Tips for local stops, events etc. Tasmania January

Sep 25th, 2018, 10:00 AM
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Tips for local stops, events etc. Tasmania January

I am headed to Australia for third January work visit to Melbourne. From there I will head to Hobart where my husband will join me a few days later for a week together in Tasmania. I've researched the major tourist sights, but would appreciate some help with other interesting stops and where to check for local festivals, events, etc. that we might want to visit along the route or at our destinations.

My husband's interests center around technology/communications/aviation, history and nature. I like the history and nature, but also enjoy arts/crafts and things unique to an area (food, customs, events).

I'll probably use my days solo to see Hobart, choosing from among Salamanca area, Mawson's Replica Antarctica Hut, Runnymede, Tasmanian Museum And Art Gallery, and Mt Wellington; then join a day or two of tours toward the south, choosing from among Port Arthur, Tasman Island cruise, Tahune to see big trees.

Once my husband arrives, I expect we will rent a car (I was able to work out an itinerary using buses and tours because we don't like to drive, but it costs a lot more than renting a car + gas.) and do a loop. The places I plan to visit are:
Maria Island (fossil cliffs and painted rocks)
Freycinet (views, walks)
Bicheno (penguins)
Deloraine (looking for platypus),
maybe Mole Creek Marakoopa cave for glow worms (I saw them at Te Anau--will this be disappointing in comparison?), maybe Trowunna
Cradle Mountain Park (trails, wildlife)
Mt Field Park (tall trees, possibly platypus)

Any suggestions for stops along the way, interesting local shops or restaurants with local specialties, local events or activities, anything that might interest my husband so he won't feel he is spending the entire week on a nature outing in the heat of the summer?
Kay2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2018, 10:07 AM
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forgot to add

Yes, I know platypus spotting is rare, but we were lucky at a nature reserve near Canberra, so I am willing to patiently sit by the waterside at dusk/dawn in high probability locations.
While the platypus and kangaroos in the nearby park were the highlight of that trip for me, my husband still talks about visiting CSIRO - Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.

I also know that the penguin spotting will be nothing like I saw on Phillips Island. Perhaps more like St Kilda Pier? I couldn't tell which location on Tasmania tends to have the highest number. Maybe Low Head? Versus Bichino more convenient.

Last edited by Kay2; Sep 25th, 2018 at 10:13 AM.
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Sep 25th, 2018, 10:48 AM
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We had luck with platypus at Warrawee, maybe as a backup if you don't see them in Deloraine? We enjoyed our visit to Trowunna.
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Sep 25th, 2018, 06:16 PM
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I spent a couple of nights on Maria Island in April, during which I walked to Attachment 1384 and Attachment 1385 (twice). The walk to Fossil Cliffs is not difficult, but part of it is uphill and if it's hot, which it was in April, you'll probably need about a litre of water each. There are no stores on Maria Island, but there are taps with drinking water in the penitentiary mess hall (in Darlington, which is close to the ferry dock). The walk to Painted Cliffs is easy, but these rocks are more accessible at low tide, so check the tide table. You also have the option of renting bicycles to get around.
The wildlife is fantastic there. The historic buildings also have an interesting story to tell.

Will you be going wine tasting in Tasmania?

While in Hobart, I highly recommend visiting MONA (Museum of Old and New Art, and also home to the Moorilla Winery tasting room). They have their own ferry to take you there.

Last edited by Diamantina; Sep 25th, 2018 at 06:27 PM.
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Sep 26th, 2018, 03:55 AM
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Thanks for the info on Maria Island. Very helpful for planning.
We don't have much interest in wine and have visited wineries in the Rhine and Napa Valleys among others, so none this trip.
Kay2 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2018, 04:55 PM
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Kay, I just noticed that in my post "Fossil Cliffs" was replaced by "Attachment 1384" and "Painted Cliffs" became "Attachment 1835". Sorry about that. I guess attaching links doesn't work too well on this forum.
Diamantina is offline  
Oct 13th, 2018, 11:25 AM
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How do I determine which roads are unsealed (so cannot drive rental car)? I haven't found a map with such designations and the A, B, C designation doesn't seem to match.

So how does this sound as itinerary?

Sun - husband arrives HBA at 10am (or 12noon if he misses connection). I meet him, rent car and depending on his energy level, we drive to Devils Kitchen/Tasman Arch area to view and stretch legs, then to Orford for night.

Mon - Maria Island (Which ferry should I book--9:00 or 10:30 - 15:30 or 17:00 ?) low tide is 15:30, so expect fossil cliffs accessible 13:30-17:30. Normally I would book early for coolest part of day, but with the cliffs only accessible in afternoon, is booking 9:00-15:30 cutting the experience there short? We could either plan to stay in Orford again so low stress day with lots of time on island or plan to drive to Bicheno for the night so we could search for penguins that night at 21:00 (my husband hasn't seen them in the wild).

Tues - if we drove to Bichino, then we could view Wineglass Bay, then drive to Deloraine where I understand there are arts/crafts stores (an interest of mine). If we stayed in Orford, then we could drive inland to Deloraine and consider visiting Trowunna or Marakpoopa Cave. Night in Deloraine to watch for platypus in the river near the bridge.

