Tasmania: The Apple Isle
January 1, 1970
It takes like six days to go around the island, doing the most common tour which starts on Hobart, the city capital and the second oldest capital city in Australia, after Sydney. Hobart is in the state’s south-east and from there, most tours go either to west tassie or east tassie first and then to the other side. Other tours start somewhere in the north and then finish in Hobart. Whatever tour you decide or even if you rent a car and do it by yourself, it’s definitely worth to visit east and west and of course, the state’s capital.
The state’s capital
Although Hobart is more like a little town than a big city, it has several good restaurants, most of which have delicious tasmanian cheese and amazing seafood; but the coolest thing about Hobart, no doubt, is the MONA museum (Museum of Old and New Art) to which you can arrive by ferry or taxi. The art displayed in there may not be for everyone, but just to see the architecture, it’s definitely worth it. The elevator, the bar and even the toilets look like something out of a James Bond movie.
First stop in West Tassie for me was Mount Field National park. It’s tall trees and the famous Russell Falls were beautiful. We also got to see a few pademelons which are very similar to wallabies, but smaller in size and with a hairy tail. After that, we had lunch at Australia’s deepest lake: Lake St. Clair which I didn’t get to appreciate much because it was raining quite a lot. That’s an important thing to take in account about West Tassie; it rains a lot. The only restaurant there was good but too expensive. I would recommend to buy food for a picnic somewhere else and then eat near the lake.
Another place worth visiting in the West are the Henty Dunes, especially if you haven’t seen sand dunes before. The sand is white and extremely thin and you get to see tasmanian devil’s footprints in the sand, maybe the actual animal, if you’re lucky…or unlucky. The bad thing about this dunes is that you can’t do sand surf if you don’t bring your own board because there are no rentals near the dunes. The good thing is that people get creative with what they have and that’s also a lot of fun.
An awsome place and my absolute favorite in West Tassie was Craddle Mountain. It’s a long hike to the summit and also going for a walk around the lake is pretty cool, so I’d recommend staying for a few hours. The hike is a little challenging but the view from up top is totally worth it.
One of the coolest things to do during the day is to go have lunch at a town called Sheffield. Everything about it is extremely surreal. I had lunch in a place full of giant toys and teacups that felt like an Alice in Wonderland scene. The food there was surprinsingly good. Afterwards it’s a most to have fudge for dessert, the thing for what this curious town is famous for. If you’re lucky, like me, you can see the alpaca man walking down main street.
After visiting Sheffield, it’s a good option to stop at the Honey Farm on the way to Launceston. There, you can try honey and smoked salmon, which was by far the best salmon I’ve tried in my life. I ended up buying one to cook at dinner even though I was on a low budget and staying at a hostel. If you’re a salmon and/or honey lover it is an actual most.
Launceston, called the garden city, is a very pretty city to relax and hang out in one of its parks. A very pretty one is called Cataract Gorge. It has a beautiful garden, a big pool, a lake in which many people dive from rocks, the world’s longest single span scenic chairlift, a restaurant, a cafe, colourful peacocks walking around and a lot of walking and hiking trails.
There are also a lot of nice restaurants to have dinner but the trick is to google them because most of them are not so close to the city centre.
On the East side of the beautiful Apple Isle, which resembles Tasmania’s status as an important apple grower and exporter, and not so much the fruit shape of the island, as many would think, there are a lot of amazing places too. The clouds, the rain and the cold start to fade slowly as you enter the East and the sun starts to come out. On the way to the stunning beach called Bay of Fires, there are two stops that are worth it. The first one are the memorial carvings at Legerwood which tell the stories of local World War I soldiers through amazing artistic carvings in trees and serve as a tribute to them. The second place worth stopping is the Pyengana Dairy Company, especially if you’re a cheese, ice cream and/or milkshake lover like me. There, you can try several types of tasmanian cheddar cheese. They explain the process of how they leave cheddar to age and it is as if you see it all, trying from the mildest to the most mature one. Afterwards, you can buy an ice cream or a delicious milkshake made with ice cream.
Bay of Fires it’s a little hard to get to but an amazing place. That’s also why it’s not very crowded. It has enormous orange stones wich resemble fire in which you can climb to and walk in and it’s a pretty good point of view to watch the entire beach. It’s worth taking a walk around it and watching couples, fishermen, surfers, and all kinds of people, but so separated from each other that they seem to be just a few. The water is extremely clear but very cold. The current is strong too. So the best idea is to take a quick swim next to the big stones, where the current is not so strong just to cool down from the sun and the heat.
Bicheno is a nice place to stay the night and surf during the day. The highlight about this place is that penguins come out at night. They are very disturbed by light so they hide in bushes to mate and the only way you can see them is by lighting them with a red light. I didn’t honestly like that because it was like disturbing their natural habitat and you can’t appreciate them really well since the night is dark. The amazing thing to do there instead, I think, is star gazing. I never in my life had seen so many stars and so bright. A shooting star appeared every five minutes.
Another Tassie icon and a most is the famous Wineglass Bay, a beach with very clear waters and sand wich is better admired from the lookout point. You get there by doing a little 20 minute hike. The thing is it’s all uphill, but it’s actually pretty easy; I did it in my flip flops. The view from up there is pretty cool.
Last but not least, another thing that’s really worth it, especially if you’re into wildlife, is the Eastcoast Natureworld (a wildlife sanctuary). Here you can see the famous tasmanian devil which is a most because it is now an endangered animal. You can learn a lot about it and you can watch him being all cute and then devour a wallabie’s leg in a minute. It’s a really good experience because you can see all the animals closely. You see kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons running around free and you can feed them. You can see other wild animals such as snakes and spiders.