Monday, January 27, 2014

#Travel // #Tasmania Road Trip Part One

This time last year I was in the midst of the first of three road trips I took in 2013. When I lived in Sydney, I had a great posse of international friends that didn't waste a moment of their limited time in Australia, being inspiration for many of my own adventures. So when my French friend, Vivi, suggested we do a ten-day road trip around Tasmania, I didn't hesitate for a second!

We were both due to leave Australia at the end of January, and thought this would be a great final hurrah to distract us from inevitably having to leave behind the exciting lives we built for ourselves in Sydney. So we did a little research, booked a car, borrowed our friend's free campsite guide and found the cheapest flight down to Hobart!

In effort to save as much money possible to make three-weeks manageable, we rented the teeny-tiniest car at the cheapest price. Meet our little Suzuki Swift. Believe it, we actually slept in this every night despite having brought a tent. We were always beat by the end of the night, especially Vivi who had to be the sole driver throughout the trip. My lack of an international license and ability to drive manual designated me the official navigator. Don't be fooled, being a navigator is a hard task, you don't know how many times I had to fight off the temptation to take a nap during a long haul!

In the weeks that led to our arrival in Hobart, we were hearing all over the news about serious fires ripping through Tasmania, including along our planned route. We were getting seriously worried we'd have to cancel. Fortunately they started dying down significantly before we boarded our plane, only leaving us witness to the devastating after-effects of burnt wood and homes where only a chimney remained.

Tasmania, as most of Australia, has a relatively small population for it's size. We didn't interact too much with locals, exclusively eating PB&J and tuna sandwiches and driving only to touristy spots. When we did though, it was good to see the spirits weren't down from the recent destruction. In fact going through small towns that had so much character was a stark contrast. Such as "Doo Town", where all the cottages were cleverly named and labeled with some phrase including the word "Doo". I failed at getting decent photos of most cottages as we were driving past but did manage this sign and food truck! 

The first leg of the trip was going down the Tasman Peninsula, where Australia's convict history is the most prevalent of anywhere else I've been on the mainland. Australia isn't too proud of it's past and would rather distract your stay with beaches and adventures than it's history. In the peninsula though, it hits you in the face like no other. Some of the most harsh conditions and convicts were handled on this peninsula, where the dangerous waters and line of malicious dogs ensured little chance of escaping. 

The Tasman Peninsula has some great coastal formations from the harsh waters that rip along it. Notable formations include the Devil's Kitchen, The Remarkable Cave and The Candlestick. The latter we were only able to view from afar, it requires a long trail that we didn't feel prepared to take on! Experiencing all of these in person was amazing, all I could do was just stand there, stare and hope I could capture a photos that would do it some justice!

My favorite formation was this Tessellated Pavement, yes, it's natural! I didn't realize that fact until I was reading about it after we had left. I thought this was some old, degrading pavement abandoned by humans and being taken over my nature, but nope! This is purely Mother Nature's work. And that makes me love it even more. I especially loved peering into the crevices where all sorts of marine creatures and plants lived.

One very bumpy gravel road, that our little Swift barely handled, led us to this beach. The sand was squeaky and the waves looked like glass before the crashed ashore. As refreshing as this beach looks, Tasmania is actually pretty chilly, even in summer. We really didn't ever go swimming due to the icy, cold water and the air temp never really getting too scorching temps, especially compared to what we left behind in Sydney. Also, when living out of car, there aren't any proper mirrors to asses the ridiculous combinations of clothing thrown together. Fortunately I got better along the trip after reviewing these photos!

Our first full day affirmed this trip was just what both Vivi and I needed, to escape from the city and explore the lesser-known part of Australia filled with history and stunning views. We had several Sydneysiders question our desire to spend weeks in the tiny, island state and we were glad we just ignored them, as usual. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of this six part series!
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