Friday, November 10, 2006

Tazzy Day 2

This morning we woke up to some rain. So we went back to sleep.

Then we made it to breakfast and off to some hiking! Our overindulgent dinner last night did not agree with me, so I was feeling a bit ick. I decided to take the (supposedly) low/easy route to Wineglass Bay while Richard and Dee took the high route to the top of Mt. Amos and the lookout there.

The hikes, though certainly not flat, were outstanding and the views were awesome. The weather was perfect for hiking: overcast with a cool breeze. Made for some unfortunately dreary photos though. Bummer. As I relaxed on the beach and waited for Richard and Dee to join me, (they were supposed to take a side trip from their trail and meet me at the bay) Richard called me. Unfortunately all I got was a couple of "Are you there"s, so deciding that this probably meant they were not going to join me, I headed back uphill to the lookout. (I was right. It was a good thing I did that since they would have had a couple extra hours of hiking if I hadn't met them at the trail head.)

Next we piled back into the car and headed south, this time taking the coastal roads. (But first- check out this wallaby and joey we saw in the parking lot! She just stood posing for photos for ages!)

We weaved through towns along Great Oyster Bay and stopped off for some very necessary wine tasting (at a vineyard so small I think they must be hiding the rest of the grapes!) and a side trip to Kate's Berry Farm where we had "morning tea".
It wasn't quite still the morning, and we didn't have tea, but I got one ginormous ice cream cone (I asked for a medium! Think of what the large looks like!) and Richard got scones, a milkshake and coffee. Only Dee had restraint, but her small ice cream still towered. Definitely a highlight of the day. What can I say, I'm easily impressed some times!

We continued south and hung a left a Sorell to head down to the Forestier and Tasman peninsulas. The highlight of Forestier Peninsula was Norfolk Bay, which was a bit of a mud flat and somehow had developed some amazing large-scale ripple marks. We crossed onto the Tasman Peninsula through Eagle Hawk Neck, an area only 100 meters across (more on that tomorrow!).

As we winded our way south (ultimately to Port Arthur) we saw some pretty amazing geological features. Once again, with two out of three of us being geo-minded, we stopped at them all. (To be fair, Dee really was interested in seeing this stuff. She just wouldn't admit to liking anything so geeky if you asked her.)

First geology highlight, the tessellated pavement. Siltstone and mudstone deposited in this area underwent a period of fracturing during tectonic activity in the region. As these layers are being exposed to the elements (namely the ocean) the cracks are filled with salt and start making this erosional brickwork. It's pretty cool! You end up with this series of similarly shaped stones that all look like loaves of bread. Needless to say, we saw quite a few areas that were landscaped with some similarly shaped stones that looked like loaves of bread.

Next sight, the Tasman arch. The arch used to be a cave, but sea erosion has caused the collapse of the cave ceiling. Lucky us! Nearby the Devil's Kitchen was a similarly formed area, but the whole thing collapsed. Not so good for the photo op there though.

Next up, the Blowhole and Fossil Bay. The Blowhole is a cave with an opening where waves shoot out the other end. (Are you starting to see the pattern?) Fossil Bay was just a little protected cove, but it had tons of rounded cobbles chock full of fossils. Nothing too glamorous, but fossils all the same. This is also where we saw another echidna. The little guy was feeding in the bushes and wouldn't stand still long enough for a good photo. Dang wildlife!

Soon we made it all the way south (as far south as we were going anyway!) to Port Arthur. We checked into our room at the Port Arthur Villas (very nice!) and found dinner at the next hotel up the road. Dinner wasn't anything special, but the waitstaff was extraordinary. Well, maybe horrible is a better word. It was definitely different from what we were used to in our big-city restaurants anyway. For being such a tourist destination, they haven't quite grasped that tourists are the reason they are around. I got chastised for cursing, (I said "gosh". Really. Cursing?!) and Richard got dressed down for not realizing that the bar closes early on Sundays. Wow. If this is the Tazzy version of Australian sarcasm, they need to work on it!

Vocab of the Day
Howya'goin'?: Greeting. Said most properly when you can move your jaw, but not your lips. Oh, and you have to say it fast and allrunningtogether. Proper response is "Yeah, good thanks, you?" Where they got the whole Swedish "yeah" before they answer is still a puzzle to me.

While we were hiking, I got a lot of g'days, howya'goin's, and hellos. I could easily figure out who the Australians were!

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