When we walk slowly, the world can fully appear. Not only are the creatures not frightened away by our haste or aggression, but the fine detail of fern and flower, or devastation and disruption, becomes visible. Many of us hurry along because we do not want to see what is really going on in and around us. We are afraid to let our senses touch the body of suffering or the body of beauty
As you might be aware, our family is currently roaming around Tasmania, where my husband was not only born and bred but has family ties going back as far as 1828. Indeed, all branches of his family go back to early settlement and it’s probably just as well that he married a “mainlander”.
I don’t know what your approach is to exploring a new place. However, to really get a feel for the place, I always like to get out on foot and explore as well as asking the locals about secret nooks and crannies.
This is how I found out about Ferndene.
While we were onboard the Spirit of Tasmania (the ferry running between Mebourne on the Australian mainland and Devonport, Tasmania), I asked Tasmanian staff onboard for their recommendations.
This is what saw us driving up and down Ironcliffe Road, Penguin searching for a spot where it’s only a 20 second walk from the car, to see giant tree ferns.
The only trouble was that it took us a lot longer than 30 seconds to actually locate Ferndene, which I guess can be quite a problem with these sights off the beaten track…a complication of the “road less travelled”.
While the tourist office told us this park was called Ferndene, we had some trouble finding it and had to make further inquiries and return the next day.
These tree ferns, by the way, are so big the Tasmanians call them “man ferns”. Indeed, they are the size of a man.
I was quite keen to chase after these tree ferns when I heard about them because and Geoff always associates them with “home”. He also tells me that Tasmanian tree ferns are a different species to those on the mainland, which aren’t quite the same (or is that a nothing like the original??)
Anyway, we finally found Ferndene and opted to go on what was sign posted as a 30 minute walk, although that doesn’t take into account numerous photo stops or jaw dropping gasps staring up through the fronds into the sun drenched sky.
The track which does have some ups and downs and requires some level of fitness, takes you through towering fern and eucalypt canopies, past a tea-tree stained creek and onto an abandoned iron mine.
Along the way, we also encountered an unidentified species of local dragon, which could well be a more extroverted relative of the “Nessy’s” (the famed Loch Ness Monster). Friendly, its apparently featuring in an amateur film.
Anyway, I’m going to keep this trip short and sweet and please forgive the rush. We’re now in Hobart about a week down the track. It’s been very difficult to get any writing time and Internet connections have been very slow.
Take care & best wishes,