Tasmania – Much More than Devils
(Location: Tasmania, Australia)
Each night, the ferry to Tasmania leaves from the pier near our house. It isn’t the most efficient way to get to Tassie, and it is probably cheaper to fly, but it’s a ferry to Tasmania that is walking distance. It had to be done.
We booked the nicest cabin available for the 11 hour crossing. We boarded a little after 6pm, checked out our cabin, and found the bar for some sailaway bubbly. The weather was typical Melbourne – changing from clear to wind to rain and then clear again within 30 minutes. There are two dining options on board: the Captain’s Table (buffet) and Leatherwood (prix fix and requires reservations once you are on board). We chose the latter and it didn’t disappoint.
The crossing was calm and we woke up as we were arriving in Devonport around 6am. We picked up our rental car from Budget and hit the road towards the East coast. We were starving by the time we hit Launceston, so we stopped for something to eat. A quick search on Tripadvisor brought us to Larceny, and although it was buffet and attached to a hotel, they cook an absolutely amazing omelette (lemon oil maybe? not sure but it was YUM).
We spent one night at the Bay of Fires Character Cottages. We were in the “Deluxe” cottage, which had a fabulous view and a full kitchen. We were right across the street from the beach, and about a ten minute drive to the nearest town for supplies.
We then drove an hour and a half south to Freycinet National Park. We did the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout and visited Cape Tourville Lighthouse before checking in at Freycinet Lodge. We had a two room cabin that included a full kitchen, but we opted for dinner in the dining room (where I learned that crayfish are just little lobsters – yum!).
This is where the plan got derailed. We were supposed to go to Maria Island (pronounced MAR-e-uh, not muh-RI-uh) for one night, which was in hindsight a really bad idea given there are no cars there and lots to explore. When we got to Triabunna, it was raining, rather, it was BUCKETING as they say here. Maria Island has no power, we had no rain gear, and the forecast was for 24 hours of bucketing rain. We scrapped our plans and headed for Hobart.
Given it was Valentine’s Day, there weren’t many hotel rooms available. I think we got the very last available room in Hobart, which was an accessible room at the Best Western. The only decent part of this leg of the journey was wandering around Salmanca Market and finding a nice little wine bar (Grape).
Next, we headed south to Kettering to catch the ferry to Bruny Island. We just missed the 7:45, so had to wait for the 9am. There is NOTHING open in this area, so after driving around for 15 minutes we headed back to the ferry terminal. We were the fifth car in line, but by the time the ferry departed, the queuing area was overflowing. We had breakfast at the Mermaid Cafe (in the ferry terminal area) – and at $12 for bacon, eggs, and toast this is clearly the absolute best value in Tasmania. If you haven’t been to Australia, this won’t make sense to you – but a decent brekkie here is usually $20-$25.
Bruny Island is, in a word, awesome. The views are spectacular, they have fabulous local wine and cheese, and there are wild white wallabies. We planned this trip kind of last minute, and the only place we could find was the Captain Cook Caravan Park. We stayed in a one bedroom villa, which was pretty much brand new, clean, had a full kitchen, and across from the beach. I have come to believe that cabins/villas in caravan parks are one of Australia/New Zealand’s best kept secrets.
On our last day, we took the ferry back to Kettering and then drove up Mount Wellington to see the views of Hobart. This is a must-see for the area, and there is also some good hiking in the area. Our flight wasn’t until 8pm, so we spent the rest of the day at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We did the Feeding Frenzy private tour, and though pricey, I would HIGHLY recommend it. Our guide was fabulous, we learned a lot about native wildlife, and got to go inside many of the enclosures. And Andy got peed on by a sugar glider 🙂