Exploring the countryside in Tasmania...Nutty experience...

The walnuts were in this cabinet, bagged and ready for purchase at AU $10, US $7.36 per kilo (2.2 pounds).  We borrowed a nut cracker from Terry and I cracked the entire bag while watching an entire movie.  Yep, it took almost two hours.

When we spotted this sign, we stopped to check out the walnuts for sale at a nut farm.
Tom placed the AU $10 bill in the mailbox when we purchased the walnuts.
There are few travel related activities that provide us with more pleasure than jumping into the car and driving to the countryside within an hour of where we're living at any given time.

This pretty horse caught our eye.
In Penguin, its less than a ten minute drive, a few kilometers, to find ourselves in the country for some of the most breathtaking views we've seen in our world travels. With camera in hand, hearts racing with enthusiasm we make our way down one mysterious country road after another, never knowing what we'll discover.

A pond on farmland. 
In some ways, Tasmania reminds us of New Zealand, a comparison we're certain other travelers have made from time to time; the rolling green hills, the mountains, the perfectly plotted fields growing any number of crops, the farmhouses dotting the landscape, many highlighted with expansive views of the crystal blue sea. 

We stopped for a photo of this white horse.

And then, he posed for the camera.
What could be more beautiful?  For years, I've told Tom someday we must travel to Yellowstone Park in the US, which I'd seen a few times BT (before Tom) for views that makes one gasp after each bend in the road.  Someday, we'll tour the US.  For now, we're entrenched in foreign lands...while we can...before we're too old.

"Pyrethrum was a genus of several Old World plants now classified as Chrysanthemum or Tanacetum (e.g., C. coccineum) which are cultivated as ornamentals for their showy flower heads. Pyrethrum continues to be used as a common name for plants formerly included in the genus Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is also the name of a natural insecticide made from the dried flower heads of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium and Chrysanthemum coccineum."

Another Pyrethrum farm.
Tasmania, with its population of only 516,600 its a relatively small state of Australia's six states which include: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia as shown below:

Rank (in order)State / TerritoryPopulation (June 2010)Population (June 2016)Change % of Australian total
1New South Wales7,238,8007,618,200+ 5.24%32.03%
2Victoria5,547,5005,938,100+ 7.04%24.97%
3Queensland4,516,4004,779,400+ 5.82%20.09%
4Western Australia2,296,4002,591,600+12.85%10.89%
5South Australia1,644,6001,698,600+ 3.28%7.14%
6Tasmania507,600516,600+ 1.77%2.17%
7Australian Capital Territory358,900390,800+ 8.89%1.64%
8Northern Territory229,700244,600+ 6.49%1.03%
TotalAustralia22,342,40023,781,200+ 6.44%100

Tasmania's land mass in relation to other parts of Australia is as follows in this chart:

RankState / TerritoryLand area (km²)[2]Land area (mi²) % of Australia
Australian Antarctic Territory5,896,5002,276,651
1Western Australia2,529,875976,79032.89%
3Northern Territory1,349,129520,90217.54%
4South Australia983,482379,72512.79%
5New South Wales800,641309,13010.41%
8Australian Capital Territory2,3589100.03%
9Heard Island and McDonald Islands3721440.00%
10Ashmore and Cartier Islands199770.00%
11Christmas Island 135520.00%
12Jervis Bay Territory73280.00%
13Norfolk Island35140.00%
14Cocos (Keeling) Islands1450.00%
15Coral Sea Islands1040.00%

Rolling green terrain.
As shown in the above chart, Tasmania only comprises .89% of the entire Australian continent and its nearby islands.  Although Tasmania appears to consist of many farms its the lowest at 24% of land mass as compared to the much larger percentages for the remaining states.

Bales of hay ready for distribution.
This fact has little bearing on these travelers ability in experiencing the pure joy of driving through farm country, not only to see the abundant wildlife and farm animals but also for the knowledge we glean from later researching what we've discovered along the way.

Farmland, blue skies with clouds rolling in.
Traveling in a close proximity to our vacation home allows us to return to the general location on future outings to explore roads we may have missed the first time around.  Also, it enables us to feel more connected to the general area grasping the full meaning of the locals who dwell in this magical place.

The ocean, the rolling hills and power lines.
As we've mentioned in the past, taking a full day road trip has little appeal to us once we're settled in a community.  As in this case, both driving the east coast of Tasmania upon our arrival, a lazy two day trip and again heading along the western edge of the state when we depart in a month to head to the Huon Valley, we'll have fulfilled our goals of seeing much of the this relatively small island.

A river in the countryside.
Today, once we've uploaded this post we'll walk to the market to purchase a few roasted chickens.  Its a bright and sunny day, warmer than the past few blustery days. This evening (Friday) at happy hour, we're heading to a local pub where locals gather to chat.  Terry suggested we join in and we're thrilled to participate.

Yet to be sheared sheep were grazing on grass and leaves and trees.
Have a festive day, evening and weekend with the holiday season in full swing.  We'll be back tomorrow with more new photos!

Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2015:
Its was a short walk from our vacation home in Pacific Harbour Fiji. to the river.  For more photos, please click here.


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