Oh, Tasmania, how I love you. Two weeks isn’t nearly enough to soak up all this island has to offer. Tasmania offers a glorious mix of bright blue skies, rugged mountains, gently rolling hills, fresh local seafood and farm produce, historical sites, and some of the friendliest people in the world.
While staying in Hobart, I jumped at the chance to join an Italian girl and English guy on the open road to see the famous Wineglass Bay (as well as Port Arthur and the ridiculous Doo Town on our way back). One car door could only be closed from the outside and the transmission was a bit shifty, so with Tasmania’s winding roads added in it was a slightly nerve-wracking experience. Still, that beat-up car saw us through our trip, and with borrowed sleeping bags and a tent from the hostel we were ready for an adventure.
Wineglass Bay is located along Tasmania’s East Coast, in a small jut of land designated as Freycinet National Park. It’s said to be one of the best beaches in the world, and it didn’t disappoint, although the photos can’t quite do this special place justice.
There’s a well-developed walking path (3 km return, or a longer circuit for those feeling particularly ambitious). Whether you take the shorter path or the circuit, your walk includes a stunning and well-photographed lookout point!
Afterwards, we drove 13 kilometres north to Bicheno, a town of barely 200 people. Our hostel had an adorable mural, comfortable beds, and a kitchen to cook in- all we ask for, really. (I wouldn’t have complained about wifi access- but honestly, it made our trip even more laid back!)
We walked to Whaler’s Lookout, an elevated stretch of land offering stunning views of the bay, and more poetically, of the edge of the world. The rugged beauty of the landscapes was reminiscent of my days exploring the granite boulders surrounding Hudson’s Bay while living in Churchill, Canada’s polar bear capital. Instead of northern Canada’s beluga whales, our vantage point offered the occasional sighting of humpback and southern right whales breaking the water’s surface as they migrated south for the summer.
Aside from the blowhole itself, the natural environment was well-worth checking out, with a great variety of algae and barnacles clinging to the rocks’ surface. It was a preview of what was to come, as I ended up returning to Bicheno later for my first cold-water dive at Governors Island Marine Reserve. I truly wish I had photographs from that experience! The marine life was stunning and so vastly different from the underwater sights seen in more tropical countries. We saw thick kelp, anemone, brightly-coloured sea spiders and crabs, and even an octopus!
Tasmania is a fantastic outdoor playground for adventurous nature-lovers. It’s the perfect place to rent a car, grab a few friends and explore at a leisurely pace, stopping anywhere that catches your eye. 40% of the island is protected in national parks, and Tasmanians clearly take pride in the abundance of local food and drink, gorgeous wilderness and unique character that this island offers!
One of the more interesting (and gruelling) ways to immerse oneself in nature is a 65-kilometre hike known as the Overland Track. Moving south from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair, usually over the course of six days, the trek passes through ancient rainforests, sheer mountain passes, alpine meadows and rivers. It’s one of the most famous hikes in Australia, if not the world. After a wonderful experience hiking in Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, I’m keen to return and experience more of Australia’s incredible wilderness!
What images does Tasmania conjure up in your mind? Have you visited this magical place, or is it on your bucket list? I’d love to hear your stories!