Wizard Smith's Volcano

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Swansea - Freycinet Peninsula - Campbell Town - St Marys - St Helens

Wineglass Bay was a must-do, and one of the things we really wanted to see on the east coast. Plus I'd promised Cobba some photos from the lookout (as well as knocking off a piece of sacred rock from Port Arthur) so I was keen to sweat it out and take the trek up there. It was no disappointment, right up there with Wilson's Promontory, and everything I had hoped it would be. The bonus of getting up there is what you also get by getting up there, and that's the views of the other bays around the peninsula, which no one seems to talk about. Having a small roo share the track with us briefly was surreal and only added to the whole experience.

I've seen a few of the Aussie national parks now and I'm starting to get quite impressed. They're very well mapped and managed and the whole uncomplicated ease-of-access is an absolute breeze. What they're especially good at though is helping you part with your cash by skirting around a few helpful bits of information. Like upgrading your National Park pass. If you visit more than three national parks it seems you'd be better to upgrade to a multiple pass thingy which saves you a bit of bread by not having to pay an occasional daily rate. This wasn't altogether made clear on more than one occasion, rather clouded somewhat and turned into a bit of a scheme to hand over the full rate early on. Much is the same for those small fluffy Tasmanian Devils they have on sale, at a cost that would easily get you a couple nights accommodation on the coast. Toilets are nice though..

This weekend was a big one in Tassie, a mass fishing competition was in play which was going to span the public holiday so we had a bit of trouble finding a bed. Our situation wasn't improved by us rocking in to town after dark, just as people were closing up for the night, and the only motor lodge they had was teeming with Harley Davidsons. Charlie took a deep breath and ventured in while I found a small family run backpackers across the way. They had one family room left, which happened to be above their own living quarters and we were told quite bluntly that under no circumstances were we to disturb their little angel - a writhing screaming shit of a toddler who (it was obvious) was actually going to keep us awake all night. When Charlie came back from the motor lodge with his tail between his legs, we had no choice but to roll our eyes and pay up.

Like most incidental towns you pass through St Helens was dead by 9pm - no food or entertainment (not even street lights) so we were stoked to find a dim glow amongst the shadows in a distant back street pumping out what sounded like live music and the odd bout of cheering. On closer inspection we were made up. We'd found our oasis - a small residential bar dotted with sofas and flickering candles. The owners were attentive and friendly and the young guy on the stool in the corner was an instant hit. Clearly devoted to his passion, he spent the majority of the evening wowing us with his wizardry and belting out some old time blues on a steel dobro and ukulele. We stayed there all night and of course, met some great people. Charlie got harassed by some old bearded piss-head who ended up getting removed from the joint and Chicken was in bits at the wanna-be percussionist groupie chick playing uncontrollably on her thighs in the corner. The random Canadian traveller was a friendly enough bloke and when the blues guy finished his set we all sat outside yapping away. Random nights. Aren't they the best?
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Where I stayed
St Helens Backpackers
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