About 10 years had passed since we had visited the beautiful Apple Isle and without ever camping there it was well and truly time to pack the Rodeo and point the bonnet south. We had fallen in love with Tassie the first time we ventured to this tiny island state and had always yearned to return. Now with our new found love of camping the scene was set for an amazing and uplifting couple weeks, and with Sandra’s mum onboard this time it would certainly be a trip to remember for all of us.
We motored out of our driveway in early December making a quick journey south, picking up Sandra’s mum from visiting relatives in Melbourne before making the journey to the Port of Melbourne, joining the queue to board the Spirit of Tasmania for our overnight sailing. A slight hiccup came when we were greeted at the vehicle boarding point for the vessel only to be told we were expected the previous night. In a bit of a flap we checked our itinerary to discover they were correct and somehow we had booked the wrong day for our outbound journey. Luckily for us they had a vacancy for the nights’ sailing and we were able to board without any further hassle. A very important lesson was learnt for us to triple check any bookings in the future.
Now Chris and boats don’t mix at the best of times and that night was no exception but the treasures that await far outweigh the inconveniences of a sleepless night (that is Chris’ take on it anyway).
Disembarking the boat the following morning at Devonport, a little bleary eyed, we motored south to take in our first natural attraction for the trip, feeling upbeat and excited to be back on the Apple Isle after many years. First up was a short hike to view the beautiful Alum Cliffs just west of the quaint village of Deloraine before venturing a little further south to the impressive Liffey Falls. This trip was off to a cracking start.
With Sandra’s mum onboard we had decided this trip would be a combination of camping and accommodation, with an equal amount of both during the couple weeks. For our first nights lodgings we had booked the delightful cottage at the historic Low Head Pilot Station with an evening penguin tour to experience these inspiring little creatures up close and personal. So after enjoying the sights of Liffey Falls it was up the east side of the Tamar Valley to Low Head for the night and one of the many highlights we were offered on this very special trip.
Next morning we were up early and heading south once again through the Tamar Valley to explore some of what Launceston has to offer, including the always popular Cataract Gorge and its iconic chairlift, a must ride when you are here.
After having a thoroughly enjoyable day and stocking up on supplies, as we would be heading out of civilization for a few days, we pointed the rodeo east for Scottsdale before striking south through open fields and forest to our first campsite of the trip right on the bank of the South Esk River at Griffin within the Saddleback Plantation, a beautiful and quiet (apart from the sounds of shooting across the river all night) site, almost having the whole place to ourselves.
The plan the next day was to take a pleasant scenic forest drive visiting a few points of interest along the way finishing up at Pyengana and the famous Pub in the Paddock along with Prescilla the beer drinking pig. After visiting the stunning Mathinna Falls and Evercreech Forest Reserve with its resident White Knights (the worlds tallest white gums) we were traversing a narrow forest track when we encountered a massive tree across the track that was way too big to do anything with and absolutely no way around it through the thick scrub. The only option was to turn around and backtrack having to change our plans and cancel our visit to the Pub in the Paddock. The really annoying thing being that we could see the intersection we needed to get to from the fallen tree but mother nature once again had other plans for us.
After exiting the forest we made a beeline for the north east coast of Tasmania and to Mount William National Park, which was our intended camp for the night after visiting the “pub” anyway. Stumpy Bay was our campground for the night and what a stunning coastal camp it was. Plenty of space and privacy along with sun, sea, sand and surf.
Next day we hugged the coast and headed south taking in stunning coastal scenery before arriving in Freycinet National Park with its popular Wine Glass Bay and our next superb coastal camp for the trip at Friendly Beaches. That night we were even treated to a beautiful Tassie sunset.
Moving further down the coast we had booked a “beach house” at Eaglehawk Neck for a couple nights to give us a day to explore the unmissable Port Arthur Historic Site as well as some of the natural attractions that this part of the east coast has on offer.
Next it was time to head as far south by vehicle as possible but not before visiting the historic Richmond Bridge along with the model village of Hobart, take a stroll high up in the canopy along the Tahune Airwalk as well as visit the Biggest tree in Tasmania, another action packed day on the apple isle.
We finally pulled up at the sparse yet enchanting Cockle Creek campground deep within the Southwest National Park for the furthest south we have ever pitched the tent.
Next morning up early once again we headed for some underground delights for a change at Hastings Caves, another highlight of this amazing trip, before jumping on the vehicle ferry and heading to Bruny Island for the night. Tasi just keeps getting better and better.
Join us next time for part 2 of our Time to reminisce – Tasmania 2006 adventure as we head to the deep south of Bruny Island for a very cold, damp night before hitting Hobart then continuing our journey up the wild west coast. There are many more highlights yet to come for this adventure.