Saturday, 29 January 2011

Signs, Traffic and Things

Driving around Tasmania was a bit confusing; there were more signs telling you when a speed limit ended then telling you what the actual speed limit was. I spent most of my time driving around without knowing what the speed limit was.

Some people told me that the End zones meant to go back to the penultimate speed limit, some suggested to do either 100 or 110kh/hr. And in the south there was a sign that suggested 90km/hr.

And there were difficult winding roads, and I am a good driver and know what I’m talking about, where I was doing 90 and people would overtake me doing over 110. I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as you survive and don’t get a ticket – but I would have appreciated clearer signs.

I was driving through Barrington for no particular reason… ok, I was looking for a coffee… I was flying past and saw a very weird sign, it was one of those yellow diamond signs that tell you to look out for particular animals crossing the road. But this wasn’t warning me about kangaroos or echidnas. Flying past it looked like a dragon. ‘Hmmm… That’s odd,’ I thought ‘I’m pretty sure that there are no dragons in Tasmania.’

There was only one thing to do. I dropped a U-ey, parked the car and hopped out of the car for a closer inspection.

Which made me wonder how often do platypi cross roads? And why do platypi cross roads? Are they in the wrong joke or something?

To answer these questions I travelled to Platypus House at Beauty Point and they were quite surprised to hear of the road sign. But they couldn’t help with any existential road crossing monotreme questions. And I left thinking it was probably just a local who wanted a good laugh.

There are a number of interesting place names in Tasmania. Like Nook as pictured above, but I like this sign that has two interesting places.

I can image how the conversation went:

A: Does this place look familiar to you?
B: What do you mean?
A: It looks a bit like Kent.
B: Kent? Are you sure? Perhaps West Kent?
A: Yes, West Kent.
B: Well... West Kent-ish.

You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Kentish was named after a person. Perhaps his nose looked like one of the mountains in Kent…

And the other name is so awesome that I think that nothing else can be said.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cradle Mountain

I’m not that happy with my Cradle Mountain photos – I think I over exposed all of them. They should be less brown and more green, and the water more blue. I’ve tried to play around with colours but with no success as yet. 300 photos ruined. Oh well, I’ll just have to go again.

I like the warning on the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service website: “Visitors should bear in mind, however, that the wild weather of the Tasmanian highlands often shrouds the mountain in cloud”. I drove from Launceston and when I set out the entire sky was covered with cloud. and as I approached the national park, the sky slowly cleared.

This photo was taken from the top of a nice rock (which I’ve forgotten it’s name) and is a very nice place to sit and soak in the atmosphere.
Nikon D3000 – Zoom: 200mm

There is a Tourist Information Centre a couple of k’s before Cradle Mountain, where you can buy your pass to get into the national park, touristy stuff and a map, and a bus ticket. The shuttle bus takes people from the information centre to Lake Dove, and runs every fifteen minutes or so. It is much cheaper than buying a ticket for your car, and there is not much parking at the lake.

There seems to be two types of people who go to Cradle Mountain. Tourists who just want to cross things off their list and don’t want to walk or talk, and serious walkers who are pleasant to talk to.

There is not much to say about Cradle Mountain. It is a beautiful place. And I would like to visit again.

There are a number of walks that can be done. I walked clockwise around Lake Dove, then up the steep section past Lake Wilks to Little Horn and then back via Marions Lookout. This walk took me about four hours, but includes a good half an hour for lunch and a lot of time taking photos.

Kitchen Hut – I like the three doors.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Sheffield is the town of murals. Over thirty murals tell the history of the town and the surrounding area, and it makes it feel that you are walking in a gallery when you stroll down the main street.

Sheffield also has a shop called 'The World of Marbles' it has a studio where you can watch people make marbles - sadly closed on the day I was there - and thousands of interesting marbles.

Some made by people arround the world and some made by Tasmanians.

But bring some money - I brought one for $35 and it was one of the cheapest.

However in the back room there is thousands of cheaper marbles - ones which you could play with.

Sheffield also runs a mural competion every year, entrants are displayed behind the Information Centre. These two entrants to the 2010 competition were my favorite murals, including the murals around town.

'Turangawaewae' by Mark Spijkerbosch

'The Chess Board of Life' by Fereleth Lee

The previous winner also gets to be displayed for another year...

