Tasmania!

Our time in Australia was growing short.  Just one week until we would be flying home.  But do Josh and Jessie just sit around while in a foreign country?  Of course not!  We spent our last week in Tasmania, the Australian state and island that is just off the coast below Melbourne.  It was just gorgeous there, and Josh and I kept saying, “Are we really in Tasmania?”  It seems like one of those places that doesn’t really exist, like Narnia or Never-neverland, but there we were!

We flew into Hobart (the capital) and rented our fancy Micra.

We spent our first few nights in Freycinet National Park, which featured great campsites right near the beach!

You could walk right down this little path and be at the beach!

The coastline all had this amazing orange lichen along it–loved it!

The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, but on our first day we decided to hike anyway, along the coast outside of a town called Bicheno.  It featured a “blowhole” where water squirted up out of the ocean!

Josh even found this comfortable “lounge rock” to take a break on!

Later that same day, we returned to Freycinet and hiked to the overlook of Wineglass Bay.  I loved the droplets of water on the bushes along the way.

And there was another lounge chair!

Wineglass Bay is one of the most famous views in Tasmania.  The bay gets its name from the beautiful curved shape of the coastline.

There were also some cool rocks on the cliffs behind the bay.

The next few days took us to Mt. Field National Park.  We wanted to sample both the coast and the mountains while in Tasmania, and Mt. Field was our mountain area.  The two parks we visited are also the oldest in Tasmania!  Mt. Field had a very diverse landscape, from temperate forest to alpine moorland.  The first day we saw the beautiful waterfalls that helped make the area famous.

We also saw this tiny flower, which I think is an orchid.

The next day we hiked at a bit of a higher elevation, out to a crystal clear mountain lake.  This area reminded me some of the higher-elevation areas in Yosemite.

Josh, as always the hiking leader of our twosome, had the unpleasant experience of startling THREE snakes along the way.  We were disturbed to learn later that all the snakes in Tasmania are poisonous–but luckily none of the ones we saw wanted anything to do with us.  This is about as much as I saw of any of them.

We encountered much more pleasant wildlife back near our campsite, where this guy joined us.

We also saw this echidna making her way along the road, although she balled up before I could get a good photo.

I had one last animal sighting for Australia–I had seen koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, and wombats, but would I be able to spot the notoriously shy platypus?  A late evening walk provided us with a great view of this guy, who we named Percy.

In addition to fauna, the park also featured some flora standouts–the swamp gum, which has the distinction of being the largest deciduous tree in the world.

The last day, we took a brief visit to the alpine section of the park.  Our visit was brief because it was freezing up there!!  But it really was cool to take the road up through the different environments and see the moorland area at the top.  There was even snow on some of the peaks!

Very different from the lush green rainforests we had seen in much of Australia.

Our last day in Tasmania, it was back to Hobart, where we had enough time to stop by the Cadbury chocolate factory!

Then Tasmania sent us off right with this beautiful double rainbow as we headed toward the airport!

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