December 2000

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December, 1  •   December, 9  •   December, 13
December, 14  •   December, 18  •   December, 22

December, 1     TOP

sorry , you had to wait a bit longer for new informations, but there was no chance to get online, especially when you are in the middle of nowhere.
anyway, the last week i spent in devonport was a bit sad, it was a week of a lot of farewells. the first to leave was mimi on tuesday, michael and carsten left on friday (6am) and antje on saturday. that's the only thing i don't like about staying in places for longer, everyone is leaving and you are still there, but then new people come.... and the good thing was we spent quite a while together so you start missing people, bah.

anyway on sunday rumiko, toku and i got our car, a holden astra manual, i like it, even i feel a bit like a criminal driving on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong seat.... but it's fun, i just always have to remember not to turn the windscreenwipers on instaed of the indicator and that the gearstick is on the wrong side, but it's good fun. so on sunday we went to penguin market, an arts and crafts market, not far from devonport. then we went touring around the old coastal road to ulverston, walked along the beach, had a picknick in the park, then i took the two to sheffield, they weren't there before, got the best homemade icecream there, really yummy, went to kimberley to see the warm springs (don't go there it's just nothing to see really) and then via latrobe back to devonport.

next morning our trip started, first another farewell, yasu won't be in devonport when we will come back.
first place to go to was launceston, i'm not sure why we actually went there, it's just a town, the only nice thing is the cataract gorge. the place we stayed was an horror (never stay in mallee grill), rumi and toku found cockroaches in their room and the bath looked it hasn't be cleaned for a couple of months. so we left early next morning, went to cataract gorge, which was worth going, we walked around there for about four hours, heaps of lizards, trees which smelled like honey and a fantastic few.
afterwards our odysse started. we wanted to go to st. helens (i don't know why), so i drove on one of the small streets, via lilydale, had a look at the waterfalls, went to a lavenderfarm (of course they don't bloom now, they start at the end of december, but dave told rumi and toku something different and wouldn't believe me). well, st. helens was to expensive and in the end i'm glad we moved on to bicheno. the backpacker in bicheno is a really good place to stay, small and fri! endly what a difference to mallee grill. i was so tired, that i didn't move for the rest of the day, rumi and toku made dinner for me, and i had a nice long talk to harvey from england. next day i was quite early awake (like every morning between 7-8 a.m.), had a nice day, walking along the beach and the coast for a few hours, talked and gossiped with esther from switzerland and saw my first fairy penguin, hiding under a rock and a pelican. rumi told us the story about the guy who wanted to have a look into the blowhole, he just stood on the wrong side and was completly wet afterwards (how stupid can you be). we had just a funny day, especially gossipping about this german fellow who wouldn't speak a word but was staring at you - a bit of a weirdo.

next day we went for a hike to freycinet np. that was great, we took esther with us and walked to hazard beach, from there to winglass bay, to the look out and then back. esther was the whole time on a run, while we started birdspotting and just stood on places for the brilliant view. a wallaby was hopping around (my first one) and we saw a sea eagle (the whitebellied ones).
funny thing is, after reading all these books about tasmanian flora and fauna i do know quite a lot and rumi and toku told me i should become a bushguide for japanese tourists (i'm still thinking about this).

i was to lazy to cook and keen on seafood as well, so esther and i went to the caravan take away the best thai-seafood i ever got.
in the evening we sat for 3,5 hours on the rocks waiting for penguins. that was fantastic, i saw about 60 of these little fellows and they are cute. sitting on the edge of a rock i could have touched them while they were walking and hopping to there nests. they come really close if you just sit still. it seemed we were sitting in there way, one started picking on rumis food, and then you sit there and you're not allowed to speak, laugh or move. i felt a bit sore afterwards.

next day we moved on, down to eaglehawk neck, but before we got there we had a look around richmond, a georgian village, and i tried to explain what the differences are between catholic and protestant churches. you can find weird subjects to talk about while you're driving around.

anyway, eaglehawk neck bp is a strange place, but good. it's a mixture of farm and something unexplainable. we got a little hut in the garden, there were sheeps and geese around, sometimes a wallaby is hopping through the garden and terry told us he had seen a snake a couple of days before, yak!

of course we went to port arthur and got our tickets, went on the harbour cruise, but after a while i couldn't remember anything and i just thought, i'm glad we can come back tomorrow, i was just to tired.

so the next morning we went back. port arthur is one of the old convict places the english used to sent their convicts to in the 18th and 19th century. the youngest boy was 9,5 years old. it's a fascinating place and there are things you just try not to think about, but the way they introduce the place to you is really good. so we spent there almost 6 hours. from there we went to the remarcable cave (paul told me it would be fantastic, i've seen better places) and around the peninsula back to the bp.

