Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Saturday 24 November 2012

Searching for Platypus - Great Short Walks in Tasmania, Australia

Below is an excerpt from my latest published article - "On the Trail for Platypus and Other Great Walks in Tasmania" - published in On The Road magazine, November 2012 edition.

Evidently convicts on notorious Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s wild west coast would sometimes eat platypus to supplement their meagre food supplies. Or so we were told when we visited Sarah Island on our Gordon River cruise. The story must have captured the imagination of our youngest son, as he still relates it to whoever will listen.

But walking along the Enchanted Walk at Cradle Mountain we were not searching for dinner.  We could have gone to a wildlife park to see the elusive platypus but looking for them in the wild was more of a challenge.  Stopping beside the river bank a sudden plop and a ripple of bubbles drew our attention.  Then another ripple as a furry head glistening with water emerged, and then disappeared again just as quickly. It was a platypus! He appeared again, snuffling around the edges of a fallen log with his sensitive bill.  We watched him as he swam upstream, surfacing and diving, finally disappearing under the far bank. Perhaps he had heard about convicts and platypus pie!

Enchanted Walk, Cradle Mountain - where we saw the platypus
Can you see the platypus?
The 20 minute circuit Enchanted Walk, is great for small children as it features child size walk through shelters along the way with drawings depicting animals, birds and plants. Wombats, Pademelons and Bennetts Wallabies are often seen along this walk. 

It was October and the Enchanted Walk is one of the many walks available in the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage area.  It is also just one of the 60 walks outlined in the booklet 60 Great Short Walks Tasmania. These walks bring Tasmania’s natural beauty within reach of just about anyone, especially families, or if like us you are limited by a two week holiday time constraint. We had travelled across Australia to Tasmania, and it was our first visit to this beautiful island state and we wanted to see as much as we could.
View from Cape Tourville
Tasmania is overflowing with natural beauty. Packed into its compact size you can experience a diversity of unspoiled habitats and ecosystems, pristine wilderness areas, dense cool climate rain forests, towering waterfalls, 2000 year old trees, thundering rivers, alpine snow covered mountains, windswept rocky cliff faces, sheltered beaches, unique wildlife, beautiful wildflowers, and stunning views.  Added to this is enough history to leave a history buff swooning.

Huge log bridge and tree ferns in the Sandspit Forest Reserve
For the bush walking enthusiast, Tasmania boats over 2000 kilometres of major walking tracks, 19 national parks, over 400 reserves, 1.5 million hectares of forest and 7 marine reserves along its 5,400 kilometres coastline.  Walks for the more adventurous include the 5-7 day Overland Track from Cradle Valley to Lake St Clair, and the 2-3 day circuit of the Freycinet Peninsular National Park.

St Columbia, Nelson & Hogarth Falls are only a short walk away
A good place to start your planning is by visiting a Tasmanian Visitor Information Centre for information on walks and to collect a copy of 60 Great Short Walks Tasmania. This excellent booklet outlines 60 walks, ranging from only ten minutes to eight hours. The booklet gives a short description of the walks, how to get there, whether the roads are sealed or unsealed, estimated walking return time, facilities, whether fees are payable, degree of difficulty, recommended clothing and any hazards.

For us Western Australians, this was the first time we had ever see snow, so we were happy to go walking in it! Although our son didn't think so!

Walking in snow at Cradle Mountain's Dove Lake
On our two week trip around Tasmania we did a number of short walks which added significantly to our enjoyment of Tasmania, took us to some wonderful places and gave us a welcome break from driving.  There is something special about walking along a quiet forest path immersed in its natural beauty and sounds.

The tulip fields at Table Cape were a feast for the eyes. Such dazzling display of colour I had never experienced before.  To see them you need to visit in October. 

The dazzling tulip fields at Table Cape, Wynyard

Of course a trip to Tasmania will invariably include history. Driving down the centre will take you to the colonial towns of Campbell Town, Ross, Oatlands and Richmond, whilst a day trip from Hobart will take you to Port Arthur.  But with so much history on show, that will have to be another story. 

Some history is curious - like the convict built "Spikey Bridge". Popular history says the bridge was built after Irishman Edward Shaw of Redbanks gave his friend Major de Gillern, Superintendent of Rocky Hills Probabtion Station, a ride home one night after a game of piquet. Shaw had repeatedly requested that improvements be made to the road between Swansea and Little Swanport, particularly the steep gully south of Swansea. His requests had evidently fallen on deaf ears and to prove his point Shaw drove his gig and his passenger, the Major, through the gully at full gallop. It must have been a thoroughly unpleaant trip because the bridge was erected shortly afterwards. The mystery is why the parapet was constructed using hundreds of jagged local fieldstones vertically stood on end. 

Please see On The Road magazine January 2013 edition to read the rest of the story. 

Tasmania has so much to offer the visitor - bushwalks, snow covered mountains, wilderness areas, dramatic coastlines, history and heritage, galleries, museums, wineries and gardens.  Make sure when you visit you take a short walk to some of them.  

and of course there are wildflowers! -
Alpine wildflowers at Cradle Mountain

To learn more about Great Short Walks in Tasmania, and to read the rest of this article please go to - "On the Trail for Platypus and Other Great Walks in Tasmania" - published in On The Road magazine, November 2012 edition.

Useful references: please click on the links -

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service:  Tasmania National Parks
“Tasmania’s National Parks & Reserves” and “60 Great Short Walks Tasmania” booklets – go to the link, then click on the “Recreation” tab, and then “Great Walks”.

Tourism Tasmania – Discover Tasmania

Great Walks Tasmania - Great Walks Tasmania

You might also like - Walking the Capes, Western Australia

I am joining Mary and the other wonderful photographers from around the world at Mosaic Monday at Little Red House - please click on the link here to go there - Mosaic Monday