Oh, Tasmania...

After the East Coast in November, Tasmania is my first contact with what I like to think as the "real" Australia: laid back people, wildlife, very few Frenchies...

And I'm not disappointed, I must say. There I had my first and longest helpX experience, as I spent the first 3 weeks as a helpxer in a lovely olive grove which reminded me so much of my beloved Provence. The view on Mount Roland was interestingly similar to the Sainte Victoire
Mount Roland

My dear Ste Victoire
The vineyards, the olive trees, they all made me very comfortable, made me feel at home. And then there was everything that is not Provence: the eucalyptus, strange animal noises at dawn, clear and so different sky at night, the hop hop hop of the wallabies during the long twilights. It was lovely and beautiful (and yes, both adjectives are needed here).

The other wonderful point of Tassie is the quality of its food products. The meat, the veggies, the fruits (Oh, my God, the fruits...), everything tastes absolutely great, so much so that I ate products I wouldn't usually eat in Europe, like figs, plums, avocados...

A Tasmanian car plate says "Explore the possibilities". And that's true on so many levels. Tassie is full of possibilities, of potential. But people here are so laid back that nothing ever happens. They don't have any money for anything, the federal government keeps protecting areas so nothing can be done on an industrial level. The only industry that works is electricity, but they sell so much to the mainland (or what they gladly call the big island in the North) that the electricity bill is excruciatingly high (I know that because I had to do the dishes every evening instead of using the dishwasher...)

It was also funny to see that some of the Tasmanian properties belong to expats: near the olive grove, owned by a british couple who travelled the world before settling here, a Belgium developped a chocolate factory, a German developped a salmon farm, it is a real melting pot.

At some point during the helpX experience, the lady took me to the much awaited-for Cradle Mountain Nation Park.  And then again, Tassie didn't disappoint me... it was absolutely superb. A picture will tell you more than I could:

Then, after 3 weeks of my first experience of working outdoor (where I dreamt and suddenly could see myself taking over my father's vineyard for a living), I took back the "Tourist" label and went down to Hobart to visit the city and most importantly Wineglass beach.

Hobart gave me the impression of a town desperately trying to be called Tasmanian Sydney. And if you've never heard that nickname, that's proof that it's not achieving that goal. There's not much to see in Hobart, but that's ok, because I could enjoy a laidback environment, reading in a park, walking aimlessly, preparing Japan for next month at the library. And I also went to MONA.

Boy, they tell you that MONA is an experience, like no other museum you will ever see. And that's definitely true... First of all, it's less a museum than a private collection. And the art... Well, some art pieces are masterpieces, some make you think about things, and some are plain disturbing and don't make any sense. And you can really see Old and New Art side by side in the same room, trying to figure out why the Aboriginal Shield is facing some contemporary art piece. Definitely a must-see, even if you don't like the Art, because you don't get to ask yourself why Art is Art that often.

And then there was Freycinet... The road to go there was so scenic! Clouds creeping on mountains, the sea on our right, it was really beautiful. We were so lucky that the rain only started after we've seen the Wineglass Bay (named after its dramatic whale hunting history).
still better than words
Fun fact: on the way back, we passed Break-me-neck hill and Bust-me-gall hill! True story.

So, to conclude, on the whole, I was pretty pleased this month: the country was wonderful, full of wildlife, I had my first outdoor work and realized I could manage it - physically.

And mostly, I learned something: don't plan too much in advance!

I think I shouldn't have taken the return ticket from Tassie back to Melbourne, because I could have made the better of the end of summer instead of staying 3 weeks at the same place. I don't say I didn't enjoy it, but for trips like this, you have got to stay flexible, prepared to any change of plans, mostly because you do whatever you want, and if you don't want to linger too much in a place, or if on the contrary you fall in love with a place, you should be able to decide what's best.

NB: Now I know what you think, and I am well aware that "Oh, Tasmania" originating from Canada can be applied to every 3-syllable country name, and I solemnly promise to never use it again... maybe...

1 comment:

  1. Lovely blog, Julie. So glad you enjoyed Tasmania. Sorry about the dishwasher!