Whether you are an Australian local or an international tourist, Tasmania is a must see destination. We decided that for our mini moon, we’d head south and see what Tasmania had to offer. Being a teacher we only had a week off before I needed to get back to school and saved our proper honeymoon for an overseas trip during the Christmas break.
We arrived in Hobart as early as possible and picked up our hire car and started to explore straight away. We had a list of places we wanted to go and see but if youre a wine lover – well aren’t you in for a treat (unfortunately we don’t drink but that didn’t stop us still walking around the vineyards as they are just beautiful.)
Our first stop was Bruny Island. It is a 40 minute drive, south from Hobart city. When you arrive at Kettering wharf there’s a cute little café where you can have a coffee before you hop on the Mirambeena car ferry. Check the timetable before you leave to ensure you are there 10 minutes before the departure time. A return ticket only costs $33 and the crossing takes approximately 20 minutes with spectacular views of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel from the upper deck.
Once we arrived we headed towards Adventure bay lookout and took the stairs to the viewpoint. It was a windy day but the view was very much worth the messy hair. 360 degrees of spectacular beaches that is just quintessentially Australian. If you choose to stay overnight on Bruny Island, you might even be lucky enough to see the penguins return to their rookeries at the base of the view point.
As our time was limited we only had the day on the island. Next time we plan to do one of the boat tours. We continued to drive around stopping at various beaches before we got a little hungry. As we love cheese, we headed off to the Bruny Island Cheese Co.
CHEESE HEAVEN!! Pierre and I both like very different cheeses (even though he is lactose intolerant, he is a sucker for punishment.) I liked the Tom, a cow’s milk, hard cheese. Deliciously simple but a nice, fresh cheese that could be enjoyed every day. My other favourite was the C2, slightly sweet and nutty, kind of like me? Hahaha well I’m sure Pierre begs to differ. As much as we have in common, our cheese tastes are worlds apart. Pierre prefers the softer, smelly cheese. His favourites were the 1792 and Saint. I quite liked them too but I am partial to a nice crumbly, cheddar.
Once our lunch was done we had a quick meander through their store and they have a great variety of Tasmania produce that would beautifully accompany their cheeses on a gorgeous platter at your next dinner party. We bought their dukkah to have at home with some great bread, olive oil and caramelized balsamic vinegar – yum!
If you love a bush walk, Bruny Island offers walks that you can do on depending on your fitness levels and time constraints. They vary from 15 minutes return being the shortest, to 4 hours one way. If you are not an experienced walker, please ensure you take the easier routes as some will be unsuitable for the inexperienced.
After lots of exploring and pictures and a promise to come back and stay overnight, we headed back to the wharf to catch the ferry back to the mainland. We then headed back to our hotel in Battery Point to unload our car. Pierre booked the accommodation and had a bit of a surprise for me. We arrived at our hotel called the Grand Vue Hotel. It prefer a more modern hotel but this was just breath taking! We were greeted by the friendly owners who took us up to our room and upgraded us due to the special occasion. Once we settled in the owner knocked on our door with some freshly baked treats. He did the same on the second day too – such a special little touch that shows how they appreciate their customers. The view of our room was of Salamander Bay.
We set our alarm nice and early for a quick breakfast at Daci & Daci. Hands down some of the best croissants Ive had in Australia and took me back to Europe. Mental note to self – we are coming back next time we come to Hobart. The drive up to Mt Wellington is quite interesting as you watch the natural environment adapt and change to the rising elevation and decreasing temperature. We stopped half way up the mountain and explored some random bush walk track. We walked amongst the trees and birds, soaking up the gorgeous views. Do make sure you pack some appropriate shoes as the walks can be quite rough and uneven. I typically, froze my butt off and had multiple layers on but I thoroughly enjoyed the walk.
We continued our ascent to Mt Wellington, the view is astounding! It was absolutely freezing up there, -2 to be precise, but well worth the bone chilling induced shivering. Now as per usual, I am pierre lens changing minion – gloves needed to come off for this, but the photographs were worth it. We were even lucky enough to see snow fall – in OCTOBER?!? We laughed at the locals in their thongs and shorts while I was in multiple layers, north face boots, jacket, beanie, gloves and scarf.
We headed out towards MONA but found that it was closed due to preparations for a private function which was a shame but nonetheless, we wandered around the grounds, took some photos of their resident peacock and some cute ducks that were strolling the vineyards. I joked that it was Pierre and I but in duck form – I love ducks.. Every trip we take, Pierre finds random duck shots when he goes through his day of pictures and wonders how I managed to take the pictures without him know – secret wives business.
On our way home we stopped at the Botanical Gardens which is a gorgeous place to have lunch. A gold coin donation is your entry and you can spend as much time as you want in the manicured gardens. We walked around and had a coffee at their café and were taken aback by the beauty of the blooming flowers and cascading trees. I loved on particular section that had a white bridge over small water feature that looked just like a Monet painting.
For dinner we headed out to Salamanca Bay and chose to eat at Maldini Café Restaurant. The food was delicious, aromatic and just a wonderfully tantalising representation of the fresh produce Tasmania has to offer. I had the spaghetti marinara and Pierre chose some Tasmania mussels. Im not a fan of mussels, but these were spectacular. I almost ended up wanting to swap my meal with his (that is a wives job isn’t it?).
We packed up and sadly left the Grand Vue, which is hands down one of the most amazing places I have stayed in anywhere around the world. We set the GPS and headed towards Freycinet. One thing pierre and I have learnt about travel times, whatever the estimated time of arrival is, add another hour on top. We stop and take photographs and sometimes that stop captures magical memories that you will treasure for life.
