Great South Land
The ferry docked at Devonport. The big rains, winds and storms of the days before had made the crossing a bit rough. But our stomachs held out and here we are safe and sound, feet on terra firma.
Tasmania, little island south of Australia, a world within a world. Dee, from East Australia told us that before coming to live here she thought the inhabitants had two heads and that their isle was so small that if they all went to the same side it could capsize. And that it was not unusual to hear these stories…
We must say that for us too, Tasmania had an air of an imagined place, distant and inaccessible. We will have a month to discover its secrets.
We begin our exploration in the valley of Lorinna, south of Devonport.
Our arrival by night amplifies the mystery… The GPS abandons us, with the internet, at the spot where the road disappears off the map. We thought we had arrived. A few metres on, a sign says “Lorinna 17KM”. We adventure into an immense forest on a dirt road that has no end. On one side giant tree-ferns line the slope, on the other the odd impression of a bottomless chasm. The drops is in fact into a lake that reflects the sky, but in the dim twilight that is all mixed up. The night falls quickly, and the mist too and questions form in our heads. ‘who could live at the end of a forest like this, so far from civilisation? What will we find at the end of the road? Should we turn back? We must have been mistaken. Do you really believe that it is there? We almost expected to see druids, magicians, elves or goblins…
Against all expectations, we will arrive well at the destination. A new “help exchange” begins for us in this little community. A experience of life, lovely encounters, a real heart-warmer. we will devote a whole article to these two very lovely weeks.
Next, the road took us to the East coast into the Freycinet National Park which has beautiful walks. Back to days with the rhythm of the sun, to nights in the van and breakfasts on the beach.
Winter is beginning in Australia and this is closer to the South pole. We had not really made provision for cold weather gear when preparing for our trip. It was more flowery shorts and bathers! But nevertheless… hoarfrost there in the morning and snow on the mountains ! So one improvises. We collected some big rocks from the beach when we got to Devonport. In the evening when we can make a fire, we warm them in the coals and take them to bed with us. We are suddenly less sorry there is no air-conditioning, here we are with our beautiful tailor-made heating !
The road along the East coast is magnificent, Each day we witness an unedited colour show. We came to Hobart in the south, capital of Tasmania. A little out of the town, Ruth and Sebastian offered us a bed in their library, made like their house, of straw-bale (insulation of the straw with cladding of choice). Our little hands are welcome : tomorrow we go to the neighbour’s to make cider !
The rest will be the next article. Tasmania as well as being the land of rainbows is the land of walking. And we expected to enjoy that ! We will tell you how we met with cold, snow and rain in our light tennis-shoes for the whole length of the overland track. 80 Km trail across mountains, snowy wastes and huge forests…