Huon Valley

Tasmania Take 2 Tour: Day 21

Thursday January 24, 2019

Cockle Creek to Hobart

It was such a beautiful evening yesterday, we had thoughts of maybe staying another day. We woke this morning to cloudy skies, windchop on the water and strong smell of fire.

With warmer weather predicted for today and particularly tomorrow we thought it wiser to get to the city and stay there till the heat wave passes. We left early and were just about the only car on the road. Cockle Creek is the southernmost settlement in Australia. Although to call it a settlement now is an overstatement. A collection of fishing shacks, a campground and a boatramp is it. A Park ranger station staffed by volunteers overseas the management of the site. This year the volunteers were a couple who could not have been further from home, with one hailing from Massachusetts and the other from Pennsylvania. I guess they’ve travelled to the end of the earth.

It was so quite on the narrow dirt road heading out, Hammer stopped a few times so I could take photos of Recherche Bay and the sun trying to break through the clouds.

The first large town heading north was Geeveston. We stopped for breakfast and were going to walk around but the smoke from the wildfires was so thick it made it difficult to breathe. We got a coffee and got out of there. Later in the day we heard on the radio that the residents of Geeveston and a few other towns to the north were advised to evacuate the town this afternoon due to an approaching firefront. By the afternoon, the fire was less then 2 kilometres from town.

We stopped for breakfast further north at Huonville. Fire fighting helicopters buzzed overhead trailing water buckets. We were beginning to more fully appreciate the extent of the wildfires this season. It seemed a repeat of the catastrophic 2016 fires. It added to our sense of urgency to get out of this area, since we did not have to be there.

We made our way to Hobart following the beautiful Huon River all the way around its banks to its junction with the Derwent River. It is such a beautiful area we want to come back and explore it more fully, without a smoky haze clouding the surrounding hills.

Once we were in downtown Hobart you wouldn’t even know there were fires burning, the sky was clear of smoke.

It was nice to be back in town to rest and sit out the predicted scorching weather tomorrow when its predicted to get to 37°C. We cleaned up and went to dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant in Battery Point. The good, the bad and the ugly of the South Coast Track was a distant memory. As were the numerous wildfires burning across the island.