A Travellerspoint blog

Sulawesi

Where in the world is that?.....

sunny 30 °C

We arrived in Makassar the capital of Sulawesi, after a 4 hour flight from Singapore. For those of you who don't know where Sulawesi is (and we didn't know until a few months ago), it's an island in Indonesia between Borneo and Papua New Guinea. We came on advice from our friend Eidin and we will blame her if it all goes haywire! Only kidding Eidin...

What we didn't realise was that we were landing in Makassar at the start of Ramadan. The city's population is mainly muslim. No big deal really but during Ramadan, when people are fasting from sunrise to sunset, it's impolite to eat in public. Oh no, we are going to starve we thought! Fortunately there were many restaurants opened and as long as you eat inside you are fine. And boy did we eat. On our first night we ate in a very popular local restaurant called Lae Lae. They only serve fish caught from their own boat so if you don't like fish you are scuppered. The restaurant is really a big dining hall with long tables full of people. At the entrance their is a big grill full of fish, shrimps etc grilling away. We entered the door and hadn't a clue what to do as no one was paying any attention to us. Thankfully 3 men took pity on us and told us we had to choose our fish from a big plastic box of ice and then it would be cooked. The array of fish was mind boggling but they suggested a particular fish, two of which were brought to our table with grilled shrimps, rice and lots of fresh limes. It was delicious. Of course the local all eat with their hands so we did the same, with the help of a spoon every now and then.

Makassar is a mad city of 1.8million people. Noisy and a little smelly (semi-open sewers and lots of litter) but the people are very friendly. The favourite call seems to be "Hallo Meesterr" as Seamus was causing quite a stir in his Aussie Crocodile Dundee leather hat. Here the motor bike is king and nearly all the cars are Toyota (Go Toyota!) We were lullabied to sleep every night by the call to prayer from 2 of the largest mosques in the city which happened to be right next to our hotel. Thankfully I had earplugs for the 4 or 5am prayer call! Our mode of transport was the Becak which is a bicycle with 2 seats in the front and the guy pedalling behind. These guys do not obey road rules and often we found ourselves driving against the traffic on a four or five lane city street. Not for the fainthearted but quite fun when you get used to it. Driving in this city is a free for all - Italy is only in the halfpenny place.

The bathroom situation takes a little getting used to. Generally there is no toilet paper or flushing toilets. Every bathroom and toilet has a big plastic bin of water in which there is a smaller plastic 'jug' which you use to flush the loo and also for taking a bath, known as a Mandi bath. After a few days we are a dab hand at this but we go nowhere without our little wad of loo roll! Cheats!

Washing clothes Sulawesi style

Washing clothes Sulawesi style

After 3 days we were happy to head north to the countryside of the Tana Toraja region. This involved a bus ride of 11 hours to get 350km! Now you get an idea of what the roads are like. We were picked up by our guide (Amos) who we had organised for a few days to show us around. Next morning after doing our abolutions (showers are not common here, you wash by dousing yourself with a plastic jug of water), we headed into town with Amos. The town of Rantepao is mainly Christian and was celebrating 100 years of Christianity so everyone who was anyone had come to town. Think of a tribal St Patrick's Day. Every village came in their traditional dress and many were carrying pigs in elaborate hand held chariots. Lots of photos were taken to the now familiar call of 'Hallo Meesterr".
Traditional headdress

Traditional headdress


Swapsies?

Swapsies?


Rhianna in 50 years time

Rhianna in 50 years time


My new Geisha girl

My new Geisha girl


One of the main reasons to visit Toraja is for its famous funeral ceremonies. They are unlike anything else anywhere on earth. Death is big business here and you or your family can be saving all your life to afford a good send off. In fact it is common for people not to be buried immediately but kept in the house for up to 3 years so they can have a decent funeral. The event is a very public affair. Bamboo platforms are erected in the village so that the spectators can observe in comfort. These funerals can go on for 5 days! Animals are slaughtered on site. Sometimes up to 50 buffalo and even more pigs. The meat is shared out with all those who attend and is also brought home. The announcer announces who brought what to the funeral e.g. 'Aine Ryan brought 1 pig' and the family of the deceased take note and return the compliment when I snuff it. Buffalo can cost up to 2 Billion Rupiah - that's 150,000 Euro. Crazy I know. The most expensive are black and white buffalo and they are only expensive while they are alive, ie when their spirit is still alive. Once dead the meat is like any other buffalo meat. So growing buffalo elsewhere and selling in Toraja makes good business sense. In fact we are thinking of exporting them from Kakadu National Park in Oz where they are a pest and are shot to control numbers.......

