…van diemen’s land – (part 2)…

So, we’re all well into our new year and depending on which hemisphere you’re in, probably tired of the heat or cold. I’m currently in Perth (where I’ve settled for a bit of time to refill the coffers) and just poured sweat at lunch today, but it wasn’t long ago that I woke up to my 4th day of a road trip in Tasmania (perfect place for the Wayne’s World dissolve)…

Paper Beach, early in the morning
Paper Beach, early in the morning

After a quick (and half-priced, thanks to the vouchers gifted to us by Jason and Marissa) breakfast at Banjo’s, a refill on tap water, and a grocery stop for more canned goods and cookies, we took off to Narawntapu National Park (formerly the Asbestos Range National Park, but you can appreciate the rebranding). Here we saw an Australian Copperhead snake (not to be confused with the North American version) almost immediately. The ranger mentioned we might see a Tiger snake, but alas, I have still not seen this striped slitherer.

The thing all writers do best is finding ways to avoid writing.” – Alan Dean Foster

Copperheads and Tiger Snakes live down there
Copperheads and Tiger Snakes live down there

We hiked for quite a few kilometers through a lagoon, along sandy paths, and up and down scrub-covered hills all the way to Copper Cove. In all honesty, it wasn’t the most amazing hike ever, but the burrowing crabs, mesmerizing beach sand, and the time out of the car made it worth it.

Spin-n-Flick crabs is what I call 'em! They spin into the sand remarkably fast.
Spin-n-Flick crabs is what I call ’em! They spin into the sand remarkably fast.

After the long walk across the beach back to the car, we saw a wombat and a few forest kangaroos moving around in the midday sun, which seemed unusual. We ate and showered and took off to experience a winery which was closing as we pulled up. The interaction became completely awkward after telling the woman behind the counter where we were from and asking if she was originally from these parts. She said, “No.” I said, “Oh, so where’s home for you?”

Pretty vineyard; arrogant and awkward vintner
Pretty vineyard; arrogant and awkward vintner

She looked at me oddly and said, “I spent a few years in Melbourne, but I’m not from there.” I didn’t know where to go from there, so I just remained quiet. She then said, “I’m from all over.” Okay. We quickly finished our tasting and left. So much for small talk.

Check out the suspension bridge in the distance!
Check out the suspension bridge in the distance!

Driving way too fast, we made it back into Launceston in time to see the sun setting in Cataract Gorge and to Westbury in a rain shower which provided a complete rainbow! That night, we slept at Andy’s __-hour Bakery & Car Park (previously known as Andy’s 24-hour Bakery & Car Park, but I guess the opening hours were now in a state of flux). For $6, we had an entire field to ourselves and got a pretty decent sleep.

The next morning, we spent a bit of time using the Bakery’s wifi to do some planning before Dyana got me to run a bit through the town of Westbury. I wound up at the town’s hedge maze, the first such maze of my adult life – it was awesome! Why aren’t there more of these?

The Cathedral
The Cathedral

After a feed, we drove to Marooka Cave in Mole Creek and saw glow worms for the first time (apparently, they’re just some sort of maggot that sparkles in the dark). They make the cave look like a planetarium in complete darkness. I sang “Happy Birthday” at some point in the tour because the guide wanted a male to sing in the pitch blackness. It was all I could think of on short notice.

The ferry we DIDN'T take to Tasmania
The ferry we DIDN’T take to Tasmania

After the cave, we drove through Devonport and stopped for more groceries in Ulverstone. We showered and slept the night away at Pioneer Park after chatting with a volunteer there who was incredibly nice and enthusiastic about this park. You have to love someone who is passionate about keeping a small rest stop park clean and maintained. That night, I carved out a few hours of writing for The Banner Saga (btw, Factions is now available to play!)

You don't get shots like these everyday!
You don’t get shots like these everyday!

The next morning, after Dyana fed a nearby horse a carrot, she drove us to Burnie while I attempted and ultimately failed to get more sleep in the back of the car. We stopped at Fern Glade Park and weathered the incredible cold to walk around the very serene setting along the river. Before heading back to the car, while feeding bread to three very patient ducks, we spotted a peculiar ripple in the river. Upon closer inspection – and without anyone else around – we discovered it was a platypus! We tracked it down river, watching it surface every 15 seconds or so. When we got to the bridge, we captured these photos of this truly Australian animal!

Yup. That's the Nut I'm cupping.
Yup. That’s the Nut I’m cupping.

High on our platypus spotting, we spent a bit of time at the Maker museum in Burnie before heading to Stanley. I was craving a burger, so we treated ourselves to a little time at the Anchor Cafe to eat/write/plan and then went to climb The Nut. That’s right, The Nut. Many a joke were made.

A proper photo of The Nut
A proper photo of The Nut

We had to pay to take a shower at a carpark before leaving Stanley, so it was a long shower. After a bit more writing time, we drove through the mountains and ended up in a very isolated spot called Hellyer Gorge. We saw one other car that night, I failed to start a campfire again (to be fair, the firewood left by some mystery camper was wet!), and worried myself to sleep after hearing what I can only assume was a Tasmanian Tiger snoring in the tree above us.

A look around The Nut
A look around The Nut

Next up, Cradle Mountain, the Franklin-Gordon River, and more!

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