Jan 28, 2010
Tasmania Part 5: Tessellated Pavement
So on the same day as Port Arthur we hit one of the big geologic landmarks of Tassie, the Tessellated Pavement of Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula.
Don't have much time to speak on it much. You can check out the wikipedia site about here for a bit more info.
Jan 26, 2010
Back to the Old Frontier
Had a lovely evening/dinner with the Clan oh R. A special thank you to sister R if she is reading for spending the WHOLE day preparing and cooking said dinner!
I've seen many cool things here in Tassie, and it is certainly a very cool part of Australia worth visiting if you are looking into coming to this end of the world...
Speaking of Australia, HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!!! Sadly we didn't spend it (minus again the aforementioned dinned) doing anything fun. Just packing and cleaning.
Tomorrow we hop halfway back to the Great White North. Making a quick 2ish day stop over in Hawaii. From there we push onto Vancouver and the Olympics. GO CANADA!
Even more exciting than the Olympics, is I'll be hanging with Bond the whole time... So who knows what crazy creative stuff will ensue! Though it might have to do with Traum, ART Evolved, Delta Patrol, and/or educational material... just to hint at a few ;P
There are a few more Tasmania posts coming I promise. I've just been at the mercy of my panoramaing speed (as I'm unhealthily addicted to panorama shots these days).
So we'll catch you once I'm back Northern Hemisphere again.
Jan 22, 2010
Tasmania Part 4: Best Alarm Clock Ever
The final verdict on the potentially bad news we were waiting on came in yesterday. While not a happy ending, it has certainly turned out to be a lot "better" than most of the possible alternatives. So everyone has relaxed quite a bit now that the wait is over (it was a lot worse just not knowing) and are in way better spirits these last 24 hours.
As though nature were in on celebration, the household received a rather welcome wake up call (well okay, maybe welcome by just me).
I awoke (a mere 10 minutes before my alarm clock was going to go off!) to the laughing chorus of several Kookaburras. Running to my window I was greeted by a whole family sitting on the telephone wires directly in front of the house.
As their highly energetic and territorial birds they didn't hold still for long, and proceeded to fly down the street.
Jan 19, 2010
Tasmania Part 3: Port Arthur Penal Colony
I stole a loaf of bread. What? I was hungry, and who was going to miss it really?!?
Turns out the Aussies did! So much so that I kind ended up in custody...
I have to say the Australians are pretty strict on crime. Even after pleading my case to the judges they threw the book at me (literally and figuratively).
Which despite its picturesque appearance is not a nice place to stay. For your see Port Arthur is a penal colony.
I now have this humble cell to call home. Sure it might look quaint, but there are a LOT of rules I have to adhere to if I want to avoid a flogging or solitaire.
In fact so many rules, I need to review them right now. Excuse me for a second.
I spend 22 hours of the day in here...
1 hour in the exercise yard here...
and one bloody hour a day in Church, getting a religious rehabilitation! As if that is going to work!!!
GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!
Australia started off its life in the Commonwealth as British Empire's far away banishment prison. In the 1800's Britain was having massive problems with its rich vs. poor gap due to the industrial revolution. An easy way to relieve the societal pressure of a large unemployed impoverished population was to send them elsewhere to work and be productive. Thus Australia was formed, the only convict colony of its type in the world.
One of my first big field trips in Tasmania was to goto the Port Arthur historic site, where I got see and learn about this history in a bit more in detail.
Port Arthur was Australia's second prison (Sydney's being the first), and was among the largest to be established. It started operation in the 1840's and ceased operations in 1877.
Despite starting as a prison, Port Arthur during this time eventually took on many different capacities as the convicts began to wear down and/or age through their forced labour over the decades of the penal system's existence. This included serving as a mental asylum, a convict medical facility for the gravely injured, and retirement facilities for elderly convicts.
I have to say I was rather impressed with the site from a historic point of view. Despite being ravaged by bush fires and demolition in the early 1900's, the majority of Port Arthur is in good enough shape you can get an idea of what it must of been like.
The signs and staff were very informative, and you can learn much of what life here must have been like. There were a few gaps, but that is too be understood given the magnitude of the place.
There was an option to pay extra to tour the island, but my locals said it really wasn't worth it. Which based on the small size of the island I can see.
My locals were even less impressed, having been on the tours before. I had been told better stories by them during the day in the same places, than by our guide at night. Additionally Lady R bought the official ghost book from the gift shop, and it had wonderful HISTORIC stories that actually related to the site, and not just random "generic" ghost stories set at Port Arthur.
Checking out the Parsonage from above, Lady R had a panic attack and had to leave the building. Now the explanation is simple. We had noted during our visit in the day, that two of the rooms in the building were being heated (it was a hot day outside already at 27 degrees). Lady R hadn't liked it as a result back then.
I still recommend the ghost tour, but pick up the ghost book earlier in the day and glance over it before going. Then you can just soak up the atmosphere and the spirit of the tour (pun not intended ;P) while ignoring incompetent guides if you get one.
At least one of my exposure pics captured the chill factor of the night. Just too bad my tour did not.
Jan 16, 2010
Tasmania Part 2: Mount Field (Part B)
So time to finish up on my trip to Mount Field. To start off with, here is where Mount Field national park is located. As the name implies the park is set up around Mount Field which is part of the Wellington Mountain range. The park includes a nice visitor centre at the entrance, and from there you drive up the Mount with trails and walkways through all the environments of the area.
As you'll see this includes Alpine, Rainforests, and Temperate forest. You've already seen some of the temperate forest in the first post.
Here's the rest of Mount Field national park...
Which held its own against NZ's many many waterfalls (though after being down here so long, sadly waterfalls have lost a little bit of their edge with me... but I still do love them!)
Jan 12, 2010
Tasmania Part 1: Mount Field (Part A)
First for any who have wondered (and a few of you have), Tasmania is the southern most state of Australia. A self contained isolated island. As it has been cut off for a very long time it is unique to the mainland and has many unique plants, animals, and environments. Also as it is closer to the Antarctic, and being a much smaller landmass completely surrounded by water, it is a lot cooler and wet then stereotypical Australia (which is really the Northwest of the continent, where next to no one lives).
I'm going to end the fun facts about Tasmania for this post. Each post I do, I'll include a few more fun facts. At least you should have a general idea of where I am.
These posts aren't in chronological order, as I wasn't organized in how I've tackled my photos. My regular readers know I have a slight addiction to taking panorama photos, and as of such I have to go through and process them. With my new camera's bigger pic size this takes longer. The results are stunning, but of course at this time cost.
So we cover the first part of my second big field trip into Tassie, up on Mount Field. As this is just part A of Mount Field, I'll leave the local geography to next post. Bonus points to anyone who looks it up on their own.
I'll let the photos tell the story on their own.