The drive to Cradle mountain is actually a bit of an adventure in itself. The road is mostly uphill, with about 75% of it consisting of hairpin bends. The scenery seems to radically change every 20 minutes: we start out on a standard highway, which quickly turns into an almost Dutch landscape with green grass and cows (the mountains in the background give it away though). We continue to drive through woods and finally end up in a scenery almost out of this world where the green colours have made way for white scorched eucalyptus trees.
At the visitor centre we pay our fees and get a map of the best walks. First stop: Dove Lake.
We take the shuttle bus all the way to Dove Lake and take the circuit, which is a 6 km walk around the lake with beautiful scenery. We try to make a head start in order to leave the loud Chinese behind us, but some of them seem to be catching up every time we stop to take a picture or take lunch. The trail is thankfully long and bendy enough to still get a feeling of having the beautiful landscapes all to ourselves. We enjoy the view and exercise, before we get to the end and take the shuttle bus to our next stop in the park.
There we are greeted by our very first wombat in the wild! It looks like a small teddy bear, shuffling around the grass. At first it only lets me film its behind, but when we return after a 30 minute walk, the wombat has overcome its shyness and lets us photograph him / her in all its cuteness.
We take a last short walk, where we encounter some more wildlife: our first walibis!
After we return to Devonport we buy some crackers and noodles, that we eat in our room. Three months is a long time, so we try to be economical about our dinners.
The next day we head out east to the Tamar valley. This is Tasmania’s main wine region. Tasmania is actually Australia’s coolest wine region and produces some great white wines and Pinot noir. The Tasmanians our proud of their wines and have set out a whole wine trail with many many wineries along it where you can just pop in and have a taste of the great things they have to offer. Unfortunately there is no public transport, and the hills are a bit to steep to cycle, so mr. Scientist has to do the driving today.
Although there are many wineries to choose from, we came well prepared with our Lonely Planet Wine Trail guidebook. We visit four local and recommended wineries. Each of them with beautiful vineyards to walk around in and each of them very different. First stop is Tamar Ridge Winery.
The lady behind the bar is very welcoming and starts us off with a glass of sparkling wine. Very fresh and a strong taste of apples – something we would encounter at several more wineries in the future. The rest is nice enough, but mr. Scientist is not missing out on too much.
Next stop: Velo wines. A must go of course for us Dutchies! These wines are much more tasteful and it takes barely any persuasion by the attendant to buy a bottle to accompany dinner that night. A very nice, surprising and fruity Sauvignon Blanc.
We move on to Stoney Rise. A small winery where we are greeted by a young girl. She tells us she doesn’t know a lot about the wines, but that we are more than welcome to come in and have a tasting. She reminds me about myself when I was 15 and had my first job at Geutjes vinothéque and also still had a lot to learn a lot about wine. She tells us she is about to go to York, UK for her gap year. I suddenly feel old, not being that young girl any more but 15 years her senior.. The wines are pretty good, amongst them a very nice Grüner Veltliner. A wine I did not expect to find here in Australia!
Last stop is Iron Pot Bay. The owner herself serves us. She and her husband recently came back from the US (most recently Texas) where they lived for the last 20 years. They were looking for a job back home in Tasmania and the opportunity to buy this winery arose and they took it – without any previous experience in the wine business, except for loving to drink it. Shows you how your life can be full of surprises! Who knows what we will end up doing after we get back home..!