Explore the best of Tasmania in 5 days
Hopefully soon Australia will open its domestic travel borders once 70% of vaccination target is achieved, and we can positively look forward to the future travel plans. Past two years have been difficult for all of us, we have been miserably sitting home waiting to travel, get reunited to our families and fall out of Netflix loop. The best part about all this negativity is having time to think, dream and plan for future.
I am a day dreamer so, many times I have visited unreal destinations and have smiled in my sleep. But I am praying for everyone to have real traveling experience soon, therefore I am presenting a 5 days itinerary to explore Tasmania.
I visited Tasmania in April 2021, to celebrate our first year anniversary, yeah we got married in lockdown, no celebration, no reception, no honeymoon. So this trip was our treat to us and it has been worthwhile but expensive.
Since I have gained experience about Tasmania, I can finally share an improvised plan which will help you explore the most and enjoy greatest experiences available in this Island in 5 Days of Road-trip.
DAY 1 - Fly to Launceston
Launceston and Hobart are 2.5 hours apart and most of the Tasmania is a manageable day trip. I booked my trip from Sydney to Hobart, both cities have their own charm but I would say start low and end in high note, as you would have already spent half of your day in flight.
You can utilise another half for this city without compromising anything.
Tip: You can save rental car expense on this day, because car rental in Tasmania is ridiculously expensive and harsh on pocket, specially post-Covid19, since most of the dealers have sold their fleet. Hence save the money get an Uber from airport to your hotel, its mostly AUD 20-30.
1. Heritage Walk - Launceston is a very small country town and have a small heritage walk of its own. Once you arrive in Launceston, check-in your hotel. If you booked in the city, like we did you can simply start the heritage walk from there. There are plenty of cafes and food joints vegetarians don't need to get disappointed there are several Indian and Nepalese options. More info - here
2. Cataract Gorge - The best City spot, after your walk you can drive to Cataract Gorge be mindful about the closing times, any time of the day its a beautiful spot to spend time or have picnics. There is a chairlift for only $13 to and fro which you can board and enjoy with kids.
3. Museum at Inveresk (optional) - This is a free entry museum and I am not a fan of museums
but since I had an extra day at hand and it was pouring outside I had no choice but to explore indoors while I wait for my flight, the museum was interesting and great for kids to connect with history and wildlife. This gallery is a permanent exhibition of Tasmanian natural science and history displays. Discover colonial and bushranger artefacts, animals, geological timelines, transport history (bikes, buggies and planes!) and even dinosaurs. Tasmanian Connections also features objects recovered from the wreck of Australia's oldest merchant shipwreck, The Sydney Cove, including the ship's rudder and anchor.
DAY 2 - Cradle Mountain National Park
Well one of the most beautiful and amazing site for experiencing Tasmania Wilderness, you can choose the 6km loop for walking and it takes you through most stunning lookouts to shoot this area from alternatively, you can pack a lunch and enjoy the views from any spot. Unfortunately we did it during the end leg of our journey and it was cloudy, rainy however still we walked the area and is beautiful, I can imagine how amazing it would be on a sunny day.
1. Stop at Sheffield for amazing Murals, get your lunch packed here for the journey.
2. Cradle mountain national park walk and visit to Waldheim Cabins, the man who discovered and set up this site as national treasure.
We booked a day tour from Launceston to Cradle mountain as we already returned our car and it was a terrible experience. The stops were rushed, and we started morning 7:00 AM, no stop for breakfast as the trip assumes you already had your meal. We had a 10 mins break for Coffee at the beautiful Mural village, Sheffield, but either you can go to toilet and have coffee or explore, so didn't even get a glimpse.
This whole trip, I was cranky, hungry and disappointed. The lunch was served by the tour, it was smaller than a snack and without breakfast. When you are hungry, the enjoyment is reduced to half or lower so my advise NEVER EVER BOOK A DAY TOUR until really necessary, you can enjoy much in your own commute and take some stops across the way so choose self-drive.
Tip: Please note, the entry to the national park is via shuttle only and it works on a schedule so plan your itinerary accordingly, as after 6:00 PM there is no shuttle out from the park.
DAY 3 - Grindlewald, Village Tamar Valley and Travel to Freycinet National Park
This day, you can checkout from Launceston in the morning and take a breakfast stop at the lovely Swiss village of Grindlewald, in Tamar Valley, a treat for photographers and cafe explorers. You can easily spend 2 hours here, walk to the back of village and you will find a small and lovely hike to a lookout for stunning views of the valley, try to be on your way by 12:00 PM at max as there is a 2.5 hour drive to Freycinet National Park.
So if you reach Freycinet timely you can directly do that 90 mins( back and fro) hike to the Wineglass bay. We had sometime so we explored this cafe and had a great meal.
Tip:The walk says 90 mins but it can be easily done within 45-60 mins. But you might need to keep some buffer for amazing photos from the lookout. 2-3 hours are enough for this, its advisable to pack lunch and have it there than spending time finding a restaurant.Also if you are able to explore Freycinet this day you can save the next day for exploring Pre-historic site of Port Arthur before the wild cruise.
