I will detail other parts of the trip on separate blogs, but this part started when we boarded the "Spirit of Tasmania" in Melbourne one evening, and arrived the next morning in Devonport, Tasmania.
The Bass Strait had been as calm as a millpond, so we disembarked on foot, to be met by the sniffer dog checking we weren't bringing any unwanted produce into the state. He managed to detect which bag had contained our bananas the day before, so it's not worth trying to smuggle anything in!
|Penguin in Penguin. Small town, big penguin.|
Stanley was a historical town (one of many in Tasmania!), which is now the centre of the lobster industry. An extinct volcano rises above it, providing great views over the surrounding countryside.
|Cradle Mt and Dove Lake|
The mountain complex is a basalt intrusion into the sedimentary rocks, and has resisted erosion over the aeons, so that it now rises to over 5,000 feet (1,545metres) above sea level. Twenty-thousand years ago, glaciers carved out several tarns and corries around the massif.
|Cradle Mt and glaciated landscape|
|The path is very steep in places|
|Button grass thrives when trees felled.|
|The start of the Overland Track|
We also saw more pademelons, wombats, wallabies and quolls - a marsupial predator which filled the evolutionary niche that small cats do in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, feral and domestic cats brought from Europe have now made most native species endangered........
|Waratah, once the mining centre of Tasmania.|
|Road to Nowhere, on left, in trees.|
|After an hour, the road becomes unsealed....|
|The forest closes in|
|The end of the Road to Nowhere...|
|Smaller than the Bass Strait ferry. The Fatman.|
More about the convict history of Tasmania in the next instalment...