Launceston and surroundings
In Tasmania I was very lucky to find an Australian host family again who gave me the opportunity of living with them and discovering their country at the same time. I took a plane from Melbourne to Launceston in late December 2017 and my host family picked me up from the airport. In the following days and weeks, I started to explore the area. I made several walks along the beautiful Gorge in Launceston and went swimming there as well. At the gorge there is a free pool, barbecues and some small cafés, which make it an ideal place to relax. The Gorge is also famous for its many peacocks and wallabies.
Most Saturdays I went with my family to the Launceston Farmers Markets, where we ate breakfast and did the weekly shopping. Sometimes we also went to the Sunday Markets in Evandale, a small village just outside the city. Evandale has a cute little café and a very nice local pub with a beer garden, where we went out for dinner one time.
One day my family and I made a trip to Latrobe and stopped at the Ashgrove Cheese Factory, where I tasted their delicious cheese. Tasmania has a lot of gourmet food on offer. There are many wineries, local factories and farms (chocolates, cheese, raspberries, cherries, apples, … you’ll find nearly everything).
Another day we visited the Tasmania Zoo and saw some native animals like the Tasmanian Devil, which is unfortunately becoming a threatened species due to a facial tumour epidemic. It’s now very rare to see a Tasmanian Devil in the wild. After that, I explored down town Launceston and stopped at the Monkey Business in the City Park. The monkey business is a monkey enclosure in the middle of the park, which is freely accessible to everyone. It’s so cute to watch the monkeys there!
In the following weeks, I went to Tamar Island, which is very popular for birdwatchers. I explored Liffey Falls and Pine Lake, where I went for a little hike. Another day, I drove to Low Head, a nice spot with a lighthouse and relaxed at the beach. Later that day, I also visited the Bridestowe Lavender Farm, which is also known outside Australia for its nice purple colours. I had some delicious lavender ice cream there!
Another day, I drove to Longford to look at an old church there and discovered an old bakery, which smelled pretty good. Near Longford I also found a nice spot by the river to relax and swim.
Roadtrip Devonport – Leven Canyon – Cradle Mountain National Park
After a few weeks in Launceston and the surrounding area, I made my way to Devonport to pick up my boyfriend from the ferry. From that day on we started our travels around Tasmania. Our first trip took us to Leven Canyon and the Cruickshanks Lookout, which offered greats view over the canyon. There was also a free camp site where we stayed the night. From there we headed towards Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park. When we arrived at Cradle Mountain, we purchased a two-month pass to enter all National Parks of Tasmania as we planned to visit some of the other National Parks. It was now the end of January 2018 and it was a beautiful sunny day. We decided to go for a long hike. We hiked the Cradle Mt. Summit track (I didn’t climb up to the very top due to my fear of rock climbing). On our way, we stopped for a break at a hut. Along the way we had a great panoramic view of Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain and Crater Lake. All in all, it was a wonderful day! Before we headed back to Launceston the next day, we did a short walk at Alum Cliffs.
Roadtrip Eastcoast – Southern Tasmania
Our next road trip was a multi-day trip to the east coast and the south of Tasmania. Our first stop was St. Columba Falls, where we did a short walk. The next day we arrived St. Helens and explored the markets there. After that, we headed to the popular Bay of Fires, but unfortunately it was a cloudy day. Nevertheless, we were still able to admire the beauty of this area with its orange-red rocks. I particularly liked the Binalong Bay because of the very white sand and the crystal clear water.
Later in the day, the weather cleared up… and it got really hot! We were glad that we found a place to swim in the Douglas-Apsley National Park. Beautifully located in a gorge, the Apsley River Waterhole was a great place to swim and relax. We really enjoyed it there! Then we continued our journey towards the town of Bicheno, which is well known for the Bicheno Blowhole. We had a look at it, but it wasn’t that spectacular.
In the evening we reached the Freycinet National Park, where we spent the night at Friendly Beaches. In the morning we went for a hike to see Wineglass Bay, one of the main attractions in Tasmania. Despite clouds (this was probably not the perfect day for a good view), we could see the beautiful bay from a lookout. After our hike, we went swimming at Honeymoon Bay, which is appropriately named. We then explored some more places in the Freycinet National Park including Cape Tourville and Sleepy Bay. Both places offered beautiful views.
