When we left Evan’s round house yesterday on our way south, I decided to take us through the middle of Tasmania so we could see some of the remarkable highland lakes that are strung across the central plateau.

Great Lake, Tasmania, February 2013
Great Lake in Tasmania's central highland area is the second largest freshwater lake in Australia with an area of 114 square kilometres.

We were already committed to our journey and touring the lakes when I realised that I needed to fill the bus with diesel. A detour to a signed petrol station revealed that it had closed down — perhaps in 1997. So, with the help of my GPS, I headed towards the nearest town with a service station, watching my gauge the whole way.

We pulled up in little village of Poatina and soon discovered that the little village’s petrol station was closed. But there was a flat parking space of gravel next to a skateboard half-pipe, so I decided to park there for the night and get diesel the next day.

Parking outside Poatina, Tasmania, February 2013
We pull in to a temporary parking spot just outside the village of Poatina and the girls vote it to be one of their favourite stops in Tasmania!

A friendly local named Sam came to check on us. Discovering that we needed fuel, he offered to arrange to have the shop opened for us out-of-hours so we could continue our journey. I declined, as the girls had already started playing, and I didn’t want to interrupt their games.

Playing on a skateboard ramp, Poatina, February 2013
The girls spend hours playing on the skateboard ramp.

Playing on a skateboard ramp, Poatina, February 2013
Without wheels to ride on, the girls are happy to slide down the sides.

Playing on a skateboard ramp, Poatina, February 2013
The girls race up and down both sides of the half-pipe.

The girls so enjoyed our parking spot at Poatina, they called it “the best playground ever”! It was while wandering in the bush nearby that Calista and Brioni saw a Tasmanian devil for the first time. I was also impressed by the friendliness of all the locals. They greeted me in a friendly manner and chatted about travel and childhood memories.

It turns out that Poatina Village is a privately-owned enterprise, bought by Fusion Australia in 1995 as a location for education and recreation. This is intriguing — how can a community that is privately-owned operate and thrive as a free community? I’m determined to find out more, and we’ll be returning to Poatina in the future to start asking some questions about the authenticity of life here.