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a pictorial guide to Tasmania's natural attractions

 

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On our home page we offer additional information to anyone visiting the state.  We received an e-mail from Rod and Anne from Anna Bay in New South Wales.

 

We are planning a 7 week caravanning holiday around Tasmania in Feb/March 2003. From Devonport we intend to go anti-clockwise all around the island. We will be in our own van which we have booked on the Spirit of Tasmania for this period.  We intend to do a fair amount of walking in designated areas.  Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

 

Rod & Anne

ANNA BAY

NSW

 


 

 

WE REPLIED:

 

Dear Rod and Ann,

 

Thank you for your enquiry on our site.  Hope you liked it.  Your feedback is appreciated.

 

7 weeks gives you plenty of time to have a good look at Tasmania.  Autumn can be the best time of the year as the weather is usually stable with clear sunny days with little wind.

 

I advise those who visit Tasmania that the best approach is to 'follow the weather'.  Just one important attraction which I mention on the site - Cradle Mountain is particularly attractive for the 3 weeks after Anzac Day.  The deciduous Beech or Fagus turns amber.  If you get a sunny clear windless day, it is a very photogenic place.  Mt Field in the south also has the Beech.  Should the weather 'turn', the east coast is the place to retreat.  Although the west coastal areas are spectacular in a storm.

 

Perhaps the best places to 'park' the caravan (caravan parks in brackets) would be (say for a week at a time), 1. Launceston and the Tamar Valley (Longford has a secluded park, Greens Beach is very quiet)  2. DELORAINE (Park in the town by the beautiful Meander River) a good spot to base yourself for The Great Western Tiers area - stunning walks in this area.  3. NORTH WEST COAST (a good park at The Bluff in Devonport, one further on also would be convenient e.g. at Stanley is an interesting town).  4. WEST COAST.  Perhaps spend a day in a few areas - Tulla - Rosebery, The walk to Montezeuma Falls is worth the walk 3 - 4 hours.  Zeehan - great museum here.  Good coastal trips.  Easy drive from here to STRAHAN.  Do the Gordon River trip.  Try to find a tour that goes to Sir John Falls.  QUEENSTOWN - the Abt Railway is based here and should go all the way to Strahan by the time you get here.

 

5. LAKE ST CLAIR:  It is a long tedious (very windy) drive from Queenstown to Hobart.  There are some nice short walks before Lake St Clair to help break up the journey - Particularly Donarchy's Lookout.  Lake St Clair has very good amenities.  Only a very small township if you could call it one at all.  There is a very good large licensed visitors centre.  The best walks from here start at the northern end of the lake.  A ferry operates twice a day - but check times.

 

6. NEW NORFOLK.  A good caravan park by the Derwent River.  Alternately head towards the township of National Park (MT FIELD).  Good camping ground here.  Plenty of natural attractions.  Nearby Lake Pedder is like Cradle - wait for a perfect day.  The gravel road along the southern shore is spectacular.  A first class 'wilderness' walk to Mt Anne.  You could also do part of the Port Davey track.  Another 'wilderness' walk.  Proper equipment is required.

 

 

7. COCKLE CREEK.  As far south as you can drive in Australia.  A  5-7 day walk to Port Davey but the 3 hour walk (one way) to the first beach is excellent.  Hastings caves, the Ida Bay railway, Tahune Air Walk and Hartz Mountains are nearby.  There is plenty more I will cover on the site as we get there.  There are plenty of 'large' country towns between here and Hobart.  There is virtually a freeway between Hobart and Huonville.

 

8. TASMAN PENINSULA  Nubeena (White Beach) is the place to base yourself here.  Some great walks on the Peninsula with Port Arthur thrown in!

 

9. FREYCINET (Wineglass Bay).  A day or two is enough here.  Again, wait for a sunny day.  The walk up Mt Amos is worth the effort.  All you want to do is sit there all day and look at the view.

 

10.  St HELENS and BINALLONG BAY (BAY OF FIRES CONSERVATION AREA and Mt William National Park further north.) Beautiful white beaches.  The whole north east has plenty.  Serviced sites in St Helen's, Scottsdale, Bridport - I'm not sure of others.  Camping available at Poole in the north of Mt William NP and at Deep Creek near Eddystone Point.  The coast to the south of Eddystone to Anson's Bay is spectacularly beautiful.  A local tour company provided 3 day walks (from Poole) at around $1,100 pp.    Overseas visitors comment that there is nothing else like it anywhere they have been.

 

Keep watching the site for updates.  There are plenty of areas I don't know enough about yet.

 

These site will help you.

 

Contact me closer to your trip if you want any further information.

 

 

Touring Tasmania

 

 

 
       

 

 

WE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING AFTER THEIR TRIP

 

 

    I don't know if you will remember me but you sent me a fairly comprehensive email last August (2002) on an enquiry I had about a seven week caravan trip to Tasmania that we had planned for 2003.

