It was a cold, windy Melbourne night as we drove our car onto the Spirit of Tasmania . We were in for a rough night with 40 knot winds and 4 metre swells predicited. As we arrived on board we located our recliner chairs on the ferry and headed down to the dining are for a buffet dinner. With a selection of carvery’s and salads and we stacked our plates up full, as it was $25 a plate. Michael got lucky and was only charged $16 for the salad bar, how this happened I’m not sure as his plate was full of meat with very little salad. After finishing our plates, we had a walk around the ship and I decided to get an early night before it got to rough. Michael stayed up on the top deck in the fresh air for a while longer enjoying the on-board entertainment. Back at our recliner seats we were situated near 2 grey nomads that had some serious breathing/snoring issues, so that pretty much sums up how our night’s sleep was, along with sea sickness we were both sure looking forward to getting off the ferry. At 630am we arrived in Devonport and within minutes of departing the ferry we were both blown away with Tasmania’s spectacular natural landscapes.
Our first morning we parked up with a beautiful view over the bay as we had a cuppa and breakfast. After checking out the visitor centre to see what there was to do and see we headed towards cradle mountain, situated in the Cradle Mountain National Park. It was 3 degrees and there was fallen snow on the ground. We soon layered up and started our 4hr return walk around Cradle Mountain. The terrain was tough, with snow and ice underfoot the walk was challenging and freezing. For some of the way there was board walks covered in ice then it was to climbing up the face of the mountain with a chain to assist you. We were amazed with the ever changing scenery, from rain Forrest, to rocky low shrubs. We made it to the Kitchen Hut as time was getting on and the clouds were getting lower, the visibility was becoming poor. We decided to turn around and head back down the mountain, 2 hrs later we arrived back at car.
Exhausted from a sleepless night and challenging hike we left the Cradle Mountain National Park and were out to find a free camp for the night. In the town of Moina, we stayed at the beautiful Lake Gairdner campsite, thanks to wiki camps for showing us this spot. Wiki camps is app we have used nearly every day since leaving Perth. It is so handy for finding free camps, to caravan parks, hot showers and public toilets. It is $8 to purchase initially but is totally worth it and works when we don’t have phone reception.
We rose the next morning to a beautiful sunrise, a clear day Michael decided to get the solar panels out to give the batteries a charge. Not long after he realised he had made a big mistake and had blown our dual battery charger up. Luckily, we were only 80km away from the town, Burnie. Here we spent the whole day trying to fix the battery ourselves, unsuccessfully we booked it in to the local Auto Electrician in town to have a look at the next morning. Thanks to the legends at Auto Electric Burnie, we were back on the road by 11am with a little less money in our pockets.
From Burnie, we made our way over to the west coast stopping in at Sister’s beach, located in the Rocky Cape National Park and to Stanley to visit “The Nut” after a very steep climb up the hill, we had panoramic views of the coast line and town.
Come 4.30-5pm here it starts to get dark this time of year so before then we start looking for a spot to spend the night. We found a great spot in the town of Marrawah at Ann Bay. It was a free grassed camp area right on the beach with flushing toilet and outdoor shower for the summer.
The next morning, we woke to the noise of cows mooing and waves crashing ready for another day full of sightseeing. From Marrawah, we drove towards the Arthur River seeing where the river mouth meets the sea and known as “The edge of the world”.
We took the scenic Tarkine Drive which was full of walks, lookouts, and sites to explore on the way with breathtaking scenery from coastlines, to rainforests.
Being the adventurist type, Michael decided to take the 4wd, off road track down the coast to Corinna. The sign read 112km, thinking this would take us just over an hour. 2 and a half hours later of windy, narrow and steep roads we arrived in Corinna. We well and truly felt like we in the Tasmanian Wilderness. We stopped for lunch before getting on the Punt to cross the Pieman River.
We kept travelling the coast, south towards Strahan where we had free hot showers, that we thoroughly enjoyed. We had planned to spend the night at a free camp around lake Burbury located just out of Queenstown but by the time we arrived it was pitch black, as we got out the car slipping on the muddy ground, and not being familiar with our surrounds we decided to head back to Queenstown to spent the night in the caravan park. Where we were greeted by the recently new owners, originally from Perth who had not long purchased the park. They were so friendly, letting us set our swag up in the common camp kitchen by the wood fire. We were so grateful after our exhausting day of driving.
We were feeling recharged again after a good night’s sleep without having to wear several layers of clothing and a nice warm shower. We kept tracks moving by cutting across the centre of Tasmania towards the Mount Field National Park. The diverse scenery up to Lake Dobson from thick forest trees to rainforests and then back down the windy, narrow road to explore the Russell waterfall trails.
The night was soon arriving as we left the national park to stay at a free camp that we saw on our way to the national park. Overlooking Lake Meadowbank, we set up and got cosy with the campfire.
Spectacular sunrise views we woke to in the morning, packed up and made our way towards Hobart City. Arriving in Hobart we were amazed with all the houses nestled into the mountains all overlooking the bay and the natural beauty of this City. After a stroll around town, Michael headed to the Blood Donation Bank in Hobart where he donated platelets, making the effort to save lives. Not being able to donate blood myself, I made use of the free Wi-Fi and power.
This brings us to the end of our first week in Tasmania and we have a lot more to see of this beautiful state, read next week as we explore the East Coast of Tasmania.