8 blissful days, that all it took for me to fall in love you… Tasmania. We flew into Tassie from Melbourne and had a roadtrip full of ferns, tea and biscuits, wool socks, hikes, and beach walks. I can not even express how much I loved Tasmania. I will simply have to go back. And if you have not been, I urge you to. It is a stunning part of Australia, with beautiful people, good food, and magnificent landscapes.
Day 1 – Hobart:
So we arrived in beautiful Hobart, fresh off the plane and picked up the rental car from the airport. Just driving through Hobart I felt like it was strangely homelike. It just felt comfortable, no huge box stores, old historic buildings lined the main streets, and then we took in the sight of Mount Wellington. Hobart is amazing, and I cant even express how much I enjoyed my time there. All I can say is – if I ever find myself looking to pick up and move Hobart would be it.
We headed to our Airbnb for a quick little bag drop and then headed out to explore. When we arrived our host had made fresh wholegrain bread and provided homemade raspberry jelly – heaven! After speaking to our host we decided that we would head down to the Salamanca markets in the heart of Hobart’s harbor for some dinner. She recommended a fabulous little restaurant (it was kind of fancy, by the way) called Smolt. It was simply amazing. I had grilled green beans with roasted pumpkin and a nice little yogurt to go with it. It was to die for. After travelling for a few weeks you simply crave some really fresh vegetables and that totally hit the spot. After dinner we strolled through the little harbour and back out to our home for the night.
Day 2 – Hobart to Strahan:
We woke up perky as ever and had some more fresh bread with homemade jam and hit the road. Heading North West from Hobart we drove for 2 hours before arriving at Mount Field National Park. Mount Field National Park is one of Australia’s best known National Parks and for good reason– Russell Falls waterfall and Horseshoe falls. These 2 waterfalls are absolutely stunning, and if you time it right they are in flowing at a miraculous rate. We lucked out. The falls are only a 6-8 kilometer walk round trip but so worth it if you’re into nature and have a rental car it’s a must do really.
Russell Falls is the first waterfall you see on your beautiful walk in. This area is so well preserved and the trails were so well marked. Its definitely one of the nicer National Parks I have been too. I had seen tons of photographs of the falls before so I thought I knew what I was in for. As you walk the fern lined trails, its hard to not have a huge smile on your face. Following the trails we lucked out and saw a small Tasmanian Devil just hanging out in a hollowed out log. Now that was pretty cool. We followed the trail along and quickly heard the waterfall, as you peer through the massive fern trees you suddenly see this massive wall of a waterfall. Russell Falls.
If you continue on further, and I highly recommend it you follow the trail off to the right and up quite a few sets of stairs you come to the ever-charming Horseshoe Falls. We were there early morning so the way the light was coming through the dense forest made the waterfall light up and look magical. So worth the extra stairs.
There is also a ‘tall trees’ walk if you continue on further which for me was a must – because when someone says ‘Should we keep walking and venture into the unknown?’ the answer is always yes.
From there we left Mount Field National Park completely in awe, and this was our first stop. We headed west to Strahan, a small west coast town. I will warn you, they say the drive takes 4 hours… it is not 4 hours as the roads are hectic as… tried to be Aussie there. I don’t pull it off. Anyways it is definitely not a 4 hour drive, more like 5-6 due to the continual rising and falling of mountains, cliffs, and tight roads with almost no visibility. So take your time folks and when they say go 40 kilometers an hour – go 30 because it is terrifying.
We luckily did make a few stops along the way through the beautiful countryside. A local we met in Hobart told us to check out ‘The Wall’ at Derwent Bridge. Now I don’t have any photos, and there is a good reason for that. ‘The Wall’ is a 100-meter long wood carving done completely by hand and by one man. The wall represents Tasmania’s history and culture. The panels are 3 meters high and tell the story of the harsh Central highlands region – from the beginng with the indigineous people, to pioneering timber harvesters, pastoralists, miners and hydro workers. It also has a special section for the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take any photos, so take my word for it. It is amazing – you do have to pay a $16.00 entry fee for adults but it is well worth it. The carving is still in the works and probably about half done, but you can see the craftsmanship in his work and it is such an amazing representation of Tasmania’s history.
Our next stop was at the ever famous Lake Clair. Set amongst the mountains in the ever famous Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Parks. There are many hikes to do here, but unfortunately time didn’t allow.
Finally after weaving through the mountains and mining areas, we arrived in Strahan past dark. We were absolutely exhausted so called it an early night and grabbed some dinner at a local restaurant in the port.
