75 Miles And Counting..

 

Kookaburra in Sydney Botanic Garden

 

Well there’s a bit of catching up to do. A few days relaxing over the festive period combined with some dodgy internet access and I’m running behind with the posts.

The journey back from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide was fine. No awkward appeals this time for passengers to please use the facilities ahead of the flight. Very little turbulence at all in fact. So our aerial adventures were at an end, right?

Wrong. From Adelaide the plan was to transit to Sydney, where the weather recently has been making headlines of its own. *Crackle, crackle*. An announcement at the departure gate to inform us that the flight would be delayed 15 minutes due to thunderstorms at the destination. It wasn’t to end there. No, it was to be the flight from hell. In the air not one but two screaming children in the seats directly behind us. Just as the decibels had reached a level sufficient to induce actual physical pain cue another announcement: a further delay of 30 minutes to allow yet more storms to pass through Sydney.

 
 

 

Oh-er…

The plane descended, eventually, to an arrivals hall in chaos. The backlog of flights disgorged a horde of passengers none of whom had the slightest idea of where to find their luggage. Out of five baggage carousels four offered no flight information at all with Carousel 1 apparently handling three incoming flights, including ours, despite it being stationary with not a single piece of luggage in sight. Mike took on the watch while yours truly went on a recce. By sheer chance (what are the odds?) while passing Carousel 3 I spotted one of our cases. And, miraculously, the other two in quick succession. But how then to manhandle three suitcases, plus a carry on, single handedly through a heaving airport to reunite, somehow, with Mike?

 
 

 

Sydney. In festive mood.

It was a brief stopover in New South Wales but I did something I’ve been pondering for a while. I bought a Fitbit. It was half price. In fuchsia pink. There may be linkage between those last two statements. Oh well, at least I won’t easily lose it.

We’d been doing so much walking but was it enough? How close are we to tracking the recommended 10,000 steps a day? Frankly, I’ve been amazed. In the couple of weeks since I sprouted a hi viz wrist we’ve apparently covered almost 75 miles. Sheesh. If only all that exercise automatically leads to good quality sleep. It doesn’t. The Fitbit tells me so. Sigh.

 
 

 

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania

The walk up to the viewpoint is pretty steep. But, if you can fight your way to the front through those ubiquitous selfie seekers, oh so worth it.

 
 

 

Rather grotesquely the name comes not just from the shape of the bay or the clear water contained therein. It also dates back to the time this area was a centre for whaling. The water turned red from the slaughtered creatures’ blood.

 
 

 

From the lookout it’s possible to walk down to the bay itself and on around the headland passing glorious hidden coves like this one.

 
 

 

The path winds through woodland and across the top of sheer cliffs. Pure tranquility. Fewer people come this way.

 
 

 

Dipodium roseum, the rosy hyacinth orchid.

It is a saprophyte, meaning it is leafless and derives its nourishment from decaying wood or plant matter, usually in association with a fungus.

The weather was rather mixed for our first few days. Given its southerly latitude Tasmania can be cool and wet, even in summer. And how. The Bay Of Fires is another stunning location on the north east coast but after a long drive up there all we saw was torrential rain. Through it all the sea was trying so very hard to be turquoise. Next time.

 
 

 

From the Freycinet Peninsula we travelled inland to the equally stunning Lake St Clair, the destination for Christmas and, with the weather thankfully improving, more glorious walks. On Christmas Day itself the Fitbit app exploded into a screen of stars as it reported 35,000 steps. Almost 14 miles. When the daily target of 10,000 steps is reached the device vibrates, sending shock waves into the wrist. You could have scraped me off the ceiling when it first happened I can tell you. Or rescued me from the top of the nearest gum tree more like.

 
 

 

The paths across the surrounding hills wind up and down through native forest, for the most part left unmanaged as nature intended. Conditions can be wild in this mountainous region, littering the ground with fallen branches and even some pretty awesome trees. It isn’t without reason that the gums are called widow makers. A conveniently passing blogger provides scale. The diameter of that trunk came close to matching my height.

 
 

 

When a tree falls across a path the National Park rangers simply cut a section through it and leave the rest of the trunk to rot down naturally.

