A Travellerspoint blog

This is the life

Livin it up Ballina style

sunny 30 °C

Been a really fun last while here...
flew from Tasmania the day after my last entry. had a nice leisurely morning packing my gear. got a ride two towns over with the lady who ran the eco-hostel. made a couple calls on a payphone to peoples back home (managed to lose my watch - to add to the list of lost items... now also including 1250mb of SD media, which I lost weeks ago, my soap and towel stuff sack - realistically, not that bad... with the exception of my two memory cards) annnnyhow..
got a ride to the airport right off... left early, just in case, and got there with 5 or 6 hours to spare... good time to hang out, get some sun... cook up the rest of my food before leaving a gas cylinder with a note in the parking lot (can't bring them on the plane) which, in all likely hood probably attracted the bomb squad... (you laugh now..)
Chrysi picked me up from the airport - spent the night ripping around the city... got one of those famous (franks?) pies and hung out on the waterfront.... later ending up under the harbour bridge rambling the night way while gazng apon the sydney operahouse hown below.... very surreal for me.. having just spent the last fortnight in the boonies and then suddenly dropped into the biggest city in the country.
Missed all possible accomidations. ended up sleeping in the car for a couple hour down by the water and were up with the sun for a beautiful morning.... which later turned out to be the longest day ever...went on and on... had highlights tohough.. nice art gallery run through with Chrysi (she's an art theory girl) I don't even remmber what else happended that day... lazing in the park... food was eten... people met... beers consumed. got a hostel in the city that night and eplored around downtown Sydney at night with a Kiwi (new zealander) guy. what a place! layers of urban jumgle... multi layered subway system... freeways, peds ways, a monorail... lights, boads and bridges. bloody beautiful.... as crazy and hot as sydney can be during the day... it is a wondeful place at night...
Spent the next day scoping out the sights.. being a tourist... sydney opera house, botanical gardens, all of that... we all spent the night at Lauras place and hit the road in the morning.... 10 hour drive to Ballina. relatively eventless drive (except for the giant bananna) and yeah. we're here...
Renting a flat here for a week with Chrysi and Laura. beautiful beach view.... a 1 minute walk down to the beach itself... Chrysi's a really great cook and is spoiling me with wonderful food... and it's tropcal enough to grow bannanas here. what more can you ask for, really?
unfortunately my time is up here... I'll have to write again with more detail in a few days. and photos!
until then...

Posted by fenderson 19:01 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Language of the trees

There are no such thing as strangers - only friends you have not yet met

sunny 22 °C

Bloody amazing last copuple days...
have to do this quick - as I am in a little shop in eagle hawk neck. I've been shopping here at least a couple times a day to fuel my bicycling habit and have befriended the owners... so they are letting me burn a CD and write after the place has closed... it
s dark, so excuse the typos.
Yesterday I cycled 20km to port aurthur and back, 40km total. Got picked up by a guy from the hostel down in port aurthur... ripped around and saw some more sights around there, then cycled back from the port....
Cycled another 16km today... then hiked 10 km, including to the summit of the Tasman Coastal trail, 2478 feet up. The views from some of the lookouts on the side trails were better than anything I have ever seen with my own eyes... bloody amazing. I tried to take photos... but better than taking photos would be to take you - and drag you up there with me.... you really do have to see it for yourself.
I've definetly got an runners high or something going on. I feel like a jock... all full of energy and excitable!
Something really intense happend at the summit too! as you get up there, the ecosystem changes completely... the big trees become small spiny black trees and stange flowers... the mosses change.... the rocks change.... then it opens right up and WOW... thats all I can say....
but yeah. the intese thing is I SAW ANOTHER TIGER SNAKE TODAY!!! but this one wasn't on the higghway being run over by a finlander... this one was just behind me on the path... I was wakling down just after the summit... blissed out from the views... then heard a slithering sound... (all of those years catching snakes as a kid is worth something...) the sound was from behind me... I turned around and no more than 3 feet behind me there is this great big tiger snake! he wasn't quuite as huge as the one on the road... but was still a little over a meter long.... and mind you, a tiger snake bite will kill you within hours....(on this track, I didn't see anyone, alllll day, so there wouldn't be any help even if I yelled) so what do I do? follow the thing into the bushes! hahah... carefully of course. I did get a photo of him..., bvut just his tail. I stopped bacause A) he turned around and B) I swear I could hear another one near by. so yeah... I just got out ogf there... walked down the mountain and watched the ground. mannnn did that ever get me going though... my pulse spiked,.... aderenaline zinging through by veins... just thinking that I was unknowingly within striking distance of this deadly animal as I walked by....he would have watched me go by... looking right at my bare ankles (I was in flipflops, hiking - I know) then slithered out....
(one of the ladies here at the store just handed me the calender of the day page with a quote she figured suited me: "Each place along the way is somewhere you had to be to be there" and its got a dog checking out a map... todays page - I love tasmanian people... they're so nice)
hahah... I spent last night seeking out crayfish, crabs and fish down in the bay on some rocks... had lots of fun... amazing what kind of stuff scurries away when you turn on the lights.
going down to another cool place tonight... reccomended by a local lady for stange shit to ssee aty night in the water... should be cool. then I can eat the left over potato wedges the ladies here sold me for a dollar.... like 5 pound of them... just like SEV back home! hahah
been great here. I have really enjoyed my time on ther Tasman penninsula... Love wehat I've seen and have already planned out about 5 days or so of hikes to do next time I'm here.
I fly to Sydney tomarrow.
the bus system out of Eaglehawk neck is really poor. amimed at school kids. would get me to the airport by 9am... tooo bad I don't have to be there until 8pm...
So I'm gonna hitch it... see more country and meet more people that way anyway... just kind of hard to predict when I'm gonna get there.
everything'll work out.
a little drifting - then, next stop, Sydney, N.S.W.