after all this cultural stuff we needed nature, so the next day we went on the coastal walk to waterfall bay, had of course a look at the blowhole and at tasman arch and the devils kitchen. it was a nice and relaxing walk, besides i wanted to find another walkway (there was a sign!!!) back, but in the middle of the bush this track was just gone.... well, we found a way back and it was not to difficult and there were no snakes around as well, thank you. it was still very early so i decided to be a good tourist and go to the tasmanian devil park, a wildlife rescue centre, spent to much for admission and have look at a sleeping tasmanian devil. there were other animals around as well and it was quite funny especially the nibbling parrot, crawling up my legs, nibbling on everything he could reach.

all this infos took me now an hour (it's bloddy expensive here), the rest i'll write tomorrow, i want to see a bit sun and get some fish and chips and i still have to book in at the yha.
December, 9     TOP

so, i'm back online again and will start the newest report.

on monday 27th, we went down to bruny island, it is always a hell of a lot of driving to get to places. i wanted to avoid hobart, but no way, you have to go through it to get to kettering and get the ferry from there. but it was actually not to bad and we could go to a supermarket before going to bruny. that was a good idea, because there are just very small generalstores on the island and they are quite expensive. and the best thing was, i found a german bakery which was selling kornspitzrolls (propper ones - i really miss the german bread). anyway, around afternoon we arrived in adventure bay at the lumeah yha. really nice place, not very big, so you get to now everyone who's staying there. i had two funny elderly ladies with me in my room, they were hilarious. we had a kind of a lazy day, just sorted things out and so.

next day we took the car to cruise around the north part of the island and go for a walk. i hope they will start to put up signs in a while, so that you know where the walks start, because we couldn't find any of them. so no exercise for me, actually i just fell asleep when we came back, not just a little nap. so nothing to tell about that day actually, besides that bruny is a nice place, worth staying longer. the only thing which is a bit annoying is that 2/3 of the island you can just reach on gravel roads and not all of them are in good style. so it's more a cruising around big holes, stones or other things you don't want to have on a road.

the next morning i went on a boatcruise along the eastcoast of bruny (of course for the stand by rate, who wants to pay fullprice if not necessary). that trip was absolutely great. robert has a boat just in the right size for twelve people and it was a bit like a wild ride on he waves. we saw heaps of seals sunbathing, fantastic caves and parts of bruny you can't get to without a boat because they are protected. at the end they served a seafoodplatter and i ate my first crayfish, and that's yummie. and the best thing is now i know how to handle with it, well i've never eaten a lobster or crayfish before, so you've got all these different pieces you actually don't know how to handle to get the meat out. i think june (one of the elderly ladies) had a fantastic time. she was standing at the back of the boat and got all the big splashes over her, while i was sitting on he back with damien and was a bit saver, didn't get that wet at all.
when we came back to the yha there was an echidna sitting on the lawn and it was not really scared, so we sat close to it and simons (the owner) doughters even touched it. it wasn't a big one more the size of a hedgehog, but they are cute.

after so many lazy days we had to do some exercise, especially me. so next day rumiko and i took the car down to the lighthouse for a 7h walk around the coastline. the first two hours it was just bloody hot and no shadow anywhere. when we got into the woods we had clouds, thank you. the first part of the walk was quite easy, but i think there aren't a lot people going for the whole walk, because after a while the path was nearly overgrown, and we had to look for it, it was still wonderful, fantastic views, lovely beaches just for the two of us, having lunch on one of them, watching the sea and the birds. the only thing that scared me completly off was when i found me nearly stepping on a tigersnake, one of the most venomenous snakes here, and that beast was about 1,5m long. well it strolled away, but you have a much closer look on the ground afterwards. altogether we saw two tigersnakes that day, the other much smaller, but you know, i'm not keen on meeting snakes anywhere or to step on them, because you can't see your way. on one of the beaches we found two gummy sharks, but they were nearly completly eaten up, just the heads were left and the bones (a bit smelly i must say). after that we went to the lighthouse to get that fantastic view from there. at the end we ended up in a small cafe in adventure bay and i got a muffin, i hardly could finish.

so, i'm a lazy bone at the moment, so i finish my report here, even there are still another 8 days to tell about, but the weather is so fantastic, who wants to sit in front of a screen, and there is still some washing in the laundry. catch up with you later.....
December, 13     TOP

so, this time you'll get some more days to read about, even the sun is shining very bright outside and i have to sit inside. anyway, back to friday the 1st of december (that means there are 13 days to write about, wow).

