We took advantage of having our first Sunday off from the Market all year and drove 2 and a half hours away to the end of a road which brings you to Strathgordon in the remote South West Wilderness Area. There's absolutely nothing there, only one place to stay and it's nothing salubrious but perfect for our purpose which was to be able to relax without having to keep the kids on a tight leash. There's no shops, no people, no internet connection or mobile reception and it was exactly what we needed for 3 nights to feel human again. Disconnecting to feel connected. We brought everything with us - the kayak, the bikes, the fishing rods and the built-in entertainment system that comes from having 5 kids. We all had an excellent time. We saw 4 other people one night and no one could believe we could have such a place all to ourselves to which we replied "shh, don't tell anyone!'. The accommodation managers hadn't seen any kids for weeks so our kids happily played with theirs and they even opened up the indoor swimming pool that belongs to the town for us to use and offered to drive half an hour to their house to get some swimming costumes for the kids but with no one around they weren't necessary in the end!
We returned home to learn that high profile creative arts icon Mr Schofield had left our shores but not before unleashing a tirade against our beautiful State and people calling Tasmania a land of "dregs, bogans and third generation morons". After our few days away and the last 15 years of living here I couldn't think of a less apt way to describe our experience of Tasmania. Most of us laughed off the petty remarks, taking the derogatory comments for what they were, a frustrated man who left in a huff because the government only offered him $300,000 to run his 3rd consecutive Baroque Festival, the exact same amount they gave him the year before. He finally apologised yesterday for his offensive comments and I guess allowances can be made for him not being in "a good place" mentally. But still, those 3 little words publicly shaming an entire State hit a nerve and left a lot of people rightly miffed. The brain is wired to be more sensitive to negative comments and since it apparently takes 9 positive comments to dilute one little negative I offer the following points just off the top of my head in defense of the State I proudly call home:
1. Best boutique Hotel in the world - Saffire, Freycinet
2. Winner of the Man Booker Prize this year - Richard Flanagan for "The Narrow Road to the Deep North"
3. Cleanest air in the world with the most friendly, down to earth people I've ever met.
4. Named by Lonely Planet as the 4th best destinations in the world to visit in 2015.
5. Best Single Malt Whisky in the world this year - Sullivans Cove Single Malt.
6. Over 40% of our State is either National Park or World Heritage Area, not a bad playground.
7. Oldest everything in the country - oldest Pub, Bridge, Church, Gaol.
8. Tasmania is close to being 100% powered by renewable energy, with the largest renewable energy business in the country.
9. Last night at the Australian Tourism Awards, Tasmania won 10 out of the 29 categories, and more than any other state in Australia, awesome Tasmanians doing awesome things.
As you were, Tasmania.