We saw the body being removed from the family home and brought down the road in an elaborate bamboo 'carriage' which was held up by 50+ men and boys. Much messing occurs and there is a lot of pulling, pushing (like a tug of war) and even mud throwing. Not very somber but very entertaining and all part of the ceremony.

Procession leaving family home at start of  funeral celebration

Procession leaving family home at start of funeral celebration


Remains being pushed and shoved by friends and relatives

Remains being pushed and shoved by friends and relatives


An untimely death at his masters funeral

An untimely death at his masters funeral


Belly of Pork anyone?

Belly of Pork anyone?


You're some cow!!!!!!!

You're some cow!!!!!!!


Hanging out with the local girls

Hanging out with the local girls


Head of the procession.....

Head of the procession.....


Resting place during the ceremony

Resting place during the ceremony

Next day after visiting the local market and seeing any amount of buffalo and pigs we headed off on a 2 day trek to the mountains with Amos. The trek started on the back of 2 motor bikes driven by two 15 year olds over very dodgy roads unpaved full of potholes. Scary but fun. The area is very mountainous with forests and terraced rice fields. A typical asian landscape. Everywhere is lush green vegetation from giant bamboo trees, to coffee trees to lemon grass. The hillsides and fields are full of people working in the rice fields. They have a very clever system of growing fish in the rice fields - carp and cat fish. They dig a hole in the field and when they drain it the fish gather in the hole. Ingenious. There are no roads here and most provisions are transported here by shanks mare as buffalo are too valuable to do menial work. Stone grave sides are scattered througoput the mountainside each of which is hewn out of rock by hammer and chisel.
Technicolour

Technicolour


pigs for sale in market

pigs for sale in market

This little piggy went to the market.......

This little piggy went to the market.......

This little piggy went weeek weeeek all the way home.....

This little piggy went weeek weeeek all the way home.....


Thrill seeker!!!!

Thrill seeker!!!!


Paddi field with fishing hole

Paddi field with fishing hole


Stone Graves

Stone Graves

Elaborate stone grave

Elaborate stone grave

People are dying to get in here!!!!!!!

People are dying to get in here!!!!!!!

We were joined on our walk by a lovely Dutch couple in their 60s, Nell and Martin, a fit pair. All along the dirt paths we were greeted by'Hallos' by smiling children. Lots of children. Here it is normal for people to start having kids at 16 so we were considered elderly! Like in South America people here work very hard and all the family is out in the fields helping. No shoes here only bare feet, which is just as well as it is very muddy.

modern mum with her famiily

modern mum with her famiily

Village children

Village children

bringing home the harvest

bringing home the harvest


Dirty work

Dirty work

We walked (in our muddy boots) through rice fields and jungle in the heat of the day. Sticky sticky sticky. SO humid. At 4.30 we arrived at the traditional house where we would spend the night; luckily just before the heavens opened and we had our first taste of tropical rain! The Torajan houses are also famous and unlike any others and are known as Tong Konan. They look like upturned boats and are very elaborately carved and painted. The rice barns next to the houses are the same only smaller. We were to sleep on the floor on mattresses. After our wash with the usual bowl of water we sat down to a lovely dinner of rice, chicken and pork cooked inside a bamboo stem in the fire. Delicious. To top off the evening Seamus played a few tunes on the tin whistle to thank our hostess only to get all the dogs in the village howling!
Traditional roofed houses

Traditional roofed houses


Tong Konan - traditional houses

Tong Konan - traditional houses


traditional house

traditional house


Harvesting rice

Harvesting rice


Rice drying with rock grave in background

Rice drying with rock grave in background


Rice cocks drying

Rice cocks drying


Mmm... I bags the pork belly.

Mmm... I bags the pork belly.


In the morning we had our first traditional breakfast of rice, noodles tea and leftovers from dinner. Again very tasty. Off we headed in the sun and met lots of children on their way to or from school. We were all watching our steps in the slippy mud and they were just running by laughing at us. The packet of lollipops we bought the day before came in very handy along the way and induced even bigger smiles. We walked and walked and walked in the sweaty heat. Most of it up up up. Finally we rounded the top of a mountain which was so high there were pine trees growing and finally we started our descent. Thankfully we didn't have to get motor bikes back to town as the road was horrendous with massive holes, landslides, fallen trees etc. Just the norm for Sulawesi we are beginning to think.
Bird in the bush...

Bird in the bush...


Village children.

Village children.


Great day for drying

Great day for drying


Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when i'm angry.....

Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when i'm angry.....


