Tasmania at last..

Trip Start Jan 03, 1976
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Friday, November 7, 2008

In my continued quest to see more of my own country I found a bargain flight down to Tassie for the weekend and went ahead and booked it.  I had planned to go with Sam but things happen and the next thing I know I landed in Launceston on Saturday morning at 9am solo. I was wearing thongs. Tasmania is even colder than you would think, than I thought anyway, sunny day but an ice cold wind. So as has become common any time I fly somewhere in a plane I had to run around buying appropriate weather gear, and I grabbed some sneakers.

Turned out to be a good plan because not only was it cold, but I walked a lot! I had thought Launceston would have a lot of older buildings but they don't seem to make too much of their convict past, and where I grew up is older anyway so I focused more on the animals. Launceston is an hour from Low Head where fairy penguins have been coming in every night for years to nest and make out.  A spot bucketed by icy winds Low Head is not a place where showing up in thongs would have been the smartest of moves. The tour takes you to a seating arena and almost straight away the penguins start coming in. The guide uses a low amber light so we can see the penguins but they arent bothered by us, touching one gets you a fine of $3000. One bumped against my foot but it was not forthcoming with paying me a reverse $3000 fine so I had to let it go. Shame as Launceston really is just a big country town, which for a solo traveller without a car it becomes an expensive place.

I also am very glad I went to the Tasmania Zoo, a bit of a trek out of Launceston without a car but they have a shuttle bus that came and got me. Its a breeding zoo for Tassie Devils, and is all about interaction with animals. They let you pat a baby Devil (an adult wouldn't give you back your hand) and feed the other various Aussie animals around the zoo and there is little in the way of fencing. The zoo has 40 of Tasmanias remaining 250 devils, a sad sad story that one can only hope does not end up the same as the Tasmanian Tiger, though things seem to be heading that way. They are just soo cute, it so hard to believe they as so mean!

Around Launceston there is a museum that has a bit of history about the town which was more about specific events - such as rail - than the entire town.  Again seeming to ignore its convict beginnings which I would have thought was one of the more interesting parts of its history. As the day got sunnier I went on a river cruise through the local gorge, a whole area that a rich lady had donated to the town that is now a free local park. Has some short trails, a pool, the river of course and a chair ride over the gorge that had to be done.
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