My visual diary 2020: Tasmania in Two Weeks in Summer

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Returning to Tasmania for a summer road trip after ten years has been exciting to plan for: on that last trip I visited in early springtime, carrying a small Pentax DSLR with kit lens - those were the days of minimal choices, requiring no consideration about what gear to pack!

For this trip I decided to take two GX bodies and all of my native M43 lenses, minus the 100-300. The GX9 is still in the discovery phase for me, but already I'm appreciating composing with the monochrome live view function.

The overnight voyage on the ferry was a bit rough, but to start this off here's a shot taken from the boat as we left Melbourne - you can see a cloud of bushfire smoke beyond the city:
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I'll continue posting in this thread to keep the activities separated. I hope you enjoy my visual diary.
 
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Boat Harbour Beach is a pretty little seaside village with one of the nicest outlooks I've seen. There is an easy stroll around the head through dense vegetation - prefect for breaking the trip. I hadn't realised how badly spotted my GX7's sensor had become (most noticeable on blue sky) - I've had it professionally cleaned once and it didn't help much, so I'm now resigned to it's being used for specific jobs or backup only. These were taken with 12-32mm lens, which I feel ambivalent about most of the time!
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There's a great camp site in national park at Peggs Beach south of Stanley; this is the mouth of the Black River estuary there, with the tide out.
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Having arrived at low tide, I was initially disappointed, until I realised with a start that lines of purplish brown along the water's edge were thousands of tiny sand crabs, leaving their holes in the sand to do whatever sand crabs do:
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It was windy and sand was blowing, making me wish for a weather sealed camera - I'm starting to see a GX8 in my future! The landmark in the background is Circular Head, or 'the Nut' as it's commonly known, which is a volcanic plug presiding over the village of Stanley and surrounding coast.
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The coastal vegetation is lush (compared with what I'm used to seeing, in dry temperate climes), and I found its forms interesting:
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This must be a native euphorbia:
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All shot with GX7 and 12-32mm.
 
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To the west of Stanley is the historic site Highfield, an early settlement homestead built in the Georgian style, which housed the family of parents and 15 children, and stone outbuildings. It was restored in the 1980s, and is managed by the national parks service. The $12 adult entry fee was money well spent.
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The gracious, unpretentious interior was delightful, and we appreciated the attention to detail in the interpretive signage.
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Views from the windows were lovely, and it was interesting to see quite a number of artworks depicting the house, grounds, and the ever-present Nut.
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A pram and one of its occupants:
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We learned the story of one toddler who died in an accident while being pulled around the garden in a cart by a dog: the dog spotted some other dogs, rushed to join them, and the little girl's head hit a gate, killing her. Hers is the only grave on-site, which I forgot to look for.
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The self-guided tour then leaves the house to inspect the outbuildings and grounds.
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I tried out the in-camera panorama, which is much improved from the GX7 but probably isn't stellar; however, I'm too lazy to attempt stitching photos! The stables and workshop are in the building to the left, the chapel and school room in the building to the right:
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At Tullah, between Burnie and Queenstown on the west coast, there's a lodge on the lake which was formerly used for mine workers, but now provides tourist accommodation; with the weather turning rainy, we were glad to not be camping in wet tents!
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Our friend suggested a walk to Tasmania's tallest waterfall, Montezuma falls, south of Rosebery on the west coast. I am neither keen on walking nor waterfalls, but agreed anyway and reluctantly plodded the ten kilometres in the cold - I don't know where summer went! By the end I was aching, and I took mostly rubbish photos, so it wasn't a very pleasing day. Anyway, here's a photo of a flower I liked very much, which I'm hoping someone can identify. It was on a cool temperate rainforest tree.
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The highlight of the walk was meeting this bold fellow, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Labrador puppy, who bounded up to greet us for a pat and a chew of this walking stick, before trotting off after his master.
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Honestly, I tried to get a photo of a minor fall using an ND filter, but I'm filter-illiterate (well, exposure-illiterate I guess). I've never used it before, but set up my camera on my backpack and fired the shutter with a 2-second delay. I'll take your tips, but can't promise to make the proper effort in future.
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Cluttered rainforest scenery doesn't excite my passion, but I do like some of the details, like this leaf:
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At last, after about 90 minutes walking, we arrived at Montezuma falls; I couldn't fit the whole fall in one photo, and I failed at trying to hand hold for a slow shutter shot, so am making do with this one. I call it 'Wonder Wall'.
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Lady Scrat (a tiny figurine of an Ice Age movie character) came with me for a portrait in the undergrowth. Alas, she came undone from my pack on the way back, so her modelling career was short lived. I sure hope some nice kid picks her up!
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The finale, before trudging the five kilometres back up to the car park, was to cross this suspension bridge to nowhere. I hadn't done this before, but it was okay.
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Oh dear. Unfortunately you've hit typical Tasmanian summer weather at its fickle best (or worst)

Your beautiful bush is Christmas bush (Prostanthera lasianthos)
They really are a magnificent display leading up to Christmas.

