Thursday, March 5, 2009

East Coast of Tasmania is Stunning, Even in Inclement Weather

We arrived in Freycinet National Park – a cluster of hills surrounded by stunning bays and beaches – on Tasmania’s east coast, together with rainy weather. After checking into Freycinet Lodge we drove to the Cape Tourville Lighthouse, passing through eucalyptus forests with tea trees covered in delicate white blossoms. The stark white lighthouse is perched high above reddish granite cliffs that fall down to the sea. The steep terrain and nearby rocky islands were softened by mist and dark clouds.
Next morning my dearest and I set out for Wineglass Bay in spite of rain and winds predicted to reach gale force. We hiked through a pinkish granite landscape enveloped in blowing mist and cloud. Within minutes we were soaked, but it was a warm rain. We passed enormous falls of rounded granite boulders some as big as houses and some balancing on each other in a worrisome manner. The smell of eucalyptus was all around and a few tree trunks were embroidered with delicate insect tracks like calligraphy.
We reached the pass, and far below, Wineglass Bay, the most beautiful beach in the world, was barely visible in the cloud. The bay looks like a wine glass and in the 1800s when the bay was a whaling station it often seemed full of red wine from the blood of the slaughtered whales. We slogged downward to the bay. It was exquisite with perfect white sand and turquoise water. The wind was blowing hard with large waves crashing and swirling.
We didn’t linger and started the uphill climb, drenched and bedraggled. A friendly kookaburra posed on a branch. We reached the pass and soon were back at the carpark. A small ‘roo sat in the rain beside our car.
That evening, the rain having relented, we sat on our deck with a bottle of wine and watched the moon come out. Surprise, a possum joined us. She climbed onto my leg and gently bit my finger. Finding it inedible, she then nipped my dearest’s toe. Bewildered by this strange country, we called it a night.
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