Let’s face it. I have taken a lot of liberties with the topography and geography of Tasmania in the Doomday’s Child series.
The terrain around the east coast and for some way inland is largely mountainous. Not mountainous like the Swiss Alps or the Rockies, but it’s mountainous nonetheless. Rugged. The country that Lewis and Elliot hike through is based on forest and farmland more in the midlands of the state.
Apart from Hobart, Launceston, Jericho and the Esk Highway (these last two are mentioned in Book 2), the other locations are fictional. The Downs for example–the former sheep farm and orchard that Elliot and Lewis end up at–for the sake of writing the story, I located it on the coast (on the Tasman Highway) and in the triangle between the Elephant Pass Road and the Esk Main Road. But very very little of the types of properties and roads I mention in the story to be in that area (including the one they drive in on with the Cambodian families) are accurate. A quick glance at a map will tell you that (about the roads), and the properties along that strip are often vineyards, farms to be sure (but far hillier than The Downs) and there is the magnificent Iron House brewery/distillery if you’re ever in that area.
There is definitely no honking great Barnabas Island off the coast (that’s sort of based on Bruny Island a long long way south of there). Birns River Bridge (Jock’s home town) is typical of towns you will find up in those mountains near Fingal or St Mary’s.
I’m a believer in accuracy and research in as much as it serves story; where it doesn’t, I believe in making things the hell up. We all want interesting stories, after all, and stories that work.
But I did base these locations loosely on typical places and real terrain in Tasmania (like Bruny). The following images are taken with my dodgy iPad during the 2017 touring vacation my wife and I took, driving from Hobart up along the East Coast and across the hills/mountains to Launceston and Devonport.
Tasmania is a beautiful state. These few images won’t do it justice. But they may bring some of the story to life for you. And I offer them in that spirit.
The kind of terrain through which Elliot, Lewis and Birdy flee from the undead horde in the middle of Book 1
The kind of terrain inland around The Downs. This is what they would scout through in Book 2 to scavenge for resources or hunt wallabies. Much thicker. More places for decomposing zombies to hide and ambush…
Two views of a farming property like The Downs, seen from the road and through the wire…
Typical views of the beach and true coast that the residents of The Downs might see across the “highway”:
And lastly, while it might not be very interesting, this is the small creek I envisage splitting The Downs from roughly west to east, which will feature in a couple of scenes for Book 2 (the book I’m currently writing at the time of this blogpost).
I love Tasmania. If I were to ride out an apocalypse, I can’t think of a location more suitable for it.
On the other hand, if there’s never an apocalypse to survive, then “Tassie” is also a great place to cruise around on vacation! Especially without zombies, outlaw bikers and other desperate survivors all trying to kill you.
I hope this has been interesting. If you’ve visited the Apple Isle, please comment with your experiences and favourite places; I’d love to hear of it.