Tasmania (2017)

strange animals, mysterious rainforest, simply fabulous

Tasmania is an island on the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean, about 240 km south of the Australian mainland.

Tasmania is nearly as big as Ireland. 

There are still relatively many natural landscape types there. About a quarter of the island is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,

Tasmania's wildlife is strongly related to that of Australia. Marsupials are the dominant land creatures, The wombat is represented as well as numerous kangaroo species.

Another well known example of a species endemic to Tasmania is the Tasmanian devil, which is already extinct on the Australian mainland.


Hobart - Livestyle and Culture in Tasmania

The flight to Hobart goes smoothly. No food and fruits are allowed to be imported, therefore a sniffer dog runs on the luggage conveyor belt at baggage claim and sniffs each piece of luggage.

The car handover is without problems. Again, a Britz Hitop. However, it could be the "father" of Britz 1. It is a bit outdated and without automatic transmission; no problem. Again it is difficult to find a place in a caravan park at the weekend. At the 3rd try we find one. The night's rest with electricity and shower is secured.

The day begins with a visit to the Salamanca Market, which attracts crowds of people to the harbor area every Saturday. Here you can find everything, including fresh truffles, artistic and culinary from all over Tasmania.

The subsequent visit to the MONA Museum is a must. The museum combines art with lifestyle surrounded by great ambience. Outside there are 2 wedding parties, a band plays, there is a wine tasting, a brewery and 2 restaurants. There is also a hip bar in the museum. Even for me, there is no boredom here!

We spend the 2nd night in Lea's scout camp in the mountains near Hobart. A rustic affair. Here even open fires are allowed (though in metal containers, but still). We had that for the first time. In Australia there is a panic fear of bushfires (rightly so!), so no open fires are allowed in public. There are barbecue areas everywhere, but with gas or electric grills.

Here we also see our first opossum at night. It sits in front of our "house" and then moves to a tree, where we photograph it with flash.

We finish our stay in Hobart with a morning round of golf at the "Kingston Beach Golf Club", which offers as a special feature a "passenger elevator" that transports tired athletes from the 17 to the 18.

On the Wilderness Highway to the West Coast and beyond....

After the Gulf, we quickly fill up our food supplies at Woolworth's and refuel. The destination of the day is not exactly fixed, only the direction is clear - it goes to the west, to Strahan.

We are aware that we will not make this stage. It is already 16:00 o'clock when we set off - let's see where we end up.

Shortly after Hobart we get on the Lyell Highway. The road becomes more curvy, the surroundings greener and the number of towns sparse. Instead we encounter great lakescapes, river valleys and huge rainforests. Tasmania is green, very green.

In the absence of a campground (the sites in the national park were all occupied, (but we saw our first echidna) we decide for the first time to "wild camp". The chosen site is directly in front of a small hiking trail and gives us the opportunity for a relaxed night hike. Of course the view at the summit is somewhat limited (we don't have the night vision equipment with us!), but the peace and quiet is all the greater.

Without any nocturnal disturbance we set off in the morning. After the relaxed hike to the Nelson Falls with many rainforest impressions, we have a just freshly cleaned toilet (the shower has to wait). 

Around Queenstown the landscape changes abruptly. Rich copper deposits were found there in the last century. The intensive mining led to the deforestation of the whole rainforest. In the meantime, the deposits have been exhausted, leaving bizarre bare slopes, ruins, partly abandoned villages and a devastated landscape. The remaining inhabitants of the town are relying on tourism to ensure their survival.

40 km further on Straham-town compensates with the usual relaxed coastal flair. Before we start the 150 km to Cradle-Mountain National Park, we secure an accommodation by phone. There is no electricity but a hot shower, washing machines, a stunningly well equipped camp kitchen and lots of animals.

For early morning exercise, we pull off the hike around Dove Lake in 1.5 hours instead of 2-3 hours. Nevertheless there is still enough time for wonderful views and sights. The Cradle-Mountain from all possible perspectives. Then we continue towards the coast.

Barnbougle - World class golf courses (also for hackers)

These 2 days are all about golf. In Bridport, on the north coast of Tasmania, there are two golf courses (Barnbougle Dunes Links and Barnbougle Lost Farm) ranked number 35 and 47 in the world's top 100 courses. For non-golfers to better understand: of the 800 German courses, none has made it into the TOP 100 to date.

