The pandemic has changed so much of my life, a lot for the better, some for the worse. I desperately miss frolicking around the world with ease and no worries, but being stuck in Australia for the better part of two years has forced me to start exploring in my own backyard. I have often been frustrated by my government enforced cage, but I must admit, some of the Aussie adventures that I have gone on in this period have been absolutely phenomenal.
One such trip was a weeklong road trip through Tasmania that Ella and I embarked on in August 2021. We had booked the flights and accommodation on a whim in February, mostly due to cheap sale flights. I never really felt as if the trip would actually happen though; frequent lockdowns and state border closures have made booking even a local trip rife with uncertainty.
We had a Covid outbreak and subsequent hard lockdown about a fortnight before our trip was due to commence, and I lost almost all hope that it would happen. I was so disappointed. We had already dealt with multiple trip cancellations that year – it just felt like it was never really going to happen for us. However, our outbreak was controlled within a week, and much to my surprise, Tasmania reopened their borders to us.
I couldn’t believe it, and I didn’t let myself get truly excited until we actually landed in the Tasmanian capital of Hobart.
Despite it being the middle of winter when we arrived, Hobart served us unseasonably lovely weather. it was sunny, it was warm and I felt like I’d been transported to summer in Copenhagen. We spent our two days in Hobart eating, drinking and wandering around, just enjoying the ambience.
Highlights included Cascade Brewery, Lark Distillery and the Botanic Gardens. We wanted to visit the infamous MONA, but due to it being the low season and due to Covid, it was only open on limited days and not when we were there.
From Hobart, we drove north towards Freycinet. We had plans to hike to the famous Wineglass Bay viewpoint, but at the last minute decided to go on an oyster farm tour instead – something that was absolutely glorious and definitely worth the change of plans.
The Freycinet Marine Farm runs daily water-based tours of their prolific oyster farm. For $120 AUD you will be fitted with the iconic waders, get a tour of the farm, do a tasting fresh out of the water, learn to shuck and enjoy a plate of fresh oysters as well as a bowl of delicious local mussels alongside a glass of local Tasmanian wine.
This was my first time ever wearing waders, and you can tell from the pictures that I was enjoying it immensely!
It felt so strange to wade out into the water! Because it was winter and the water was cold, I kind of felt like I was getting wet, but I was actually staying bone dry.
Eating an oyster freshly pulled out of the water was absolutely fantastic, and it gave me a newfound sense of appreciation for fresh oysters.
Once we exited the water and shimmied out of our wet waders, we were treated to this gorgeous tasting plate. Fresh oysters paired with stunning landscapes? That’s the recipe for two very happy ladies!
It turns out that shucking oysters is actually quite easy once you’ve been taught how to do it! It was extremely satisfying to learn a new skill – one that I have surprisingly been able to utilise since.
After the tour was over, we clearly hadn’t eaten enough seafood, because we made our way to the Bicheno Lobster Shack for cheap lobster and gorgeous coastal views.
Ella ordered the lobster roll, but it was my garlic lobster that truly stole the show here. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten – and it was only $50! That may seem expensive, but by Aussie standards it is pretty much as cheap as you can get.
From Bicheno we made our way to Binalong Bay – a pretty coastal town on the fringes of the famous Bay of Fires.
The Bay of Fires extends from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point and is characterised by its white beaches, crystal clear blue water and granite rocks which are naturally decorated by splashes of bright orange hues. I had always assumed that these orange hues were what gave the bay its name, but interestingly, it was actually named by Captain Tobias Furneaux after approaching the bay and witnessing the fires of Aboriginal people on the shores.
We checked into our accommodation and quickly set out to find a beautiful sunset spot along the bay.
We successfully sussed out a pretty gorgeous spot (thanks to helpful pins on Google Maps) that was around a kilometre down the road from where we stayed.
How gorgeous is this lone tree bursting from the rocks?
I am not one to gate-keep gorgeous photo spots, so here are the coordinates: -41.247637679883205, 148.31229582690955.
The next day was one of the absolute windiest of the entire trip. We came to another location a little further along the coast and I kid you not, I opened my car door after we had parked and I swear it almost flew right off! However, we braved the winds to go explore the gorgeous coastline, with skies as blue as these, how could we not?
After we were done being nearly blown into the water, we were off to our next destination – Cradle Mountain.
Cradle Mountain is the 6th largest mountain in Tasmania, but it’s size isn’t the drawcard here. The mountain is surrounded by endless lakes, lush greenery and incredible wildlife – all of which combine to make this one of the most visited tourist destinations in all of Tasmania.
