Hobart, Tasmania, is usually associated with great food, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race and MONA (the Museum of Modern and Old Art), which is rapidly approaching worldwide cult status. But after four professional Instagramers returned from a short trip to the area just south of Hobart, I came to really appreciate the powerful, wild, Jurassic nature of the terrain. Professional Instagrammers – Lauren Bath, Garry Norris, Jewels Lynch and Pauly Vella – from Australia were let loose to explore the wilderness that lies just a hop and a skip south of Hobart: the Tasman Peninsula and some of the islands, including Bruny Island. This is a Tasmania photography journey to remember.
David Walsh (creator of MONA) had it right when he envisioned a building to house his collection that “could sneak up on visitors rather than broadcast its presence”…A building that “would elicit a sense of danger to enliven the experience of viewing art”.
Indeed, descending practically into the earth’s core by following a ‘seemingly endless flight of stairs’ the visitor feels that powerful geological rawness that created Tasmania, as we know it today. The resulting images translate what geologists describe is what most of us will perceive as a foreign language.
The talented instagrammers brought to our screens living rock columns that thrust out of the churning ocean around them (they had a rough time getting their cameras steady from their boat); mysterious tessellated pavements at dawn; Avatar-like waterfalls and ancient forests which you can explore on foot or from an elevated canopy walkway. These amazing rock-scapes and Jurassic vegetation have a turbulent past.
Geologists describe the wrenching forces that separated Tasmania from Antarctica (100 million years ago) in terms of the earth’s crust tearing, plates colliding, faults that created valleys which later on were filled with hot liquid magma jettisoning from the earth’s inner core. And explain the big river systems that carried large loads of boulders, cobbles, gravel, sand and claythat wore down the mountains previously created by colossal retching of the earth. We can see the results now in these images.
Explosions, intrusions, stretching, squeezing and the folding of landmasses -as if they were dough- created arteries for lava to circulate like hot red blood.
Extrusions of molten rock squeezed out from below like toothpaste, solidified in the cold air and resulted in this extraordinary landscape of basalt and dolerite columns.
This tessellated pavement on the shores of Pirates Bay, Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula, is the result of more solidifying turmoil underneath but in shallow sheets.
Water, carrying abrasive sand circulates through the joints of these more or less regular rectangles, causing them to erode faster than the rest of the pavement, creating deep lines separating the blocks.
To catch them at their best you have to go be there before sunrise!
A Bruny Island sunset: idyllic, peaceful? Yes, but remember what lies beneath…
Tasmania’s diversity is mind boggling. In a relatively cold climate (a throw back to when Tasmania was con-joined to Antarctica) tree ferns and other semi-tropical plants are often dusted in snow. It is weird and very special.
An inhabitant of this cold and churning ocean takes a nap in a warm, dry rock shelter.
Dolphins frolic in the deep blue sea in happy pods.
All these marine sights can be captured from Rob Pennicott’s fast boat out of Hobart. Ready for ride on the wild side?
Ancient forests call to be explored on foot or perhaps like a bird would?
The Tahune Airwalk averages heights between 20-30metres above the forest floor, with the very last section, the cantilever, sitting at a height of 48 metres above the river.
The Eagle Hang Glider is a 250-metre cable glide over the Huon River reaching a maximum height of 50 metres and speeds of up to 40km/ph.
Are your bags packed already? Hop down to Tasmania and enjoy its wild side. After you are done and back in Hobart, a glass of top class local wine, a seafood dinner and a visit to MONA will make you want to linger here for a while… Trust me.
This is a travel diary of breathtaking instagram photos by Instagramers – Lauren Bath, Garry Norris, Jewels Lynch and Pauly Vella who were guests of Tourism Tasmania. Story by travel writer Maria Visconti.