Monday, April 15, 2013

Tasmania!

At the end of the world is Tasmania, and it shows! It's sweepingly vast, wild and desolate. Beautiful. You can drive across it east to west in 5 hours, north to south in 3. With ten days on the island, there was no shortage of scenic views, trail runs, and friendly locals who call the rest of us "mainlanders".
 
Queenstown, a mining village just beyond the Cradle Mountain forest

Strahan, on the west coast


Ocean Beach, west coast
Wallaby on the trail near
Tasmania was once called Van Diemen's land. And it was the last place a convict wanted to go. Once a notorious penal colony, Port Arthur is now a major heritage site and tourist destination. It's a place that looks so idyllic, but drawn in you discover it's a place of horror... a bit like Ted Bundy's face.

We spent a couple days wandering Port Arthur, learning about various prisoners, hearing stories of escape, of punishment, of how they reformed rogues with "revolutionary" penal practices such as the separate prison, where you were isolated and couldn't speak, see or communicate with anyone, but you were forced to attend church. Apparently, if you reflected upon your sins in silence long enough you would come to see the light. Keep in mind many of the convicts were here chained at the ankles and doing hard labor for having, I kid you not, stolen silverware.

I had only minimal luck trying to work the panoramic feature on my phone.  You have to hold it still, you see. And I've never been any good at holding still.



2 comments:

Auntie M said...

You've been to more than one end-of-the-world destination. How does Tasmania compare to Patagonia?

Jesse Archer said...

Good question! Besides the flora and fauna it actually reminded me a lot of Patagonia - weather, lakes with waves, and savage vast landscapes...