Tasmania

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Jul 30th, 2006, 11:04 AM
  #1
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Tasmania

We are arriving in Launceston at 7 pm on Sunday, October 8, and departing from Hobart at 8 am on Sunday, October 15. Hence have 6 full days. We're planning to spend the first night in Launceston and the second at Cradle Mountain. Could we see most of the other sights (Port Arthur, Freycinet, Bicheno [for the penguins at night], ?Maria Island, ?Strahan, ?Huon Valley, ?Bruny Island, ?Ross, ?Walls of Jerusalem NP) if we spend the rest of the time based in Hobart and take day trips with a rental car? I'd prefer not to keep changing lodgings if possible. Also I'd appreciate advice on the places with question marks next to them. I know we won't have time to see them all. We like moderate hiking, kayaking, and interesting sights. Also, are we likely to have problems with snow in Cradle Mountain in early October?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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Addendum: We love flora and fauna and interesting scenery and doing moderate bike riding. I should have added to list of possibilities: Richmond and Mt. Field NP. Would welcome suggestions of others that trump those that I've mentioned.

Thanks again.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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I've given this some more thought and have come up with the tentative itinerary below. I'd welcome comments and suggestions. Thanks.

Sun. night spend in Launceston
Mon.- a.m. see Launceston
Pick up rental car
Drive to Cradle Mtn (2 - 2 hr. drive)
p.m. Cradle Mtn. NP
Spend night at Cradle Mtn. Lodge
Tues. - a.m. More of Cradle Mtn. NP
Drive to Bicheno, via Strahan and Ross
8 p.m. Penguin tour
Spend night in Bicheno
Wed. - Freycinet NP
?Maria Is.
Spend night (through Sun. a.m.) in Hobart
Thurs. - Port Arthur
Richmond
Fri. - Mt. Field NP, Huon Valley, Bruny Is., Maria Is.,
OR Hobart
Drop off rental car in Hobart
Sat. - Hobart, including:
9:30 am Walking tour
Salamanca Mkt.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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My only comment would be not to leave too little time for Port Arthur. You should devote at least 4 - 5 hours visiting the site (and even more if you can). Also, they do a GREAT ghost tour in the evening and it would be a fun thing to do if you don't mind driving back to Hobart after dark.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 02:28 PM
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Wow. You are seriously underestimating driving distances and road conditions (narrow, twisting) in Tasmania. Hobart to Strahan alone is 5 hours. You could do Launceston to Hobart in somewhat over 2, but you will not stop and see anything. If you can't take most of a day on the Gordon River in Strahan, it's way too far to bother with. If you base in Hobart, you could see Pt. Arthur, Richmond, some of the Huon, although I think Bruny occupies an entire day, and would do it on a tour so there is no issue with ferry times. Salamanca market, only on Saturdays, is not to be missed. I've done a circle itinerary around Tas, but it was nine days not 6, and four accommodations (Hobart, Strahan, Launceston, Swansea). I would encourage you to scale back or, better yet, find more days in Tasmania!
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Jul 30th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Thanks, longhorn55 and oliverandharry.

longhorn55 - We are planning on spending an entire day (and evening) at Port Arthur. I'm thinking of getting the Commadant's Pass (Site entry with access to over 30 buildings,
'Lottery of Life' Interpretation Gallery, Asylum Museum, Guided Introductory Tour, Harbour Cruise, Dead Convict Cemetery Guided Tour, and Point Puer Boys Prison Guided Tour) + Evening Ghost Tour.

oliverandharry - Unfortunately, we can't increase the number of days we'll have in Tas. We are flying into Launceston (but perhaps could change that). I suppose we could drop Cradle Mtn. or could spend a night there and leave to the east, rather than the west (and Strahan), retracing our steps, possibly almost all of the way back to Launceston and then on to Bicheno. How does Cradle Mountain compare to the other NPs (during the second week of October)?



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Jul 30th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Ok Tasmania is a small island but in some ways its the biggest little island you could find.

Tasmania is all about spending a leisurely time and enjoying the surrounds so perhaps we need to drastically scale things down here.