 
 

 

Cyathodes parviflora, the Pink Mountain Berry

 
 

 

At higher altitudes the landscape changes to alpine scrub.

 
 

 

Cradle Mountain

It wasn’t just the Fitbit accumulating miles either. So was the car. Tasmania is much, much larger than we thought. Massive in fact. I remember reading somewhere, many months ago while researching the trip, that it takes just two hours to drive from one end to the other. So much to my subsequent regret I hadn’t bothered checking distances between each and every place. Cradle Mountain is in the same National Park as Lake St Clair. Eyeball the map and you’d guess maybe half an hour. Wrong. Three hours each way. We went anyway. And I’m so glad we did. For me it was the main highlight of Tasmania, even if it did only allow for the two hour walk around Dove Lake, pictured above.

 
 

 

The Little Mermaid

Ho Ho. Platypus spotting on Lake St Clair. Alas no, not a one. So disappointing.

 
 

 

The Christmas decorations at Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair: Telopea truncata, the Tasmanian Waratah.

 
 

 

With perfect timing it blooms in December and January

 
 

 

Platypus Bay, Lake St Clair

They’d gone into hiding there too… wretched things. Don’t they know how far I’d walked to get there?

 
 
 
 

2019-01-04T13:54:54+00:00January 4th, 2019|Tags: |

40 Comments

  1. Em Parkinson January 4, 2019 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    What a fabulous holiday! Happy new year and let’s do that walk to Wattern Tor in the spring. A bad summer was had….will explain when I see you! X

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Hi Em! Yes, we must definitely do that, I shall look forward to it. That should get me the 10,000 steps several fold. I hope you’re OK. I’ll email you as soon as I get back x

  2. Linda Brazill January 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Despite all your trials and tribulations, I am guessing these gorgeous locations made it all worth it. Just stunning and I love the orchid and the cut through the tree. Fascinating. Happy New Year to you both.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      And the same to you Linda. I couldn’t believe seeing that orchid. It was just growing there right by the side of the path. I wonder how many people passed by each day and just ignored it.

  3. Heyjude January 4, 2019 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Fascinating photos. And at least that was a relatively short flight! Hope the long haul one back home is better!

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      It’s going to be on a 380. One of those big double decker jobs. And I’m dreading that too. Flying is for the birds.

  4. offtheedgegardening January 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Looks incredible! Hope the rest of your flights are trouble free, think you may have had your fair share now. x

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Landing in Perth was interesting, a couple of days ago.. very windy. More knuckle exercising. I sometimes wonder why I keep on putting myself through it. I guess only because the end result is worth it.

  5. jannaschreier January 4, 2019 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    So funny to see you in all these places that we were at only a couple of weeks before you. So beautiful, all of them.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Aren’t they just. We definitely didn’t have long enough at Cradle Mountain. I even looked at changing the itinerary and going back for a few days. But the hotel was fully booked.

  6. Kris P January 4, 2019 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous scenery! The water was beautiful even if it wasn’t turquoise. Sorry about the platypus shortage – and the Fitbit scare! I didn’t know it signaled goals reached and probably would have reached the conclusion that it was warning of an impending heat attack from over-exertion!

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Exactly! The Fitbit has been very lazy over the last few days. It’s stopped doing the notifications of targets reached. I’m sure that must be it and the fact that my clothes are also getting tighter is mere coincidence.

  7. Gina Ferrari January 4, 2019 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Such a wonderful adventure Jessica. Everywhere looks so beautiful.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      It’s a beautiful country without a doubt. I love the combination of red earth, blue sky and green trees which seems to crop up everywhere.

  8. Jayne Hill January 4, 2019 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Stunning . . . just not enough superlatives.

    Given my ‘love’ of planes just about equals your serene outlook on boat travel, the chances of my ever seeing any of this for myself are slim to remotely non-existent. So I am very much enjoying seeing things through your eyes (or Mike’s camera?)

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Mostly Mike’s camera because I’m struggling with mine at the moment. I hit the wrong button somewhere about 4 weeks ago and it hasn’t been the same since, even though we’ve several times reset everything back to the factory default.

