Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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We got off to a blinding start, and already we're absolutely loving Tassie. The eleven hour ferry crossing over to Devonport was a doddle, and we got stuck straight in to a load of random riding and sightseeing. Far too much to go into any real detail but let's just say highlights include blazing through a speed camera in the coastal village of Penguin, eating lumps of shark in downtown Wynyard, detouring to take in the stillness of Sisters Beach, climbing The Nut in Stanley, screaming blue murder through the phenomenal twists of the Hellyer (Hellyeah) Gorge, walking a lengthy stretch of Ocean Beach against a windy onslaught and warming up afterwards with a feed in the end-of-the-world coastal village that is Strahan. Not forgetting of course the afternoon's sampling of the Cradle Mountain National Park and it's surrounding grandeur.
And so we rocked up in Rosebery, a modest dink on Tasmania's west coast and a real jewel of a place nestled nicely amongst the mountains and lakes that make up most of the dramatic landscape here. It's all very Fiordland, utterly unspoiled, and with that weathered and beaten tinge that symbolises the trademark Aussie hardiness.
What's more is that it's all very 'us', and when we finally found Shiny's place (a big blue corner house on stilts with a fat white goat in the garden grazing on vegetables overlooking the picture-postcard lake and bush-clad mountains) I couldn't help smiling to myself. Totally totally Shiny.
Naturally, the last four days have been, in the words of my good man Charlie, grouse. The slow immersion into life here and the goings on in the world of Shiny and Ken has been bright and breezy and being back in the company of her Shiny-ness with her Shiny-isms, the constant banter and the obligatory bickerings has been great medicine. Herself and Kenneth are doing great, which is a pleasure to see and the catching up has been a complete joy. She got to hear about all my tramp-like wanderings and I got to see the amazing blue house, the boats, the goats and the dazzling 52 acres of native Tasmanian bush they've acquired to transform into a self-sufficient paradise with budding facilities that will help the local youth learn new life skills and concepts. It's all positively mind-blowing and I'm thoroughly stoked to see her living the kind of life I too would like to live one day.
A lot of the power around these parts is generated by water, hence the number of dams dotted about the place and the subsequent rising of creek beds. We took the boat out on one for a blast around, stopping in the middle of nowhere to check out a couple of the shacks that the locals have tucked away deep in the bush. You can't for the life of you spot them from the water, which is why it's been a privilege to experience it all, certainly not something the average tourist would get to see. Much is the same for the platypus that surface occasionally before darting off again like a torpedo.
We spent a quality evening on 'the block', their 52 acres of undulating Tassie bush. Ken being the pyro-man that he is kick-started a huge bonfire in the middle of the field and we stood for hours with the goats, bantering with Boag's under the streaming milky way - a proper night out, and just like old times.
Now that Sir Charles has joined us we'll be heading off for the big tour. Chicken's decided to leave her bags in storage and join us on the two-wheeled marathon of madness. For such a small island there's a hell of a lot to see, and the general consensus is that we'll be heading south-east towards Hobart. Whether we actually make it round is anyone's guess, though it's not a bad way to burn a dozen tanks of fuel..
Where I stayed
Shiny's Place, of course