Monday, June 20, 2016

Tasmania - Dec 2015

Day 1 - Launceston

We had a 14 days round island tour of Tasmania starting and ending at Launceston.  Arrived Launceston on a late Sunday morning, took a taxi from airport to our hotel.  Launceston is a small town, easily accessible by foot.  We collected the car near our hotel the following day.

Late lunch at the Mud Bar at Seaport Boulevard recommended by the hotel concierge - the food is very good, especially this duck dish.  Wanted to revisit on Christmas but was fully booked.

Took a leisurely walk to the scenic Cataract Gorge

Launceston town walk - the town was pretty dead on a Sunday afternoon

Day 2 - Launceston - Sheffield - Wynyard - Stanley
Ice cream break at Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm

Cheese tasting at Ashgrove

Sheffield - the pretty mural town, lined with quaint shops and cafes

A famous fudge shop

Sumptuous lunch at House of Anvers. Sampled chocolates at the shop after lunch :)

Beef pie - a heavy-weight one

Burnie - Maker's Workshop Creative Paper

Wynyard - Table Cape lookout

Table Cape will be blooming with tulips in September to October.  Even without the tulips, the view is breathtaking. 

Dinner at Stanley on the Bay - we had dinner at 7pm plus and the sky was still bright.  Sun set around 9pm in Tasmania summer. The friendly restaurant owner showed us his penguin pet in a burrow right outside the restaurant.

Our accommodation has a great view of The Nut

Day 3 - Stanley, Arthur River
Walking up The Nut  on a nice sunny morning - a good morning workout

View from the top 

Highfield Historic Site 

Lunch at Touchwood Cafe Church St, The Nut Village - the food is fusion and healthy - enjoyable

Providore - the icon at The Nut Village

The stately Stanley Hotel

About a 2 hours return drive from Stanley to Arthur River - Gardiner Point - Edge of the World

Full view of The Nut from our accommodation, Stanley Seaview Inn

Awesome sunset at 9pm

Day 4 - Cradle Mountain
Accommodation at Cradle Mt Wilderness Village.  Cradle Mt is cold at night even in summer.  Electric blankets were provided at our lodge.

Cradle Mt - Dove Lake circuit walk - 6km (approx 2-3hrs) walk, good exercise to work out the calories before we start our gourmet trip. There are numerous walking trails at CM - some shorter and some longer than the Dove Lake circuit walk. Park the car at the visitor centre and take a shuttle bus to the location which you choose to begin your walk.

For entry to certain national parks including Cradle Mt and Freycinet, need to pay for park fee. We purchased a Holiday Pass which cost A$60 per vehicle for use up to 8 weeks.  The pass include shuttle bus rides at CM. Can be bought at any tourist information centre.


Dinner at Hellyers Restaurant - CM Wilderness Village

Devils @ Cradle - Tasmania Devil night feeding tour - this young lady provided a very interesting and informative narrative of the habits of the Devils, the disease (a form of cancer on the face of the Devil) causing the specie to near extinction.  This place is a conservatory for the Devil.  Recommended.  

We sampled a wide variety of honey at The Wilderness Gallery at CM.  There was an art exhibition at the gallery featuring some very nice photographs and painting by some famous Australian artists.  Leatherwood honey is the produce of Tasmania.  Can be bought at the gallery and supermarkets.

Day 5 - Strahan
Zeehan - a small old mining town of bygone era - short stop enroute to Strahan for morning tea break.

The drive from CM to Strahan via Zeehan is quite windy and some part, the road is steep and narrow.  Nonetheless, with due care, the ride is manageable.

Our accommodation - Strahan Bungalow

Soaking in the beauty of nature on the rainforest walk to Hogarth Fall (at Peoples Park opposite Risby Cove)

 Evening stroll around the town of Strahan

Day 6 - Lake St Clair (Derwent Bridge) - Mt Field National Park
St. Clair National Park - Lake St Clair - Watermeet Nature Trail - 45 min walk

Hungry Wombat Cafe (next to a service station) at Derwent Bridge - huge burger.  After lunch, we visited The Wall In the Wilderness - a wood carving exhibit by a famous artist. No photo-taking allowed.

One of the highlight of our trip is the stay at this lovely, secluded cottage in the middle of nowhere near Mt Field National Park, Fentonbury - Hamlet Down Country

We had the whole house all by ourselves.  The host lives next door.

Welcome drink by the hospitable host

The surrounding of the cottage is so serene and peaceful. 

