wander, stumble, wonder

By imo_weg


In the name of cramming as much into 3 days as possible, I've been rushing poor Maria all over the place. We've clocked up about 400km in the car in two days, and used less than half a tank of fuel. I'm happy with the car. But where have we been? Well it's now Friday (so this is the first of two backblips), and we're getting ready to go and see town and the museum and Cascade brewery and all those fun things, because we've just been so busy until now town has had to wait. We timed it well though, today's misty and a little cool after two perfect clear and blue sky days.

First a quick explanation. In 2005 I went on a 10 month exchange to Austria, and Maria and I were good friends, in the same class at school. We hadn't seen each other since then, but when she was planning travels around Australia and Asia she thought of visiting me. And I love to have visitors, so I readily agreed. I told her she would be making me practise my (semi-fluent but rusty) German, and all she wanted was to see some cute animals... We both lived up to our ends of the deal.

On Wednesday we went for a large circuitous route to pat some native animals, see some olde Tassie, and then admire the views. There's a map there so you can see just how circular our route was.

Here's Maria feeding a wallaby (wobbly) at Bonorong. I love that place, it's a fabulous wildlife park with all sorts of interesting Tasmanian animals to see and some to pat and feed. It's a 24 hour wildlife rescue centre, so a lot of the animals are recuperating after accidents, or being raised as orphans, and released back into the wild when they're ready. Some won't be released because of permanent injuries. You can wander around and look at them all in their lovely enclosures, all set out to create as natural an environment as possible. There are little tours, where a ranger takes you around to see the wombat, tassie devils and a koala. The current wombat, Morris, is nearing his release, at a 'teenage boy' stage at the moment - only leaving his hole to eat, getting grumpy with 'mum', but also craving attention. It was a rare day, the ranger could pick him up (all 20kg) and let everyone pat him - he's now getting to an age where he just gets tetchy about that kind of thing. So they'll release him when he's a little more independent - they're inherently solitary animals, and naturally part ways with their mothers at a certain age. Then they'll wait for another baby to be (sadly) orphaned and do it all again.

The devils put on a great show, demonstrating their fearful cry, and how they fight with each other as a matter of course. The koala was suitably placid, hanging onto the gum tree and putting up with everyone patting and photographing him. "Oh, it's this time of day again" he seemed to be thinking.

After feeding and patting the wallabies and kangaroos to our heart's content we went on to quite a different place. Where Bonorong is in the middle of some dry hills, with gum trees and yellow grass, brown dirt and expansive views, Richmond has green grass, flat plains, a river, and lots of 19th century buildings. It was originally a town for workers and convicts, with a gaol (Australian for jail) and lots of pubs and the oldest Catholic church and oldest bridge in Australia (or something along those lines). It hasn't changed very much, but is now a nice touristy place to go, with nice shops and a fantastic bakery. There's various things to do - a maze, a model village, the gaol - and all school kids go there a couple of times. I went there early last year
too. This time we didn't go into the gaol, but wandered around and enjoyed looking at the history.

After that we had a bit of time left, so we mosied up Mt Wellington and admired Hobart from afar. It was a day quite like this, although not quite as clear. So we stood there and ate tim tams, and chatted in German. Then drove back down, enjoyed a BBQ with friends. I slept very well that night.

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