Thursday, February 27, 2014
I received this e-mail today from "Explore Australia" Much of what it says confirms what we on the Chair Exercise Team know through Ann's Research and our own research during the Virtual Treks on the Bibbulmun Trail last year and now in Tasmania.
I hope that the Computer lets me share the e-mail with you so that you can see for yourself what a Beautiful, Enchanting Country this is!!
Overland Track, Tasmania
The Overland Track is a 65-kilometre trek from the stunning Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake. While these well-known landmarks bookend the track, there’s plenty to see as you walk, including dolerite mountains and stunning flora and fauna.
Possibly Australia’s most famous walk, the Overland Track is recommended for experienced walkers. But while it may be challenging, undertaking this trek has huge scenic rewards, as you traverse Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness Area.
As well as campsites, there are simple wooden huts along the way (as Tasmania gets extremely chilly in winter) or luxury accommodation from Cradle Mountain Huts and the Cradle Mountain Huts. As the track is very popular, accommodation can get booked out quickly. Be prepared for all weather conditions – and bring a tent just in case you miss out on a spot in one of the huts.
Bibbulmun Track, Western Australia
Extending for almost 1000 kilometres from Perth to Albany, the Babylon Track is Australia’s longest adventure walk. You can complete the trek in 6–8 weeks, staying overnight at some of the 48 campsites that dot the route. If you don’t feel like camping, you can stop off for the night in some of the many towns along the route, including Balingup and Pemberton, and finishing in historic Albany.
It’s a stunning trip that allows you to sample the best of Western Australia’s south-west coast. You’ll travel through spectacular karri forests near Pemberton, pass through the Valley of the Giants where you’re dwarfed by ancient trees, and journey in around 22 reserves and national parks.
If you undertake the walk between June and October, make sure to stop for some whale-spotting as you traverse the coast in the second half of the track.
Great Ocean Walk, Tourism Victoria Great Ocean Walk, Victoria
The Great Ocean Road may be one of Australia’s best scenic drives, but you can also discover Victoria’s south coast from a different perspective – on foot. This 104-kilometre walk takes you from the holiday town of Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles, with much of the trail along the beach, and plenty of free camping sites along the way. Johanna Beach camping area, one of the most popular campsites on the Explore Australia website, is one of the free camping spots along the route.
If you don’t want to undertake the whole journey, there are recommended daytrips or abbreviated versions of the walk, including the Wreck Beach Walk.
As much of the route takes you along the string of beaches on Victoria’s south coast, the walk is susceptible to changing conditions like high tide, extreme sun and wind. There are designated points along the route where you can decide to continue walking along the coast, or take the inland route in case of adverse weather.
What’s your favourite adventure walk?
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- See more at: http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au/blog/20
Friday, February 21, 2014
Our Virtual Trek included a full day to cruise to Sarah Island and visit the Salmon Farms as well as the ruins of Australia's first and - according to some - Harshest Penal Settlement.
Harry Grining and his brother took their first paying customers into the Gordon River more than 100 years ago. Five Generations later, their descendants continue the Family Tradition of introducing tourists to the Serenity and Mystery of Macquarie Harbour.
The unique design of our Cruiser -- designed by the Grining Family -- ensures Passenger Comfort, as well as preserving the environment.
Sarah Island lies in the remote reaches of Macquarie Harbour. The narrow entrance to the Harbour was named "Hell's Gates" by Convicts on their way to Sarah Island.
Once there they labored under harsh conditions in the nearby rainforests, felling Huon Pines for Boat Building. During it's 11 years of operation (1822 - 1833) Sarah Island achieved a reputation as one of the Harshest Penal Settlements in the Australian Colonies. Cruel Guards, Isolation, and a lack of supplies due to the remote area contributed to the misery of Convicts sentenced to Sarah Island. Malnutrition, Dysentery, and Scurvy were common.
Any Convict attempting to escape not only had to cross the Harbour, but then had to hack his way through the nearly impenetrable rainforests on Australia's west coast. In all 112 Convicts did escape -- 62 perished, 9 were murdered by fellow Convicts, and the remaining 41 were recaptured and received an average of 40 lashes per year from the Cat O' Nine Tails
Tales of the harsh conditions and torture that the Convicts endured were brought to life vividly by our Expert Tour Guide/Story Tellers. One Convict even confessed that he murdered his Cell Mate simply because he knew that it would bring the Death Penalty -- and Escape from the misery and torment that he suffered at Sarah Island. Some of the Guides have even posted their stories on the Internet and on YouTube. Today Sarah Island is a Beautiful, Serene place and it is hard to imagine the misery that was suffered there -- until you listen to the Stories that the Guides tell.
The majority of prisoners were men, but there were a few women on Sarah Island. One of them -- Louisa -- was imprisoned there for 7 years for stealing a loaf of bread.
Later we visited the Salmon Farms. I will tell you about that in my next Blog
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
We are spending some Extra Time at the Lake Pedder Chalet, just absorbing the ambiance and doing some Hiking and Exploring.
I have taken advantage of one of the Tour Guides - John - who seems to be an Expert on Local Ghost Stories. One morning after Breakfast, he took me on a trip to Richmond Bridge. It was originally called Bigge's Bridge and it is the oldest Bridge in Australia that is still in use.
It was built by convicts from Sandstone quarried at Butcher's Hill and hauled by handcarts to the Bridge Site. The cutwaters were added in 1884. The Bridge is said to be haunted by several ghosts -- the most notable, according to John, is George Grover one of the most cruel of the Prison guards. He enjoyed torturing the convicts a little too much. He was allegedly thrown off the Bridge by some of the convicts that he tortured.
The ghost of a large, black and white dog -- often called "Grover's Dog" -- is said to appear next to visitors to the Bridge in the evenings. He walks beside them from one end of the Bridge to the other, then disappears as suddenly as he appears.
I could not find any pictures of Grover's Dog, so this will have to do:
John also was nice enough to take me to visit the Theatre Royale in Hobart. It opened in 1837 and is Australia's Oldest continually operating theater. It is a beautiful, grand old building and I'm sure that there are thousands of stories hidden in it's walls.
Noel Coward once called it a "Dream of a theater" and in the 1940's Lawrence Olivier launched a national appeal for it's reconstruction.
The theater is said to be haunted by a stage hand/actor named Fred. He has been seen frequently in the audience and back stage. In 1984 a fire started late at night and threatened the newly remodeled theater. It was damaged, but the building was saved from destruction when the Fire Curtain was somehow lowered across the stage, even though No One was in the building. Locals swear that Fred was there, and lowered the curtain to save his beloved theater.
Reconstruction began immediately and was funded by Public Fundraisers, Insurance, and Government Assistance.
It looks as though we will be staying here for a few more days and John has promised to tell me more Stories soon.
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