Our next destination was the Tasman Pensinsula. On our way there, we had an amazing view of Maria Island, which has a lot of walking tracks. Maria Island has a population of Tasmanian devils that were released into the wild without the facial tumour. We stopped for a moment to enjoy the amazing view of the island. Then we drove on to Eaglehawk Neck and hiked a longer track on the cliffs around Waterfall Bay, which was still beautiful in cloudy weather.
We finally reached Hobart, where we stocked up on supplies. I would have liked to see the Salamanca Markets but unfortunately it wasn’t Saturday. We left Hobart and went to Hartz Mountain National Park. When we arrived there, we realized it was pretty cold. We took a look at the weather forecast and there was actually snow forecast for over 1000m. I really did not expect that it could snow in Australia! We put on pretty much all the clothes we had along with a beanie and hiked to Lake Osbourne and another small waterfall. We saw another wombat, and were surprised that they could live at such a high altitude.
It was very cold now in Tasmania and we had to make sure that we were warm enough at night. Sometimes we even slept with our beanies on. We drove back through Greveston to Hobart. There we stopped for a hot shower and found a German bakery, where I bought a delicious “Schwarzbrot” – I had missed that very much in Australia! From Hobart we made our way to Mount Field National Park, a beautiful national park with many hiking trails. We had a look at Lady Barron Falls, Russel Fall and the Tall Trees. We also found a nice place to camp nearby and went fishing in the evening. We were pretty lucky to see a platypus in the wild – I was so happy!
The next day we drove on to Bronte Lagoon, a beautiful place to camp in nature. In the evening we saw a colourful sunset. The next day, we reached Derwent Bridge and Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park (this time from the other side). There are many hiking trails around Lake St. Clair. The famous Overland Track, which you have to book in advance, also ends there. We decided to hike in the direction of Echo Point, past the Watersmeet, Platypus Bay and Lamairremener tabelti. Overall, we probably did more than 10km that day. On our way back we also saw one of my favorite animals in Tasmania again – the Echidna! It is a cute little animal that looks similar to a hedgehog. After this eventful day we found a nice place to spend the night in nature again. The next day we passed the Great Lake, took a short walk at the Pine Lake and then spent the night at the beautiful Liffey Falls before returning to Launceston. I have to say, Tasmania offers a lot of beautiful free camp sites which are really great for camping at in the summer!
Roadtrips in Northern Tasmania
Being based in Launceston, we made some short trips to the northern parts of Tasmania. We drove the north east coast for a couple of days. We came along Batman Bridge and Low Head. Then we continued via Beechford and Bridport to the Mermaid Beaches, a very nice place to swim in the ocean with similar orange-red rocks like in the Bay of Fires. We then headed towards the Waterhouse Conservation Area and Waterhouse Point for camping, where we saw some wombats again! The next day we found another nice camping spot in Musselroe Bay. The following day, we passed Mt. William National Park and arrived in Ansons Bay. We stayed at the Policemen Point and went for a long beach walk there. Before returning to Launceston via Fingal, we drove to Scamander, a nice place at the beach.
Another weekend we explored the Lilydale Falls and went for a walk in the Hollybank Forest. We also climbed Mt. Arthur, from where we had a good view of the Tamar River, Launceston and all way to the ocean.
On our next trip we headed north again, this time to the west side of the Tamar River. We passed Batman Bridge again and arrived at Greens Beach, a beautiful beach with an apple tree in the sand dunes. The next day, we explored the Narawntapu National Park, which had a beautiful long sandy beachs to explore. After that we had a look at Port Sorell. Then we drove back inland and stopped at the Ashgrove Cheese Factory again. We passed through Deloraine and headed to Meander Falls. We hiked a 4.5 hour trek to the falls. The trail was very poorly signposted and this, combined with the steep trail, made it a challenging hike! Nevertheless, we found our way and enjoyed the view of the Meander Falls. The next morning we had a very good breakfast at Huntsman Lake, before driving back to Launceston.
