Separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait, Tasmania is known for its beautiful forests, rugged mountains and pristine beaches. But for many mainlanders, the most frequent reminder about this state is its biggest export, the Tasmanian Salmon, which is widely sold across Australia.
Our trip to ‘Tassie’, as it is affectionately known, was planned as a six-day loop drive around the island, heading east from Hobart and covering some of the most famous tourist spots along the way. So, as the D-day arrived, we boarded the first flight out of Melbourne and reached Hobart around 8am. We made our way to the rental agency office at the airport to collect our campervan, our transport/home for the next 6 days. Campervans are a perfect way to explore a place because it gives the opportunity to stay as close to nature as possible while not missing out on some of the conveniences like a comfortable bed and sometimes even a private toilet and bath.
After stocking up on supplies and a heavy breakfast, we bid adieu to Hobart and made our way to our first destination, Freycinet National Park. The three-hour drive along Tasman Highway took us through some beautiful inland forest roads and then along the eastern coastline, up towards our destination for the day. The roads were easy to manage and gave us ample time to get used to our new set of wheels. By noon we reached the Richardsons Beach campground located within the National Park and got ourselves a spot for the night. Next on the agenda was a hike to see one of the most famous tourist attractions in all of Tasmania, the Wineglass Bay. The Wineglass lookout is a steep but well laid out hike, which can be done in about two hours. The hike was a bit strenuous but the view from the top made it all worthwhile. Luckily for us, it was a beautiful clear day and the bay looked absolutely gorgeous with its white sandy shore and turquoise blue waters.
We had a long drive ahead of us for the next day as we were going to leave the coast and head into the mountainous heartland of Tasmania, to the foothills of Cradle Mountain. We made a quick photo-stop at the ‘Bay of Fires’, named so because of the rocky shores lined with orange-colored boulders. As we drove inland, the weather turned for the worse as it began to rain and the wind started to pick up. Driving up winding roads in a big van with winds trying to push you sideways was nerve wracking yet it proved to be quite an amazing adventure! We reached Cradle mountains around 4 pm and camped at the Big 4 Caravan Park. Although we could not venture out due to the unsavory weather, the view of the Cradle Mountain Summit covered in clouds was spectacular nonetheless.
In answer to our prayers, the next day turned bright and sunny again, perfect for our planned hike to Marion’s Lookout. The walk, starting at the Dove Lake carpark and passing by the Boatshed, is fairly easy for most parts and gives amazing views all through the hike. At the lookout, one is treated to a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and their mirror-like reflections on the lake below. After a three-hour hike, we had worked up quite an appetite and decided to head back to the campground for some good-old barbequing!
Our next destination was Lake St.Clair, located in the Central Highlands. Blame it on the ominously dark cloud cover, but we did not find the lake particularly appealing. So, we decided not to waste any more time and headed straight for the next stop on our list, Lake Peddar. As we reached Ted’s beach campground on the shores of Lake Peddar, we were so glad that we decided to get there early. We were the only occupants of the campground and we parked our van right at the edge of the lake. The shelter had gas stoves and barbecue areas and also flush toilets. And to top it all off, we had arrived during the centenary celebrations of Parks Tasmania, so the stay was free! With ample day light remaining, we walked along the lake taking in the breathtaking views and then enjoyed a few drinks and watched the sunset with the lake and the surrounding forests, all just for ourselves!
The next morning was rather gloomy for us, knowing that we were at the tail end of our vacation. Having booked a late-night flight, we decided to hang around at the lake till midday. We used this time to pack all our bags, clean up the camper so that we could leave at the absolute last minute. And when the time came, we hightailed it back to Hobart and returned the campervans just five minutes from the close of business. Our last couple of hours in Tassie was spent looking at photographs and reminiscing about what an amazing adventure these past six days had been!