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After a few days cycling close to the sea, our last destination in Australia has been Tasmania. Sparsely inhabited island, south of the Great Australia, has a beautiful nature and wonderful people. Another place where the people feel more Tassies than Aussies, and another place where its people have made ​​this part of the trip impossible to forget for us. Land where you begin listening about travelling experience in Antarctica and where you realize how far you are… nice feeling.

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Before start our last days of cycling in the Mainland, this is how Australia is called by people from Tasmania, we were at Jacqui and Pete’s home, but this time alone, because they went on holiday to the East Coast… What a great gift for a cyclist have a house for a few days! Especially when the weather is not encouraging you to get on the road!

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In the cyclist world the Great Ocean Road is a famous place. Maria had cycled here eight years ago but she didn’t mind to repeat it. It has been a pleasure to cycle four days close to the sea cliffs and enjoying the Sea smell

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The Twelve Apostles is probably the site most known of this area. There was a time when there were twelve stone formations as you can see in the picture, but it seems that this Great Ocean also has a big appetite and has swallowed some of the Apostles, and now they are less than ten… the Vatican still has not comment on this.

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Cycling through huge eucalyptus forests is incredible, especially when…

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… you find in the treetops the laziest animal that exists, the koala. This friend spends 20 hours per day sleeping and eating the other 4. Apparently eucalyptus leaf has a component which is toxic to other animals, but the koala can neutralize it with time by making a dough that can digest.

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We also met with a friend who we had almost forgotten… the rain. It had been two months since we spent a day with her​​… Welcome to the Southeastern Australian Spring!

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We were camped in Apollo Bay and after dinner the moon was embarrassed for something and got red. When you are not very connected, occasionally you can have beautiful surprises. The day before we saw almost a full moon and we got a big surprise when the next day we saw only half… The end of the world?… Noooo!!… It was an eclipse moon that could only be seen from some eastern territories. It was a nice gift.

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The next day another surprise was waiting us. One year and two months ago we had a short but great meeting with Giovanni and Marco in the Thai consulate in Penang, Malaysia. They also started their bicycle trip in Europe around the same time than us. We knew, through their blog, they were working in Australia but nothing more. It had to be the road that gave us the answer to our question of whether they were still on route or had returned home. This time they were traveling with an English guy and Italian girl. His intention is to go again up to Asia and then cross to America. We often say that the world is big to cycle but that is small to meet again with the friends you met along the way… Buona fortuna amici!
While we were chatting, Will, who was doing a circular route from Melbourne, and Breifne appeared. Breifne is an Irish cyclist who started seven months ago in England and is immersed in a kind of race where hi has to go very fast around the World. He is traveling as light as a feather, no tent nor cooking stuff, and a credit card in the pocket. Another way to travel on the bike…
Thanks to him we met Mandy and Riick, an Australian couple full of hospitality… bed, warm shower, dinner and family warmth.

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We arrived to Melbourne, where Oahn and Nic were waiting for us. One more time has been a placer spend some days with “Warm Showers” members. Good food, beautiful chats and lots of laughing… All kind of help to make us feel as at home…

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And, because the life is not only pedaling, we went for a nice walk to the Cathedral Range.

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Melbourne is one of this cities that calls to you, and when you arrive you want to live and feel it. More when an old friend can explain you the tricks of the city. She is Amaia, and it was seven years ago the last time we had seen each other, but because never is late and we are very patient, the time to meet again came in the other part of the World.

TASMANIA

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Do not confuse with Tanzania… we haven’t gone to Africa. Eight years ago Maria loved it, so we decided to spend the last three weeks of our Australian visa in this land of quiet people who live in contact with nature.
We want to give you an advice to decide where to cycle and enjoy it. Look at the census of people and then compare it with the census of sheeps. If there are more sheeps than people, there’s no doubt, this is a good place to enjoy a nice, quiet and beautiful bicycle route

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Tasmania is the island situated to the southeast of the big island of Australia… because, although it is very difficult to feel like you are on an island when you’re lost in the middle of the desert, Australia is also an island.
We’ve put this map so you can see the number of tribal groups and languages, ​​which were in the regions inhabited by Australians aborigines, before Western destroyed everything. It’s well known, for its rawness, the genocide that took place in Tasmania, where a million years of human life were taken quickly in a not very human way.

