Scott Sporleder makes a loop of the Australian island.
[Editor's note: Scott Sporleder was the first of many travel journalists to participate in the (closed beta) MatadorAccess program. When launched, this program will enable Matador to connect journalists with Destination Marketing Orgs (DMOs) and global PR firms, sending talented writers, photographers, and filmmakers on amazing trips all over the world. Scott was hosted by Discover Tasmania. Check out more of his Tasmania content on his Matador community page.]
I HAD BEEN COOPED UP in an airplane for 15 hours on my flight from the States to Australia — then during my layover I sat under a screen which for eight hours bathed me with the constant flickering glow of the arrival and departure of flights to other far-off lands. I capped it all off with another two-hour flight from Sydney to Hobart, the island’s capital.
By the time I strolled off that plane I was ready to be outside. Here’s what I found.
We drove down Mt. Wellington in the middle of the first leg of the "Tour of Tasmania," the annual premier international cycle race of the island. What started out as a hindrance in my mind -- being stuck on the mountain indefinitely -- turned out to be pretty cool.
A scheduled visit to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, where I had my first face-to-face encounter with the Tasmanian Devil, turned into an invitation to join Kyle, the sanctuary manager, and a few of his mates for dinner at a local pub.
On a Tasman Island Adventure Cruise, which skirted along the southern tip of Tasmania, we had dolphins accompanying us for a good portion of the ride, along with Australian fur seals, many species of birds, and -- for our lucky captain Ben -- a humpback whale. He spotted it but it dove before the rest of us could.
The constant battering of the sea against areas like Cape Pillar have left nearly 300 meter high cliffs. It reminded me of a scene out of Jurassic Park, the kind of coastline that only a set designer could dream up.
The Nut, Stanley
The Nut, a volcanic table formation, rises over the beach town of Stanley.
Cradle Mountain National Park
Cradle Mountain is Tasmania's most famous national park. With its high number of bush walks and various nature escapes, it's a great place to spend a weekend.
Wombat at Ronny Creek
In Cradle Mountain, I saw a wombat and its joey feeding on button grass on the Ronny Creek walk.
Reflections on Gordon River
On a cruise down the Gordon River, the water was so still that it mirrored a perfect reflection of the surrounding Huon pine trees.
Down river from Tarraleah Falls
A place like Tarraleah might be small and there might not be a whole lot to do, but it offers up a chance to see how things were, how Tasmanians lived half a decade ago, and how much hard work has gone into making Tasmania the way it is today.
Since graduating from San Diego State University, Scott has dedicated 3 months a year to travel and photographing the world's unique cultures. While not on the road, you can visit Scott every summer at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. You can also view his travel photography at ScottSporleder.com.