Friday, October 22, 2021

A wandering little old lady

I am now officially 'a little old lady' 😁 

If it weren't for covid, I'd probably have opted for an adventure on the far side of the planet to celebrate turning 60, but as that was not to be, I found a place close to home that reminded me a bit of Cornwall. A month ago, four days at, and around, Stanley and the Nut on Tassie's north west coast.

A gorgeous sumptuous high tea at the Speckled Hen Cafe.

We stayed in the old farm manager's cottage of Highfield House. Built in 1828, it reminded me of my grandparents' farmhouse. Full of history.

We visited Highfield House, high on the hill above the village of Stanley, across the road from our humble but comfy cottage. Edward Curr was the head of the Van Diemen's Land Company around the 1830s. His poor wife Elizabeth bore 12 children, one of whom died aged 4 in a freak accident when the dog that was pulling the little cart she was sitting in, got excited and ran off, upturning the cart. 

Some other things we saw, in no particular order:

Seagulls looking for lunch at Boat Harbour.

Shells and fossils in the rocks of Fossil Bluff at Wynyard.

Bluebells and a stone wall - so very British!

Trowutta Arch - a quiet ancient place with a sacred atmosphere. Surrounded by rainforest and formed by a sink hole filled with algae-covered water. Looking down...

Looking back up from the water's edge.

A picnic lunch at Marrawah Beach. Too wet and windy to wander on the beach.

Dip Falls was very impressive. Loads of water from recent rains.

Art in the forest, on the way to the Big Tree near Dip falls. Fungi fun.

My birthday was a better day for beach wandering. Godfrey's Beach at Stanley. I took a photo very similar to this on the South West Coast Path in England almost 2 years ago.

We went back the following night at 8pm to watch little penguins coming home at the viewing area at the base of the nut. They even live (and love - you get my meaning) in people's gardens!

We climbed the Nut. Views in all directions. Superb and windy! One brief hail shower.

Is it an English wood? No - it is an enchanted sheltered spot on top of the Nut. That is onion weed under the trees, unfortunately, a bit smelly - if only they were bluebells.

A walk in the fields of the farm where we stayed. Looks quite Cornish. On our way to see seals.

I do love the zoom lense on my camera. Literally hundreds of seals on Bull Island.

Bull Island seal colony behind me. The closest I can get to walking in Britain at the moment.

I may be 60, but I still have many years of wandering in me! 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Unconforming art of the western wilds


We headed west to The Unconformity festival in Queenstown which is a fabulous eclectic unique (usually bi-annual but currently covid-disrupted) festival that expresses the disjuncture of humans and environment, and the creativity and resilience of both. We stayed in Strahan, a 50 minute winding drive away, as Queenstown was pretty much booked out. The planned 3 day festival opened on Friday, and closed on Friday due to a snap covid lockdown in southern Tasmania. Even though Queenstown was outside the lockdown area, many of the participants and attendees would have been coming from the Hobart region. However, some of the art was still displayed on Saturday, so we were privileged to be able to see some and experience one pop-up performance.

On entry to Queenstown we were greeted by Seeds - car wrecks planted, seeded with native plants. I hope this is a permanent display. Nature reclaiming mankind's destruction.

We arrived to the unexpected the Queenie Choir performing in the main street as the Crib Lane food and music area was being packed down.

We followed the choir to the Memorial Hall where they performed several more songs amongst a labyrinth of stones and words created by local school children. Marry the Land celebrates connection to country.

Then we followed the art trail, most of the galleries were still open for us. The mushrooming of local art is astonishing. We attended the opening of the new Press West print studio, reclaiming the old school buildings that have been empty for many years.

And saw a diverse range of paintings and sculptures. This one by Helena Demczuk.

After lunch over the mountain at Linda Cafe, almost being blown off the side of the mountain at Horsetail Falls, more art walking in showers between galleries, we headed back to Strahan, artfully satisfied, not realising there was more art to be discovered the next day on the never-ending Ocean Beach near Strahan.

A true reclaimation of man's underestimation of nature. The inspiration for Seeds?

We spent hours exploring nature's art. So many different coloured stones.

 Marbled patterns created by water, minerals and sand.

Comets sculpted by the wind.

The windswept beach, mountains in the distance, clouds constantly changing form.

Walking the green carpet to Hogarth Falls, after lunch in Strahan. Platypus and pink robin in the forest.

More beach art at the Macquarie Heads end of Ocean Beach. Bonnet Island lighthouse.

Who would have thought a trip to the notoriously rainy west coast of Tasmania would turn into a weekend at the beach! While Sunday was relatively, but not completely dry, the drive home of Monday was wet! Scones for morning tea at Tullah Lakeside Resort, lunch followed a short rainforest and waterfall walk at Cradle Mountain on the way home.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Wanderment and Floundering at Cradle Mountain

 I have just returned from two days of wanderment and floundering at Cradle Mountain.

Floundering - the exhibition of photos (plus a few extra ones) from my book Floundering: Stories from Cradle Mountain is now showing at the Wilderness Gallery at the Cradle Mountain Hotel until January 31st 2021.

Here we are working hard with our maths and levelling skills to ensure every photo is level at the Wilderness Gallery

It was surprisingly mind-bending and mentally exhausting. I haven't done so much maths in years!

A partial glimpse of the overall end result. You will have to take a wandering trip out to Cradle Mountain to flounder through the photographs and explore your relationship with the wilderness.

We stayed for two nights at the Cradle Mountain Hotel. One day to install the exhibition and one day to wander. 

This curious local pademelon came to say hello at our window balcony. 'Good morning! Please feed me? Aren't I cute? Do you have any treats?' 

"Sorry, but no. People food is very bad for you, but thank you for posing so well for photos. You really are adorable.'

'Slow down...breath out' at the new visitor centre.

Wandering around Dove Lake. Floundering in the beauty of the land, and so, so very grateful for the smaller numbers of people there. It was wonderful to share with relatively few humans and only Tasmania residents, for a change. It felt like it used to feel 15 years ago, before the influx of tourists. But - the hotels were very full, of locals, which was fabulous. The lake sings to you.

Up to Lake Wilks

Flowering heath and new fagus growth.

UP and across the Face Track...touch deep time

Tangled uncomfortably...this is the actual walking track

Stop. Look closely. Pandani.

Views to forever, in all directions

Our lunch-time view.

More friendly locals hoping for some left over crumbs, sitting on a rock two metres behind us...watching, waiting.

Wombat Pool. Not long before boarding the shuttle bus when light rain began to fall. Six hours of pure wanderment bliss.

The Floundering exhibition is showing until January 31st.