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Tasmania feedback please

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Dec 8th, 2015, 01:00 PM
  #1
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Tasmania feedback please

We are in planning stages for what will be our third trip to Australia - actively, I guess, given that we've discussed returning even before we left the continent during our last visit in 2013. Our third visit will coincide on the New Year's holidays as we look forward to a once-in-a-lifetime in Sydney to mark the occasion.

During our prior trips we've visited Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin, Litchfield NP, and Uluru. We've experience the Blue Mountains and the Great Ocean Road as well.

With NYE festivities as our anchor, we are thinking of spending 6-7 nights in Sydney leading up to New Year's. From there, given our interest in wildlife and the outdoors and the time of year, we have decided on 10 nights in Tasmania followed by 5 nights in Melbourne.

Our biggest disadvantage will be that we won't be hiring our own wheels. Instead we will rely on public bus services where available and supplement it with private transfers. And we want to make sure we have time to really enjoy the places we're visiting so I'm thinking three places over 10 nights.

Our initial thoughts are to fly into Hobart, where we would spend 5 nights seeing the city and the surrounding area and taking day trips. Port Arthur is on our list as is Bruny Island. From Hobart, we are considering dividing the remaining 5 nights between Strahan and Cradle Mountain. We would then fly from Devonport or Launceston to Melbourne. Do our choices sound realistic?

I appreciate any feedback and suggestions you could offer. Thank you.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 02:15 PM
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I should clarify that I am thinking about NYE 2016-17, a year from now. Apologies for some of the grammar and syntax errors; I wish there is an edit feature for such things.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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TP-just got back from 10 days (9 nights) in Tasmania as part of almost 6 weeks in Australia and NZ. It's difficult for me to imagine how you'd do Tasmania without a car unless you are going with tours, I don't remember seeing a whole lot of public transportation but maybe you've looked into it.

We loved Tasmania, it was our favorite part of the Australia half of our trip (Darwin area, Daintree, Tasmania and Sydney)! We had one night outside Launceston (flew there), 2 nights Cradle Mtn, 3 nights Freycinet Peninsula (our favorite and I wish we had more time there), 1 night Pt Arthur, 2 nights Hobart (which was plenty - - of which one full day was on Bruny Island so I think 5 nights in Hobart is too much).

My TR isn't ready so I'm happy to answer questions in the meantime. Cradle Mtn area is mostly about hiking - -is that what you are interested in doing there?
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Dec 8th, 2015, 03:54 PM
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FromDC, welcome back and thanks for your feedback. I'm glad to hear that you had such a good time in Tasmania and cannot wait to read your report.

Regarding transport, yes, Tassielink, one of the bus operators in the state, operates a service from Hobart to Strahan and Strahan to Cradle Mountain on certain days. And I've contacted a couple of transport companies to comfirm that it can do the transfer between Strahan and Cradle Mountain as well.

Given our lack of a vehicle we assume basing ourselves out of Hobart would allow us to see a good part of the island, not just the city. I'm interested in day trips to Port Arthur and Bruny Island. I've also done research on other day trips including the Huon Valley.

Cradle Mountain is on our list because we're interested in hiking. I looked into Freycinet too but could not figure out how to include in this trip with Hobart and surrounds and Cradle Mountain being priorities. Perhaps your report will have me thinking otherwise.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 05:00 PM
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For Cradle Mtn, just be sure your accommodation is walking distance to the shuttle that goes around the park, otherwise I'm not sure how you'd get to the trails.

