Exhausted yet warm and refreshingly clean, I am glad to be back in my own bed in Melbourne but the last 5 days in Tasmania have been incredibly crazy busy and fun and a whirlwind of activity. After months of planning, booking car rentals and flights it finally happened and seemed to get over so quickly. Redgie and I left for Hobart on the 6am flight on Saturday 1st November, with bags packed and passports in hand. Here’s a quick recap of our adventures in Taz.
Arrived in Hobart around 7.30am to cold and rain. Redgie said and I agreed that it felt like we were in the Twilight movie with pine forests and bleak weather all around us. We took the airport shuttle to our YHA in Hobart and left our bags there before heading out to the Salamanca Markets to check out the local artists and crafts and get some breakfast. We saw some wonderful wood carvings, Russian babushka dolls, persion food, local fudge and chocolate, and gypsy skirts. After walking around for a while we headed back to the YHA for a nap. Later that day we walked to the Cascade Brewery where we did the Louisa’s walk tour, a historical tour of the Female Factory with actors telling the heartbreaking story of Louisa a female convict from England. We had dinner at a local pub and then walked down to Battery Point for waffles and ice cream before calling it a night.
Day 2 – Hobart – Mt Wellington – Tahune Forest – Hobart
After a lazy morning picking up our rental car and having breakfast at Salamanca Place, we headed off to Mt Wellington which was a long and windy road through the forest. Finally arrived at a carpark halfway up the hill and Redgie touched snow for the first time. After throwing a few snow balls around and skidding through the sleet on the hill, we caught snowflakes on our tongues and hurried back to the warmth of our little Hyundai. After 8 months of not driving, it was a little scary getting behind the wheel but like everyone told it, it’s like riding a bike or swimming, once you learn you can never forget. I never realised how much I miss the radio in the car, but Tassie seems to have 6 songs on repeat on the radio including All about that base, Stolen Dance, Taylor Swift. After sitting in the car singing along with the radio until it stopped snowing, we started the long drive to the Tahune Forest. A couple of hours and green fields later, we arrived at the Tahune forest airwalk where we walked 20 meters above the forest floor, in air so clear it felt like I was inhaling it through all my pores. It looked out over the Huon river and felt like I was disappearing into the mist. Not quite New Zealand but pretty damn close. Driving back to Hobart we decided to have dinner at La Porchetta and got some pretzels at cold rock for dessert.
Day 3 – Hobart – Freycinet Penninsula – Launceston – Tamar Valley – Bridport
Waking up early we packed our bags and grabbed Maccas before beginning the long drive to Freycinet Penninsula. The day was beautiful with clear skies and sun shining…so much that we had the AC on all morning in the car. Finally arrived at a beautiful lookout after driving through kilometres of Freycinet National Park along Wineglass bay. After stopping for fresh oysters at Marine Bay Oyster farm we drove on to Launceston where we saw yet another Banjos – which appear to be the equivalent of Bakers Delight, Starbucks and everything else in the western world. It turns out we were in Launceston on a public holiday so everything was closed and we had no choice but to eat at Banjos before checking out the local town clock and city park. Next on the list was Cataract Gorge where we walked up to Eagles Aire, or rather climbed up a rocky track. The view was spectacular and we met a friendly climber from Norway near the top of the cliff. Descending down to the car we found a family of tourists smoking some weird kind of weed outside our car while their children played. Interesting. Thankfully due to our trusty GPS we were soon off to the Tamar Valley wetlands where we strolled on the wooden boardwalk through the beautiful wetlands and kept an eye out for snakes next to a very jumpy Redgie before driving down to our YHA in Bridport about an hour away. After some Fish and chips for dinner and my very first Milo Scoop shake, we settled into the YHA and then went for a walk along the beach just across the road from our hostel and sat on the sand enjoying the evening breeze.
Day 4 – Bridport – Launceston – Sheffield – Staverton – Sheffield – Cradle Mountain – Sheffield – Campbell Town – Hobart
Craziest day of our trip so far. Began in Bridport leaving at 8.30am for Launceston were we grabbed some Maccas yet again for lack of anything else to eat and then drove on to Sheffield the Town of Murals. Saw some amazing murals on the walls there before driving on to Staverton were we went to Tazmazia in the Promised Land (so corny I know). We tackled a couple of mazes, took lots of photos of the miniature houses in the Village of Lower Crackpot and then had some nachos and scones for lunch before driving back to Sheffield to get some lollies and chocolate to share with our teams at work at the Candy Shop. There we met a Llama called Predro with a cute local man who let us pat the darling. Next began the longest drive of my life (actually that’s not true the way back was longer). The drive up to the top of Cradle Mountain was extremely long and windy and scary with lots of U-bends, speeding cars and dead animals on the road making me squeamish. It’s a miracle I never hit anything on that trip while we saw hedgehogs, fat wombats and even a kitten crossing the road right in front of us. Finally at the top of Cradle Mountain two hours and a puking Redgie later, I went alone on the Cradle Mountain shuttle bus to Dove lake where I walked a little way around the track and took photos of the Cradle Mountain looming over Dove Lake and a Wallaby with a little Joey in her pouch. Then began my 4 and a half hour drive back to Hobart via Sheffield, Launceston and Campbell Town. We finally reached Hobart at around 9.30pm after singing for hours in the car and getting trapped between two trucks on the B52 with Redgie musing that this is usually when people get cornered and abducted in movies haha. Craziest drive of my life never doing that again, felt so bad for Redgie with her travel sickness. Definitely going to be better with the planning next time. Probably drove around 550km in total that day.
Our last morning in Hobart we woke up early, I dropped off the rental car and after a quick stop at Maccas headed out to MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art in Claremont. We saw lots of interesting exhibitions such as the Gallery of Death, the Wall exhibition called ‘Cunts and Conversations’ featuring a long wall of sculptures of said anatomical part and ‘Fat Car’ a Porche built like a primary kids sausage writing. Both Redgie and I were incredibly impressed with the ‘O’s, the I-Pods that were handed out which were linked to all the art work, featuring summary information about each exhibition, an ‘Art wank’ section with more information and a Love/Hate feature to track our journey. After that we went to the Cadbury Factory further up the road where we got a few free chocolates and bought a lot more. With the smell of chocolate wafting through the air we boarded the bus back to Hobart, chatted about chick flicks and rom coms and grabbed our bags ready to return home to Melbourne; to civilisation, bustling streets and no more Banjos!