Off to tour the state of Tasmania and hopefully mingle with a few Tassie natives. The ride takes us through the agricultural heartland-and it seems the most interesting crops are tulips (1 million bulbs exported to Holland) hops (80% of those grown for use in Australian produced beer are grown here) and poppies (supplying 90% of the pharmaceutical
opiates in the world according to our guides information)! What we observed were potatoes, onions and some relative of the mum that are used for a type of herbicide along with many dairy cows and lots of sheep. The landscape is beautiful, green and much like home. Speaking of home, the view from our stateroom window when we docked was of the wood chip pile being prepared for shipment to Japan..that looked really familiar. Then when on the highway, we passed the log trucks and the closed and shuttered paper mill-also very familiar! It was said the unemployment rate here is 16%.
When passing the local primary school, the children were outside playing and all had on HATS! (cute navy blue versions of Steve Irwin’s hat) Can hardly imagine that at home.
On to the Wings wildlife center. Described as a family owned center, it was deja vu with Wildlife Safari without the car tour..These animals have all been rescued and are being rehabilitated. It was unclear how many would be reintroduced into the wild, but I understood that to be the goal. (Where in the “wild” are the guinea pigs?)
We could feed the kangaroos and pet them. There were several moms with varying ages of joeys, some still in the pouch, some out but still nursing. They are much softer than I expected. We petted the baby tasmanian devils and the koala-I passed on the snakes..we also saw emus, various birds, water fowl, and goats.
After we finished there, we headed into Burnie to see the sights and have some lunch. We found a spot on the beach called Fish Frenzy and decided on the fish and chips. It will never cease to amaze me how much it costs to eat out here in Australia-big city or small town, everything is expensive. (and to add a bit of insult, our shared fish and chips was AUD $16.50, 2 beers $6.50 each and .50 for ketchup !) Oh well, it was an experience and the food was delicious. When asking about accessing wifi the gal replied, “we don’t have time to have people here that long”. A busy place for sure.
Then, continuing the search for wifi..we found a source at the Makers Workshop-a collection of artists working in various mediums-and I could connect with the phone, but not the computer. Alas, important postings will have to wait another few days as tomorrow we are at sea.