on the 1st we left bruny island and went to hobart, what a huzzle, it took me ages to find a hostel with a parking space, so we had to stay at the adelphi court (not really recommandable), which is a bit outside. so to get into town, you better take the bus, no way to park and pay for that. i just strolled around the city, didn't know what to do, besides getting into the internet, what cost me actually a bloody fortune and took me ages. besides that i just went for fish & chips at the harbour, went back to the hostel and booked in for two nights. the only things that happened were, that i met damien again (from the boatcruise at bruny island) and that i lost rumi and toku. they decided to stay longer in hobart, to get a flightticket for toku to get back to japan. so from the next day on i would be on my own.

the next morning i dropped rumi and toku off at another backpacker in town and went to the salamanca market, where i spent nearly 3 hours. got something (i don't know how to describe) for my head, that the sun won't burn a hole into it, and a really nice bread (sold by someone i met on bruny before). the market is a mixture of arts and crafts, second hand, bric a brac, food, veges and flowers and is quite famous. of course i got hungry so i went to get - ? - no not fish & chips again, but a seafoodbasket without chips, very yummie!!!

the day before i saw a note about a free guided tour through the museum. so of course i went to that and it was pretty good. there were just two of us joining the tour and the guy showing us around asked if we would prefer the short or the long tour. the long tour would be about an hour, he said, at the and it was over 1,5 hours. but it was interesting and he was good in his exlpanations. at the end i got a poster with all the tasmanian mammals on it.

when i came back to the yha, there was someone new in my room. michele was sitting on her bed with all the informations about car rentals in hobart and couldn't decide what to do. so i found someone new to share the car for another week.

next morning michele and i left quite early to go to mt field nationalpark. the yha was not what i expected but for a stay over night it was all right. we picked a japanese woman up and took her up to lake dobson. on the way back we stopped at every single short walk or lookout what was really fun and it took us a while to get back to the walk we actually wanted to do.

so we had lunch first and walked then along every single waterfall we could find, the most famous are the russel falls there, even without rain for several weeks it wasn't that impressive, but still nice. in the evening michele got a bottle of redwine, which didn't last very long, so at the end we ended up drinking a bottle of redwine each. but there was still only one pademelon to see. instead i scared the cat away.

on monday we went to derwent bridge and lake st. clair. someone recommended the wilderness hotel to us, i don't know why, it was expensive and hasn't even had cooking facilities. i think because they serve breakfast and dinner in the hotel felt myself a bit robbed by them.

anyway lake st. clair is really beautiful and we went on the boatcruise. it is one of the starting or ending points for the overland track and for all who don't want to walk for another 5 hours there is this boatservice. i started thinking about going on this track for new years eve, but i don't think it will work out. after the boatcruise we went for a nice walk.

sorry have to stop now, merice offered me a massage, but i have to get it straight away. more later on.
December, 14     TOP

the scenery at lake st. claire is absolutely beautiful, and i enjoid walking around there, the snake we met was not as big as the one i nearly stepped on and not as close as well. in the evening we went for dinner at the hotel, the food was good but i prefer to cook myself it defenetly saves you money, especially when you stay after the meal for a few drinks, we met tony (funny men with a long black beard) and he invited us to go with him at 4.30 am to have a look for platypus. that wasn't our time to get up, i prefer to have a look for them in the evening.

we didn't want to stay longer it was far to expensive so we left the next morning and started our day with breakfast in the franklin gordon national park. we went there for some walks and got a fantastic view to the frenchman cap. the highway is going through queenstown, the weirdest place i've seen in tasmania. because of the mining they have cut down every single tree and it reminds you a bit to the moon. probably tasmania just wanted to have his own desert. at the end we reached strahan and it started to rain. the first rain i had in the last weeks during daytime and not only a bit drizzling. i called maryse to tell her, we would be back on saturday in devonport and that i want my bed back (the only one in my room with a lamp over it). in the evening under down under came in, their last stop before getting back to devonport and we joined them for a chat.

next morning we went on a daycruise on a boat. the tour went to hells gate (named like this because the convicts said it is the gate to get to sarah island what meant hell to them), sarah island, the first and most brutal penal settlement in tasmania, you still can see a view stones and walls from that time, even the island now has trees on it again, and went then down to the gordon river. they had a fantastic lunch provided on board and even it was raining i still enjoyed the trip.