Alternatively if you don't want to do it on the same day, you can start early morning next day and explore Freycinet. Personally I prefer first option because second day is Port Arthur which is going to be a life time experience for Tasman Island cruise so keep these activities separate. However it can still be arranged easily if one starts 8:00 in the morning to explore Freycinet and leave by 10:00 AM, target to reach Port Arthur by 12:30-01:00 as the cruise is the most amazing part of the whole Tasmania trip.
DAY 4 - Port Arthur and Tasman Island Cruise
I would advise to leave early from Freycinet and have your breakfast in Port Arthur historic site center as there are variety of cafes.
1. Pre-historic Port Arthur site - You can purchase tickets for 2 hours or more based on your interest to explore the historic site and than continue to Tasman island cruise. You will be able to locate their center while on the way to Historic site. We started late due to my Husband, his excuse was we are on Holiday why the rush, so we left around 11:00 AM from our place and have to miss this site to take the cruise.
2. Tasman Island Cruise - This was highlight of our trip, the most amazing, stunning , wild and crazy adventure. Once you are in their centre they will give you a brief about the trip along with the red overalls to keep you dry from ocean spray.
TIP : Book Tasman Island Cruise in advance thru Experience OZ or Pennicott Journeys . It's a 3 hour Cruise which the cruise boards from Port Arthur. Wear warm clothes take waterproof bags for gadgets, keep your mobile and go-pro fully charged. You will explore the real pacific wilderness here.
Take the afternoon cruise and you may enjoy amazing sunset. The cruise travels beneath the highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere at Cape Pillar. We explored waterfalls, rock formations, archways and deep-sea caves. Encountered plenty of wildlife including hundreds of seals, migrating whales and abundant sea birds in their thousands.
We witnessed most amazing seascape here, the cruise took us to following locations -
1 . Sea caves which were lined by pink algae and wild waves were roaring on the edges making it almost discovery like experience surrounded by huge caves and cliffs with almost magical seascape.
2. Further ahead, there was a waterfall in the middle of the ocean dripping from the sea cliffs.
3. We spotted sea candles and our guide told some adrenaline seekers do this hike in the middle of the ocean, there were bunch of seals resting on the edges of the cliffs and some just went in front of us for hunting their prey, this was not TV it was live.
4. A little further ahead, we witnessed the albatross folk hunting for Tuna in the middle of the sea, our guide informed us that these Albatross travel daily from New Zealand to Tasman Island to get food for their little ones. We got so much education on one trip and best part it , this doesn't needs to be memorized as its experienced first hand.
Fact: Albatrosses are the most efficient travelers of all vertebrates on the planet. They expend very little energy soaring hundreds of miles over the ocean each day using dynamic soaring and slope soaring. They have a tendon in each shoulder locking their wings fully-extended, so once aloft and soaring across a fair breeze they never need to flap their wings.
5. Another minute, there was this whole bunch of travelers on the boat pointing somewhere in the sea, as we got surrounded by Dolphins and they presented a free and wild show for almost 45 minutes. This was magical, spell bounding and something I will always remember as a special moment in my heart. We were towards the end of hour 3 hour of cruise and thought it cant get any better from whatever we have seen, and suddenly there was this glorified almost divine seascape view of sunset, with focused sun rays filtering from the cliffs on to the emerald sea surface. I won't say anymore it is something to be experienced and to be lived.
Once you have completed your cruise, you can drive to Hobart it is around a 2 hour drive and enjoy hopping some restaurants and clubs if you are not tired after the cruise.
DAY 5: Hobart & Mt Wellington
The Wizard city of Tasmania
We booked our accommodation at Wrest Point at Sandy bay. This place has amazing casinos and range of restaurants, specially the breakfast buffet is awesome. Being vegetarian I always run out of options but Tasmania has best set of Indian restaurants (yeah I am one of the person who wants Indian food mostly) so after having pancakes, sandwiches for breakfast and Italian for lunch I was craving for Indian. We had many restaurants just in 2-3 kms of drive .
Next morning, enjoy the breakfast buffet and leave for Mt Willington which is just a 25 km drive from Hobart and you won't believe the variation in temperature and weather for such small distance it was significant. If you leave for sunrise you will get the best views.
f you plan to fly back today on your day 5, book your flight for evening so that you have some time to explore Mt Willington and the city, however if you have the night this city has amazing casinos, cafes to relax and enjoy your last day.
Tip : Plan to visit either for sunrise or post breakfast, carry heavy and warm clothing, gloves, woolen socks and caps. You should be able to cover your ears and hands, otherwise you will just be an observer watching from the observatory as it gets chilly and windy. When I went there the temp was -5 degrees and the wind was extreme enough to lose directions. So don't underestimate the weather for your own good.
We did our trip completely opposite to what I am recommending, and started at Hobart , checked in at Wrest Point, enjoyed the night exploring cafes, casinos within Wrest point there was a Dinosaur theme park set up for kids during that time and kids were going crazy.
Hope this blog will help you with your Tasmania visit and do let us know your own experience in comments.