October 24, 2005

Tasmanian Timber

Tasmania is a place where people take the time to enjoy the passing of time. Wew spent a breif weekend enjoying the food, the views, and the trail of lovely old wooden boats.

The great surprise of travelling around Tasmania is the ease and speed you can travel from one place to another. Having stepped off a flight to Hobart i took little over an hour to collect a hire-car and arrive in the small town of Triabunna. I felt like I had left my world beind entirely, finding myself immersed in this small village and it's little fleet of fishing boats.

With the help of a local boat builder I learned a few things about cray fishing and some of the reasons a man chooses to spend days at sea alone. In the same way I flew to Tasmania to escape the city, these fishermen motor out to sea and enjoy some quality time alone. Driving further north you can quickly find yourself along the Great Oyster Bay and the magnificent Freyicnet National Park. It's all too easy.

The next day I collected my other half in Hobart. Breakfast was a definite highlight when we ventured down to Elizabeth St Pier and enjoyed a little cafe indulgence. The view of the warfes and coves was almost matched by the cosmopolitan cuisine - some brilliant winter sunshine giving the scenery top marks on the day.

With little fuss we managed to navigate south to the town of Franklin, a town on the shores of the Huon River where the community celebrates the tradition of timber boats. Franklin is home to the Wooden Boat School. The foreshore is a serene environment to promote the education of things wooden, and travellers to the Huon Valley are encouraged learn a little about the heritage and skill of the timber boat builders craft.

One of the students who currently attends the school was indeed himself a traveller on holiday, just passing through. Kelvin Aldred was so impressed with the centre that he decided on a career change, coming back a year later to begin work on a a yacht. When she launches this December he will be 57. It seems that time moves gently in Tasmania, and age is no barrier to acheivement.

We time the journey onwards in minutes not hours. Heading back across the other side of the Huon River we journey to Kettering. The picturesque nature of this village preceeds itself but I was still taken with silence when I saw for myself what charm she holds. The hillsides ease gently down towards the shore and embrace the village and the various little bays with their yachts in the water.

Several places of exceptional note offer views of the area and neighbouring Bruny island. High quality food and some of Australia's best wines are on offer here too. If there's one thing Tasmania does well it's combine sights and delights.

As the day drew near we knew we had to head closer to Hobart and our awaiting flight home, but there are some places you visit that you know you will return to. Tasmania is special that way.

Wooden Boat Centre

Kettering in The Age Travel Guide

Wine Glass Bay at Freyicnet National Park

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