We are driving a car, on a cycling trip, and I am disappointed. For your sake, Dear Reader, I will not begin to explain my views on this, suffice to say Jacqui has called me a “purist”, with frustration in her voice, and I think she was holding back. I do not claim to be easy to live with.
On Borrowed Wheels
We are borrowing a car to see more of Tasmania than we could have in a month, and the first pace on the list is St. Columba Falls - located on the East Coast of Tasmania, not too far from St Helens.
The roads in Tasmania are different to those on the mainland. On the mainland, if a road is 100km long it will take an hour to arrive. In Tasmania, if a road is 100km long it could take 2 hours, as the road traverses hills and vales, mountains and creeks, and winds in an indirect path, before arriving at the destination.
Our journey to the east coast is close to three hours, filled with: yelling and bored children; the “feeling” travel sickness (thankfully not the “doing” of travel sickness); calls of “I’m Hungry”; all the things that I remember about long car rides, but probably shouldn’t.
Take a Break, Take a Tuna on a Crunchy Biscuit
Around us the air is fresh and smells like rainforest. Ferns grow under the canopy of gum trees, moss covers the ground around the tables, and the breeze carries a refreshing chill, that feels relaxing when I take a deep breath.
In the trees birds sing and chirp, calling one another with a sonorous note. The children are thinking out loud as to how they will assemble their lunch. Joash and Elijah sit next to me, enjoying their bread rolls, Adeline joins us, pushing Joash off the table to gain a seat next to her Dad.
We walk down a path, uneven in spots where the rain has washed away the pathway. We start to walk below ferns that are taller than us, getting closer to the noises of a stream, and in the background, there is a sound like music playing, the waterfall.
The stream flows over rocks, ambling along, over moss covered rocks and fallen tree trunks. The river water is dark where it gets deeper after a fall, before running below a bridge to the next place of steady flowing falls.
The trees stand apart over a bridge, blue sky and fast-moving clouds can be seen. We look up to see trees growing through the gaps, pointing in many directions, they are covered in green, climbing vines and moss. A yellow and green glow where the sun is shining from the leaves.
The falls, St. Columba Falls
Torrents of water flood over the rocks of St. Columba Falls. The water doesn't cascade down, it rumbles; Crashing and thundering, creating large plumes of water vapour as it streams down the 90 meter waterfall.
The water mist fills the air, billowing away from the craggy rocks, which lay in unpredictable places, etched away by years of water flowing over them. A sign nearby says that the waterfall has never run dry. 220,000 liters fall per minute, over the fall, in the winter time, I cannot imagine the noise that would make.
Fences are always in places to prevent adventure
The main stream of water rushes by the children, who have gone past the barriers to sit closer to the water. They are sitting on rocks, throwing stones and sticks into the water, if we aren’t swimming in water, then we are throwing thing into it.
Fences are always in places to prevent adventure. We are getting strange looks from people who watch us slide off the walkway, to experience the waterfall a little closer.
Sandy Shores and Swimming
On our way back to the car we stop at a sandy shore, a small beach front that leads to the brown, river water. Tops come off as, one by one, the boys venture into the river. Deeper and deeper they go, dancing in the spot as the cold water passes by.
An "embiggened" game of "Pooh Sticks" begins. Joash and Elijah pick up fern branches and throw them into the river. The sticks flow, with the water, below the bridge, down to a gentle fall, where they are caught by the water and put into a barrel roll as the water rushes by a rock. The boys giggle, and run off to get more sticks.
The bigger boys have lost bravery. There is a whine if someone splashes, a cry if they get too far into the river, and the water reaches past their knees.
Many minutes pass, until, Nathanael dives under. He stands on a rock and flows with water, a dive, his head under, then he surfaces, a full 10-feet taller than his brothers (for being the first under).
Levi cries out, "Nathanael, I was just about to do that." As if he deserved to get wet first with all of the “Undecided Standing” he had been doing, dancing about, encouraging himself to go in. For the first time in a long time, Levi lost at “First One Under”.
Jacqui said "Well, it's a perfect remedy for hot feet.", talking about her feet being in the cold water. I think that the falls has been a remedy for so much more than hot feet, hot tempers from the long car ride have been soothed, bored minds have been entertained and we feel refreshed being in the rain forest.