Tasmania – From Launceston to the Bay of Fires

Anyone who has ever flown to Australia or New Zealand, certainly knows that the quarantine regulations here are very strict. No wonder, because imported plants and animal species cause devastating damage to the native flora and fauna. But even in between the individual Australian states, there are such quarantine borders. For example, no fresh food may be imported from the Australian mainland to Tasmania. We were aware of this, but at least for the 9 1/2 hour crossing we had prepared delicious sandwiches, which we wanted to eat before our arrival on the wild island. Unfortunately we had planned badly, because the customs controlled us before even entering the belly of the impressive ferry “Spirit of Tasmania“. So spontaneously we had in addition to our full cereal bowls also a few extra slices of Sandwiches to demolish. Because throwing away food is not an option for us East Germans.

So with overflowing stomachs we went on the often very rough ride over the Bass Strait. Fortunately, the waves kept within tolerable limits and despite slight permanent nausea, the on-board toilets had to be visited only in connection with the usual procedures. Overall the trip with the recently modernized ferry was quite pleasant. There was children entertainment, a board cinema and plenty of comfortable seating. So our day on the ship passed “on the fly” (hahaha) and in the early evening we reached Devonport. Despite a slow onset of hunger, we were still fit enough to drive our Van “Kifaru” for a free overnight stay behind a small hotel / pub in Railton.

After a nice hot shower the next morning we went to Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania. Here we visited the Cataract Gorge, a narrow, stony valley, through which huge floods where pumping after heavy rains before the construction of a dam upriver. Now locals and tourists, including us, are swimming, hiking and gondolas here. After the Gorge, it was time to explore the unique nature of Tasmania. We started at our next sleeping place, which was bathed in a dark-yellow light caused by the smoke of a nearby forest fire when we arrived in the afternoon. But we were not deterred by the eerie atmosphere and hiked to a nearby waterfall and a horse + alpaca paddock, where we enjoyed a very special sunset.

After a delicious Mozza-Toma-breakfast we went to the temperate rain forest of Tasmania, which thrives here thanks to the abundant rainfall. Trees overgrown with moss and huge ferns created a true Gondwana feel and it felt like as behind every bend in the path a dinosaur was waiting. But India was not scarred and jumped diligently from tree trunk to tree trunk.

A stark contrast to this was the coastal landscape of the Bay of Fires. The white sandy beach, the azure blue water and the rocks covered with red-stained lichen gave the feeling of the Caribbean, but the cool temperatures quickly reminded us of the Arctic neighbourhood. Nevertheless, wearing a jacket and cap, India did not miss the chance to play a round in this beautiful sandbox.

Further along the coast, new glimpses of small white sand bays opened up, and in combination with the red moss and the mountainous hinterland, unforgettable memories were created. The highlight was then the free (!) camp site at Sloop Reef, with a fantastic view over the stone-fringed bay and the wild Pacific. There our dinner tasted even better.

Of course, as a passionate photographer I had to get up early in the morning to catch the sunrise over the bay. The weather god also played along and sent a few beautiful fan clouds, which lit up the sky in yellow-orange fire. Oh yes, we missed that part: The name “Bay of Fire” is not based on the red stones or the great sunrises, but on the cooking fires of the (now eradicated) natives, which Captain Tobias Furneaux saw when passing by in 1773.

At the end of the first stage of our Tasmania trip we wanted to have something local on the plates for lunch and therefore went on an oyster hunt. And we quickly found some. Armed with screwdrivers and knives, we diligently harvested the expensive shells from the rocks and cleaned them thoroughly in a small toilet sink. When we were done after a total of 2 hours work and just wanted to heat up the saucepan, a local came by and said, because of a special algae, the oysters were potentially deadly here. That spoiled our appetite, so instead of oysters, we had sardines from a tin for lunch. Also delicious…

Here you will find all photos from this blog and more: Photos Tasmania – From Launceston to the Bay of Fires


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