Late last month we popped over to Tasmania for a week – although it ended up feeling like much longer! The build-up to leaving was rather stressful; I had just finished my course, and then worked every day up until departure, and Kyle had done a big commercial photo job that he was still editing well into the night before our flight at dawn.
But we got it together, and watched the sunrise over the Bass Straight. We made friends with the fellow sitting next to us, who filled us in with Hobart tips – thanks Tristan! Seeing the inlets, mountains and bays as we circled into Hobart heightened our excitement! And the shiny blue sky, perfectly-sized airport and fresh clean air all added to this good feeling once we’d landed. We headed over to the car rental desk and were greeted by another friendly face. What a delightful Tasmanian to start our trip with! Emma was ever so helpful and we really can’t thank her enough for starting our trip off just right.
Into Hobart. We were meeting my lovely friend Freya for breakfast down in Salamanca. It wasn’t market day, so the area was pretty quiet – I guess it was only 8am too! We had toasties and coffee, then Freya showed us around the Art Centre where she works before starting her shift. It’s easy to immediately sense the history of the buildings in Hobart, they speak so strikingly of another time. After this quick intro to the city, we whizzed out of town in our little two-door rocket, on our way to Bruny Island.
The drive down to Kettering, where we would take the ferry to the island, was gorgeous. Winding out of Hobart, we stopped at a lookout point on Mt Nelson, swung by the old Shot Tower poking out of the trees, took a break at beaches in Kingston and Blackmans Bay, stocked up on food at a local produce stand and then finally made it into the ferry queue. Bruny Island is glorious. The townships are on a much smaller scale than I expected, but that was a welcome surprise. We drove down to South Bruny, and stayed at a beautiful campground nestled in the forest and just behind a glorious big bay. It was so peaceful! Over dinner, we marvelled at how eventful this first day had been!
The next morning, we drove across South Bruny to check out the lighthouse and Cloudy Bay, a well-known surf spot. We had brekkie there, looking out over the break. Then back in the car, back to Hobart. We stopped at Kingston Beach again, and walked down to the rugged rocks at the end of the bay – it really feels like you’re off in the wild, not in a cute beach town! Once back in the city we checked in to The Shipwright’s Arms. We ate lunch at the pub downstairs and got lost in all the sea-faring stories and old pictures on the walls. After a couple of beers, it was time to kick-start the 5-star experience of Mona! We took the ferry from downtown and I just can’t rave about it enough. It seriously feels like a James Bond movie, all decked out in black leather with a swanky bar on each level. We sat at the back of the boat sipping drinks and watching the city and ocean disappear as we travelled up river. I’m not going to say anything about Mona itself, you just have to go there. And I mean, you HAVE to go there!
We met up with Freya again the next day and she took us on a tour of town and then up to Mt Wellington. It’s so nice to escape the city so quickly, and all of a sudden be in the bush, and then moments later be above the tree-line in an unworldly desert-scape… We had fun looking down on Hobart, pointing out landmarks, and then on the way back down did a walk to see the Octopus Tree. We dropped Freya back home, had a sticky-beak at her sunny new house, and then zoomed off up the East Coast. We took the inland route, and popped out to the coast again at Coles Bay, hoping to stay at Freycinet NP that night. Unfortunately, we were too late, the NP was closed and all the sites full. So, we ended up staying at a campground in Coles Bay. We had a lovely evening walk along the rocks and watched the sunset over the silky, smooth sea.
We were ready to rock ‘n’ roll early the next morning. We drove to Sleepy Bay for a walk, went to the lighthouse lookout for some specky views, and then still got over to the NP office before they even opened. Once they did, we spoke to a lovely lady named Kim who booked us into an ocean-view site and told us about her seven years living aboard her yacht. We could see her boat from our site, anchored in the bay. We set up camp and then took off for the hike to Wineglass Bay. It was getting hot and the march uphill was sweaty but quick. The viewing platform for those classic shots was super crowded so we didn’t hang around, but instead plopped down the gravely steps to the bay itself. Certainly lovely, but it was kind of windy so we didn’t swim. We crossed over to the other side of the headland to see if that beach was more swimmable, but again it was a bit windy. So, we looped back around. I hit my 10km peak and started to tire, until I saw the carpark of course, then I was off like a rocket! We were so hot, we jumped into out togs and leapt into the still turquoise water at Honeymoon Bay – what a ripper! That was the first use of my new little wetsuit, oh how I love it! That night was pretty cruisy (except for the moment where Kyle “lost” his wallet…) and we both slept well after another full day of activities.
We packed up early in the morning and made our way further north to Bicheno, where we stopped for coffee and a swim. Each time we arrived at a new bay, I was just gobsmacked by the colour of the water! Sure, it’s chilly, but how could you resist swimming in such stunning clear waves!? Our destination that day was the Bay of Fires, so we jumped back in the car and moseyed up the highway, stopping for pretty fields, ocean overlooks and ancient trees. We stopped in St Helens for food and fuel and were both feeling a bit weary from the drive. Just a little further to Binalong Bay, then we could stop. As we turned the last corner and the bay was before us, all that tiredness disappeared – so beautiful!! I was lost for words other than saying “I’m lost for words!”. In my opinion, you just can’t beat blue water on white sand, it will always win. We kept driving to find a camp spot, worried we might miss out if we arrived late. There is a whole string of different campgrounds in the Bay of Fires, each with a massive dose of charm. We didn’t have to check out many, we set up at the very first one! Wow, what a spot! We swam immediately. We stayed at this spot for two nights, just soaking up the beauty. The second day was pretty foggy, so we went inland for a scenic drive. That night a huge thunderstorm rolled overhead and we lay awake feeling proud of our tent for holding up.
After a morning swim and a final goodbye to the resident wallabies, we left that special place and started our way back south. We stayed in Bicheno, initially in a campsite but then quickly upgraded to the luxury of a cabin! Afternoon swims, a walk out to the blowhole, beers overlooking the bay, another swim and then bed. Bicheno is lovely.
And then the drive back to Hobart, made longer by a detour along dirt roads through sweeping farmland and seemingly endless bush. We stayed that night in Dodges Ferry, staying with family friend Ronnie. We spent the afternoon at the beach, the guys surfed, and in the evening we shared Tassie stories.
Then all of a sudden it was our last day. We drove down to Clifton Beach to check out the surf, then back to the city for a wander. Our final destination was the Royal Botanical Gardens. I wish we’d given ourselves more time there, it’s stunning! Back to the airport, we handed the keys over to Emma, beaming with all the good memories from our week. Tasmania is amazing, we can’t wait to return!