As we were visiting in the winter, our arrival to Cradle Mountain was a chilly one. I had expected it to be cold, but it was a very humid kind of cold, which made it particularly bone chilling and icy. We arrived fairly late on our first evening, so other than checking into our cabin at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, we didn’t do a whole lot. The lodge restaurant did accidentally cause food cross contamination (I am a coeliac who is finally taking care of herself and actually eating gluten free) which was pretty unfortunate. I felt like crap and the response from management was a 25% discount on our meal – which is an absolute joke.
If you poison someone the least you could do is comp their meal!
Despite feeling decidedly less than stellar, I forced Ella to get up bright and early in the morning. I wanted to do the hike around Dove Lake at the base of the mountain and after looking at the weather forecast, early in the morning seemed like it would be our only good window for hiking. This ended up being a great decision as it was pretty much torrentially raining for the rest of our time there.
The walk around Dove Lake is a 6km circuit track which takes about 2-3 hours to complete. It lightly rained on us the entire time and the visibility was pretty average, but despite the bad weather, the beauty of the area could not be denied.
Plus, we did actually catch a glimpse of the mountain! There was a brief gap in the cloud cover which afforded us this view – the unique shape of the mountain is breathtaking. This is definitely a place I want to revisit in the warmer months.
As much as our poor restaurant experience had put a bit of a dampener on our time at the lodge, this was improved greatly by our time at the Waldheim Alpine Spa. I had pre-booked the 90 minute ‘Decadent Sanctuary’ which allowed us to indulge in a gorgeous private outdoor hot tub overlooking a tranquil flowing river; as well as a sauna and steam room, accompanied by champagne and an indulgent selection of chocolate strawberries.
It was the perfect way to relax and warm up after a bone chillingly cold hike.
Later that afternoon we decided to go and visit one of Tasmania’s endemic species – the Tasmanian devil. However, we couldn’t drive for more than 30 seconds before coming across this cheeky wombat on the side of the road. He was chilling out, munching on grass and much to my surprise, let me get close enough to pat him.
Tasmanian Devils are carnivorous marsupials, who up until recently, were only found in Tassie. They have recently been introduced to New South Wales as part of an extensive breeding program. There has unfortunately been facial disease spreading to devils since the late 1990s, which has had significant impact on their population size and now they are presently listed as an endangered species.
The size of a small dog and infamous for its distinctive screech, devils have the strongest bite per body unit mass of any predatory land mammal on earth. Safe to say, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a bite!
You can safely visit and view these creatures at numerous sanctuaries around Tasmania, but we did so through Devils @ Cradle, purely as it was so close and convenient. We ended up having a wonderful encounter with the devils and also with other Australian species.
The next day was to be an extremely important one. We drove from Cradle Mountain to Strahan, a small town on the west coast. I had booked us a night at a truly stunning AirBnB – Captains Rest – which would be where I asked Ella to marry me.
Next weeks post will be all about the proposal and our stay at Captains Rest, but spoiler alert, she said yes!
Now, when we left Strahan, I plugged Hobart into Google Maps and thought nothing of it – however, we ended up being woefully unprepared for the drive!
It had been a cool 12 degrees or so in Strahan, but within an hour we had plunged into the negatives and were driving our tiny little rental car through ever deepening snow. We didn’t have snow treads on our tyres, so we just had to drive slowly and steadily and eventually we made it back onto dry roads.
And five minutes later the weather looked like this – what the hell Tasmania?!
We spent our last evening in Tasmania enjoying some terrifically weird art at MONA before checking into our hotel and continuing to celebrate our new ‘engaged’ status.
It had been a wonderful week of adventures and I will forever remember Tasmania as the place where the love of my life said ‘yes’. I can’t wait to return one day.
Where we travelled.
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MACq 01: This stunning harbourside resort has spacious rooms, great customer service and wonderful views. Click here to learn more
Freycinet Oyster Farm Experience: If donning waders, drinking wine and shucking oysters sounds like a good time, don’t hesitate to book a tour with these guys – it was one of the highlights of our trip
Binalong Bay AirBnB: This little AirBnB is in a great location and has a little balcony with beautiful views out onto the bay
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge: Managers and staff here need a bloody good lesson in dealing with allergy related issues, but the rooms are comfy and the spa is fantastic
Captains Rest: This is easily one of the most beautiful places I have stayed in my entire life! Make sure to stay tuned for next weeks post all about our stay
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Don’t underestimate the weather gods in Tassie, drive carefully and make sure to check weather forecasts each day, especially if travelling in the winter months