  9. Chloris January 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Fabulous scenery and gorgeous plants too, what an experience. I have had two fitbits, lost one and put the other in the washing machine. Bright pink with an alarm is perhaps the answer. So that’s what a kookaburra looks like.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Cute aren’t they? But the call is just amazing. Stops me in my tracks every time.
      It would have been interesting to see how many steps a washing cycle would generate..

  10. Fran January 4, 2019 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    For seeing a platypus, go to Delegate in the Snowy Mountains next time you come.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Fran! It’s gone on the list. Because of course there will be a next time..

  11. marksgran January 4, 2019 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Not long now till I head to Australia so I am following your posts with great interest. We will be going to Sydney to see our son and to Adelaide to see my uncle and aunt. Can’t wait!

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      I hope you have a wonderful time, as I’m quite sure you will. Sadly we only passed through Adelaide, I would have liked more time to explore it.

  12. Flower Roberts January 5, 2019 at 2:25 am - Reply

    I loved the photos, but your descriptions remind me why travelling wears me out. Long roads, screaming children, lugging luggage. Whew! You will be fit when it’s done. Take care.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Travelling is a means to an end for me. Mike loves it, I really can’t think why. My holiday begins once we’ve landed and reached the destination.

  13. Beth @ PlantPostings January 5, 2019 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Dreamy. That Rosy Hyacinth Orchid is something special. I’m glad you were safe in your flights and your travels! My son is vacationing in Australia right now–I can’t wait to see his photos and hear his stories after he gets back home. Thanks for sharing the highlights of your adventures!

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      I hope he is keeping cool, there’s been some very hot weather here. 42C for us last week. There is nothing you can do in that heat save find a way of escaping it. It’s set the step rate back quite a bit.

  14. germac4 January 5, 2019 at 6:20 am - Reply

    Great to follow your trip… we were lucky enough to see the Freycinet Peninsula before it became popular with tourists. Great photo of Cradle Mountain, I have never been to Lake Saint Clair… so will put that one on the list. The platypus has always eluded me too. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      I’m glad it’s not just me who has failed to see a platypus. Dawn and dusk are supposed to be the best times and you can see by the fading light that’s when I went looking for them. The closest we got was a small brown bump in the water with a wake flowing out from it across the lake. At a distance!

  15. Linda P January 5, 2019 at 9:22 am - Reply

    The trip looks fabulous. Continue to enjoy the walks, plant and animal life. All the best with your travels, hoping that future flights will be less stressful.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. I’ve rediscovered my love of walking. The trick will be to keep it up once we get home.. in an English winter!

  16. derrickjknight January 5, 2019 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Another excellent record of your trip. Shame about that flight

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      The crazy weather Australia has experienced this summer has certainly had an impact on flights.

  17. Mary January 5, 2019 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I should think with all that mileage on your legs from this trip they should be whittled down to nothing by now (and probably feel that way some days, too). But what glorious scenery…if not such glorious travel moments.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately the increased exercise is more than offset by the increased intake of good food and wine! I can tell my clothes are getting tighter but without the benefit of bathroom scales I can only imagine how bad the damage has been. The time for the diet will come soon enough. In the meantime..

  18. CherryPie January 5, 2019 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    It looks like you are having a fabulous adventure. Even the down sides will give you fond memories to look back on.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      It adds spice to life and stories for the blog. However well you think you plan a trip there’s always something..

  19. Sue Garrett January 7, 2019 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Beautiful images. I think children are now genetically modified to scream continuously.

    • Jessica January 7, 2019 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Nature and nurture. They are allowed to get away with it.

  20. Jenni January 10, 2019 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    I have enjoyed your posts about this trip so very much. Thank you for sharing your experiences! Our Christmas vacation did not come to pass with the shut down of the National Parks in the US. Death Valley will wait for us.

    • Jessica January 12, 2019 at 11:38 pm - Reply

      When people in the UK complain about the state of our country at the moment it’s amazing how many of them say “at least we don’t live in the US”. I feel for you Jenni and all those who have been affected by the shut down. Death Valley will wait and it will be awesome!

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