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Eastern Tasmania is full of grass for the animals and on its coast Eolo ride freely while the green grass arrives till the waterfront.
It seems that Tasmanian civil engineers missed the course for learning how to build the shoulders and it makes cycling with extra care necessary on these roads. Also the locals are a bit “fittipaldis” when driving, seems like they are cousins ​of Corsicans… curious…
Let see if somebody can answer this question: What Tasmania and Afganistan have in common? You have ahead a few paragraphs to think about… Good luck… It’s not a joke.

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One of the big question when you get to Tasmania is the weather. We were still in the early spring and anything could happen. The first week we were very lucky, only one day of rain, and it was like a cartoon rain, clouds appear, discharge for a few minutes and then leave. Everybody told us that in Tasmania was possible to feel the four seasons on the same day.

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One of the most popular attractions of Tasmania is Freycenet National Park… an amazing place where once again the sea and the mountain embrace each other.

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We enjoyed the walk through the enchanted forests and the beaches of turquoise water. The tour ended in a forest and without wanting it, nor even thinking it, we had in front of us a enormous snake, black as the coal and long, very long…. Uppppsssss!!! Still now this memory send a shiver down our spin, and more knowing that all species in Tasmania are poisonous …

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The evening gave us an amazing calm place to spend the night. There’s moments in the life when you don’t need to ask for anything else.

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Not many years ago Tasmania started growing grapes, and one more time it has been a placer cycle throughout lands bathed in wine.

Incredible colors that grows in flowers we’ve never seen before.

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I don’t know if we ever are going to be tired of traveling and living on the bike but we can say that it will be very hard to get tired of seeing the incredible sunsets that Mother Nature gives us. I don’t know who to thank, but we shout to the air: THANK YOU!!!!.

If something’s missing traveling by bicycle are not the encounters. This time we have met with many cyclist who are passing by or have come here only to cycle through Tasmania. If the weather helps is a very comfortable place. There are about 90 points of free camping and much uninhabited land. We have met with Jordi and Marc (marccicloturisme@gmail.com) from Catalunya, Aurelio from Brazil, Pascal (info@ptitb.net) from Switzerland and Australians, Taiwanese and Japanese cyclists.

We were warned that the Tasmanians were very quiet and friendly people and once again it was right. In the pictured above Maria is with Kerri (http://saltwatersunrise.com.au/), who saw us the day before fighting against Eolo. She said she didn’t react at that time to offer us a coffee. But, as life sometimes gives new opportunities, the next day she saw us again and she stopped to invite us to a delicious coffee with muffins that she had baked.

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 She’s Dea and is almost eighty years old. After being widowed twice and have raised their children and grandchildren, she decided it was time to fulfill the dream of her life. Go all over Australia in no hurry in her motor home. She sold everything and there she is, happier than anyone sharing her enthusiasm for life with the one who cross her way. Yes, yes, we said almost eighty and the van you see is her home! She is already two years on the road!

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Here we Are with our new glasses. I think we talk before that in the Australian road you can find everything, and this time the road has been very generous. As my sunglasses were already quite scratched I asked the road to give me a new pair and I got it and a extra one. We are not very skilled in these art but for the weight and the look we believe may have cost lots of money… Who knows how many days we can live on the bike with it. (We have checked and each glasses cost 200 €… crazy world where people do not get to the end of the month or die for starvation, and where you can find objects with a price out of the real life).

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We had contacted with Pip and Alex, Warm Showers members to spend two days at his home in St Helens. Again the reception was a placer and it was easy to connect with them. What we didn’t expect, neither them, was what followed.

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Arriving at the village we had seen fire in the forest but we were told it was small and it was under control. But nature is difficult to contain and in a moment the direction and strength of wind changed and everyone had to leap into action. We had to dismount the tent and put everything back in the pannier because we really didn’t know if we should have to run away from there. We follow Pip and Alex instructions and we trust them. Luckily after spending one afternoon a little tense the wind calmed down and started to rain. It will be a while before the smell of smoke in our clothes and the scare in our bodies leave. You can see the clip: http://vimeo.com/channels/480420/110423718

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Like in the Mainland, here we also began to see animals we had never seen before. In this case we find these friendly pelicans.

