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Journeys : Aug Sep 2010
Symptomatic of 'the other' is my conviction that the road to Coles Bay should never have been sealed. There is now an air of elitism about my very favourite spot on Earth, Mures Beach. Coles Bay had been Tasmania's best-kept secret until they sealed the road. Only those who negotiated the potholes and the gravel knew the exhilaration when they rounded that certain bend in the road that revealed The Hazards after the long haul from Hobart or Launceston. The heart skipped a beat at the first sight of those red granite mountains against the perpetually blue, untainted sky, the colours of Ulur u, yet there is a quite Aegean aura to The Ha zards and if you have been to The Fisheries inside the national park you will know what I mean. Coles Bay was an egalitarian place. It was equidistant from the two cities. That made it bipartisan. Only here could you meet old friends from the other end of the island and not feel you were in enemy territory. Mures Beach r uns between what was Ray and Gill Johnston's Coles Bay Holiday Villas (now the Edge of the Bay resort) and the beginning of Coles Bay tow nship itself. It's a 45-minute walk. In later years I used to stay at the Johnstons', walk the walk every day to get the milk and the papers, have a coffee, take a look at the notice board outside the shop and cast an eye on a particular boat on a mooring out in the middle of the bay, always the same boat, a white Bermudan rig sloop but with the high bow and low transom of a Tamar riverboat. Avo c et was on the market then, 15 or 20 years ago, and, as far as I know, is still on the market today. I should buy it. I have looked at it long enough. My slice of Tasmania therefore begins at Coles Bay and ends, I suppose, at Pedra Branca and the Mewstone Rock, the last vestiges of land that you hope to avoid as you push into the Souther n Ocean and the serious numbers in the latitudes of the Roaring Forties. Between are the great capes of the east and south-east -- Cape Tour ville, Cape Hauy, Cape Pillar, Tasman Island, Cape Raoul and South East Cape. This is a part of the state that I have both sailed and walked. I find the drama of this coast, seen from the land or the sea, simply overpowering. It's always an emotional experience. To be abeam of Tasman on a stormy night, the lighthouse and the loom of the light obscured by a sea mist, restores one's humility. To be close inshore under Cape Raoul in the middle of a pitch-black night, to hear the waves crashing on the rocks, gives you little faith in your GPS that in sists you are five miles offshore. Cape Tour ville, east of Coles Bay, has a lighthouse. I sat on the edge of the cape, beneath the light, on the morning of 1 January 2000 and saw the sunrise of the new millennium (whether it was actually the start of the millennium was incidental). When I have been at sea, racing from Sydney, the character of the Tour ville light, a group of three white flashes every 10 seconds, is my first sign that I am almost home. At other times, I have driven up to the light at dusk from Coles Bay on a wild day, looked out to sea at the white horses and wondered why anyone would want to be out there. The tracks to Cape Hauy and Cape Raoul are among the best day-walks in Tasmania. They are neither easy nor difficult but immensely satisfying because of the lunchtime vista they offer, particularly of the Candlestick off Cape Hauy, and you can be home for dinner. Tasman Island is the jewel in the crow n, a huge slab of dolerite with its disabled haulageway climbing to the red brick keepers' cottages on the plateau at the top, next to the lighthouse. What stories this island has to tell: the children who My slice of the island Bruce Montgomery I lead a double life. On the one hand, I will sing the praises of Tasmania to strangers, urging them to come on down, discover a place that offers the chance to live life as it should be lived. On the other, I will argue that we not tell anyone about Tasmania. The less you tell to as few as possible, the smaller the risk that they may come here and spoil it, or buy it. I am not sure that that attitude amounts to nihilism, perhaps minimalism. Sleepy Bay from Cape Tourville Tourism Tasmania and Garry Moore August / September 2010 42
RACT MNJ June July 2010
Oct Nov 2010