Coming face to face with a Devil

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Tasmania,
Monday, March 5, 2012

Our first stop was the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park, clearly seeing the devils had to be high on our list and where better than a Conservation Park.

 Devils have a pretty tough life, the mothers often have over 20 pups but as there are only 4 teets in the pouch, only 4 devils survive and even then Devils only tend to live around 5 years, perhaps because they burn themselves out fighting in the rest of their life. Everything is a fight, they fight to get to the pouch, they fight their siblings, they fight to be able to mate, they fight with their mate and they fight over food. And yet when they're not fighting they're actually really cute. 

  Sadly, they are now endangered and it's this fighting which is spreading a fatal cancer which has reduced Devil populations by 80% in 15 years. Conservationists are genuinely worried that the wild population could become extinct in the next 10 years at which time these conservation sites could be the only way to save these animals. 

  The Tasmanian animal which has even more of a hidden past and has become extinct is the Tasmanian Tiger. We watched a video about them at the conservation park and although they are considered to be extinct, lots of people believe there may still be living Tasmanian tigers hiding in the thick bush in the centre of Tasmania. The footage of Tassie Tigers from early in the 20th century shows an animal which looks similar to a large dog, has a pouch and a tail which looks like a Kangaroo and stripes on it's hind quarters where it got its name. 
 It's the weirdest looking thing and really sad that when the settlers came to Tasmania they considered them to be a pest as they were killing livestock, mainly sheep. The Government put up a reward for dead Tigers which has ultimately led to their extinction. It's those bloody Brits again!

 Before leaving the Tasman Peninsular, we explored the area to see some of the natural coastal wonders including a blowhole, the Devils kitchen, spectacular coastal views and the spot where the Dog-line used to be

 We also passed through a random little town called Doo Town. For some unknown reason, every house in the town has been named Doo. There's scooby Doo, Doo Me, Dijeri Doo, Dr doo Little, It'll Doo. It's got to be the most random town we've been to.

  So, having thoroughly explored the Tasman Peninsular we headed north along the east coast. Considering we're in Australia, the weather is pretty cold and the rain has been relentless throughout the Country. Actually, Tasmania is one of the less affected areas as New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have had the most rain they've had for over 100 years..... which just happens to be the one year we're here! 

 Undeterred we headed for the Freycinet National Park aiming for Wineglass bay and the Hazards mountain range. We hiked up to the viewpoint through the rain and were rewarded with gorgeous views over Wineglass bay. Considering it was so wet and cloudy the bay still looked amazing so we can only imagine how awesome it must be on a clear day. The Hazards mountain range look like they should get their name from the enormous boulders which stand precariously on the edge of the mountainside as if they could fall at any second, but in actual fact they were named after some bloke with the last name Hazard (your history lesson for today).

 Next was Sleepy Bay, which was beautiful and we took a few photos of the view. Just as we turned to leave I spotted a dolphin's fin right next to the rocks in front of us and as we watched more and more dolphins appeared. In total there must have been at least 12 of them, we think they were bottle-nosed dolphins and before we knew it we had been sat there watching the dolphins for over an hour. They seemed to be fishing and would catch a wave before jumping back into the deeper waters so they were really active and we got a lot of great photos. Probably the best dolphin watching experience we've had!

  The East Coast is really beautiful with crystal clear water near the shore, white sandy beaches and lots of wildlife. We have seen dozens of Wallabies, a couple of emu's, Echidnas and millions of birds along the way and we actually camped right next to the beach near the Bay of Fires. The beach there was beautiful but the weather spoiled it for us a bit as it was blowing a storm. We decided to stay put but it meant we didn't sleep too well as the van was being pelted with rain and nearly blown over by the wind. Although the wind calmed down , the rain continued into the morning and when we went to explore the Bay of Fires it wasn't really ideal beach weather. 

 Apparently the Lonely Planet voted Bay of Fires as being the being one of the best places in the world a couple of years ago and we could see why as it's a very remote and quiet beach with good surf, loads of green bush and lagoons for swimming in. There were also hundreds of black swans swimming in the lagoons and it feels quite untouched. I had assumed it was called 'The Bay of Fires' because of the fiery red colour on the boulders next to the sea but it was actually unimaginatively named due to their being lots of aboriginal fires there when the explorers reached the area.

 Who knew Tasmania had some of the best beaches in the world!
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