Last Friday at Rektango, open-air dancing in a small courtyard in Central Hobart, we met Shane, a friend of Ange, who is a friend of Lee-Ann, who is friends with Mel, who Sheila has known for years. That’s how things work in super-friendly Hobart. If you have a mutual friend, then you are legally bound to be friends yourselves. Or at least that’s how it feels and it’s awesome. We chatted to Shane for about 40 seconds, during which time, we were invited to visit his shack on the Tasman Peninsula.
Two days later, we pulled up at Shane’s shack to be greeted with friendly waves, smoke coming out of the chimney from the indoor wood-burner and an immediate cup of tea. A quick tour – no electricity (the TV runs from a car battery), no running water (plenty of storage tanks though), no bathroom (more of that later). Shane showed us round his “block”, promised us lots of wildlife, while his girlfriend, Mirja, started on the risotto.
Shane showed us to our “humpy” – basically, the offspring of a shack, where we would be spending the night. Shane’s first attempt at a shack, still with double bedroom, wood burner and fantastic bush views, was our new home.
The bathroom was a particular highlight – not many places we’ve been to where you can birdwatch from the dunny! Tonight was not bath night but we were promised a fire bath the next day. If you are easily offended, look away now. This is Sheila’s recurring toilet nightmare made real!
After a delicious meal and a couple of bottles of red, it was time for bed. We wandered down to our humpy, practically shooing the wallabies and pademelons out of our way as they did a spot of lawn care. Up early the next morning to the sound of plentiful birdsong and Shane cracked on with a full Tassie breakfast – bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, halloumi and loads of toast and tea. Magic!
We went bushwalking on part of the newly-finished Three Capes Track to Shipstern Bluff. Lovely wildlife on the way and crashing waves where we stopped for trail mix and drinks. This echidna was not quite as brave as the one on Bruny Island!
When the weather is right, the slightly-crazed contingent of local surfers head down to Shipstern Bluff for ridiculous waves right next to the rocks. This is what it looks like on one of those perfect wave days.
It wasn’t that crazy when we were there!
After our walk, we stopped for well-deserved fish and chips, bumping into a girl who was on our Melaleuca trip (see previous post). Naturally, we had a chat and minutes later she invited us to come and play with her rehabilitating Wedge-tailed Eagles. As you do!
When we got home, Sheila and I took part in another shack culture ritual – the fire bath. Light a fire under a metal bath in the garden. Fill it with water. Wait 30 minutes or so and then relax, surrounded by nature and a few well-placed ferns!
More friends arrived and Sheila cooked a delicious meal for everyone of chicken and mushroom with black pepper and garlic sauce, stir-fried veggies on an open fire in the garden. Mirja cooked perfect rice on the woodburning stove. We ate, chatted, swapped stories and played games until everyone was thoroughly tired of Sheila winning at Bananagrams and we retired for the night.
The next day saw more walks on deserted tracks and beaches, a spot of birdwatching where we found Swift Parrots after many attempts over the previous weeks, food with new friends and lots of laughs. Many thanks to Shane, Mirja and Ange who brought us together!
Shane and Mirja above Shipstern Bluff.