A visit to the world’s largest “Little Curiosity Shop”
We decided that February would be the best time to visit Tasmania. So we trekked across the country with a brief stop-over visiting the Grampians before taking the somewhat boring 9-hour ferry trip across Bass Straight, to start a 4 week lap around the Apple Isle.
For the video story of the trip, see the YouTube below:
What I liked about Tasmania
1. Hobart’s world-class Museum of Old and New Art a.k.a. MONA
2. The cruise through Macquarie harbour/Gordon River area with its stunning scenery and brutal penal settlement history.
3. Cradle Mountain, part of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage area – fantastic mountain walks and breathtaking vistas. We were blessed with excellent weather.
4. The West Coast – unspoilt, and still a little wild
5. Port Arthur Historic Sites – a day well spent. Brilliantly presented and a fascinating history
6. Tasmanian Leatherwood honey, especially when still in the comb- (Note to self – Never, ever lift the lid on a bee hive to look inside, again)
8. Great caravan parks at Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur, Bridport
9. Really friendly, and sometimes strange, Tasmanians
10. Camping overlooking the beach at Boat Harbour Beach and in the Bay of Fires
11. The views from Mt Wellington over Hobart
12. Sheffield – the town of murals
13. Scallop pies
14. Trees – glorious big trees, and temperate rain forests
What I disliked about Tasmania
- The weather – it rained on 50% of days we were there
- Disgusting pollution in the Derwent and Tamar rivers
- Shocking caravan parks Hobart, Launceston and Strahan – the world’s worst?
- Overcrowding in free camping areas
- Poor road surfaces
- Finding attractions closed because it is Monday, (or Tuesday, or Wednesday etc) or only open for limited hours!
Ok, so where does that leave us? Tasmania, the only place where one can cross the Rubicon (river), go through a place called “Nowhere Else” and end up in the region of Paradise all on one day. Tree carvings done with a chain saw? And where else does one find a beer swilling pig? At the Pub in the Paddock, of course!
Tasmania is really just one big curiosity shop with claims of the biggest, oldest, widest, most southerly, most westerly etc etc. In some ways its also like stepping back 30 years to a quieter, simpler time. Worth a visit, yes. Four weeks? Too long – three would have done it.
On the way home, we dawdled down the Great Ocean Road, stopping at Cape Otway NP, then onto SA visiting Mt Gambier’s volcanic blue lake, the Coorong NP and Yorke Peninsula (loved Innes NP and old Cornish towns) , before a layover in Streaky Bay.
Score – 8 weeks, 11,200 kms, lots of memories, lots of great pies, and a resolve never to holiday south of 37 degrees nor camp near a wind farm!