Sunday 11 December 2016


The stay in the backpackers at Geelong is probably best not described in detail suffice to say it was the dirtiest place  I have ever stayed  and that includes the hotel in Tibet where the toilets smelled so strongly of ammonia you had to hold your nose and close your eyes.  It was also full of very drunk people being above a pub,  one in particular who wanted to know who had stolen the table from his room.  It wasn't clear  if it was the hotel table or from the way he was ranting his own personal table.
So moving on swiftly to Tasmania I arrived and had booked two nights in Hobart with no grand plan.  Had a gentle day wandering around the harbour  and Salamanca market.  The market is enormous with every type of craft, artisan food etc.
As I only had a week in total I decided to get a bus up the East coast and cycle back. Waiting at the bus stop a young man turned up with his bike and asked me to keep an eye on it while he got some cash.  When I looked at the bike I saw it had  a little fuel tank and was  the greasiest rustiest bike I had ever seen.
I asked him why he had an engine instead of an ordinary bike and he explained that he was from the west coast of Tassie and "like all the boys there I messed up my licence when I was 18 and this is the only thing I can use unlicensed".  He looked to be in his late twenties but I didn't like to ask what he had done to lose his licence for such a long time along with all the other boys in West Tassie.
Arriving in Bicheno I headed for the campsite for my first night camping. Went to investigate the kitchen facilities mid-afternoon and saw 3 young men sat in a row in armchairs eyes glued to laptops.  After a ride round the area I returned mid-evening to cook and they were still there,  no conversation between them and having entirely missed a pleasant afternoon/evening outside.
I had decided that I didn't want to cycle back to Hobart, I had seen the scenery on the way up and the road had lots of bends and no shoulder to cycle on for a lot of the way.  Next day I cycled to the coastal walk  and left the bike to walk round that part of the coast,  didn't see anyone else until I got to the blowhole which is the main point of interest.  Itshh took a lot of attempts to catch it in action but never got the really big spouts.

Earlier in the blog I mentioned the  fairy penguins on the island near Warrnambool that were protected by dogs, the same type are also at the coast  near Bicheno but you have to book a tour to see them.  They are at sea most of the day so the best time is after dark.  It was the breeding season so we had the bonus of seeing lots of babies although they looked as big as the parents,  one parent stays with the babies while the other gets food for themselves and the babies but not the other parent and then they swap over.  We weren't allowed to take pictures as the flash damages their eyes. A short while after we arrived we started to see flashes of lightning and as we were by the beach there was an unimpeded view of dramatic forked and sheet lightening  soon joined by rumbling thunder  and luckily not until the penguin viewing was over torrential rain which soaked me to the skin in about 10 seconds.  It was well worth it though for the drama of the lightening  and a bonus to the wonderful penguin viewing. 
In full tourist mode now I cycled out to the wildlife centre to see the Tasmanian Devils.  They look quite cute but have seriously sharp teeth and use them to tear apart and eat every part of what they have killed or found freshly dead, including bones,  hair etc. Their eyesight is very poor but they can smell lunch up to 2 km away.  Sadly the population is in serious decline due to a face cancer.  They fight each other over food and if one with the cancer bites another in the face it passes on the cancer.

The next day was a return to Hobart and my last full day in Tasmania was a trip to Bruny Island off the coast from Hobart. it is one island in two parts joined by a thin strip of land called the neck which us quite spectacular. 
White wallaby on Bruny Island  
 The Neck  joining the two parts of Bruny Island

I left Tassie reluctantly for Sydney and would have liked a lot more time there  

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