Dear Tasmania – you have been fab. We love your small town feel and friendly hospitality that greeted us everywhere we went. We love your slower pace approach to life, the abundance of beautiful walks, waterfalls and beaches as well as the magical up-close wildlife encounters! …oh, and the FOOD! Stop it with all that glorious fresh produce, wine, cider and cheese!!! …WE WILL BE BACK!
We have just returned from a magical 8 weeks exploring Tasmania as part of our Lap of Oz in our Jayco caravan and… It. Was. Epic.
We didn’t have any expectations on this little island state, but it’s raw, untouched beauty took us by surprise. This post is a bit of a long one as there is so much to see and do, (and we only experienced a smidge of it), so we have split this post into 2 separate posts:
- Tassie to the RIGHT – part 1 – scroll down.
- Tassie to the LEFT – part 2 – click here.
We hope this will help you in your tassie adventure planning. We think it’s a great destination for road tripping especially if you are just starting out. Everything is close together, you have a combination of free camps and caravan parks to choose from with supermarkets and restaurants all within a short drive of the most amazing destinations and wildlife encounters. So read on…. then start planning that trip!
Getting in the Tassie SPIRIT!
Our Tassie adventure started in Devonport like most other caravanners as we rolled our home on wheels off the Spirit of Tasmania ship. We were lucky to enjoy smooth sailing as we crossed Bass Straight both there and back. We share some helpful tips on how to prepare your caravan and family for this journey in a post here.
Deloraine and Jackies Marsh
Our first stop had us parked up next to a beautiful river in Deloraine (a 45 minute drive from Devonport) at the Apex Caravan Park. It was the perfect place to top up on groceries at the large Woolies supermarket and visit the information centre for some helpful touring tips. Camped up along the Meander River we loved the resident baby ducklings and enjoyed some family Kayaking adventures up the river… which always put Ziggy to sleep!!
While in the area we visited the Melita Honey Farm which was a great place for the kids to see a real beehive in action. They also offer free tasting of a kazillion (50) types of honey!!! ..it was Amazing!! As we are keen on our fishing and all things FISH, we also made a stop at 41° South, a salmon farm and ginseng nursery that features wetlands and a waterfall where you can take a self-guided walk ($10 per adult / $5 per child). We had a great time exploring the property, walking to the waterfall and feeding the fish. We then treated ourselves to an amazing tasting plate and a couple of local ales to wash it down! This was all topped off with a visit to the Raspberry farm the following day.
For something a little different we then headed to a place called Jackies Marsh to enjoy 4 nights in the most amazing Airbnb we have ever seen! You can read more about it in our post here… but as you can see by the pics below – it was a pretty special place, surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest. It was a great opportunity for us to stretch out, enjoy a blissful bath as well as have the luxury to ‘close a door’ and be in a different room from each other!
While in the area we met a friendly farmer who allowed us access to his property. We embraced this unique opportunity and parked up next to this amazing pristine creek for the day. We enjoyed a ‘refreshing’ swim, a picnic lunch and also tried our luck at catching some Brown Trout!! To Rob’s delight, he managed to catch 3 Brown Trout! – His first in Tassie!
Launceston, Bridport and surrounds
Our next port of call was up North to a town called Bridport. This was a lovely holiday town which we wished we had seen more of but unfortunately our mini blondies were pretty sick with a severe tummy bug so we had to bunker down until they were better.
We did get to enjoy our stunning beachfront camp spot at Bridport Caravan Park as well as a visit to The Lost Farm, Barnbougle golf course
(rated #2 in Australia and number #23 in the world for any golf fans).
This featured an amazing restaurant and on the grounds a magical bridge which felt like we were in a fairytale! Once we ventured through the magic bridge we were greeted by the most amazing beach with electric blue water and the sand was covered in shells! Maybe it was because we had been couped up for 7 days with sick kids, but it felt like this place was heaven! It is safe to say we all have fond memories of this spot.
Bridestow Lavender Farm was a great day trip and only a 25 minute drive from our camp. Featuring row after row of glorious lavender, it was a lovely place to take our excited kids to give them a run-around and to allow them to breathe in the lavender smell.. in hope of calming them down haha! 🙂 …and to “calm” us adults we also made a stop into a few of the wineries in the area too!
Back in Launceston, we took a trip to Beauty Point to visit Seahorse World which is dedicated to Seahorse breeding, education and conservation. It was very interesting and educational for both us and our mini blondies. Just next door is Platypus House. We planned to visit this too but we just missed the tour start time as we were in with the Seahorses. so if you would like to do both you may want to find out tour times before you plan your day.
Fun Fact: The Male Seahorse is the only animal species in which the male bears the unborn young. When mating, the female seahorse releases up to 50 eggs into a pouch on the male’s abdomen. The male seahorse carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water. As many as 1,500 can be born.
East Coast, Bay of Fires and Bicheno
We knew we were in for a treat when we hit the East Coast. Pulling up at our free camp at Cosy Corner we enjoyed a few days exploring this stunning coastline. The Bay of Fires is characterised by white beaches, blue water and huge granite boulders that are coloured bright orange by lichens.
Fun fact: Lichens are a combination of algae and fungus that live together in a symbiotic relationship. The algae provide food by photosynthesis, while the fungus provides a protected environment for the algae.
While here we enjoyed exploring the rock pools, having campfires and exploring the nearby coastline. Rob took the opportunity to try his luck to dive for Crayfish and Abalone and he did not disappoint!