Day 3: Strahan to Launceston:
Today was a day of trains, locomotives to be exact. West Coast Wilderness Railways locomotive ride, this was a random little excursion I planned and didn’t really know what to expect. It was advertised a lot as a must do when researching Tasmania, so I thought why not. Well on a 4-hour train ride I learnt more about Tasmania and the West Coast than any high school history class (and it was so interesting) but it also provided some unreal views, food, and commentary. I highly recommend it if you have some time and are looking for something a little different. They also provided with unlimited coffee and tea (win), lunch, and the ever amazing scones with cream and jam. I have become such a scone with cream and jam lover it is not even funny.
After the train ride we headed straight out to burn off the scones. We headed to Hogarth Falls. Yet another wonderful waterfall in the heart of Strahan, it is only 3 kilometers round trip but well worth it. Plus it has TONS of ferns and a variety of species!
This morning we ate our porridge and drank our tea then headed out to drive from Strahan to Launceston. This is around a 5-hour drive of picturesque countryside, mountains, and vast open fields. It was a gloomy morning with moody clouds and threats of rain, so naturally we blasted some upbeat tunes to sing along to and hoped for the best.
As any other tourist in Tasmania we had to hike the Dove Lake Circuit and world-renowned trail – this trail is absolutely spectacular.The Dove Lake Trail is a 6 kilometer trail with picturesque views, the greenest flora around, large looming mountains, and all surrounding a beautiful serene lake. We did it in late August so there was still snow, cold weather, and rain was coming down. It is also very rocky so wear hiking boots.
Regardless of the conditions it is such a must do if in the area and you like hiking. Throughout the hike it provides panoramic views of Dove Lake and we had a rather unsettling raven follow us the whole time. We did the trail clockwise and just as you reach the halfway point it opens up to the clearest views of the lake and soon walk over flowing creeks and off in the distance on the mountains you could see the waterfalls rushing with spring water, and nature was just coming back to life from the bitter winter.
Along the trail you enter into the Ballroom Forest – a cool temperature rainforest. This area has many myrtle-beech trees which are very common in Tasmania and quite a unique site. The amount of moss was astounding, I wanted to be a little bug and crawl amongst it. There, told ya I was weird.
Following Ballroom Forest and dancing among the trees, you walk along manmade rock steps and creeks, leading up to the famous boat shed. The boat shed may be the most iconic photo taken in Tasmania, and for a good reason.
From there we drove onto Launceston after a coffee to warm up. That night we went out for a lovely dinner and settled into our homey AIRBNB accommodation for the night.
Day 5- Launceston to Coles Bay:
Started off the day and went to Liffey Falls – another amazing waterfall, just cant get enough of them honestly. Quite a uphill walk but has multiple waterfalls and is quite a trek to get to but worth it. A lot of back roads have to be driven to get there and it takes longer than expected.
We then went to the Joseph Chromy Winery. It was my mothers wish to go to a winery, so that’s what we did. Every Sunday the most awarded winery in Tasmania does tours and tastings for only $25.00. We got to taste tons of wines and champagnes and it is the best wine in Tasmania. We each had about 8 glasses of wine or champagne each, so it was definitely worth it. I also was rocking a buzz by the second champagne. We then toured the grounds, learnt their technique of making their fine wines and actually met Mr. Chromy himself. Very cool experience. We then drove through the sunny hillside and stopped in at a little raspberry farm. We had an amazing soup, and some raspberry smoothies then headed to Coles Bay and spent the night there.
Day 6- Coles Bay:
We awoke very early and set out for the day’s first challenge – the Wineglass Bay Hiking Circuit. It is 45 minutes of stairs but so worth it. There are two lookouts on this trail the first is Coles Bay lookout. Following Coles Bay Lookout, and after numerous sets of stairs and a few water breaks, when you make it to the top and look at the pristine waters of Wineglass Bay, you forget the stairs you just soak in the bliss of your own sweat and Tasmania’s beauty.
We grabbed some lunch at a local café and then I dipped my toes in at Muir’s Beach. Such pristine waters, I just had to soak it in a bit – it was very chilly.
From there we headed down to walk around Honeymoon Bay. This small bay opens up to look at the mountains and Coles Bay.
A short drive from Honeymoon bay is the often forgotten and hidden Sleepy Bay. Sleepy Bay is a pretty magical spot, a short walk from the parking area opens you up to what looks like a pre-historic time. We also had the place to ourselves, so naturally the inner child in me came out, and I was bound off of rocks, and climbing up the cliffs, looking for shells, and frolicking in the water. What a blissful find.
If you continue onward on Cape Tourville Road you end up surprisingly at the Cape Tourville Lookout and Lighthouse. Surprise! It is a short walk around the lighthouse but the views are astounding. Also you can spot some seriously neat wild birds, and little Lemon Rock in the distance.
