The first stage of my walk along the Derwent River took me away from home for 7.5 hours. This included walking to the tip of the eastern side of the mouth of the Derwent River in the South Arm area, then gradually plodding northward on the eastern side of the river. I am exhausted but exhilarated. When I stand on my feet or move around, my body screams ‘sit down, stay still, and never move again!’
My walk started at Bellerive when I jumped on the Metro bus No 640 that departed from Hobart at 8am. The sky was blue and cloudless but I was rugged up and beanied to avoid the early morning chill. I was nervous, and queasily excited. This felt so much like travelling into the unknown when overseas; an unknown destination (years ago Ru took me to a weekend market at South Arm, and prior to that I had driven down and back to Opossum Bay – but I have never spent time in or explored the area), unknown bus stops and reliability of timetables, new maps, unknown people and circumstances, and no idea how long it would take me to cover the stage I had planned. The return bus was leaving Opossum Bay at 2.02pm and the next one wasn’t leaving until 5.55pm. I wanted to time my walk to catch the earlier rather than the later bus because I knew my feet wouldn’t last long. I calmed myself with the realisation, that unlike the situation with most of my travels, I had a mobile phone and sufficient funds for a taxi if need be.
Nothing I imagined turned out to be.
I had thought there would be no one on the bus because everyone would be heading towards Hobart. Of course, this was a dopey idea. But I was the only passenger from Lauderdale onwards as the bus sped along the uneven bitumen rattling strongly (these buses are not designed for nonurban areas).
What did I see during the bus trip? Peak hour traffic streaming towards the city. The Bridgewater Jerry steaming down the Derwent to the sea. The early morning sun in the driver’s eyes. Hard winter sun on the new growth on gum trees. Yellow floral masses on wattle trees. Dew still sparkling on wet grass. Rare smoke trails from occasional chimneys. Sheep, horses, llamas, billy goats, olive trees and small house orchards. It was a simply gorgeous day to behold.
The bus route deviated through the back streets of Rokeby, a tiny suburb still 30 kilometres from Opossum Bay. From the upper streets the blue flat glittering expanse of Ralph’s Bay (which is fed by the Derwent River) was stunning.