Clear waters and white beaches among other Tasmanian gems
Originally from Italy, Alex has been living in Tasmania for over 20 years and is passionate about the beauty of his beloved island state. He owns and operates a tour company taking visitors on an 11-hour journey from Hobart to Wineglass Bay via the historic township of Richmond.
Historic township of Richmond
Australia's oldest convict-built bridge
We were picked up from a meeting point, just opposite our hotel at 7am on Tuesday morning. Leaving the capital city, Alex drove the three of us across Tasman Bridge and through Coal River Valley. A small group experience is guaranteed on these tours with the maximum size being just 11 people.
On the way to Orford
We arrived in Richmond about half an hour later and stopped to see Australia's oldest convict-built bridge. Believe it or not, this famous bridge is still in use today!
We then proceeded to the east coast of Tasmania landing at Raspins Beach in Orford. Here, we enjoyed views of Maria Island and listened to stories about its fascinating past. If you've walked along Hobart's waterfront, you'd surely recall the Louis Bernacchi bronze statue. Louis was the first Australian to winter in Antarctica, but I'll leave it to Alex to explain the scientist's connection with this untamed island.
Driving towards Freycinet National Park
After a quick stop at a bakery, we headed on to Freycinet National Park where the breathtaking Wineglass Bay awaits. Our destination was the bay's lookout and a well-constructed uphill track with numerous steps took us there in less than 30 minutes. Though not overly steep, I think visitors do need to have at least some bushwalking experience under their belt before attempting this hike. The total walking distance is only about three kilometres. Its clear water and white beach truly make for a rewarding view. We spent plenty of time at the lookout taking photos and chatting away before heading back down the hill. If you prefer not to do the hike, Alex can drop you off at Honeymoon Bay for some R & R instead.
While heading downhill - does this look like anything in particular to you?
We also visited Cape Tourville and Friendly Beaches while in the national park.
Cape Tourville's 600-metre circuit offers remarkable coastal views from the cliff edge. Wildlife such as seals are often seen too, so be sure to bring your binoculars. Unlike Wineglass Bay Lookout, this track has a flat even surface suitable for wheelchairs. Everyone in our group completed the walk easily.
The long white sandy beach of Friendly Beaches is a beautiful sight to behold. If time permits, I would suggest going on a slow amble along the beach letting sand get between your toes.
Instead of a Honeymoon Bay picnic lunch, we decided to stop for some seafood at Freycinet Marine Farm. I had their grilled Tasmanian garlic scallops and it was delicious. The great thing about this tour is that the itinerary can be as flexible as you'd like it to be, with the support of your travel companions, of course.
Journeying back through Swansea, Alex pulled up at the hugely popular Kate's Berry Farm where we got to indulge in amazingly mouth-watering homemade ice cream. Boysenberry was the recommendation, so we gave it a try and were definitely not disappointed. For just $6 per cone, the serving was indeed very generous. Other produce such as jams, sauces, jellies and chocolates were also available. But, unfortunately, my Jetstar baggage allowance would've been exceeded if I'd purchased much more.
Overall, I believe this tour is good value for money. It costs $115 per adult and $105 for concession. My Tassie Holiday Voucher made it even more affordable to experience these top Tasmanian gems. Do contact Alex by phone on 0412 636 463 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org next time you're in Hobart. More information about Wineglass Bay Discovery Tours can also be found through his website.