saturday afternoon, the town had closed
most of its businesses so we completed our walk and returned to the Hatherley
house. Our dinner was down by the River at Stillwater where we enjoyed a
Muddy Flats cabernet.
Jan 11 - Sun. Our primary purpose for our
Tasmanian visit was a four-day 15-mile trek to the Bay of Fires. We stored most
our luggage at the Hatherley House and were picked up and driven to Pleasant
in Evanston, headquarters of tour operator. We met the rest of our adventurous
group plus guides and were outfitted with gear for our hike.
We have a three-hour van ride to Mt. William National Park,
located on the northeast coast, during which we pass through the Tamar Valley
and Piper Brook. The scenery consists of cattle ranches, poppy fields
(medicinal crops), and hops farming. We stop at a tin tailings lake site - an
eerie shade of blue.
Our walk begins at Boulder Point- Stumpy Bay with views
toward the Bass Strait Islands, the small land masses that once were connected
as a land bridge to the mainland of Australia. Our group consists of ten
people, five couples including two ladies, from as far flung as the UK to fellow
We follow the coast and wander the tide pools. The Bay
of Fires outfitter has special permits for allowing us to traverse sections of
this coastline since there are sacred Aboriginal areas along the way.
We break for lunch and fire up the tea kettle for a hot cup
before continuing on.
Around 4:30 we pull into Forester Beach camp for the evening.
Nestled behind the dunes and situated
on a platform, a system of chain link fence has been erected, plywood walls
secured and tarps cover the entire structure as a temporary-semi-permanent
structure. Each rectangular room has two single cots with just enough
room for turning around. At one end of the building is the water and propane
storage and at the other is the pantry and kitchen. Our toilet and sinks
are housed in a separate building, ecologically accommodating this area.
Our guides, Moira and Graeme, put together a delicious dinner
while we relax, take a quick dip in the cold ocean and enjoy the sunset.
We do attempt to catch sight of wallabies scurrying around in the bush, but they
are too quick for us.
Jan 12 - Mon. Brekkie at 7:30 and we are
trekking by 9:30.
During the day, we walked long stretches of wide
brilliantly white sand beaches complemented by dunes and marsupial lawns. We
rush to cross Deep Creek before high tide so that we can walk instead of
swimming across with all our gear.
Lunch at Surprise Beach? Beautiful dunes and rock
formations covered with red lichen are visible along the way. Built in 1887, the
Eddystone Lighthouse sits within the National Park boundary.
At 4:30, we climb the last inlet hill to the lodge
where we will stay for the next two nights. This ecologically designed building
has been carefully situated so that it is unobtrusive on the landscape and yet
has fabulous views of the bay. It is the only building on 20 kilometers of
The Lodge has carefully been designed for sustainability from
the siting of the buildings, the form of their design, selection of building
materials, management of the construction process to the use of non-polluting
services. Two identical narrow pavilions face one another to create the lodge
The common areas: deck, sitting area, kitchen, and guide rooms along one side
while the guest rooms and showers face the walkway that divides it from the
Our rooms are spacious, light and comfortable. We hand
pump water for our showers - water is abundant and hot (solar powered). Our guides cook
for us and we fall into bed after an enjoyable and beautiful evening.
Jan 13 - Tues. We enjoy a leisurely breakfast
before we set off for kayaking. We start on the river with Dick and his dog,
Babe, and paddle easily out toward Anson Bay. We lunch on fresh mussels
that Moira has harvested for us. We return across the bay and walk an hour back
to the lodge via the beach. We spend the remainder of the day enjoying the
deck and relaxing.
Jan 14 - Wed. We lounge on the deck during the
morning enjoying the warm sun and a perfect day. At noon, it is time to
pack up and hike for an hour to our rendezvous spot with the van. We lunch
in the forest and then start our three-hour return drive. Our arrival back to
Paradise Banks was complete with a champagne toast and good-byes to our trekking
We complete the day with a flight to Sydney and overnight at
an airport hotel en route to New Zealand.