So we all have plans when we start to travel, some more vague than others granted. I was just the same. I’d read the guidebook, I’d looked at blog posts, talked to travel agents and figured out the usual Australian gap year route. So I came to Australia wanting to hit up the two big cities, Sydney and Melbourne, get a bit of culture at Uluru and of course, travel the well trodden East Coast.
As with all good travel plans this soon changed. I met fellow travellers who raved about Tassie (Tasmania!) and worked with someone up in Darwin who was from there. I was soon enamoured with the idea of going there.
After a couple of false attempts, I nearly went in February but ended up finding a job instead, I finally made it to Tassie in April. I am so so glad I did as it was amazing, and there is just so much there to see.
My first decision was how to get there, you can fly from Melbourne super cheaply or get the ferry, which actually is rather expensive unless you want to take your car over. As I have no car it was a fairly easy decision for me- flying it is.
Next up was how am I going to get around Tassie. It’s smaller than the mainland Australia but it is not small, it’s about the size of Ireland. A couple of friends had done tours around the island. There are two main tour companies and they both looked good. I had mixed reviews from my friends about the tours though and as with all tours they weren’t cheap. On top of that my friend from Darwin had given me some tips on where to go and there were some things that the tours just didn’t do that I fancied doing. So in the end my solution was to hire a car.
This is my 10 day road trip around Tassie:-
Day 1: Arrive in Hobart
So I arrive pretty early (cheaper flight) and pick up the hire car at the airport. I can’t check in till the afternoon so I head up to Mount Wellington for the famous view over Hobart. I get to the top and it’s super windy but you really can’t argue that the view isn’t worth it!
Next up I still have some time to kill so I decide to head over to Richmond which is planned to do the following day. It’s only about 20mins/ half an hour from the city so very close. Richmond is an old town which is great for browsing antique shops and cafes, but mainly to see the oldest bridge in Australia.
The rest of the day was checking into the hostel, The Pickled Frog (a very good place to stay), catching up on sleep after an early flight and finding the supermarket.
Day 2: Tasman Peninsular
About a 3 hour drive from Hobart is the Tasman Peninsular, home to some stunning scenery and Tassie’s convict history.
My first stop was at the Tessalated Pavement, at the neck of the Peninsular,an intriguing naturally formed rock formation. By this time coffee was also in order and there was a cute little trailer serving coffee with a view over the Peninsular…perfect!
After a stop at the Tasman Arch and Eagles Neck, coastline features, it was a stop at the Unzoo to see a Tasmanian devil, I mean how could I not!
It was then on to one of the most popular day trip destinations from Hobart, Port Arthur. This was the convict settlement and is a fascinating place to wander and learn more about the history there. Included is a boat tour which goes out around the bay with good views looking back at the settlement and takes you past the boys prison and the isle of the dead.
Port Arthur is sort of in the middle of a drive loop in the Peninsular. I decided to drive back along the road I hadn’t been on yet and had an enjoyable scenic drive back to Hobart.
Day 3: hitting the east coast
I’d decided to stay the night before in Hobart as there was more, and cheaper, accommodation choice. But today I was heading out of the city to the east coast to do the famous Wineglass Bay hike. I drove up to Frecyinet NP (I bought a holiday pass for all the national parks in Tassie which worked out cheaper than paying individually), parked up and began the walk up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. It’s a bit of an uphill climb but the view is amazing. Shame about the sad whaling past of the bay. I then chose to head down to the beach which was good to do, but a hell of a lot of steps!
This is pretty much a full day’s worth of activity and my next drive was just a short one to Bicheno, a small coast town, where I stayed the night, luckily getting in just before the rain hit.
Day 4: Bay of Fires
While staying in the Bicheno hostel I discovered I was very close to the Douglas Apsley NP so I decided to head there on the way. Unfortunately it was raining so I did a short walk and didn’t go for a swim but I’d say it’s still worth a stop here.
It was the on up the coast, destination being the Bay Of Fires. I’d originally planned to beach hop up the coast as there are many beautiful beaches, but the rain soon put paid to that idea. I therefore ended up at the Bay of Fires, so named for the orange colour of the rocks, a little earlier than planned.
As with Hobart, I’d decided to base my in Launceston for a number of nights while I explored the area as there was more and cheaper accommodation. With time on my hands I decided to swing by Evansdale on the way to Launceston. This is a cute old town with shops to browse and Georgian buildings. A stop in the bakery for food is a must.
Day 5: Tamar Valley
After arriving into Launceston the day before and making a couple of calls, I found myself on an afternoon wine tour of the Tamar Valley, a wine region very close to the town. Have to say the wine in the area was some of the best I had tasted. I ended up on a small tour with 5 people and as you can probably guess, wine tours with small numbers are always the best! It was a good mix of bigger wineries and small boutique ones. However you do it, I’d recommend visiting the Tamar Valley.
Day 6: Cradle Mountain
Another day trip from Launceston was Cradle Mountain NP. A beautiful dive away is this famous hike. On the day I chose it was freezing! The shuttle bus dropped us off at the start of the Dove Lake walk and the mountain was just about visible but the cloud was descending fast. I did the circular walk around Dove Lake which was beautiful, the walking warmed me up. The whole time it was like hide and seek with the Mountain but luckily by the time I reached the end I had the glorious view above of the mountain- phew!
On the drive back to Launceston I stopped at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe, a menu completely raspberry themed. The complimentary dark choc coated raspberry was to die for.
I ask swung into town via Cataract Gorge, the main thing to see in Launceston. However, having just done Cradle Mountain I wasn’t overly impressed. I’m sure if the weather was warmer it is a nice place to chill out though.
Day 7: down the middle
While in Launceston a fellow hostel stayed made me aware that in recent years Tassie has got a reputation for its whisky. The drive down the middle back to Hobart is not very inspiring but it did take me near Redlands Whisky Distillery, a perfect stop to sample a tipple.
Rather than drive straight into Hobart I detours off to Mount Field NP. Known for its Russell Falls there are several other waterfalls there. I chose to do the 2/3 hour loop and after Russell Falls barely saw anyone else on the trail, it was a perfect walk. Slightly knackered afterwards it was just a short drive into Hobart and Battery Point where I was staying (Montacutr Bunkhouse, upmarket hostel type accommodation).
Day 8: MONA
You can get the ferry to Mona but as I still had the car I drove. It’s got a bit of a controversial name but I found the art gallery a tad small and got round it pretty quick. It’s worth seeing though.
As I had extra time after a shorter than planned Mona visit I decided to take a drive down the Huon Valley, known for its local produce and cider. It’s a pretty pleasant drive. I didn’t drive too far as I had to drop the hire car back in the afternoon.
I discovered the hire car drop off in the city was pretty close to a cat cafe. I’ve always fancied going to one so I decided to pop in. Most of the cats were asleep but it was a nice experience and the coffee was good!
Day 9: Salamanca
Being a Saturday I of course went to the famous Salamanca Markets. There were lots of stalls with local produce, arts and crafts and food stalls. It’s a great market to go to.
I ask had a pretty good brunch at the the Machine Cafe in Salamanca.
On my last day in Tassie I just chilled in Hobart, browsing the shops, visiting the museum and waiting for my flight home. Hobart is a lovely city and definitely worth some time in.
So that was my Tassie road trip, Hobart to Hobart. I didn’t have enough time to head west and I’d definitely go back, it was a fantastic trip and a lovely state to visit. It’s all about nature, history and local produce- perfect!