of the Royal Caribbean company moored nearby. Tasmania is one of the few islands really perceived as the island. The image of the cities built along the coast and beaten by storm defines the sea. Their history is full of tragedies. It is closely connected with the trade of whales and seals, and with cargo shipping. This state has the isolated position as it is nearly 200 miles away from the Australian continent.
Tasmania has two faces. One of them is a gloomy melancholic Tasmania with the piling up mountains, rainforests, and sandstone ruins which have remained since cruel colonial times. The other Tasmania, existing side by side with the first one, is very cheerful. These are graceful English villages with grazing sheep, desert roads, and apple orchards.
During today's excursion, we will probably see both of these faces: gloomy, a little melancholic nature reminding of the past, and enjoy a good quiet day of this remote Australian state. In general, I had to make the most difficult choice on what tours to take. I was choosing between a trip to Port Arthur and a Tasmania tour. Port Arthur is located on the peninsula where a horrific prison was located in 1832-1877. All the casemates and other fortifications have remained to this day. Having visited Port Arthur in 1890 during the round-the-world travel, Mark Twain wrote that "there are no rules here as though heaven and hell have mixed up". During Tasmania tour, one can visit a very interesting national park, get acquainted with the fauna of Tasmania, and visit one of the local farms. It is not that easy to choose between so versatile and equally interesting options on the first day of the cruise. It is also better not to delay tour purchases because the most interesting tours get booked quickly. I chose the second option and decided to visit the prison next time.
We get on the bus, let's go!
First, the road goes up the valley of the river Derwent flowing into the Tasman Sea near Hobart. In the lower part, the river forms a long estuary. A draw bridge of a vertical lift design is built over it. I wonder what fleet operates in the lower downstream of the river.
For about an hour the bus goes up the valley of the river Derwent. Then the route moves away from the water flow.
The first stop is near a small open-air zoo where we will get acquainted with some interesting representatives of local fauna.
A very talkative cockatoo joyfully welcomes tourists. It is a pity that true enthusiasts don't get here often: they would quickly teach the birds all the "necessary" words!
The majority of the zoo animals lives on the huge fenced sites of the wild nature. In fact, it doesn't even look like the zoo.
I will tell you about the next animal, "Tasmanian devil", in more detail. A marsupial or Tasmanian devil is a mammal of the family of carnivorous marsupial. Its black coloring, huge mouth with sharp teeth, ominous night screams, and furious temper have given the first European settlers the grounds to nickname this predator "a devil". A Tasmanian devil is the largest of modern marsupial predators. This dense and stocky animal of the size of a small dog has a heavy constitution and dark coloring that resembles a tiny bear. Now the marsupial devil is found only on the island of Tasmania though earlier it inhabited continental Australia too. From the continent, it disappeared about 600 years ago (400 years before the appearance of the first Europeans in Australia). Allegedly, it was forced out and exterminated by the dingo dogs brought by natives. In Tasmania, the European settlers also ruthlessly exterminated marsupial devils because they ruined chicken coops. As a result, in the process of the island development, a marsupial devil receded farther to the forests and mountainous areas of Tasmania, and the population of them also steadily reduced in 1941 when hunting wasn't officially forbidden. Now Tasmanian devils are common in the central, northern and western parts of the island, in the territories allocated for sheep pastures and also in national parks of Tasmania.
Despite the name, those devils were quite peaceful and charming.
Kangaroos are examining visitors with curiosity from far away.
This opossum also wants communication with tourists in between eating a carrot.
The wombat is another interesting creature living in this country. The wombat belongs to the family of the quadrupedal marsupials. They are herbivores who dig holes and look like little bears.
At last, an incredibly charming koala who made all tourists fall in love with it. You can even pet this teddy bear!
Meanwhile, the cockatoo continues to preach something in English…
Given him enough attention, we go to get acquainted with ostriches:
There's a branch of a narrow-gauge railroad near the zoo which couldn't compete with the automobile industry and has been closed for several decades.