Tag Archive | Tasmania

Take note of any portents the heavens may offer

I had this great heading. The one above if you didn’t notice. 

But I had nothing to go with it. Just read it somewhere and liked it instantly. Copied it into a heading in a draft blog post for future use. Thought I’d find something in my life that I could write about and link to the concept. 

But seems the heavens don’t offer me portents. Or signs. 

Or I’m just blind to them. 

Probably a good thing because I’d misuse the gift for, well not quite evil purposes, but selfish ones. Actually in moments of weakness I could probably misuse such a gift for evil. 

But wait, I thought of a sign. Not just sent from the heavens, but more temporal agencies. In my sense of bravado, I ignored it. Much to my peril. 

There is this amazing cave in Tasmania called The Remarkable Cave. You walk down step steps in a crevice in the cliff. The cliff then separates you from the sea. The wild, southern ocean. A cave joins the crevice and the sea, straight through the towering mountain of rock. 

The viewing platform allows you to look into the cave. At certain angles, the opening at the sea looks like a map of Tamania. (The real one.)

But even more remarkably, the cave separates in two in the middle of the tunnel. And if the tide and angle is right, you can see the second opening to the ocean. 

The viewing platform, understandably, is solidly built, with five foot high railings, made especially to resist easy climbing. It is perched high above the cave floor. All to stop people from walking into the cave and being swept away to their death, body lost in the endless southern ocean. Multiple signs if ever I saw them. 

Oh tell me you can guess where this is going? Yes, I scaled over the platform railing and scrambled/slide/dropped down off the viewing platform to walk inside the cave and followed Mr S into the off-shoot of the tunnel. 

And while we were standing looking out to the ocean, a massive  wave rolled up the main entrance, BLOCKING our exit. A veritable tsunami. 

The tide had turned!

I freaked. I screamed. I yelled, “The tide, Mr S. The tide. We’re gunna die.”

Ignoring my bung knee, I lept into the water, thigh deep and still coming in, and ran down the tunnel, fearing the incoming tide, not knowing if another wave would sweep me out to sea, not knowing the speed of the tidal change this far south. Not thinking nor caring if there were sharks or an undertow. 

Why had I ignored all the signs – both literal and metaphysical?

Never fear, dear reader. I made it. 

Meanwhile Mr S waited for the wave to return to the sea, and walked around, with only a slight dampness of his shoes. He did later say he thought he’d have to dive in and rescue me. (And it is the thought that counts.)

I had to do the walk of shame back to the car in my wet pants. 

Portents do abound. Not just warning safety signs from local authorities. But signs within. Knowing my own fear of the ocean, knowing my own limitations, feeling my inner warning signals of imminent danger. 

The moral to this story is: don’t talk to bears in the woods and be content with viewing from the safety platform. 

Here come the philastines. 

Apology. My iPhone has died. I do everything on my iPhone. I drafted this post on my iPhone. Now I am reduced to using an old-school, stuck-in-one-place desk top computer. I am not sure if my video will work. And I do not know how to resize my photos. So sorry, if they come up too big. Or off-centre. But think of me: I may have lost all my photos from all my travels in the last year. OK. It is my fault to not have backed them up, nor anything on my iPhone. And I should have learnt after the iPad fiasco. But I am still on my journey to organised living. Anyway, if the video doesn’t work, Google word waterfall mona. Now on with the show.


Mr S and I are not generally appreciative of the visual arts, especially the modern type. But everyone says when in Hobart we must visit MONA (Museum of Old and Modern Art). So we did.

We bought “posh pit” tickets for the ferry ride to in Hobart. $50 each instead of $20 for “the sheep”. (Their words.) The ticket comes with nibbles and drinks. That’s what tempted me.

I was determined to get my money’s worth. Three glasses of bubbles on the 30 minute journey out, (and 15 minute predeparture time. I don’t want anyone to think I scoffed three glasses in 30 minutes.) Let’s just say a glass of house sparkling is $7. That’s $21. Not quite equal value yet. OK, if you go $9 for a branded variety we are pushing closer to the extra $30. And then there is a platter of cheese and ham to share. The waiter was watching my glass and quickly offered a top up. Really a total refill. He clearly picked me well because he offered the third. How could I say no?

Mr S read the provided local newspaper on the way out and sipped on two beers. “Come on,” I said. “Drink up!”

On the way back, I had one glass and Mr S two glasses of beer. The trip home came with four little desserts. Two chocolate cakey numbers, a golden gaytime  flavoured cheese cake and an orange cream tart. Yummy!

Yep, worth the extra dollars.

The trip out is interesting, passing by a massive zinc refinery and under the famed Tasman Bridge.

Oh yeah. We visited an art gallery. So let’s talk about art.

The MONA building is amazing. Externally the material and shape! Internally: the rabbit warren of underground space.

The art?

Well, I did laugh.

The first installation we saw inside the museum proper was amazing. More because of the technical skill but the idea was clever too. A waterfall of words.

Next the major exhibition, Gilbert and George, was of strikingly large montage, photo, painting things. By large, I mean ji-normous. Quite confronting in a humorous way. You may disagree and just see it as degenerate and depraved.

