Thursday, March 22, 2012

More of Tassie Outdoors

Tasmania’s natural beauty isn’t solely confined to its top notch national parks.  It seems we were impressed nearly everywhere we went.  Nowhere else I’ve been has there been so much scenery that is just so pleasing to the eye.

I had heard that there was a tree top walk in Tasmania.  As I’ve done the tree top walks in Western Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, I thought it only appropriate to check this one off the list as well.  The Tahune AirWalk was absolutely delightful.  Not only was there a large tree top walk:

But there were also extensive walking trails along the Huon and Picton Rivers, with several bridges crossing over them as well.

Tahune AirWalk also had a cable glide.  The price was a little steep, but we decided that we might as well give it a go.  It wasn’t nearly as long as it could have been, but it was fun to be dragged up into the tree tops and then released, soaring over the river below and back to ground level.

When we weren’t deep in the forests of southern Tasmania, we were on a beach on the Tasman Peninsula.  Night 3’s lodging was a cute cottage right on White Beach.

The sand was beautiful.  The water was beautiful.  Perfect place to mark my territory.


Natural beauty abounded in the strangest places.  Hogarth Falls was located in a park right in the little town of Strahan.

And while it doesn’t seem too outrageous to have a peaceful short trail and waterfall right in a quaint little town, it was truly shocking when we arrived at the Cataract Gorge in Launceston.

Launceston is Tassie’s second largest city having a population of over 100,000 people.  By Tasmania standards, Launceston is a bustling metropolis, which is why it was so unexpected to find the Cataract Gorge right in the middle of the city.  It was less than a 5 minute drive from the city centre, and the parking lot was right at the end of a residential street.  The gorge was deep and long, and the end that we walked to also opened out into a residential area.  On a different scale, it would be like having the Grand Canyon run through downtown Phoenix.

Sort of.

The area has been declared a reserve and also doubles as a city park.  We took a chairlift down over the gorge from the top into the bottom.  Look out below for the beautifully manicured lawns and inviting public swimming pool.

Heading out of the city, we stayed that night at a quiet cottage near the town of Mole Creek.  The grounds around the cottage were so calm and serene – fantastic!

Our accommodation even came with goats – one for each of us!

Down the road the next day, we stopped for lunch at a little café in the middle of nowhere.  The view from our table was this:

Not bad, eh?

We drove west and stopped at a little scenic viewpoint on the side of the road.  The rugged west coast of Tassie is virtually uninhabited – only one main tourist town and a smattering of other villages.  Most of it isn’t accessible by road.  In this view you can see patches of white along the coast:

The Henty Dunes!  My mate Marcus told me about these and advised that they were a must see.  Standing up to 40 metres (130 feet) high, the dunes run for 30 kilometres along the coast and several kilometres deep inland.

We wanted to wander out to the beach, but realizing it would be several kilometres and probably take hours, we opted to try again next time.

Instead, we drove down the coast to the village of Strahan and the southern end of Ocean Beach – Tasmania’s longest beach which stretches the length of the Henty Dunes, down past Strahan, all the way to the opening of Macquarie Harbour.  We were hoping to see shearwaters flying in from feeding at sea all day, but they never came.  Instead, we peered out toward a far off lighthouse while we watched the sun sink low like a fireball.

See.  Everything in this place is just so darn pretty!

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