it wasn't raining the next day, so we wanted to go for a longer walk along the river through the rainforest. so we started driving towards the track of course on a gravel road, passing a sign saying roadworks ahaed. well, next time they shoud write building walls on the road, no way to get to the track, the road was under complete new construction. so we had to turn back. instead we walked up to hogarth falls and then thought to drive to hells gate and walk there for a while. of course something had to go wrong, after 6 km we found a sign saying "only for 4wd" and there were another 6 km to go. so again we had to turn back of course on a gravel road (they get a bit annoying after a while). so we got something for lunch (fish & chips again) and afterwards we drove to the henty dunes, the only sandy dunes in tasmania. we walked there along the beach for a couple of hours and it was absolutely beautiful. we decided to leave the next morning going back to devonport, so i called denise to tell her we would be back a day earlier.

that evening i saw two platypus in the creek at the yha. sitting still on the bridge for a while, waiting for them to come out, one was swimming under the bridge and then crawling up to hide in a bush.

the next day started with rain again and ruined our plans because we wanted to go to the montezuma falls but you don't want to walk for 2h in haevy rain to see more water. we made a stop in rosebery for a cup of tea and another stop in sheffield. to go to cradle mountain was completely nonsense. as we passed it we saw big black clouds covering the mountains and heard later on that it was haling up there. so we arrived back in devonport and of course someone was lying in my bed. so i took one under the window, the second best in my opinion.

so everything else what happened since i'm back i'll write later on.
December, 18     TOP

so back to saturday 9th december. i must say there is not a lot to write about the day, michele took my car to go to cradle mountain for a daywalk and i stayed at tasman house. i had to do my washing and all these things. but the night was complete fun. janine came back from hobart and there were heaps of new people staying here for longer (franziska, alex and jasper from holland, ben from mainland) and we had a very long night. at the end it was just denise, janine, franziska, wayne and me. janine and denise had played head or toss to find out who stays in room 14 or in gary's room. denise won gary, so all of us went upstairs to see how gary would react, well, he wanted janine so denise had to go to her room, but it was fun, we standing on the corridor giggling trying not to burst into laughing.

next day after the cleaning i went to gunns plain to go for the cave. it was a beautiful drive up there (went to penguin for the market first) and the cave was really good. but the best was that it was just three of us who went on the guided tour. the guide was a real charakter, joking around, telling us complete nonsens, i really enjoyed it. if you are lucky you can see freshwater crayfish or platypus in there as well, i just had the luck to see some of the spiders. from there i drove up to leven canyon to walk up to the lookout. it's 20 something meter high and you get a fantastic view around and down to the canyon. afterwards i just cruised around the countryside, stopped at places i liked and had a good time.

on monday i tried to fix my things in town. after janine told me how easy it is to extend your visa i want to extend mine as well, leaving out new zealand and instead go over to mainland and stay there for 2,5 months. so i tried to find out if i can get a refund for my flight ticket. but of course it isn't that easy, i can't gat a refund here because i got my ticket overseas. well, i brought my boots to backpacker barnes trying to sell them. so i've got just my tevas left, means i've to get new shoes what seems to be much more tricky.

in the evening trevor came back from his trip to bangkok, so everyone is back now. i've been sitting up with martin and nikki from england and wales, absolutely nice couple. martin and i are planning to perform "dinner for one" on christmas eve, that will be fun.

the only thing that annoyed me the last days was, that someone is using my food, taking my garlic and curry and all these things. so at the end i found who i was martin and adam, because someone told them, the food in the basket was free food. the best thing was that martin offered me a bit of the curry. so english people like to eat your food, pinching your filters and drinking your beer. i don't mind.

i nearly forgot, you don't get a really feeling for christmas in summer so i started baking cookies (kokosmakronen - yummie). the next turn is janines with mailaenderli.

next morning martin got me a sixpack, new garlic but he couldn't find the curry in the shops (i told him to go to chickenfeed, the bargain shop). michele left that morning as well to go to hobart with adventure tours. franziska and i went for christmas shopping, to get some decoration and napkins and so.

i wanted to go to mole creek to the caves that afternoon and after my last experience of walking through a cave in tevas i thought i should get walking shoes before going. so i went to mountain design (i should have gone to that place before) and got really good shoes. they were on sale so it wasn't to bad. so i went to mole creek to king solomon cave and marakoopa cave. marakoopa is a wet cave with glow-worms and actually quite big, while king solomon is a dry cave and not really big at all, but i love caves. on my way back i took another route via deloraine and came back just right in time for dinner. janine and i are sharing the cooking for denise, trevor, gary and ourselves, we both enjoy it.

after dinner janine gave me a new haircut and of course everyone is coming outside joking around, but she did a good job, i think i need a new colour as well.

when i got up on wednesday my back was in pane, so after the cleaning maryse gave me a massage, but it was still in pane. so i just went to the tasmanian arboretum had the whole place for myself and stayed for a couple of hours. afterwards i wanted to go to the bird sanctuary but they have shut it down (why don't they put the signs away then, thank you). i couldn't do a lot because of my back.