I'll smile if you give me another lolly. Promise!

I'll smile if you give me another lolly. Promise!

Posted by Loodersatlarge 03:13 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sulawesi Comments (2)

Alice to Darwin

sunny 32 °C

Once we left Alice Springs we knew things were getting hot. No need for the flannelette pyjamas now! As we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn things hotted up considerably and Vinnie became a steaming hot metal capsule. No air conditioning so we had the windows open fully, factor 30 on and tea towels hanging from ropes on the doors to keep the sun out. We looked a sight but who cares?!

We got our first puncture early one morning. Luckily we had just passed a rest area so we limped back and managed to change the tyre. Unfortunately the guys who had the van before us had built the bed over where the jack and tools were stored so it was a bit of a palaver to get at them. At least it didn't happen at night. We arrived in Tennant Springs and all garages were closed but persuaded a guy who was working on his car to give us a spare tyre as we didn't want to get caught out without one.

We stayed at a few roadside rest areas and at a campsite where we were told the Lions v Wallabies match would be on, only to find out all they had on was Ozzie footie :-( We made up for it with a couple of cold beers and chatted to Gary, a fisherman from Adelaide who was heading up to Darwin with his boat for a month to camp, fish and meet up with some mates.

We stopped at the Devils Marbles, a series of stange looking round rocks and took the usual photos.
Devils Marbles

Devils Marbles


We arrived in Darwin where we contacted Sharon a friend of Mike O'Sullivans (Seamus' bro) from Blackrock, Cork. Sharon and her hubby Darren have been living near Darwin for 14 years so they know the area very well. Sharon took us to their holiday home at Dundee beach out on the coast where we had a lovely relaxing few days, drinking eating and watching the beautiful sunsets. Seamus had lots of fun on the various quads owned by Shaz and Daz. Typical boy...
Speed merchants

Speed merchants


We also caugth up with Phil(two doors) and Lisa from NSW (who we met in Tasmania) who were up in Darwin at a wedding. We went to the famous Mindel Market which is on the beachfront where we watched the sunset and ate all around us from the fabulous food stalls. We had a great laugh with Phil and Lisa and ended up watching a hurling and football match in some sports pub and trying to explain the rules.
Bearded nomads Seamus and Phil

Bearded nomads Seamus and Phil


Sunset at Dundee

Sunset at Dundee


Sunset

Sunset


Sunset 2

Sunset 2


I'll play the Boys of Fairhill..

I'll play the Boys of Fairhill..

All good things must come to an end and finally we had to say goodbye to our good friend Vinnie. We sold him to a lovely young German couple who we know will love him and treat him well. Of couse in the German accent he will now be know as Winnie, but I'm sure he will understand. After selling the van we were homeless for a few days so stayed in a hostel in Darwin with a rooftop pool. How bad.
We hired a wee car and headed to Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks. Litchfield is famous for its termite mounds, waterfalls and refreshing pools. Kakadu is home to amazing wetlands (very like Florida) and some of the most amazing aboriginal rock art in Oz which dates back to at least 20,000 years. The sites at Ubirr and Nourlangie are full of art spreading over millenia. It's amazing stuff and shows how closely the traditional people were related to the land, the seasons, plants and animals.

Kakadu is hot hot hot. The first night we camped in our little tent (provided by Sharon) which just consisted of mozzie mesh and nothing else. We were eaten alive by mosquitos as dusk approached (before we got into the tent). When the ranger was advising us to light a fire in 30+ degree heat to keep the mozzies at bay we knew we were in for trouble. I (Aine) got about 300 bites that evening and am still scratching! We watched a slide show given by a park ranger about the work rangers do in the park. It seems you not only have to know about ecology etc but need a degree building and construction as the wet season usually destroys many roads, bridges, boat ramps etc adn the rangers do most of hte repair work.

We went on a cruise of Yellow Waters, where we saw many Crocs and the most amazing birdlife. We really needed longer there but we only had 2 days in total in Kakadu. It's definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Oz. We will upload some photos of this when we have more time.
A and S

A and S


Our wee mozzie tent

Our wee mozzie tent

Posted by Loodersatlarge 02:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Journey to the red Centre

Adelaide to Alice Springs

sunny 23 °C

Having said our goodbyes at Victor Harbor we set off with heavy hearts but also happy at the thought of what lay ahead: the Red Centre. We drove up through wine country including McClaren Vale but unfortunately didn't get to taste any vino :-( We stopped the night in the little town of Port Pirie which we found out the next morning is home to the world's largest primary lead smelter. We really know how to pick our camping spots!

