Apr 13, 2014

5 day self-drive in Tasmania - Day 5, Hobart and Bruny Island

We reserved the whole of day 5 for a day trip and decided on Bruny Island, a small island about one hour's travel from Hobart.
I debated a few day trip options from Hobart. Port Arthur was on the list, but there wasn't much interest in seeing the ex-penal colony. I had my reservations about Bruny Island tour (a coastal tour on a boat) because our party included kids, sea sick inclined individuals and a grandmother, and once we stepped on that small boat, we wouldn't be able to get for a few hours. But what is life without a few adventures? 
So off we went to catch the ferry.
Now let me list the downsides first. The ride is rough. The ginger pills they gave seemed to do wonders though, because none of us got sick! It's cold out there so do dress warm and have a windbreaker. It's not rough throughout, just when heading to a particular spot or heading back, so in those times, just hang in there. You will feel incredibly tired at the end of the trip, despite being seated for the whole time.
About bringing kids, which was my biggest dilemma...I know some people would call me crazy for even contemplating this with kids, but I don't believe in just doing theme park holidays while we have kids, because we have kids around for a good part of our adult lives. Instead I try and plan holidays with a bit of everything that everyone enjoys. I do do my research and weigh a number of things. 
The older kids were excited at first and enjoyed the sights and getting wet, but the cold and the rough seas got to them on the second half. They didn't complain though, and I'm proud my boys are great troopers. Your kids need to be a bit of the thrill seeker (Number 2) or appreciate nature and beauty (Number 1) to enjoy this.
The bub seemed to do best, she slept through most of it, firmly wrapped around hubby. If taking a bub, I wouldn't recommend it if they were too young...they should be old enough to be not 'flimsy', to stay and sleep in a secure baby carrier (do bring proper restraints, you don't want to be carrying them in your arms and bouncing around the boat!) and young enough to not walk around the boat.
Now I'll list what's good about the Bruny Island Tour.
You get to see formations that are millions of years old, and realise what a speck in the space of time you are.
It's almost like going to Jurassic Park.

Or maybe visiting a scene in Lord of the Rings.

You go beyond civilisation, it's an 'end of the world' feeling.


You see seals where they choose to live and bask in the sun and dive off rocks, not where they are trapped in a cold room.



Apr 1, 2014

5 day self-drive in Tasmania - Day 4, Hobart

The next morning, we made an early start for our 2 and a half hour drive to Hobart.

We stopped about an hour later at Swansea at Kate's Berry Farm. Yums! We had a very good morning tea of waffles (best waffles I ever had) and scones and pancakes.

I bought very good strawberry jam from Kate's. Have since run out and wished I had bought more.

Headed next to the historic town of Richmond. Visited the old bridge, watched some ducks and birds muck about,

and checked out the Hobart Model Village. It was novel seeing Hobart as it used to be, just before we headed to Hobart to see it as it is now. (pix from my son's camera)

Richmond is a nice little town to meander around. We admired out the beautiful goods in the lace shop, then had lunch at the Richmond Bakery and CafĂ©. The scallop pies came highly recommended online, but I didn't find anything to rave about.

Another half hour from Richmond is Hobart. We stayed at the Fountainside Hotel, another great find! It's a fraction of the price of the hotels around it has a great location, and I can't fault the services or facilities. Some people on TripAdvisor commented about the noise from the traffic but we stayed on Level 2 and I can't say it was a problem at all for us.

Mar 30, 2014

5 day self-drive in Tasmania - Day 3, Coles Bay

Tasmania deserves its reputation as a food haven.If you like Oysters, you can't not have oysters in Tasmania.

The drive from St Helens to Coles Bay is just 1.5 hours, just nice to make a few stops and get to our destination in time to settle in for the day.

We made a pit stop at Freycinet Marine Farm to get some freshly shucked Pacific oysters and other seafood. There is nothing to see here, and nothing much by way of culinary experience, beyond simple, fresh seafood.
We headed off to the Freycinet National Park after. I so wanted to do the famous Wineglass Bay Lookout walk. It is approximately 1 ½ hour return, but a bit of a climb, so given our party, I reluctantly decided to skip it. We did visit the Cape Tourville lighthouse (you can drive all the way up) where I got one of those "what the" (in a good way) moments. 
Photos can't do it justice. The Hazzards in the distance seemed to be unreal, with its sharp outline shrouded in mist, and looked to be a 2D cutout of a movie backdrop. The water is the bluest of any sea I had ever seen.

I really wanted to book a place at Freycinet that overlooked the Hazzards but these were pricey and I could not find rooms to fit our party. So we opted for Coles Bay and stayed at a house called Waterline at Freycinet. The managers at Sheoaks B&B were kind enough to send us information on the area prior to our departure. After the previous night's dinner, we decided to tighten our belts, and buy some meats from a butcher called Sirloin Breier in Bicheno that they recommended. After picking up our meats and pies, we headed to Coles Bay.

Waterline was a fancier house compared to the Albatross of the night before. It had an outstanding view.

The downside was that it was much harder to access the beach, and the beach was not so inspiring.

Plus there are a dozen rules that may put some people off. But you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer view to BBQ by, and it served well as a beautiful place to spend the night. We cooked the sausages and lamb cutlets, opened a bottle of wine and had a lovely dinner. 

(The rate was $170 for the first couple and $20 for each additional person.)