Friday, March 20, 2009

Australia - Tasmania

I teamed up with Farzad to rent a car in Tasmania, it saved lots of time to travel on this island. It was almost fully booked at the airport, we were lucky to have our small Hyundai at last. Should have booked a car online earlier, would be cheaper.

The Port Arthur, a prison to keep 12500 convicts from England and Ireland between 1830 – 1877, has most of the buildings restored. Clean and tidy, hardly traced any physical remnant or somber haunting atmosphere of once brutal prison. The guide said it was purposely set up this way in order not to trigger sad memories of some people. My opinion was contrary, the prison should present the feel of originally served function so to understand the situation as it was, like The Killing Field and WWII prisons do.

Hobart, the largest city in Tasmania, was not really attractive, the Salamanca Place and Battery Point were OK… the waterfront Victoria Dock was the most scenic part particularly during sunset and sunrise. I watched a local Play at Salamanca Place… just so-so.

Visiting National Parks seem to be the main reason of most tourists, especially to the nature lovers.
- The Wineglass Bay at Freycinet NP (pronounced Fray-sin-ay) was beautiful, but not accessible by car. The 1.5hr trekking to this beach would be too long for our schedule. Instead we only walked up to the higher ground to have an overview.
- The trekking around Dove Lake at Cradle Mt. NP (World Heritage) was unforgettable, not because of the scenery. The guide said 300 days out of a year are rainy in this NP. We didn’t have better luck. We were soaked in the shower for 2 hrs and my camera was doused (damaged). We didn’t trek to the Cradle Mt. as the climate was too misty and foggy.
- On the 4th day, we visited Lake St.Claire NP (Australia’s deepest natural freshwater lake, 167m), was no longer exciting.

Frankly our trekking in these NPs was very superficial. We only walked and snapped photos, but didn’t pay much attention on the fauna and flora species. My opinion, the trekking in Malaysia’s Taman Negara is more exciting.

We drove about 1500km within 4 days. The sceneries from the coast to the farms and rainforests were truly relaxing. We spent a night respectively at Delorine and Strahan (pronounced Strawn), not worth to make a note here.