Our time in "heaven on earth" (Tasmania) has come to a close. We took a two-week vacation to savor one last look around the island community and reveled in the lavender fields of Bridestowe. If you thought that lavender grew only in France, you have not seen this! After a walk through the acres and acres of violet, nothing tops the day like a lavender ice cream cone and a slice of lavender chocolate cake.
The rainforest timber of Tasmania was on display in the 600 strong wooden boats shown at the festival in Hobart - and on our road trip through their original forest homes. A 12 km, four-hour kayak trip down the Pieman River was enough to remind us of our age as we came upon ocean waves in the last hour! Here’s a great
8-minute video tour of the area, or check out the YouTube video here.
Wet and frozen, we accepted a tow to complete the last kilometer. We looked high and low for animals, and came across echidnas, sea eagles and wallabies in the wild. At the camp site, we were warned to take our hiking boots indoors lest the Tasmanian devils "have a feed". We took no chances.
This special area is in the protected Tarkine temperate rain forest. It's hard to imagine that dry Australia even has a rainforest! Our last adventure was climbing a striking extinct volcano called the "Nut", which overlooked the ocean and is blasted by winds from Antarctica. It is the closet port to the coast of South America, 12,500 miles away.
Kathy’s sister, Norey Starkey Reger (note the striking family resemblance) braved the long flight over the Pacific and spent a week on the East Coast beaches exploring and watching penguins. She also had a memorable sail of Freycinet National Park - a World Heritage Site on a peninsula of granite mountains that's all but surrounded by azure bays and white sandy beaches. Gorgeous!
An odd and unexpected find during our travels was the cultivation of poppies throughout the agricultural heartland. Tasmania grows 40% of the global production of medicinal painkillers (morphine). The fields are beautiful in full bloom, though the danger (the unrefined sap from opium poppies can kill) is clearly posted!
On our last night, we enjoyed dinner at a restaurant owned by chef "Starkey" (no relation).
We’re now back in the good ole US of A catching up with family and friends, but we head Down Under again soon. Australia here we come (again)!
Kathy and Molly
Dr. Kathy Starkey, an OB/GYN, and her partner, Molly Evans, have chosen locum tenens as a permanent lifestyle. Their adventures have taken them to New Zealand's North and South Islands, the Caymans,
Western Australia (twice) and the small Australian state of Tasmania. Their amazing travelogues grace this blog often. They're headed back to Australia soon. Watch for more from Kathy and Molly in future editions of Locums for a Small World.