Next day we stopped at Port Augusta to stock up on provisions for the journey inland. This was the first town we saw indigenous people in any numbers. We felt like we were entering the real Australia. We hit the road and got comfortable behind a massive truck and decided to keep in its tailwind for as long as possible so that it would carry us along and be first to encounter any kangaroos! By the end of the evening we had made it 650km to Coober Pedy - a ramshackle little opal mining town.

Next morning we looked around in amazement at the surrounding landscape which was an untidy mess of hummocks created by waste soil and rock from the mining industry. The town itself was like a south american desert town and many of the buildings are underground so as to avoid the harsh desert sun. The average temperature in the underground houses is around 24 degrees. We visited an old opal mine which was v interesting and as soon as the visit was over we got the hell out of dodge...

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy


Swappsies...

Swappsies...

Onwards and northwards through scrubby arid vegetation typical of central Oz. We stayed overnight at Kulgera station. There are no towns along the way, only cattle or sheep stations which have petrol tanks, a campsite and a basic shop. Next day we turned left off the highway for Yalara, the home of Uluru ( Ayers Rock). We stopped for petrol at Curtin Springs a farm of over 1 million acres. A decent sized farm we thought.....

Curtin Springs Small Holding...

Curtin Springs Small Holding...

We reached Yalara next afternoon and were surprised at how many people were there. Everyone must stay in the 'resort' which has everything from 5 star hotels to camp grounds. No prizes for guessing where we ended up.... Our camp ground could hold 1700 people but only had 1100 while we were there! Great facilities though and all for $10 a night in total. Well we were in the outback part of the campsite with the dingos running by... as if I hadn't enough to worry about with the snakes and spiders!

Next day we walked the 10km circuit around the rock which really is impressive. It's a hugh sandstone monolith which is at its best at sunrise and sunset. One can appreciate why it is so sacred to the local indigenous community. Ironically for such a dry spot the rock is shaped mainly by water and has many cascades and pools along its face. Again my physical geography lessons were all coming back to me. Even Seamus is turning into an amateur geologist on this trip!

Uluru

Uluru


Are u Uluru?

Are u Uluru?


All paths lead to Uluru

All paths lead to Uluru


Uluru Sunset

Uluru Sunset


We think this looks like a CAT Scan

We think this looks like a CAT Scan


Seamus and Aine at sunset

Seamus and Aine at sunset


Preparing Chilli con Carne at Uluru

Preparing Chilli con Carne at Uluru


Brekkie at sunrise Uluru

Brekkie at sunrise Uluru

The following day we travelled 50km west to Kata Tjuta also known as the Olgas. We did a 4 hr walk and the scenery was even more spectacular than at Uluru. So many wild flowers, grasses and trees. Not what you'd expect from an arid landscape. We passed through some fabulous gorges and wide open plains. We felt very privileged to be in such a beautiful spot. Both days we were up early to see the sunrise over both sites. At one isolated viewing spot we happened to meet the local GP who was part aboriginal, part Scottish and part Irish. We had a very interesting talk about lots of stuff. It's amazing the people you meet.

kata tjuta

kata tjuta


The lonely walker at the Kata Tjuta

The lonely walker at the Kata Tjuta

Oh yes, I almost forgot - we bought a painting! We met an Aboriginal artist (Raymond) in residence in a gallery in Yalara and we got talking and asked about the painting he was working on. He told us what it represented and then offered it to us for a fraction of the asking price. We were delighted. You see lots of local art but some is fairly crude and very over priced. Raymond's work is highly detailed and he is quite well known. He was on leave from work as a social worker working in child protection so he was enjoying his time away from what could be quite a stressful job.

Of course the sliding door on our van would have to break - one of the rollers came a cropper. Until we can get it fixed we have to climb in and out over the front seats. Oh what joy. Not great fun when you want to go to the loo in the middle of the night!

On the road again the next day heading towards Kings Canyon, a beautiful spot. We did a 4 hr circuit walk which took us up to the rim of the canyon which has orange and butter coloured cliffs. Stunning. Down below are water holes surrounded by cycads, prehistoric palm like plants, survivors from millions of years ago when Australia was a much wetter place. Next morning at our roadside camp spot we met Alan and Bev. Two "grey nomads" travelling around oz in their caravan. Alan was telling us about work they did for Blaze Aid where they went and helped farmers affected by fires and floods. Amazing people and, like so many Aussies, so open and friendly.