Further South we stopped into the town of Bicheno in search of the resident penguins. We were lucky enough to spot a few in the daytime sitting quietly in their burrows, as well as see them come home at night. A highlight was the lovely coastal walk as well as the blowhole and chatting to the local cray fishermen at the dock.
Nature World was next on the agenda where we got up close to loads of animals as well as learned all about the Tasmanian Devils. They are a very impressive animal, only found in Tasmania and sadly now endangered due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). This is an infectious cancer that is spreading through the wild Tasmanian devil population. Nature world is contributing to the Save The Tasmanian Devil program and is helping towards eliminating this horrible cancer in the devil population.
Freycinet, Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula
Further South we loved exploring the stunning Friendly Beaches and Coles Bay in Freycinet National Park. We tackled what we called ‘the stair master 3000’ which was the well-known walk up to the lookout to view the world famous Wineglass Bay! The crystal clear water and white sandy beach below was a tremendous sight and well worth the workout.. especially with a toddler on your back!!! We even had a cute wallaby welcome us at the top and gave us plenty of entertainment trying to eat our food as we had morning tea and took in the sights around us. We then ventured to nearby Honeymoon Bay – our favourite beach in the area for a well-deserved swim and lunch.
The circuit walk around Cape Tourville Lighthouse is only 600 meters and takes only 20 minutes so it is well worth stopping in. This simple boardwalk is pram friendly and features stunning views. Trace even spotted an Orca (killer whale) in the water from the lookout which was a highlight!!
We continued south down the East Coast and the views just got better and better. It really is a beautiful stretch of coastline and if you hit it on a sunny day the electric blue water looks insane!!! There were some great free camping opportunities, all offering waterfront sites.
Based at White Beach we spent a few days on the Tasman Peninsula where we visited the famous Port Arthur Historical Site, the Tessellated Pavement, Remarkable Cave and more!
The world heritage listed Port Arthur was a bit of an eye-opener! Once known as the inescapable prison it housed criminals sent to Australia from Britain from 1830. It was a great day out, with loads of things to see and do including a short boat trip into the bay and around Port Arthur past the old Boys’ Prison and the Isle of the Dead (cemetery).
Hot tip: If you have little ones, take a drive to the town of Nubeena, (not too far from Whites Beach) and visit the community gardens and house. You won’t miss it – look our for this awesome rainbow made out of recycled ‘thingy-a-me-bobs’.
We based ourselves at Sung Beach (not too far out of Hobart) for a few days so our van could have its first service by our mates at Kings Caravans. Snug Beach was also a handy place to stay to explore Hobart and then drive to Kettering where the Bruny Island Ferry departs from.
Catching the Ferry was an easy process, and before we knew it we were on this stunning island famous for its amazing fresh produce, wine, chocolate and Albino Wallabies, which were high on the ‘must see’ list for us!
We stayed at the caravan park in Adventure Bay in hope of spotting a Wallaby. We had no luck at the caravan park itself but were pointed in the right direction on where to spot them and after a few visits Trace was SO excited to spot one happily nibbling away on some grass.
We loved the Mavista Nature Walk (20 mins return), perfect for the kids as well as Bruny Island Lighthouse and Bruny Hotel! Rob braved the VERY cold waters for a dive and came home with some of the biggest Abalone we have seen!!!
Hobart, Huon Valley and Far South
For our first Christmas on the road, we headed to Huon Valley Caravan Park. It was a great base for us to celebrate with loads of other families who are also travelling full time away from their extended families. The park even arranged for Rudolf the red nose ram to come along as well as a visit from Santa! The kids thought it was magic! We had an awesome Chrissy day with two very excited Mini Blondies.
On top of the holiday festivities, this farm stay has a daily talk at 4pm which shows milking the cows, baby ducks and chickens as well as a great talk on the two resident Tasmanian Devils.
The property is located on a beautiful river which was also a great place to explore, swim, kayak and fish! We were excited to enjoy a few trout for dinner thanks to Rob and his fishing rod as well as spot a baby Platypus swimming about and foraging for food. When in the area you have to try the local produce and especially the ciders from Willie Smiths and Franks Cider who both offer a tasting paddle.
Huonville is also a great place to base yourself to venture further south to explore South Point / Cockle Creek, where you can walk to the southernmost point in Australia. Cockle Creek was amazing, the water was so fresh and clear as well as the air! When standing at the whale sculpture you are closer to Antartica than you are to Cairns in Queensland!!! …it sure felt like it too with the chill in the wind!
Hobart provided some great experiences including the Salamanca Markets and Taste festival. We also enjoyed walking around the docks and visiting the Museum (which is free). There is a great display on the Thylacine/Tassie Tiger which is sadly extinct as well as some great nature and animal displays which we all loved.
We also paid a visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), which is famous for being a little shocking and controversial. It was a very interesting experience, we saw loads of artworks of the usual kind and some a little ‘different’ to say the least! An interesting display was called the ‘Colaca’ (pictured below). It is a machine that consumes a meal (at one end), which is processed (or should we say digested) over time. The food passes through a series of tubes and flasks which incorporates specific digestive enzymes that results in the machine producing real faeces!!! …yes, it does a poo!!! The room stank and the kids were not impressed by the smell at all!!! But hey, all in the name of ART right?!
A few other highlights for this area include a visit to the town of Richmond to see the oldest stone span bridge in Australia (opened in 1825), a drive up the top of Mt Wellington and a bush walk to Snug Falls.
Well that’s it for part one of our Tassie road trip – Click here to read Part 2
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