We finished our day off at Friendly Beaches. Friendly Beaches has such a contrast of everything Australia stands for all in one beach. It has the fiery orange rocks, white sands, little black pebbles, turquoise waters, a rainforest lining the beach, and great looming mountains in the distance. We spent a few hours here and had the beach completely to ourselves until the sun began to set. I really think nothing clears the mind and brings clarity like the ocean and beautiful spots like that. Just as we were about to leave the cutest little wallaby followed us to the car and stayed in hopes of getting some treats… I didn’t give in but he was so darn cute and fearless.
Fun Fact: Tasmania is well known for the Bay of Fires – these are fiery orange rocks. The rocks aren’t actually orange but merely covered in a bright orange lichen build up.
From there we headed out for a lovely dinner at the Freycinet National Park. We had a some lovely steaks and then went for a walk to watch the sun go down. Seriously, Tasmania… you are a dream.
I highly recommend getting up early to make the most of your day! It was a busy one but seriously so amazing. Or if you have time to spare spend a few days, I doubt you would run out of beautiful things to see and find. There are also tons of multi-day hikes to be done there to. Just thinking about it makes me all excited.
Day 7- Coles Bay to Hobart:
Once again porridge was served hot at 4:30 a.m. in hopes of getting to Hobart early this morning… thank god my parents are early risers. Not. We drove from Coles Bay to Hobart. Today was a full day of sight seeing throughout stunning Hobart.
First stop, the great Mount Wellington. Mount Wellington is 1271 meters high, and provides panoramic views over Hobart, the ocean, and as well as the surrounding mountains. It is well known for its distinct ‘Organ Pipes’ or dolerite columns. Take your time up here and walk the perimeter. It’s a beaut!
Next we headed down from the chilly mountain and visited the famous Cascade Brewery and walked through the gardens. Nearby the haunting Cascades Female Factory Historic Site still stands. As we ventured in you really get a feel for the misery that once loomed in there. It was open from 1828 to 1859 for all female convicts, it housed thousands of women and because of such poor treatment then many died from disease, over crowding, and lack of food and clothing. Really quite a daunting place, but a very important historic site for Tasmania.
Then we were into the sunny and cheerful Tasmanian Royal Botanical Gardens. It is right by the Tasman Bridge when entering Hobart. It is such an amazing grounds with so many varieties of plants from around the world, everything is so well maintained and neat, it was really a treat. It seems as though I visit a Botanical Gardens in every city I go to – this one has topped a lot of them! Plus all it costs is a small donation.
We made our way back down to the Salamanca Markets once again and treated ourselves to dinner once again at Smolt, for the same fresh meal. I then of course had to go next door to the Honeybadger Dessert Café. I got a Chai Panacotta …wow. So good – and reasonably priced too!
This morning we ate our porridge and headed down to the docks to meet our shuttle for the Bruny Island Cruise. I have done a lot of excursions while being in Australia, and this is easily one of my favourites. Although it is quite pricey it is oh so worth it.
You meet in the morning at the Central harbor by Salamanca markets and take a bus down through the beautiful valley west of Hobart, from there you take a ferry to the glorious Bruny Island, and then drive some the quiet winding roads of Bruny Island. It is very sparsley populated island, but has more sheep than people, and more magnificent views than you can imagine. We had some tea and fresh baked blueberry muffins before boarding out little jet boat, and by little it held 25 people. As you weave in and out along the coast of Bruny Island, the history and the dramatic climate really takes you by surprise.
The history is so rich and our guides were so enthusiastic, it was hard not to get involved. They explained every bird we saw, every cove we floated past, every knook in the rocks, and the formations names. They even described how some areas were used as whale hunting grounds and how the aboriginals thrived on the island by living off the land and the sea.
Throughout the boat ride we saw penguins, seals, and tons of birds. Finally, when we were just about to come to the end of our cruise, a pod of dolphins came to play in the waves of our boat and put on a show. Truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. This was actually my first ever encounter with dolphins, I cant wait til my next.
Tasmania was so simply beautiful, it didn’t matter if we were in a town, or out in the middle of no-where it was so charming. It was quaint and simple. Two things I love. It was such a fun roadtrip and I am so glad I got to experience the ever-elusive ‘Tassie’.
My only regret from Tasmania was not seeing the Bridestowe lavender fields or doing some of the multi-day treks through the glorious National Parks. Oh well, guess I’ll have to go back again. Hehe.
I created a video for my time in Tasmania with my GoPro as well as my Canon T5i. Hope you enjoy – https://vimeo.com/139837021
“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention. Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day. This is all practice.” ― Chuck Palahniuk