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon


Kings Canyon walk

Kings Canyon walk


Kings Canyon Cliff Face

Kings Canyon Cliff Face

Arrived in Alice Springs in the afternoon and checked into our campsite. Alice is a funny place. It feels like it has been plonked in the middle of the desert (which it is). Here there are lots of indigenous people but not many seem to own or work in the local shops. It felt like there was a huge disconnect between the 'settler' community and the original local community. We heard a programme on the radio which was referring to aboriginals as "First People" and I quite liked that as they have been here for over 60, 000 years and the settlers are only here a wet week but are trying to impose their values on a culture which is completely different and in existence for an eternity. Like all colonial stories it's complicated a complicated one......

From Alice we headed west again into the McDonnell ranges, the home of the gorgeous gorges. The range was once as high as the Himalaya but is now worn down to the nub. You really get a feel for how ancient the landscape is with its red sandstone layers standing vertically almost looking like man made walls in places. We stopped at Stanley Chasm and wondered at the massive gorge walls. We met 4 older women doing the 200km+ Larapinta Trail. Fair play girls. We arrived at our destination of Ormiston Gorge before sunset and we felt like we had reached a very special place. For a bush campsite it had all the facilities. Gas bbq and even more important, hot showers! We met Nick, the new camp manager of 3 days, who had moved his wife and 2 boys under 4 to this remote spot after leaving a high paying job as a buyer with one of the largest supermarket chains in Australia. Nick was a character and had lived for 3 years in Galway. We walked the gorge and saw the beautiful colors and the reflections of the cliffs in the water holes dotting the gorge. Here we met another great couple, John and Judy, who were about 70 and had travelled all over the world. When they made a trip through the centre of Oz in 1974 with their kids, the main road was still unpaved. They are now on the road almost full time and were a real inspiration as to what you can do if you put your mind to it.
Stanley Chasm

Stanley Chasm


tree root growing aroung rock

tree root growing aroung rock


Rock hopper

Rock hopper


Reflections at Ormiston Gorge

Reflections at Ormiston Gorge


On immature reflection..

On immature reflection..


Wating in the long grass!

Wating in the long grass!

Lastly for now, a mention of the night skys which are so beautiful here: so many stars and the milky way is so clear with no light pollution to spoil the view. We miss seeing the stars of the northern hemisphere though such as the plough, but since we started this journey in Argentina we have been constantly watched over by the Southern Star, which, since south America we know as the Cruz del Sur. Incidentally it is also represented in the Australian flag. So, keep on shining on us Cruz del Sur.
Shadows of our former selves...we wish....

Shadows of our former selves...we wish....

Posted by Loodersatlarge 06:23 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Tasmania to Victor Harbour

AWOL - Not!

semi-overcast 14 °C

We just realised we hadn't written anything on the blog since Tasmania. Time flies when you're having fun! Don't worry - we are still alive!
After Tassie we stayed with Dan, Jo and kids (thanks again guys!) and had some R&R for a few days. I (Aine) also had to call in to the doctors for an x-ray on my wrist which had a suspected fracture. Thankfully no break so all okay on that front. Still got no sympathy from Seamus....

After Melbourne we headed down the Great Ocean Road where we stopped off at many of the great surf beaches along the way. Even at 7.30am there would be lots of surfers in the cold southern waters. Hardy men and women. Did a couple of walks and walked along the Great Ocean Road Walk and took in the spectacular scenery and the famous Twelve Apostles - beautiful butter coloured sea stacks. Camped at lots of beautiful bush campsites along the way and had a great night with a bunch of walkers at Blanket Bay where we had the biggest campfire ever. Most Ozzie campers bring a chain saw and cut up trees or fallen branches along the way. That night we burned about 2 tonnes of wood!
Great Ocean Road Walkway

Great Ocean Road Walkway

Yeaah!

Yeaah!


Beach at 12 Apostles

Beach at 12 Apostles


Sunset by bush camp Fitzroy River

Sunset by bush camp Fitzroy River


Nice hat...

Nice hat...


90_IMG_1316.jpg

After a few days on the road we were chomping at the bit to each Victor Harbour (South Australia) where Seamus' brother Denis lives with his wife Sarah and kids Georgia (12) and Mikey (11). We arrived 2 days early as a surprise and gave them the fright of their lives. It was great to be in the bosom of the family again. One week rolled into two, and two weeks rolled into three and before we knew it we were in Victor Harbor for almost a month. We had great fund getting to know Georgia and Mikey and seeing how much they had grown. We went to footie practice and matches, swimming classes and did some rock hopping and walking in the general area. And of course a few rounds of golf were played!

