Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Serengeti of Tasmania - No Hooning

We are wrapping up our time here in Tasmania with a visit to Narawntapu National Park in the northern part of the island.  It is known to be the Serengeti of Tasmania with lots of animals.  We have not been disappointed!  But Hooning is frowned upon.

On our way to Narwantapu, we stopped at the Beaconsfield Goldmine and Heritage Center.  The gold mining experience here in Tasmania was very much like that of the states.

While this is still an operating subterranean goldmine, it is probably going to close in July as it is too costly without return to continue its operation.  The mine's pumping station was one of the biggest in the world when it was built around the turn of the century, pumping more than 8 million gallons of water out of the mines a day.

Upon our arrival at Narwantapu, we secured a campsite on the edge of the open plain, "Serengeti".

Before sunset we took a hike to the beach a couple of kilometers away.

As sunset approached on the Tasmanian "serengeti", we did not need to wait long to see pademelons (wallabies), forrester kangaroos, possums, and of course what we really wanted to see....wombats.

Wombats are related to koalas except they are ground and burrow dwellers.  They don't climb trees and are great lawn mowers.  We had seen one at the zoo, but here in Narwantapu they come out on the "Serengeti" looking like miniature buffalos on the range.  At dusk they are hard to see and blend into the bracken.    If you look hard, you can just see one coming out to graze.

They are pretty shy and will run away if you get too close, but some people have been able to get close enough to pet them.  The wombats from what we understand have very powerful legs and if a predator (dog, dingo, cat) invades their den, they have been known to crush the predator by positioning their backs against the enemy and pushing with their legs against one den wall pressing it's back to the opposite wall.  Squish!

There were a couple of Aussies who had set up lawn chairs in the bracken on the edge of the plain. They had their glasses of wine and cheese, getting ready for the show.   It was a good idea and we decided to do the same the following evening.

This couple are retired math and science teachers from Queensland.  They have a caravan and rig outfit that they take everywhere.  They sound as if they are permanent gypsies.   This 4x4 was custom made for them and carries loads of water and petrol for their outback experiences.  Looks bullet proof.  The back trailer or caravan as they call it here in Australia, pops up and out.

No Hooning
We saw this sign in the campground and were mystified, so we googled it.
According to the online urban dictionary, it has two definitions.  1) driving recklessly; and 2) having sex with someone.  Quite a diversified definition and is a word I can't wait to use when playing Words with Friends.  Not sure which one the park service had in mind, BUT we could be in trouble. hahahaha!

Yesterday, we took a hike around the lagoon

 and across the plain,

and were fortunate enough to glimpse a small platypus in a swampy pool,
Can you see the platypus?  I think there are two of them.
black swans,

lots of water birds,  more wombats,

and the big forrester kangaroos.

Even though these roos are called Eastern Greys, the ones we saw were reddish in color and were easily six feet tall.  They are powerful animals.   We didn't get too close as the ranger told us they weren't very friendly.  Not sure if they were prone to hooning either.

Today, the weather is cool and overcast.  It's a good day to blog and plan out the next couple of weeks as we travel the mainland back to Brisbane.  We will leave tomorrow for Devonport and once again board the all day ferry on Sunday.   Adelaide and the Flinders Range is our next short term destination. So long Tasmania!  It's been great getting to know you.

All is Well with the 2 Land Travel R's in Waltzing Matilda.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Inhumanity in Idyllic Setting

Tasmania is undoubtedly Australia's gem of beauty,

Penguin Island

Hike to Fluted Cape  on Bruny Island

Devil's Blow Hole

Tasman Arch
but it is also has a terrible past.

As the Europeans settled Tasmania, Aborigines were systematically disenfranchised of their lands, women were enslaved and the men were killed.  Men, women, and children from England who may have done no more than steal a loaf of bread were shipped to Australia to prisons.  Of course there were some legitimate criminals as well, but Australia became the great social experiment of England, ridding itself of undesirables.   Many of the soldiers, sailors, and overseers of the prisoners were only a step higher in caliber and conduct than the prisoners.  Life in the beautiful setting was harsh, unfamiliar, and cruel.

