Hop, skip and a jump


We took a puddle jumper flight from Launceston, TAS to Flinders Island and what a flight it was. There was a fresh breeze, 30 knots or so, and we were buffeted about in the sky like a butterfly, to quote Tim. I was pressing Master of the Heart 6 (the acupuncture point for motion sickness) most of the way and had nail marks in my arm from the pressure.

We finally (only a 30 minute flight) prepared for landing, descended, touched lightly then flew off again. Apparently birds were occupying the landing strip and we had to have another go around. We landed safely and were greeted by friends with a car for use during our stay on the island.

So now we are driving a manual transmission, on the left, while sitting on the right. We can’t drive during twilight hours because wallabies hop all over the roads and in the morning are strewn about as roadkill.

So now we wait for calm(er) seas and light(er) wind to take the boat to Deal Island. In the meantime we are exploring beautiful Flinders Island with lovely beaches, mountains and people.


Perhaps my mohair woolen blanket will be finished before we leave.


We’ve checked our good purchases and they look fine. We’re delayed until at least Tuesday so I should be able to add some fresh vegetables to the collection before we leave.

We’re not in Kansas anymore


These signs are fairly common in public restrooms.

We’re in Launceston, Tas today in anticipation of our flight to Flinders Island tomorrow. We hiked in Cataract Gorge, a city park, and took a 90 minute walk. We saw peacocks and wallabies along the way.



Yesterday Tom hiked to another cape while I explored Port Arthur, where some of the tougher convicts were transported when they were shipped to Australia in the 1800’s.

It’s near the most southern part of Tasmania. The wind howled and the setting was eerily stunning.







We saw black swans on while driving up the coast. Clearly our world is upside down.

Trail work

We took a lovely walk yesterday to Cape Hauy in the Tasman National Park. The Park seems to have a combination of public and private land, just like the Adirondacks, but that’s where the similarities end. The entire track is improved with graded walks and steps, at least a mile of them.



The views of the Southern Ocean from these giant cliffs was spectacular. I had to lay on my stomach to look over the edge. We passed, or rather they passed us, a school group who took the trip there and back during their school day.


We could see the lighthouse on Tasman Island off in the distance.


I stopped at a conservation park on our way back and finally saw Tasmanian Devils. Everyone from home asks us if we have seen them and, until yesterday, we had only heard them at night during our trek on the Overland Track.

Well, they are adorable and ferocious. This little guy was gnawing on a wallaby carcass.

20150304-074042.jpg then he would sprawl out in the straw and take a break. They suffer from a viral induced cancer, similar to cervical cancer, and healthy devils are released on the Tasman Peninsula because they can remain isolated from the virus.


Funny, I’ve been knitting a hat with a devil on it.


Tasman peninsula

We’re taking a vacation during our vacation and headed south to the Tasman peninsula. I’ve been sampling salt and pepper squid along the way, which is one of my favorite meals here.

We lunched in Hobart with dear friends and saw the new Antarctic Research vessel at the dock. Next stop, Antarctica.



It was in the company of other historic vessels.

We slept to the sound of waves hitting the beach and creating tesselated rocks.

After a breakfast of Weet-Bix, which tastes like shredded wheat but is in the form of flakes that are compressed together and is very good, we’re setting off to bushwalk and explore.


Flight to summer


After a mere 25 hours of travel, we arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, where it’s summer. Not hot, hot but there isn’t 2 feet of snow underfoot.

During one flight, I watched five movies(!) and a tv show. I may not be able to recall the plots or even titles but it helped pass the time. Plus we were fed on each flight, including one which was so short, the flight attendants ran down the aisles, tossed us our meat pies and quickly gathered our trash.

After I recovered from jet lag, yesterday I traveled to a fiber show in Bothwell where I got to see the fleece from an internationally known sheep. Shaun escaped shearing for seven years before he turned up on a cattle ranch in Tasmania. It was a wonder he could stand under the weight of all that wool, 14 inches long!

There were felted animals with amazing detail, beautiful lace work and weaving. I didn’t have room in my luggage for a fleece but managed to squeeze in a few silk cocoons.