Denis Mikey Georgia and Seamus

Denis Mikey Georgia and Seamus


The O'Sullivans

The O'Sullivans

Victor Harbor is a lovely little town on a beautiful coastline. Very green with rolling hills and cliffs. In fact very like Ireland in a way so we felt right at home.

All too soon our month was up and today we head off in Vinnie again. The temperatures will be down to 2 degrees at night as we head north so Sarah gave me a pair of lovely flannelette pyjamas - thanks Sarah! And of course we have our trusty hot water bottle too! So, it's onwards and northwards towards Uluru (Ayres Rock), Alice Springs and on to Darwin. We fly to Singapore on 20th June so we have a month to explore along the way.

This morning we said goodbye to Georgia and Mikey and a few tears were shed. Hopefully we will get to see them in the not too distant future - in Ireland or in Oz. We will miss you guys xxxxxx
Georgia and Mikey

Georgia and Mikey

Posted by Loodersatlarge 17:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tasmania

Van Diemens Land

15 °C

Map of Tassie

Map of Tassie


Tasmania - AKA Van Diemens Land. A land of mystery with a troubled past. We nearly didn't make it here but boy are we glad we did.

Tasmania is most well known for its history as a penal colony, more of which later. It's also famous for the little black beastie knowm as the Tasmanian Devil, which lives nowhere else on earth. This poor divil is now endangered now due to a facial tumour which affects most of the population. We also learned about the now (presumed) extinct Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger, the last of which died in a zoo in the 1930s. Sightings have been reported in the wilder parts of Tasmania and we sincerely hope it is still alive and kicking.

Our ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania

Our ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania

Anyway, we arrived on the Spirit of Tasmania at 6.30am on the 11hr overnight crossing from Melbourne. After a hearty breakfast we headed west along the north coast. The landscape in this part of Tassie (as they call it here) is very like east cork - rolling green fields down to the ocean with lots of grazing dairy cows.

Lighthouse at Table Cape

Lighthouse at Table Cape


My very own 'Chaise Longue'

My very own 'Chaise Longue'

Tasmania has 19 national parks and it is a lot smaller than Ireland! We bought a pass on the ship which allowed us to visit all the parks. We visited Sisters Beach before stopping for the night in Stanley a beautiful little village at the base of a big rock outcrop called The Nut. For once the streets in this village didn't follow the usual Australian/American grid. Instead they followed the contours of the hill which gave it a very European feel. That night we went to the local pub which had a roaring fire and felt like a real pub - unlike many aussie pubs which are more like a bookies shop, but more on that later.

Aine's new found passion

Aine's new found passion


Home made 'Dolls'

Home made 'Dolls'


Solitary tyre track on beach

Solitary tyre track on beach


Shell close up

Shell close up


Me on cliff edge

Me on cliff edge


Both have very similar angles????

Both have very similar angles????


Next day after climbing the Nut we headed down along the wild west coast. We parked at a bush camp ground at Arthurs River and lit a camp fire. The following morning we went for a few hr walk along the beach. Very wild and full of giant drift wood. Whole trees washed up giving the place a very eerie feel. We met an old man cutting the trees for firewood and he was having a can of beer in his jeep at 11am! Our kind of country!

Can't see the trees for the WOOD

Can't see the trees for the WOOD


Such a small sand dune!!!!

Such a small sand dune!!!!



After checking in with the local Ranger we headed south into the bush on a dirt track for about 120km. We stopped literally at the end of the road at Corinna where there was a lovely restaurant and nothing else. Oh, and there were also showers for $1. Yipee! Availed of the restaurant which was a nice change from cooking in the dark.

Reflections on Pieman River Corinna

Reflections on Pieman River Corinna


Just after sundown on Pieman River

Just after sundown on Pieman River


Same place just after sunrise

Same place just after sunrise



In the morning off again across the river the ferry towards Cradle Mountain National Park. More dirt track before reaching our destination. Parked in the campground and then went for a 2 hr walk round cradle lake before dark. Back to the camp kitchen where we cooked dinner and sat beside a massive log fire. In the morning we headed out towards Cradle Mountain. The morning started cloudy but only got better as the day went on. We didn't think we'd make the summit due to cloud but as we got closer the clouds lifted to reveal the rocky cliffs of the summit. Needless to say I wussed out due to my fear of precipices so I waited at the base of the summit while Seamus climbed to the top. His photographs tell the story of the amazing views from the top. Came back down via another route which involved a very steep descent assisted by chains at the steepest parts. We met a great couple called Phil (Two Doors) and Lisa from Queensland. We hit it off with them straight away.

