Devilish good times

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Matt and Sophie

Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Friday, February 18, 2011

     Tasmania is one of those places that just sounds odd.  Not to say that in a bad way.  I was immensly excited to visit this large island off the southern coast of Australia.  To be honest, the only thing that I knew about this place, and likely for rest of you its the same, is the Tazmanian Devil cartoon character made famous during my younger years.  On my last visit to Australia 12 years ago with my family, we never made it down there, so I was eager to check it out for myself.  Now this part of my journey was also to have an addition to it.  Tessa, a friend of a friend from Germany and I had agreed to do the 6 weeks of travel around Australia.  This was to be our first destination together.  I greeted her at the airport the night before our departure after her long flight from Hamburg, and we went over all the details of what lied ahead.        With a close call at the Melbourne airport by checking in with literally 1 minute to spare (because I forgot the time of the flight :p), we boarded our budget 1 hour flight to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.   As the short flight began its decent, you could see the raw and rustic country side of the island.  It was a collection of farms, vineyards and bush as far as the eye could see.  I remember saying to myself, and out loud before our flight even touched the ground...I want more than 5 days here.  Tasmania is an outdoor enthusiast eutopia and since I just stocked up on camping equipement and other supplies, I was more than ready for it.   After sorting out our car rental paper work, off we drove down the wrong side of the road.  Well wrong for "normal" people, not the Aussies. :p      Both Tessa and I were continiously being blown away during our short drive into Hobart from the airport.  Look at that!!!.....LOOK ....Over there!!  It feels exactly the way it sounds if that makes any sense at all.......Tasmania.  Something I can't describe until you see it for yourself.   The first thing that I seem to notice when we drove the main strip of Hobart, was the fact that everything had a small hometown feel to it.  The main hospital was rather small considering that it was likely the biggest one on the island, but I guess that is all they needed.    We found a small grocery store and grabbed a few things so that we could have a small picnic somewhere, and both agreed that the Botanical Garden in the middle of the city would be a great place to soak up some of the amazing view.    While enjoying our ham sandwiches and apple, we made contact with out Couchsurfing hosts that had agreed to put us up for our first night in town.  Matt and Sophie lived in a lower socio economic suburb of Hobart, which they warned us before we came, incase we were to be startled.  The only thing that was a bit of a surprise about our arrival at their place, was that there and the end of their street, you could see the barbed wire and high gates of the local prison.  Interesting, but nothing that really made me want to leave.   Tessa and I were cracking  jokes when we saw that.....What if our couchsurfers that invited us to stay with them, were actually convicts?!?   When we arrived, Sophie was outside doing some yard work out front.  She gave us a very warm welcome with big smile, and invited us in to meet her two little girls.  They were adorable little girls, and weren't shy to talk with Tessa and myself almost instantly.    Matt came home from work shortly later.  He was a carpenter and was rather busy loading and unloading his truck, so I just gave a quick hello and tried to see if there was any way I could help him.  Instead of helping with the truck loading, I ended up switching to helping Sophie prepare the dinner, while Tessa was off playing with the little ones and keeping them busy.r.  The dinner consisted mostly of veggies, that were all freshly picked from their beautiful garden that they had out back.  Matt and Sophie were rather hippie, and very green concious with was nothing new to me....they would have some great conversations about gardens and green stuff with my dad.  Right pops??? ;)   compost compost compost!!     We went out later that night for a quick drive before the sun set, to grab some quick photos and to see what else we could see as this might be our only night in Hobart.    We raced around town trying to get to the top of the mountain to get the ideal view, but alas never made it in time.   Driving up the mountain, dodging wallabies and other random animals, it was almost turning into a video game but the end of the night.  Some places you really had to take care as there would be a 500 meter cliff just to the side of the road, and if you and your car would end up being a pancake.   We did however get a good chance to see the city lit up at night time.  Since Tasmania isn't the warmest place in Australia, we threw the towel in and called it a night as we had a long day of driving and hiking ahead of us.  I must admit, that on the drive home, I was getting drowsy.   And unfortunetly less than 1 km from the house, a possum ran out on to the road.    it was 3/4 of the way across the road then it decided to make a U turn.  Hyundai 1.....Possum 0.   Sorry little fella.       In the morning we thanked Matt and Sophie for their great hospitality, and was actually regretting the fact that we only got to know them for 1 day.  Being in Tasmania and active couchsurfers, I am sure that during peak season, they must get nearly 20-30 requests a day, and they were kind enough to help us out.   Thanks to the both of you.  I wish you all the best, and hope to make it back down there someday.   Keep well.   Our next destination was Freycinet National park that was a 2.5 hour north east of Hobart along the coast.  We would have to drive the Tasman highway, which sounds a lot bigger than it acutally is.  Its  simply a two lane road with the odd passing point, that makes vicious sharp turns with little to no warning.    Tessa asked me a couple times to slow down.  I guess hitting the apex in a Hyundai isn't really necessary.    Our drive time was nearly double for the fact that we both wanted to stop all the time for pictures.  And little did we know about the national park and its beauty..........  Would make the rest of Tassie seem pretty bland.  
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