Leave the vast Australian coast for a while and tuck yourself into a smaller, bit-size chunk of land, ocean and history. Visit Tasmania, and take this book with you. 'Past the Shallows' by Favel Parrett. A small book for a small (in comparison with Australia) island. Tasmania is a wildly stunning place, vast areas of bushland, farmland and a tough but pristine coastline. It echoes similarity to New Zealand in it's beauty, hint of surf around any corner and massive underpopulation. While the beauty of Tasmania is glorious, the economy hasn't always held it's head so high. The struggle rears it's rusty head as you drive through some of the small towns and lone farms. Small fishing villages where the toughness lingers in pubs and run down shacks, sobering you slightly from the beauty in the distance.
Favel's book marries these two contrasting foe beautifully. Her Winton-esque writing makes you dreamily in love with the landscape, reading through nostalgic glasses at the innocence and complexity of our youths. The story itself is captivating, heart-wrenching and finely crafted with happiness, fear and mystery. Follow the story of three brothers, struggling through the days living with their father, an alcoholic abalone fisherman with a dark secret. While the fishing is hard, surfing is there as an escape, a freedom from worry and thought.
So pack up some surfboards, jump in a 4WD and explore the coast of Tasmania's south east. You won't be disappointed. I'll leave you with a quote from the book which got me excited for my next visit amongst the waves.
"...When the boat had passed the Tasman Head the swell had been running straight south-west and if it stayed that way, if the sea breeze didn't kick up, there'd be good waves at low tide at Lady Bay or on the bluff at Roaring. It would be perfect."