Autumn Beech Leaves

Autumn Beech Leaves


Autumn Beech Leaves 2

Autumn Beech Leaves 2


Boat Shed reflected in Lake at Cradle Mountain

Boat Shed reflected in Lake at Cradle Mountain


Aine on her leisurely stroll around cradle mountain

Aine on her leisurely stroll around cradle mountain


Colourful tree bark

Colourful tree bark


Fancy coming across a wombat on 'wombat trail'

Fancy coming across a wombat on 'wombat trail'


Wooden bridge with Autumn colours in the background

Wooden bridge with Autumn colours in the background


Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain


Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain


Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain


Cradle MOuntain

Cradle MOuntain


Summit of Cradle Mountain

Summit of Cradle Mountain


Lichen on Rock

Lichen on Rock


Route down from Cradle Mountain

Route down from Cradle Mountain


On the edge

On the edge


Wallaby

Wallaby

Off again next day towards the south of Tassie towards Hobart for the famous Salamanca markets on Saturday. On our way we drove up through the Western Tiers mountains and then past the Great Lake in the center of the island.

A wooly tale

A wooly tale

After an overnight in a town park in New Norfolk we headed for the capital Hobart. We visited the new and now famous MONA gallery -Museum of Old and New Art - which has been built and filled with art etc by an ex very successful gambler who paid for this entire project. It's truly amazing and is built entirely underground. It contains art by up and coming artists and some famous artists including some very controversial pieces. Even better it has a brewery on site which makes Moo Brew well loved by locals.

Bit.Fall at MONA Museum

Bit.Fall at MONA Museum


MONA entrance

MONA entrance


Ironwork cement mixer at MONA

Ironwork cement mixer at MONA


Now that's a parking space!

Now that's a parking space!



Into Hobart which is a lovely city. Lovely sandstone buildings line the Wharf containing galleries, bars and restaurants. Poor Vinnie was given the night off as we booked into a Travel Lodge for the night. The joy of our very own shower and a proper bed! We headed out to a restaurant called Garagistes, about which we had read rave reviews by other top chefs in a national newspaper. We weren't disappointed. We were seated at a long bench table for about 10 people. Not v posh we thought but it was a great way to get chatting to people. On one side we had 2 wine makers and their families one from California but now based in Tasmania, on the other side a gay couple from Sydney. The food was even better than the chat. All local ingredients and perfectly presented. A real one-off treat.

Crocodile O'Sullivan on the blackstuff

Crocodile O'Sullivan on the blackstuff


I want to be one of those consultants...

I want to be one of those consultants...

On Saturday morning we strolled around the salamanca market which contains over 300 stalls of everything you can imagine. Crafts, food, veggies, honey, leather, clothes, art. You name it. A whole day is needed to see it all and of course there were plenty of eating and drinking opportunities. Back to Vinnie in a car park in the centre of town for the night before heading towards Bruny Island further down the coast.

For the birds..

For the birds..



Drove to Cape Bruny via a dirt track where we met the caretaker lighthouse keeper, 72yr old Ron Fehlberg, who showed us up to the lighthouse. Ron had climbed every peak in Tassie and had also worked in Antarctica. He looked about 56. He now does lots of voluntary work for the National Parks and Wildlife Service. I couldn't get over how much the coastline was so like the north mayo coastline near Carrowteigue. It made me feel at home.

Just like Mayo!

Just like Mayo!


Sunset Bruny Island

Sunset Bruny Island


Hi Dad what's the weather like at home?

Hi Dad what's the weather like at home?


Bruny Island lighthouse

Bruny Island lighthouse



That night we camped at jettys beach bush camp where we cooked dinner and lit a campfire. We were pestered by possums all night as they sniffed and snuffled around the van. They sounded like they were in the bloody van at one stage! Next morning we headed off in the sunlight around the headland. What a gorgeous walk. Little rocky bays and perfectly horseshoe shaped beaches. Glorious, even if it was for 5 hours!

Funny heads...

Funny heads...


Sap Bleeding Tree after Fire

Sap Bleeding Tree after Fire


I know he's around here somewhere

I know he's around here somewhere

After leaving the island we headed north east towards the Tasman Peninsula, the home of Port Arthur, the infamous penal settlement where 'criminals' from Britain and Ireland were sent. The site itself is beautiful - england in miniature, with beautiful hand cut sandstone buildings and typical english trees such as oak etc. But behind the facade of loveliness lies the sad story of 19th century justice. It was to here that men and boys as young as 9 were sent for petty crimes. Although the regime was tough, it appears that most were taught a skill or given an education. The prison lasted from 1830 to 1877 and is now one of Tassie' s biggest tourist attractions. Also it was the site of a masacre of 35 people in 1996. A very sad story and one the locals are loath to talk about.