We planned to stay in Swansea which is a short drive to Freycinet. I chose Piermont Retreat as it looked amazing. Pierre again somehow managed to swindle another upgrade by mentioning it was our honeymoon. We stayed in a honeymoon cottage with an open fireplace, elevated bedroom and the most gorgeous view out of our bedroom window. We loved it so much that we cancelled our last nights accommodation in Launceston to stay the night at Swansea.
We unpacked the car and headed towards Bicheno as we booked a penguin tour for the evening through Bicheno Penguin Tours. A bit of a tip about Bicheno, it is a small coastal town where all the shops and petrol stations close quite early at night. Make sure you have a full tank of fuel if you are not staying in the area. A group of overseas tourists where stranded as they didn’t know this and didn’t have enough petrol to get to their accommodation which was out of Bicheno. As we arrived quite early, we drove around Bicheno and took some pictures of the local bays until it was time to meet the tour guides. We paid our $30 each and we jumped on their bus and off we went! When we arrived at the location and gave us some information about the little fairy penguins. We saw them coming home from a hard day out at sea heading towards their nests to bunker down for the night. The noises these little creatures make is just adorable! I didn’t realize how loud and vocal they actually are.
Once the tour finished we headed back to first bay we visited to take some night shots of the stars. The amount of stars you see in Tasmania is astronomical (haha nerd joke). We kept getting a weird red glow in our pictures and we couldn’t quite work out what it was. It wasn’t until I did some research a few days later that I realized Pierre had inadvertently captured the Aurora Australis. Australia’s very of the northern lights aptly known as the Southern Lights (well duh!)
This has now spurred on a new hobby for us, Aurora chasing. Did you know you can capture them in the middle latitudes up towards Sydney? Stay tuned for that one, were waiting for the perfect conditions. When it does happen we will definitely upload the pictures.
We headed home for the night and turned down for a well deserved rest, only to be woken at 4am but the most heinous animal screech behind our cottage. It scared the bejeezus out of me. I honestly think it was Tasmanian devils. Our host said it was possums but Pierre, who has lived in the city his whole life and had possums near his home, said it most definitely not. Pretty cool to think it was the vulnerable tassie devil outside our room.
The next day we woke up early to head out towards Wineglass Bay at Freycinet National Park. Upon entry you need to pay a fee and display the ticket on your dashboard. We paid for a 24hour pass and off we went. The money raised from park fees goes directly towards the upkeep of your parks and reserves. It is used to maintain and upgrade visitor facilities, walking tracks and information booths. While some might think it is unnecessary, in my opinion the fee is well worth it.
We drove to the car park and were greeted by some friendly rock wallabies. Don’t be scared of them – they are gorgeous! You’ll be able to get some great shots of them but please be mindful not to use a flash or feed them food. Whilst they are used to tourists, it is important that they do not become dependent on people. It is always best for them to be self sufficient.
We decided to the Wineglass bay lookout walk, it is about 2-3hours return depending on your fitness levels and how many times you stop to take in the view and take a few photographs. Be sure to pack plenty of water and some lunch to enjoy at the summit. You will need a good pair of shoes to do this walk as it is mainly rocks and gravel.
Once you reach the summit you are rewarded with the most spectacular views of Wineglass Bay. The water is so blue and contrasts dramatically with the bright, reflective sand. We sat and enjoyed our lunch, met an older couple who were thoroughly impressed with our lunch of bread rolls, prosciutto and some cheese. Typically European but we can’t help ourselves. Once we were done, we made our way back down and discussed our return to attempt the Mt Amos walk which is much harder as you traverse actual rock faces rather than maintained gravel paths. Next time, we will conquer you.
We drove home exhausted, but extremely happy with our effort and spent our last night at Piermont.
We woke up in the morning and headed towards St Helens – Bay of Fires. We visited the tourist information centre and spoke to the most friendly lady who suggested few places to other than the beach. When we arrived at Binnalong Bay we were greeted to the most spectacular coast line I think I have ever seen in Australia. I never really associated Tasmania with pristine coastlines until we arrived here. It was truly remarkable! Crystal clear turquoise water accompanied with brilliant, white sandy beaches and the famous granite boulders draped with distinctive orange lichen. The combination of these natural marvels and a beautiful sunny day makes for the most amazing photographs.
We headed towards Swimcart beach and turned towards the rocks to explore and see the coastline. It is abit unnerving walking across the boulders as the gaps can be quite large. We explored until we reached the biggest boulder we saw at Bay of Fires – I had to climb it! It was a beautiful day and was warm enough to walk around without a jacket. We continued to explore and found a sheltered little bay and encountered and older couple who shared their amazement of Tasmania. We had a little chat and continued on our way. We headed off again and found some more amazing locations for photos – I stopped and sat along the coast line and just took in how truly beautiful Tasmania was. I even joked that I could possibly move down here for a year or two, on the condition there was a volleyball team I could play in.
As we still had more to do we hopped back in the car and headed towards Pyengaga Dairy Company to have some lunch at the Holy Cow Café. Mmmm more cheese, they were so good I bought some and took them back to Sydney as our flight was later that evening. Now Pierre and I like to eat whenever we can, but this café, is hands down one of the best meals weve had in Australia. The burger, wow – words cannot describe how stupidly delicious it was. The bread, the pattie and the rest. I had an equally delicious mushroom soup. You know a meal is that good when you’d travel back there just to eat that meal again.