tasmania.

We spent a sleepless night in Melbourne airport once we arrived back from Bali, we landed at 10.30pm and thought we could sleep in some reasonable comfy seats for the night before our flight out the next morning but I think Tullamarine airport is the world’s most uncomfy airport! I did manage about half an hour of sleep though which I guess is better than nothing! When we arrived in Hobart off our lengthy one hour flight, (haha) we caught the airport shuttle bus which costs $18 per person into the centre, they drop you off right outside your accomodation as well which is nice. The drive into the city is great, you can see Mt Wellington and you drive over the Tasman Bridge, all the houses are built into the hills as well so there are some great views of everything. It only took about half an hour and even though we arrived at Hobart Hostel six hours before check in time, the super friendly staff let us check in as soon as we got there, so we managed to catch up on about four hours sleep which was great. We were also given an upgraded room which was lovely, the hostel itself was clean with a nice lounge and kitchen area, very very cold but you are provided with a heater in your room and once that’s been on for an hour it’s lovely and warm. Once we had enough energy to get out of bed we wrapped up, as it’s about 10 degrees in Hobart this time of year, then went to explore the tiny little city. Salamanca Place, Sullivans Cove and the whole waterfront area are lovely, there’s a few streets of shops as well, we probably saw everything within a couple of hours but I think if it was warm you could spend the whole day strolling around. We spent the evening hanging out in the hostel making the most of good wifi and getting warm in our room!

The next day we were up bright and early to check out and collect our hire car ready for a few days of driving round. Our first stop was Mt Wellington, it was cold but very blue skies and sunshine at the bottom of the mountain, but by the time we’d driven up to the top there was abour 4ft of snow and you couldn’t see a thing! It was such an odd contrast! When we were finished risking our lives on the top of a mountain we headed over to Mt Nelson which is a lot smaller but has lovely views of the city and waterfront. We then drove down to Kettering which is only about half an hour from the city, where we caught the ferry over to Bruny Island. The ferry was only $30 for the car and it takes about 20 minutes, even in the winter they run quite often which is good. We spent most of the rest of the day driving round the island exploring, it’s very pretty and even though the weather was a bit rubbish it was still a lovely place, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. We caught the 3.15 ferry back over to the mainland and drove up the highway to Richmond, which is the cutest little village, all the buildings are very old school, there’s a jail there that was built really early 1800’s too. The coal river runs through the village as well which looked lovely in the autumn sun. The sun sets around 17.15 this time of year in Tassie so we were then in a bit of a rush to get to Eaglehawk Neck before the end of the day, we didn’t make it before it was pitch black so we carried on down to Port Arthur where we were staying that night. The visitors centre there is open until about 10pm so we went and checked that out, only to discover that the entry fee was going to be $70 for both of us the next day, which for backpackers on a budget was just not plausible. I had quite wanted to visit but having read the information about what was there I didn’t feel too disappointed.

We drove up to Eaglehawk Neck the next morning as it was getting light, before having a look at Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen as well which are all just lookouts with some interesting rocks and views, worth a look if you’re in the Tasman National Park anyway. We then headed up to Freycinet National Park via lots of nice little villages, and made a quick detour to 9 mile beach which was very pretty. Oyster Bay Lookout is a great stop in the National Park and has lovely views, they were doing a controlled burn off down there the day we went so there was a lot of fire and smoke everywhere! We bbq’d at a lovely spot in the National Park for lunch, before driving up to the Bay of Fires on the east coast. This was another really pretty area and we did some climbing over the rocks and sand for a bit before heading back to St Helens to stay for the evening. It’s quite a big town/village and has a library, IGA, quite a few restaurants and takeaways, as well as a nice little harbour area too. When we went to America we started doing Geocaching and we hadn’t done it for so long we thought we’d entertain ourselves that evening by searching for some caches, we managed to find three out of the four in the town so that was pretty fun!

Had a pretty terrifying start to the day when we woke up in St Helens, we just put the engine on and were warming ourselves and the car up when I looked out the window and saw this figure stood in the dark staring into the car! Needless to say I was absolutely terrified! Sammy shouted at him and beeped the horn and he rode away on his bike, but that is just my worst nightmare waking up and seeing someone there so I was pretty on edge after that! It was soon forgotten about though once we were driving down dirt tracks to Mt William National Park, watching the sun fighting through the fog. The whole area was very pretty and worth a visit, but all the roads to it are unsealed so watch what kind of car you take, we got a huge upgrade from a basic car to a huge mitsubishi all wheel drive which was awesome! We then drove up north toards Georgetown and Low Head, which has about three lighthouses, the area is lovely as well, very quaint. Then we drove through Beaconsfield, Beauty Point and Tamar Valley, before stopping in Latrobe to go searching for platypus! We went down to the Wawaree Reserve and walked along the river, then we to the river next to the Axeman’s Hall of Fame, but couldn’t spot one anywhere. They do a guided tour in an evening and you’re apparently 99% guarenteed to see one but we didn’t fancy hanging around all afternoon to wait. Once we left Latrobe we went to Devonport and Mersey Bluff which was a great beach and lookout onto the area, before heading down to Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm in Elizabethtown which I’d read about on another blog somewhere. The cafe at the farm was lovely and a large wood fire that made the whole place so cosy, plus you could have raspberry anything! There were drinks, desserts, coffees, teas, raspberry chocolates, raspberry hand creams, literally raspberry everything! We shared fresh raspberries and cream and a raspberry cheesecake, the yummiest things I’ve ever eaten, everyone needs to visit at least once in their life. Our last stop was Deloraine which was another quite big town, it had a woolworths, lots of cafes, a couple of hotels, a caravan park and a brilliant 50’s diner which had we had more spare money we defintiely would have eaten at. There’s a motorhome rest area by the race course as well which I’m pretty sure is specifically just for motorhomes but there were caravans, campervans and other cars parked there so we just joined in as well. We were just getting settled when someone came and knocked on the window, scaring the crap out of us again! This time however it was a nice old English man telling us the warmest place to park and wanting to know if Catterick army camp was still there in Yorkshire!

