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Tasmania in 10 Days - PART TWO

If you haven't read Part One of my ten day Tasmania trip, you can find it here. If you have, read on!

Tiny George, Dulcot AirBnB

Day 6

Made my breakfast at the AirBnB and then drove into Hobart. I parked the van just outside the CBD and spent the morning walking - 16,000 steps exploring the city, from the Botanic Garden to Salamanca, Battery Point and Argyle Street. I got coffee at @pigeonwholebakers and a delicious pastry from Jackman & McRoss at Battery Point.

In the afternoon I drove out to Mt Field National Park and did the 2.5hr 6km Three Falls Circuit hike to see Horeshoe Falls, Russell Falls & Lady Barron Falls. I wish I had spent more time there to do other walks and spend more time in the National Park, but I'll have to make sure to revisit this area on another trip.

Horseshoe Falls Mt Field National Park

I got Hobart food recommendations from the lovely host of Dune Shack AirBnB where I stayed on my previous Tasmania visit (you can read about that here), so back in the city for the afternoon I went for a cocktail @marymarybar and then dinner at @barwaizakaya.

I've been part of a Facebook group for "bioluminescence" for years, and there's a lovely lady who posts nightly updates of the likely spots where bioluminescence may by found in the water around Hobart. It’s such a cool phenomenon, usually from an algae bloom of plankton. The bioluminescent algae will glow when it’s disturbed by a wave breaking or a splash in the water at night. During the day it looks fairly ordinary (if not kind of gross), like pink slime floating on the water.

So, as per the Facebook recommendations I went to look for signs of bioluminescent algae around Bellerive Yacht Club and ran into some other travellers who were also keen to photograph some. It actually didn't take long to spot a patch of a milky looking substance floating on top of the water near some boats, so we used a water bottle to throw splash the surface and agitate the algae. It took some trial and error to catch the bioluminescence on camera, but it was a lot of fun. I got back to the AirBnB late and managed not to hit any wildlife on the way!

Day 7

I wanted to see sunrise from Mt Wellington, but wasn't quite that organised to get there that early, but arrived in the early morning light. It was windy and FREEZING up there, but so beautiful, and an incredible view of Hobart!

From Mt Wellington I drove to Kettering for the Bruny Island ferry. The ferry runs all day, every 40 minutes or so, and you drive your vehicle straight onto the ferry for the 20 minute trip. I'd heard about the @thebrunybaker bread fridge, so I stopped for some sourdough and ANZAC biscuits on my way to Cape Bruny Lighthouse. The lighthouse was first lit in 1836 and is heritage-listed, towering 114m above the rugged southern coastline of Cape Bruny. The lighthouse tour takes you up the cast-iron spiral staircase and out onto the balcony for stunning views on all directions.

The view from the Neck Lookout is worth the 200 stairs up from the carpark, and there's also a boardwalk and penguin viewing platform nearby. I headed to my campsite at the Captain Cook Holiday Park at Adventure Bay in the afternoon and then walked to the nearby Bruny Island Raspberry Farm for some ice cream just before they closed, and some raspberry jam to eat with my sourdough.

Day 8

Another early start to get back to the mainland on one of the first ferries and head for the east coast. I missed the first ferry off Bruny but still felt like I had tons of spare time so I stopped at Richmond for coffee and breakfast but then rushed to get to Triabunna in time for the @encountermaria ferry.

Maria Island is full of history and beauty, with convict ruins, vast cliffs, turquoise water and an abundance of wildlife. There are no cars on the island, apart from a couple of ranger vehicles, so I hired a bike and rode around to the white sand beaches with crystal clear water and the Painted Cliffs. After missing out on seeing wombats at Cradle Mountain I REALLY wanted to see wombats on the island. It dramatically exceeded my expectations when the wombats woke up and started roaming around and munching on grass in the shade after lunch. There were so many babies too, and they were all just so unbothered by our presence! A BABY WOMBAT EVEN BOOPED MY CAMERA 😍

Seeing the wombats at Maria Island was such a highlight. They were intent on their eating and didn’t pay much attention to us. I'll never forget the curious one that wanted to see what the shutter noise of my camera was all about and walked so close that it's nose basically touched the lens. Eventually it was me who backed up and startled it and it ran back to hide it's face underneath its mum's belly. I spent a LOT of time taking wombat photos!

After catching the ferry back to Triabunna (you can camp on Maria Island, but you need to take all your supplies with you as there are minimal facilities and no shops on Maria), I drove up to Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park ready for my drive up the east coast the next day. I had a campsite at Big4 Iluka, made dinner in the camp kitchen and spent some time chatting to other travellers about where they had been.

Wineglass Bay Lookout
Day 9

I started the day with the short hike to Wineglass Bay Lookout, a beautiful but steep walk. Freycinet National Park has so many beautiful walks, surf and sandy white beaches, rocky cliffs and a mountain range in the background. I absolutely should have planned more time in this part of Tasmania, but it's just another spot to add to my list of places to revisit!

I stopped at Bicheno for coffee at Little Bay Patisserie, and then took a walk up to the Whalers Lookout. From there, I made the coastal drive to St Helen’s and on to the southern end of Bay of Fires Conservation Area. I parked at Swimcart Beach and walked along and over the orange-tinged rocks for a couple of hours, taking photos and watching the crystal clear waves roll in. I headed back to Binalong Bay for a wander around and then stopped at St Helen’s for some food before heading inland for my last night in Tasmania at a cabin at @just.downtheroad.

The rustic, self-contained cabins are in the sleepy town of Branxholm, and are designed to be the perfect spot to relax and recover for travellers, as well as mountain-bike enthusiasts visiting the Blue Derby trails. The cabins are thoughtfully designed and styled, with a combustion heater, fully equipped kitchen, gorgeous bathroom, a private outdoor bath on the rear deck, and a sauna and bbq in the communal area. This was another AirBnB I'd have loved to spend more time relaxing at.

Day 10

My last day in Tasmania did not start as planned. I packed up ready to head into Launceston for breakfast and got in to the van to get going, and it wouldn’t start 😭 (I swear I didn’t leave the headlights on! 😆). So a call to Camplify and RACT and an hour-long wait for them to drive from a nearby town and then I was on the road.

The roadside assist guy couldn't give an explanation why the battery had drained overnight other than it was likely just the end of its life, so once they got the van started I didn't risk stopping anywhere and drove straight back to Launceston to drop it off to its owners and headed straight to the airport (I found out later that it wouldn't start again next time they tried to drive it).

Apart from a longer trip to allow for more time spent in each place, or fluking the timing of my trip with a solar flare for a glimpse of the aurora australis, there is not much I would do differently if planning this trip over. It was a great experience to sleep in the van and to spend time in camp kitchens talking to other travellers, which I would not have had the opportunity to do if I had stayed in AirBnBs or holiday park cabins with their own facilities, however it might have been a more comfortable (definitely smoother) ten days of driving in a modern SUV hire car. In the end, I think the overall cost for the additional couple of nights accommodation would have evened out with a slightly lower hire car cost, and less of a chance of a flat battery on the last day.


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