You don't say what time you get into Launceston on the first day as you could really rent your car then and take off for Cradle Mountain on the first night and perhaps either spend it there or somewhere en route. You will need the whole of the next day and the evening to see and do things at Cradle Mountain. From there you can drive back to say Ross and spend the night there after having a look around at the quaint houses and convict built buildings. Perhaps stay at the Bakery which is a great place to stay, the following morning leave for Richmond and Port Arthur - staying at Port Arthur that night. You will need a full day in Port Arthur. Next day drive to Hobart where you can stay for the remainder of your time in Tasmania and do day trips to wherever takes your fancy i.e. down the Huon Valley, take a tour of Bruny Island and see the seal colonies etc. There is a penguin colony on Bruny and I have also seen them at the wharf in Hobart. I don''t feel that you will have any time for anything else really. Strahan is too far away and takes a full two days anyway just getting there and back and doing a trip on the Gordon River. You can save time for instance taking a flight from Hobart to Port Davey in the Wilderness area where the plane lands and you can get a feel of the place yourself over lunch. Its a 5 hour trip and costs $170 Au p/p and according to my neighbour who used to fly planes over there it is the best of the flights in Tassie. That way you will get to see, from the air that is, parts of Tasmania that are actually still unexplored and that most people never see. I am not a fan of tours but sometimes it is the only way to go.

Sun. night spend in Launceston
Mon.- a.m. see Launceston
Pick up rental car
Drive to Cradle Mtn (2 - 2 hr. drive)
p.m. Cradle Mtn. NP
Spend night at Cradle Mtn. Lodge
Tues. - a.m. More of Cradle Mtn. NP
Drive to Bicheno, via Strahan and Ross
8 p.m. Penguin tour
Spend night in Bicheno
Wed. - Freycinet NP
?Maria Is.
Spend night (through Sun. a.m.) in Hobart
Thurs. - Port Arthur
Richmond
Fri. - Mt. Field NP, Huon Valley, Bruny Is., Maria Is.,
OR Hobart
Drop off rental car in Hobart
Sat. - Hobart, including:
9:30 am Walking tour
Salamanca Mkt.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





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Jul 30th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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Thanks, Liz F. We arrive in Launceston at 7 pm on Sunday night. I presume that this is too late to begin a drive to Cradle Mountain. Right? I was hoping to minimize the number of different places where we stayed. Is Cradle Mountain worth the effort? Or should we skip it and Launceston (if we can change our flight to be to Hobart instead)?
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Jul 30th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Judilie -

You've received some good advice and you'd do well to take it.

Cradle Mtn is very much worth the effort, but with only 6 days you're going to have to cut back somewhere.

If it were me, I'd cut out Launceston, and Strahan.

If you can change your flight to fly into Hobart,and concentrate on visiting areas south of Launceston, you'll be able to see quite a bit in your short time and still not be too rushed.

I certainly understand the temptation to see as much as possible in your six days, but I think you'll have a more enjoyable holiday if you take your time and don't rush from place to place.

As far as snow in Cradle Mountain, they've been known to get snow in the height of summer. We were there one October and it had snowed two days prior to our arrival and we were told by a park ranger that they only get 35 nice days a year - it rains 7 out of 10 days and the sun actually shines 1 in 10.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Ooops - I had cut and pasted your suggestions on my reply above so that I could refer to it and forgot to delete them. Hope there was no confusion about that.
"Is Cradle Mountain worth it"? That is a hard thing for me to answer as I have only been there once and it was cool with overcast skies. I am not as mobile as I would like to be so did not do any of the walks so perhaps I will leave that question to someone else who can perhaps give you a clear and unbiased answer.
If you arrive at night into Launceston may I suggest that you arrange accommodation either at Longford or Ellendale which are two little villages nearer the airport than Launceston or alternatively the Country Club which is also on the southern end as you will be driving west and that will make it easier for you to leave in the morning from those places. Not that driving in Launceston is difficult at the best of times but I presume that you will be renting a car from the airport.
Either staying central in Hobart in the latter part of the holiday or perhaps staying in the Huon Valley and taking day trips would be the best way of around having to move too often and you could even leave from Ross and drive to Port Arthur and not stay in P.A if you preferred because it is doable in one day if time is short. At least at the time you are here it will be daylight saving and therefore you have a little more time to do in one day what you want to.
If you like to stay in an apartment hotel then the Woolstore in Hobart is great and not far to walk to the wharf and anywhere else for that matter. If you prefer lovely B&Bs then Matilda's of Ranelagh in the Huon is a good base to be in.
Anyway I will hand this post over to those who have more information on Cradle Mountain for you.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 05:46 PM
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Another possibility appears to be to fly into Devonport, arriving at 6 pm. Would it be feasible to go straight to Cradle Mtn. from the Devonport airport?
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Jul 30th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Judilie - I'd not heard of Walls of Jerusalem National Park, so looked it up - it's not accessible by road - here's a site that you might find helpful:

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/natparks/walls/index.html
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Jul 30th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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The drive from Devonport to Cradle Mtn is 81 km, about 1:10.