Small cells, isolation, silence, coal mines, and men working liking dogs and treated worse were all a miserable experiment in rehabilitation.  Although the ruins today are interesting and the setting peaceful, Port Arthur is a sad reminder of man's inhumanity to other human beings.  Very depressing!

After leaving Port Arthur behind we headed north up the coast.  Tasmania has an amazing coast line etched by beautiful deep bays.

Granite Mountains

Sleepy Bay
 On one of our hikes, we climbed to the Wine Glass Bay Lookout.  The bowl of the glass is aqua marine with white granite sand.  The stem of the glass is a long narrow inlet into the bay.  Stunning.
The Bowl

The Stem

Architectural Students Built a Lounge at the Top - Lovely!

The weather while we were at Port Arthur and Coles Bay has been uncharacteristically cold.  Apparently, it hasn't hit the lows like it did this week since 1952.  We've been wearing our fleeces and thermal underwear to bed.  It's hard to get out of the warm bed in the morning.  Fortunately, the cold snap has moved through, but fall is definitely in the air, and I doubt we will be wearing our shorts again while we are here.

Misty Morning

Our Bridport Campsite - Sunny but Chilly Picnic on the Beach

If you love lighthouses, you will love Tasmania
Yesterday, we reach the Tamar Valley and had the pleasure of stopping to see a high school classmate from San Ramon High School.  Mark Semmens and his wife Marion started the first vineyards in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania in 1979.  They built this winery with over 35 acres when there was nothing on the hill but bush and their vision.  They now have olive orchards, a redwood forest, outdoor and indoor event centers with plans for expansion and completion of projects.

 We spent an enjoyable afternoon catching up, sharing in Mark's dream, and sipping wine.  They make whites, light and full bodied reds.

Harvest and Crush Begin This Week

Last night, we spent the night at Beauty Point.  This morning from our campground we walked a couple of miles into town, had a wonderful breakfast at Cafe Carbones.  The couple who own the cafe are delightful people and the food was excellent, eggs benedict - gluten free!

In Beauty Point, there are two major attractions, the Platypus House and Sea Horse World.  We went to both and enjoyed the movies and guided tours.

At Platypus House we got to learn about Platypuses (not platypi) and echidnas (e kid nas).  These two very unique animals are the only two egg laying mammals in the world.  Both are quite shy.  It is not so rare to see echidnas, but seeing a platypus in the wild is much tougher.  We were very lucky to have seen one last week.

The male platypus has a poisonous spur on his back foot to kill prey to fend off predators.  It eats fish, worms, grubs, crawdads, anything it can find in the water and banks.

Poisonous Spur

The echidna has a spiny back similar to a porcupine, but does not lose its spines.  Echidna males also have spurs on their back feet, but they are not venomous.  It has a very long sticky tongue to help it find ants, termites, and little critters that live in holes.  Mating for echidnas, as one might imagine,  is tummy to tummy where there are no prickly spines to contend with.  Baby echnidas (puggles) once they hatch in their mother's pouch do not develop their spines until they are ready to leave the pouch.

Neither the platypus or echidna have teats for their young.  They have skin patches that secrete milk that is lapped up rather than suckled off.

Notice his tongue

Hey Buddy!  That's My Foot Your Stepping On.
 When we were done learning about our furry friends, we went next door to:

A marine biologist operates SeaHorse World to breed tropical fish and seahorses and sea dragons from Australia to zoos and aquariums around the world.  These are fascinating creatures.  The males actually incubate and deliver the babies.

The baby white seahorse is no bigger than a sliver of finger nail.

A Swarm of Sea Horses
 My favorites are the leafy sea dragons.  Both the horses and the dragons have the ability to change their coloring to camouflage with their environment.

Give me a break.  It's hard to be just a fish!
It's count down time.  Only four more days in Tasmania then back to Melbourne, but before we go back to the mainland, we have one more stop where the animals are plentiful.  It's very educational to see these animals up close, but just like Port Arthur, it's a bit depressing to think about these beautiful and exotic creatures living in captivity.  We hope in our last post in Tasmania to show you some wombats.

All is Well with the 2 Land Travel R's in Waltzing Matilda.