Posted by fenderson 01:42 Archived in Australia Tagged hitchhiking Comments (2)

Right place at the right time

somebody up there likes me...

sunny 18 °C

What a crazy few days this has been.... a story of being in the right place at the right time...
I thnk my last entry left off where I woke up in some guys car.... then was waiting for something to do to find me... and it did.
After that entry I got my cheap sushi and sat out on a bench in the elizibeth st. outdoor mall... seated myself near a really great street musician, playing guitar. just as I'm finishing eating, he's finishing playing and comesn up to me, asks: "how would you like to go out on a boat today? I need a hand with a couple of things, and you get a free boat ride out of it" - I couldn't disagree with that... so we hopped in the van and headed down to the water. he had a 47 foot sailboat and needed me for a deckhand... cause you can't bring a boat that size in all on your lonesome... so I got a crashcourse. him yelling orders, near misses... high waves... and an engine that doesn't giver any better than high idle.. all in all a great experiance... we got stuck out in the middle of the bay.. winds were too strong for the little motor and the sails were still down.... so we had to get into a little shipping port near some navy vessels and wait it out before making another shot for battery point... we made it alright... good times
Went back to the hostel and checked in for a proper room and spend the rest of the evenning and the next day meeting people. had a wonderful time and went out the next night out into the (suprisingly) booming Hobart night life... had a blast...
took off in the morning... took a city bus to the edge of town and stuck out my thumb. within 20 minutes I got picked up by a couple. they asked me if I was going to the show... I didn't even know it, but Xavier Rudd was playing at a small festival near in a little village, Luishem (spelling is wrong) not even an hour out of Hobart. They took me there....set up my tent int he free campgrounds. I met a bunch of really cool people who taught me a bunch of things about archetecture, solar heating and photography....really ggot my creative gears turning... weather turned to shit - Tasmanians don't xcare. they stick it through, knoweing that the weather can completely change one minute to the other... and it cleared up just as the stars were coming out for Xavier rudd... and you could never imagine my luck. there were standing seats, right on the side of the stage for media people, but they let us stand there, right on the side of the stage, 20 feet from Xavier Rudd - and it was totally free. We had better seats than the people who payed $50 to be there, I shit you not. and when I found that spot, there were a couple guys from my hostel there... so we all hung out. was great. and I got some really great phot's/video for you Xavier Rudd fans back home.
Spend the night in the campgrounds - with all of the Tassie locals, partiing it up. I think I was the only forgeiner out of the 50 -100 people I met that night... I was "Mr. Canada" and they got me nice and drunk, feeding me candaianj club and local beers, inventing imaginary animals for me to ask other people about... I learned their tricks pretty quick. they were impressed.... I can't even explain how nice and friendly these pople here are. never experianced anything quite like it.
Set off in the morning to continue on to the Tasman penninsula, where I presently am. spent the afternoon touring around witha guy from near here - seeing all of the geological sights and sheer cliff coastlines here - (some of the most magnificent I've seen)
Staying at an eco-hostel. camped outside with a sheep and some ducks in the yard. all of the water onsite is natural rain water, the toilets composting toilets. outdoor kitchen. bloody great. $7/night and $5 to rent the bike I rode down to eaglehawk neck, where I sit typing. I plan to cycle down to Port. Aurthur today... 20km or so...
but I've got to go. Internet is $12.00/h here. bloody expensive.
talk soon.
I'm off to sydney in a couple days to meet up with Chryysi. probably write then.
Take care!

