I forgot how beautiful silence is. What it’s like to sit and listen to absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until I left the city on Friday that I noticed the constant hum that follows you everywhere in Sydney. True silence is incredibly tranquil and sweetly deafening.
To celebrate the Australia Day long weekend Aaron and I left the ‘mainland’ and ventured south to Tasmania. We heard about Tassie’s elusive fresh produce, crystal beaches and crisp air, and wanted to see if the rumors were true.
Our destination was Coles Bay: a small town on the cusp of the Freycinet National Park on the eastern coast of the island state. Surrounded by wineries, spectacular scenery and seriously good food, it’s famous for it’s access to Wineglass Bay – one of the top ten beaches in the world.
Our trip started on Friday afternoon with a flight to Hobart. While our first night was a bit of fun (nothing outrageous to report) the real adventure started at 7am the next day when we hit the road. Once we started to get out of town (it takes about 30 minutes) we passed our first ‘pick-your-own’ farm – an apricot orchid. Already I was jumping out of my seat with excitement for what was to come.
Ten minutes later and we passed several more farms – oysters, walnuts and berries. A hour-and-a-half in and it felt like we were driving through Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand and rural NSW – all mixed into one. Around every turn there was another beautiful dam, bay, coastline or forest.
As we approached Coles Bay, slowly over the horizon three huge mountain peaks started to appear. As we drew closer the bay reappeared, only now it was towered by the mountains. The mountains are these giant, attention grabbing rock formations. They are incredibly picturesque particularly in the summer light.
It was so calm, yet so intensely majestic. The water was a dark, clear blue that lapped peacefully against the shore. The rocky mountain faces were etched with character. The rocks that led to the sand were bright red and the shoreline was frosted in green, Aussie bush. It was like something out of an old school painting.
As we pulled up to our house, which was directly opposite the bay, Aaron and I looked at each other and breathed a huge sigh (sounds so corny but it actually happened!). Coles Bay oozes this incredibly earthy, grounding feeling that resonated with us both – me because I’m slowly becoming this weird, earth-loving hippy-type and him because he’s a country boy from the NSW North Coast.
We spent the next few hours on a local food and wine tour – the highlight being the marine farm that was just down the road from where we’re staying. I got the freshest piece of salmon I’ve ever bought, and Aaron sampled the Oysters, which at $40 a dozen were the best he’s ever had.
When we got back we walked down to the bay. Aaron went for a swim, while I watched him navigate the rocks from the comfort of my picnic rug on the shore. It was here that the silence swept over me. I sat just listening and watching completely immersed in the peacefulness.
This joy was made even greater when we visited the local store only to find it stocked with an abundance of fresh Tassie fruit and veg produce. I got a bounty of avocados, sweet potatoes and veggies. I then picked lemons from the tree out front of our house to accompany dinner.
We settled in for the evening by opening up the bi-fold doors in our house on to our main deck that directly faces the bay and mountains. We fired up the barbie and turned on some of Vance Joy’s tunes. The sun showered us in warmth until just before 9pm.
Once the sun had fully set, the night sky lit up. The stars were so bright they caught my eye through our bedroom windows once we’d gone to bed. I woke Aaron and we went and stood on the balcony and star-gazed. The Milky Way illuminated the night sky. I’ve always shared that one of the best parts of my trip to the Maldives were the stars late at night – Tasmania is better.
This place is like a dreamland.
The following day we awoke to rain. We’d planned to go kayaking around the headlands, but the winds and sea picked up so much it wouldn’t have been any fun. The temperature had also dropped to a crisp 19 C.
We came back to our home and waited for the sun to appear. Around midday it did so we set off on our 2.5 hour hike to Wineglass Bay, which is neatly hidden on the other-side of the mountains that our house looks over.
After the first leg of the hike, we made it down to the beach and the shelly sand clung to our toes. The water was some of the bluest and clearest I’ve ever seen. Better than Croatia, and on par with the Maldives.
After walking the beach and soaking in its beauty, we started our hike back up the mountain. Just as we were mentally preparing ourselves for the 3km of steep hill climbing that was to come, the rain set in. Just before it reached us, we both stopped for a moment and listened to the bush. The smell of the rain haunted the air right before it hit. It was one of those dream-like moments that defines why Australian summers are so wonderful.
The temperature dropped to 16 C as we pushed up through the uneven rock face. It was cold but the heat that had built in our legs from the climb kept us warm until we reached the car.
As I’m writing this, it’s now 5.30pm on Sunday afternoon. I’m sitting rugged up on our (incredibly comfy) sofa with the doors to the balcony and bay wide open, typing away alone with my thoughts while listening to that silence again.
I think I found a slice of heaven on earth.
If you want to go somewhere that really reminds you of everything good in life – Coles Bay is my recommendation.
Disclaimer – I had to wait until I had better internet access to post this, so apologies for the delay. This post was written yesterday afternoon (Sunday the 25th of January 2015).
All scenery pics thanks to AtTheBay.com.au (our home for the trip).