BY JIMMY WALSH
It is a short 45-minute flight from mainland Australia to Tasmania, but the island state feels much further away. As you descend through the clouds, the landscapes emerge in brief, turbulent flashes. Peering through the plane window, you see wild, windy coastlines, steep mountain peaks, and patchworks of farmland. You cannot wait to start exploring!
I have made this flight many times. I grew up in the Tasmanian capital city of Hobart. My school holidays were spent hiking snowy mountain trails, kayaking the rivers, and climbing the coastal cliff faces. These days, I return to my home state often, and I return with a renewed appreciation of its natural beauty. It’s only now – having traveled through Australia and overseas – that I understand how lucky I am to have grown up here. It is a place where pristine wilderness is easily accessible. A windy road from Hobart will take you to the Tasman Peninsula – a long stretch of land that is well-known for the convict settlement Port Arthur.
For photographers, the Peninsula provides abundant opportunities for creating dramatic imagery. Starting with the very large subjects, the coastline is lined with soaring cliff faces and white sand beaches. At Eaglehawk Neck you will find the Tessellated Pavement – a coastal rock platform which appears to be made of neatly arranged rock tiles. The rock formation has formed over the years from fractures in the rock and erosion. At sunset, the movement of water around the pavement provides opportunities for long-exposure photography.
The Tasmanian Peninsula is not just about the large subjects. Amongst the trees, you will find abundant bird life, which reflects the rich colors of their surroundings. Look closely and you will see birds like the Green Rosella. As they take flight, you will see glimpses of their blue and green feathers. Even smaller are the silvereyes – appropriately named for the white ring around their eyes. These tiny birds are shy. Patience is required to see one. Take a moment to sit and wait; you will inevitably see some of the Peninsula’s bird life.
At night time, pull on a good jacket and step outside. Low-light pollution promises crystal clear views of the Milky Way. If you’re lucky, you will see the Aurora Australis. The clouds will blow over to reveal a green and purple glow across the southern sky.
From the large to the small – above and below the water, the Tasman Peninsula is a place where you connect with the raw beauty of the wilderness. You come face-to-face with an organic beauty that hits you with its cold, salty crispness. You will come back many times, and each time, your photos will be different. You will step onto the plane and promise yourself that you will be back again soon. – GM
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Jimmy is a visual storyteller with a passion for the environment and wildlife. He lives in Canberra, Australia, where he works in science communication. Jimmy started photography at age 16 on his first overseas trip to Indonesia. His father had loaned him a film SLR, which he used to capture street life and landscapes. The experience was the start of a life-long passion for photography and storytelling.