Australia 7 May: Launceston, Tas

We farewell the Apple Isle

On this day ... Then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and then Opposition Leader John Howard, together holding the Torch of the inaugural Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, in front of the then Parliament House in Canberra on 7 May 1987.

... fast-forward 26 years to 7 May 2013 ... Today is our last day in the beautiful island-State of Tasmania. Having driven last night from Hobart to Launceston, today we can enjoy a fairly restful day in Tasmania's second-largest, and recently acknowledged as Australia's 'most family-friendly' city.

Thank you so much to Sam for a very nice nights’ accommodation ...

... at the Discovery Holiday Park at Hadspen, just outside of Launceston.

Everyone here was very friendly :-)

Our first duty is to drop Rathin off at the airport, as he is flying home today to resume work in My Rainbow-Dreams cafe in Canberra.

The team assembles in City Park, where we spend a few peaceful moments imbibing the beauty and tranquility of the surrounds...

... until it is time to run down the main street to the Council Chambers for our only official engagement of the day.

The Mayor of Launceston, Albert van Zetten, very kindly greets us outside his offices.

A runner himself, he is all praise and appreciation for the Peace Run and its objectives.

The Mayor particularly stresses the importance of encouraging individuals to find peace through their own happiness and personal fulfilment, as the foundation of a more general and abiding peace in society.

From the Council Chambers we run down to the waterfront at Kings Park...

... and then on to the magnificent Cataract Gorge.

We were running and walking …

… up hill and down hill …

… across the river …

… among rocks and trees …

… and we met a lot of visitors along the way as well.

Most of them were very happy to hold the torch and make their own wishes for peace.

Just as we were talking about not having any pictures of kangaroos yet, we saw a wallaby! (he's the one in the distant background, behind us) ...

He was very interested in us and watched us for a long time, so we were finally able to take his picture.

Our bush walk gives us quite an appetite ...

... at lunch another applicant for our Team approaches us, unfortunately he failed his audition with his rendition of our Peace Run song.

After lunch at the Gorge, we drive back into Launceston for a spot of umbrella shopping...

... and spend a few fruitful hours under the sublime trees of City Park...

... visiting old friends ...

... preparing the daily reports ...

... and catching our breath.

Today we farewelled Stacey, one of our National Coordinators who is also the State Coordinator for South Australia. She is flying directly to Adelaide to work on preparations for our arrival there in a week's time.

Our Tasmanian sojourn has been like a dream – vivid, captivating and immensely satisfying. One can only imagine that in the coming weeks – as we head out across the Nullarbor Plain and beyond – we might even wonder if this 'dream' were even real…

This evening we are again in Melbourne, back on the mainland, facing once more the road ahead – precisely 100 more days and 14,600 km…