III. AUS - Tassie 1/West: Laun - Hoba ENJanuary 25, 2017 in Australia
Tu, 24.01. Launceston - Cradle Mountain
(via Deloraine, Chudleigh, Sheffield)
After a night at Sydney Airport (which to my surprise closes from 11pm to 3 or 4 am; however, you can sleep in a waiting area at the International Airport T1 with unlimited and super fast WiFi) I took a 1,5h morning flight from Sydney to Launceston in Northern Tasmania - the 8th and for me last state in Australia :)))
During our landing I immediately knew that Tassie would be perfect for me and mark another highlight of my trip. The landscape was already spectacular and instantly reminded me of New Zealand with very green hills, rivers, lakes and mountains.
Together with Elisa from France and Cloclo, a 4WD Mitsubishi Pajero we are going to explore this beautiful island for the next two weeks and after camping by sleeping in a tent and then caravan this will be my first experience with a car bed.
I was thus picked up by them in the morning and we first drove into Launceston, a nice town with a lot of super steep roads and cute buildings. Most villages and towns here in Tassie have the same names than in other countries such as Perth, Exeter etc.
We got organised and first went grocery shopping. Unfortunately there was no Aldi so we went to Woolworths and immediately noticed with the example of bananas that Tassie is way more expensive ($4 i/o $2/kg). After that we went to Salvation Army to get some more cheap cooking utensils as well as to Kmart/Bunnings to get some cooking gas.
In Launceston we shortly visited the Cataract Gorge before hitting Tassie's roads and as expected and mentioned above the landscape was really spectacular.
Tassie is in particular known for delicious salmon, honey and cherries so that we went to a nice salmon tasting at 41* south including salmon, spice of the typical Leatherwood tree and salmon pastry - sooo delicious ;)
In Chudleigh we went to the Honey Farm where you could taste up to 50 (!) different honey flavours of all tastes for free - sugar shock guaranteed but the best was indeed the light yellow one made out of Tassie's famous Leatherwood tree.
Via Paradise (not the paradise on earth but a very cute small village) we continued to Sheffield which impressed us with a lot of street art and other galleries.
Compared to mainland Australia Tassie is relatively small and compact, you usually don't have to drive long to see another nice spot and everything is within max. 2-3hrs distance - nothing for Australia and almost around the corner ;)
Our first free camping was then also already near to Cradle Mountain NP where we reached the Vale of Belvoir via a very bumpy stony road - unfortunately and typical for Tassie it was pretty windy and cold (8*) so that we had our dinner in the car :P
We, 25.01. Cradle Mountain - Boat Harbour Beach
The next morning we then drove to our first Tassie super highlight - Cradle Mountain Lookout & National Park :)
The landscape was just incredible and I finally had a good, long and also a bit exhausting hike. Starting in Ronnie Creek we went for roughly 1,5h via partially very steep paths to Marions Lookout where we got a super view of Cradle Mountain and had an incredibly nice spot for lunch. The views were breathtaking: mountain ranges, lakes, clouds passing by - just awesome, beautiful colours, better than on postcards; and we even saw an Echidna :))) After that we hiked via Wombat Pool (a lake shaped like a wombat) along several lakes to Dove Lake where we took the shuttle bus back to the main car park.
Via Wilmot, Valley of Views we then made our way towards Penguin, passing super beautiful landscapes; from cold mountain areas, farmland like in Germany and France via tundra and forests similar to Norway we drove back to the warmer ocean in just 1h. That's the nice thing about Tasmania: in contrast to mainland Australia the distances between interesting places are, as already mentioned, with 1-2h rather short and so different, but partially also very steep with up to 15%.
Penguin itself is named after the penguins which can mainly be seen at night. It is again the smallest type of penguin, the Fairy Penguin, in the world that can only be found in Oz and the beaches there are really nice.
Sulphur Creek is another small seaside village with beautiful beaches and Burnie the next bigger town, also nicely located at the ocean.
Boat Harbour Beach was then our first free camp directly on the beach - very nice for cooking, dinner inclusive listening to the sound of the waves and stargazing :)
Th, 26.01. Boat Harbour Beach - near Corinna
After enjoying a delicious breakfast with ocean views we first went to Sisters Beach, a beautiful beach. We then saw Table Cape Lookout & Lighthouse before we fueled up for $1,37 (!) in Winyard - fortunately we could make use of a 6ct discount with our Woolworths receipt. In Rocky Cape NP we visited more nice beaches and a lighthouse.
