Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts tagged Australia

The day after

As you may have read (if not: scroll down): yesterday was not a good day for me. Especially when I looked at the weather forecast: it’s going to rain for the next days. Add to that: a weather warning forecasting a lot of wind, low temperatures and snow in the places where I go to today.

That did it for me last night. So when I woke up this morning, I expected the worst. And then I looked out the window and guess what?

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Not too bad is it? Okay, let’s do what I would have done yesterday when: walk to the Launceston Cataract Gorge. It’s only 5 minutes away from my hotel and it’s a good start of the day.

It’s still early, but there are a lot of people around here. Most of them are just enjoying the views like I do, some of them are jogging and later on I noticed that some of them are more into the adventures things.

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After that I walked into town and noticed that there are a lot of people here preparing for some sort of parade. Then I found out that it’s ANZAC day. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who died and served in military operations for the country. As a result all the shops are closed and all the major roads in the city are closed for a parade. No way I can get to the interesting parts here in time. I still have to drive over 200 kilometers to get to my destination for today: Cradle Mountain. Although I did not cover by far what this city has to offer, I just don’t have any more time.

The day started with nice blue skies, but by noon the first clouds came in. And that resulted in some nice views as well.

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Today I have some routing challenges. I ran into closed roads due to maintenance and as a result of ANZAC parades. And for some reason my Tom Tom didn’t want to talk to me anymore…

I guess this box works like this: there’s a Bloke in there that actually has the map. He tries to find the route to the destination I gave him. Then there’s a Sheila in there that will talk me through this route. But since I every now and then don’t follow the route, either because I think I now a better route or because I just can’t go there due to a closed road or whatever, this leads to a discussion between the Bloke and the Sheila. I think that at a certain point in time she states: “I will not talk to him anymore. He just doesn’t do what I tell him. I have had enough of it.”.

It took me some time to discover this because I normally only listen to the Tom Tom and hardly look at the screen. By the time I found out that something was wrong, I was already way of track. And it took me some time to figure out how to convince Sheila to talk to me again. But eventually we were back in business. Sheila was talking to me again and Bloke found the right routes.

By now I was heading to Sheffield. On my way I found some nice views as well.

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Sheffield is “famous” because of the murals… Well I didn’t see a lot of them, except this one:

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Moving on to Cradle Mountain I passed some nice lookouts.

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By now it was time to get a move on. The clouds are thickening and if possible I would like to gather enough information to be prepared to “do” the mountains tomorrow. When getting closer to Cradle Mountain, it looked like the forest just died here. I wonder what happened here.

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I was just in time to get to the Cradle Mountain information centre before they closed. Got some maps and suggestions of walks for tomorrow. And some warnings as well: make sure that you get the weather information tomorrow before you start your walks. We expect heavy rain, snow and wind… That’s going to be a nice day then! Let’s make sure that I am prepared for all that mayhem: there’s a shop at the lodge I am staying. I bought a nice jacket and some additional protection against the rain. Bring it on!

On my way back from the visitor centre I followed one of the easy walking tracks here. Well just enjoy the views.

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Oh by the way, I found the resort where Bugs Bunny goes to when he’s on holiday:

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He wasn’t there by the way (much too cold now I think).

It’s been a pleasant day. My mood is back to “normal”. The weather is not that good by now (it is 22:00 here and it’s pouring…). But perhaps I will be surprised with nice blue skies again like this morning. We will see.

The track of today:

Saturday 25 April 2009

Bad hair day.

After all that walking yesterday, it’s time to do some distance again. Today’s goal: Launceston. It’s the second biggest town in Tasmania (about 90.000 people).

The day didn’t start very well. I am a bit cranky today and nothing goes very smoothly. You know: things fall when they shouldn’t, nothing is where it should be and you forget everything you shouldn’t forget (like where you left your car key)… It’s a good thing I am traveling alone today 😉

Perhaps this is all caused by the fact that the resort doesn’t offer breakfast. I think it is. Therefore first stop: any place that sells coffee. Since there are not a lot of towns here, the first option is Bicheno. I found a nice spot in the Bicheno harbor to have my coffee and my sandwich. Then I noticed that the waves were quite a bit higher then yesterday. And there’s far more wind today as well (hey, perhaps that’s the cause of the higher waves…).

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According to the map I got with my car, there’s a lookout just north of Bicheno. And I got a nice booklet called “60 Great Short Walks” when I got to Freycinet park. According to this booklet, there’s a walk to that lookout. Okay, let’s go. Found it. And guess what?

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Hey that’s a big improvement for my mood… Temperature outside: about 17 degrees. Temperature in the car: higher than the airco can manage 😥

The roadmap of Tasmania is not very complex. There are only a few important highways that basically go around the island and connect all the major towns and cities. It’s not very practical to put more roads in: there are just no more towns and there may be mountains or rivers making it impossible to get to certain places.

The landscape looks very much like what you could see in the UK. Green hills and every now and then a few houses, some trees and rivers. Looking around there are a few things that are quite obvious: they have really black cattle here, there are a lot of sheep and they like to cut down trees as well.

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On my way I noticed that there were more and more clouds coming in. The temperature was dropping as well. The weather is getting worse…

In order to make the trip a bit more interesting, every now and then I challenge my Tom Tom by turning into a road that’s on my map and should bring me (more or less) to the same destination as Tom is bringing me to. Sometimes Tom is very persistently stating “turn around”, “go back”. Most of the times because he doesn’t want me to go on this type of roads:

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But they are far more interesting then the highway…

Well the closer I get to Launceston… just look at the pictures.

