Archive | December, 2010

Tassie East Coast Vids & Pics

13 Dec

Bicheno Blowhole 1

Seaweed & Rockpool

Bob & the triangle rock

Sea Slug

Saving a slug

Starfish & seaweed

Waves at St Helens

Halls Falls



I’ll miss you like a cold shower

13 Dec

Cold showers are somewhat invigorating, refreshing, uplifting but mostly just cold and annoying. Tasmania has parts that are beautiful, inspiring and exciting but is also mostly cold and annoying.

Honestly, living there for 18 months was a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything although it was interesting to demystify many of the common misconceptions about the place. For example, every mainlander that I’ve ever spoken to about Tasmania is surprised to hear that it is actually very dry. Most people expect it to be raining all the time but in fact it is the second driest state after SA.
The mountainous areas have a high rainfall but Hobart was seriously dry. Although when it did rain in Hobart, the most beautiful rainbows would appear. I’ve never been to a place that has the same volume of consistently spectacular rainbows. The sunsets were quite amazing too.

The weather there is not for everyone though. It’s harsh. It’s normally quite cold and almost always windy – and then when the sun comes out, it burns you to a crisp thanks to the hole in the ozone layer. I spent 80% of my life in Tassie wearing thermals just to be comfortable, but after about 3 months of wearing them – it’s sort of like torture. Always having to pile on the layers made me feel as though I had doubled in size and I actually felt quite disconnected from my body. Having a shower was no longer an enjoyable experience because my hair would get wet meaning that I would get very cold, very fast. I just don’t think I’m built for the cold. Most people who’ve grown up in Tas don’t suffer nearly as much as I did.

And speaking of those that were born and bred on the island – I noticed quite a few similarities between them. The biggest one is their lack of desire to travel, explore and generally do anything. Throughout the 3 workplaces I did contracts with during my time there I met countless people who had never (NEVER) been to many of the most beautiful places in the state (many of which are within 2 hours of Hobart) – such as: Mt Field, Styx Valley (where the oldest trees in Australia are), Bruny Island, Maria Island, Swansea/Bicheno or anywhere else on the gorgeous East Coast, Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur the list goes on.

Of course I can’t expect that everyone will love and appreciate these places as much as I do (or as much as the thousands of tourists that travel from around the world every year to see them). I just personally think that it is such a shame to live so close to so many natural wonders and to never or rarely see them. Of course the weather would have a lot to do with this. On many of our adventures it was raining or freezing but we just didn’t let that stand in our way. And not once did we ever meet anyone from Tasmania.

One place that everyone from Hobart has visited is Launceston. Out of everywhere you can go in Tasmania – they’ve all driven on the dry, boring, uneventful midlands highway to Launie – which may as well be the same as Hobart. I find this equally as sad as never going anywhere. But don’t get me wrong – Launceston is awesome! But not in the same way that the snow on Mt Field is.

We always used to say that in Tas we were living 20 years in the past – and since coming to Qld it has been like being thrust into the future. There are some things about Tassie that will probably still be the same in 20 years or perhaps even worse – I’m referring to the environmental devastation and the related corruption.
People will pay good money for a view of the Derwent River and can happily forget that it is heavily polluted. The Derwent is massively underused for recreation because of the pollution and there are even several beaches South of where the Derwent flows out to sea where swimmers are advised not to submerge their head.
You might be thinking… well, most cities have polluted waterways – this is true. But think about it this way, there are just over 200, 000 people living in Hobart which is about 1/20th of all the people that live in Sydney – yet the pristine water that flows down from gorgeous, untouched mountains is heavily polluted before washing out to sea. And it’s polluted by foreign owned industry, much of which is linked to forestry.

If you live in regional Tasmania, it’s highly likely that you or someone in your family will work in forestry. It’s true, the industry supports much of the population and it’s also true that timber is an essential part of Australia’s needs for construction etc. People have been cutting down trees to use for stuff since the begining of time, but you have to ask yourself, what would be so bad about forestry in Tasmania that people would set up permanent protest sites and risk their lives to fight the corruption?

I think generally, most people don’t have a problem with trees being grown/farmed for the purpose of creating timber for us to use and the land then being reused to plant more trees. And that’s how most forestry work operates in Tasmania. However the forestry bigwigs have their eyes on the bigger trees, the ones that are supposed to be protected, the ones that are in national parks. There have been numerous occasions whereby the loggers have requested to purchase sections of national park for timber and after being knocked back a mysterious fire has damaged the area enough for national parks to agree to hand it over.
The largest trees in Australia, the biggest eucalypts in the world. Yes I can see how this would be a good enough reason to camp out in the bush in an attempt to stop this from happening again. And the misinformed forestry workers blame the ‘greenies’ for threatening their jobs without understanding that they don’t actually give a shit about plantation trees.

There may still be hope yet for Tas to change. If only the Australian government recognised the need to offer public education all the way to year 12. Maybe then they could retain the youths who travel to the mainland for better education and offer them the jobs that they pay top dollar to people from interstate and even overseas to fill. When I worked for the Department of Health & Human Services in Tassie, in a team of about 50, less than half originated from the island and of all of the locals – none of them had ever taken their children for a drive up Mt Wellington.

Despite all this there are many things that I will miss about good old Tassie-Town. Here’s a little list:

Tessellated Pavement
Source Wholefoods – food co-op
Sirens Vegetarian Restaurant
Fresh Vegetarian Cafe
The lack of traffic
Amazing drains
Our shed
Nigel, Mel & Lucas
Locally grown fruit
The awesome natural beauty
and going for a burn up to Mt Wellington