Dinner, dessert and breakfast - all home cooked by the host, Jenifa

Day 7 - Mt Field National Park - Hobart

The 3 tier waterfall is one of the prettiest in Tassy

Scenic ride enroute to Hobart

Salamanca Market - opens on Saturday morning till 2.30pm

 Battery Point - Hampden Road, dotted with quaint shops and cafes.  Lovely!

Hobart Town

Day 8 - Richmond/Hobart
The romantic Richmond Bridge.  Richmond has a village atmosphere, heritage buildings, antique shops and an imposing church on a hilltop.

Lunch at The Wicked Cheese Co enroute from Richmond back to Hobart - they served very good cheese and yummy food - just look out for the restaurant with a big red lips.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (free entry) - worth a visit.  The extinct Tasmanian Tiger


Amazing collection of beetles 

Leisurely stroll at Hobart waterfront basking in the beautiful sunset before dinner

Day 9 - Eaglehawk Neck / Tasman Peninsula
Tessellated Pavement

The lines and cracks on the pavement are formed naturally 


The 3 hours Tasman Island Cruise is one of the highlight of the trip.  We pre-booked the cruise online and took the cruise from Port Arthur (90 min drive from Hobart).  The cruise is not for the faint hearted.  It went out to the Tasman Sea and at one point, the sea was very rough, we would have been all drenched if not for the water-proof gears that were provided to all guests.  Highly recommended.

We behold an awesome sight of hundreds of dolphins migrating right before our eyes.  Even the guide said that it was a very rare sighting and we were really blessed to have witness it.  Thumbs up!

Day 10 - East Coast - Cole Bay - Freycinet - Bicheno
We stopped at Swansea Bark Mill and Tavern Bakery for a quick lunch and made a slight detour back to Kate's Berry Farm for dessert fix.

Sleepy Bay/Cape Tourville Lighthouse at the Freycinet National Park 

The most succulent and sweet oysters we have ever eaten, heavenly!  

Homecooked dinner - fresh abalone with instant noodles - yummy!

Day 11 - Freycinet National Park/Bicheno
The most photographed bay - Wine Glass Bay.  To catch the view of the Bay from the Wine Glass Bay lookout, we need to climb up a hill for 45 mins

Second visit to the Freycinet Marine Farm.  As we were late the day before, we could only get the raw oysters, the cooked food station was closed.  We returned the following day for more oysters and the cooked seafood.  Best mussels and scallops we ever ate, soooo juicy!

Food, food, glorious food! Afternoon tea at Blue Edge Bakery at Bicheno


Douglas Apsley National Park - Apsley waterhole

Fantastic view right outside our accommodation at Bicheno's  Ocean View Retreat. We don't want to leave!

After dinner, we armed ourselves with torch lights in search of penguins.  Bicheno is known for penguins. Yes, we managed to find some. We had to be very careful not to shine the light directly at the penguins as they may be blinded by the light.  It was fun.  Beats joining a penguin tour :)

Blowhole at Bicheno beach

Squids caught at the Gulch

Day 12 - Binalong Bay, Bay of Fire, Scottsdale, Launceston

Binalong Bay - Bay of Fire

Scenic stop enroute to Scottsdale

Bridestowe Lavender Estate at Scottsdale

Short guided tour on the making of lavender oil

Day 13 - Tamar Valley

Our last day in Launceston was on Christmas.  The whole town was shut down, everywhere was closed. Tamar Valley has many vineyards and restaurants....alas they were all closed.  Lunch was picnic at the Brady's Lookout - not too bad with the spectacular view overlooking the Tamar River.  We drove from the west side of the river from Launceston to Low Head, cross over the Batman Bridge to the east side of the river and back to Launceston.

Tamar Island Wetlands broadwalk

Brady's Lookout

Batman Bridge

Peaceful beachfront at George Town

This beauty was constructed in 1833 and has operated continuously over 170 years

Dinners on Christmas eve and Christmas was at the same restaurant which was open and available for booking - Star of Siam in the town of Launceston - no complaints - the Thai food was authentic and good.  After dinner, we revisited Cataract Gorge from another entrance (we drove there this time instead of walk) and walked the suspension bridge which we didn't do on the first visit.  It was a nice place which worth a second visit (given that there was nothing else to do :)

We returned our car at the airport the following morning.  We swing by Tinnies Gourmet Pies on the way to airport with the hope to get some pies from this famous pie shop but it was closed. Happy we brought home some leatherwood honey, dried abalone and many fond memories.

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