Tasmania is something else, calling the place gorgeous would be understatement. It is breathtakingly magnificent with picture postcard views everywhere. The cities have an artistic flair and the small towns are charismatic and quite quaint! And don’t even get me started on the food, the produce was so fresh and so good that it was hard to keep our mouths from salivating all the time. The best part though, were the wines of the region. Tassie is home to some of the best whites because of the colder climate which is perfect for the grapes. So with stars in our eyes, primarily because we had taken a really early morning flight and both of us are not morning people, we set out on our adventure!
We picked up our car in Launceston and drove along the picturesque east coast ending at Hobart. The itinerary included Launceston, Binnalong Bay, Freycinet National Park, Bruny Island and Hobart, in that order. It was an easy drive as the distances are not very long and we were never on the road for more than 4-5hrs a day and this includes the various breaks that we took in between. I recommend getting a four wheel drive as you can access some of the dirt roads and off the beaten tracks. The drive itself is stunning with most of the route running alongside the Tasman Sea. Roll down your windows and let the wind blow through your hair and you will feel like you are in the movies. These roads were meant for that California feel!
Day 1, Launceston – Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania and it’s pretty though not in the league of Hobart. There’s not much to do here other than visit the close by Tamar valley region for some wine tastings. Its only a 20minute drive from Launceston and quiet a few of the wineries have restaurants which cater for lunch and dinner. We chose this as our starting point as the car rentals are slightly cheaper than Hobart. The food as in all of Tasmania was great and we had lunch at a restaurant called ‘Stillwaters’ which overlooked the cataract gorge and had stunning views and fabulous food. As I am a junkie for everything vintage we stayed in this restored hotel called the “Old Bakery Inn’. It was perfect for a nights stay with cosy, fourposter beds, fire place, and vintage furniture and tapestry all around. Like an old couple we stayed in, in the evening drinking wine and playing a game of Uno, in which I was constantly subjected to being on the loosing end by AS! Though I finally got him in a game of Scrabble where I beat the hell out of him. Ah revenge is sweet!
Day 2, Binnalong Bay – We started our drive to Binnalong bay, to see the famous ’bay of fires’, the next day. The ‘Bay of fires’ is this unique stretch of beach on the east coast which has a type of bright orange algae growing on the stones which are set against the white sand beach. Its a spectacular sight as the orange clashes with the blue of the water and the white sand. The warm glow of the setting sun illuminate the bright orange of the rocks and it a beautiful sight. Besides the main beach you can drive down to many of the walks to secluded rocky beaches. Some of them are easy for a bum like me, but most of them are for people with a good level of fitness. If adventurous enough you can camp our under the stars in some of these sites.
We stayed the night in Binnalong Bay at the ‘Bay of Fire Character Cottages’ which overlooked the gorgeous white sand beach. There is only one cafe in the surrounds and if you want to do your own cooking or barbecue, be sure to buy everything at St. Helen which is the closest town.
Day 3, Freycinet National Park– This was one of the most beautiful routes we drove on during our entire trip, as the Tasman sea stretches alongside the road, contrasting with green and yellow foliage, and the farms and wineries on the other side of the road. Freycinet National Park is famous for the ‘Wineglass Bay’ which a bay in the shape of wine goblet. It’s also colder than usual there and it gets quite windy so cover yourself up well. The walk unto the lookout point is around an hour return and is easy most of the route except in the end when it gets slightly steep. The views at the end of the climb make it all worthwhile though. There is a path for hiking down to the beach as well but since it had started drizzling by the time we reached the lookout point, we gave the beach a miss.
AS is very fond of lighthouses, so whenever we travel to a coastal destination, a visit to the lighthouse is always on the cards. There is something inherently romantic about lighthouses though, lonely, always on the edge and serene. So we went, and it’s not the most beautiful of lighthouses I have ever seen but the surrounds are gorgeous. After that we decided to drive on one of the 4wd accessible tracks to a secluded rocky beach with wind swept trees on the other side. There was literally no one other than a few seagulls and us two souls there. It all felt so surreal. But when AS tried to clumsily chill a beer in the cold sea water, the spell was broken. It was worth every bit of the bumpy ride though!
We stayed the night at Swansea which is a small fishing town and an hours drive from Freycinet. The accommodation there is much cheaper than staying in Freycinet and you have a couple of options to choose from.
Peeps this is getting to be a long post so I am going to stop here and carry on in the next post about the rest of trip. The next will cover Bruny Island and Hobart and all the food adventures in Tassie . Till then dream a little dream of the paradise!