OK, so maybe it isn’t, but you know the drill around here. Jake’s book said that the area was one of the best on the island, but we all agreed that Binalong Bay (near the Bay of Fires) was far superior. But of course keep in mind the weather considerable improved when we arrived at the latter, instead of the opposite at Cockle Creek.
That morning in Hobart was the best any of us had seen in a week. The sun broke through the window, obliterating any memory of the overcast, rainy and miserable mornings that had followed us along the east coast of the island. Following our own common sense and the advice of Jan, the hostel owner, we headed straight for Mt. Wellington and saw some spectacular views of Hobart, Kingston, Glenorchy and all the peninsulas, islands and mountains that surround them.
After picking up supplies and grabbing lunch in Kingston, we set upon the Channel Highway to see the amazing views Jan had described to us. Passing along the coast of the southern most point of Tassie, along the Huon River, we did in fact experience an amazing drive. The coastline was beautiful, only equaled by the rolling hills of farmland beside it, and the near-perfect sky above.
Steffen and I would gasp as Sheila powered over a hill and a small bay fell forward in front of us, glittering in the sunlight and dotted with small fishing boats.
We were determined to reach Cockle Creek, and in Dover we stopped for milk, candy and beer (the essentials). The path to CC from there was unsealed, so it took quite some time to arrive at the quite bay. The sign entering the area said “Cockle Creek Population 3”. ‘Nuff said.
We drove into the National Park area and found a site which Ben deemed acceptable after a quick reconnaisance mission. We set up camp, then set up the stove to cook our sausage-and-onion in a bun dinner with a side of Victoria Bitter. Like Friendly Beach, the wallabies at Cockle Creek were fearless, coming as close as about 3-4 feet away just to get a bit of the onions that Jake had tossed out.
I was standing in a tight circle with the boys, swapping pub stories, advising on future plans and reliving past destinations. We talked about Ben at a bar in Brume called Tokyo Joe’s where television screens on the wall showed hardcore pornography and Jake’s hostel-mate getting a tattoo of “Ross Gaylor Is Gay” (Ross was another friend) across the right side of his chest towards his sternum. The best place to stay in Thailand and Bali. A comparison of the Great Ocean Road connecting Melbourne to Adelaid along the southern coast to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel Highway by which we had just arrived. Steffen’s two weeks of mayhem in Ibiza, where the door cover was 50 euros and cocktails were 36. Thai island getaways where private villas with hammocks, patios and gorgeous views were $4 per night. How Steffen had confidently told us the afternoon before that the hostel provided a free breakfast, then had gone into the hostel later and asked the owner at what time it was available, only to be answered with “What Breakfast?”
And, of course, the Tasmanian Tiger and Devil. We still hadn’t seen either … yet.
(Jake and Ben try to set up one of those artsy “empty canoe on beach” shots)
At about 11:45, only 15 minutes before the supposed “Devil Hour” — the hour between 12 and 1 when the Tasmanian Devil is said to make it’s appearance — we decided to hit the sack. Only a few hours later I was awoken by the animals outside our tents having a go at our garbage bags. They actually sounded a lot like we did: bottles clinking, feet shuffling and the plastic bags rustling.
The night was only mildly comfortable, the sole benefit being a tuft of grass I had placed my tent over. It afforded me the now-luxury of sleeping on my side without waking up with bruised hips. But only my left side, let’s not get greedy here.
Stay tuned for our hike down the South Coast Track to the South Cape, a 15K, 4-hour return hike that takes you the closest point between Australia and Antarctica, and later the mid-western part of Tassie that is supposed to be offer some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.