A Weekend in Tassie

October 23, 2017

in Academic Year 2017-2018, Australia, Fall 2017, Kelly Petersen, Oceania

So I’ve been in Australia for quite a while now (2 months and counting), and it started to dawn on me that I should probably venture a little further than Sydney while I still have the chance. When my professor decided to cancel our Friday class one week, I took the opportunity to take a trip to Tasmania and visit one of my best hometown friends, Jack, and his girlfriend, Rebekah, who are both studying abroad at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. I was able to stay in Rebekah’s room and they even had a car, so they made the trip super cost-efficient for me and to say they spoiled me would be a huge understatement.

I only had two full days there, so we were pretty much going from one thing to the next for the entire duration of my visit. After I landed on Thursday night, Jack and Rebekah picked me up from the airport and brought me back to where they’re living for the semester/where I’d be staying for the weekend. Then we went downtown to grab a bite to eat and plan out the next few days of adventures! Below are some maps of Tasmania that include the places we went throughout my visit– hopefully they’ll give you a better idea of where, exactly, I was. For those of you who didn’t know, Tasmania is Australia’s only island state and is located off the south coast, right below Melbourne!

We decided to dedicate Friday to exploring the area South East of Hobart, so after breakfast, we packed our lunches, grabbed some snacks for the road, and drove about an hour and a half to Fortescue Bay. From there we hiked the Cape Huay Track, which is in Tasman National Park. The hike begins in a sclerophyll forest and ends against the Tasman Peninsula, where the dramatic sea cliffs of Cape Huay are situated. The views from the cliffs were absolutely breathtaking (not to mention I was quite literally out of breath from the hike), and we took some time at the lookout to eat lunch, take a few photos, and soak in the views before heading back. The trail is only about five and a half miles return, but there are several chunks of steep stairs (there are over 4,500 stair steps in the return walk), and my calves have never felt more sore than that next day. I’d told Jack that the one thing I really wanted to do while in Tasmania was go on a great hike, and I’m so happy that they took me on this one because there’s nothing even remotely similar in Sydney. Some views just have to be earned in footsteps!

After the hike, we drove around Port Arthur for a bit before stopping at the Port Arthur Lavender Farm. Unfortunately lavender isn’t in season until December, so the farm was pretty bare. Buuut they had a huge gift shop filled with anything and everything lavender, all made with the lavender grown on the farm. Lucky for us, smells are free. 😉 We then drove to Remarkable Cave, which was once a deep cave before it collapsed. Now it’s a long tunnel that leads out to sea through two different entrances, which is just one unique feature of this cave. Another cool feature of Remarkable Cave is the opening visible from the observation platform, which is the shape of Tasmania! (You can see it in the photo below.) It was high tide when we were at the cave so we couldn’t walk through it, but we still jumped over the railing to get as close as we could.

After the cave we stopped at White Beach, where we took a few minutes to walk the beach and enjoy the views of the peninsula as the sun was setting. Next stop was the Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen; the arch is a natural bridge situated within the sea cliffs, while Devil’s Kitchen is a trench that has been carved out by the sea.

Finally, we went to the Tessellated Pavement, which we could only see with our phones’ flashlights because the sun had already set. There are several examples of tessellated pavement around the world, but Tasmania’s is the most well-known example! The rocks that form it were first fractured by the movement of the Earth and then eroded by the waves of the sea, and somehow formed perfectly-shaped rectangles. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture because it’s hard to believe they’re natural and not man-made, which is what makes it so amazing!

We spent Saturday morning at the Salamanca Market, which takes place every Saturday in downtown Hobart. There are nearly 300 stalls, with everything from woodwork to ceramics, clothing to jewelry, fresh produce to flowers, and lots and lots and lots of food. If there was a free sample, we probably tried it; champagne-infused jelly, jalapeño chocolate, mead, honey, fudge, pesto, the list goes on. Jack wouldn’t let us leave before trying a fresh oyster from Bruny Island, and even though the texture was terrible, it really didn’t taste too bad!

After we had visited nearly every stall at the market, we got in the car and drove an hour and a half South West, to the Tahune Airwalk and Swinging Bridges located in the Southern Tasmanian forest. The Airwalk is a steel walkway in the Tahune Forest and averages about 65-100 feet above the forest floor, except for the last section, which is 165 feet above the banks of the river. Walking among the treetops was so tranquil and definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The Swinging Bridges extend over the Huon River and lead to the Huon Pine Walk, home to the most accessible stand of Huon pines. Huon pines only grow in South West Tasmania, and they can grow to be 2,500+ years old!

When you miss game day but still find a way to participate in Jump Around

On the way home Rebekah had Jack pull over so that she could take a photo of the sky, and we ended up finding this hidden gem of an area where the sky was perfectly mirrored onto the water. The pictures really don’t do it justice!

I had to leave pretty early on Sunday morning, but we got up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in one more mini adventure before my flight. We drove to the summit of Mt. Wellington, which overlooks Hobart and offers the most amazing panoramic views of the whole city. We were hoping to see the sunrise, but it was so cloudy that the sun didn’t really rise. (I feel like I have bad luck with sunrises for some reason?) There was snow on the ground and the wind was so strong that it was nearly knocking me over, but the views were truly out of this world.

Tassie was the biggest breath of fresh air and such a nice change of pace. Compared to Sydney, it’s so incredibly small-town and rural, which I learned is something the locals take a lot of pride in. Tasmania is best known for its wilderness, landscapes, and scenery, and I definitely got a taste of all three. My trip was was two days of outdoor adventures, great views, and amazing company, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Thanks for reading!

– KP

 

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