I drove to the very far west, and attempted to get to the lighthouse at Bluff Hill Point, but I lost my nerve on the unsealed road and also because I hadn't seen a human being for a very long time. It felt like The Burren in the West of Ireland. So remote and absolutely silent. I wish I'd had the guts to enjoy it without the feeling of being at the start of a horror film!
I quickly moved onto Launceston (pronounced Lawn-sess-ton) where I met a lovely Swiss lady with whom I was able to hire a car to drive the Tamar Valley. Have any of you noticed a theme when it comes to ideas for place names yet?!!
Launceston has a real feeling of one of those towns in the South West of England. And it's a proper town - not one of these nondescript, underpopulated Aussie backwaters which are so common. It has a very good museum and art gallery, a VEGAN cafe and everything else you might need. It also boasts a gorge just a few minutes' walk from town....no wonder I spent 6 of my precious Tasmanian nights here!
Instead I went to Cradle Mountain for a couple of days and I reckon I walked at least 30 kms, in the rain and hail with only a poncho bought from the Bundaberg Rum factory to protect me! I felt very under-equipped, especially as I'm the one moaning about people who try to climb Ben Nevis in flip flops etc etc when I'm back home!
Needless to say, my trainers have now been deposited in the bin!
The next day we ventured into Freycinet National Park where you can see 'Wineglass Bay' which, along with the Bay of Fires apparently makes it into Lonely Planet's top 10 beaches in the world. And before you ask, no I didn't swim. Tasmania is quite like Scotland!
We ended the tour in Hobart...home to the gallery MONA, which, along with meeting Tasmanian Devils, formed my sole ambitions for Tassie before I actually knew anything about the place!
If you've ever been to the Saachi Gallery in London, think of a massive version of that with much more weirdness and some very bad smells. I won't go into detail in case you're eating your dinner, but if you google 'cloaca' by Wim Delvoye then rest assured, I've smelt it on your behalf.