Going back in time a bit to share our exit strategy out of Australia.
When Nick and I knew we would be returning to the States after one year, we wanted to make the most of our departure from Down Under. We still had a few places that we were anxious to visit, and while we had considered axing one or the other with the intention of a return trip at some point, we weren’t quite ready to completely bypass either in the event we were never able to plan that return trip. Therefore, we planned another multi-week holiday, taking the long way home:
Canberra > Melbourne > Tasmania > South Island, New Zealand > North Island, New Zealand > Los Angeles
Nick had some work to do in Melbourne, so we really just played around a bit over the course of a few days. I was dying to see the fairy penguins come into the pier in St. Kilda, and one night, around dusk, we watched and waited. And waited. And waited until the point of saying, “should we just go now?”
Finally, they started to arrive. Sporadically. One by one. A quiet bark. Making shore. Nesting in the rocks. And then they came in packs. Louder. Making themselves known, only as the dark was closing in on the spectators, vying for a good view and poor quality of photos. The volunteers at the pier will gladly shine a red light on the little ones, but no flash photography or lighting is allowed. It was pretty amazing to be a part of their nightly ritual. They didn’t seem to be too nervous around all of the humans, and some even came quite close as they burrowed in the rocks. Forgive the final photo.
From Melbourne, we flew into Hobart, got our rental, and started to make our way around the island (a lot easier than you might think). It was rainy, windy, and cold, so I didn’t get quite the views or ambiance I was hoping for along the east coast in Freycinet Peninsula and Wineglass Bay. In general, the east coast reminded us of the mainlands east coast: beaches, bays, coastal towns, etc.
Due to the weather, we didn’t spend as much time as we anticipated on the east coast, and the area we had intended to be, so we headed inland toward the mountains on the west coast.
Primarily farmlands with rolling hills, Tasmania’s inland was quite beautiful, if even a little raw and untouched.
Toward the west coast, we stayed at a resort in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. A mix of rugged landscape, mountains, grassland, rainforest, and glacial lakes, this area is a true mixed-bag for the senses. Here, you can take a multi-day trek on the Overland Track, but we opted for the shorter 1/2 day Dove Lake Circuit.
And once completed, I insisted on a visit to the local Tasmanian Devil sanctuary. They are endangered, so a sanctuary is really the only option for viewing. I’ll just come right out and say that they are disgusting. And they smell. But when in Tasmania…
We continued farther toward the west coast and stayed in quaint little Strahan, where we took a river cruise through Macquarie Harbour, along the Gordon River, and disembarked for a history lesson on Sarah Island; all part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
On the drive down to Hobart, we saw some beautiful waterfalls.
Once in Hobart, we got up high at Mount Wellington, and took some cloudy shots of the town, harbour, and bays.
We also saw some of the massive research ships that leave port for Antarctica.
We were pretty happy about Hobart (despite the awful restaurant service, everywhere) and our time in Tasmania. Glad we didn’t pass up the opportunity for “maybe we’ll see it on another trip.”
Our final night in Tasmania happened to be the night of a lunar eclipse, so we stayed up late for some photos, but clouds came in so we opted to practice night shots instead.