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Journeys : RACT MNJ June July 2010
I arrived here from Wester n Australia (via Holland and New Zealand) 20 years ago (this almost qualifies me as a local) -- and it never ceases to amaze me just how much there is to discover in Tasmania. Now 38, I've done my fair share of travelling, even as a child, between New Zealand, Europe, USA and Australia. But this island captivates me -- the friendly locals, the r ugged and complex shapes of the landscape with all its moods and the knowledge that we're tr uly at the end of the world. I was first drawn to the mountains, hiking through various parts of the Cradle Mountain National Park with my wife Naomi. One New Year's Eve we started walking around 9pm in the pitch-black and spent the night at Kitchen Hut. Other times I've done the daw n run to watch the sunrise from the summit. Now, we make annual trips with our girls to visit the wombats and watch the fagus change colour. Although the national park has changed, with many more tourists, tolls and a sanitised track (once, you could sink waist-deep in mud along the buttongrass plains) it still remains a special place to us. When I can, I escape to Tassie's Southwest wilder ness. The wild isolation is unique. I do love travelling with friends, but pitting your wits against nature at its best and flinging yourself alone among the elements is exhilarating. On a seven-day walk from Far mhouse Creek over Federation Peak and the Easter n Arthurs, I didn't see another soul. Where else in the world ...? Since arriving on the island I've engaged in many outdoor pursuits. Last year I took up scuba diving -- and that's a whole new world to discover. Swimming with weedy sea dragons on the Tasman Peninsula or dolphins in Bicheno is just the beginning of another chapter. I loved this island so much I married my ow n little slice of it! Naomi's Tasmanian heritage goes back to the first settlers. And it was during a trip up a snow- covered Mt Ossa, with a storm coming dow n on us, that she accepted my proposal to marry. Naomi has let me discover the smaller places too, like Corkreys Road, where her family used to go to camp, fish and fire- up the barbecue. Her favourite spot is still Friendly Beaches and Coles Bay, with all its beauty and diversity. Our slice of the island Boris Petrack There's a light breeze in the grass and the rumble of waves along endless and deserted kilometres of pure white sand. The sun sets behind us and the colours on distant mountains change from gold to pink, then various shades of purple. Naomi and I soak it in and replenish our souls with a good home brew. Down on the orange lichen-covered rocks, the girls spot a pod of dolphins as they search for crabs and sand-hoppers. This island is an untouched treasure. Above: Sunset on the Hazards from Friendly Beaches Left: Sophie, Naomi, Boris and Lucy June / July 2010 40
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Aug Sep 2010