Wed - drive to Cradle Mountain, take short hikes, look for nocturnal animals. Night Cradle Mountain.

Thur - hike via Crter Lake, Wombat Pool, Lake Lila to Dove Lake. Drive back to Deloraine for the night. More platypus hunting.

Fri - Visit Woolmers at Longford or Trowunna or Marakoopa. Drive to Mt Field. Night near Mt Field.

Sat - Tall tree trail. Stop at Bonorong if didn't visit Trowunna. Night near Hobart airport.

Sun - Return rental car. 10 am flight home.

My preferred accommodation in Cradle (Highlanders) requires a 2-night stay, but says to call to check about 1-night, so I need to pin down my dates to make the call. Otherwise, we can get a 1-night reservation at Cradle Mountain Hotel.
Kay2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2018, 02:23 PM
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Kay - in my experience renting cars in Australia, there is a distinction between 'unsealed' and 'unformed'. 'Unsealed' usually means formed gravel roads, 'unformed' means 4x4 tracks. Many national/regional parks in Australia are only accessible via unsealed roads and it's therefore near impossible to avoid them (this was very much the case in Western Australia and South Australia, I can't remember the specifics for TAS).

I suggest you ask your rental car agency specifically about national park access roads.

Last edited by Melnq8; Oct 13th, 2018 at 02:29 PM.
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Oct 13th, 2018, 05:57 PM
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Rental cars

I found this website that has what seems like good info and links about rental cars.

It's not easy choosing what to do--we usually use Hertz or Avis for their great customer service and Enterprise in out of the way locations. Our credit cards give us coverage for auto damage, but only if we decline the excess coverage. Avis automatically includes it and Hertz rates are as high as Avis with the CDW coverage included. Avis customer support suggested I call the location in Hobart directly to see if they would remove the CDW and its charge. I will call, but I doubt it. So I have a tentative booking with Enterprise.

The website summary on unsealed roads is:CompanyCan you drive on unsealed roads?HertzNo, prohibited use – no insurance applies. Just don’t do itEuropcarYes, for $16.50 per day for 4WD vehiclesAvisYes, although weird term for 4WD vehiclesBudgetYes, although weird term for 4WD vehiclesThriftyYes, for only 4WD vehicles, no extra feeEnterprise Red SpotIt’s not breaking the agreement, but you’ll pay an extra excessDriveMyCarUnclear. You can’t drive ‘off road’, so public roads might be fine
For unsealed (gravel) roads, only Avis/Budget accept that a ‘metalled or gravel’ road is still acceptable under their normal terms. Oddly enough, their 3.1 clause states:

You and any Authorised Driver must only use the Vehicle on a road which is properly formed and constructed as a sealed, metalled or gravel road (unless the Vehicle is a 4 wheel drive vehicle).
Kay2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2018, 07:40 PM
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Kay -

We've been renting cars in Australia and New Zealand for years and years and have always declined additional insurance offered by the rental car companies. After many discussions with my US credit card company over the years, my understanding is that if you cannot decline insurance already built into the rental car price (CDW), you're still covered under your credit card, but if you purchase the additional insurance, you are not.

In Australia and New Zealand the excess is generally quite high ($2,000 or more), and purchasing additional insurance lowers that excess and sometimes offers things not usually covered in Australia such as windscreen damage. My credit card company also covers the excess (deductible).

I suggest you obtain the actual car rental insurance policy provided by your credit card company and/or give them a call to discuss their interpretation of CDW vs purchased insurance.

You might also consider looking into Australian owned rental car agencies instead of just the big players.
Melnq8 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2018, 05:36 AM
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I've done a bit of research regarding rental car agencies and gravel roads. Drive Now Australia is pretty clear regarding what specific rental car agencies do and don't allow. You'll notice that with some companies "properly formed roads constructed as a sealed, metalled or gravel road" are perfectly acceptable.

This site also lists specific off limits roads and restrictions in each individual state.

Last edited by Melnq8; Oct 14th, 2018 at 05:40 AM.
Melnq8 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2018, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for doing the research. You are always such a help.
DriveNow does read somewhat differently than the site I found. The other site did link to several of the individual companies' contract terms, so for some I can see what the rental car companies provide in black and white.

I have talked with my credit card company and asked to be bumped up to an "expert" who said we were covered in Australia so long as we declined CDW. I told him about Avis including it and he repeated that we had to decline it. Does he really know? Hard to tell.

I think when we drove in Australia and New Zealand before for just 2 days at a time, we decide to take some coverage for the excess because it was the first time my husband and then I drove on the left side, so we wanted max coverage. But for 7 days, the cost is substantial.

In addition to the rental car consideration, I would prefer to drive sealed roads, so was surprised that when I was planning a route from Deloraine to Mt Field that the A5 was gravel in part--just happened to read in a description of how to reach someplace. I would have assumed an A was paved. So, in looking at places where we might on a map choose a B or C, I have found this one map that I suppose I can use.
This is my first time trying to upload an attachment to a Fodor's post, so wish me luck!
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