Posted by fenderson 16:16 Archived in Australia Tagged hitchhiking Comments (2)

Tasman Adventures

this place just keeps on giving

overcast 19 °C

crazy adventures since my last entry...
I walked for about 12 hours from James's place before I got a ride... camped one night about 10km down the road... at a tree farm... growing blue gum trees
(a little aside about the logging/tree farming practices here - the local forests are cut and reduced into woodchips, sold to the japanese for pulp. whatever is left or not used is firebombed by helicopters, burn to the ground. then the ground is laid with 1080 poison to kill all incects, weeds all forms of life. North ameriancan pine trees or blue gums, are planted in rows and fences are put up. The ecosystem is effectively ^&$@'ed right up. The water is poisoned.... dream within an aside - whilist sleeping at the tree farm I had a dream (this is before I knew anything about the practice, just thought it was weird that there were no bugs there, (at all)... in the dream, there were Koalas in the trees. I was admiring them... beautiful creatures.. some rough and tough blokes came in with chainsaws and shot the Koalas right out of the trees with pistols. I ran to get myself out of the way. I was spotted and they chased me down and shot me down in the same fashion as the koalas....)
resume story.
Stayed the night on a tree farm. During the night there were very sick sounding amimals in the bushes all around me... I tried to seek them out before I went to sleep... but they would run off as I got close. During the night one woke me up... probably a wallabie, as it was hopping really quickly toward my tent! Alarm bells went off in my head... I didn't want anything trampling my tent.. so I shouted at it and it stumbled, turned around and hopped off away..
so yeah... after waking from that dream, and another really disturbing dream before it - I packed my things quickly and hit the road. It really didn't feel right staying there. My dreams made that very apparent...
spent the next 8 hours walking on a road with almost no cars... maybe 2-4 cars/hour. I was determined to walk all the way to the junction if I had to.. which was looking like the case. "only 20 more kilometers!"....
Finally got picked up by a guy from Finland. He didn't understand english very well... even had trouble understanding me as I was advising him that perhaps he should be driving on the left side of the road, insead of the right after he picked me up! (he had just rented the vehical and was not yet used to driving on the left. (Micheal&Raphella and I made jokes about this... didn't think it would hapen) think it was his first time driving a standard aswell - he claimed that there was "kangaroo petrol" in the tank) Kouta was very clumsy, fumbly, tall, opera singer. Actually sang opera for a career... and drove like a bloody mad man. got us places quick though.
Saw my first Tiger snake! about a meter and half long, as big around as a tennis ball. deadly poisonus. unfortunately, Kouta ran over it. he didn't see it - even when I pointed and told him to slow down, he swerved and ran right over it... that still sits a little heavy with me. such a large creature... killed by someoones lack of awareness... anyhow.
We drove half way across tasmania, checking out hiking trails along the way, in search of the tallest eucalypts in the southern hemisphere. Armed with 1:25000 scale maps and a GPS unit, we found them!
Spend the frst night in Maydena. Kouta had a hotel reservation. single room. didn't allow hitchhikers to sleep on the floor (I think he was just too honest) so I tramped out and found myself some nice, old, out of use railroad tracks and set up my tent beside them. cooked up some soup on the tracks and retreated into my tent as the rain started to fall. It bloody well poured all night long. I stayed nice and dry in my portable apartment... the only time you get wet is when you have to pack up your gear while it's still raining in the morning.. fun.
