Wild coast colours

The infamous Port Arthur in Tasmania’s south-east is no longer remote nor a place of human suffering; it’s a tourist venue.

I got as far as the car park. Ruins are not just mellow colours and decorative patterns of bricks and stone. They hold memories, and one look told me I must not allow these ones into my too impressionable mind.

But the wilder landscape of the area compensated.  I saw this parrot first here, but then elsewhere and often.  It’s a Green Rosella, and is apparently the state’s most common parrot. ‘Green’ is hardly an adequate description of its many and subtle colours.

In light drizzle I walk through the narrow strips of coastal bush to each designated lookout or natural wonder, and am distracted by the frequency of the prolific pinks of this shrub whose name I do not know.

But it is the rocks of these bays that attract me most. Tumbled and shaped by southern seas, they grow lichen with as much ease as rainforest trees. Creams and limes and yellows and oranges predominate, with a lurid Dayglo green on any timber.

On the wild ocean edges, the colour is in the rocks themselves, revealing their origins as they are ceaselessly, slowly, weathered into mighty cliff formations like the Remarkable Cave or rolled upon each other to perfect smoothness, like the pebbles at its base.

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