My last stop in Tasmania was in Launceston. Launceston’s the 2nd largest city in Tasmania and lies on the northern half of the island. I’d be flying out to Sydney the next day, but I still had an afternoon of free time. There is one area in Launceston known for nice hikes, so off to Cataract Gorge I went.
I awoke the next morning to more grey skies and damp surroundings. Unfortunately, the clouds had gotten lower and were nearly touching the ground. Things didn’t look hopeful for a better viewing of Cradle Mountain today, but that wasn’t about to stop me.
The access to Cradle Mountain and Valley is a winding road, and the Park tries to limit people entering to keep traffic to a minimum. To that end, there are a few different options to access the main part of Cradle Valley and Cradle Mountain. I had made use of the Shuttle Bus the day prior (and would utilize it once again), but this morning I had time to kill as I hoped the sun would burn through the clouds, so I took the Cradle Valley Boardwalk instead.
My time had come to leave Tasmania. I said my goodbyes to the people at Tasman Eco Village / Parsons Bay Retreat and departed on the only bus out of Nubeena, bright and early in the morning. It was good to get an early start, for I had a long journey.
For those that weren’t already aware, Wombats are awesome. Furry, cute and ground-dwelling, wombats are the somewhat forgotten part of Australian wildlife, overshadowed by the likes of Kangaroos and Koalas. But to me, they are the bestestest animal in Australia.
And I got to squeeze them. I so very much squeezed them. And it was awesome.
Near Nubeena was a small family plot of land that housed some special residents. They were rescue wombats, babies/young wombats that had been found abandoned/orphaned and were being raised by the family until they were big enough to strike out on their own. For wombats, this is a long, slow process, as wombats take a long while to mature (1-2 years). But that doesn’t mean these juveniles were the least bit small…
One can’t talk about Australia’s history without significant mention of it’s convict roots. While the original inhabitants of Australia have been here for thousands of years, the European immigration began in earnest when Britain decided to make Australia a new penal colony in the late 1700s. But in a country filling with convicts, what happened when someone who was already on a prison continent misbehaved again (or was considered especially dangerous)? They often were sent to Port Arthur, on the south-east corner of Tasmania.
The Tasman Peninsula, where I was living during my 3 months in Tasmania, is home to a lot of history. The most notable spot is Port Arthur, an old convict site for some of Australia’s worst criminals, but there was a related site nearby aptly called the Coal Mines. Because they mined coal there. This was a hard labour camp. It was shut many many years ago, but remnants of the work remain. One fine day myself and many of the helpers at Tasman EcoVillage took off for a gander.