25 September 2013

Bluff River Gorge

Bluff River Gorge is one of Tasmania's best-kept secrets - unless you're a bushwalker. I've walked in there several times, but today was the first time I remembered to take a camera. These are the results.
Morning tea before tackling The Gorge

Et in Arcadia Ego

and this is where it fell from . . . 
It's a bit of a hike to the top of the gorge, a steep path down towards the Bluff River, then a nerve-wracking traverse along the gorge. And it's worth every minute, alternating between awesome and aaaagh, depending on whether you look up at the incredible sandstone formations or down at the sheer drop to the Bluff River, far below.

 I would have taken more photographs, but in most of the really spectacular places I was too busy hanging on like grim death to pull out my camera. It is not a particularly difficult walk, but there are plenty of places where the path is the width of your boot, loose sand or slippery moss, and there's not much between the walker and the water far below.

the river far below

 The day was fine until lunchtime when we were hit by a violent squall that sent everyone scrambling into their foul weather gear. As soon as we set out again the sun reappeared so we stopped to take our jackets off again. Tasmania has such humorous weather.

 We scrambled over and under fallen trees down to the river, hoping to walk back along the other side of the gorge. "Why are we going this way, if it's further than the direct route back to the cars?" a Prospective Member asked. Because we're a walking club - it's what we do . . .

 The river is not very wide, but it was flowing very fast and the stepping stones were submerged boot-top deep. There was some discussion about whether we should cross, but the day was finally won by those who were not in the mood for wet feet, and apprehensive about the second crossing we would have to make further downstream. We turned back.

to cross, or not to cross?

along the bottom of the gorge

Now things got a bit confusing. Some people who were well ahead missed the turnoff up the hill. There was a good deal of coo-eeing echoing up and down the gorge, with half the walkers waiting at Octopus Head, where we'd stopped for lunch earlier, and the rest climbing the next spur and following a fire trail back in the right general direction.

Coo-ee - where are you?


It didn't take long to make contact and establish where they were and we assured the Prospective Members that losing half the group was not a usual occurrence. They didn't look too worried.

We returned to the cars tired but happy and the day ended with the usual picnic. Thank you to the walk leader!

22 September 2013

Saturday in Hobart

One of my favourite pastimes is playing tourist. And one of the things I love about Hobart is that I don't even have to leave home to do it! Take today, for instance.

First I had to go to work, teaching my regular Saturday drawing lesson. As it was a nice day we spent a couple of hours outside in Princes Park.
drawing in Princes Park

Back at the Salamanca Arts Centre I found 40 Artists from the Island, an exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, textiles, assemblages and more, opening at the Long Gallery. This is one part of Rediscover Bruny, a three-part showcase of Bruny Island arts. It seems practically every artist I meet these days lives on Bruny, or at least has a holiday house there, and this event has almost a hundred participants – not bad, when you consider there are only seven hundred people living on the island.

Of course, they are not all visual artists. In the Sidespace Gallery beside the Long Gallery there is a charming exhibition of Childhood Treasures, precious items people have kept for most of their lives: teddy bear, puppet, building blocks, favourite books, each with an explanation by its owner telling us just what makes this particular toy so special.

40 Artists from the Island opens in the Long Gallery
The third part of the Bruny Island spectacular is As Time Goes By, written by Barry Weston and directed by Megan Weston, a theatre piece "written, directed and performed by Bruny Islanders for Bruny Islanders and about Bruny Islanders”, which played in the Peacock Theatre on 20th and 21st September. 

I was really impressed by the overall quality of the artwork in the main exhibition – some truly lovely work, and I took my time enjoying it, along with a glass of white wine and some super Bruny Island cheese.

Tall ships, a carousel,  live music, terrific food . . . 
Returning to the sunshine outdoors I wandered through Salamanca Market to the Tall Ships Festival. Lunched on a delicious goatmeat-and-elderberry-wine pie at Princes Pier, tried some apple, pear and cherry cider (more, please!) and strolled round listening to musicians, admiring ships and generally enjoying the atmosphere. Here are some of the things I saw.

This wonderful steam carousel, complete with calliope to provide music, always brings a lump to my throat, and true to form I had a little Stendhal Moment in front of it today.

Europa's figurehead caused some comment.
This old Greek tale of woe should serve as warning to all
young ladies not to believe that bull . . .

Is this the youngest jazz band in town? They played very well.

Of course, Preana isn't a tall ship, but she's so pretty another photo
of her doesn't hurt. And there's a real Tall Ship there, too.

Lots of history here at Constitution Dock - some of Australia's
oldest wooden boats and the old Customs House

The Vikings are back!

It was time to return to the car and head for home. Stopped for a while on the lawns of Parliament House to listen to the Hobart Old Time String Band along the way.

By now the market was closed and stall-holders were packing up.

The sky was beginning to cloud over. I made it home just before a brief shower of drizzly rain, tired but happy. Who wouldn't love this place?

just a little corner of  our garden