Although Tasmania is still very much a part of Australia, sitting on a ferry for 9 hours in order to get across to the pristine and dramatic wilderness of the country’s island state, made it feel like we were departing for a new country.
Once out of Port Phillip and into the bass strait we had endless hours to ponder on what would be awaiting us on the other side. Lauren’s expectations were high but I had no expectations at all. Other than the infamous and elusive Tasmanian Devil I really had no idea what the island had to offer.
We arrived late and had to find a campsite for the night so the real first impression had to wait until the morning. We woke up next to a small rocky river running through the pastoral landscape in a small town not too dissimilar from countless other rural communities we had passed in our time on mainland Australia. Even the landscape was not too disparate from the rolling hills and gum tree forests of Southern Victoria.
It wasn’t until we rounded the small town of Sheffield that everything changed. Suddenly we were faced with a sheer wall of granite rock and pine forest. The rolling hills flowed gently down from the imposing and dominating peak of Mount Roland. The road veered sharply left and we started driving towards the mountain as if pulled towards it by gravity, floating helplessly into the dense pine and karri tree forest at its base.
From this point in we were no longer in the Australia which we had become so familiar with in the past year. Gone were the monotonous and dry plains, the dust and unforgivingly clear desert skies. We were surrounded on all sides by huge granite structures, low lying clouds shredded and torn on the strident, jagged peaks. And on all sides dense mountain forest, the only real trace of mainland Australia was the Karri and Gum trees which still infiltrated the otherwise alpine forest.
Even the architecture of the houses changed. Hidden in the woods and dotted all over the foothills were small Swiss style chalets and log cabins. I’m not sure if it was just a welcome change of scenery but it took less than a day for this to become our favourite place in Australia so far.
We took two days to drive around the central ranges, from Devonport to Queenstown and onwards to Hobart and the scenery never let up. Countless peaks fell away to glacial valleys and lakes. Thick rainforests broken by cascading mountain waterfalls and mossy rivers. It seemed that it changed with every corner we turned and it wasn’t until we got to Derwent Bridge that the scenery began to feel like Australia once more.
We are currently sitting in Hobart and putting the final touches to this website! We had a slight hiccup with the car just before we arrived, the alternator went and so the car lost all power. We were stranded at a set of traffic lights on the main road into the city, causing quite a traffic jam and just waiting helplessly for RAC to tow us away. The car is now sitting in a garage in the city and is looking like it will cost us $500 to get fixed. It behaved amicably though, like a trusty steed it made sure it got us to the city limits before giving up.
Despite this slight misfortune, Tasmania feels like the perfect place to launch our new venture. It is an island full of pristine beaches, towering mountain ranges and endless untouched forests. A small island full of adventure and the perfect inspiration for travel, exploration, wanderlust and new experiences.
We will be updating this blog section weekly so stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for our trusty car!