Thursday, May 01, 2008

Day 3 - Bay of Fires

This, is the purpose of our trip.

The most well kept secret of Tasmania, Bay of Fires.

To say that its beauty is overwhelming, is an understatement. I was dumbfounded by the serenity and the stunning view during my first visit in 2001. It's an experience that you will never forget, and continue to reminisce long after. Bee's heard me singing praises about this hidden gem for years, and now, he finally got to see it for himself.

The day started off with absolutely beautiful weather. Whilst others woke up early to steal the day; Bee and I, in the true spirit of lazy Bees, were the last to check out of our villa.

We went into town to stock up on snacks for the journey and to find a pair of sneakers for me. I nearly slipped a couple of times yesterday at Lilydale Falls wearing my Witchery flats, which were most likely only designed for properly paved paths.

"Why did you bring heels instead of sneakers to Tasmania?" Bee laughed when he saw my luggage.

"Because I'm an air-headed city chick!" I shamelessly proclaimed.

So I picked up a pair of cheap Roxy walking shoes from a surf shop. They were a tad too big, but the lady was nice enough to throw in a pair of socks for me so they'll fit better. Don't you just love the friendly and helpful Tasmanians?

As we headed north-east of St Helens, we took a wrong turn and lost our way into the forest conservation area. We were stuck in the maze for trees for at least a whole hour! Thank God, by sheer dumb luck, we managed to find our way back to the beach. Phew!

The Bay of Fires was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773 when he noticed numerous Aboriginal fires along the coast, which led him to believe that the country was densely populated. Driving along the coast to The Gardens, which was named by Lady Jane Franklin, one can't help but gasp at the picturesque view of the bay.

Stretching from Binalong Bay in the south to the lighthouse at Eddystone Point in the north, are 30 kilometers of pristine white sand beaches, crystal blue water, and lichen covered rocks that glow orange in the setting sun.

The red rocks

Overlooking the long stretch of white sand beach

The best part is, on most days, there will be no one else around and you have the long sweep of open beaches all to yourself. It's a purely magical experience to be sitting on the completely empty beach, taking in all the beauty at your own pace.

Words fail to describe the feeling, when you feel so close to the nature, and so far away from yourself.

Welcome to my beach

This photo doesn't do it any justice :(

We took our shoes off and lied down in the gentle sun.

The glorious white sand beach and crystalline turquoise ocean seemed to stretch on endlessly. With the oh-so-fine pure white sand between our toes and crisp wind in our hair, the world faded out and all our troubles suddenly seemed so far away.

You hear nothing but the soothing sound of the waves; you see nothing but the different shades of blue of the sky and the ocean. It's a truly calming and tranquil experience that completely relaxes you and makes you never wanna leave.

Our sneakers and wiggly toes

After we reluctantly bid the beach goodbye and vouched to come back soon, Bee and I headed west of St Helens to visit St Columba Falls, which we missed yesterday. At 90 meters high, they're among the state's highest falls.

I didn't object because it's only a 20-minutes walk from the car park to the lookout platform. Anything more than an hour is out of the question. Not a big fan of hiking, and forests give me the creeps. x_x

The falls could be seen from the road

View of the falls from the platform

We left St Columba Falls at 4pm, and decided that we should start heading to Hobart because it was gonna get dark soon. Once again, we had to skip all the other pit stops planned, including Elephant Pancakes near St Marys which I was so looking forward to try. Oh well, there's always next time huh?

The drive to Hobart took us nearly 4 hours, more than 3/4 of which was in pitch black again. The roads were wider this time, but the visibility was so low that we couldn't see beyond an arm's length. We were literally driving "in the dark". Boy were we glad whenever we saw the lights of any small town along the way.

Reached Hobart around 8pm, and we were both starving. Spent a fair bit of time looking for our motel in Berriedale, which I didn't expect to be so far away from the city.

After we finally checked in, we were too tired and hungry to go anywhere else, so we decided to have dinner in the lounge. The food wasn't too bad, or maybe we were just too hungry. The pumpkin soup was awesome as it warmed up our tummies instantly. My pork and Bee's steak were both slightly too dry, but the prawns and scallops were superb.

Satiated by the hearty meal, we retreated back to our room and jumped right into the shower. Then it's the usual for rest of the night - Austar! What do people do without TV in Tassie, seriously?

I leave you now with this album I found online. It shows much better quality photos on Bay of Fires.

Ciao, bellas!