I always dreamed about Tasmania. From when I was a child, I desired to visit this land. Finally, my dream became a reality, not just once but twice. I was still at the airport coming back in Melbourne from Sydney when I booked the first ticket to Tasmania.
Tasmania is just one hour flying from Melbourne. This island seems to be small on Google map because the closest comparison is with the enormous Australia. Instead, Tasmania is vast, and it takes a lot of drive to visit it.
I was in Tasmania in spring, when I visited the east coast, and in summer when I went to the centre and the west coast, very different places from each other.
Tasmania is a wild place, unfortunately, like many places in Australia, this paradise suffered a massive human activity, like logging and mining.
There are two big cities, Hobart and Launceston, both with their airport. Cities and towns are not the primary attractions, for sure.
This island is one of the few places in the world where Aurora Australis is visible, but the luck was not on my side because the night when forecast predicted a significant chance of sighting it, the weather was heavily cloudy or raining. Interestingly, it seems that in Tasmania there is one of the cleanest air worldwide. Therefore, if you come, take big breaths.
The first time in Tasmania I travelled along the east coast by car, from south to north and then back to Hobart. The south is strangely not touristic at all, every beach and every lookout was private, and it was lovely.
Up to the North and 15 minutes by boat, Bruny Island is a postcard. Spending one day would be enough, but I preferred sleeping one night on a beach that I loved. That evening, dolphins swam and jumped at twilight atmosphere. It was a fabulous emotion.
The insurance doesn’t cover a rented car in Bruny Island. Naturally, Bruny Island is where my mate and I destroyed our car. We had the incredibly stupid idea to take a shortcut to reach the west side of Bruny Island not caring about the sign “ONLY 4×4”. The average speed was 7 km/h, and we often stopped to refill big holes with soil or remove big branches from the dirt road. After 22 km in more than 3 hours, 3 km to go, we had to give up because of a too deep hole. Consequently, we had to come back by the same way, just “to be sure” to make enough scratches at the car. Finally, the vehicle was scratched everywhere by the branches that brushed the sides all the time, we were sweat and smelling bad without seeing anything about the west coast.
Freycinet National Park
One hour from Bruny Island there is Freycinet National Park. It is a wild peninsula, a portion of land that strangely survived at the human destruction. Many dirt roads start from the main one to reach beautiful beaches and splendid lookouts. I came here both times I was in Tasmania, spending cumulatively almost four days. I slept in one of the camping areas that are along the road, interestingly few of them are free. Like I wrote, there are several beautiful beaches and lookouts. In the middle of the peninsula, there is a small road that leads to a lighthouse. Here the view is incredibly vast. Furthermore, whales densely populate the portion of the ocean. I didn’t know that, so the first time it was a surprise. At one point, I saw something big and black in the water. I observed, and I saw the first whale vent coming from the sea. In the end, I have seen a dozen of these amazing marine mammals, and it was an incomparable emotion.
My favourite spot is a bit more towards the south. It takes one hour of an easy climb to reach the Wineglass Bay lookout. The reason for this name is unsure. Someone says it derives from the coastal shape, and it seems reasonable; someone else says that the name results from the colour that the bay assumed during the whales hunting in the XIX and beginning of XX century. Anyway, today this is an idyllic, peaceful beach. Reaching the bay requires another hour downhill, this portion of the hike is harder than the first part. Nevertheless, it is an effort that everyone should do.
It is possible to take an overnight trek (3 days) to visit more hidden spots, far away from the commercial tourism, it was a shame I couldn’t do that.
During my trip along the east coast, I was surprised by a storm. I had to sleep one night in my car because the tent was soggy. It rained all the night and all the day after, so I spent it under a shelter waiting for the wind to make the tent dried and doing BBQ. At least I had a great company.
Bay Of Fires
The day later I moved to Bay of Fires, almost two hours driving from Freycinet National Park.
This famous area is dense of good lookouts and beautiful beaches. Also the origin of this name it’s uncertain. Probably it derives from the aboriginal fires that the explores sighted when they first arrived. Anyway, I prefer to think that it originated from the orange-hued granites that lichen colour so unusually.
The Central and West portions of the island are entirely different than the east coast.
Mountains and caves are the most common landscapes in the middle. Cradle mountain is the most famous and the most fascinating. Prominent rock mountains and several lakes characterise the National Parks of this region, making the land fairy. There are short and long hikes for every kind of fitness level; in each of them, it’s impossible to miss the opportunity to take stunning photos.
In this part of Tasmania, there are, also, the famous glow-worms. They are little bugs, living the darkest part of caves, that radiate a fluorescent blue light, magical.
The west coast is less beach style that the East one. Rainforests, waterfalls and hikes are the main attractions. Personally, I loved the west coast. I took a long walk to reach Montezuma falls. Astonishing spot, with a bridge that offers the chance to take some photos from an unusual point of view.
I enjoyed a lot this part of Tasmania, but at the end of my trip I drove more than 2000 km in one week, and it was very tiring. The principal attractions are far away from each other. This portion of Tasmania has suffered heavily the impact of mines. Everything is grey in some area, mountains, roads and houses.
I could suggest visiting just the East coast if only one week available, much more relaxing and equally impressive.
Tasmania is an extraordinary land, full of wildlife, forests and stunning beaches. The population here is very welcoming, using to live in little towns far from the mainland, in less comfortable conditions. I hope that the Tasmanians will increase still more their consciousness about the beauty of their land and make the maximum possible to protect this paradise.