Exploring the Zeehan Spray Tunnel

My Approach

Escape Valve aims to introduce you to Tasmania and all it’s wily charms that makes it a terrific place to live and visit.


Introduce Yourself

G’day! My name is AJ. I am the guy behind the Escape Valve desk (and any spelling mistakes or bad grammar). I am the fellow on the mountain trail. The guy under the crashed mountain bike. The lost bushwalker on the evening news. I am yours.

I have spent most of my adult life working in offices tapping away on keyboards, data entering numbers, typing correspondence, sitting in hundreds of dreary could-have-been-an-email meetings, answering phone calls, making phone calls, working late, working early, …hardly working, and sadly often without a window to the outside world in sight.

The concept for Escape Valve started from Twitter. The only blogs I found about Tasmania were either from tourists with 7 day itineraries and corporate Tasmanian travel blogs promoting themselves.

Instagram is flooded with pics of most of the wondrous places in Tassie, so I figured people might like to find out more about the place.


Ready to abseil with Escape Valve
Gordon Dam, near Strathgordon

Travel has taught me numerous things, but the one I like the most, is to appreciate what is on your doorstep, because that is just as special.

Years ago I had thought of running a hostel but it took too much capital. Eventually I got my dream job as a tour guide… the only thing was… I was shit at it. I could talk about the place, offer quality insight for the tour groups, but sadly I couldn’t manage people, time constraints, deadlines and personal anxiety overloads. I was pretty devastated.

Four years slogging it out in the dreariness of government offices followed.

Then I had the shock that jolted my vision of what life is about.

My Busted Heart

A few months of being ridiculously and unexplainably fatigued after a bout of bronchitis, finally led to the diagnosis that I had to have my pulmonary valve replaced. The valve had collapsed. Oxygen and blood were not getting to where they needed to be. Open fucking heart surgery! Can you imagine? In your thirties and bang! No drastic warning signs. Just the need for sleep for 5 hours after walking 10 minutes to work…

I had to wait 2 long months before the operation (it’s a popular operation, apparently!)

I am glad to say everything went well, so don’t worry about little ol’ me. The surgeon and specialists were amazing.

Recovery was slow at first. Extremely slow. Two days in intensive care. Walking was very difficult. I could not lift a carton of milk – The drop off in strength was incredible. Rehabilitation was onerous but I made steady improvement. I was fortunate to receive a lot of support from family and friends which made the recovery process easier to bear. My recovery was restrictive (you can’t do this, you can’t do that) but it gave me the time to put things into perspective. Self realisations – like what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life type thoughts. I assessed my real interests. My life goals. What makes me happy. All that looking inside-you stuff.

Escape Valve

All of this led to the embryonic concept of exploring my own backyard – Tasmania, and telling stories about it to anyone who is interested (or not! Ha!).  Along with some creative genius input from a mate, the name Escape Valve was created.

After some very slow work on building a website and brainstorming of ideas about what stories to tell, I have arrived at this point (you’re reading it) – Escape Valve.

Life in Progress

Now, you won’t yet mistake me for a respected writer or journalist, nor an award-winning landscape photographer.  I am just a Tasmanian who wants to share this remarkable place with you, to encourage you, to inspire you, to come out and play in Tasmania, the little island state of Australia located off the southeast point of the Big Island.

What I am is a novice photographer, an inexperienced bushwalker/hiker, a novice mountain biker. I’ve barely kayaked, never abseiled, I have been white water rafting once or twice… Well, all that is about to change!

Through my adventures I will show you the amazing place that is Tasmania.

Or as I like to call it: “The unassailable cool that is Tasmania”.

I am based in Hobart Town, Tasmania.

I like to walk. I like to explore. Tassie is perfect for that.

Let’s get in to it!

The Team

Introducing the hard working, fast writing, faster talking, and even faster driving people that make this site operate… We have:


Andrew (AJ) Donnelly


Founder, Chief Protagonist, Location Scout & Proud Tasmanian

I am the potty-mouthed wannabe-talent of this venture, learning as I go.

Yep, that’s it.