It’s a bleak Saturday morning and my eyes are bleary as we sit and wait for our cue to board our jet back to the mainland. The Hobart sky displays its darkest grey and rain drizzles down on the tarmac as we stare out blankly, trying to muster the energy to make the most of our final moments on Tasmanian soil.
Truth is, our time in Tassie has been anything but bleak or grey. It’s been a feast of autumn colours, of rugged landscapes, lush wilderness, panoramic coastlines – of mouth-watering local flavours. It’s been a feast of the senses and by golly we indulged.
We’d pictured Tasmania to be far less than it is. We pictured rolling pastures and wineries. Snowcapped mountains and deep blue lakes. We pictured sitting at a winery sipping on a fine Pinot Noir and gobbling fresh local cheese. What we didn’t picture was an island state so close, yet so far removed from the busy world. We discovered an untouched paradise rich with flora, wildlife and the very best our natural world has to offer.
Our trip was a strange one – we ditched the rig in Melbourne to travel Tassie in a Toyota Hiace instead. This was far cheaper than taking the Spirit of Tasmania with our ute and trailer in tow. Plus, Ben gets seasick so battling the Bass Strait was never really an option.
We started and finished in Hobart and had to venture back to the state’s capital a third of the way through our trek for a concert– this meant we backtracked and probably didn’t make best use of our time, but we made it work and managed to experience new things each day.
We ventured down the highways and had a decent taste of the back roads as well. We scooted around the state in just 12 days – and herewith we give our first word of advice. Twelve days is NOT ENOUGH.
True, from one side of the state to the other is only about 5-6 hours but although that seems quite short, it’s a lot of sitting, munching on snacks, staring out the window and not much seeing and experiencing.
In an attempt to share our love for such a stunning part of our country and hope you will consider a similar trek, here we have the Do’s and Don’ts for travelling Tassie as young ones.
- Consider your options for getting here – it was cheaper for us to pay for airport parking for our rig, fly to Hobart, hire a brand new campervan, stay in a nice hotel for a night, and fly back to Melbourne than it was to take our rig over on the Spirit… Much cheaper.
- Travel the state by vehicle. We drove the entire state in the 12 days – a total 2,105kms. This state HAS to be seen from the road and on foot.
- Visit a winery – these vineyards are not only beautiful to look at, the winemakers are truly passionate about producing a fine drop – and what’s not to love? It’s wine.
- Sample local produce including seafood, cheese, wine, and cider ❤ (A standout feed for us was The Drunken Admiral, Hobart – best seafood we’ve ever had)
- EAT A SCALLOP PIE
- Visit all the major centres – Hobart, Launceston, Devonport. All three areas have a completely different feel and are all uniquely beautiful in their own right.
- Visit Freycinet National Park, Cradle Mountain, Lake St Clair National Park and the never-ending list of fascinating natural wonderlands.
- Visit Port Arthur Historic Site and go on Ghost Tour. We easily spent an entire day wandering around the site, such fascinating history in a stunning location and the staff are passionate about sharing their knowledge with you. The Ghost Tour was eerily awesome so put on your big person panties and DO IT
- Climb a mountain! They’re everywhere – take your pic! Our favourite was Cradle Mountain. An experience we’ll never forget.
- Invest in windproof/ waterproof clothing. We lived in ours and we would have been two miserable sods without it!
- Talk to the locals! We found tassie locals to be some of the friendliest we’ve come across. Take the time to visit a local watering hole (Ye Old Buckland Inn was our pick) and get chatting to those around you. It’s the best part of travelling!
- Stay for any less than 3 weeks BARE MINIMUM. The locals will tell you you need much longer. One gentleman said 5-6 weeks was the ideal amount of time to truly see and experience Tassie. He’s probably right.
- Come with an empty wallet. We found it to be quite expensive for the traveler, particularly tourist experiences and fuel – so bring along more money than you think you need.
- Expect an abundance of free camps – Particularly along the east coast, there weren’t many free camping options. You may have to pay or at least donate more often than you’d hope to, but you will be guaranteed a beautiful spot to rest and relax.
- Trust the weather forecast. Tassie’s weather is super unpredictable so even if you wake up and it looks lovely and sunny, expect the weather to turn to shit and be prepared for when it does (see previous point re- wind/waterproof clothing. And always bring snacks on your adventures. Lots of snacks.)
- Stay cooped up in your hotel or camper. There is so much to see and do in this tremendous state and rain, hail or shine Tassie is willing to show you a good time. EMBRACE IT.
- Pass up an opportunity to explore Tasmania’s natural wonder. When you come across a sign that offers a 10 min, 1 hr or 3 hr walk, consider the longest ones. The walks and hikes that seem most challenging usually have the largest reward so don’t be lazy! (In saying that, be safe and never be a hero and do something completely out of your depths).
Hope that gives you a start – Tasmania is truly amazing and is just waiting to be explored so get on it!
Ben and Em x
A lover of the written word.
Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.
A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.