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Swansea: An Inexpensive Day Trip

Home > Tasmania > Day Trips | Escape the City
by May (subscribe)
Typical Gemini, with the concentration span of a gnat & not one for sitting still. My old Da used to say that "you're a long time dead". So my mantra is get busy living.Please join me for more at brizzymaysbooksandbruschettasite.wordpress.com
Published November 21st 2017
There is so much more to Tassie than apples
Time constraints mean that many of us can no longer take holidays in four-week blocks. As such, the extended long weekend has become a popular and less expensive holiday escape. This is reflected by the plethora of 4 day/3 night holiday packages with interstate destinations promoted by the travel industry. Many of the younger generation are even celebrating their Hen's nights and Buck's parties over a long weekend in destinations as far as Bali.

A recent package offered return flights to Hobart, Tasmania, including both accommodation and car hire. Hobart is a lovely city full of history, galleries, bookshops and eateries and has never failed to impress.

If you've been to Hobart previously, then it's likely that you have already visited the popular tourist attractions of Port Arthur, Salamanca Markets, and taken that rather frightening drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington. Beautiful, but slightly scary.

Here's my inexpensive alternative to a day of sightseeing which will give you a different perspective of the beautiful Apple Isle. It isn't all Georgian buildings and gentrified workers cottages - the true beauty of Tasmania lies in her vast, open spaces and changing coastlines.

Firstly, heading East on the Tasman Highway across the Tasman Bridge you can head to semi-rural Sorell, where you can pick up fresh pastries from the local bakery. Driving on a little further on the winding road provides beautiful Valley views your next stop is the Tasmanian Bushland Garden where you can stop and admire the native vegetation and garden art and munch on your pastries. This reserve has been created by volunteers and at only 30 minutes out of Hobart is a great spot to stretch the legs and inhale in all those bush fragrances.

Courtesy of author
Bush Garden views


Continuing along the Highway, avoiding echidnas by the roadside, next stop is Orford on the banks of the Prosser River. There are several cafes where you can stop for a beverage or if you prefer, just to take the opportunity to again stretch the legs along the river bank.

Another 25 minutes down the road and there is an interesting township by the name of Triabunna, which is home to the local fishing fleet and ferry transporting tourists to the Maria Island National Park. If you haven't eaten yet or are still peckish this is the village to sample the infamous Tasmanian Scallop Pie, as in Shellfish and not Potato.

Courtesy of author
Scallop Pie - a Must Do in Tassie


This now becomes my favourite part of the journey as you drive with rolling pastures, full of grazing sheep, cows or alpacas on one side of the road, and scenic ocean views on the other.



Our destination is less than thirty minutes away and you know you are close when you see the turn-off to Spiky Bridge. This Bridge was constructed by convicts and local folklore has it that its peculiar design was to discourage the local Indigenous from using it as a meeting place. On the other side of the road is the Spiky Bridge Reserve with views across the ocean encouraging both Whale and Dolphin spotting.

Courtesy of author
Spiky Bridge Reserve. Gorgeous or what!


And Welcome to Swansea with a population of approximately 700. Established in the 1820's this charming township sits on the north-west shore of Great Oyster Bay with views across to Freycinet National Park. You can tell the locals from the tourists as the latter generally have their mouths open, gobsmacked by the water views.



Park the car and walk in the sea breeze along the High Street, enjoying the views and ambience. Bear Cottage is worth a quick look, as is the East Coast Heritage Museum and War Memorial.

Courtesy of author
Well worth a look


The Artifakt Cafe and Gallery offers beverages, cakes and meals and as well as displaying some beautiful artisans work such as handcrafted jewellery, woodwork and paintings.

Courtesy of author
Great food and ambiance at Artifakt Cafe


If you are only used to grocery shopping in Woollies and Coles then it is well worth a visit to Morris' Store on the main drag to see how the locals do it. Opened originally in the 1830's this Aladdin's Cave is full to the brim of everything the locals need, plus more. Personal tip: if you are looking for inexpensive souvenirs to take home this is the place to shop. This natural made Tasmanian soap in the shape of the island will be a great gift for our Pet Minder.

Courtesy of author
An absolute treasure trove


Courtesy of author
Best souvenir on the Island at under $8


The Bark Mill Tavern offers daily counter meals starting from $18-00 excluding the daily specials. Quiet admission: we broke budget here with a Prawn and Scallop Pizza, but no regrets. It was to die for.

As well, at the back of pub is the Bark Mill Museum which provides an overview of Swansea's once vibrant Wattle Bark industry, sourcing tannin since the mid-1800's and keeping Swansea afloat during the Depression.

A day trip to Swansea offers a totally different view to how Tasmanians live and play. There are many other attractions, including Vineyards and Berry Farms, that showcase the fine produce for which the State is renowned and further investigation is well rewarded.

Remember to always include a jacket as the weather is so variable, no matter the season. And your camera. Mine never went back into the handbag.

More Information about Tasmania is available here
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Why? Wonderful to holiday in our own country, and to support regional towns in Tasmania
When: Any time of the year.
Cost: Petrol costs. Anything else is up to you.
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