On board the Spirit of Tasmania, a 9.5 hour ferry from Melbourne to Devonport. We decided not to take our caravan as the prices sky rocket, so the lone troopy travels begin. We set sail at 9am, head straight upstairs to explore where we will be for the day and easily walk straight into the Recliner Lounge. Wow what a view, we scored a spot here, overlooking the water, stretching out on our comfy recliners. As time goes by we realise that you had to book and pay for these seats, some people did the same as us and got caught out from the other passengers that actually booked those seats, but that didn’t deter us. We just kept quiet, in hope that no one had booked our front row seats and after a couple of hours we wiped the sweat off our foreheads and thought to ourselves how lucky we are, haha, free front row recliner seats for the whole trip, wahoo!
Now 6:30pm and we have arrived, we decided not to travel too far as it was getting late so we stopped in to check out Lillico Beach, I saw on Wiki camps that you could see the small fairy penguins here at dusk. There is a penguin viewing area, and little did we know there were also volunteers that had special red torches to help guide and teach us how to spot them. We spotted about 10 of the little fellas, running up the rocks along the beach to their safe zone, which is where we were. A great experience and an awesome start to our Tassy trip. (I did get 1 close photo of a penguin but as it was pitch black and the torches red, it didn’t turn out so great so here is a photo from Google cos they are just too damn cute)
Camp Location: Forth Recreation Ground
Cost = DONATION
Travelled From: Port of Melbourne
Distance Travelled: 455 kilometres (via sea)
As we only have 2 weeks in Tassy we knew it would be best to focus on the east coast rather than run around like headless chooks trying to see the entire state. Off to Launceston we go, along the way we stopped at some amazing local produce like the cheese, cherry and chocolate factories, our best buy was a 900g bag of off cut lavender cheese for $9, cheese platters for days! After a lunch stop, and fruit/veg shop in Launceston it was time to check out the amazing bright blue lake I was tagged on Instagram by our new friends Mike + Jules from Dusty Adventures. What a sight this ‘Little Blue Lake’ was, true to the stunning pictures, it was bright blue, nothing we had seen before.
Time to find a camp, the most north-easterly well known spot was in the Bay of Fires, but getting there was the tricky part! Our phones had struggled to find any kind of service since coming onto Tassy so google maps was not working and we were struggling to find our way there. Lesson learnt, download the google map area your travelling, so it can work offline! Anyway we made it in the end and had heard good reviews on a free camp in the bay of fires called Swimcart beach, and we found one of the last good spots overlooking the beach.
Camp Location: Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires, Tasmania
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Devonport
Distance Travelled: 272 kilometres
From here it was an easy drive to check out some of the other amazing nearby sights, so a day trip to St Helens, Binalong bay and The Gardens. Jumping out of the Troopy when the rain stopped, making the most of what we could, we ended up seeing the main spots.
Our campsite Swimcart Beach was well set up, and we would of loved to have more time to chill, sunbake and fish here but as the weather was not great, it was time to move on down south. Next stop to check out was Bicheno, we drove around the small town and saw its amazing potential; we had also heard that Bicheno was also popular for the Fairy penguins and snorkelling. Unfortunately we couldn’t escape the rain and wind so we reluctantly kept moving.
A quick google of other stops to see around the area led me to one of my favourite beaches along the east coast, Friendly Beaches! We try to find less populated and touristy sights to see, and this is one to check out. Pristine clean white sand, stunning rock views and bonus, a free camp along here too! We would have definitely stayed the night if time permitted but we were on a bit of a schedule to make it to all the stops we wanted to in 2 weeks, so lunch and beer it was!
Our last stop of the day took us to Coles bay, the weather was still on and off so we didn’t head to the beach, but to the Jetty (where the Wineglass Bay Cruise dock is) to do some fishing. You can see the mountains from Freycinet National Park right across the way, and slowly but surely it was HOOK ON! We have our first fish, a __ which is apparently not the best to eat, but after 7 weeks WE WERE KEEPING IT! A nearby free camp called River and Rocks Campground set us in for the night for our fish stew.
Camp Location: River and Rocks Campground, Coles Bay, Tasmania
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Swimcart Beach
Distance Travelled: 121 kilometres
We finally woke up to no rain, some cloud and a touch of sun so into Freycinet National Park to hike Mt Amos we go! I am so glad we were able to do this, the photo’s had looked amazing and we were ready for some exercise. All packed, hiking shoes on and ready to go we see the sign saying this track is classed Difficult, one we hadn’t tackled before, but up for a challenge we head of in high hopes. The track itself was well signed but yes quite difficult, I actually prefer hikes like this, less repetitive, keeping it fun with boulders to climb and cliff faces to trace. We made it to the top with stunning views of Wineglass bay and surrounding areas, it feels good being on top of the world!
I got one quick photo and CRAP the rains are here! We find the biggest rock we could to hide under to escape from the rain but we could tell it was set in. We let it clear as much as we could, I put on my raincoat I had from grade 9 camp and the other crappy plastic one we packed went over the backpack. Luckily Zac was already drenched so he had to embrace it a little more. On the way up there are multiple warning signs telling everyone NOT to climb Mt Amos if it was wet or raining, so the climb back down was challenging to say the least. We took it easy, walking slow as there was moss and slippery rocks the whole way down, some areas we even had to slide on our bum to make it down safely. None the less, we still had so much fun in the rain, it will definitely be a memory to laugh at for a long time.
Travelling further south to stop for the night, we find Dunalley Hotel which offered free camping in their paddock if we purchased a meal from the pub, so no cooking for me tonight, pub dinner and beers it is, the perfect treat after a massive day!
Camp Location: Dunalley Hotel, Dunalley, Tasmania – grass paddock next door
Cost = FREE (when you purchase a meal… however this didn’t seemed to be policed at all)
Travelled From: Coles Bay
Distance Travelled: 156 kilometres
One of the most popular areas to visit in Tasmania is Port Arthur which is in the Tasman National Park, we weren’t keen to do the Port Arthur tours but the Tasman area has so much to offer we had to have a couple of days down there. On our way down we found a cool stopover called Tessellated Pavement, an amazing example of how natural geological changes can change our world.
At the top of the Tasman National Park you can find 3 awesome views, our favourite was hidden around the corner from the Blowhole, (photo’s below from here) stunning cliffs along the ocean. Then just south of here was the Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen which was a couple of cool caves seen from a lookout.
Something to keep in mind is that the Tasman National Park requires payment of national park entrance as well as camp fees, so keeping this in mind, we find the suburb Nabeena that is out of the park area to try and save some $$. Looking for something to do before we set for camp, we take a drive around White Beach, go a little too far and stumble across a jetty with 2 Malaysian blokes fishing for Squid and they are raking it in. We rush off, get some lessons and soon we are raking it in too! Our 1st squid… 6 later, it’s getting dark, our friend offers his last 5 to us to keep and showed us how to clean them as well, WINNING! We made use of these babies for breaky, lunch and dinner for the next 3 days.
The weather still being on and off, we try to catch a few lookouts in the break of the heavy rain, hung around a little but no luck so back out to Sorell to stock up of food, grog and sleep. And what do you think happened when we woke!? SUN!! YAY!! Speeding off in the sunlight we thank our lucky stars we can now head to Bruny Island to experience all that the Island off an Island has to offer.
*Bruny Island Blog coming up in a few days! Sign up now to be reminded, don’t miss out.