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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Songdoc's Tasmanian Honeymoon

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After 5-1/2 weeks of a wonderful working holiday in New Zealand and mainland Australia, we flew from Brisbane to Launceston; rented a car from Europcar; and set out for the first stop on our well-deserved, ten-day Tasmanian vacation/belated honeymoon. Our first stop would be two nights in Swansea, chosen as a base for its proximity to the airport—and Freycinet National Park.

The first thing that hit me was the profusion of flowers and the intensity of the colors. There were fields of poppies as far as the eye could see. Although it was late spring the colors of the leaves made it look like autumn in New England. Beautiful!

The second thing that hit me was the extreme amount of road kill. I’d been forewarned, but it was far worse than I’d imagined and it made me a bit nervous driving—especially since it became intensely foggy. I’m a big animal lover and was hoping to see lots of wildlife—but not under my tires! Something resembling an elk ran behind my car—and a wallaby darted in front—but thankfully, there were no collisions. Whew.

The third thing that hit me was that it was blissfully cool in contrast to sweltering Brisbane where daily highs were in the low 90s F. Highs in Tassie ranged from 65 – 70 degrees F. – perfect hiking weather.

After an hour-and-forty minute drive we arrived at the Swansea Motor Inn and were pleasantly surprised. It was just a basic motel ($135 AUD/nt.)—but the views over the bay were absolutely beautiful. Dinner was at the Saltshaker – again, with stunning views, and a sunset for a bonus. My scallops ($34.95) were delicious, but DH’s chicken roulade ($26.90) was dry and not very flavorful.

The next morning we woke to bright sunshine and cloudless blue skies with beautiful views over Oyster Bay. We drank our coffee while watching dolphins, then headed for Freycinet National Park. It was an easy, pretty one-hour drive—and we spotted our first echidna waddling along the side of the road! We stopped for coffee in Cole’s Bay, and drank it at a bench while drinking in views of The Hazards—a towering, distinctive range of jagged granite peaks. Cole's Bay was solo beautiful -- but it was just a preview of what was yet to come.

Our first stop in Freycinet was at the visitor’s center where we purchased a $60 pass that would allow us access to all of Tasmania’s National Parks, as well as the shuttle at Cradle Mountain. We took the first turn-off – Honeymoon Bay. It wasn’t on our list, but with it being our honeymoon, we thought we’d check it out. OMG. I was stunned by the unearthly beauty of the rock formations and sapphire blue water framed by a backdrop of The Hazards. Tasmania had now officially surpassed my expectations. It was hard to believe that anything else we’d see could surpass these views.

Next stop in Freycinet: the walk to the Wineglass Bay overlook. An adorable wallaby posed for photos on the parking lot—in exchange for bits of food. The walk to the overlook was strenuous, but well worth it. Again, OMG-breathtaking views, with bonuses of wallabies and pademelons hopping beside the trail. We didn’t feel the need to add the long hike down to the beach itself, although, if we’d had more time, I’m sure that would have been beautiful, as well.

The Cape Tourville walk to the lighthouse delivered yet more amazing views. My camera – and our legs – were getting quite a workout! Heading back, we took the turnoff for Sleepy Bay and walked to some of my favorite views (and photos) of the day—on a day that overflowed with spectacular views—so that’s saying a lot!

In addition to the mountain views in the distance, the beach area was strewn with enormous rocks and caves that glowed golden. I felt as if I’d been delivered to another planet with some of the most unique, gorgeous views I’d ever seen. We drove back thinking that the rest of Tasmania was going to have a tough act to follow! Dinner was very good pizza and salads at the Tavern back in Swansea. We ate outside with hundreds of sheep grazing nearby.

to be continued ...

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