Fat cats

We left Launceston today and finally flew to Flinders Island, our interim island. It’s beautiful. Large mountains on the southern end, nice beaches and a steady breeze. I think we’ll get used to the sound of wind blowing. We’re staying in a cabin with all the comforts, which is a nice change after three weeks of hotels and hostels. Yesterday I had a chance to photograph two of the fat cats we’ve met as well as some of the cars we have seen.

Cars don’t die here. There are Australian models of all the classics – except the AMC Pacers.


Fuji from the Launceston Backpackers, weighing in at about 20 pounds and doing his favorite activity. The locations change, sun when it’s cool and shade when it’s hot.


Fat Charlie, very talkative, also weighing in above 20 pounds.


Sweet Chevy like car.


This truck has a snorkel and some heavy duty communication gear for offroad, underwater travel.

We flew on a small plane but the flight was only 30 minutes. Before the flight, the pilots were doing practice runs on the runway??!!! I guess you have to learn sometime.


It was a beautiful day for flying. I saw the Bass Strait, where we will be located, for the first time from the air.



Parting shots of Launceston. We had to go the police station because Tim’s kindle was lost and stolen. It seems like it will be easy to find. Whoever tries to register it with Amazon will have to provide contact information and voila? right? Well even if it’s recovered, we won’t get it back until March. In the meantime, I’m guarding mine with my life.


Oh yes, and a sock knit on the Overland Track, waiting to be finished when I am reunited with my sewing needle.


A slideshow of the Overland Track and some random thoughts

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We’re back in town and moving from the Launceston Backpackers to a hotel for the night before we fly to Flinders Island tomorrow to begin the real journey. We’re looking forward to settling in for a few months and to be done with all this packing and unpacking. The hostel experience has been great though. There’s a huge commercial kitchen here and we’ve made all of our breakfasts and brought in and assembled dinners. There’s a fat cat named Fuji, who is spoken to in many languages and it’s interesting how many people reach out to him. That’s probably one of the reasons he weighs about 20 pounds.

I love checking out supermarkets in different countries and last night’s find was a special refrigerator section devoted to pet food. I couldn’t understand why there was a chicken and beef blend in a sausage but the picture of the cat on the package should have been a giveaway.

DSCN0450.JPG We avoided buying any. But right next door was game meat. Remember that cute wallaby in yesterday’s post. Well I found it in the supermarket.

DSCN0453.JPGWe had chicken.

I also puzzle over the language.

DSCN0319.JPG Car rental rates increase, the older the car? I guess it costs more to maintain an older car.

Some sky scenes from Overland Track.




Highlights of the Overland Track

We spent the last 5 days walking 62 kms of the Overland Track, which travels south from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair. It went by in a flash and now some of the days are jumbled together. We had beautiful weather (fine) for many days and constant rain for one of the days, which then led to a wet and muddy walk for the rest of the trip.


The good outweighed the bad by far, which says a lot because the bad was B A D. We met wonderful people along the way. We camped when the weather was nice but usually prepared our food in the huts stationed along the way. We walked the same pace as several other groups so would meet and recap at night. The views were awesome but unfortunately my camera (or I) didn’t save the photo of the Lord of the Rings valley we came upon on our first day. That was before we walked along a plateau where the wind was so strong, if I didn’t have my ?15 kilo pack, I would have blown away. The first day included a fairly steep climb with rocks and a chain for a handhold but the view at Marion’s lookout was beautiful.

DSCN0339.JPG I stumbled into camp the first night and then we discovered a problem with our tent. We had used it extensively a few years ago and were very happy with it. it kept us dry and looked very cool. This time there was a problem. it never looked cool nor would it keep us dry in a down pour. The fly was flapping in the breeze. First we thought it was because we weren’t used to setting up on tent platforms. One guy told us he thought we just weren’t finished pitching the tent. By about the third night, we recalled this fly was a replacement for one with a faulty zipper. When we received it, all we did was check the zippers. Not whether it actually fit on the tent. We’ll have some correspondence with Black Diamond when we return home.

DSCN0392.JPG We saw wallabies, pademelons (which look like wallabies with fat faces), a wombat, possum, white lipped snakes, skinks and a platypus. We heard beautiful birdsong but couldn’t spot most of them. Somehow we missed the tiger and devil.

DSCN0358.JPG The little joeys stick their heads out of the pouch and munch on the grass with mom.DSCN0373.JPG There were boardwalks over sensitive areas. Some were made of straight boards but others were somehow milled and cut from wood onsite and was very creative.