This site provide driving times and distances in Tassie and might prove helpful in your planning:

http://www.rentforless.com.au/distances.htm
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Jul 30th, 2006, 10:22 PM
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Thanks for the link, Melnq8. Does arriving in Devonport at 6 pm (assuming I can change my flight), renting a car, and driving to Cradle Mountain that evening sound like a reasonable plan? At what time will the sun set on Oct. 8?
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Jul 30th, 2006, 11:53 PM
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That would probably work - sunset in Tas in October ranges from 6:18 pm (early Oct) - 7:54 pm (late October).

Highly recommend Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village (sometimes available on www.wotif.com) and good, inexpensive meals can be had at the Cradle Mountain Lodge Tavern.
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Jul 31st, 2006, 12:27 AM
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Forgot to mention that if you do plan to drive to Cradle Mtn at night - be careful - lots of nocturnal critters around.
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Jul 31st, 2006, 10:48 AM
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It appears that we can fly into Devonport. Here's my current thinking about an itinerary (with some questions interspersed):

Sun, Oct. 8 - Arrive in Devonport at 5:45 pm, rent a car, and drive to Cradle Mtn. that evening (being on the lookout for nocturnal wildlife along the way) and stay there two nights. (I looked up the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village recommended by Melnq8, but it appears that rooms are larger than we will need for 2 people. How does it compare to the Cradle Mountain Lodge? Any other recommendations?)

Mon. - Cradle Mtn. NP

Tues. - a.m. More of Cradle Mtn. if need be and then drive to Cole's Bay and stay there for two nights, possibly staying at the Pelican Bay B&B recommended by Melnq8. (What is the best route to take from Cradle Mtn. to Cole Bay? Through Launceston and Ross?)

Tues. or Wed. 8 p.m. - Penguin tour at Bicheno

Wed. - Freycinet NP (Does this merit a full day?)

Thurs. - Drive to Hobart, with stops in Swansea and Richmond along the way there. (Should we try to go to Maria Is. NP along the way, or is it fairly similar to other things we'll be seeing?)

Thurs. - Sat. nights - Stay in Hobart

Fri. - Port Arthur (Commadant's Pass [Site entry with access to over 30 buildings, 'Lottery of Life' Interpretation Gallery, Asylum Museum, Guided Introductory Tour, Harbour Cruise, Dead Convict Cemetery Guided Tour, and Point Puer Boys Prison Guided Tour] + Evening Ghost Tour)

Drop off rental car in Hobart

Sat. - Hobart, including 9:30 am Walking tour, Salamanca Mkt.

Sun. - Leave in morning to begin journey home.

We'll be missing the Huon Valley, Bruny Is., and Mt. Field NP. Do they surpass any of the places we're planning to go?

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Jul 31st, 2006, 04:26 PM
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It looks like the fastest route from Cradle Mountain to Cole's Bay is via Launceston (2:00, 142 km from Cradle Mtn) and then Launceston to Bicheno via Midlands Hwy, cutting across at Campbell Town (before Ross) - 2:10, 199 km, then Bicheno to Cole's Bay.

There are several other options, which take longer, but will offer some great views. Guess it all depends on what you want to see along the way.

With the above route, you can make a detour at Ross, which is an interesting historic town.

Another, longer option is to drive via Launceston and Scottsdale, which is a very pretty drive through countryside. You might want to make a stop at the Scottsdale Eco Center.

From Scottsdale to St. Helens via A3 is one of my favorite Tassie drives - it takes you through the Blue Tier, Weldborough Pass Scenic Reserve and the Bass Forest. This is a gorgeous drive, albeit on very squiggly roads.

Cradle Mtn to Launceston - 2:00, 142 km

Launceston - Bicheno (via Scottsdale) 4:15, 247km

Another lodging option in Cradle Mtn is Lemonthyme Lodge - we considered staying there, but found that Cradle Mtn Wilderness Village is quite a bit closer to the park. Lemonthyme is set up more for couples and it looked very nice, but is quite a bit more expensive. www.lemonthyme.com.au

Freycinet NP definitely merits a full day if you like to walk - there are several walks in the area, some along gorgeous beaches. We spent three days here.

If you plan well, you can stop at Mt Field National Park on the way to Port Arthur. There are several short walks very near the visitor's center. Unless you plan to do some backwoods exploration, you can get a nice taste of Mt Field in a short time.

You might also want to stop at Sorell Fruit Farm on the way to Port Arthur to pick some berries. We visited Mt Field, Sorrell and Port Arthur all in one day, spending about 3 hours at Port Arthur.

Sorry, can't help with Maria or Bruny Island - have yet to them. Next time.
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