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Trip Report TASMANIA - 29 nights in Paradise.

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I don’t read trip reports or travel guides. There is too much stuff in between the facts. Thus, I don’t write standard trip reports. The trip report for our last trip to Tasmania two years ago was the A-Z of Tasmania as we saw it.

This trip report is Tasmania in Numbers. (Traditionalists skip to the last paragraphs.)

Bear in mind two things about Tasmania.
We send tourists to the “Ugly Bits” like Freycinet and Cradle Mountain so we can have the rest to ourselves.
Tasmania is very diverse visually. There is much more than you expect. We have now done a total of 11 weeks on mainland Tasmania and probably only done about six day’s worth of activities twice.

GENERAL
29
Nights in our campervan.
10 Beach
8 River/lake
2 Mountain
2 Road Side
5 Look Out
2 Forest

$0
Cost for accommodation. We free camped everywhere. Why people stay in caravan parks when they are self contained in a campervan is beyond me.

3 000km
Total distance driven- give or take a bit. This could have been less but we were stuffed around by a diving instructor who was logistically challenged and more interested in running her boat than teaching us to dive. She would keep changing when she would contact us and what days we were to dive.

Inches to a Yard
Distance between us and a:-
Pademelon - Cradle Mtn
Wallaby - Cradle Mtn
Echidna - Cradle Mtn and other parks
Wombat - Cradle Mtn
Snake - Marriots Falls
Penguin - Don River mouth near Devonport.

8
Jars of jam made in the campervan with fresh berries.


CRADLE MOUNTAIN
20
Seats on the free shuttle buses from the information centre. There is limited parking at the three main parts of the park. Taking the bus is easy and saves driving on a narrow mountain road.

20
Minutes maximum between shuttle buses.

$16.50
Day visitor entry fee.

$60
Two Month National Park Pass fee. Thus, after three days at Cradle Mountain we were “in Profit”

$24
Day visitor car fee to other National Parks.

1000
Visitors per day.

3000
Visitors on very very busy days

65km
Length of overland track – booking required.

6-8 days
Time it takes most people to do the track.

<24hours
Time it takes the SAS to do it with 20kg pack plus water plus weapon and ammo.

3 days
Time we spent in the park.

6km
Average length of walk we did in the park. There are shorter options.

1
Number of people we saw on the boardwalk track. Best to do it from Ronnies Creek to The Ranger station then most will be downhill.
This is a clever little walk of about 6km and is all boardwalk as attached to the underside of the boardwalk is the power and water lines for the park. Being a world heritage area they couldn’t dig a trench and disrupt the environment so they built a board walk you can see for miles to hide the pipes.

4
Number of people we saw on the Dove Canyon track.
This track is one of the best in the park but is clearly labelled “Not Maintained”. Some parts of the track were a foot width wide. One section is very close to vertical – but it is very short.

100s
Number of people we saw on the Dove Lake car park to the boat shed walk. This is where you get “The View” of Cradle Mountain.

12+
Number of people we saw on the Dove Lake Circuit. This is a 6km circuit around the lake and is mostly boardwalk.

1
Mini bottle of champagne and 2 glasses carried on our walk on Christmas day. We also wore our party hats from our crackers for the rest of the day.

LAKE ST CLAIR
18.5km 7hours
Mt Rufus circuit. The BEST day walk in the Park. Without a doubt. It is possibly the best walk we have done anywhere - although walking the lava & glacier fields of Iceland and lava fields of Hawaii, do come very close. It passes through forest, heath, sub alpine grassland, lakes, peaks, eroded sand stone blocks and through Pandanis palm valley.
Be prepared - it is rough, wild and woolly and not for the inexperienced, unfit or ill equipped. The ranger was fantastic. He said we should take 1.5 hours to reach the first junction in the track. If we took longer than 2 hours, we were going too slow and would need to take the shorter loop back. We got to the junction in exactly 1.5 hours!

6km 3 hr
Echo Point to Cynthia Bay (visitor centre). A lovely, if somewhat muddy, walk along the end of the lake. Some ups and downs but generally easy to moderate.

$35 each
Ferry fee along the lake to Echo Point. You don’t need to take the ferry but is does cut the walk length in half.

$60 each
For a ferry tour of the lake if you don’t want to walk.

MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK
3
Water Falls
Russell Falls – the one on all the post cards. In summer there is not as much water as the postcard would lead you to believe
Horseshoe Falls. Just up the hill from Russel falls and worth the stair climbing.
Lady Barron Falls. About a forty minute walk each way from the other falls or about twenty from the Tall Trees car park.

239
Steps on the Lady Barron Falls return walk back to the main visitors centre.

MAYDENA
½ way
Between Mt Field and Maydena is a roughish track off to the right to Marriot’s Falls State Reserve.

90 minutes return.
Time it talks for a leisurely walk along the river then up a hill to the falls. Don’t be fooled the river you walk along is not the source of the falls. The falls are on a tributary that has much less water. They are however a very pretty set of falls in a fern glade.
When we were there the area around the car park had been clear felled, so first impressions can be deceiving. We stayed there the night.

$25
Cost for riding the pedal cars along the railway into the forest. A fun trip with rail riders. They have a little motorised tractor that pushes you up the hills. Not a great trip but a fun way to fill in an hour. I would go there specially though. Trips leave every hour or so.

1 hr
Total length of trip.

20 minutes
Time on bikes half of which will be pedalling.

15minutes
Leisurely walk around the forest and creek. Remainder of time looking at the historic logging photographs.


GORDON DAM – STRATH GORDON – SCOTTS DAM

86km sealed
Maydena to Gordon Dam – One of the prettiest drives you will do.

34 km gravel
Distance from Strathgordon Dam Rd to Scotts Dam Look Out. One of the best looks out in Tasmania with 360 degree views of the ranges.

196
Steps down to the Gordon Dam Wall. QED 196 steps back up.
It is an impressive double curve dam, in essence a dome on its side.

MT FIELD NATIONAL PARK
3
Water Falls
Russell Falls – the one on all the post cards. In summer there is not as much water as the postcard would lead you to believe
Horseshoe Falls. Just up the hill from Russel falls and worth the stair climbing.
Lady Barron Falls. About a forty minute walk each way from the other falls or about twenty from the Tall Trees car park.

239
Steps on the Lady Barron Falls return walk back to the main visitors centre.

TASMAN PENINSULA
3.5 hours 9km
Walking from Fortesque Bay to Cape Hauy. Another of the great Tasmanian day walks.
If you do the Yellow Boat Tasman Island trip you will pass close by the magnificent headland and part way into the gorge that separates the two large stacks at the end. It is home to the Totem Pole and the Candlestick. Two very tall very skinny rock pillars rising out of the ocean.

Be warned parts of the track are steep and there is no water on the track.

If you are keen (and they still operate) you can sea kayak out to the cape and through the gap. We did it 14years ago.

Lots
There are lots of short walks on the Tasman Peninsula. Around the blowhole and Tasman Arch.

1 hour 3km
The walk to Waterfall bay has lots of lookouts on to this amazing stretch of coast. You can drive to water fall bay if you just want to see it. There was no water flowing when we were there, but there was two years ago.

BRUNY ISLAND
$30
Return Car Ferry Fare.

$100 each
Cost of the Bruny Island Yellow Boat trip.
It is very similar to the Tasman Island trip on the Tasman Peninsula. This is a two way trip so the return trip is off shore a bit to see whales (in season) and Albatross. We were lucky enough to see a shy Albatross.

FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
Wine Glass Bay is the tourist trap of the Park. There are lots of other short walks and beaches to explore. Unfortunately my wife was sick and we only did the 15min lighthouse loop. Very spectacular.

20km
Before Coles Bay is a turn off to the left to Friendly Beaches.
If you like long white sandy beaches and ice cold water this is the place for you.
If you like rocky headlands to scramble over, this is the place for you.
If you like somewhere free to camp...

WESTERN EXPLORER
100km of gravel - give or take.
This is our favourite drive. This is Tasmania’s “Outback”. It is isolated and almost free of traffic and travels through a variety of environments. There are some walks to do at either end but by and large it is a scenic drive. The road has greatly improve in the last two years with some straightening and some sealing of the really steep bits.
2
Cars
Last trip, two years ago we only saw two cars. We thought that this was because it was Christmas Day.

1 Car
This trip we only saw one car, on a Friday Afternoon.

WARNING There are no towns/petrol/services/phone coverage for the length of the road.

BEN LOMOND National Park
1500m
The highest Alpine Plateau in Tasmania and the home to its only public ski “resort” – really a collection of lodges and a dozen or so tows.

