Since Christmas I have been wanting to make a visit to one of my favourite places, Hollybank Forest. Finally the stars were in alignment and we made the short journey there on Sunday. There has been a lot of development there over the past few years but it seems to have been done in such a way that the simple beauty remains, they seem to have respect for the forest even though there is a big push to bring in the tourists. So while Stephen rode the mountain bike trails Frankie and I had a peaceful walk, well several walks interspersed with returning to the car for Frankie to have a drink.
For some reason this place has a hold on my imagination. I think it's partly because it gives me a little taste of the kinds of forests that populated the many books I read as a child that were written by UK authors. I read Australian authors too but their landscapes were familiar to me, I already knew their magic first hand. Hollybank is full of English Ash, English oak and some kind of pine tree with Australian flora mingled in. And so many birds, several times on previous visits I have even seen robin redbreasts, at least I think that is what they were. This time there were very loud black cockatoos having a raucous party in the pine trees, determined to rip off every immature pine cone, get what they could out of them and then chuck them down to the ground. There were wren families amongst the oaks and down near the pond were the cutest little honey eaters drinking the nectar from the red hot pokers which were massed in the little valley.
Hollybank and the bushland behind our house, Myrtle Park with its pretty river and the park beside the Meander River at Deloraine, the Gorge in Launceston and the picnic area at the base of Mt Barrow, the rich countryside around Ringarooma and the Myrtle leaf covered tracks to innumerable waterfalls, the soft sand paths down to beaches and the light houses, the rock pools on so many beaches and the smell and quiet of the rain forests, icy cold Lake St Clair and the sandy, scrubby, filled with stories bushland at Pioneer, the smell of old buildings, the built history and hedge lined roads.. all of these places and more live in my heart. So beautiful and filled with so much soul and memories and in the moment awareness, my heart aches as my mind races back and forth, to my childhood, to my children's adventures, to where I am now. I love Tasmania, there is a bond that can't be broken.