Top of Tassie on go-slow

"Far OUT!" says the man in my life. "There's nothing here. Nothing! No McDonalds. No KFC. No Red Rooster."

Driving across the top of Tasmania, from Launceston to Burnie late on a Friday afternoon, there is a notable lack of inhabitants, but it's more than compensated for by the signs of life: two cheese factories, a chocolate factory and tasting shop, a Fuchsia Factory (don't ask me), Penguin Market and The Big Penguin. I suspect they don't actually sell penguins, but it is the street market at the town named Penguin.

Instead of stinky fast-food shops, there is soft mist on farm dams, a sunset of gold, rose and powder blue. There are busy milking sheds with black-and-white cows waiting for their turn, tiny towns with tiny white churches, arched bridges over little brooks and I learn that the town of La Trobe is the platypus capital of the world.

When we hit Devonport, the billboards start - McDonalds in 10km! Doesn't seem so important by now.

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