They are very nice photos and the bush looks beautiful.

Next week promises to heat up.
 
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Oh dear. Unfortunately you've hit typical Tasmanian summer weather at its fickle best (or worst)

Your beautiful bush is Christmas bush (Bursaria spinosa)
They really are a magnificent display leading up to Christmas.

They are very nice photos and the bush looks beautiful.

Next week promises to heat up.
Thanks Richard, I felt sure you could enlighten me about the Christmas bush. I had been warned that it can be wintry in summer in Tassie, so I wasn't totally unprepared!
 

RamblinR

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Hi Melanie. Are you aware of Adobe Spark? It's a great presentation tool and if I recall you don't have to be an Adobe subscriber to use it (I am, but I think anyone can use this product). It's easy to use to present a body of works like you have here and the link to the presentation can be posted or emailed to friends for them to view it. If you have heard of it my apologies but if you have not here is a link to a presentation I did after being down in Victoria to visit my mum. You can continue to edit the presentation even after you have offered the link to others and it remains the same but the presentation is updated. The presentation can have text also and you control where the pics are placed and how big etc. You decide the banners and the sets. Please add the link here if you decide to do one as I would love to see your images in a presentation.

Trip to Victoria
 
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Hi Melanie. Are you aware of Adobe Spark? It's a great presentation tool and if I recall you don't have to be an Adobe subscriber to use it (I am, but I think anyone can use this product). It's easy to use to present a body of works like you have here and the link to the presentation can be posted or emailed to friends for them to view it. If you have heard of it my apologies but if you have not here is a link to a presentation I did after being down in Victoria to visit my mum. You can continue to edit the presentation even after you have offered the link to others and it remains the same but the presentation is updated. The presentation can have text also and you control where the pics are placed and how big etc. You decide the banners and the sets. Please add the link here if you decide to do one as I would love to see your images in a presentation.

Trip to Victoria
Thanks very much for the recommendation, I will definitely look into that option.
 
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Our one night stay at Tullah Lakeside Lodge turned into two, and I was grateful to be out of the bad weather - I'm not a happy camper when it's wet and windy! As a bonus, the pub-style food was very good - large portions, and none of them disappointed.

I managed to rise early enough on our last day to get some lake photos and breathe in the post-rain foliage-scented air.
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I think this is a trigger plant flower (stylidium species); they pollinate by tapping visiting insects on the shoulder with a special trigger which dusts the insect harmlessly with pollen to take to another flower. This was shot with 14-140, which isn't the greatest for the job!
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Our road trip hauler is this 1985 Mitsubishi Pajero wagon, and I'd like to say it's been nothing but a pleasure, but as much as we love Roger, things have not gone entirely smoothly.

We bought a new starter motor in Burnie (but haven't been forced to fit it yet); the fuel/temp gauges stopped working around Tullah, started again at Strahan, then stopped again; around Queenstown we had scary stalling issues while driving (we got some carby cleaner there and cleaned the throttle body at Derwent Bridge, no problems since there); we discovered a loss of coolant around Derwent Bridge also, at the same time as the cable from the shifter to the auto gearbox split, leaving us stuck in second gear, but fortunately only for a few kilometres - my handy, amateur bush mechanic was able to MacGyver a solution and got us back on the road in about an hour.

Oh, and it's running at around 20 litres of petrol per hundred kilometres - it sure has been hilly! Also, because my man recently had emergency shoulder surgery, I have to do all the driving. At least I'm not being too distracted by the scenery, as there's so much smoke here from the fires on the mainland!

Photo taken at Lake Macintosh.
 
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Bush camping at Macquarie Heads, near Hells Gates west of Strahan on the west coast, was a highlight. The council-run campground was grassy, with secluded camp sites, and the beach was only a short walk (or drive) away.
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There are two tiny light houses within sight of each other, though I wasn't able to get them both in one photo.

Our campsite was visited by tiny pademelon wallabies with half-grown joeys bouncing around their mothers at dusk like something from a Winnie the Pooh story, and crashing around in the shrubberies after dark. Wallaby photo included only for context!
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Here's a photo of my main model and personal MacGyver, Paul, wearing his home-made Hard Yakka 'cargo sling' (which was his own idea). He has become quite a natural in front of my camera, and is a good iPhone photographer, but can never take a nice photo of me, even with a nice lens.
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The beach at Macquarie Heads is among the most beautiful I've visited, with wild ocean to the west (next stop: South America), and around the point into the harbour is a sheltered beach, both featuring little light houses in the distance.
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