Here’s the two artists.

Several large naked self portraits of themselves in this style cover several walls.

They do like penises. Had quite a few works adorned with them.

And poo. Though I don’t think that’s original. South Park got in first with Mr Hanky, the Christmas poo.

Their rules sum up their art.

Don’t worry. It wasn’t all penises. Vaginas got a look in by other artists too. A wall of 150 plaster casts of innies and outies; and deforested and hairy (which reminded me of a conversation last book club’s Christmas party but maybe more on that in a future post).

My photos of the vagina casts didn’t come out because you aren’t allowed to use flash photography. I couldn’t help but wonder how you’d take a cast or mould of one with hair. Wouldn’t the hairs be ripped out when pulling the cast off?

I liked the fat car.

What made me really laugh was the room that had a large box, taller than the tallest person and filling the room, made of mdf. All the visitors traipsed around the box in the narrow space left at the edges of the room. I just had to laugh. What were we all looking at? We had no idea. Everyone looking suitably po-faced and terribly, consciously arty; all the other one-day art experts, like me.

I don’t think the attendant was happy with my laugh. But I promise, I didn’t make any disparaging remarks. Just laughed at the absurdity of the art and us paying to see a wall of blank particle board.

Anyway the attendant proclaimed rather testily, “There is someTHING else to look at. At the top of the stairs but only two at a time please.”

So obedient like, I climbed the stairs to look into the box. At a child’s bedroom. Mmm. Much preferred the empty box concept.

The greater joy I had was watching people leave the room filled with the box. All the looks of “let’s maintain a look that we are suitably impressed” quickly covering the “what was that”.

A wander around the outside, in between the rain showers, was needed. Love the steam punkish slash Victorian carriage. Actually it is cement mixer on a semi-trailer.

Mr S was really impressed with two real parked cars, most probably of the owner of the private gallery. Some fancy electric car that goes faster than a race car and costs hundreds of thousands or something.  Clearly I wasn’t impressed. So unimpressed I didn’t take a photo. Yes, they looked like cars. By what about their car spots?

And the loveliest sight? Mother duck and her very young and fluffy ducklings. Love how she keeps watch! And who can compete with baby animals?

Modern art. Where do you stand? Engaging, though-provoking, challenging, emotive, humorous, silly, pointless, deranged, depraved? Or some other adjective.


While there is plenty of raw wilderness in Tassie, domesticated nature is pretty amazing too. The parks don’t quite match those in NZ but they exceed those of Sydney. 

Take Launceston’s City Park. Sweet smelling grass and beds of flowers. 

 And some of the flowers in close up.


Inside the green house.     

 Walking down the stairs to the entrance of Princes Park in Launceston is a life-size statue of some founding father. Standing next to him, you realise how short they were a century and a bit ago; even with the hat I was taller. 

In the middle of Princes Park, a fountain.


The historic site of Highfield, managed by  Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife, has some lovely flower beds despite being perched on the wind-swept cliffs on the edge of the north-west in Stanley and baring the full force of the roaring forties. In the first shot, taken from the verandah, you can see the sea in the distance, way below the cliffs. 


Love the old-fashioned stocks!

  Private gardens are very pretty too. Flowers in Strahan include the perennial favourite, the hydrangea. Again, I haven’t seen many specimens to rival those gigantic flowers in NZ, but the shrubs do quite nicely. 

And this unusual colour and pattern caught my eye. 



Green is not a colour I normally associate with summer. Being a Sydneysider, all our plants and lawns fade. And walking in the bush is not a fun activity in heat and humidity. 

But green is Dar’s colour of summer. 
And Tassie obliges. 

Given the amount of wilderness in Tassie, and the rain they usually get, they do green very well. Even on their maps. 

Look at all the national parks.


The biggest monster of a magnolia tree I have ever seen. Strahan.


Tree ferns, Hogarth Falls, Strahan


Pond, City Park, Launceston


Pencil Pine Falls, Cradle Mountain National Park.


Lichen growing on trees, Cradle Mountain.


City Park, Launceston


Princes Park, Launceston.



Moss on waterfall in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park


Green as far as the eye can see, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.


Close up of the impenitrable bush at Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.


Getting even closer.



I think blue is the colour of summer holidays. Or in Mr S’s new favourite word, azure. 

We hope for blue skies. We seek the blue water of the beach. We admire blue pools. 

Tassie may be cooler which is what attracted me:


Nonetheless there is plenty of blue. None of these photos were taken with filters or had he colour adjusted. 


Afternoon in Strahan.


Midday looking across Dove Lake to Cradle Mountain.


Another lake in Cradle Mountain.


Lookout over old open cut mine in Queenstown.


Boat Harbour Beach – crystal clear waters.


Gordon River – up close the water is dark with tannin but looks blue here!


Blue backpack walking out across marshland in Cradle Mountain National Park.

What’s your colour of summer? 

Alternatively, pick another colour and I will see if Tassie comes to the party and let’s me make a montage for you.