Two days after our snap-decision to spend a few weeks in Tasmania, Kevin and I were on The Spirit of Tasmania I, backing away from Melbourne pier, watching in awe at the hundreds of big jelly fish being thrown about in the swell of the ship’s bow thrusters. Even up to this point this journey had been a bit more hard work than planned: the night before we’d taken ourselves, and a bottle of Jagermeister, to Ekin’s place, ultimately leading to us getting home about 2 hours before I wanted to be up and getting ready to drive to the port. Even with an abundance of alcohol and a chronic lack of sleep I stayed up to finish packing and making food for the sailing, passing on the joy of navigating Melbourne to Kevin when I eventually got him awake again. The night before was really part of a masterplan to make us so tired for the sailing that we’d sleep right through the 9 hours, avoiding any boredom, and it worked pretty well: most of my memories of the trip are waking up in the cinema to find it was a different film or, at the end, someone giving a presentation about Tasmanian Devils.
As Lonely Planet had hinted, Devenport somewhat lacked interest to us so I scoped out the nearest interesting – and crucially, free – campground and, after stockpiling enough Mi Goreng noodles to last us through a nuclear winter, we headed off into the Tasmanian countryside. In the fading evening light I had the perfect introduction to Tasmania: beautiful rolling hills and farmland much like Scotland was bliss to drive through after the monotony of the Hume highway.
Kentish Park campground, tucked into the side of a valley overlooking Lake Barrington, 30 minutes south-west of Devenport, turned out to be one of the best uneducated guesses for place to sleep we had on the island. The campground was huge, and divided by hedges and trees into what were still large fields: we found one of the higher fields which someone how managed to tick all the boxes – flat(ish), quiet, sheltered and had a great view – and got the tent set up. Once darkness fell, all I could do was gawk at a night sky clearer than any I’d seen since I was in the Northern Territory and it didn’t take long to get tempted into trying a long exposure.
It also didn’t take long to get close to some of the island’s wildlife – there were so many noises coming from the patch of forest that we were tucked into a corner of and sometimes when we’d shine a torch in the direction of the noise we’d see a pair of beady and distinctly creepy looking eyes shining back.