6
Hairpin bends on the section called Jacobs Ladder. Each one has a name. It is all gravel and needs to be done slowly and respectfully. The views at the top are mind blowing.

$150 000
The going price for a lodge at the top of one of the ski tows. Only access is by skiing or walking. One big bedsitter – sleeps six. Rarely sold on the open market so be quick.

0
The Temperature in the campervan at 8am

4
Limbs scraped and somewhat bloodied when falling from rock descending Legge’s Tor near the ski village. This is why I carry a two way radio. If it had been worse I could have called my wife waiting in the car. I often go out for hours and she wouldn’t start to worry till it got dark. I also carry an GPS beacon that will call in the emergency services. It is called a “SPOT” and is about the size of a cigarette packet. You can send but not receive. You can also send “I’m OK” messages to your friends via email.



QUOTABLE QUOTES
Scene BRUNY ISLAND BOAT TRIP booking office.
Booking officer “It is a three hour trip.”
Wife “I’m not too keen on a three hour trip after what happened on Gilligan’s Island.”
Booking officer “Did you have trouble on that trip?”
Wife “Not me but the cruise never came back”.
Booking officer “Don’t worry- you will definitely come back”

By this stage the other booking officer is in fits of laughter.
2nd Booking officer “ She’s too young to know about Gilligan’s Island.


Scene IN VAN LISTENING TO HOT AUGUST NIGHT – Red Red Wine.
Wife “why is he like a swan?”
Me “What?”
Wife “Why does he sing - like a swan that with time thoughts of you would leave my head.”
Me “I’d have SWORN that with time thoughts of you would leave my head.”
Wife “OH! – like a swan is much better though.


Scene BOAT TRIP on the Arthur River on the edge of the TARKINE - an area that has been in the news recently and off and on over the past few years due to the debate as to how much should be preserved and how and how much should be open to mining/forestry.

Boat Driver (Farmer/Forester/Cray Fisherman/Environmentalist/Well read/Father of grown up kids):-
“When my grandfather came here, he called it the bush. When my father was growing up - he called it the bush. When I was growing up – it was the bush. Now some people have come here and called it the Tarkine and all of a sudden it is special.”

The Western explorer road through the Tarkine was opposed by radical greenies calling themselves the Tarkine Tigers and cutting themselves to look like tigers.

A solution will be found in wise and sustained management is the key not extremes of either side.

DRIVING IN TASMANIA
For those of you who are not used to steep and/or gravel roads, be warned, Tasmania has plenty of both.
Take it slowly and carefully.
USE YOUR GEARS. The amount of times I saw people using their brakes on hills was astounding.
If you have to apply your brakes for more than a second you are more than likely in the wrong gear. If you have an Automatic – change gears manually.
Having said that - there are a few hills that even in first gear you will need your brakes quite a bit.

FOR THE TRADITIONALISTS.
FOOD/WINE/WHISKY

4
Cider/Perry varieties at Spreyton Ciders. It has only been running since just before Christmas and the young man and his sister are very keen, knowledgeable.
$10 for a taste of each one and a stubbie (small bottle)
$4 stubbie
$7.5 glass (bit rich we thought)
$96 for a 24 bottle mixed case. We paid $80

ANVERS CHOCOLATE
$5
Large Hot Chocolate only 50c more than a small.
Be warned that unless you have done some serious training – do not order a chocolate cake AND a hot chocolate!

Mixed 12
Many of the wineries in participate in what is called the Mixed Dozen. If you only buy a couple of bottles at each winery , the last winery will post the case of 12 to you. Some postage is subsidised.

$32
The cost of trying the three NANT DISTILLERY Whiskies.
They are based in Bothwell but have a lovely bar in Hobart at Salamanca.
The Whisky waitresses are lovely and do know they stuff. They will take you through each of the styles and explain all you need to know.

$275
The cost of the whisky aged in a bourbon cask. If your taste buds are more discerning than mine and your wallet less discerning it is a bargain as it is a fantastic whisky. It had a lovely lingering warm taste.

55
Types of honey at Chudleigh near Deloraine
10
Honey flavoured or sweetened ice creams. We usually visit here twice a trip!



One of the trips highlights was being rocked to sleep by mother nature’s wind song on top of Ben Lomond plateau. She then woke us with glimpses of sunshine as she gently removed the blankets of cloud she had protectively wrapped us up in for the night.

Tasmania + Campervan = Happieness

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