My turn to shine! Sharla has (thankfully) been the master-mind and production staff one and all for the BLOG. That is good for me and for anyone who might happen to read it, but today is my turn. Tasmania, Australia as I have noted in emails to family is indeed a beautiful place. It is very much like a mountain hike, and you are nearing what appears to be the top of one of the most beautiful places you have ever seen. Of course when you arrive at that point, before you is one even more beautiful mountain to climb. This is an island of endless pastures, hills, amazing trees and vegetation, rivers, valleys, towns, dairy and beef cattle, sheep of every breed, along with an amazing variety of crops, including poppy's grown commercially for legal pharmaceutical uses. Wallabies, platypus, wombats, Tasmanian Devils, birds of every variety fill the forests, and unfortunately provide the greatest amount and assortment of road kill I have ever seen. It is a state of raw beauty and endless wonder.
We took advantage of our assignment to inspect missionary flats in Hobart, to drive the scenic route through Scottsdale, St. Helens, and along the eastern coast of Tasmania. Binalong Bay has white sandy beaches.
This looks like Old Faithful erupting, but instead is a blow hole, that spews ocean water high into the sky when the waves crash against the rocks.
The Bay of Fires has giant granite boulders, kelp forests, and underwater caves.
This is another bridge built by convicts. The vertical rocks were placed along both sides of the bridge to keep cattle and sheep from falling into the ravine below.
Another convict built bridge that has become part of the road base for the current modern highway
This recently constructed dam was built to regulate the flow of the Meander River. Record breaking rain caused the water in the dam to rise 30 - 40 feet from our visit just a few weeks earlier.
Max came home from his morning walk and complained that this Plover had swooped at him again and again. They are very protective of their young, and have sharp, yellow, black-tipped spurs on each wing, said by some people to be poisonous.
Two beautiful black swans built their nest in the brush just a few feet off the Meander River Trail. We loved watching them build and maintain their nest, and one morning I was lucky enough to see them exchange "nest sitting." We were so sad one morning to see the nest empty and the swans swimming in the river nearby. We think an animal or scumbag, to quote a local, drove the swans from the nest and ate or destroyed the eggs.
We love feeding the missionaries every chance we get and seldom have left-overs. Seated from left to right: Elders Hurt, Hosman,Whitehead, Garrett, Urry, Sargeant, Wood, and Clark.
Quamby Bluff has beckoned to us since the day we arrived in Deloraine. One fine P.Day, we decided to hike to the top.
The trail was pretty much a mystery, but occasionally markers were tied or nailed to trees indicating which way to go in this dense forest.
We were totally alone, miles from nowhere in the bush, and Max spotted this ominous sign on the rock, formed by moss and algae. Creepy, huh?!
After about an hour of hiking, we came to this boulder field. We decided to not risk life or limb, and gave up on our summit attempt.
Every little town is famous for something, and Westbury has "Pearns Steam and Tractor Museum," featuring over 200 major steam engines, tractors, and other machinery used in farming. We aren't as old as this old steam engine, but unfortunately remembered farming with some of the old tractors on display.
McDonalds were visiting from Hobart, and since it was pouring rain outside, we spent a lot of time in the museum.
Who's driving this old fire engine?
Cataract Gorge was flooded from the heavy rainfall, completely submerging the footpath to the suspension bridge.
Peacocks strut their stuff on the grounds around Cataract Gorge.
Our first Zone Conference with President and Sister Maxwell. The Relief Society from the Launceston Stake really put on a feast for the missionaries.
The Tasmania Zone is composed of 16 missionaries, including two senior couples.
If you're tired of Ragnars, ultra-marathons, and iron man triathlons, here's a new adventure for you.
Platypus in a tank at the Platypus House in Beauty Point.
This echidna is looking for bugs in the rocks and leaves.
Max insisted I take a picture of this poor wombat roadkill.
Can you tell we love the beaches? This coastline view is from an overlook at Narawntapu National Park.
The Tamar River taken from Batman Bridge
Batman Bridge over the Tamar River
The hillsides are splendidly dressed in the yellow blossoms from the Wattyl trees.
Boys never grow out of their love for trains. This steam engine is at a park near the Meander River in Deloraine.
Malua, the most versatile Australian thoroughbred racehorse in history is Deloraines claim to fame, winning many races, including the Melbourne Cup in 1884.
These birds are a common sight in the trees by the Meander River. They are actually pure white but the rainbow in the background caused a pink hue.
Our swan pair seem to be looking towards their nest, wondering what happened to their posterity.
It must be time for another transfer, because Max finally not only saw platypus in the Meander River, but was able to take this excellent photo of one coming up for air. Many Australians have never seen platypus in the wild, so this was a reason to celebrate.