That lil' island down South had always been in the back of my mind as somewhere I wanted to travel. Everybody I knew that had visited Tasmania seemed to rave about the natural beauty of Australia's often-forgotten gem.
Finally, a rare window of four days appeared in both my own and my partner's schedules. And, one late night in the university library, we said... screw it, let's go to Tassie. On a whim, we booked our flights and hired a van and off we went.
Before you even consider attempting this itinerary, I must warn you. This is not a snail-paced, grandma-style, relaxing holiday. This road trip means business. Rest was not a word that even stepped foot in our vocabulary. It was go, go, go.
Now, I can present to you: the epic, all-encompassing, four day, non-stop, eating on the go, waking before sunrise, Tasmanian road trip.
After arriving at Hobart International Airport, we caught a taxi to Wicked Camper Vans where we would pick up our motorised accommodation. Not only was Wicked the cheapest option available, but it had the smallest bond. I would recommend Wicked for their unbeatable prices, however, if you appreciate comfort (and an odometer that works), I would suggest a more expensive option such as Britz or Apollo.
Our first destination was Tasman National Park, a one and a half hour drive South-East of Hobart. We explored the unusual rock formations at Tessellated Pavement, let our jaws drop at Tasman Arch, and walked along the white sand of Fortescue Bay.
Feeling satisfied with our first half-day of travel, we backed out of Tasman National Park and headed closer to Hobart to get some groceries (what is a road trip without chocolate and lollies?). After a quick stop at Seven Mile Beach to catch the sunset, it was then onward and upward to Freycinet National Park. The drive took us just over two hours. Overnight, we stayed at the Coles Bay Big 4 Park.
Sunset at Seven Mile Beach. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Excitement (and caffeine) woke us up the next day, and we immediately kicked off into Freycinet National Park. After paying for park entry, we hiked up to the iconic Wineglass Bay, climbed around the rocks at Honeymoon Bay, stood in the calm waters of Sleepy Bay, and witnessed the far-stretching views from Cape Tourville. The combination of colourful granite mountains and clear, blue ocean at Freycinet is simply unbeatable. The coastline is begging to be photographed.
Without further ado, we pushed on North of Tasmania, up to the Bay of Fires. Here, even my colour-blind partner was shocked and confused at the vivid, orange coloured rocks that lay before the sea. The soft, white sand and aqua ocean was a vast contrast from the bright rocks, and we stood amazed at the colour palette in front of us.
We persisted forth to Ben Lomond National Park, where an unexpected, beautiful sight awaited us. We watched the colours of the sky change as we travelled up the windy, snowy road. We had timed this perfectly. As we arrived at the foot of Ben Lomond, we gazed up at the sunset reflecting red onto the enormous hill. The tip of the mountain was covered in ice and surrounded by cloud, but all down the sides, it was splashed with bright red. While we wandered up the hiking track, we recognised that the park was practically empty. We had this out-of-the-ordinary, stunning dusk view all to ourselves.
Our hearts remained full and the adrenalin was still pumping through our blood as we left the national park. We drove to Launceston and stayed overnight in the Big 4 Park.
Some light rain didn't deter us from setting off early on the third day. Travelling South-West of Launceston, we made it down a dodgy road to Liffey Falls State Reserve. A short 20 minute walk got us to a viewing platform of what was the prettiest waterfall we had ever seen. I will never forget the exuberant expression of delight on my partner's face as he ran across rocks to get underneath the falls. Neither of us had ever felt more alive.
The next destination was Cradle Mountain National Park. However, unfortunately, the weather halted our plans. Heavy snow had fallen overnight in the park, and was still falling as we entered. Even though we had no view of Cradle Mountain itself, we were still able to do a short boardwalk (that we could barely see the path of) around the Visitor Centre, and experience some fresh, fluffy Tasmanian snow. Admittedly, driving around this area was dangerous, as many roads were coated in snow and the visibility was low.
The start of day four consisted of a lengthy drive South to Russell Falls. Although there were many dreamy, Wintery sights on the drive, it was a difficult trek on the snow-coated roads. We passed many frozen lakes and tiny towns that were blanketed in thick, white snow. What should've taken us three and a half hours, ended up taking five. It was a relief to eventually be out of the mountainous areas and reach what was supposedly Tassie's most impressive waterfall. It certainly didn't disappoint.
Driving another two and a half hours South allowed us to reach the Bruny Island Ferry Terminal where we hopped onto a ferry and floated across to the island's own island. Before sundown, we managed to climb to The Neck Lookout and get caught in a hailstorm at Adventure Bay.
We slept in the Captain Cook Holiday Park, accepting a little hint of sadness because tomorrow morning we would be returning home.
It all wrapped up quickly the next morning. We had a ferry back to the mainland and then a flight back home. It was definitely disappointing that our last-minute escapade had reached an end, but we had hundreds of memories to take home as souvenirs.
Tassie is a breath of fresh air. The state has a unique and unbeatable blend of beaches, mountains, wildlife and peace. On our expedition, we came across very few people in the national parks and would often travel tens or hundreds of kilometres without seeing another car. Our trip was cheap because we predominantly engaged with free activities such as sightseeing or hiking. The main costs were the flights, the van, petrol and food. In total, we spent around $600 each, which could easily become more/less depending on your choice of food and where your flights are departing from.
All in all, the road trip left us as a refreshed, content couple that were completely in awe of nature. Tasmania, you can absolutely expect us to be making a return.
A friend we made along the way. Image: Emma Jane Warren
Great article Emma!. My Wife and I did a similar trip using Cruisin Motorhomeshttps://www.cruisinmotorhomes.com.au/ and they were great as well. Bay of fires was a highlight for us and I was quite shocked at the history of the Launceston ghost tour.