When we woke up the next morning we were seriously cold, it dropped to -1 in the night and it took so long for the heating to warm us up! As soon as it hit 6am we headed off on a beautiful drive to Great Lake, the largest lake in Tasmania. It’s around 45 minutes from Deloraine and the views on the way up of Quarmby Bluff and the rest of the Great Western Tiers are fantastic, it was foggy and cold in Deloraine but on the journey we basically drove above the clouds and came out into beautiful sunshine, it was awesome! We drove back down through the clouds and over to Cradle Mountain, again the views on the way over are just stunning, Cradle Country is beautiful and it was really sunny there as well which made everything look even better, Mt Roland is on the way there and looks great too. By the time we got to Cradle Mountain the weather was pretty rubbish and at the visitors centre they told us that even if we got the bus up to Dove Lake (the closest viewing point for the mountain itself) we wouldn’t be able to see the mountain. I was a bit disappointed as it’s something I’d really wanted to do but the weather can’t be helped can it! The visitors centre also said that Mt Ossa and Lake St Clair could only be seen at the end of a full days hike! I hadn’t realised any of this and obviously we were in no way eqipped for proper hiking, luckily the scenery on the drive back down was incredible so not all was lost. We took a drive over to where we had been told we could see the Walls of Jerusalem, only to find out that the car park you reach at the end of an off roading dirt track then requires an eight hour return hike to see the actual mountains, devastated! The lesson of the day was definitely that Tasmania is incredibly beautiful, but a lot of it is very hard to get too! We did see the Rowlena Hydro Dam being constructed on our way up to the car park which was pretty cool. On our way over to Launceston we stopped at Mole Creek to BBQ for lunch, it’s a lovely place with views of the Great Western Tiers again. When we arrived in Launceston we stopped at Cataract Gorge which is beautiful, there’s a chair lift there which it reckons is the longest in the world, that takes you up to the top of a big hill where you can see the bridge and swimming pool etc that’s there as well. After the ridiculously cold temperatures the night before Sammy had put his foot down and decided we were not staying in the car again so we had a quick look for a hostel to stay at for the night! We found the Batman Fawkner Inn which is only $20 per person for a lovely clean and heated room, plus a great kitchen and lounge area, such a nice place to spent the night and worth the unbudgeted money!

Our rental car was due back the next morning so we checked out of the hostel and took our bags to the hostel we had actually booked to stay at for the night, the reception didn’t open until 9am so we took the car back and walked back in the freezing cold, although I think it was warmer outside than it was in the hostel! When reception did open the fella working was furious that we’d been let in to hang out until reception opened and told us there wasn’t a chance we could have a room until at least 2pm, a very different reception to the one we’d recieved at the lovely Hobart Hostel! Whilst we were hanging out waiting to brave the cold and explore the town we met an English couple who had arrived a day ago and were hoping to work in Tassie to save some money, they also told us there were spare beds in their dorm and that a lot of people had checked out that morning, I think the receptionist just hated us! We went for a wander over to the K Mart down the road to get an extra hoodie and a hat each to help us cope with the cold weather, 35 degrees in Bali to 15 degrees in Tasmania is not a great adjustment to have to make! For lunch we went to a lovely little cafe called Ellie Mays in town and had a bit of a wander round, although it’s small Launceston is a great little place. We spent the evening watching films with the couple we’d met earlier, Pippa and Connor, and a young German lad who was also in our room, in the lounge of the hostel which was lovely.

The next morning we said more goodbyes and jumped on the airport shuttle bus to catch our flight back to Melbourne. The bus is usually $18 per person but was only $15 this time which was good. The flight to Melbourne is only an hour, you’re barely up before you come back down again! The next part of our journey is a six day drive from Melbourne to Sydney with several stops along the way of course, looking forward to the weather being even just a few degrees warmer!

winter at the top of mt wellington.

bruny island.

tasman bridge.

tasman arch.

bay of fires.

christmas hills raspberry farm.

sunrising.

the great western tiers.

river flowing through cradle country.

lighthouse at low head.

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