But oh the horrors!! Our second longest day, about 10 miles, was in constant rain after a night of torrential rain. This led to washouts on the trail. There was one waterfall we had to cross, about eight feet across, right at the dropoff, which almost brought tears to my eyes. Well we were too far along to go back, my lips and chin got to quivering but with Tim’s encouragement (and laughter afterwards) I made it across. Initially we tried to avoid deep puddles and mud, but after we had to slog through a foot deep river for about two hours, we didn’t care. The water sloshing around in my boots actually felt like a cushion. Some areas had boardwark a foot under the water with rushing currents. But that’s not the bad part.

All this water brought leeches!!! The idea skeeves me. At one point, five hours into the walk, heading uphill, Tim told me I was really slowing down. Well, duhh. But then I saw something, which looked like a black inchworm on my hand, when i tried to fling it off, it was stuck. Then I was able to run with my pack through the mud to Tim yelling, “Ahhhhh, get it off of me!” We had many on us when we got to the Pelion hut that night, but so did everyone else. Then today on the ferry I met a woman who had one in her eye!!!! She said it had been her worse fear to get a leach in her eye. i never even imagined such a thing. Her other fear was being stuck on a train. Now there’s something I can deal with.


I think I shrunk in the rain.


Taking Thanksgiving on the Road

An early wish to family and friends because we leave early tomorrow, or late Sunday in the states, for a six day backpacking trek. I have added a few treats to my pack which even Tim doesn’t know about. I got to join an excellent chef for a Thanksgiving celebration at Coles, the local supermarket; Curtis Stone. I emailed and invited him out to Deal Island but he hasn’t responded…yet.


Today, I had an emergency visit with a local dentist because a tooth or crown cracked. Now, understand I am someone who has gone to the same dentist since childhood. I drive six hours to see my dentist. I never took my kids to the dentist because I thought they could pick up on my fears. Today I found one in a foreign country on the internet based upon the fact they can see me on a Sunday. Oh boy. They were very nice though and even offered to drive me home after my appointment because it’s about a 40 minute walk from here. I think I found a new dentist!

The walk was lovely with gardens along the way. I photographed a couple of examples of something that always puzzled me. Have you ever noticed two family houses where the owners couldn’t agree on the color or trim. It seems so odd to see two halves of a house, which do not match. This house had different roofs, railings and trim but the color matched.


The one below couldn’t agree on the same color but matched the trim. Maybe the wires were a problem.


Even the simplest houses had beautiful gardens. i think this may be a form of nasturtium.


We’re upside down

Literally. We went for a hike yesterday in the Freycinet Park, with beautiful beaches, wallaby sitings, starfish, birdsong and trees.

DSCN0281.JPG We stopped to get our bearings with the compass I brought from home and found North is South in Tasmania. We need a southern hemisphere compass.

We rented a car and I got to drive on the left. All was fine until we began our trip home and found there were no petrel stations open. The one game in town only accepted its own brand of credit card after hours (6:15 pm!!!).

So we ate at a restaurant where the owner called everyone in town she knew to see if they had a card with the explanation,

” they are a lovely couple but they are from New York…”


We could have used the remaining gas we had to pull into a drive through liquor store, which are present all over Tasmania. Drive through lanes are marked, Express or Browsing. After shopping, the drivers head off into traffic.

At the last moment, when we were almost prepared to find a room and spend the night, a knight in shining armor in a flatbed pick up truck stopped to buy gas and let us use his card. Then we drove home, 150 km or so, in the dark, dodging wallabies and wombats on the road. I saw more wallabies on my drive home than in the park. I should have expected it when my best wallaby photo was taken in the car park.


Wineglass Bay was gorgeous. I think this is what Deal Island may look like and we are getting very excited. Our shopping is done and the boat is loaded because we leave for a six day back packing, bush walking trip on Monday. The boat will leave with everything except our hiking gear while we are away. We will celebrate Thanksgiving in a hut with dehydrated Turkey Tetrazzini; no football.


We saw gianormous oyster shells and starfish along the beach. One area was called Oyster Bay, just like home.


This tree man greeted us at the end of our walk before we almost ran out of gas.