My first day in Tasmania was a bit disappointing. It is a lot bigger than I expected. There is no way to see it all in a weekend. Then again, there is no way to see Australia in 3 months worth of weekends (I have to work during the week).
I started by going to Narawntapu National Park. One of the brochures called it the Serengeti of Tasmania. Whoever came up with that has obviously never been to the Serengeti. The Serengeti is a huge place with miles and miles of roads. The animals are so use to the vehicles that they pay very little attention to them. Narawntapu National Park is a small place with a couple miles of roads. The animals close to the visitor’s center are use to people and you can get fairly close to them. The animals along the trails and roads – not so much. As soon as they see you or the car they tend to scamper off into the bush.
Narawntapu National Park is full of pademelons. (A pademelon looks like a small wallaby.) They seemed to be everywhere. I also saw wallabies and kangaroos but I never got close enough to get a picture of either one. According to what I found on the internet Narawntapu National Park is suppose to be the best place to see wombats. I am crazy about wombats. I think they are adorable. I did see two late in the day. One immediately ran off. I got a few pictures of the other but nothing very good. I kept trying to get a good shot and he kept trying to hide behind some scrub. After a couple minutes he too disappeared into the thick brush.
Day 2 was better, maybe because my expectations were not quite so high, maybe because I picked up some more brochures and spent some time planning. It is not like I did not plan for day 1, I spent time on the internet looking at thing to do. Most people like to do city things; I like to do nature things. Since most people do city things it is easy to find information about shopping, art galleries, etc. It is a little harder to find information on good nature walks and the best places to see wild animals. When I was at Narawntapu National Park I picked up more brochures on nature type things to do.
My plan for the day was to go to Mole Creek caves and Cradle Mountain. If there was time left after that I would go to see some waterfalls. I am not good at sticking to plans. One of the falls I was considering was Liffey Falls. On my way to Mole Creek I saw a sign to Liffey Falls and decided to go there first.
I am always curious how people originally find places like Liffey Falls. To get there I drove down about 20 km of dirt road. The roads over here take some getting use to. To begin with they are narrower than the roads in the US. A Hummer would not fit in the lane over here. Once you get off the main drag the roads do not have shoulders, which makes them feel even narrower. To me it feels like the two lane highway I am on is only 1.5 lanes wide. When you meet an on coming car you squeeze way over until your tire is almost off the road. The dirt roads are even worse. Two cars do not fit without hitting the brush on the side of the road. People tend to drive in the middle (including me) until they meet an oncoming car. On twisty, turny, back roads this is a bit unnerving. You can’t see around the next bend. You hope you will have enough time to avoid a head on collision if you happen to meet anyone. Some of their paved mountain roads are the same way; you just have a bit more traction than on gravel.
Anyway, back to Liffey Falls. It was 20 km down a dirt road. Then there is another 25 minute walk through what looks like a rain forest. It is a lovely walk and a gorgeous waterfall, but how did anyone ever find it. The trail to the falls is well maintained. If you could see off the trail you would see that the forest floor looks impassible. It is not like the forest floors I am use to. The ground is littered with fallen trees, branches, and bushes. You would be hard pressed to chop your way though with a machete. Maybe there was some sort of game trail to follow but I don’t see any game trails leading off the path as I walk along.
Once I returned to the car I started heading for Mole Creek again. I find a different way out and only have a couple km’s of dirt road before hitting pavement. Once more I get side tracked, this time by Trowunna Wildlife Park. It is a small park but was well worthwhile. If you go be sure to take the tour. On the tour they let you pet a Koala Bear, cuddle with a wombat, pet a Tasmanian Devil, and photograph a Tasmanian Devil feed. I am thoroughly in love with wombats. The one we get to hold is about 7 months old. I wish I was going to be here longer. I could volunteer to be a surrogate wombat mom. Wombats need constant attention their first few months. There surrogate mom's take them everywhere. I want a wombat!
I finally made it to Mole Creek Caves. I took a tour of Marakoopa cave. The highlight was seeing glow worms. I have never seen them before. When they turn off the lights in the cave the ceiling looks like it is full of greenish fiber optic lights. It is very cool.
On the way back I photograph an Echidna along side the highway.
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