Happily in Port Arthur we bumped into Phil and Lisa again and spent a hour or 2 on a tour of their massive van. Poor Vinnie was to be seen in one glance but we still love him!

Lisa and 'Two Door' Phil

Lisa and 'Two Door' Phil


On our way out of the Tasman Peninsula we saw the devastation caused by the forest fires in January. The entire peninsula was under fire and cut off for 12 days. Tourists, locals, everyone. Thankfully only one person died but many homes were lost. The eucalyptus trees are recovering and there are green shoots appearing all over the trunks and branches. Of course these trees have adapted to fire and even need it to reproduce. Australian nature is pretty amazing.

Tessallated Pavement Eagle Head Bay

Tessallated Pavement Eagle Head Bay

After Bruny we went north to Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. We made camp by the sea for 2 nights and lit a campfire. In the morning we hit the circuit walk around by Winglass Bay and Hazards Bay. The rocks in this area are pink granite and the beaches are dazzling white. All topped by eucalyptus forests. A lovely spot. We walked past Aboriginal middens (ancient landfills) where we could see layers of oyster shells from thousands of years ago, dropped by the locals as they had a seaside feast. This area is teeming in shellfish.

There she goes

There she goes


Whale surfing

Whale surfing


Swinger

Swinger

Speaking of the real locals. The white man did his best to 'ethnically cleanse' Tasmania. Any natives that were left were banished to Flinders Island off the coast and more of less left there to perish or were killed. There are many accounts of mass genocide and downright cruelty on the island, just as in maniland Australian. In fact we heard on a radio programme that the Aboriginal people were classed as 'flora and fauna' in Australian law until a referendum in 1967. Staggering. We are learning lots in Australia, not all of it nice I'm afraid. We can't believe that we have yet to see an Aboriginal person since our arrival in Oz (other than a few guys doing a native dance in Sydney). We are looking forward to getting inot the Aboriginal heartland in the red centre and up towards Darwin.

Back in Vinnie, we head north towards St Helens. The things I will do to get into a proper campsite: on the way north we stopped at a beautiful beach for a walk. I saw some nice looking seaweed and decided to see how it tasted. You know what I'm like - any opportunity for a free feed! I stepped onto the rocky platform, all 6 inches of it, where it was growing and went arse over tit and landed on my left wrist. I thought I had broken it. Nurse Seamus was on hand with a homemade sling and to keep the peace (and his head!) he agreed we could stay in a proper campsite for the night. Next night we stayed at the nearby Bay of Fires, so called because when white man came they saw many fires lighting along the bay. Personally, I think it's called Bay of Fires because of the mad orange coloured lichen growing on the rocks. We camped out by the milky blue waters and listened to the waves crash on the beach. More fabulous. How lucky are we?

Constable McGuinness (please Seamus can we take him home?...)

Constable McGuinness (please Seamus can we take him home?...)


Poser at Wineglass Bay

Poser at Wineglass Bay


Breaking wave

Breaking wave


Before the fall

Before the fall


Mussel Bed

Mussel Bed


Shell to Sea

Shell to Sea


Breakfast time at the zoo

Breakfast time at the zoo


Lichen covered rock Bay of Fires

Lichen covered rock Bay of Fires


Beach at Bay of Fires

Beach at Bay of Fires


Oyster Shell bouquet

Oyster Shell bouquet


Jaffa rock

Jaffa rock


Seamus on the rocks

Seamus on the rocks

Last day on Tassie and after spending the morning basking in the autumn sunshine by the beach we headed towards Launceston where we went to the cinema. How modern! Then we went back to basics and camped in the local car park :-(
Next morning we went to the free local museum which was excellent. We also saw a fantastic documentary 'Wildness' on 2 Tasmanian photographers (originally from Latvia and Lithuania) who started nature photography in Australia. Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis were instrumental in making Tasmanians think differently about their island and it's natural beauty. They were both instrumental in the birth of the environmental movement in Tassie and Australia. Unfortunately (or fortunately for them) both men died in the wilderness they loved while taking photos.

My last piece of good fortune on Tassie was finding a free shower at the Cataract Gorge in Launceston. Oh bliss. I was thinking I was going to have to wear a heat on the ferry to hide the greasy hair. Again it's the little thing in life that make us happy...

Who let the nut job out?

Who let the nut job out?

Posted by Loodersatlarge 18:57 Archived in Australia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises tasmania Comments (1)

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