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By the time I get there it’s raining and the temperature is down to 12 degrees… Combined with my current mood, that’s not good. Time to find the hotel and just forget this day…

The track of today:

Friday 24 April 2009

Freycinet National Park

When I woke up this morning, I noticed some strange sounds outside. After a few minutes I realized that my neighbor had changed shape. Oh, look: his relatives are also around.

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By the way, this is what I see when I look out of my window today:

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Yesterday when I stopped at the visitor centre, I asked the nice ladies what I could do in one day in this park. Her reply: there’s a 11 kilometer, 5 hour walk that shows you all the high lights. Well, that’s easy: let’s go.

First part of the track leads to Wineglass Bay and on your way to the bay (hey that rimes) you pass the Coles Bay lookout. From there you see this:

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The last one is not standard…

The weather is great for a nice long walk today. It’s about 16 degrees, there’s a bit of sun and the wind is not too strong. On to the next stop: Wineglass Bay lookout. The steps are getting steeper now. But then you have a nice view on the bay. I think these are not the best pictures of this bay. If you are not happy with my interpretation: start Google and find yourself some better views. Or even better: come here and try to come up with better ones.

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Then it’s down a lot of steps and you will end up at the beach of the bay. It’s still early and therefore there are not a lot of people around. For those who don’t want to do all the walking: it’s also possible to get here by boat or if you only want beautiful pictures: there are also scenic flights to this bay.

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Nice isn’t it?

The next stop is the Hazards Beach. It’s an easy stroll; no climbing or steps on this track. On your way you pass Hazards Lagoon.

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And you may make some new friends on route as well.

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Perhaps it’s not as beautiful as the Wineglass Bay, but it’s not a bad place to be.

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From here you have two options: go back the way you came or follow the beach and then there’s quite a long (11 kilometers) track that follows the coastline around the base of Mt Mayson back to the car park. Well I still remember the steps I came down and I don’t like the idea of having to go up all of them again… Therefore I choose the other track. On my way over to Wineglass Bay I met a couple that was familiar with this track. According to them it’s very long and it feels like it never ends. We will see.

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After walking for about 2 hours I got back to the car park. The couple was right: it looks like it never ends and then suddenly you’re there. It’s a nice walk and by far not as difficult as climbing up all the steps from Wineglass Bay. It just takes a bit more time…

That’s enough exercise for today. Back to the room and after a nice shower I “did” the area the “Japanese style”; that is by car and every now and then get out and take picture…

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Although there’s probably far more to see and do here, it’s clear that this is the end of the season. It’s very quiet and when I talked to the lady in the local “super market” she stated that she was bored and wished that winter was over again. It shows. There are only a limited amount of rooms booked in the resort I am in and a lot of activities like canoeing are not open.

Well I have seen a nice piece of Freycinet National Park. If I would have wanted to see more, it would take probably a week of real bushwalking. And since that doesn’t fit in my schedule, it’s time to leave…

The walking track of today:

Thursday 23 April 2009

Next stop: Coles Bay.

It’s time to move on and leave Hobart. Next stop: Coles Bay. It’s on the east side of Tasmania and it is there for only one reason: Freycinet National Park. There are not many options when it comes to getting to my destination. But some deviations from the Tom Tom route are possible. And one of them brings me to the Seven Miles Beach.

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This bridge is the first bridge to get to Sorell. The first bridge will get you to Midway Point (I told you so: the Australians are not very creative). Just an impression of what you will encounter here.

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It surprised me that it’s allowed to cycle on all the roads in this country. So you will encounter cyclists everywhere… It’s a bit tricky now and then.

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Every now and then I just had to stop. Most of the times because I think I need to digitalize what I see. Like this:

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There are other ways to “do” a holiday. I couldn’t find whatever is put on the trailer.

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Been there. Done that.

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Hey a lookout. Let’s investigate…

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Bummer. Is that it?

Another one.

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Okay, it’s getting ridiculous now.

The scenery has changed over the last hours. I came from city and hills, rocks, trees, beaches and now this.

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And then it was time to stop stopping. When I searched for the address of the hotel on my Tom Tom, it stated that the street doesn’t exist. Let’s go there and find out. Well it’s not that difficult. Basically there’s only one street and everything will eventually lead to:

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It’s already quite late and after my stop at the visitor centre to purchase a pass, I did a “Japanese” tour. Meaning: you drive to the light house, take pictures, get in car, drive to other side of the peninsula, take pictures, get in car, drive to hotel, eat and sleep.

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The track of today:

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Let’s hit the road.

There are so many nice things to see and do on this island, but I have limited time and the distances are enormous. Therefore I need to make some choices. I choose to go to the Huon valley and to see the Tahune Forest AirWalk.

Let’s start with the weather of the day: it’s cool (I am getting used to temperatures below 20 now), dry (there’s overcast) and hardly any wind. Result: it’s nice out here. And since there’s no wind you can take pictures like these:

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It’s fall over here. The leaves are changing color or just falling off.

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There we are: Tahune National Forrest. Let’s find out what this AirWalk is all about. Well this is it:

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After walking along the tree tops, it was time to get back on the ground. There’s a nice track back to the entrance. It will take me over two nice bridges over the river and since I haven’t walked for a few days…

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Then it was time to move on again. But it’s too early to return to Hobart. Let’s go south. Tom, where can we go? Let’s try “Dover”. After some discussions with Tom (he wants to get to places fast and efficient; I just want to see nice things) we found these views.

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Eventually we got to Dover and since it was getting darker and late again, I asked Tom to do what he does best: get me to my hotel fast and efficient. He did… And my PhotoTrackr gave up again. I still have no idea why.

The track of today:

Tuesday 21 April 2009