the next day was bloody amazing. We spent most of the day at a little place called Andromeda reserve, in "the valley of giants", Styx valley, to find the tallest Swamp gums, also the tallest trees left standing in the southern hemisphere 98metres, I belive. amazing trek through the rainforest... pouring rain - us suited up in raingear.... the forest is so wet here there are leeches all over.. (I actually have a leech hickey on my neck that bled quite profusely for about an hour) no trails.. we made out own.. climbing over fallen trees, clearing man ferns as we trudged through knee to waist deep forest floor... That was the rainforest fix I needed...
From the Styx valley we drove down through Hobart and out to a place called Lonnsale, 40km out on logging roads (the GPS unit came very much in handy in this area, as our maps were about 15 years old. alot has changed since then) Here we found a tree cemetary. absolutely heartbreaking. but it's the reality of the situation. Logging in tasmania is the biggest buisness in all of australia. destroying this beautiful island...
ANyhow... after trudging through the burned and poisoned landscape out to the very edge of the cut, we found the tallest blue gums left standing. 94 metres or so. They are now directly exposed to this barren land... some of them dead already, partly from the fires that raged in such close proximity...
Kouta was very disapointed that these trees were in such surroundings. I was not disapointed.... I was compelled, awkakended and slightly enraged to see that this was going on... It is done all over here.. I'm learning more and more about it as I go. sick. NO sense it being angry about it though... that won't help. It does very much inspire me to do somehing to increase awareness about these activities here and back home...
I'll put that one down for now..
Driving back from this site at night was really fun. I saw almost every marsupial possible... about 2 dozen Wallabies, a couple tasmania devils, a couple spotted tailed quolls (endangered), couple ringed tailed possums(endangered), few regular possums, some rabbits (introduced) and a bunch of other animals that were none of the above but I'm not sure exactly what they were.... very cool... but you had to drive really slow because there were animals on the road at any given time...
ok. got to make this quick. time is running out.
got into Hobart after the hostel I wanted to stay at was closed. There were some people outside... they were going to sneak me in, but then where do I sleep... This one guy, who was staying at the hostel, insisted that I sleep in his "campervan" because he wasn't using it... local Tasmanian, and I think he was kind of drunk... but I couldn't refuse an offer like that... we walk to it... It was acutally a stationwagon with a matress in the back, parked right on a main street in the CBD (central buisness district; downtown) he setme up. I figured... cool. free place in the city.. set myself up. got a good night's sleep. awoke to crazy traffic... people walking by and some guy in a suit informing me that I'm gonna have to wake up and move my car because it's parked in a loading zone! hahahha. I got my 8 hours... so I got up, packed up my stuff and went back to the hostel. found Shane and woke him up. let him know he was parked illegally and he stmbled down without shoes, even and moved it in a hurry. he hooked me up with a free place to sleep and I saved him a ticket in the morning. win/win.
ok. time is up.
I have to figure out what I'm doing here today. I want out of the city already...
but first, I found a sushi joint with a "sushi happy hour", which begins now...
alright. things are going great here.
write again soon... and put up some pictures when I have time.
I updated the pictures again from James'slace - some of you may not have seen - go back to the bottom of the last entery for the link, if you didn't see them.
times up!

Posted by fenderson 15:12 Archived in Australia Tagged hitchhiking Comments (7)

I have seen the face of God - the Aussies call it "Tasmania"

I'm not kidding. this is the most amazing place I have ever been to....

