A Travellerspoint blog

A Last Few Days


During our last few days in Australia, amidst the ongoing news reports on the fire devastation, was some early coverage of a new virus afflicting people in one city in China. I remember thinking that I was glad we would be flying home soon in case things got crazy. Well, crazy they have got and those seem like halcyon days pre-Covid-19 when you didn’t survey every surface with suspicion or feel like you might be risking public stoning by emitting a cough or sneeze. We are happy to just be at home, with no future trip plans to fret about and are still enjoying our recent memories of a lovely and interesting adventure to Australia and Tasmania amidst the angst and dread of this present time. So it’s time to wrap this trip blog up.

Checked out of our Hobart hotel, we had a lovely early breakfast at the sweetest cafe on the harbour front. We then drove to the airport and deposited our rental car, flew to Sydney and then took the train south to Wollongong. It was lovely to see our Aussie family again.


Joanne had everyone over for a pizza night. Keith, our late brother-in-law had built a beautiful pizza oven a few years ago and it was amazing to see it in action. We were also glad to see good friends of Joanne’s, Jenny, her sister Judy and husband John, who we met on our previous visit. John and Judy’s house was in one of the burned out neighborhoods down the coast bur escaped destruction. A metal shed however where they stashed their important documents and treasured stuff before evacuating burned as it had a wood floor. Such irony. If they had left theses things in the house, they would have survived, but who knew.

One of the trips we had hoped to make while in Australia was to Stewart’s Crossing, a favorite remote camping spot for the David family and where our brother-in-law, Keith’s ashes were scattered and a memorial plaque installed. So we headed off for an all day expedition and a stunning drive south and inland. Before long we were driving through miles and miles of burned out forest, a lot of it national park. A strange and eerie beauty prevailed. Blackened twisted trees as far as the eye could see; then swathes of black and gold where leaves still remained on trees but had all been singed and burned. Sometimes in the rural landscape, there was a house or a little further along, what was left of a house. We’ve all heard how wildfire can skip over or around a structure or an area. It was very strange to see this. We passed some crews working on clearing trees by the roadside but the roads was completely clear. We could only imagine the apocalyptic scene of only a week ago when the forest would have been engulfed by flames on both sides of the road.


We met up with more of the family at a rural pub along the road: our nephew Jason, his fiancé Jess and dog, Turbo and nephew Taylor and his three boys and dog in other vehicles. Proceeding as a caravan, we came to a roadblock and discovered that although we were only about a 10 minute drive from Stewart’s Crossing, our destination, we would not be able to go any further. A wooden bridge over the river had just been determined to be in danger of collapsing due to fire damage. So with great disappointment, we all turned around and Tyler led our little group to a spot on the river where we set-up a day camp and spent the rest of the afternoon eating our picnic lunch and swimming in the river.


On the way home, we stopped at a National Forest viewpoint where normally a big waterfall would be cascading down a rock bluff. Nothing. A dramatic sign of just how dry everything was. And the “view’ from this high point of land was sobering - incinerated forest to the horizon and such quiet. Not a bird call or animal sound. Dead silence in a dead landscape.


The park notice boards somehow survived the inferno and almost in memorium, listed the indigenous animals and birds that would commonly have been found there. So sad. The bright spot was seemingly dead trees and cacti-like plants already showing new growth from the recent rains. But it will be a very long time before it is like it was, if ever.


The day we left for home was scorching - 39 degrees with a hot wind. It will be some time before we feel those temperatures again. And now of course we realize that it will be some time before we see our Australian family again or even perhaps travel anywhere again. It was a trip full of drama in so many ways. We had no idea what drama awaited us on our return.

Posted by Jenniferklm 22:33 Archived in Australia

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