Tasmania & New Zealand 2014 travel blog

A cabinet at the Design Centre

A sideboard

At Cataract Gorge, Launceston

Along Cataract Trail

Rock Climbers at Cataract Gorge

Last night I ran out of coins before our clothes finished drying, so I had to go get change at the office this am and finish drying before I could finish packing. But we got away with clean clothes and another journal page on-line.

Both mornings we heard a “tap, tap, tap”, but there was no one at the door. Turns out it was a gray bird tapping on our bedroom window. This morning he was very persistent. Larry thinks it was expecting to be fed, and I think maybe it saw its reflection. The truth is that it was expecting its reflection to feed it.

Our first thing today was the Design Centre of Tasmania, in Launceston. They have a small but exceptional collection of furniture and other objects made of Tasmanian woods. Some were really interesting and beautiful. This did require navigating around downtown Launceston, trying to find a parking spot, while driving on the left and dealing with one-way streets. (☹, L)

Cataract Gorge is within the city of Launceston. It is a large natural gorge with a river going through it. There are some nice trails, also a swimming pool, playground, lawn, and a couple of restaurants. We took a couple of trails, and hiked for about 2 hours. Along the way we saw a couple of young men diving off the rocks into the river. They were daring each other to do back flips from a high rock, and they each managed it a couple of times. Neither killed themselves.

We also saw three rock climbers ascending and descending a cliff face.

It was time to be moving on, so we found our way to the highway—a real 4-lane divided highway. The first we have seen outside Hobart. Of course, it soon reverted to 2-lane, but it was still faster than most of the highways we have been on. Within an hour or so, we were in Devonport.

We stopped at a grocery store, I called a couple of caravan parks, and found one with a cabin with kitchen and bathroom and wifi(!). We did our grocery shopping, crossed the street to a bakery (I was looking for something for breakfast; Larry was looking for sweets for dessert). We ended up with a scallop pie, a chicken and mushroom pie, and 2 desserts (no breakfast); called compromise. But they made a very good dinner. The pastries were very flaky, and the fillings were tasty. “Pies” seem to be a Tassy special – sort of like burgers in the US.

Larry has been getting better at driving here, but it is a strain. Hence a quick nap was in order for him before we headed out for an evening outing. We met a guide who took us to where we could see platypuses in the wild. And see them we did. It was along a stretch of the Mersey River. The platypuses feed on the bottom for about 90 seconds, then come up for about 30 seconds. There is no splash when they come up, and they barely show above the water. After they get a breath, they dive back down. There is no telling where they will come up again. Our guide knew where some of them had a burrow, so we stood there for a while. A couple came out, but didn’t surface right away. But we did see a number of them at a distance, and a few closer up. Impossible to get photos, though—there just wasn’t enough of them above water to show up very well.

That’s it for tonight. Talk to you tomorrow night.

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