One weekend trip took us to Ben Lommond National Park, a breathtakingly beautiful National Park. However, to reach this beautiful view, we had to drive up an steep, narrow and winding road – probably the most adventurous road of my life so far! The National Park also has a ski field. I really can’t imagine driving up this road in winter with snow and ice, just to go skiing! Anyway, we had good weather and no problems on the road. We got up to the top and had a breathtaking view over the valley below. We also took a hike around the ski field, where we saw kangaroos – I really did not expect them up there in the mountains! The Ben Lommond National Park is a very quiet place in summer and probably one of my favourite places in Tasmania.
Roadtrip Westcoast – Devonport
We started our last road trip in Tasmania which led us to the West Coast of Tasmania. Leaving Launceston, we went back past the Great Lake to Derwent Bridge. This time we explored some lookouts and trails in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. We hiked the Franklin River Nature Trail and walked to Donaghys Lookout for a fantastic view of the Frenchman’s Cap! We really enjoyed the view there. The Frenchman’s Cap is a multi-day hike that we did not attempt because we didn’t want to leave our car in a car park in the middle of no where. In the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, we went to the Nelson Falls.
The next morning we had a breathtaking view of Lake Burbury where I made one of my favourite photos. We continued on and passed through the ruined hills surrounding the mining town of Queenstown. Since we did not want to stay there, we kept driving to Strahan, where we hiked to the Hogarth Falls. Being finally close to the sea again, we drove to the Ocean Costal Reserve and took a long beach walk. Later in the day we explored the Henty Sandunes, some huge sand dunes, and watched the sunset there in the evening.
The next day we set off for Tasmania’s largest waterfalls – the Montezuma Falls. To get there, we drove through another old mining town, Zeehan,. We went on the 10.7km long hike to the Montezuma Falls, which ended right next to a suspension bridge in the middle of the rainforest. Overall, it was a nice hike! After having lunch, we drove to Rosebery and found a nice place to stay for the night at Lake Rosebery.
After passing Tullah and Warratah the next morning, we arrived in Corinna. We really got the feeling of being in the middle of the “Western Wilderness”. There was only a ferry to cross the river and a few houses. We did a little hike and had lunch. Then we headed north towards Arthur River and went from there along the coast towards Marrawah. We stayed the night at a surf beach called Green Point, where we unfortunately took on a small room mate. Our new room mate was a little mouse who liked to eat our oats. One morning we even saw her sitting near our foot and saying “good morning”. After we put pretty much everything that was eatable into the fridge, out pet mouse wasn’t able to find any food anymore and so left us soon after that. From then on we could sleep better again. Continuing our travels, we drove to Stanley and climbed “the Nut”, a volcanic plateau, and walked along a circuit track there.
One day later, we reached the Rocky Cape National Park, where we explored the North and South Caves (old Aboriginal shelter’s) and had lunch. In the afternoon we reached Boat Harbour Beach, a great beach with crystal clear water, where we decided to stay for the night!
The next few days we had rather stormy weather, so we preferred being inside. We went to some libraries, so there is not much to report. We drove past the Table Cape to Burnie. Then we stopped at Sulfur Creek, Penguin and Ulverstone. Everywhere along the coast we were able to watch penguins after sunset, as we did on Phillip Island. Some nights we even heard them chattering away at night time right next to our car!
We finally reached Devonport, from where we would depart on the ferry back to the mainland. It was getting really cold in Tasmania so we were happy to move on. Luckily, the sea had calmed down on the day of our ten-hour ferry crossing. The previous days crossing had been really rough from a big storm. However, this did not stop me from taking natural ginger-based tablets against possible travel sickness as the ferry crosses Bass Straight in pretty much any weather. This turned out to be a very smart idea, since we had a bit more swell than expected! Overall, the ferry trip was quite an adventure for me! We saw some dolphins while out at sea, which made me really happy. There was less swell when we came closer to Melbourne. Finally we reached the mainland and were back in Melbourne.
My TOP 10 Highlights in Tasmania:
- Binalong Bay
- Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park
- Freycinet National Park
- Ben Lommond National Park
- Mount Field National Park
- Douglas-Apsley Waterhole
- Donaghys Lookout/ Frenchmans Cap
- Montezuma Falls
- Henty Sanddunes
- Boat Harbour Beach