Saturday, October 1st, 2011: Burnie, Australia
We’ve arrived in Tasmania for 3 days in our two ports of call, Burnie, on the northern coast of the island, and Hobart, the capital, in the southeast. In addition, we get to enjoy a wonderful day with family as we will spend our day in Burnie with Steve, Beth, and the Hill family at our first stop.
Upon arrival in Burnie, the unique and somewhat odd security rules of the port required us to immediately exit the ship and move directly onto local shuttle buses that would drive us into town and make stops at three pre-determined locations within the city center. It was not permitted to walk into our out of the port, nor could we meet family or taxis at the front entrance to the facility. We’re sure it was in the best interest of everyone involved, but required some adjustment to our day and to coordinate a meetup with the Hills for our day trip to Cradle Mountain.
After our dropoff at the Maker’s Workshop shuttle stop in the northwest of the city center, we admired the local crafts, included many unqiue varieties of paper (wood, timber, and wood chips are all huge exports of Tasmania). These included recycled paper and paper made from a number of animal poos (no joke — big demand for kangaroo poo paper and elephant poo paper is a “limited edition speciality” item as the poo needs to be imported). Once we finished up here, we went outside and admired a long and curving beach that bordered the waterfront as the sun shined brightly and we enjoyed a relatively warm day for the area.
The Hills arrived a few minutes later and we were off and running into the interior of the island as we were making our way towards one of our destinations for the day, Cradle Mountain. Along the way, it was great catching up with Steve, Beth, and their son Josh, (missed you Sam!) as we wound our way through the beautiful back country of Tasmania.
Along the way, we made a few fantastic off-road 4×4 stops along the way to see grandpa Hill’s hunting cabin out in the bush as well as stops in the vale and several hunting spots that are used by Steve, the boys, and friends of the family. Exploring the Tasmanian countryside in this way was a rare opportunity and something that allowed us to see the rugged beauty of this area and took us to places that no tour bus would ever reach.
A short time later, we arrived at Cradle Mountain and enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Cradle Mountain Chateau. Along with the excellent company and the amazing meal, we headed back out and made our way to see the Hill’s home in Devonport, a coastal community about 30 minutes from our cruise ship and got to see the beautiful 25 acres that their home, their enthusiastic hunting dogs, and their beautiful horses share amid the rolling green hills of the Tasman countryside.
Though our time in Burnie was far too short, we still had a little time to visit the family’s business, a very successful and cutting edge nursery a short distance away. Using the latest technology, glass houses, and hydroponics, they cultivate a number of important crops and would love to have had the time and the opportunity to better understand all of the expertise that comes into play as the operations at the main work site were quite impressive.
We got back onto the main highway and made our way west back to the city center of Burnie, where we were limited to a quick farewell before we were back onboard the shuttle to the cruise port. In the rush of all of the day’s events, we didn’t even get a picture with everyone! It’s our hope that we may be able to return to Tasmania in the future, not only to see our family, but to continue to appreciate such an amazing part of Australia. We look forward to welcoming the Hills back to the states for their next visit and thanks for your warm hospitality and a wonderful day!
Tomorrow, we head to the south and to Hobart, our closest point on the planet to Antarctica!