Fourth in the continuing series of our travels through Tasmania (Tassie) (Previously – Hobart & Mt Wellington, Point Puer and Tasman Peninsula) had us 7 layers thick with clothes and a trip booked for a visit along the coastline of the Tasman National Park. What a ride thanks to Tasman Island Cruises.
It had been raining on and off for a couple of days and we were worried the weather wouldn’t allow us to go on this boat ride. Coming from the north of Australia where the weather was extremely warm, almost unseasonally so, we prepared for the trip by layering up. I had 7 layers on and then hoped it wasn’t going to warm up as I would be too hot… Not so, I had just the right amount on. It was a pleasant day out on the water but quite brisk temperature wise. Still I couldn’t put the hood up on my borrowed jumpsuit to keep my head warm, I had to have my hair blowing in the icy breeze so I could “feel” what I was seeing.
Magnificent rock formations with soaring 300 metre formations, wildlife, caves, a two metre swell, a ocean faring racing yacht and much more were there just for our eyes. It was a three hour trip but it felt like minutes as we were so enthralled with our surrounds.
Sea stacks are formed by wind and water. They are formed when part of a headland is eroded by hydraulic action, which is the force of the sea or water crashing against the rock. The force of the water weakens cracks in the headland, causing them to later collapse, forming free-standing stacks and even a small island. Without the constant presence of water, stacks also form when a natural arch collapses under gravity, due to sub-aerial processes like wind erosion. Stacks can provide important nesting locations for seabirds, and many are popular for rock climbing (credit to wikipaedia for the above explanation)!
This area is renowned for rock climbing, especially The Totem Pole pictured left, and great hiking trails. A definitely must do is the cruise on the jet boat. For those wanting a different kind of thrill, the new three capes walk will open in December and has been highly anticipated. It is highly recommended if you love hiking to also do the cruise which gives you a completely different view of the same area. The three capes walk information is here.
Last but not least was Tasman Island. We were so lucky to get this far as the previous two days they hadnt been able to do it. We might not have gotten into any of the sea caves but a trip around the highest island in Australia was definitely worth it. Such a wild rocky island. It was primarily covered in vegetation but in 1906 a lighthouse was built and at that time the lighthouse keepers had livestock, horses and maintained grasses for their livestock. This lighthouse is one of two of the most isolated ones in Australia. The lighthouse was prefabricated in England and shipped out and hauled up piece by piece up 250 metre sheer cliffs to be then put together. The mind boggles when looking at the cliff face. Looking at the means of transport of groceries etc it looks like the keepers and their families had it pretty tough.
Kathleen Stanley tells in her book, Guiding Lights, of the perilous ride onto the island via a the basket suspended from the flying fox:
The good order of the basket in which passengers were carried ashore was the responsibility of the keepers who were well aware of the need for exemplary work in this regard. On one occasion only has it been reported that the door failed to close – perhaps because of some slight misalignment or perhaps because the operator was over-anxious to begin the transfer. Mrs E Jacobs, the last passenger to embark on one hazardous trip, made the journey half in and half out of the contraption, grimly held by one of the keepers inside. Often supply vessels would have to make repeated attempts to land supplies due to inclement weather.
The other point of access to the island was the Zigzag, named for the access path down the cliffs. It was used for by small boats for landing the mail, urgent supplies and medical assistance. Pigeons were used for the first 20 years for emergency messages.
Fencing surrounded the lighthouse and keepers’ complex to protect stock and small children from it’s dangerous sheer cliffs. Stock used to disappear down the various holes and caves that dotted the island, never to be seen again.
On our way back we were in for a treat. A lone yacht was out sailing, practicing for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which starts Boxing Day.
The man sans his ute, this intrepid traveller and the jet boat for our day out.