Tasmania

Visuals: Why the best season of all is Fall by Those Fancy Gems

Fall is the season of all things mellow. The sun gets a little paler, the air turns a little cooler while not getting too cold.

Fall is the season where the whether gets a little erratic. Some mornings get mist up so badly it is a hazard to drive. Sometimes it hails and the sun shines at the same time and then a rainbow appears.

Fall is the season where the leaves turn into a myriad of colours, from green to a citrusy orange colour, to a bright scarlet - it's like the trees are having a party and are decorating the streets. The colours change ever so gradually, you'll hardly notice it, until the end of fall when the trees turn bare. Then you know, winter's here. The cold's here.

Fall is the season that reminds me of how all good things come to an end, and that we have to embrace the now, learn to enjoy the now before it's gone. 

Fall is the season, the only season, you can run through heaps of leaves and kick it, just for fun. 

Fall is the season that makes me want to stop and take a look at my surroundings a little longer.

Fall is definitely the best season of all. 

Strahan | Of Untouched Wilderness by Those Fancy Gems

Some where this time last year, I took a trip down to Tasmania's west coast. The 4 hour drive from Launceston to Strahan was indeed a gruelling one with a lot of bumps and uneven road. I wasn't even the one driving, but it did seem like a drive which required some perseverance and patience. We saw the landscape change from short buildings into fields, from mountainous regions to heaps of bushes and trees, and eventually bodies of water, as we approached our holiday cabin near the Strahan port. 

I know it is very tempting to read Strahan as 'Stra-han', but really, it is pronounced as 'Strawn'.

Strahan is a small town on the west coast of Tasmania with a population of only 600 odd people. It is home to the longest running Australian production, The Ship That Never Was, which had been played over 5000 times. The play is a reenactment of a great escape from Sarah Island and it's happenings but in a more light hearted way. I give this play two thumbs up as it was fun and engaging and all the props were made by them! (just wow) They were very thoughtful to have also provided blankets, as the play starts in the evening and the weather gets cold pretty quickly. It is suited for all ages.

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Strahan is the base of where cruises go out to the lower Gordon river and nearby Island, Sarah Island - the penal settlement in Australia notorious for its harshness. My friends and I went for the Gordon river cruise which would bring us across Macquarie Harbour to Hell's gate, passing salmon farms, a heritage landing to see some extensive variety of rainforest species, Sarah Island, and one round around the lower Gordon river which had some magnificent views of lush greenery and exceptionally clear, still, water. 

Upon arriving on the island, we were greeted by a lady who turned out to be our guide. She gave us insights to the island, thoroughly challenged our imagination by describing to us how life was like there back then for convicts, settlers and soldiers. She sounded so passionate about her job and even mentioned that her father, like her, loved this island so much and have dedicated most of his life to finding out the history of this island. When he died, they scattered his ashes on the island which he loved most. It is amazing how people in this part of the world can still be working passionately for something they love, without much remuneration at all. 

It is actually quite common for Huon pine trees to topple over. Their roots are shallow and the rainforest soil is thin.

A walk through the island allowed us to see a species of tree native to Tasmania - the Huon Pine. They are very special because their seeds are water dispersed, and these seeds will grow new Huon Pines which are clones of itself. And even when they have grown so tall and fallen down, it still allows for other plants like fungi and ferns to flourish on its nice moist environment.

The fallen Huon pine may be down but it’s certainly not out. New life is springing from the old in many different ways. This ancient Huon pine can drop seeds. It can also grow new shoots from underground rootstock - each a clone of the parent tree. Where its drooping branches touch the ground, it can reproduce by layering.

About a decade ago a whole stand of Huon Pine was discovered to be about 10000 years old, located in the north west of Tasmania, near Mount Read. This tree had reproduced, and cloned itself so many times that it now covers more than a hectare. It is now also known to be the oldest tree on earth. 

These trees are heavily logged for it's preservative qualities. They also have really slow growth, resulting in it diminishing in numbers. Though it is on the low risk scale under the conservation status, I still hope that they can remain untouched, encouraging its growth and expansion as much as possible.

 This cruise is a catamaran (dual hull, hence the stability) and is specifically built to suit the river, to reduce impact on the delicate wilderness environment of this  World Heritage Site . 

This cruise is a catamaran (dual hull, hence the stability) and is specifically built to suit the river, to reduce impact on the delicate wilderness environment of this World Heritage Site

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Towards the end of the gordon river cruise, we were brought through the river, experiencing the pristine state of this very untouched, cold, and serene beauty of the west coast of Tasmania. I was blown away by how still the water was, allowing the reflections to be exactly like what was being reflected. It felt unreal sailing through this thick mane of trees, having the wind on my skin, taking all this stillness in. Soaking up every bit of this serenity.

This place is delightful beyond words. 

The Ship That Never Was | Strahan Visitor Centre, Esplanade, Strahan TAS 7468, Australia (Strahan Amphitheatre, next to the West Coast Information Centre) | Plays daily in Sep - May at 1830 | Duration: 1 hour 15 mins | Adults AU$20, Students AU$10

Gordon River Cruise | 24 Esplanade, Strahan TAS 7468 | Daily, departs at 0830 from Strahan | Duration: 5.5 hours | Adult AU$105 (seat options available), inclusive of a buffet lunch on board 

Chasing sunsets: Tasmania by Those Fancy Gems

Today my mum set off to Japan with her sisters and mother, my 91 year old grandmother. How cra’aazy is that?! Other than harping on the fact that I am unable to follow suit in their adventures, when my mum left it made me feel a little blue - Somehow it reminded me of how I felt when I left to study. That feeling of separation is bitter-sweet. And ever since, sunsets always made me feel like the next day is nearing and that I would be home soon. 

I have a stash of photographs chasing sunsets in Tasmania where I lived for 3 years. Here’s to reminiscing the beautiful sunsets from then:

The colours of sunsets in tassie varies but are generally hues of pink and purple. It may not be the best sunset in the world but it always meant something to me. I just enjoy looking up so much and taking in the moment, especially after a long day in uni or upon exiting the gym after a good workout session - absolutely rewarding and uplifting to one’s spirit. 

Sometimes if I do manage to wake up early enough, I get to see the sunrise. Sunrises are more orangey, sometimes peaking through some massive and crazy looking cloud formations, which is amazing as it wakes you up and encourages and motivates you to start the day right. 

To me, tassie has the best sunrises and sunsets. (Some people say the best sunset is in Zadar?) Perhaps it was because of the people I saw it with. The place, time and certain circumstance makes a difference when appreciating a moment in time.

When was the last time you slowed down your pace, looked up and enjoyed the display mother nature has for you?