This week, I’m blatantly using my blog as an advertisement. My ebook, The Edge of the World: Next Stop Cape Horn, has been for sale on Amazon for two years and at last I have it available in print.
In 2006, I set out in my little hatchback to begin the first of four road trips around the island of Tasmania, south of where I live in Melbourne, Australia.
I planned to the nth degree, but nothing could have prepared me for getting stuck on the side of a mountain in the dark, my petrol tank on empty.
Nothing prepared me for being on my own in a caravan park in the middle of a violent storm, or forgetting I get sea-sick and spending a boat cruise around Tasman Island with my head in a bucket.
The wild, untamed west coast contrasted with the ethereal beauty of Great Oyster Bay and the fishing villages of the east. The giant ferns and trees of the rainforests nurtured and replenished my spirit, and the history, white and indigenous, filtered through everything.
Suffice to say, I fell in love with Tassie, and I thought I’d give you a taste of my favourite spots – so far, anyway. There’s a lot of Tassie I still haven’t seen and am waiting for a chance to go back to.
My favourite place is Arthur River, on the north-west coast. It seems wild and untamed.
If you sailed from where the river enters the sea and kept going, you would hit South America without touching land. Hence my sub-title, Next Stop Cape Horn. This next photo was the inspiration for the cover, though the cairn somehow ended up disappearing in the process.
If someone asked me where they should go in Tassie, I would send them to Mole Creek caves, especially King Solomons cave, a sparkling wonderland of calcite formations. Unfortunately, the camera I had at the time wasn’t up to underground photos.
The Styx Valley is an area of enormous eucalypts, with a rainforest understorey of myrtle, sassafras and celery-top pine. One of these trees has been measured at 92 metres; that’s a 25 storey building.
I was trundling along towards the little north-east village of Derby, having spent the night in the old miners’ hotel at Weldborough, when I nearly ran off the road. An enormous rock sits on the side of the mountain and someone has turned it into a fish.
There are 697 steps down to the floor of Leven Canyon. Luckily there’s a slightly easier way back up or I would never have made it. I suppose some have a go at it. I wonder how often they check for bodies.
I’m mad on theatres, so I had to have a look around Hobart’s Theatre Royal.
I visited the Narryna Heritage Museum, also in Hobart, and discovered some very interesting items, one a commode, brilliantly disguised as a version of bedside steps. The pot is hidden in a compartment at the top of the steps and drawn out onto the second step when needed. The person stands on the bottom step and releases himself onto the pot. When finished, the pot goes back to its hiding place. Very convenient, though maybe a little whiffy by morning.
I always wanted to visit a town by the name of Lower Crackpot. It had to be something different. It turned out to be a miniature village, attached to the large maze and lavender gardens of Tasmazia.
A sign greeted me at the door, the words written by Brian Inder, that’s the Brian Inder who wrote the beautiful poem at Arthur River. This is a snippet:
“Here at Tasmazia we do things the Crackpot way. Here fun and laughter rule. Love warms our mountain air … the lovers; the givers and not the takers; the young at heart; the gentle folk. This is their place. May their spirits dwell in eternal summer.”
Amazon have a terrific tool. You can sample the first couple of chapters of the book for free by going to the ebook on Amazon and clicking on the cover. It’s a good way to find out whether or not you’d be interested in it.