For Bruny Island, you can take a tour that starts in Hobart, we saw one that takes you on a boat ride once you get to Bruny. We didn't do that - - but enjoyed driving to the ferry and then circling the island with stops along the food trail and doing a walk. Day tours also go to Port Arthur from Hobart. I don't think you need to allocate more than one day for Hobart itself. Hopefully, you'll be there on a Saturday because the Salamanca Mkt is a fun thing to do.
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Dec 8th, 2015, 06:34 PM
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FromDC, thanks again. For Cradle Mountain, we're looking at staying at the Peppers Lodge.
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Dec 9th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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Cradle Mountain Lodge is the best option if you won't have a car. Mt Field is another day trip possibility from Hobart.
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Dec 9th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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Patty, thank you.
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Dec 9th, 2015, 11:07 AM
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TP, we had dinner at Peppers one night. They are basically across the street from one of the information centers which has a shuttle stop so you should be OK.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 03:14 PM
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Patty, how does Mount Field compare with Huon Valley? Which location is more unique to Tasmania in terms of scenery? I've done a little bit of reading and both look interesting with aspects that seem similar.
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Dec 10th, 2015, 03:15 PM
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FromDC, what did you think of Peppers?
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Dec 11th, 2015, 01:47 AM
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I am currently at the tail end of a 13-day trip to Tasmania--trip report to come, hopefully by the end of the month. For now, a couple of comments:

1. Four days in Hobart is not too much. We started in Hobart and spent 4 nights there, without a car. Did a great day trip by bus and boat to Tasman Island, which included a 3-hour stop at Port Arthur. There are similar trips available to Bruny Island. We spent another day visiting MONA via a boat trip up the river. A day walking the city streets was easy from our base in Battery Point (Grand Vue Hotel, recommended). We are now back in Hobart for 2 nights so we can take in Salamanca market and perhaps a day at the cricket test match running this weekend.

2. From Hobart you can do a day tour to Freycinet but I wouldn't recommend it. Freycinet was our favorite place on the island (spent 3 nights there) so do try to figure out how to spend a couple days there--beautiful circit hike to Wineglass Bay and across the isthmus to Hazard beach and back to the start (11 km total). Good kayaking too.

3. Cradle Mountain NP is great--nice hikes, and tons of wildlife. The shuttle bus will take you to all the trailheads. We stayed in a cozy cabin at Cradle Mountain Highlanders (recommended). Ate at the bistro at Peppers, which was good. Didn't see inside the lodgings there, but they looked fine from the outside.

4. There are so many lovely spots around Tasmania that are much easier to explore with a car. Since that doesn't fit with your plans, you will have to be creative in working out your itinerary, but it sounds like you are prepared to do that. Good luck with your planning!
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Dec 11th, 2015, 02:01 AM
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TP, we saw the lodge only from the outside, there are different accommodation types, it's the largest place in the area. We had dinner at the restaurant, the food was just OK and expensive - - nothing wrong with it but given the price.....
We enjoyed being able to eat one night in our cabin at Highlanders but it would be much more difficult for you to stay there without a car.

Glad aprillilacs felt the same way about Freycinet. Hence my comment about Hobart, since for me, time visiting Freycinet would be better than time spent in Hobart itself (not the day trips from Hobart). We didn't go to MONA.
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Dec 11th, 2015, 05:17 AM
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Aprillilacs and FromDC, thank you for the helpful feedback. I am continuing with my research and probably will have more questions. Looking forward to both your reports.
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Dec 11th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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Sorry, Mt Field was on our list but we never made it there. We've been to the Huon Valley and Bruny Island and especially enjoyed Bruny.
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Dec 11th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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Cradle Mtn Highlanders is actually quite accessible to the shuttle bus, which starts its route just a short walk along a path to the nearby visitors center. During the hours the shuttle was running (8-5?), we left our car at the cabin and rode the bus. Without a car, though, you are pretty much confined to the operating hours of the shuttle, so, for example, you will miss out on seeing Dove Lake at sunset, and the most active time for the wonderful wombats at Ronny Creek. But none of the other lodging options would get you much closer to those sites.
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Dec 12th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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TP, I'd forgotten that Highlanders was close to the shuttle stop, but at night you'd have to "eat in". Not sure how you'd provision the cottage - - I know you can arrange breakfast in advance but don't know about dinner supplies. Bring them with you on the bus, maybe?
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Dec 12th, 2015, 09:50 AM
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Thanks again FromDC and Aprillilacs. We'll look at Highlanders too.
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Dec 12th, 2015, 10:04 AM
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We enjoyed our stay at Highlanders but the nice thing about the Peppers Lodge is that there are walks you can take right from the lodge area.
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Dec 12th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Good point, Patty.
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