A week in Tasmania
Tasmania. So close from Melbourne, and yet so far. I was lucky to spend a chilly winter week exploring the island across the Bass Strait, and what a week it was. Full of epic landscapes and amazing food, read on to hear a little bit about my journey.
From Melbourne, there are really only two options: you take the Spirit of Tasmania, bring your own car along for the ride, and have a sick time, or you take a flight to either Hobart or Launceston and go on from there. Flights were really cheap; probably a combination of distance and the season, what with it being pretty much the dead of winter. The original plan was to take the Spirit, but a combination of circumstances (including me being poor AF) meant that I had to fly. Honestly, no complaints though; a Spirit of Tasmania trip usually takes around 12 hours, whereas on a plane you've literally got about 20 minutes of seatbelt-free time before the descent begins. I wouldn't recommend flying in to Hobart, as it simply doesn't make sense in terms of distance travelled. Also, take the Spirit if you can! Although it is more expensive than a plane, and takes longer too, you can bring along your own vehicle, which will save you on rental costs, and also you can load it up with much more than your luggage allowance would let you on a plane. Plus, you get an experience that you don't usually on a boat!
IDK what I was thinking going to Tasmania during winter; let me tell you that how beautiful Tasmania is and how much you will enjoy your time here will probably depend a lot on the weather. I had two attempts at the legendary Cradle Mountain; both times it was absolutely smothered by cloud. SMH/feelsbad.jpeg. Over the course of the week the weather changed considerably though, culminating in some beautiful sun-filled days on the east coast, in and around Freycinet. That region is definitely a must-see; amazing coastlines, the rugged mountains of Freycinet National Park silhouetting the horizon to the east, coupled with some brilliant sunshine and epic beaches.
Be prepared for long drives, though. In fact, it's my personal opinion that any trip made to Tasmania should be made with either your own vehicle on the Spirit, or at least a rental vehicle. There are so many spots that are just not feasible to access in any other way, and while going with a tour group may seem like a good idea, you lack the freedom to pull over and explore wherever somewhere catches your eye. Indeed, the whole of Bruny Island is probably a no-go unless you have a vehicle.
Unfortunately, this time I didn't get to travel much of the western side of the island! There are also a bunch of spots that I missed, which would have been great to see. Reduced daylight hours due to the seasonality don't help though. Tasmania would be an absolutely beautiful place to do a camping trip in the summer. From what I hear, the weather & temperature stay mild, even during some of the hottest periods of the year in Melbourne.
The real crown jewel of Tasmania is the food, though. From breweries and wineries to oysters and various meats, Tasmania is a haven for fine food and gastronomy. There were so many highlights from around the state; I'll attempt to list some of them here, but there were many more that were missed.
- Launceston: Bryher, Geronimo and Stillwater, a wonderful restaurant/providore by the banks of the South Esk river. There was a confit duck papardelle that was just brilliant.
- Hobart: The Glasshouse & Aloft, two restaurants above each other in the old maratime quarters just south of the city centre. Salamanca market was also a highlight, particularly the crepes!
- Bruny Island: Officially had one of the best breakfast/brunches ever at the Bruny Island Cheese Company. Beer and cheese at 10 AM? That's a no-brainer. Don't ever look past the "Otto"; a fresh cow's cheese that's matured for one day only, wrapped in prosciutto, and then oven fired for 15 minutes, served with quince and homemade pickles. I salivate at the mere thought of it. Also, if you love seafood, don't forget to visit Get Shucked, serving some of the freshest oysters straight from the ocean to your plate.
- Freycinet/Apslawn: Nestled away on a gentle slope, overlooking Moulting Lagoon and Freycinet National Park in the distance, is the Devil's Corner Winery, run by Brown Brothers. An absolutely beautiful property, with their own dedicated lookout spot, two casual restaurants on site, and, while I am not a wine person, my girlfriend told me that the wine was to die for. A little further along the coast is Swansea, where there are more oysters to be found as well.
All in all, I was in Tasmania for about a week; just enough to get a taste, figurative and literal, of the place. I'll definitely be going back for seconds; I'd recommend around the same amount of time for anyone else who's going to Tassie for the first time. You can see select photos of my adventures in my Tasmania gallery.
Until next time,