Hopefully you've read my first blog Tassie Travels Part One but if you haven't, you can start that HERE
So on we continue!
After leaving Wineglass Bay it was onto Hobart and we got to drive through Richmond to get there which is a beautiful and historic town with gorgeous old buildings and lots to see so worth stopping there along the way! I just loved the Richmond Bridge which was built in 1823 and is still being used today.
Once we reached Hobart, we checked into our AirBNB in North Hobart (great area close to everything and some amazing places to eat!) and got a good night sleep knowing we had a lot to get done in the next 6 days which is the time we had allowed to explore this incredible city and it's surrounds.
First stop was MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art and what a treat that was! An amazing museum set in the cliffs of Hobart and you actually go underground when you descend in the elevator to start your journey on the bottom floor. The kids loved it and so did we so I highly recommend getting here if you go to Hobart. It's interactive, with devices you wear around your neck and headphones to listen to and you'll see some things that truly blow your mind. If you hear anyone saying it's not kid friendly because there is a wall of vagina art, don't listen! That is the tiniest little part when it comes to this place and you can just walk quickly past if your kids aren't at an age for chats about vaginas yet! lol! Make sure you see an amazing look at how our digestion works and marvel at the waterfall of words also known as Bitfall.
Bruny Island is a quick 20 minute ferry ride from Kettering which is just a 30 min drive from Hobart and is well worth a day trip or longer! You really need to take a car across on the ferry to see everything Bruny has to offer and while we only had a day there, we got around to see as much as we could. It was so beautiful and I was so excited to be there knowing some of the amazing food that comes from Bruny Island!
So on arriving we drove to what is know as the 'neck' (pictured above) and just before the neck is an amazing lookout that you can walk up and see some spectacular views of the island. It's also where you can see some penguins nesting but we were there in the morning and didn't see any.
Other highlights included the view from Cape Bruny lighthouse (so spectacular I can't even describe!) lunch and wine tastings at Bruny Island Premium Wines, and visits to the Bruny Island Cheese and Beer Co as well as the Bruny Island Chocolate Company!
Tasman Island Cruise
The following day was one of my highlights of the whole trip which started off with a cruise around Tasman Island. This is done by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys who do a few cruises around Tassie including a Bruny Island Cruise if you want to see Bruny Islands' incredible coastline from the sea.
Tasman Island is off the bottom of Tassie so you leave on this cruise nearby to Port Arthur. It isn't cheap but we thought it was well worth the adventure and it really was such an amazing experience. It's 4 hours all up and you are dressed in a long weatherproof coat as you do get a fair bit of spray and you zip around the bottom of Tassie and around Tasman Island in a boat that holds about 20 of you. We were lucky on the day to have very calm seas but if you do suffer from sea sickness, maybe give this one a miss or make sure the forecast is for calm seas. We went into caves, saw some albatross, lots of seals and incredible rock formations that reminded me just how truly ancient and spectacular our land really is.
We finished this cruise around lunchtime (they leave twice a day so you pick from morning or afternoon) and where we got off the boat was this beautiful bay called Stewarts Bay and we found a restaurant which was part of Stewarts Bay Lodge that overlooked this bay and ate scallops for lunch! They had a kids menu too so it was a great spot to find!
After lunch it was onto the Port Arthur Historical Site and that was really educational for all of us! I had no idea about a lot of what I learnt that day when it came to this site and what went on with the convicts and early settlers in Tasmania. Truly eye opening so make sure you do the 30 minute walking tour when you visit this place! There was lots of great hands on activities for the kids afterwards too.
This was something that was on my 'oh my god, I can't wait to do this when I finally get to Tasmania!' list - The Salamanca Markets. This market is famous for it's fresh produce, cooked food and local arts and crafts. If you are a foodie at all, you will have been or heard of these markets which are on every week on a Saturday in downtown Hobart. And I have to say, it wasn't as great as I expected. The main reason I say this is...they were just way too busy and crowded and I couldn't enjoy myself with that many people pressed against me. When I finally got to the front of a line to order any food or look at the cute leather bags, I was worried I would lose one of my kids in the crowd! It was certainly a full time job for both hubby and I to keep all four of us together. But we were there in peak season in January so maybe it's better at other times of the year but yes, if you do go, go as early as you can (they open at 8.30am) and get around as soon as you can before the hoards arrive!
Huon Valley is a 40 min trip by car from Hobart. It makes me sad to type this but poor old Huon Valley has recently suffered from some devastating bush fires that started up just after we left. It is an incredibly beautiful place and I hope that it all gets back to what it was very soon. Huon Valley is the home of more amazing produce (pretty much everywhere in Tasmania is really!) and the home of the Giant Huon pine trees as well as some stunning rivers that you can kayak or paddle down. We did the Tahune Airway walk where you get to walk through these giant trees 50m off the ground but you are still craning your neck upwards to see the tops of them!
