Winter Tour of Tasmania

I arrived at the start of winter. It was colder than I thought I could handle. Hobart was deserted because of a long weekend (Queen's birthday) and city was getting ready for the Dark Mofo festival starting up.

Dark Mofo symbols
Dark Mofo signage

People in Hobart and especially the Salamanca area have done lots of work to preserve the gorgeous historic architecture.

Beautiful houses in Salamanca

Being far to the south, Hobart is one of the main cities that service Australian Antarctic expeditions.

The Aurora Austrlais, Australia's Antarctic flagship

The Marina has great views of the sunset.

Day one of my tour of Tasmania was spent travelling out of Hobard on the Jump tours bus. We went to the Mount Field national park for a short hike in the freezing cold.

Russel Falls at Mount Field national park

Following which we went to Lake St. Claire which was pretty overcast but still fun.

By the shores of lake St. Claire

Tasmania is pretty small - you can drive across it, literally, in a day. Most houses have wood fired fireplaces, which is very charming.

Despite the cold, Tasmania is a warm place. Having lived in hot places all my life, this is my first time seeing operational wood fireplaces.

The view from the Donaughy hills lookout.

There are some beautiful views in the countryside.

We wrappped up the day travelling through the mined out and barren slopes around the mining town of Queenstown, Tasmania.

Sunset at Queenstown

We began day two with a short hike to the very scenic Montezuma falls.

The Montezuma falls in all its glory. Rated the highest waterfall in Tasmania.

Crossing this suspension bridge was scary but rewarding. But because we weren't going the full distance we had to turn back and cross the bridge back right as soon as we got to the other side.

The bridge swings in the wind.

We then travelled to the inland sand dunes near Strahan - built from sand blown inland by heavy winds. They were fun to jump/slide down.

Sand dunes near Strahan.

We saw many rainbows nearly everyday on the trip. The ones we saw by the dunes were especially pretty.

Footprints towards the. rainbow. I wonder if they ever reached it?

Staying at the remote town of Tullah with no cell phone coverage and a pub and coffee shop really added to the atmosphere of the trip. Being used to city living, I counted that as one of the high points of the trip.

We stayed in this spartan cabin, six bunks in a room.

We started day 3 with a hike in the cradle mountain area. Woke up early to start the hike but it was pouring down. Was worried during the drive there because the rain didn't let up, luckily it started winding down when we got there. I hadn't brought over my rain gear so I had to make the best of it. It was a good time experience overall.

On the rocks at the shores of the lake.
Foggy day

Raining cats and dogs on the hike. We might've been wet as fish but we still had fun!

Mr. Blue Sky had deserted us on this day, but the lake was still picturesque.

Then on to Cataract gorge and Launceston. Launceston is the second biggest town in Tasmania, and is full of craft beer shops. Charming and cute little town to spend a couple of days in. We had burgers and craft beer for dinner.

Bridge across the gorge. Not very high.

On day 4 we went to the bay of fires which has a gorgeous and completely desrted beach. Was freezing but I did manage a quick swim.

Brilliant white sand on the beach.

Probably the coldest swim I've ever done, the water must've been near 15 degrees.

We then went to Nature world - which was very good, with lots of Tasmania and Australian birds and animals. I especially liked the walk-in aviary, with colourful birds flying all around you. Almost felt like I was in a Disney movie.

Kangaroos chilling out in Nature world.

Beautiful sunset through the trees.

On day 5, we drove to wineglass Bay where we went up on a hard ascent to the beach. The views were very good and the trek down to the beach quite demanding. Always good to have a challenge or two.

Beautiful views from the lookout over wineglass bay.

I enjoyed the descent (and ascent, we doubled back) - exhausting but pretty, mysterious and desolate.

Yoga on the rocks by the bay.

Trees along the beach keep a lonely vigil over the bay.

We wrapped up the tour with some wine tasting on our way back to Hobart. The Devil's Corner winery (named for a treacherous bend in the nearby river, and not for the Tasmanian Devil) had some good views and even better wine.

The Devil's Corner winery.

Good wine with a great bunch of people.

Dark MOFO was in full swing as we drove back into Hobart. The aesthetics of the festival are incredible - I've never seen such a gorgeous interplay of light, sound, and general atmosphere. Beats the pants off of Sydney's Vivid show.

Dark Mofo signage outside the Midnight Mass. Fireballs from the pyramids add to the mood, as do the low chants in the background.

The Midnight Mass. Great atmosphere, with food a tad too pricey for my tastes.

That's what I call a haircut. Although why a barbershop here, I don't know.

Milling around the midnight fires

Incredible laser show as part of Dark MOFO

Behold for I have seen the light.

Comfortable fires everywhere kept everyone warm. Plus they look and feel awesome!

The final part of my trip was a visit to the MONA gallery. I would count this as perhaps the best contemporary art installation I've ever been to. Just the cohesivness of the exhebits and the scale of the gallery was incredible. The pictures below do not come close to doing the museum justice.

Fishy business afoot at the MONA.

Someone forgot to blow out their candles.

I saw so many rainbows over the last 7 days, at least one per day. This was the last.

Green, but not with envy.

Of all the places I've travelled to, Tasmania and Hobart are the ones I'm most keen to revisit.