Under Down Under Tour – Day 2

Well, here we are at day two of my fabulous Tasmania tour. As promised, I said I would give you a picture of the blowhole taken in the morning:

It was actually more spectacular last night, as I think the tide was higher and the water was really shooting up – almost dangerously so for anyone who might wander a bit too close to the edge. We tried to find penguins again this morning so we could get a few pictures of them in the daylight without flashes, but they had already gone off to catch their morning fish. Oh well!

Today was a pretty easy day, no five-hour hikes. First we headed to a beach called ‘The Bay of Fires’. Don’t let the name confuse you, there were no fires (currently) on the beach. It was actually called that because when it was first discovered (by white man) the men on the ship saw the lights from Aborigine campfires all along the beach and the name just stuck.

We had a couple of hours to explore the beach, or to just sit around enjoying the sound of the sea. I decided to check out a rock formation little ways down the beach, and look for some neat Tasmanian shells on the way down. I walked along the waters edge, sandals off and feet in the water, which was a very comfortable temperature once you got used to it. When I finally got to the rocks (it was a lot further than it looked initially) I was not disappointed. Even the rocks in Tasmania were beautiful! When I climbed up on top of them, the view was terrific.

I also found that this was the perfect place for seashell hunting. There were so many neat looking (unbroken!) shells hidden in-between the rocks. I suppose that when the tide comes in it covers the rocks, and that leaves new shells behind that have not yet had time to be trampled by people.

I didn’t have all that much time to look for shells or climb rocks because like I said earlier, it took more time than I expected to walk all the way over and I didn’t want to have to rush back. After collecting a few shells I made my way back to where our bus was stationed.

This day I didn’t see any more starfish on this beach but I DID see a lot of jellyfish (harmless ones) washed up on the shore. It’s kind of funny… when I saw the first one, I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought it was a rock at first but I wasn’t sure, so I did what any red-blooded American would do. I poked it. And it was squishy. Yuck.

We all piled back into the bus and headed to our next stop at the temperate rain forest and waterfall in St. Columba Falls. Yay, my favorite! Rain forests!

When we arrived, we got out and started walking through the forest. It was only about an hour-long walk this time, but the rain forest was beautiful. Not quite as beautiful as the tropical rain forests (like the ones I had seen on a previous trip to Costa Rica) are in my opinion, but temperate rain forests have their own special kind of beauty.

The waterfall was lovely too. I don’t think you can see it very well in this photo, but it is there behind me.

At the waterfall there was a sign telling us to cup our ears with our hands and face the waterfall – if we did we’d be able to hear the water much louder. So there were at least four of us standing in front of the waterfall with our hands cupping the back of our ears. I wish I had a picture of that, it must have looked hilarious! It did work though! The running water was a lot louder, and sounded much more magnificent. The next time I’m at Niagara Falls I’ll have to try that. Hopefully it doesn’t blow out my eardrums!

We made our way back to the picnic tables near the bus so we could eat lunch – I think we were all close to starving by then – and I saw a really nifty and strange-looking red and black spider. I was told that it wasn’t poisonous, but I choose to believe it was the rare and poisonous Red-And-Black Death Spider. I barely escaped that walk with my life, guys! I’d post that picture, but out of respect for those of you who are afraid of pictures of spiders (babies!), I’ll wait until I have the chance to upload all my pictures to Flickr.

On the way back to the hostel we were staying at in Launceston, we made a quick stop to see Priscilla, The Amazing Beer Drinking Pig. The sign over her pen:

And here is the princess herself, begging for her beer!

Don’t worry though, she actually drank special “pig” beer, which is mostly water. Otherwise Poor Princess Priscilla the Pig would be Perpetually Pissed. (In Australian, ‘pissed’ means drunk. It gets pretty confusing to me, because they also will use it to say they are angry like we Americans do, so when someone is talking and uses the word ‘pissed’, you have to try to figure out whether they are ready to fight or if they just need a cab ride home.)

Here is a youtube video of the piggy drinking:

It was at Priscilla’s farm that we decided to get ourselves a group shot since three of our people were 3-dayers and were going to be leaving  after today:

Awww…. isn’t that just adorable? After the group picture we headed back to the bus for the rest of the trip to the hostel.

From the window of the bus I saw one neat area where I guess someone had too much time on their hands:

I would like to meet the person who thought to themselves, ‘Gee, those rocks up there are kind of boring. Wait, they actually look like a fish! Maybe I should climb up that mountain and risk my life to paint it so everyone else thinks it looks like a fish too!’

The rest of the night was pretty calm… we had Chinese food (did you know that when you order Chinese food in Australia, you have to pay for the rice separately?!?!) and then we went to bed to prepare ourselves for the hard day at Cradle Mountain tomorrow.

The end! (of day two)