Chasing beauty

I’ve had the most glorious few days.

DD and I gave each other a quickie trip to Tassie for Christmas. We left on Wednesday afternoon and got back at lunchtime yesterday. It was short, but very, very sweet.

We’d have loved to stay longer, but there were practicalities such as dogs, children and budgets to consider. I thought four days would be a bit rushed, but it felt like we were away much longer (in a good way!).

There’s so much to tell you, I’ll have to break it up into three parts.

Today’s blog is about the two nights we spent in Freycinet.

We hooned down there from Launceston airport to a little cabin I’d booked perched beside the sea in a place called Rocky Hills.

It felt like we’d travelled to the end of the earth … and we sorta had. It was all stark rolling hills and endless sea and crashing waves. The nearest town was an unremarkable place called Swansea, where we went for an unremarkable dinner on that first night. I was desperate to try a famed Tasmanian scallop pie, so I ordered one at the Salt Shaker. It wasn’t too bad, I didn’t get to order another during our brief travels so I don’t have anything for comparison. DD was less impressed with his satay chicken. Must remember to stick to the classics. But the restaurant redeemed itself by having a balcony with a lovely sea view, where we sipped Tassie wine at dusk …

The next day we woke waaaaaay too early and clambered around the nearby hills, competing to take the best sunrise shot, then headed to a place called Coles Bay for a four-hour cruise around the Freycinet peninsula, which was fabulous. The scenery was stunning – pink granite mountains, white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. It also featured the most awesome moment of our Tasmanian adventure – when around 20 dolphins frolicked around our boat, surfing the waves beside us.

My experience in snapping skipping moves came in very handy as I tried to capture the split second when the pod would surface.

We also headed into the famous Wineglass Bay, which was soooooo beautiful. The sand was brilliantly white and the water was the most divine shade of aqua. Though it was a bit disturbing to hear why it was called Wineglass Bay. I thought it was due to the curved shape, but no. It’s because it looked like a glass of claret when blood from slaughtered whales filled it in the 1800s. Eeeek.

If we’d had more time, we’d have returned another day to bushwalk onto the beach – which features one of the most photographed views in Tassie (below) – so we could explore it more and take a dip in that beautiful sea.

On our way back to our Rocky Hills cabin, we stopped at a couple of vineyards, picking up a bottle of pink sparkling at Devil’s Corner (which we sipped later as we ate takeaway burgers by the bay) and admiring the view for a few minutes. It looked like a great lunch spot, with lots of picnic tables and food truck-like cafes featuring pizza, gelato and fish and chips, but we were still full from our ploughman’s lunch on the boat.

On impulse, after trying a nice Milton rose wine at dinner the night before, we dropped into Milton Vineyard, which had a cellar door in a lovely old wooden house on a little hill, overlooking a massive gum tree and dam.

We bought a couple of glasses of wine and half a dozen local oysters – which were one of our foodie highlights of the trip – and felt very lucky to have each other and the chance to enjoy such lovely moments together.

As we sat there sipping, I told DD I wanted to write a blog called “Chasing Beauty” because that’s what we tend to do, seek natural wonders and wildlife to admire and photograph together. DD didn’t think we chased beauty, he had another phrase for it that I’ve since forgotten. But he did agree he’s become a lot more obsessed with photographing the world around him since he met me.

While in Rocky Hills, DD became quite obsessed with snapping something called Spiky Bridge. We stopped to photograph it in the morning light, we stopped to snap it in late afternoon, we stopped to snap it at sunset. And from every angle imaginable.

I think he was eventually happy with his arty shot. You can see mine in the gallery below.

I’m not sure anyone quite knows why the bridge is spiky, it had something to do with stabilising it during convict construction, I think.

And then we were off on stage two of our adventure. I can’t say we were overly impressed by Swansea, especially not by the food, though the coffee and homemade raspberry muffins at the Artifakt Cafe were quite good and they did a decent burger at blue box on the side of the road. And all the restaurant-type places were VERY expensive, even the RSL.

But we would return to Freycinet in a heartbeat. It was fabulous. Put it on your bucket list, if you haven’t visited already.

Here are some happy snaps:

Song of the day: Enya “Orinoco Flow”



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