Tassie Travels

Hey cHEwY gum gums

Last week I found myself in the Tasmanian Wilderness. I’ve visited Tassie many times but it was my first time I ever stayed in the North-West region, Circular Head. I stayed in Smithton, which is a nice small country town, home to two major supermarkets and the majestic Duck River. Just to show you how isolated I was, it was almost 70 minutes from the nearest Maccas or KFC in Burnie haha.

I was there as part of a three year writing program, funded by the Department of Education. I was the last of the author visits, following in the footsteps of Nova Weetman, Jane Godwin and George Ivanoff, just to name a few.

The smaller schools were amazing around the Circular Head cluster. They may be tiny, but each of those kids had plenty of heart and I had a lot of fun writing funny stuff with them. Of course, it was also a chance for me to notice how these rural kids behave at these schools. Little things like taking their muddy shoes off in class and being in their socks. How the canteen only functions once a week. And how relaxed they are when the school bell rings. There is no rush to class, from the students and teachers. It will all help me write up What About Thao, which is set in a fictional small country town.

The added bonus of long sunny days meant that I became a tourist as soon the school bell hit 3pm. I changed into my active gear and went bushwalking/running/exploring around forest treks, up a steep hill called the Nut, and last Thursday, went to the edge of the World near Arthur River. I could see South Africa from there (kinda haha).

I spent my days, chasing sunsets and then doing an hour of writing each night. I was thinking about my characters and stories when I was out exploring and taking shots for Instagram. In one case, I went to Sarah Anne Rocks because I was told it was an easy coastal walk. It was such a surreal experience to be walking on my own (being off-peak tourist season meant I was mostly by myself).

Another day, I went to the Dip Falls, an hour off the main highway. Following a paper map and brochure, it was worth the trek. These majestic water falls were gushing, after the recent rainfall. I had these falls all to myself, so I had no choice but to do a selfie (not my preferred technique but ah wells hehe)

The week flew by, and after a fun visit to Smithton High, I drove back to Devonport Airport to drop off the car and hop onto one of two planes home. It was a glorious suntastic afternoon, and I had some time to spare to grab a Cold Rock Ice Cream from Burnie and visit the Big Penguin at the cute seaside town, Penguin.

It’s weeks like this that make me grateful to be an author. I get to inspire a few kids, do some travelling and play some games at night. After ten years of travelling around Australia and Asia, the thrill of exploring new places will never fade,


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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