Friday, 3 May 2013

Tasmania, a travel tale with nature


For our second travel week, we decided to head to Tasmania. This small island located in the south of Australia is as large as 90,000 km2 and counts a population 500,000 people. To enjoy our visit of the island, we chose to rent a card for a week and drive to all the different spots.

Driving around Tasmania for a week

Arrival in Hobart

The best way to get to Tasmania, and the cheapest, is to take the plane. There is a ferry departing from Melbourne to Davenport (North of Tasmania) but it takes 11hours. It also costs about the double of a low-cost airline ticket. So, we flew with our favorite company; Jetstar. No kidding!



Arrived in Hobart, first thing to do is to pick-up our car ( a small KIA Rio ...), get used to drive on the "right" side of the road and drive south-east to our first camp spot for the night.

The Tasman Peninsula

To start our visit, we head first down south-east to the small peninsula. We visit there Port Arthur which is an old prison dating back to the times of the colonial age and early Australian settlements. The place was also a strategic point to defend the nearby city of Hobart.
Located along the coast there was not much escape possibilities for the convicts in such place; ice cold water almost surrounds the place.
The price to visit Port Arthur is around 35AUD, not cheap but worth it. It includes an optional guided tour of about 45 minutes and a boat ride.



Out of the 200 buildings that the facility accounted for, only a few are left standing in ruins. Among these buildings, the most impressive one is the prison within the prison. Designed for the most ferocious convicts, it included a small cell in which a convict could be placed for days completely immersed in darkness, cold and zero sound. They say that it was quite efficient.

After Port Arthur, we continue our drive around the peninsula, checking out panoramas and featured spots of our sightseeing plan.

The Tasman East coast

On the Tasmanian east coast, there is one of the most top beaches in the world.You might already have heard of it: The Wine glass bay. To get there, you have to drive all along the Frecynet National Park and then walk for about 2km to reach the panorama spot. Located on the other side of the mountain, the view is stunning!
All along our coast drive, several other panorama spots let us discover magnificent landscapes of cliffs diving into the ocean.



Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is probably one of the most iconic places in Tasmania. +Adeline really wanted to got there but ones again, luck wasn't on our side. The weather quickly changed, and by the time we drove there, it was horrible. Almost no visibility, continuous thin rain showers and wind. We needed to change our plan since hiking with this weather isn't worth any efforts. Next Time ....



So here is out plan B. We decided to got visit some nearby caves (Mole Creek Caves). At least, underground, the weather always stays the same!
Like for the caves we've visited in the Blue Mountains (near Sydney), we can see that these are really old and thus are really worthy to have a look at. The rocks in which these caves are carved-in dates back to times twice older than the first dinosaurs!



And to finish our Tasman tour


To finish with our tour of Tasmania, we decided to drive all the way back from The North to the South-West of Hobart. Again, the weather just got worse all the way down, and its a terrible wind and rain that awaited us down there. So bad that we had to sleep in the car for a night. (too much winds to set-up the tent)

Nevertheless, it all ended up by clearing up a little and allowed us to make some great sunset pictures for our last night on the island.



We spend the last day in Hobart. The famous Saturday Salamanca Market from our to-do list was cancelled because of the strong winds. So we went to visit some of the museum downtown instead.

Others

 

The animals

In Tasmania, the animal life is quite rich. There is no need to go far from towns to see lots of it. Sadly, because of the intense car circulation on the island, this fauna ends up dead on the road and we've been quite shocked to see so much of it. About an animal every 3km in some places!

It's no wonder that species like the Tasman Devil are on the brink of extinction...

Some numbers

Driving distance: 1 700 km
Walking distance: 66 km
Minimal temps: around 5

Some last words

 

In total, we drove about 1700 km by car over our seven days in Tasmania. It is really nice to drive around that island and we will definitely go back one day to see what the Cradle mountains really look like.
The landscapes are beautiful all the way and quite similar in charm to the ones of the Scottish Highlands or some of the New-Zealand / Lord of the Rings like, ones.

A destination you can't pass by if you happen to visit Australia.