It seems we can’t do everything. After six weekends of exploring, cycling, camping, eating and drinking, I’ve called time out for a weekend at ”home”.
Home for our duration in Launceston is the cute Glebe Cottage (I’ve had to ban myself from using the word cute for heritage houses and derelict sheds, there are so many I’m boring myself with the word).
I have only been using the cottage as a place to sleep really, as lovely as it is.
The amazing Cataract Gorge is a short two-kilometre walk away along the riverbank, and we have explored it by boat, on foot and in my case on bike (I swear I didn’t see the no-cycling signs). We also took the chairlift across the water, just for a different view. I returned for a Ten Days on the Island activity (more about Ten Days on the Island later), where you listened to an audio track about the decomposition of your body while lying on the ground in the gorge bushland. I guess that was another view of the place.
The QV Museum and Art Gallery is just across the river, about 800 metres away. We have seen some interesting art work, but the one I liked best was by a school student. Political, but you can interpret it how you will.
A weekend camping at Burnie towards the western north coast had us at the Maker’s centre, making paper. That was a fun way to learn about the forestry and paper-making history of the area.
Even cooler, I felt, was the violin with a sound-hole the shape of a dolphin, made with Tasmanian timber, and a knitted jacket made of paper sourced from old paper clothes patterns. Simplicity itself.
We climbed The Nut at Stanley, because that is what you do. Pretty steep and puffy, but we felt vastly physically superior to those taking the chairlift up.
People must get filthy doing that walk, given the sign at the cafe at the bottom … no washing your feet in the toilet.
We went penguin spotting in Burnie that night, and to our delight saw quite a few.
The Tarkine Wilderness is an area they suggest taking two days to explore, but we had only one. If this is a taste of what is in store in the rest of Tassie, I can’t wait. We started on the coast section, finding some stunning areas, and continued on through the forest doing only short walks at what we hoped were the most scenic spots. I think we got it right.
The scenery varied from The Edge of the World to some Forgotten World-type swamps, where you almost expected to see dinosaurs pop their heads out
… but then, that actually happened when we visited Tasmania Zoo’s Jurassic Park forest.
The zoo was where I finally got to see a Tassie Devil, although I may have seen one or two squashed unrecognisably on the side of the road. The one below was practising for that eventuality. Unusually tame, still the first thing it did when picked up was put its mouth around the keeper’s finger. Apparently it’s a comfort thing? Such trust.
So, back to Ten Days on the Island and the getting of culture. Another event we attended was called Super Night Shots, and involved four actors going out individually with a video camera onto the streets of Launceston an hour before the show, and shooting a loosely choreographed story line. The last scene involves them coming into the theatre, where the waiting audience throws streamers. Then they show all four videos simultaneously to the audience, turning it into a movie, with the final scene being the audience and the streamers. It was quirky and lots of fun.
We’ve also been to a Great Debate – you know the ones where well-known comedians argue a hot topic, in this case Does God Have a Sense of Humour? Looking at the moderator Paul McDermott, who has sprouted a gnome-like beard, I’d say yes. That’s not being mean, apparently you can say anything if you call it comedy, including dropping F-bombs every three words.
These are only some of the things we have been doing. In two weeks, I finish work for a bit and we do some full-time touristing. And maybe slow the pace down a bit.