Stanley and The Nut were the second highlight in Tasmania: it is a huge mountain shaped like a nut which can either be reached via lift or via a pretty steep path. We decided on the latter and the views were definitely worth the effort. Green hills, small cute houses, ocean in the nicest blue colours - all of that strongly reminded me of Bay of Islands in New Zealand, including the super windy weather ;)
Along a lot of tundra, forests and farm landscapes we then continued via Arthur River and Pieman Conservation Area to the Edge of the World, the most western point in Tasmania.
Along the Takine Region we took the unsealed gravel Western Explorer Road towards Corinna - a 1,5h drive without signal and Internet.
Moreover, the distances to the next village and fuel station were also indicated in hours and there were warning signs to protect the endangered Tasmanian Devil every 1km. The landscape was again extraordinary but we could still see the aftermaths of a very severe bush fire happening more than a year ago.
We then slept at Donaldson River including river sounds at night.
Fr, 27.01. Corinna - Lake Burbury
Corinna in Pienan River State is a settlement of 5 houses which consciously do not wish to have TV or phone reception. We took the ferry for $25 per vehicle to cross the river and then continued to Strahan via Mount Heemsrick Regional Reserve, Zehan, a small former silver mining town and Mount Dundas Regional Reserve.
Strahan is a small town directly on the sea and we enjoyed another nice view for lunch. We visited the town, drove to Ocean Beach and went to the exhibition West Coast Reflection.
In Queenstown, famous for its mining industry, we went to some nice lookouts and the whole drive to our free campground at Lake Burbury was again breathtaking via nice mountain regions and rock formations. Having already slept in a valley, on the beach/ocean and river we enjoyed a nice view of Lake Burbury with mountains in the background.
Sa, 28.01. Lake Burbury - Ellendale
We then continued again via very steep, bendy roads along mountains and lakes and without phone reception to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers NP - oh yeah, Tassie's roads are quite exhausting for any car :P
We did 3 smaller, 20-30m hikes here. We first saw the Nelson Falls, then Donaghys Hills and hiked via the Nature Trail to the so called Surprised River.
Via Derwent Bridge we then drove to Lake St Clair NP, more precisely to Cynthia Bay. There you can get good views of Lake Clair but we decided for a 5h hike to Shadow and Forgotton Lake - mainly through forest and partially also exhausting.
We then drove along a lot of lakes such as Bradys Lake, Lake Binny via Tarraleah and Lake King William further through Wentworth State Forest.
The landscape was a lot drier with more farmland but the roads were still super steep and not very well maintained.
In Ouse we then fueled up for incredibly $1,43 - the dearest I ever fueled up in Australia -, before enjoying a good hot $1 shower in Hamilton.
We saw a lot of wildlife that day, with 3 snakes (1 during the hike and 2 on the road), lizards, echidnas, kangaroos and rabbits before camping in Ellendale at only 6* - Tassie should definitively been travelled in a car with bed or campervan, even now in summer it is just too cool and wet to sleep in a tent.
Su, 29.01. Ellendale - Southwest NP
From Ellendale we went to Mt Field (1,436m) NP the next morning.
We did some smaller hikes to Russel, Horseshoe and Lady Barron Waterfalls.
Via Wombat More we drove along Lake Dobson Gravel Road to another lake next to which you can go skiing - that were 800m height difference, the lake was located about 1,000m above sea level.
Along Gordon River Road via Maydena we then passed some ski areas and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, spotted Mt Wright (961m) and went through Gordon Forest where we saw many bikers that day.
After 1h forest drive we arrived at Strathgordon - some kind of settlement with a few holiday homes, a coffee shop, a couple of houses and a petrol station with a fuel price of incredibly $1,70 - new record :P
In the Lake Gordon and Lake Peddler area we visited the different dams such as Gordon & Serpentine Dam. There were also a lot of bee colonies everywhere and we had a relatively warm and sunny day.
The Creepy Crawly Nature Walk was a 10m fun walk located in very dark forest (creepy) and which could only be done by bending and crawling (crawly).
On our way to Edgar and Scotts Peak Dam via Mt Anne we drove through one of the nicest landscapes so far - mountain ranges, lakes and forests. That was really the nicest drive, as usual on unsealed roads.
After arriving in Southwest NP we were blown away by the Red Knoll Lookout - another highlight here, the view on all the lakes with the mountains in the background was just breathtaking.
From this landscape we then went back through forests and yellow dry farmlands to Ellendale where we spent a nice evening with a British backpacker couple and two German backpackers.Read more