all seasons in one day 20 °C

I barely know how to begin any of these enteries when I start them - I just want to rant in every direction at once, especially about Tasmania!
Coming in on the plane, I knew I was going to love it here - and it's alot farther than I thought it was... an hour flight but there is alot of ocean that goes by in that hour...
Launceston is apparently the third oldest City in Australia... nice place. old buildings... really slow. the shops were open, but you'd never guess... as the flow of traffic was absent... like Camrose on a slow day, years ago... but with the population of Red deer...
City, nice enough but I wanted to get out right away... so I bought some fuel for my stove (can't bring the stuff on the airplane) and got the hell out of town. just bussed it to the edge of the city and walked... catching rides is really easy here... never really waited more than about 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes it's immediately... first ride here was an Aboriginal fellow - really intelligent and well spoken guy... an activist fighting for his people's rights, next guy constructed wind power generators (interesting fact: Tasmania's only power gerneration is renewable power. Hydro and wind) and yeah. Lot's of great rides.
The country side here has the nice rolling hills of Alberta, but more accentuated... like foothills, mixed with the sublime beauty of Bowen island... It cannot be described, barely beheld by the eyes and overflows my heart. Vibrations of love and beauty swim over my body when I gaze out apon the land. A tear was welled up in my eye near the end of my first ride, at sunset. too beautiful. I don't have the capacity to absourb it all yet!
Made it to a place called Elizibeth Town where I climbed over a lizzard covered, giant eucalyptus tree that had fallen accross a nearby creek.. trecked through the blackberry brambles to a nice slope and set up camp. cooked me up a good mean on a nearby rock while listening to the variety of animals moving about in the bush (haven't seen any alive mamals here yet. Shitpiles of roadkill as there are no real scavenger animals here... just birds) Great sleep... got up, made meself some brekky and hit the road.
The air is unbelivably pure here. It gets really cool at night (glad I've got a bag rated down to 0c, you need one here) like camping in the mountains in Alberta... During the day the air is relatively cool but the sun packs some real heat. And the wether patterns are totally erratic and unpredictable - clouds sailing by super fast - raining while it's shining, windind that blows in circles... totally bizzare stuff.
Great day yesterday...
Spent the day with Grant and Mich, a wonderful couple who swerved across two lanes of traffic to pick me up. didn't even have my thumb out! They took me to Grant's home town, Stanley. Interesting Geological feature, they call it the "Nut", a mini Devil's tower... old volcano whose outside peeled away leaving a tower of harder rock, kind of thing. Got some Tamarack fish and chips and saw some crazy stroboscopic bioluminecient jellyfish creatures in the ocean... among lots of other fish - the water is so clear you can see the fish that you're about to catch, 3 meters below the surface... Puffer fish, skates everyhwere, all that good stuff. They showed me basically the whole north west coast of Tassie in a day. This place is great.. you can drive anywhere on the island in a day, no sweat.
Stayed at Grant and Mich's place last night... wonderful big old house. Couple other travellers, a german guy and a korean guy were waiting on the porch when we got home... had come back after several days in the buch on a crazy hike - We all cooked up some great food and hund out for the evening. I grabbed a ride with Grant in the morning. was on the road by 7am.
Today was a shitshow. I walked through the same town I walked through the day before, got picked up at the same place grant and mich picked me up after the same 4km walk... (they lived back the way I came from, but we had driven about 300km in other directions the day before) and yeah... ended up in Bernie... some young guy insisted that he droip me off at this place he knew of for a quick ride... I figured I'd give it a try. It was a secondary highway with no shoulders and big truck after bigg truck... bloody nightmare. I didn't even give it long... but it had a bad vibe... the contant stream of shit flowing out of the backside of this disgusting logging/mill town. I decided it was worth the Walk to the other side of town. I learned something today. Never underestimate the size of Bernie. I put on about 8 more Km getting to the proper highway. After I got there I discovered that there was a bus in the city that would have dropped me off right where I wanted to go... live and learn. good excersize, at any rate....
got a couple short rides and then got picked up by James, a wonderful kindred soul, who's place I'm staying at presently. It's actually his folks place, who are on vacation, so we have free roam of the place - and it's bloody beautiful. Wood floors and beautiful cabinets, 13 acres of beautiful land... nice dog and cat.... So yeah, we spent the afternoon having great talks and drinking boags (a tassie beer brewed in Launceston - it's excellent) exploring the yard and climbing around in the woods. Cooked up Pasta and steaks for dinner - Wonderful times here! Thankyou James, for everyhting!
Beautiful, welcoming energy. I love it here and have made friends to come back and visit already!
I'm absolutely bombed. it's late here and I've walked at least 12km today with my full pack and a handbag of food... so yeah. sleep is well earned.
Internet acess is hard to come by here (I'm on dialup) so I'm not sure when the next entery will be... try to make it soon to make some record of this beautiful dream I am living!
New Pictures: PHOTOS!

Posted by fenderson 05:42 Archived in Australia Tagged hitchhiking Comments (1)

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