2009 Winner - Mark Spijkerbosch 'Fire and Life'

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Photo of the Day

Shop in Launceston - December 2010
Camera: Nikon D3000

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Senses Garden

Launceston has a beautiful city park. One of the wonderful aspects of the park is its Senses Garden.

It has the noise of fountains, the smells of beautiful flowers and mint and lavender.

And the textures of the plants were sublime – the hedge was unbelievably soft.

I thought it was a wonderful idea to build a garden for the senses and that every city should have places that cater for the blind or disabled and other parts of society.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Boat There and Back Again

On the ‘Spirit of Tasmania I’ I was in an ocean recliner, a really comfortable seat in a room with probably 400 other seats. They faced the stern with large windows allowing us to look out.

Things no one tells you: waiting to drive on board takes a very long time. Bring a book. If you have passengers I would recommend that they go on board without you and taking everything to the cabin for you. You and the car will be waiting for what seems like forever. Oh, and getting there first doesn’t mean your car will go on first – they sort the cars by size – which due to balance makes sense.

When I arrived on board I ran to my seat, put my stuff down, applied sunscreen, got my camera and ran to the outside stern area to get a good seat. And when the ship started I enjoyed watching Melbourne disappear into the distance, and then we were treated to a magnificent sunset.

I took so many photos of the sunset - I can not decide which ones are the best.

Warning: In summer if you watch the sunset the kitchens might be closed by the time you get to the restaurant.

The food in the Leatherwood Restaurant was beautiful, small but nice. I did have to have all three courses to feel full. The other restaurant was a buffet and everything looked very oily and there was not much for vegetarians.

Chocolate Pudding

Level seven of the ship has two restaurants, a couple of bars and plenty of chairs to sit down and enjoy the ride.

I had trouble getting to sleep – someone nearby was reading and their light kept me awake. Going to Tassie I only get two hours sleep. I was sort of happy that I woke up really early. I found a comfortable position at the bow of the ship and watched the sky slowly turn blue and the mountains around Devonport appear with the entire deck to myself.

Going back to Melbourne on the ship I was quite exhausted so I sat in my recliner and watched Devonport disappear as I did Killer Sudokus. The recliner room was half empty and they seemed to have empty chairs between everyone which made it a lot more comfortable. I was glad that I booked my tickets very early as I was able to get a front row seat in both directions.

I was able to sleep for four hours going back, and woke up as we gained mobile phone services through Port Phillip Heads. It was beautiful to watch the lights of Sorrento, Blairgowrie, Mt Martha glide past, and record their interesting signals of the channel markers.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


You know it's humid when your glasses fog up after getting out of the car.
Andrew - 13/01/2011 - 23:45

Friday, 14 January 2011

Photo of the Day

Great Oyster Bay - December 2010
Camera: Nikon D3000

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Birds and Animals

One holiday a few years back, there was a Monday night. Every restaurant was closed apart from the RSL which wouldn't open for another hour, so I sat on a pier and took photos of a pelican for an hour. Ever since then, my family, especially George, have given me greif about taking photos of pelicans. To get back at George I thought I would take photos of all the birds I saw in Tassie - there's a few animals here as well.

Seahorses - 'The World of the Seahorse' at Beauty Point

Seagull taken whilst on the Spirit of Tasmania 1 in Port Phillip Bay

Plover - LaTrobe

Pied Oyster Eater - Wineglass Bay

I know this isn't a real bird, but I liked the photo for some odd reason.

Peacock - Launceston

Macaque - Launceston

Lizard - Dove Lake & Cradle Mountain

Ducks - Richmond Bridge.
A little girl was chasing these ducks.

Ducks - Tasmanian Arboretum

Little Red Thing - Port Arthur

More Birds - Tasmanian Arboretum

Cormorant - Dove Lake

Chickens - Middle of nowhere

Blue Wren - Launceston
This friendly fellow kept on jumping on the rock, jumping off the rock, jumping on the rock, jumping ...

Black Swans - Tasmanian Arboretum
I did not enjoy the Tasmanian Arboretum which is near Sheffeild/Devonport, but it was worth going to see black swans

Wallaby - Wineglass Bay Carpark

A seagull - I saw about five in my trip perched upon statues. Have I told you my joke about the two statues and the wizard?

Currawong - Dubbil Barril

That is all of the birds that I managed to take photos of, I also saw some other Australian wildlife, but that will have to wait for another post.
Oh... I did see one pelican: