Welcome or welcome back to my travel blog! I wanted to quickly point out the changes on the right sidebar. It’s now easier than ever to find out when I’ve posted something new – just click the button that says, “Follow” and enter your email address. Not only will you know the minute a new post is up, you’ll help make my blog a bit more impressive! Also, recent posts and comments are shown below that button. See? It’s okay to join the comment pool – the water’s fine!
But enough admin stuff; let’s talk about Tasmania! After a 45-minute flight from Melbourne to Hobart (including a $70 fee because our backpacks were too heavy…thanks, Tiger Airways), the capital of this tiny state, we were just in time to be dropped off at the hostel and get ready for bed. The next morning, Avis called and asked if we could delay our time for picking up the rental car. Turns out, that upgraded us from a Rav4 to a Platinum Edition, diesel Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD! I’m not sure the fuel economy was as great as everyone said it should be, but the on-board navigation came in very handy.
Due to our cold, hard sleeps on the previous road trip, we decided to stop by K-Mart and pick up an inflatable mattress, pump, and quilt, but ended up never using the mattress as the seats fully reclined to make a softer and warmer, if not oddly rolling, bed. After stocking up on water, canned goods, fruit and cookies, we hit the Tasman Highway heading Northeast.
They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there – and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Because of the late start, we quickly made our way to Swansea for a brief stop and then on to Freycinet National Park. At the free campground, we met 3 girls also converting their vehicle into a hotel room, but their car was a small 4-seater and they only had bread and bbq sauce to eat! Feeling better about our situation, we slept through the rain and were woken in the morning to a tree full of yellow-tailed black cockatoos!
After brekkie, we bought a parks pass ($60, but good for all National Parks in Tasmania) and prepared to hike through Freycinet. Before we got on the trail, Dyana took the chance to pet her first kangaroo. We hiked for a short distance to Wineglass Bay and our minds were blown!
A perfect, massive crescent beach surrounded by mountains and separated from Promise Bay by a relatively narrow stretch of land. Even on an overcast day with mist blowing through the passes of Hazards Rocks, this was an incredible sight.
We pushed on and walked along the beach and continued a long hike to Hazards Beach and finally back to the car. A much needed tasting of beer at Ironhouse Brewery eased my hiking aches and a cheap shower in St. Helens got us back to a tolerable odor level. That night, we camped at the Bay of Fires and shared stories around a campfire with Jason and Marissa. These two Tassies were super friendly, giving us beer and coupons for cheap food around the state. Jason’s stalwart belief that the Tasmanian tiger is still alive fascinated me. I hope he’s right.
The next morning, we ate breakfast in Balingong Bay before driving West to Pyengana Dairy Company for a cheese tasting. We found it hilarious watching the cows push under an automated brush that must have felt pretty good for all the time they spent with it. We drove a bit further and walked down to St. Columba Falls – a towering, rugged waterfall not to be missed.
After another cheap shower and fuel in Scottsdale, we grabbed a pasty (I’ve become addicted to these warm, flaky pies for which I blame their delicious heartiness and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods) from a bakery and drove to Launceston (Lonnie to the locals). We witnessed a beautiful sunset from Brady’s Lookout and ended up at an overnight rest stop by Paper Beach – way off the beaten path and we were the only ones there.
Three days of the road trip down, nine more to tell you about including adventures with snakes, double rainbows, hedge mazes and the private viewing of a very elusive creature! If I don’t get around to posting the next installment as soon as I’d like, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!