King penguins

Farthest south!


Days 25 and 26 - Hobart, Tasmania


     This journal is constructed as one web page for each day of my journey, including the arrival day in Auckland, and the final two days, which I spent in Hobart.  I have tried to keep the picture images of a reasonable size for easy web page loading.  To see a much larger view of (practically) any image, just left-click on the photo.

     A bunch of us met up for breakfast at the hotel - Anna, Bethan, Richard, Brogan and Liz.  Everyone had their plans for the day and the number that were still here in town kept dwindling!

     I decided to go and visit the Australian Antarctic Division Headquarters, which is a bit south of town.  I felt more comfortable driving and have come to especially like the roundabouts (because everyone has to slow down, which makes my driving better).  I couldn't resist taking a picture of the warning signs about kangaroos.  I didn't see any in the wild, but I did see some later at a park.  Anyway, the AAD had some interesting displays to look over and a really cool map built into the walkway leading up to the entrance.  It is mostly a working facility and I only spent about 30 minutes there.

     I then headed off for the peninsula east of Hobart that leads to the historic Port Arthur.  Along the way I stopped at the site of the first landing of Europeans, at Blackman Bay.  There is monument there and a small pier.  Click on the map, to the left to see all the places I visited.

The Australian Antarctic Division HQ.

Layout of Mawson Station. 

A monument commemorating the 300th anniversary of the landing on Tasmania at Blackman Bay.

Map showing stations.
Blackman Bay.
     It is about 60 miles to Port Arthur, so it took a while to get there.  It was mostly just a two lane road.  It did seem cool to see speed limit signs that read, "100."  Of course, that's in kph!  Lots of green here which is really great after a month of mostly blue and white.  And, lots of sheep here.

     I reached the Tasmanian Devil Park at 12:30 p.m. with some darkening skies.  This was my main objective for the day.  The devils here are all rescued from the wild - usually hit by a vehicle.  And, when healthy enough, they are released back into the wild.  They seemed shaped funny to me - their heads are rather large for their bodies.  There were three different areas set up here, that resembled our prairie dog exhibits.  They make a strange vocalization that I can't explain - it isn't a howl or a bark.  But, it can be intense.  They have super powerful jaws and we got to see them in action during a public feeding.  They are scavengers, and so they are equipped to quickly bite through muscle and cartilage and bone.

     The park also had quite a few birds and an area with kangaroos lounging around, which we could walk right through.  I had some lunch here - venison pie - and was on my way by 2:30 p.m.  I stopped in Port Arthur thinking I would look around for a couple of hours.  But, it turns out that it is a park, charging admission, and lots of tours.  The upshot is that you really need to plan to spend a whole day here and I didn't have that kind of time. 

Raptors at Devil park.

Rescue devils. 

The devils lumber around the enclosure.  There are public feedings daily - road kill.

Last know photo of Tasmanian tiger.

In one field kangaroos hang out.
     Looking over the map I saw lots of opportunities.  The road continued south to a place called, "Remarkable Cave."  Sounds good to me!  It was a neat geological site and it was great to walk around.  It turns out not to be a cave at all, but rather a tunnel.

Remarkable Cave.

 The cave entrance is along a narrow sandy mini-canyon.

Looking through the cave to  the other side, where the water is higher.

Close-up of twisted rock.
     The weather had been clearing up over the afternoon and a sign beckoning me to hike to a nearby blowhole was not to be passed up.  There were great views along here of the seashore up and down the coast.  The low-lying vegetation meant that you always had a good view.  I wish I had the time to do a much longer hike in this area.  [Like Mike, who was doing some backpacking up in the central part of the island after our voyage.]

     On my way back to Hobart I made a couple of stops.  One was to see the Tasman Arch and the other was to see the Tessellated Rock.  I had never heard of that name before, but the rock was quite fascinating.  On my way back from here I saw this sign warning passers-by of penguins.  I didn't see any of the so-called "Little" penguins that live in this part of the world.

View of the Remarkable Cave area. 

Looking back from cave area. 

The shoreline below the cave. 

Off to the blowhole. 

Blowhole trail. 

More of the blowhole trail.

 I stopped and took a look at the Tasman Arch.  The place was too big for one photo, so this is a panorama.

More cool looking rocks.

Looking back from blowhole area.

Yes, the tessellated rock.
     I met up with Anna for dinner.  We walked downtown and ended up at a place called the "Ball & Chain."  Our first choice was a placed called "Kelley's" which was recommended to up by John (the historian on the trip).  But, they wouldn't let us in because we didn't have reservations, even though the place was absolutely empty - not a soul in sight!  I don't remember anything about the food at the B&C, but it was the noisiest restaurant I have ever been in.  The acoustics bounced the noise around such that we had to yell just to be heard across a table for two!  We did see Ian and Paul outside when we were leaving, but they disappeared before we could catch up to them.  I thought to look for the Southern Cross in the sky, but the city lights were too much.  I should have done that on the ship in the days just after leaving or just before arriving.  So it goes.  Back at the hotel we said our goodbyes and I spent about an hour and a half repacking all my things for the flight home.

Day 26 - I was up a bit before 6 a.m. and got my luggage down to the car, one piece at a time.  I had the way over-priced coffee and toast breakfast at the hotel and checked out at 7:30 a.m.  I needed to get gas on my way to the airport but didn't really understand the instructions the Avis rep had given me.  So, I ended up at the airport, not having seen a station.  Looking over my notes I realized that I needed to drive past the place!  Nobody wants to make it easy, do they?  Well, I had plenty of time, so that's what I did.  The station was up the road at the next roundabout.  Woo hoo!  The price looked good, until you noticed that it was on a per liter basis!  Luckily they took my credit card as I was running very low on cash.  Once back to the airport, there were no customers at Avis, so I whipped through.  And, there wasn't anyone in line at Qantas, so I breezed through there as well.  Isn't that the way it is when you actually have the time?

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