We sent Western Australia-based landscape photographer, the very talented Paul Pichugin (@paulmp) on his first trip to Tasmania to capture the amazing and diverse countryside on offer in Australia’s southernmost state.
How does Tasmania compare to other parts of Australia?
Some parts were similar to other parts of Australia I’m familiar with. Tasmania is very similar to where I live, in the Margaret River region of Western Australia; the coastline and the climate are very similar. Right down to having cows and sheep practically on the beach, and wineries right by the coast too. So I felt right at home there. However I haven’t done a lot in alpine regions and I found Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain area to be just amazing and really, really different to anything I’ve been to in Australia so far.
What was the highlight of the trip in terms of locations you visited?
Definitely Cradle Mountain, I can’t wait to go back.
As a landscape photographer Cradle Mountain must have been particularly impressive for you?
Yes. Since I moved to WA in 2008, I’ve been shooting a lot of sandy places, red dirt or deserts, even overseas projects have taken me to arid places such as Egypt and Jordan. So it’s really refreshing to go to Tasmania and experience something green and lush.
How did you get around?
For the first part of the trip we were hosted by Tourism Tasmania, who kindly drove us around. Driving is an easy way to get around for sure. There also seems to be a decent amount of tour buses if you wanted to do it that way too. You can take some internal flights around the state, or even some helicopters, but driving is the easiest.
The second half of the trip, I had a hire car of my own and covered pretty much the rest of the island, exploring locations for future projects. I covered just about everywhere except for the east coast (Wine Glass Bay etc). I based myself out of Hobart for a few days and did a few drives including Strahan on the west coast – it’s a very nice little place. Next time I go back I’m keen to explore more of the alpine regions; I feel I’ve barely even scratched the surface there, so I’m planning to return and do some big hikes.
Is it the kind of trip you could do with your family? With two young children?
I think a lot of it you can do with kids, depending on their age. Some of the hikes might be a little strenuous though, one of my kids isn’t walking yet so, and it’s up to me to lug them around anyway!
Did you come across any unique locals (human or otherwise)?
Yes, we saw Tasmanian devils in the rehab facility near Cradle Mountain. They are also breeding healthy Tasmanian devils there, without the facial tumour and defects many in the wild are experiencing. We also saw quite a few wombats out in the wild. In the Tarkine National Park we saw a couple of these incredible and protected freshwater crayfish, which are apparently quite rare. They call them ‘Giant Crays’.
This trip was the ‘Tassie Top 4’. If you had to choose four places to recommend to friends to visit, where would they be?
Cradle Mountain, Stanley and ‘The Nut’, Tarkine National Park and Mount Field National Park.
Favourite shot from the trip?
Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain in the background at dawn – the colours were incredible, there was just a little bit of fog around on the water, it was just magic.
How old were you when you started taking photos?
Five years old. I didn’t really pursue it much until after high school as I didn’t have the gear I wanted and didn’t realise that it could be a viable vocation at that point.
How did you get into the travel photography industry?
I started travelling; and I was already taking a lot of photos and capturing things for myself. Soon people noticed my work and started paying me to do it. That’s a simplified version of it – it’s been a huge amount of work, and travel photography still isn’t my full-time income. I do commercial jobs to keep us afloat in between travel gigs. But the travel photography is growing for me and I aim to have it as my primary work by the end of the next year.
Where are you off to next?
Back to Tassie in April! I’m also looking at trips to Queensland. With all the rain they’ve had, the waterfalls will be flowing like crazy. I’m also looking at projects in the north of Western Australia too.