A summer holiday in Tasmania, a large island state off the south-east coast of Australia, can present unique experiences. My first day in Tasmania, in middle of Australia’s usually hot and unbearable summer, presented one of these unique and somewhat surreal experiences. There was a cold front moving through the state as I headed, with a good friend, to the Central Plateau and the Great Lake and the lakes district. During the trip, up and over the West Tiers it was evident that we were missing the spectacular scenery of the sheer cliffs around us, which are a dominant feature of the Tiers, as the road was shrouded in low lying cloud and misty rain.
Forty five minutes from our destination we stopped at Pine Lake, a small alpine lake that provides a rare opportunity to see pencil pines, one of Tasmania’s rarest trees that are usually found in the deepest parts of Tasmania, along with a rich alpine habitat. As we stepped out of the car the wind whipped at our clothing, sending us to the back of the car to retrieve our raincoats.
Braving the elements, we headed off determined to explore the 400m return walk along a boardwalk, to the lakes edge. Not 50 metres along the boardwalk we were struck, not only by the sacred pencil pines, but the unique variety of flowering alpine plants around us. The Candle Heath were in full bloom, with lemon-scented Boronia, native Waratah, Billy Buttons and Cushion plants. The misty and rain seemed to bring out their colour against the start dark foliage of the pencil pines. Like any alpine area lichen hung off many of the branches and any that stood still like an old decaying row of fence posts.
Even though we were being buffeted by the wind, driving thick mist through the area and sporadic light rain showers, we still took on the weather with our cameras in hand. The juxtaposition of colour and the eerie mood the weather provided to just to delicious not to capture the memories.