Despite the presence of settlers for almost 190 years, the island still retains much of its original vegetation. That vegetation is in the form of subtropical rainforest. With the impressive landforms of Mounts Lidgbird and Gower (the remnants of a 7 million year old volcano) that drop off right into the ocean, the landscape is very Jurassic Park– like.
You can see the presence of Kentia palms everywhere in the rainforest. These palms are commonly found as indoor plants everywhere around the world from back in the 19th Century.
Aside from these palms, there is also a variety of strangler vines and multi-coloured fungi.
All of this is a short stroll from civilisation – and with the both easy and challenging tracks about, and the lack of stinging insects, it means that this rainforest is just about perfect (for me anyway)!
Well, it might have taken me awhile, but we’ve finally come to the final chapter of our 2019 Tasmanian trip – a short visit to Hobart. On this visit, we stayed in the historic inner city suburb of Battery Point. It is on a hill and so affords a good view of the Derwent River.
While wandering around the local park, hubby was happy to find out that it had had a famous scientific visitor in the past.
Wandering around Battery Point and its neighbouring suburb, Sandy Bay, we were happy to see a lot of colonial era houses still in good condition. Probably not surprising since they’re two of the most expensive suburbs of Hobart.
That’s all from Tasmania. But I’ve done some travelling since then, so I’ll be back with more adventures soon!
The New Zealand series is now done and dusted but there are plenty of photos left to go through from past trips. For the next while, I’ll be examining more of Tasmania, where we spent two weeks in December 2019.
The strongest memory from that trip was simply being able to breathe fresh air again, as Sydney had been under a smokey haze from successive bush/forest fires for months by that time. The trip starts up north in Launceston and ends in Hobart.
Launceston is a city I have visited, but generally only in passing. It was good to spend a few quiet days there getting used to the Tasmanian pace of life (which is generally relaxed).
Launceston is a sizeable town by Australian standards and pretty big by Tasmanian standards. Having its first European settlement in 1804, it is also quite an old colonial settlement, though the first Tasmanians arrived some 40,000 years ago, when the Bass Strait was still land, and were isolated from the mainland 8000 years ago when the sea levels rose after the last ice age.
The age of the settlement meant that there are buildings of varying ages in the CBD.
The post office is gothic Victorian.
While this building is in the 19th century classical style.
Still in deep lockdown… So don’t really want to talk about anything too dark today. Actually, I want to show you the ways that Christchurch has rebuilt itself in the time following the disaster.
In my previous post, I concentrated on the ruins, and you might remember seeing the ruins of the Anglican Cathedral. The people of Christchurch didn’t want to be without a place of worship for too long, so they quickly commissioned the Cardboard Cathedral, which was opened 2.5 years after the earthquake.
It’s a very creative and positive building to enter, and when we visited there was a lot of activity. It was supposed to be temporary, but I heard they’ve decided to make it a permanent fixture for the city.
In other places around the city they’ve planted gardens where there were buildings. This one is a memorial garden in the place where the CTV station building was.
Other places are getting rebuilt in typical 2010’s style.
However there are places that are a little more innovative. Christchurch is famous for its use of shipping containers as structures.
And some interesting sculptural elements.
And finally there’s a proliferation of street art everywhere you look, on old and new buildings.
The combination of all this artwork is very moving. It shows a city that’s rebuilding itself using art. We can learn a lot from that.
Walking around the CBD at Christchurch in 2018, I was of course struck by the level of devastation that the earthquake had caused. But in saying that, I was also struck by the things that have survived.
Looking at these photos, it was reassuring that the old-time pioneers built such hardy buildings.
And even when the buildings were damaged, the fact that they survived in some form (as in the case of the Anglican Cathedral) is astonishing.
Once over the dunes, the beach stretched out before us.
We were on the windy west coast, and boy, was it windy. And everything was on a vast scale.
Our destination turned out to be these boulders of beach rock, as they contained fossils – shells that are remnants of the sea floor that existed during the Miocene period, approximately 10 million years ago.
We also had a little surprise when we searched for fossils.
Luckily, he was having a long nap and hardly stirred, else we would have been in trouble.
We are venturing out on one more walk in Golden Bay before we head off elsewhere. This walk is to the southern end of Farewell Spit. The spit forms the most northernly point of Golden Bay, and indeed, the South Island of New Zealand. It stretches out 26km into the sea, and being so exposed, it is the site of frequent whale strandings.
We didn’t venture to the far end of the spit as that requires a 4WD or a 6 hour tour. We did however venture to the end of another no-through-road and walked across some boggy paddocks.
Between the sea and the paddocks are some low dunes.
These trees give you an idea of how windy it gets in these parts (though it was pretty calm in the paddocks during our walk).
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you had a lovely (if perhaps cosy) time with your family.
Now, back to my 2018 trip to New Zealand. I must say that this reminiscence has been good for me. It’s providing me with a great opportunity to relive that trip and really cherishing it. I hope you’re enjoying these posts too.
We’re still in the Golden Bay area of New Zealand, and today we’re walking to Wharariki Beach, which is in the north-western corner of the region.
The beach is accessed via a walking track across some paddocks from the end of a dirt road.
We passed through some interesting coastal vegetation. The stream is brown due to the tannin in the water (like in Tasmania) and the bushes are flat as it’s almost always very windy in these parts.
It was however a fine, sunny, early summer’s day, so walking these paddocks was a pleasure.