Just back from an excellent 9 days in the island state. Packed our bags for all weather and flew out to Launceston late on Friday after work. Landed in what felt like a small cow field, picked up the hire car (upgrade, yay) and drove 5 minutes down the road to Evandale. Located our roof for the night – a converted Wesleyan Chapel, flung our belongings in the door and made it to the pub in time for last orders. (Actually, do they even have last orders in Australia? Hmm.)
In the morning we discovered a fridge stocked with brekky ingredients, so after a good nosh up we had a little explore of the town, didn’t take long! Cute place, but things to do and stuff to see, so we drove north to Launceston. Not so pretty, so followed some brown signs to Cataract Gorge and spent an hour or so walking the trails on either side of the picturesque river.
The roof for the night in Cradle Valley turned out to be a rather unsettling axe-murdery kind of cabin, so once again belongings were flung and the pub was found. With the added bonus of a Wombat sighting. On the way back we stopped to offer a lift to a couple of walkers since it was piddling it down, turned out they were heading off on the Overland Track the next morning. That’s 5 or 6 days of walking carrying all your own gear and food – we tried to be positive about the weather outlook…
On Sunday we decided to be very British and not let a little bit of (sideways) rain bother us. On with the waterproofs and out into the Cradle Mountain national park. Apparently it has a rating of 7/10 on the really-good-stuff o’meter (or something like that). And that’s equal best in the world with a place in China. We did a couple of hours walking around Dove lake. Had the place to ourselves and the rain really brought out the colours in everything. Some of the gum trees we’re almost glowing and the pink rocks were eye-popping. We got a couple of glimpses of Cradle Mountain when the cloud shifted for a minute or two.
Scoffed some warming soup in the visitor centre then drove down to Strahan on the west coast. Tonights roof: a YHA chalet/shed thingy. Quite dinky really and a lot less ‘the-woods-have-eyes’ than the last place. Even so, you can probably guess what we did next… Flinging… Pub. Well, Risby Cove restaurant actually and proper tasty it was too. In a lovely spot over looking the water, had the tastiest bit of ocean trout. Nom.
Monday – up with the seagulls for a boat trip out into Macquarie Harbour and up the Gordon River. We’d booked into fancy class which basically meant we got big comfy chairs and were fed almost constantly for 6 hours. Jeeze, they nearly had to roll us off that thing. The views were good, but the weather did persist in being stinky, so we certainly didn’t see it at its best.
Moored back at Strahan at 2.30 and floored it over to Oatlands, with brief stops at a waterfall and the Wall en route. This dude has his work cut out. It was quite a spectacular drive with the sun setting over the rolling hills and lighting up the clouds. I heart clouds.
Our Oatlands roof was quite awesome, a cosy and immaculate little place just off the pretty high street. Mind you, dinner was a bit terrifying in the local boozer/bookies. Didn’t linger, back to our granny flat for a glass of red drink or two and some telly. While we’d been out trying not to make eye-contact with the locals our diy brekky ingredients had arrived in a little basket. Ahhh.
Enjoyed a nice lie in and then whipped up some boiled eggs and soldiers for brekky. Checked out Oatlands, a windmill and erm, not much else then spent the day pottering our way through the strangely English looking towns to Coles Bay on the East Coast. Had a tasty lunch stop here.
Made it to Coles Bay in time to do a little walk to Sleepy Bay with it’s bright orange rock formations then dined in style at the Freycinet Lodge restaurant. The following morning we walked to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park, got rained on and walked back via the Isthmus track and Hazards beach. Spotted a small pod of dolphins off the point and watched a wallaby boing across the beach as we ate our picnic.
No rest for the wicked, onwards again, south to Port Arthur for a 2 night stop – luxury! Well, not so luxurious as it turned out. Rocking Horse cottage was picture perfect on the outside and a bit feral on the inside, including the delight of an enormous, not-quite-dead huntsman spider next to the sofa – phlegh! Spent Thursday at the Port Arthur historic site. Pretty cool place with some thought provoking history, both old and recent. Had a tasty dinner at Stewarts Bay (with a potoroo sighting) and then back to Port Arthur for the ghost tour – ooooooooooowwoowowoo! Didn’t see any though, boo-oo.
Explored some more of the peninsula (Remarkable cave, Doo Town, a blowhole!) on Friday morning before trundling over to Hobart. A great sunny lunch stop a Dunalley. Our final stop for the tour was at Jane Cottage in north Hobart. A lovely little spot a short stroll from the cafes and bars. Had a walk around Hobart, down to the docks and up through Salamanca and Battery Point, sampling the odd pot of the local brew on the way. Cabbed it back up to north Hobart for pizza and a cheeky glass of red.
Saturday morning is Salamanca market day in Hobart. We breakfasted at Jackman & McRoss up in Battery Point and spent an hour or so browsing the stalls. The sun was shining so we drove up to Mount Wellington to take in the stunning views. Then over to Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) for some lunch and another market. The queues for the art were a bit massive so we headed back to base and walked around the hood for a bit and over to the botanical gardens – tranquil.
Had a winner dinner at Piccolo, North Hobart, and a super tasty bottle of red. Last holiday dinner – sob! Sunday was MONA day. Got the 9.30 ferry from Hobart and cruised up the River Derwent to the big heap of craziness that is MONA. Inspiring, revolting, beautiful, thought provoking, exhausting! Wim Delvoye is worth checking out.
And that was Tassie. What a week!