Backpacking around the world on a budget: Tasmania Part 7

Waving goodbye to the coastal capital Melbourne, we voyaged to Hobart, Tasmania. From the white sands of picture-perfect Wineglass Bay to the World Heritage-listed mountain, the island offers culture, art and a certain fluffy Looney Tunes little devil

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After landing in Hobart, we exited the airport’s arrivals with no plan ahead. As this was before the days of smartphones, we had no hope of connecting to the dial up internet where we were. Although it’s exciting to arrive in a place with no means of transport or shelter, this isn’t the best idea, especially if you’re tired and generally confuzzled by what is going on!

Hyundi Getz.jpgDiving into the Hertz suit, we had no idea if there were any rental vehicles left or where to stay if we were stuck in Hobart. By sheer chance, we managed to book out the last compact car and more importantly, the cheapest. This was lucky as we couldn’t afford any other size on the budget we were on.

IMG_1335.jpgDriving through Hobart in our Hyundai Getz, we quickly devised our first day’s route. With map in hand, Catherine could see that Tasmania was like a triangle. With Strahan in the North West, St Helens in the North East and of course Hobart in the South. We headed for the first port of call, Russell Falls.

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This was a beautiful waterfall with a lovely walk through Mount Field National Park. After our walkabout, we had lunch at the Hungry Wombat Café and refuelled. Having no idea what was at Strahan, we were looking forward to seeing a seaside fishing village that we could camp down at for the night.

The town was very pleasant, and it was nice to see the sea and sand. The drive took longer than we expected and so we moved onto our night spot, Cradle Mountain. Dark had fallen when we arrived and with money tight, we decided to sleep in the car. With the windows covered with clothes and keys in ignition (just in case), we tried to get some sleep.

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The view in the morning was amazing and we had no idea what we had parked in front of to the night before, because we awoke to a great lake and mountains rising into the sky. After a homemade sandwich breakfast, Catherine and I started the trek up Cradle Mountain. The weather was clear, the sky was blue, and the views were spectacular, not a cloud in the sky.

Cradle Mountain

At Marion’s Lookout, we decided to head back via Dove lake and back onto the road. We headed to Launceston and then to St Helens. With the winding road, we were making slow progress and night fall was coming. Some of the attraction to Tasmania, apart from the beautiful landscape, was the place names. A lot of the towns were named after places around my neck of the woods back in England.

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Launceston and Devonport for instance are near Dartmoor, where I grew up and Swansea is where Catherine and I went to university. Obligatory signpost photos taken, we then hunted around for an empty carpark or lane to sleep.

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After another nail biter night in the Getz, we woke for an early morning stroll up to Wineglass Bay Lookout. The amazing view was worth the drive/walk and wish we could have stayed there all day, but Hertz was calling.

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The next stop was to Tasmanian Devil Unzoo in Taranna, which is the highlight of any Tasmanian trip. These beautiful creatures are extremely rare and can only be found in this part of the world. I had always wanted to see one since the famous cartoon TV show was shown when I was young. Unfortunately, the Devils are dying out due to DFTD (Devils facial tumour disease), which is an aggressive non-viral clonally transmissible cancer which affects them.

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After a quick stroke with the wallabies we moved onto Port Arthur Historical Site. Hobart was our final call and with a little time left on the clock before we had to hand in the car (our hotel on wheels), we headed up to Mount Wellington Lookout. This offers incredible views over Hobart and the mountains in the distance and we could really appreciate the time spent driving around this beautiful island, somewhere we will probably only visit once.

Mount Wellington

Returning the car at the city depot Catherine and I walked to the nearest hostel, The Pickled Frog, and asked for their finest dorm room! We were lucky that we had a bunk each as there was no other guests in our room when we arrived.

 

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Hobart was a beautiful city with a great waterfront and good, vibrant nightlife. We embarked on a quick walk to the harbour passing St Joseph’s Church and St David’s park and ended with some fish and chips in Fish Frenzy. Travelling around Tazmania had been brilliant, but we needed a good night sleep.

After a much more satisfying night in an actual bed (little pleasures) we caught the mini bus shuttle to Hobart International Airport, where Jet Star Airlines flew us to sun-drenched Sydney.

For more information, click here.

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Trip details:

Transport:
Melbourne International Airport to Hobart International Airport (around 1hr 15mins)

Accommodation:
The Pickled Frog Hostel

Things we did:
Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart)
Salamanca Market (Hobart)
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (Hobart)
Constitution Dock (Hobart)
Kelly’s Steps (Hobart)
Penitentiary buildings (Port Arthur)
Cradle Mountain (Central Highlands)
Dove Lake (Central Highlands)
Wineglass Bay (Freycinet Peninsula)
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo (Taranna)

Currency:
AUD

Getting around:
Rental car

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