Traveling Tasmania, Take Two
Hop a ferry and get shucked, Baby! We be eating our way through a picturesque drive on Bruny Island. Fresh oysters not only exceed guidebook hype, but raise the bar of future expectations.
Just down the road, more food and drink options include Bruny Island Premium Winery, Bruny Island Cheese Company, and Bruny Island Berry Farm. Too bad the berries were out of season. All the while, enjoy fresh air blowing through the windows from the numerous bays, vineyards and farms. Bruny Island is definitely worth a day trip.
Drive south to Port Arthur, which holds the heart of vicious pride in the history of Tasmania.The British sent thousands of convicted criminals to the stone buildings on this isolated bay.
Their sentences came in biblical increments of 7, 14, 21, or a lifetime of hard labor. Just figure on a lifetime sentence, since there was no route home except by ship.
The “ill behaved” lived in isolated cells where they were fed the same three meals daily, two of them being porridge. Strict Calvinistic religious influence imposed silence, (reflection) as the word of the day. They were allowed out of isolation one hour each day, under the solitude of a hood. In church each Sunday, they stood in upright wooden “coffins,” watched by a guard to prohibit tapping on the standing coffin next to them. No talking, no knocking, or 150 lashes will remind you to reflect.
Very few inmates escaped. Most died there, their bodies buried on a small island with no headstone. “Because they were criminals in life, they deserve to be forgotten in death.” Those that endured the sentence had nowhere else to go. So a community of skilled convict shipbuilders, loggers, and shoemakers was created.
Some managed to procreate. Don’t ask me how, as women were kept in a separate colony. Hey, we gonna find a way, Baby! When convicted youths arrived (age nine and up), they presented unskilled labor and discipline problems. I could go on, and on…but let’s just agree upon the oxymoron of criminal justice. Don’t miss this fascinating place if you ever have an opportunity to visit Tasmania.
Spend the night at Parson’s Bay retreat, where you cannot drink the water without boiling it, but the gourmet restaurant serves Wallaby medallions and goat curry.
Continue the drive north through the Freycinet National Park and take the short hike to wineglass bay lookout, through terrain that resembles Freddie Flintstone’s town of Bedrock.
Reward yourself at Pasini’s restaurant in the nearby town of Bicheno. The beer was cold and the seafood pizza blew our taste buds away.
Bed down in Launceston, where you can walk the cataract gorge along the river.
Drink fresh beers from the James Boag brewery. One of the ales is so special that it’s not permitted to leave the state, even to mainland Australia. Before flying away, head north for a final drive through the Tamar Wine Region for fine wines and luscious scenery.
Truly, Tasmania stands out as a highlight of our adventure, giving us an unexpected diversity of wildlife, culture, terrain, drinks and food, food, food!
Thank you, abundant universe. Ron Mitchell