Friday, March 13, 2009


Tazzie is, of course, one of the hundreds of islands surrounding Australia (the biggest island in the world). To get to the main land (locals call it the northern island), you can either fly or hop on the Spirit of Tasmania (overnight ferry).
We went to visit some friends in Healesville near Melbourne this weekend. The ferry departs from Devonport, which is on the Northern side of Taz, and we are South, so we first had to cross Tazzie on the back of our motorcycle. Wow, what a beautiful place we have moved to - check out some of the pics!
The ferry itself was quite an experience. The bikes and cars all line up after going through the checkpoints. The checkpoints and sniffer dogs are there to check for drugs (huge forests in Taz, many opportunities to grow weed unnoticed) as well as fresh meat, fruit etc. Tazzie is very strict about what enters the state, as there are no fruit flies and other pests here and they would like to keep it that way!
On Friday night there were many bikers on the ferry, so when they opened our lanes it was quite exciting to follow the 50-odd roaring Harleys into the ship (yes, the BM's were outnumbered). When I saw a BMW I walked up this guy with a big snor and started chatting to him. We decided to rather go and park next to him and 2 other BM's (Harley guys mos refuse to speak to non-Harley people, tsk tsk tsk). The snor guy turned out to be a fantastic guy, who was on a journey to commemorate his dad's death a year ago. His dad was well known, so it was a big rally. His 70 year old mom joined him on the back of the bike, how cool! He took us via his house for a "cuppa". His house is surrounded by thick forest, absolutely breathtaking! The pic below shows his lawn (the little brown spot on the left under the big fern tree being a wallaby that happened to drop by for breakfast).
In fact, large parts of Victoria looks like this. Absolutely lush, and so shocking to see the devastation of the fires. We had to obtain police clearance to go through to our friends' house near Healesville. Healsville is 16 kms from Kinglake, the town that was wiped out completely by the fires (they call it "Black Saturday").
All the properties are virtually completely surrounded by huge forests, so the fires spread rapidly and many people had no chance. Our friends had to evacuate 5 times, but the fire turned 200 metres from their home.
These picture were taken in the area around their home.
More about Melbourne later...

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