Lake St Clair
The day we left Hobart we headed to our next place to stay for just one night, the beautiful Lake St Clair national park. We opted to stay within the national park at Lake St Clair Lodge so we could soak up all the beautiful nature for a wee while. The lodge also had a restaurant where we could eat dinner and have brekkie the next morning which was included with our accommodation. They have great family loft style cabins set amongst the trees right on the lake so we got to spend sunset and sunrise watching the lake change colours. Lake St Clair is the start or finish of a famous walk called the Overland Track that links Cradle Mountain with Lake St Clair which is a walk that takes 5 days to complete and hubby and I would love to return one day to do this. But there are lots of great walks around the lake and within this park and we did a couple of short ones that suited a 6 and 8 year old! The Platypus Circuit is a great one to try as it takes just over an hour and gives you amazing views of the lake as well as passes through Platypus Bay complete with platypus viewing platform. It leaves and ends at the lodge.
Then it was off to the west coast town of Strahan but on the way there from Lake St Clair we made sure to stop off at the swinging bridge over Franklin River which is only a 15 min walk from the road. And we also got to drive through Queenstwon which is an old copper mining town and the views from the car going through this part of the state were mesmerising. We stopped at one of the old copper mines to take in the view of the startling aqua coloured water in the abandoned copper pit. Very instagram worthy I must say! ;)
When we got to Strahan we booked into Strahan Bungalows and these were also a great accommodation option for families and in walking distance to the esplanade which is the main street of the town. That afternoon we went to a play that takes place on the esplanade called 'The Ship that Never Was' which is Australia's longest running play! It has been running every night since 1984 (starts at 5.50pm) and is a real crowd pleaser for all ages. It's very educational (based on a true story about a ship and some early convicts in Tassie) and also very interactive! My daughter ended up being the ships cat and she just loved it as did we. Dinner out afterwards at Hamer's Bar and Grill on the esplanade while looking out at the water made our short stay in Strahan very memorable.
The next morning we were on our way to the famous Cradle Mountain and OMG, what a place this was. Seriously blew my mind and completely exceeded my already high expectations. It is seriously beautiful here and can't be missed if you get to Tassie. We stayed in a cabin at Cradle Mountain Discovery Park.
Things that blew my mind while here were:
The Enchanted Stroll which leaves from Cradle Mountain Lodge and only takes about 20 mins. Saw lots of wombats ambling around at dusk as well as echidnas.
Dove Lake Circuit Walk circles the whole of Dove Lake which is at the base of Cradle Mountain. Stunning. Could. Not. Stop. Taking. Photos. This walk takes about 2 hours and you need to get one of the buses from the visitors centre to take you to the start of this walk. The park buses leave every 15 mins to and from this starting point.
The Waterfalls Walk leaves opposite the Cradle Mountain Lodge and takes you past two waterfalls as well as gives you so many gasp moments! I felt like I was in a Lord of The Rings movie walking around the forests near Hobbiton (apologies for those of you not getting this imagery but for any LOTR fans...OMG!) This walk is only 40 mins and also a must-do!
Devils at Cradle was also a great place where you can see the little Tassie Devils in a breeding and conservation sanctuary. The kids absolutely loved their time here and spent ages watching the devils play and laughing at them when they got into their snarly fights!
I was so glad that some friends of ours told us about this place as I had never heard of it before! So on our way from Cradle Mountain to Devonport we stopped off at Tasmazia and the Home of Lower Crackpot (I kid you not!) and this place was A-MAZE-ING. If you go to Tassie with kids, please go here. It's the home to one of the world's largest maze complexes and we had an absolute ball! In the largest maze (out of all 8 of them!) you have to find all sorts of things as you go along right up to the goal of the maze at the centre which is the three bears house. Not to mention wandering through the village of lower crackpot, a quirky model village built to 1/5 in scale, both us and the kids had a hard time leaving this place!
So back to where we arrived but this time we had two nights here and a bit of time to explore! And funnily enough this little coastal hamlet had some of our favourite eating experiences! Devonport is where the Spirit of Tasmania comes and goes from so it's been built up to offer a lot of great places to dine and stay. We stayed at an AirBnb near the water where you could literally watch the Spirit come and go from the front porch. We had an amazing seafood platter to share one night at a gorgeous restaurant called Drift and the next night got take away seafood from the cleverly named takeaway joint called 'Strait off the Boat' which has trawlers delivering their catch here on a daily basis and being cooked up for you to take home! So fresh and amazing.
We also made the 20 min drive to Ghost Rock Winery and wow...their winery and gorgeous platter lunches got massive thumbs up from us. They even had great kids meals at this winery (please take note all wineries how great it is to have kids catered to as well!) so we were in heaven for a couple of hours of sipping, munching and gazing out over the vineyard while the kids played on the sprawling restaurant lawn.
We also made sure to stop off in Latrobe nearby which is home to Anvers House of Chocolate. See chocolate being made and let your jaw drop at all the ways you can design chocolate! Oh and there may be tastings there too...just sayin!
So that completes our amazing time in Tasmania that I just cant wait to do more of one day. Even after 18 days of sight seeing, it wasn't enough for me (we didn't even get up Mt Wellington for goodness sake!) but I'm also glad because it just means we have to go back there again...and again...and again! ;)
Hope you've enjoyed my highlights and tips of beautiful Tasmania!
Yours in Tassie Love,