Tasmania is an island that lies approximately 150 miles (240 km) to the south of mainland Australia across the Bass Strait. Often forgotten by its big brother, Tasmania moves at a slower pace and has a more laid back feel wherever you go. Our “Tassie” experience started out in Launceston where we landed after flying from Melbourne. We picked up our rental car for the week and headed to Hi George, a bed and breakfast right in the city of Launceston. This was a great place with nice rooms, great owners and free Wi-Fi! We were only steps from town and ventured in to find a spot for dinner. We were hoping to go to a burger place we had read about, but it was closed for a private function, so we wandered around a bit before finding Buddha Thai. This ended up being a wonderful choice. The food was fresh and absolutely delicious in this tiny restaurant. After dinner we walked around the town a bit before heading back to the B&B.
The next morning we woke to a wonderful cooked breakfast by the owners and enjoyed talking with the other guests before heading out to Cradle Mountain. We would be staying 1 night up at Cradle Mountain and wished we could have stayed at least 2! The main reason we spent only one night, was the cost of accommodations in the area, it was very expensive. With only one night we headed straight to the visitor center and bought a National parks pass. This pass allowed us unlimited entry to all of Tasmania’s national parks for our time there. We decided to take a drive into the park before checking into our cabin. We spent some time looking around the interpretive center and did a short walk to Pencil Pine Falls before it started raining. We drove out to Dove Lake at the end of the road and saw some wallabies and pademellon along the way. The drive through the park was great, although it was pretty stormy. We saw that there looked to be some great walking trails and we hoped to do one in the morning. We checked into our cabin at Highlander Cabins just a short distance outside the park entrance. We were pleasantly surprised with the accommodations. The cabin was larger than we expected, very clean and cozy. The next morning we headed out to the lake again hoping to do the 2-hour loop walk, but the wind and rain was at it again. We took some photos and decided to head on to our next stop.
We went east from Cradle Mountain out to the coast and stopped for two nights in Bicheno. We had a small studio apartment with a kitchenette right across the street from the beach. Tidelines at Bicheno had only 4 accommodations, our studio, two apartments and a main rental home at the front. The location was great and we were happy to find that there were 2 little penguins nesting under the main house. We were hoping to see more coming in at night along the beach, but both nights we ventured out and didn’t spot any coming ashore.
On our full day we drove about an hour to Freycinet National Park and hiked up to the Wine Glass Bay lookout. We were expecting 600 stairs, but there were only about half of that. The walk was really nice and the lookout point was beautiful. On our way back down we spotted a momma Wallaby and her baby right off the path and watched them a while before heading back to the car. We checked out a few of the other lookout points and a lighthouse in the park before heading back up to Bicheno. We made a stop at the Freycinet Marine farm on the way home where Jason picked up a dozen oysters for dinner.
The next morning we headed to Hobart, our home for the next three nights before flying back to the mainland. We made it to Hobart just in time to enjoy the Salamanca Markets. Held on Saturdays this large market had everything from prepared foods to crafts to fresh fruits and veggies and even musicians doing a bit of entertaining. It was packed! We took our time going up and down each aisle, listening to musicians, some of which were just young kids. It was a really nice market and a must see if you find yourself in Hobart.
We decided to stay outside of town across the river in a cabin at a Holiday park and although it was nice, we wish we would have spent another $20-30 and stayed in the city. On our first full day in Hobart we headed to the MONA, Museum of Old and New Art. We arrived before it opened and took a walk around some of the art outside, before venturing in once it opened. The museum is fairly new and is known to be a bit controversial. Exhibits like the human poop machine are along side ancient Egyptian tombs. It is eclectic to say the least. The whole museum is set several stories underground surrounded by massive stone walls carved from the hillside. The interior architecture was the highlight for us, as the exhibits didn’t seem as controversial as they had been earlier and most were just odd. It was a good morning and after we ate our picnic lunch we headed up to Mount Wellington to see the town from a different angle. The drive up the mountain was nice and the views from the top are breathtaking!
Our second full day in Hobart was spent an hour and a half away at Port Arthur. This old prison housing convicts in the 1800’s included 30+ buildings and lots of history. We spent nearly the entire day walking through the buildings, ruins and museums. Our ticket also included a short boat ride to see two other islands that had been used in the prisons days, one was a cemetery and the other a youth prison. Port Arthur is definitely a must see in Tasmania.
The next morning we headed to the airport, excited to meet up with Simone’s dad in Sydney the next morning. Tasmania was great! We wish we had had 2 weeks to explore and would definitely recommend venturing over if you ever find yourself in Australia.