Tasmanian encounter with… a possom!

Parce que le ridicule ne tue point, même quand on s’entend faire des commentaires débiles dans une vidéo. Bon c’était quand même hyper drôle sur le coup.

Normalement il faut les chasser, mais l’occasion était trop bonne pour moi comme pour lui, obviously. Bref!

Les possoms sont communs en Australie, même en ville (y’en a un qui vit dans le grenier et qui me réveille de temps en temps en pleine nuit lorsqu’il sort se balader sur les toits)

Ils mangent un peu de tout et surtout ce qu’ils ne sont pas sensés trouver dans la nature, d’où leur passion pour les poubelles citadines et les campeurs. Quand on mange devant sa tente, on peut s’attendre à les voir débarquer de nulle part à tout instant.

Un possom, ça ressemble à ça (désolée pour les photos pourries prises de nuit avec mon tel):

IMAG1902

Le fourbe!

Ils ont des griffes qui leur permettent d’être de supers grimpeurs:

IMAG1912

Brushtailed possom qu’on pourrait traduire par “possom à la queue touffue”? je crois…

IMAG1915

suspendu par les pattes arrières, trop facile!

Advertisements

Tasmanian adventures #2 – Cradle Mountain

The original idea of travelling to Tasmania was to hike the Overland Track, one the nicest week-long trek in the world. We had to postpone that as we didn’t have much time and wanted to see more of Tasmania, but we did spend a few days hiking up and down around there:

Cradle Mountain, from Dove lake

This part of Tasmania regularly gets covered by snow in the wintertime and the surrounding summits are usually comfortably snuggled in layers of clouds. But 52 days a year, the sky clears up totally allowing you to get a full view around the park. Randomly enough, that happened when we were there. Make sure to get maps from the Ranger Station, they’re cheap and very good.

map

Listed trails around Cradle Mountain

Living the campsite, we followed Lake Rodway up and around Little Horn to meet the Overland Track that we left straight away to hike up Cradle Mountain summit. It’s a really nice hike with diverse landscapes and varied trails.

_DSC4536

Root trail

There are some huts along the way that serve as emergency shelters. If you are hiking with all you gear you can leave them there while you do the summit hike. They often have (amazingly clean) pit toilets and some of them have huge (rain) water tanks, don’t forget to refill your bottles, it will be needed.

The Kitchen hut, by the junction of the Overland track and the Cradle Mountain summit.

The first part of the trail up the summit is quite pleasant, an easy trail going more and more uphill.

Almost there!

The trail disappear for the last bit (an long hour or so). Then it is basically hopping from one stone to anotheron the dolerite narrow ridge which is fun at the beginning but gets a bit tiring after a while. The closer the summit the more it becomes scrambling on boulders with some rock climbing parts. If you have vertigo you’re likely to have given up at this point. It was challenging but definitely worth it, as always:

Summit view towards the Barn Bluff

Summit view from Cradle Mountain, 1545m.

Going back to the campsite is mostly downhill, which doesn’t mean easier. The heat made the hike more difficult than expected on my side as I really don’t like hiking when it’s 25°-30°. The sun in that part of the world is different from Europe and I get sunburn even faster here, or so it seems.

Going around the mountain, that vegetation!

We follow the overland track south, which is a nice walk with stunning vistas of the side of Cradle Mountain with an ever-changing vegetation. The sun is setting while we’re walking down the other side of the mountain back to lake Rodway:

Sunset over birch trees

Back to the tent, a group of French people desperately try to connect with an Australian lady, as far as their English can go, that is to say not very far and understanding both sides of their conversations makes the whole scene pretty pathetic but anyway, I fall asleep quickly enough.

The next day, the temperature reaches 30° and above, so we decide to wait for the late afternoon to go for a sunset hike. It’s one of my favourite part of hiking, being able to read or write or do nothing in the middle of nowhere with no one around.

Last sunset in Cradle Mountain national park

We decide to leave the morning after for new adventures.

 

Tasmanian encounter with…an echidna!

P1240113

This is me being all fascinated by this little fellow, and it is NOT weird because they really are fascinating. Did you know that:

* They can live up to 50 years.

* They have a four-headed penis that is 7 cm long when erected (its shaft covered with penile pines) (and nope, didn’t see it).

* They are the only mamals that lay eggs (with the platypus). The egg hatches after 10 days and then the female echidna places the puggle (baby echidna) in her temporary pouch where it’ll grow for 2 to 3 months.

* They love munching ants

Look:

Check out their rear claws and how strangely they move around:

Come to Australia or New Guinea and you might get the chance to observe them.

Tasmanian adventures #1

Matt: “How about we go to Tasmania for your birthday?”

Me (checking a map and google image): “ok let’s go”

And off we were to Tasmania just a couple of weeks after I arrived down under. I could hardly explain how excited I was to leave for my first trip outside of Sydney (though it’s a lovely city), to a place where I read all snakes are venomous, leeches greedy, and four seasons could happen in one day. Amazing!

Tasmania is a relatively small island (300km north-south-east-west roughly) and half of the territory is protected areas. It’s also the southernmost place you can go to in Australia (yes, it is an Australian state). Once upon a time, it was attached to the mainland, and even before that, Antarctica. The island is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman decided to give it his name. Before Europeans moved in, it was inhabited by Tasmanian aborigines. I recommend you read the story of Truganini to be reminded of what human nature is about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truganini

We hadn’t planned much, but a bit more than usual as we only had ten days on the island. We had three goals: Spend a few days hiking around the Cradle Mountain national park, eat cheese and drink wine on Bruny Island, and check out the Wineglass bay at Freycinet national park.

We flew in to Launceston and as we love adventure and the public transportation is bad and expensive and there was no point to rent a car we wouldn’t use in days, we decided to hitch hike to Cradle Mountain.

I don’t think we were done lifting our thumbs when our first ride stopped, right outside of the airport. It was a lovely old lady who had just dropped off her friend on her way back to Melbourne. She was going to do the occasional shopping in town and left us where it would be convenient to be picked up for our destination.

First impressions: It’s all very dry and in the first 5 minutes we spotted 2 dead wallabies and a dead possum on the side of the road. It’s quite heart-breaking at first (yes, even for me) but you get pretty used to it as it’s all around the island. It’s sad but as locals say, at least it shows that there is wildlife around.

Our next ride, after about 2 minutes standing by the road, was with a nice old couple driving around probably just for the sake of it. After telling us all about their son in Japan and making me repeat 3 times everything I said, they dropped us in the tiny town of Deloraine. It was time for coffee and breakfast before carrying on. Our next ride would be in an empty bus (with air con which was welcome that day it was close to 30°C) going back to the depot at Mole Creek, aka creepy puppets village. From there, a French girl (yes I know they’re fucking everywhere) took us close to the park where our final ride was waiting for us, a young couple from Queensland who happened to have been sitting next to us back in the café in Deloraine (yes, tiny island).

It was around 4.30pm when we got to the entrance of Cradle Mountain National park. we bought our passes and started hiking to the Scott Kilvert memorial hut where we arrived 3 hours later. Matt made dinner while I pitched the tent and off to bed we went as the day had been quite long and the next one promised to be full of adventures…

The joy of hitch hiking and ending up in the middle of nowhere…Here in Mole Creek, creepy village full of this sort of puppets-plants. Alright…