the next day it was even worse, so i made an appointment for a chinese massage for the next day and that was nearly it for the whole day, i could hardly move so i gave me a rest. on friday i went to the massage and it was absolutely fantastic she worked on my whole body for 1,5 hours and it got much better, but she said i should give myself another day off. so like the day before i nearly did anything besides reading (the worse thing is i have to give my car back on sunday). rumiko and toku came back, it's nice to have them back, but toku is leaving saturday.

saturday was a good day, the massage worked pretty good out so i could go to asbestos range national park for a walk. i started at greens beach and walked to the first beach, easy walk but beautiful. the funny thing is, after seeing all these snakes every noise makes you feel a bit scared. it's completly different then walking in europe or other places, where there are no snakes. i saw some wallabies as well and was glad i took my binoculars with me. it's more fun because so you really can go for birdspotting and all these things.

toku left that afternoon what is really sad and i think i will miss him, we had agood time travelling around tassie and rumiko and he were a good couple, i'm sorry for her.

sunday was my day of cleaning my room and get all the things cleared after having a car for four weeks. it was a bit of a mess. i've been working on some things i'm going to send back home and had a busy day.

so today is monday, i've been working the whole morning, cleaning the rooms and then cleaning the store room a real mess, took me an hour. now i'm waiting for someone from the newspaper who wants an interview with me, about staying in tassie over christmas compared to germany and all these things. i'll make a copy of that article if it is good, probably i shoulgd get dressed up or so.....

so you'll get more informations in some days.
December, 22     TOP

so, back again. as i wrote last time i was expecting someone from the newspapers. so they came around for interviewing ben and me about christmas in australia and overseas. it was strange, how can you make a fool out of yourself. let people taking a picture of you sitting on a tree with a christmashat on your head. the other photo was with ben and me together, sitting at a table outside ("would you mind putting your arm around her shoulders?"). and then they asked how we celebrate christmas back in germany, i hope they write what i told them and not something completly different. i'm going to see that on saturday. i told them that one strange thing is to hear people sing "i'm dreaming of a white christmas", they can sing as long as they want they won't get it.

anyway on tuesaday i went to hobart to the immigration office. i started at 9.10 am, got there about 1.30 pm, went to the immigration office and finished my stuff there in 10 minutes. so i got my visa extended till the 1st april. then i wanted to go back to devonport. would you believe, the last bus left hobart at 12.30 pm. no way to get out of hobart. so i booked in at the transit backpacker for the night. then i asked for a busticket for the next morning, i got my booking but she was a bit confused so she changed my surname into dortmund ("excuse me mam, but that's my hometown"). but i had a nice time, liz who's running the hostel is the daughter of june, one of the elderly ladies i shared the room with on bruny island. had a nice talk with a few japanese girls and tried to go to bed early. couldn't sleep, so i got up again reading my book.

next morning i went back to devonport and arrived here late in the afternoon picked up my slides from the chemistry and had a lazy day. i was a bit tired after the long time in the bus and someone had turned on the heater outside. god, it was bloody hot that day. after dinner rumiko, trevor and i drove to the woods to cut our christmas tree. it was fun, but i should have taken my camera with me, trevor left the axe at home and it looked more like woodcarving, when he was cutting of the tree with a hammer and a chisel. we got some more branches for the decoration and afterwards trevor took us on a christmas light tour. they are decorating the houses and the gardens, sometimes just lights, sometimes animated things as well, it was fun. and of course i had a long night with martin and nikki (like every night).

on thursday was jacks (maryse son) first day off of school. so he was around and we decorated the christmas tree together and put on other things for christmas around the house. we had a few arguments about how to decorate the tree ("no jack, you're not throwing the balls in the tree, i'll take them off and we have to start again", "no we can't start now, we have first to put the lights into the tree") but at the end we finished our job after 5 hours (never try to decorate anything with kids, it takes ages.)

in the night i got really pissed (of course with martin and nikki), but it was good, helmut from freiburg was joining us, and now i've got a place to stay in melbourne, he's going to be there for a longer time (working for siemens).

this morning i was in a bad mood, awaiting a phonecall which didn't come, big argument with dave (he's a complete weirdo and arse, sorry for the language). god, i hate that man. then i spended about four hours in the store room trying to tidy it up and clean it. okay you can see a difference but it was exhausting. and i defenetly should have made my appointment for the massage for the time after the cleaning. but the massage was fantastic, so i'll get anotherone next week, something you can look forward to.

i'll try to go to bed early tonight........
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