Due to the arrival we play the Dunes only at 13:40 and are therefore the last flight for the day. To make up for it, we are allowed to enter "Lost Farm" first at 7:50 am the following day. Both courses are well booked, mainly male golf travel groups populate the courses at core times. Barnbougle finally offers the ideal conditions for golf travelers with two restaurants, exclusive accommodations, a SPA area and its own airfield. I play the Dunes quite well, on the Lost Farm Sabine is ahead. I am more busy "disposing" of my old balls in the impenetrable rough. Once I tried to search and scare up a few wallabies, which pose nicely on the fairway afterwards (see photo). It looks like they were laughing at me!

Lost Farm offers 20 holes instead of 18 as a special feature. 13a and 18a are two short par 3s with spectacular views. The personal highlight for Sabine was a Sandy-Eagle on hole 3. As a souvenir we both afford the obligatory logo shirt.

Ben Lomont National Park - close to the stars

After two days of exemplary golfing we feel more like nature again. We slowly head towards Hobart, but want to visit some national parks on the way. First we choose Ben Lomond National Park.

The highest national park is also home to Tasmania's most snow-sure ski area with a hotel (currently closed). To get to the top station you have to follow a very narrow gravel road. Narrow serpentines, missing guard rails, our car and the acute warning of falling rocks keep us from doing so. We head for the campground in the forest. With our "NP Holidaypass", the entry permit for all parks in Tasmania, it is legal.

We are the only people far and wide. Our choice falls on a wild romantic campground, which allows us in this starry night plus full moon wonderful views. The curtains in the camper stay open, it is incredible. We had hoped to see some wildlife in the bright night, but other than some Bennet wallabies hopping through the bushes, nothing shows. Still, a wonderful day!


Freycinet National Park - Mountains and Sea

Out of the mountains our way leads us again towards the sea, to the east coast to the Freycinet National Park.  Shortly after leaving Lomond, the asphalt road suddenly comes to an end and the next 40 km wind through rainforest areas on a rather narrow gravel road. The drive is exhausting and requires a calorie supply for the driver in the widely known Pancake House at Elephant Pass. By chance we find there the hint for a camping site in Coles-Bay directly at the park entrance. We get hold of a site for the evening by phone. 

The Freycinet Peninsula consists of two granite blocks, which are connected by a sand ridge. Accordingly, the views are rich in contrast. Bizarre rock formations alternate with white, fine sandy beaches. The ridges are covered with dense dry forest.

Freycinet National Park is especially famous for the world-famous Wineglass Bay, a picturesque bay that can only be reached on foot or by boat. Due to the lack of a boat, the only alternative for us is on foot. The tour goes to the Wineglass-Lookout, (according to the info board there and back only 1.5 hours) which is overflowing with wandering tourists of all nationalities. From there it goes first downhill then to the beach and across the peninsula, always up and down, a total of 8 km back to the parking lot. Here we hardly met anyone. We are done!

Quickly we put the laundry into the machine, then to the grill. The day is done.


Tasmania's dead animals

To conclude our Tasmania round trip, here are a few thoughts that kept us busy. Tasmania offers incredibly diverse and varied landscapes and thus living conditions for very different animal species. Many of them are known to exist only here.  We also saw many of these animals, but unfortunately not in the wild, but as corpses on the roads.

On the roads through the forest areas there is at least one animal every kilometer: wallabies, opossums, Tasmanian devils, wombats, platypuses, echidnas, ... everything is represented. Imagine driving 60, 70 km through a forest area. We saw relatively few animals in the wild, which is because the majority are nocturnal. Tasmania's larger animals have virtually no natural enemies. Is that why the regulation of the numbers is done by humans and their motor vehicles? Bad, but probably unchangeable.

On the photos: Tasmanian devil, wombat, opossum, kangaroo

Across the country

Today is our last day in Tasmania. It is only 180 km to the campground at the airport, so there is no reason to hurry. The short walk on the beach is followed by a short walk in the NP around the lighthouse. This time we can look into Wineglass Bay and admire the orange lichens on the coastal rocks.

Around noon we leave the park and enjoy two portions of fresh mussels at the Freycinet Marine Farm. Most of the guests enjoy oysters and sea snails in different variations. Strengthened, we make our way to Richmond, the oldest city in Australia with the oldest prison and the oldest bridge built by prisoners.

The history of the city is quickly dealt with and still allows us a detour to the much praised Pooley Winery. The winery corresponds more to the Palatine dimensions; nice ambience, nice hosts and a small but fine tasting room. The son of the house personally accompanies us through the wine tasting, very nice. Unfortunately, the winery closes at 17:00 (the landlady, his mother, celebrates her 70th birthday today). Therefore we head for the Caravan Park in Hobart, only 18 km away.