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Here is the answer to the previous question: opium. For fifteen years Tasmania produces 60% of world’s opium which is used in the pharmaceutical industry. Afghanistan produces 75% of world’s opium which is used for the “other” pharmaceutical industry. Let everyone decide what is legal or illegal or if both should be legal or illegal.

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We left St Helen and we got into the North, warned about the hardness of this part for a bicycle. Hard or not, it was a pleasure ride through the enchanted forest that make us feel in the tropical areas of Southeast Asia…

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… through the lands of Navarre Pyrenees …

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… or we had gone two centuries back in time.

Before reaching Lauceston, the second largest city in Tasmania, we stopped for the night in a municipal campground. There we enjoyed the company of one of the largest pine we had never seen and Chris, an Australian cyclist who had taken ten days off to cycle through Tasmania. We have already mentioned that there are plenty of free camping in Tasmania, but there are also municipal ones, which have the same services as privates, but You have to pay four or five dollars instead of twenty. Again Tasmania becomes a very comfortable place to cycle.

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We leave Launceston, which meant that we had reached the farther north point that we had intended to go and was the time to turn south to go on the way to Hobart, where we began to cycle. We spent the night with Gayle and Carl, we were invited to put the tent in their garden, and we enjoyed a lively dinner and a good chat about a lot of things.

We always tell you about the wonderful people we meet along the way. This has had grown in us a firm belief that in the world there are more good people than bad… the Tassies reconfirm this theory.

I don’t know your feeling about the people who live on the islands but for me they are special people, I use to connect very well with them, they seem to live this life with another tranquility, with less speed, and more time for everything and with lots of love towards others.

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We decided to climb the “Central Highlands”, to enjoy also the mountains. We had been warned that going to the Center and West of Tasmania is a big opportunity to meet with the rain… they were right.

But again, at the end of the day, the perfect place appeared and we had a roof and a fire to dry our clothes… It was a long time since we got wet that way.

And as many times life will reward the effort, the next day we enjoyed an amazing weather, beautiful road and the tranquility to cycle and enjoy the moment.

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In Hobart Christopher was waiting us, we met him three months ago in Western Australia. He was traveling with the motorbike and when we told him our plans he didn’t hesitate a second to open us his home. One more time we are full of gratitude to all the people we are meeting around the world.

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Another reencounter… This time with John, the first Warmshowers Maria met eight years ago. Without thinking we were drinking wine in Andy’s music shop, where Christopher works teaching music.

And now is time to fly to farther lands… Since I was a child I had heard that if I made a hole from Basque Country, I would come out in New Zealand. It still hasn’t done but… there we go!!!

May you will continue trying to be a little bit happier than yesterday.

A huge hug for everyone.

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Comments on: "Tasmania, Remote Treasure." (4)

  1. Great stories about your trip in Tasmania 😉 Your english is better and better 🙂 I learn a lot with all the details you give us: por ejemplo, no tenía idea que Tasmania fuera un importante productor de opio. Gracias también por la foto de las flores de opio: son preciosas! Ahora, a New Zealand!!! Enjoy your fantastic trip 🙂 A big hug from Spain

  2. Sandra Wright said:

    I have such a warm feeling after seeing your beautiful pictures and reading of your adventures. And most of all, Zigor, reading your loving thoughts about people and the world. I am so enjoying my large luxurious room and being in Chiang Mai. But in one week I return to America for one month to be with my daughter as she has a knee replacement. Speaking of knees, Maria, I have been diligent about my exercises and not experienced pain for a couple of months. I am very grateful for your help.
    Chedi View is filling up, at least the cheaper side. I am the only one holding the fort on the other side. But I am giving up my room when I return to the states. Will come back to Chedi View for a couple of weeks and then it’s off to Laos and Burma to volunteer teach. Traveling until May and back to this room again. I will be in and out and staying at Chedi View so hope to see you again.

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