Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tasmania- cleanest air in the world and Cradle Mountain national park

The Silver Shadow sailed into Burnie harbor this morning on the island of Tasmania, Australia. The harbor is a working harbor so it isn't necessarily a beautiful place but the water was so clean and clear for an industrial port. They are working hard to keep the area pristine, and therefore limit industry. Tasmania is known for their extremely clean air and I was impressed. It sure smells pure.

It's a wallaby!  And she wants to have some lunch.

coastal Tasmania near Penguin, Australia

Gorgeous Cradle Mountain
We booked a tour with Cradle Coast tours, and met our tour guide and driver, Howard, at the fairly new 'Makers Workshop'. This is the place to find out what's happening in Burnie, grab a coffee, check e-mail with the free wifi service, meet local artisans, and book tours. He had 5 of us on his tour to see the Cradle Mountains national park. This was the official holiday to celebrate Australia Day, so all the other shops in town were closed.

We drove on smaller roadways through medicinal poppy fields, among other plants. I wasn't aware that Tasmania is one of the largest producers of opium poppy seeds, which are mainly used in American pharmaceuticals like codeine. There were also plenty of sheep, cows, and lots of green spaces. It took just over an hour, but we made a couple of stops to see an old tin mining town, and to enjoy a free cup of coffee and biscuits at a rest area for motorists because it was a holiday weekend.

You can see the peaks of the mountain from far away. We drove into the park, although visitors who aren't on tours have to park their cars and take the park provided buses. Howard parked by Dove Lake where we had some time to do a short hike around the lake and enjoy the view. It was magnificent! We saw lots of beautiful flowers. We had a picnic of sandwiches, fruits, and cookies that Howard brought along and ate by the visitor's center. We were greeted by a couple of curious wallaby. Of course we didn't feed them, so they didn't stay long.

On the return trip he took us along the beautiful coastal road where the rock formations stand tall in the incredibly blue water. There were penguins sunning themselves on the rocks. Lots of people were kayaking, swimming, and playing on the beach. Such an abundance of great scenery in one place- this is Tasmania!

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