In January 2016, I discovered Tasmania for the first time. Flying from Melbourne airport after a huge road trip from Sydney and the Great Ocean Road, I was pretty excited to see a brand new place which looked to me so mysterious.
Tasmania is a beautiful island of 61,401km2, south of the main Australian island. With only 515,000 people it is definitely not too crowded. Tasmania is famous for its beautiful landscapes so thrives on tourism but also has some wonderful food produced locally such as fruits, seafood, cheese, honey and even craft beers.
Between the beach and the bush, mountains and lakes, Tasmania offers a wide array of activities and things to see. Follow me in my thoughts and photographs to know more about it!
I flew from Melbourne to Hobart with Jetstar Airways, which takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You can pretty much fly from anywhere in Australia to Hobart or even Launceston. The other option is also to catch the ferry from Melbourne to Hobart - however this one is a lot longer (about 8 to 9 hours) and be prepared to be shaken a bit if the sea is rough. This option is also a bit more expensive, especially if you bring your car in Tasmania. Then it all depends on what kind of circuit you want to do once on the island and at which time of the year you are coming, peak season being expensive.
So we rented a car - got upgraded with an amazing four wheel drive which I drove most of the time - and hit the road! We stay in Hobart first, then drove around the mountains and Lake St Clair, stopped at Queenstown, arrived in Strahan. After Strahan, went to Cradle Mountain and then Longford. Then Launceston, St Helens with the Bay of Fires, Orford and Wineglass Bay and finally another day in Hobart before taking off back to Melbourne! See Map, that’s a lot in a week I know!
My top 5 of what I absolutely loved
- Cradle Mountain
This one is something you can’t possibly miss when going to Tasmania. Driving from Longford or Strahan is a good way to get there, be prepare for a lot of mountain driving and turns, but so beautiful! You will arrive at a huge carpark before entering the national park. You will need to leave your car - unless you buy another special pass - and take the 20-minute shuttle to Dove Lake. Once there you can stay up to 2 days in the park. The walks are absolutely stunning so make sure you allocate enough time to stay there. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time but I really wanted to do the walk to the Marion Lookout, in 2 hours of steep walk you can see amazing views of the mountains. I really want to go back next time and spend 2 fulls day with hopefully some amazing sunset and sunrise!
2. Bridestowe Lavender Fields
Located only an hour or so from Launceston, the Bridestowe Lavender Fields are totally unique in Australia, being one of the very few existing. It is best to go during December or January to see the fields as it will be only this time of the year they will be fully grown and coloured. You need to pay a small fee to enter, $10 and then you get to wander around for as long as you’d like! You even have a little tour which will explain to you the history of the fields and the way lavender is transformed into oil. The scenery is amazing for pictures so make sure to bring your camera. Finally, a stop at the shop is inevitable! You kind of want to buy everything but my favourites were the Lavender honey (I can’t find it anywhere!), the lavender bags to put in your closet and lavender essential oil. The best one ever! Don’t forget to try the lavender ice cream, delicious!
While in Hobart, if you want a break from landscapes and hikes but fancy modern art - or not and want to try something new, I would definitely recommend this! This bizarre crazy beautiful museum is surely something unique in Hobart and in the world! Created by David Walsh, it shows his whole personal collection of Modern Art on 3 floors in a beyond the imagination kind of building! Everything is thought and everything is interesting. You get a little ipod touch at the visit to know everything about what you are looking at and you can even save the artwork description for later when you get home. The museum also has some great cafes, restaurants and events all year long. Oh and did I mention you can come to the museum by helicopter, seaplane, boat or you know… car.
4. Bay of Fires
Located on the eastern coast of Tasmania, there’s just nothing like it! We came from St Helens to drive around the bay of fires, near Binalong Bay. For about 20 kilometres, you can see amazing little bays with rocks literally on fire. The range of colours is amazing from orange, to yellow, to red next to crystal clear blue waters. Hopefully you get nice weather, as the colours really reveal better then. Make sure to have a look at sunrise and / or sunset, because it is truly beautiful and magical!
5. Mount Wellington
When in Hobart, another thing you can’t miss is going up to Mount Wellington! Easily accesible by car, you just have to endure lots of turns for about 30 minutes but the view is so worth. It can be quite windy and colder up there though so make sure you have warm clothes. Up there, you have a great walk to look around the view and also a little glass shed to watch while being warm. You can see the view all over Hobart and beyond.
What you need to prepare
Check weather conditions
Tasmania weather can be a lot colder than the rest of Australia but isn’t too bad. In January the conditions were ideals, not too hot or not too cold and very sunny! However, it is always good to bring both hot and colder clothing. If you go hiking, I would recommend to bring good shoes as it can get a bit rocky up there. Of course, don’t forget the sunscreen, hat and sunglasses!
On the Road / Map
I’d say it’s always a good idea to have a map. Mobile service can be out in the mountains and signs are okay but with a map, it helps a lot! It’s also nice to see what around and how much there is to see!
The road is generally very beautiful and scenic in Tasmania. But don’t underestimate the driving distances even if they appear small and not all the roads are in amazing condition. If driving in the mountains, really be careful in the turns as it can get quite dangerous if you are over speed or if it is wet. We saw a car in the ditch beside the road upside down, it probably happened only less than half an hour before we arrived as the police just arrived. So it definitely cools you off.
One last thing, be careful of little animals on the road! They are quite common like small wallabies and other same sort of jumping cuties. I saw so many dead on the road so make sure at night you reduce the speed and keep an eye on moving animals!
If you are a photography lover - or not - please make sure you bring your best gear! There is so much to see and photograph around Tasmania: landscapes, city, little towns. I was also hoping to see the Aurora Australis which is set to be one of the most beautiful aurora beside Norway. With your eyes you might only see some white glow but with a camera set properly you can actually see the pink aurora. The sky is also totally unpolluted in some places so conditions are ideal the see the milky way. Unfortunately for me, nights were always overcast and no aurora australis was to be seen. If you go to Tasmania, make sure you check the state of auroras and the facebook group alerting in live if there’s any!
There’s a lot of choices in Tasmania, you can camp, rent a van and sleep in there while touring, go to hotels and motels or go to bed and breakfasts. I would really recommend bed and breakfasts as it is truly relaxing and so nice to have a local perspective. I especially love the Racecourse Inn in Longford, historic B&B with delicious local breakfast and 5-star staff. If you go in peak season, expect to see prices a bit above of what it is usually.
To sum up, if you love nature, mountain, see, magnificent landscape, local food and driving, don’t hesitate and go to Tasmania! Next time I come back, I’ll definitely spend more time in Cradle Mountain and around Bruny island!
Stay tuned for a full photography portfolio of Tasmania coming up as well as a video!
And you, have you been to Tasmania?