We always scout for the next holiday destination. What we look for may differ from time to time, but an occasional trip off to the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of big cities and familiar sights may just do the trick of taking what we deem a REAL break. We took the plunge and headed off to Tasmania this late autumn, otherwise commonly known as Tassie. What struck us when we landed in Hobart after much anticipation was the chilly weather, and we are not even talking about the onset of Winter just yet. If you are planning a trip to Tassie anytime soon, we hope that this guide will come in handy.
You just got to make a stop here, in fact make it more than just a stop for a resting night. Hobart is more than merely being the administrative capital of the island, it is also the most populated place here with just about 200,000 residents. Make a drive up Mt Wellington to enjoy a spectacular view of the city and beyond, just make very sure that you prepare thick clothing for the harsh windy weather up at the top; unlike us. And if you can, make very sure Salamanca Market is at the top of your agenda. Held only once a week every Saturday from 8am to 3pm, this outdoor market is the place to be at Hobart. For dining options, the best restaurants in Tassie can be found here, and we mean some seriously good ones.
The more than 4 hours drive here from Hobart will make it one of the highlights of your trip. Transitioning from thick forest, to plains along the Great Lakes region (Central Tassie), and that occasional small towns and winding roads, hills and valleys, it was natural to think that the drive has brought us across some of the nicest landscapes we can ever enjoy in a short drive. And of course, the final destination at Cradle Mountain will make you feel all serene just by looking out at Dove Lake; beware though, as you will most likely be disconnected from the world, with the lack of any telecommunication signals. Take the 2 hours Dove Lake Circuit hike, listed as one of the top 60 short walks recommended in Tassie.
Mt Field National Park
If you would like to take a small detour enroute Cradle Mountain from Hobart, head here to catch the spectacular Russell and Horseshoe Falls, which is merely a 30 minutes return hike from the tourist information centre.
Make this stop as you leave Cradle Mountain, towards the east coast of Tassie. Second largest city in Tassie, Launceston somewhat gives urban travellers a much needed respite from nature. Top up on your comfort items here at either of the large hypermarts and take a walk around the relatively small city centre. Just west of the city lies the picturesque Cataract Gorge, and a quick 15 mins drive northwards will get you to Tamar Island Wetlands Reserve. Surprisingly, Tasmania has managed to keep this nature wonder relatively untouched, despite its close proximity to the city centres.
Makes for great photos, although we wouldn’t list this amongst out top spots to visit in Tassie. The renowned Bay of Fires starts at Binalong Bay, stretching some 50km northwards and features bounders at beachfront with red (and sometimes, fiery-looking) hues. To capture some of the best images, a visit to Binalong Bay will suffice. Make a stopover at the neighbouring St Helens if you are looking for dining options.
Freycinet National Park
Driving further south along the east coast of Tassie, a visit to the Freycient National Park and its vicinity is a must. Watch out for wild wallabies in the park along the way. Whilst the main highlight, Wineglass Bay, wasn’t quite as perfect as the many postcard impressions of the beach. Instead, make sure you do the short 10 minutes’ drive from the Wineglass Bay visitors’ carpark to Cape Tourville Lighthouse. Take it slow in this area, with some of the island’s most impressive and lavish accommodations located here. Make some time to sample of the local oysters and wines, and dine at the two main towns, Coles Bay and Swansea.
Tasman National Park
At the South Eastern tip of the island, hop on the Tasman Island Cruises here and for a 3 hours tour of the Tasman National Park coastline. This is not meant for folks who get seasick easily, but the views of some of the highest coastal cliffs (extending up to 300 meters) are definitely worthy of your time and yes, some courage! If you are on a budget, you can take a turn at the corner of Eaglehawk Neck, where you will also get to witness some of the many cliffs including the Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen. For the history buffs, a visit to Port Arthur is highly recommended by many guidebooks.
A trip to Tassie is not complete if you don’t get to sample some of the fine local produce. From Raspberry to Lavender farms, you ought to make sure that you make pit-stops at some these pretty estates. Of course, for the folks who love their wines, vineyards are aplenty across Tasmania. While Tamar Valley remains the most popular vineyard region, there are also vineyards within minutes’ drive from Hobart, with our favourite being Devil’s Corner right off Swansea. A newly renovated vineyard, the tasting site at Devil’s Corner features more than just wines, with two other food booths which include a popular local café at Coles Bay and a seafood booth with offerings from the nearby Freycinet Marine Farm.
Other than the local produce, the food scene at Tasmania is evolving and is surprisingly sophisticated. We will be listing our favourite restaurants in Hobart soon, stay tune!
Ranted by the Rantee