Adventure Bill's Great Pacific Exploration travel blog


FOBTs,

Please revisit my 2 April update. I added a lot of pictures, and amended the verbiage to some degree.

There will be no pictures with this particular update.

This evening I am back in Hobart, well actually between Hobart and the airport. As I reflect on my whirlwind visit to Tasmania, I am grateful to have included this island state in my itinerary. Some of its topography reminded me of South Australia (Adelaide's state) with rolling plains, broken by lines and/or copses of trees. It also has elements of New Zealand's volcanic hill structure. Essentially, Tasmania is composed of a series of small mountains interspersed with wide and narrow valleys of pasture land for cows and sheep. I found out yesterday that Tasmania has about 270 days of rain per year. With that tidbit of knowledge, I could understand why some of the trails in Cradle Mountain had slowly flowing water or were bogs at some point.

Tasmania does not have any koalas or kangaroos. Rather, the island does have two kinds of wallaby, Tasmanian devils, two kinds of quolls, several kinds of possums, and the famous wombat. As I mentioned in a previous update, the Tasmanian devils are the island's top predator. Actually, they serve a dual role as a scavenger and predator. Their bite is allegedly second to none relative to jaw strength for their poundage. Up in Darwin, I learned that crocodiles locked their jaws after biting their prey, and purportedly had the strongest bite power of any creature (yes, even the great white shark). I guess for their physical size, the devils are somewhat equal. Until this trip, I never heard of a quoll, which are about half the size of a devil. Heck, one species of possum I saw was as big as the larger quoll.

Alas, due to having no natural large predators, the single biggest cause of death for a lot of Tasmanian creatures is vehicles. Both on the way to/from Cradle Mountain, more up in that region than down towards Hobart, I saw many carcasses on or beside the roads. Most proved to be one of the two wallaby species versus wombats. Oh, speaking of wombats, I learned that their natural defense mechanism is to present their backside.to a predator. At first, this did not make any sense to me until I found out that their whole hind end has a thick cartilage and is almost impervious to bites from most of the island's predators. Also, wombats can grow to be big suckers. So, the picture of the sign from Devonport would also apply to wombats!

I've sampled good seafood and wine here. There is much I could have seen, but did not. For instance, on my drive back to Hobart I wanted to go near the west coast of the island and down a different route through the interior. The weather this morning was overcast and light rain, which precluded taking a longer (about 2 to 2.5 hours longer) and more twists and turns in the road structure. Thus, I did not see Lake St. Clair or Russell Falls in Mt. Field National Park. So, there is much to recommend about Tasmania for your consideration. I did enjoy driving on the left side of the road again. Oh, on that subject, I guess confession sometimes is "good for the3 soul." I say this because since I admitted in a previous update that my propensity for turning on the windshield wipers when I meant to use the turn signal almost completely went away during this driving session (not completely, but about 90% of the time I did not signal with my windshield wipers).

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday here. I know that is a day ahead of where you are, but since I will be flying all day (long layover in Sydney) to Cairns, I will wish you either a Happy Easter or Happy Sunday. Speaking of Cairns, I will not be doing any update for the 5th of April due to flying between Hobart and Cairns. My next one will be in the evening of April 6th.

Hard to believe, but when I do the next update, it will only be a week from then that I'll see Eileen at Sydney airport, and I am looking forward to seeing her and exploring Sydney together.

Last item pertains to a question my friend Jeanne posed to me. She asked what are the top five things I like about the trip and what one thing would I not do if I were planning the trip with the knowledge base I now have. That is a very difficult question. The easiest part is to address the part I would not do, and that is drive all the way from Adelaide to Melbourne. The top five is quite hard at this point. So, I'll do a preliminary answer of the following things (not in priority order): Milford Sound, New Zealand, Kakadu National Park near Darwin, having the guts to plan and execute such a trip essentially alone, and the conversation I had with the 80+ year old widow, Margaret, on the bus from Rotorua to Wellington, NZ. That's only four, and I'll have to think on what might fill the fifth slot. In case you wonder, I included the bus conversation because Margaret not only shared with me what she liked and didn't so much about living in New Zealand, but she shared about her life with her husband and her emotions about losing him and living alone after three decades plus of marriage. Obviously, I found the conversation informative, emotionally compelling, and humorous at times. Being able to make a human connection, especially on a long trip like this, is always nice.

Okay, that's it for this update. Thanks for reading.

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