Saturday, 23 February 2013

Tasmania -- a little slice of heaven on earth

Visiting a new place, when it is a country and a continent, Australia, it is always mesmerising and enchanting. Rebati Mohan Sinha unfurls his itinerary to this Gold rush country. 

Aussie Aussie oi oi oi – sounds familiar? You surely heard the stereo-typed stuff like that. But believe me if you haven't travelled to, in and around Australia you will not know that are not the real Australia.

I had been travelling there. To fantastic locations of Sydney, like Darling Harbour, Opera house, Climb of Harbour bridge, Tower Restaurant, Harbour Lunch Cruise and Blue Mountains. To Melbourne to have a go at its Victoria market, China Town, and river cruise. And this time to Tasmania to explore its rich treasures.

Tasmania is an island mountainous state of Australia. The population is about 5 lakhs, most of them are Britons. Hobart is its capital city with a population of approx 2.1 lakhs. Tasmania's main industries have been mining (copper, zinc, tin and iron), agriculture, forestry and tourism. The island state is surrounded by Indian and Pacific oceans and separated from mainland Australia by 240 km stretch of Bass strait, like Sri Lanka separated from mainland India by Palk Strait. Tasmania claims to have the world's cleanest air, the purest water along with its red fertile soil. Tourists are attracted to its world heritage listed regions, national parks, pristine coastal line, enchanting villages, bustling cities and convict's ruins. Tasmania is rugged, and offers a kaleidoscopic variety of brilliant colours and natural beauty.
Australia Tourism : Rebati Mohan Sinha with his wife
 Our itinerary began from Adelaide with the trip to Melbourne, and then to Hobart. We rented a car from the airport for driving along Tasmania. We reached the Hotel Mercure in the heart of Hobart city. In the evening, we headed off on a stroll through historic part of Hobart via Salamanca market place to constitution of dock for watching the seaplanes berthed at the jetty.

Hobart city is located on the south east coast of Tasmania, The city is situated around a deep harbour and has a stunning natural landscape sitting on the bank of the Derwent River while Mount Wellington towers above. Hobart is also close to a lot of other famous wilderness and historic destinations in Tasmania.

Next day, we visited Huon Valley and Tahune Forest Air walk which was about a ninety minutes drive from our hotel. We walked a bit further down to the Air walk through the forest, where there were different viewing platforms which gave a breath taking views of the dense forest, the canopy, and the tallest trees in the world. We took a stroll through the canopy of a tall eucalyptus forest, home to the tallest flowering plant on earth. The Tahune Airwalk of Huon valley is a fabulous walk- way suspended some 40 metre (120fts) in the air over the rain forest tree canopy. We, then went down the stair to the deep jungle to walk along the bank of Huon river up to the spine tingling swinging bridges across the Huon and Picton rivers, experienced the thrill of watching them rush right beneath our feet.

We had a leisurely drive back along the highway for Wellington Mountain to get a bird's eye view of this spectacular harbour city. On reaching the top, the view was amazing. With the sun setting on the back ground , the icy wind at the summit, we couldn't ask more. The weather was not with us though, and so our view of the harbour was sketchy at best. We never anticipated the wind and cold weather we encountered at the summit.

Our next destination was to drive down from Hobart in east coast to Strahan in west coast, covering about 300 km, visiting Cadbury's first built factory outside of UK, in the city of Hobart, in 1922 .Cadbury has a long history in Australia and is a brand that many generations grew up loving it. Every Aussie is familiar with the sweet creamy sensation of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Every one of us at the visitor centre was well received by the staffs, offering chocolate as a gift to carry home.

En route to Mt. Field National Park from Cadbury, on the way, we had been to salmon (fish) pond, that had a huge variety of salmon fishes. Walking around the spectacular grounds and feeding the fish to see them jumping up closer was fun. From there, we headed for the next destination, Strahan about 200km off. We were heading inland, nearing Queens town where unique landscape reflected the history of the region. And we had continued along the high way, where we experienced a lot of flora and fauna that would be any photographers delight. .

The fishing port of Strahan is set on a quiet bay of Macquarie harbour on Tasmania's spectacular west coast. This waterfront village is the gateway to the magnificent Gordon River and Tasmania's wilderness world heritage area.

And yet, any visit to Tasmania is incomplete without a cruise on the world famous Gordon river. On the cruise we got to see the Hell gate, where the harbour meets the open sea, the world renowned salmon farms, where fish cages are placed in ocean to contain and protect fish until they can be harvested. We took a look at the most notorious Sara island, the feared penal colony, and walked among the ruins with the guide, bringing the past alive with astonishing stories of convicts, who built amazing ships of Australia out of precious Huon pine.

Cruising onboard six hours on the Lady Franklin II' was an amazing experience of the most scenic on earth. Saying bye to Tasmania was tough—the little heaven on earth left an indelible imprint in our hearts.
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