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The Big Trip: Tasmania

ByRV DailyAugust 11, 2016
5 MINUTE READ
The Big Trip: Tasmania

A family of five test their comfort levels and squeeze into a motorhome for a rolling exploration of the Apple Isle…

For the spectacular images and the full RV Daily experience, read this in our online magazine.

Tasmania is one beautiful place. We have visited quite a bit in recent years and all loved it. In fact, the kids were really looking forward to it. We have always gone camping, but with the kids fast becoming ‘independent’ teenagers and increasingly finding mobile devices more interesting than the outdoor life, we decided to do something different this time. So it was on a rain-soaked morning that we boarded our plane in Sydney and flew south to….more rain. And plenty of it. We had unwittingly planted ourselves ahead of the worst flooding Tasmania has seen in over 40 years. And so it was, in gale force winds and driving rain, that we greeted our chariot and home for the next ten days, a hired motorhome.

A quick inspection confirmed what was evident from the outside of this beast: it had done a hard 290K. Loading up our gear under pelting rain was quickly done and we were off to Cradle Mountain with determined high spirits. My wife is generally a pretty good back seat passenger but over the next few hours, her patience was really tested. Believe me when I say that motorhomes are closely related to maxi yacht sails. A way to describe driving this thing in wild wind was ‘straight line rally’: an awful lot of steering input just to stay on the black stuff. An interesting drive that also took in some road flooding and detours. But that aside, the driving (and weather) became much easier over the trip, and toward the end, it really was no different to driving a car. See, simple really…

Tasmania is one beautiful place. We have visited quite a bit in recent years and all loved it. In fact, the kids were really looking forward to it. We have always gone camping, but with the kids fast becoming ‘independent’ teenagers and increasingly finding mobile devices more interesting than the outdoor life, we decided to do something different this time. So it was on a rain-soaked morning that we boarded our plane in Sydney and flew south to….more rain. And plenty of it. We had unwittingly planted ourselves ahead of the worst flooding Tasmania has seen in over 40 years. And so it was, in gale force winds and driving rain, that we greeted our chariot and home for the next ten days, a hired motorhome.

A quick inspection confirmed what was evident from the outside of this beast: it had done a hard 290K. Loading up our gear under pelting rain was quickly done and we were off to Cradle Mountain with determined high spirits. My wife is generally a pretty good back seat passenger but over the next few hours, her patience was really tested. Believe me when I say that motorhomes are closely related to maxi yacht sails. A way to describe driving this thing in wild wind was ‘straight line rally’: an awful lot of steering input just to stay on the black stuff. An interesting drive that also took in some road flooding and detours. But that aside, the driving (and weather) became much easier over the trip, and toward the end, it really was no different to driving a car. See, simple really…

DAY ONE & TWO
It is hard to imagine the beauty of the Tasmanian High Country until you have seen it. Cradle Mountain is the most accessible and facilitated area up in the hills. It is simply stunning. We spent our days bushwalking the well-groomed and scenic trails in the rain and the kids loved it. Despite the initial grizzle about getting wet and cold they were all feeling accomplished and glad to take in the flora and fauna – and burned off some energy too!

DAY THREE & FOUR
After a few fantastic days we headed for the east coast – Coles Bay to be exact, which is nestled along the Freycinet Peninsula. One of the great things about Tasmania is its diversity. In a matter of hours you can travel from alpine heath, to rugged coastal rainforests on the west coast, to long beaches and bays in the east and finally to sub-antarctic coastline and cliffs facing the Great Southern Ocean on the south coast. It is certainly a photographer’s paradise and has plenty to keep everyone entertained.

Coles Bay is a township just north of Freycinet National Park, which comprises the southern part of the Freycinet Peninsula. We rued our decision to stay in the local caravan park when we saw the beachside camps in the national park as they looked pristine… next time. Freycinet is beautiful and features some well known walks and lookouts; Wineglass Bay is perhaps the most commonly known. If you haven’t travelled here before you must experience it for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.

DAYS 5, 6 & 7
After two days of exploration and repose we moved southward to the Tasman Peninsula. We stopped in at a few local wineries along the well-marked tourist route and discovered some delicious offerings. You can’t beat buying from the cellar door!

Port Arthur has one of the nicest caravan parks I have ever visited. The BIG4 offering is simply top notch. Despite the fairly short distances between our destinations and the fact that the kids were constantly playing cards, reading or playing other games while we were driving, petty arguments were starting to develop. I think it was just too much time in a confined space. On a very windy night we retreated to the caravan park’s common indoor area, bought some timber and had ourselves a nice fire while playing cards and watching the footy. Despite the wind and chill it was a brilliant starry night so we stepped out with the camera for a while too.

We visited the Port Arthur Historic site and ticked a few more tourist boxes: Tasman Arch, the Blowhole, Devil’s Kitchen, Tesselated Pavement and Eaglehawk Neck. We drove into Hobart late in the afternoon and had an early night in anticipation of the Salamanca Markets in the morning.

DAY EIGHT
Hobart is a fantastic city. The weekly Salamanca markets are one thing, but the city really turns out some fantastic festivals year-round. Dark MOFO, Taste and Feast feature across the year and are a great experience for adults and children. MOFO and Feast really transform cold winter nights into a full sensory experience; the southern state really knows how to light a fire when it comes to winter.

The girls, now having a new lease on life after the famous markets, and the boys not too far behind (it is actually pretty good), were now ready to experience the magic of Bruny Island. We left Hobart, and its imposing Mt Wellington which was receiving snowfall, and made our way further south, heading for the ferry.

DAYS 9 & 10
Bruny Island is a very unique place. The north and south are connected by a very narrow spit of land which has a nice lookout. The further south you travel, the more pristine it seems. At the far southern reaches, around Cloudy Bay and the lighthouse, imposing cliff faces drop off into the ocean swells. Despite the intermittent showers we loved this part of the world. To add to the good vibes, we had arranged a bush campsite, so the feeling of space and natural beauty had returned. Day tripping and sampling the famous Bruny Island produce was a fantastic way to finish off our Tassie adventure, and to top it all off, despite the miserable weather and (at times) frustrated behaviour, we managed not only to survive, but really enjoy the trip.

DESTINATION DETAILS:

Destination
Tasmania is a picturesque and diverse holiday destination; after your first visit, you’ll want to make it a regular destination. There are various options to reach our Apple Isle. The most popular is travelling over with your own vehicle on an overnight journey on the MS Spirit of Tasmania. If you choose to fly, there are many vehicle hire options. Just make sure you book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Climate
Tasmania is actually not that much colder than the southern mainland. It can get mighty hot in summer and freezing in the high country winter. Peak visitor period is during summer in the holidays, travelling in winter not only means less people but also a lush green countryside.

Accommodation
As with the mainland, there are all types of accommodation available. From caravan parks to bush camps, a quick online search will return a number of choices.