It was mid-late March 2020, the beginning of Autumn, only a few days before Tasmanian borders were shut in the wake of the global pandemic. With few other tourists around, we found ourselves discovering the remote island of Tasmania in a unique time of solitude and quietness.
Words and Photography by Sara & Cristina Guerrero
The territory was once named as Van Diemen’s Land, after the Colonial general of the Dutch East Indies. Tasmania’s beauty is harshly contrasted by its tragic and bloodstained past, when settlers and convicts attempted to exterminate the aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land. Today the island remains one of the most isolated places on the planet, with almost half of its land considered protected. A beautifully unique and changing landscape carved by ancient glaciers and now extinct volcanoes.
Our journey started in the fisherman city of Launceston, from where we drove along the northern coast and national parks. Following the path laid out by the sun, spotting wild kangaroos, wallabies and the rare quolls.
We spent the nights in a tent surrounded by the sounds of the forest and the crashing ocean waves. It was then after the dusk, when we heard the screech of the Tasmanian devils, but the small creatures stayed invisible to our eyes, hidden within the dark hours.
As the fog pooled around the mountains, we drove inland towards Cradle Mountain and sighted wombats in the thick thatch grass. On a rainy morning, we headed out towards one of the hikeable peaks, in an area known for its unpredictable weather and dangerous conditions. After climbing the last part of the trail and reaching the top, the temperature dropped sharply. Sleet, carried horizontally by strong winds, began to shroud the view.
Road tripping along scenic routes, we again heard the call of the ocean and continued the trip to the East Coast. On the edge of the Tasman sea, enjoying the simplicity of the outdoors and hideouts, we spent the days walking around isolated beaches and swimming in the ice cold water. During the night, the sea whispered to the starry sky, and then time stopped with the fire crackling and a glass of wine.
The trip was creeping towards its end as we drove to the south and our final destination of Hobart. Arriving while the rest of the world was preparing for quarantine, with businesses closing and a sense of apprehension, there was little else to do but walk the streets in a surreal moment of solitude as the city lay vacant.