 

    We did the trip in Feb/March this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The information you provided in your two page email was most helpful.

 

    We did the trip with our caravan and with another couple and their van which is fitted with an external shower and a hot water system so we were able to stay in some secluded out of the way places and did not have to stay in caravan parks all the time. Both couples drove 4WDs.

 

    Altogether we did 4300kms in Tasmania in our vehicle with 2050 towing the van and as we shared the day trips between the two vehicles, we covered quite a fair bit of the island.

 

    We arrived in Devonport on the 8th Feb. Stayed at the Mersey Bluff CV Park for a few days. Here we covered the Devonport itself, Don Markets, The Don Railway/Museum, drove west to Sulphur Creek and back inland via Gunns Plains, Barrington/ Sheffield & Latrobe.

 

    From Devonport we moved west to Boat Harbour Beach CV Park and covered all areas around here up to Stanley(The Nut) including Wynyard, Table Cape, Rocky Cape (Some walks). Took the Chairlift to the top of The Nut and walked around.

 

    We then moved on west to Arthur River. We purchased a two month National Park Pass on the Ferry crossing which proved a very good idea. At Arthur River we stayed in one of the National Park Camping areas (used our own shower). We did the Arthur River Cruise on the old "George Robertson"(Very Good /Recommended). We also visited Nelson Bay/Couta Rocks/Julius River Nature Reserve(One of the prettiest rainforest walks in Tasmania)/ Lake Chisolm(walk)/Milkshake Hills Forest Reserve(Walk) and return to Arthur River via Smithton. We also visited Ann Bay/ Green Point/ Marrawah and Buff Hill Point.

 

    We enquired about taking the vans down The Western Explorer but were talked out of it as it was rough gravel and were not sure if the ferry at Corinna could take the vans. We had to retrace our steps back to Wynyard. We tried to book ahead into the CV Park at Cradle Mountain but could not get in so we stayed at Waratah and drove into Cradle Mountain two days. Did the Dove Lake Walk the first Day which was cold, windy and lots of low cloud obscuring the mountain & the Walk to Marion's Lookout on the second day which was just the opposite with a beautiful clear sunny day. We also enjoyed Waratah which has a small clean council owned CV Park.

 

    We tried to book ahead at Strahan but could not get in here either so stayed at Zeehan which we also enjoyed. Went into Strahan on two day trips. Visited Macquarie Heads/ Strahan itself/ Howgarth Falls(walk). Did the day trip on the Abt Railway to Queenstown and return (Recommended). Did a days drive to cover Trial Harbour/ Granville Harbour and up to Corinna. Crossed the Pieman River on the Ferry ($11 each way) and did the Whyte River walk. The ferry did not look big enough to take our caravan across but the driver assured us it would have been possible if we had come down the Explorer. We also spent one afternoon 4WDriving to the Montezeuma Falls. This involved driving along the very rough old 14km tram track to near the base of the falls. we also did the Spray Tunnel drive around old mine workings at Zeehan and I visited the Museum at Zeehan (recommended).

 

    From here we moved on to Lake St Clair stopping at Queenstown & Huntley Glacial Moraine. We did the boat trip up the Lake and a couple of short walks before leaving Lake St Clair the next day. We did intend to do one of the short walks between Queenstown & Derwent Bridge but the parking areas were mostly full and we could not get both vans in on the day.

 

    The next stop was then Mt Field National Park. More walking around the Tall Timbers and Waterfalls walk. Drove up to Lake Dobson and did more walking to the top of the snowfields. Spent the next day driving out to the Gordon River Dam/ Lake Pedder/ Strathgordon and also did the drive around the southern side of lake Pedder to Scotts Peak Dam. A beautiful drive (on your recommendation). Would have liked to do the Mt Anne walk but not enough time.

 

    From here we went to Hobart and stayed at Sandy Bay CV Park (which we were told was closing down soon) Visited Salamanca Markets and had a look around the old Hobart area. Also being a chocolate lover, did  the Cadbury Factory tour. Did a drive to Kingston/ Kettering (to check on the Bruny Island Ferry) Cygnet/ Huonville & Mt Wellington (was not a very nice day which took the shine of this drive but we enjoyed it and it actually snowed on the top of Mt Wellington). Also visited Richmond from here. (And the Casino).

 

    We then moved onto South Bruny Island and stayed at Adventure Bay CV Park. Did a walk to Green Point & The Fluted Cliffs. Drove to Cloudy Bay/ Cape Bruny Lighthouse/Alonnah & The Neck Lookout. The next day we went on the three hour Bruny Island Charters Eco Cruise down to southern end of the island. This cruise came highly recommended and we were not disappointed as this cruise was one of the whole trip highlights. It was an action packed 3 hour cruise in a purpose built powerful boat that takes approx. forty people. The scenery is spectacular and the owner driver does a fantastic job. We were warned not take our lunch as we would not have time to eat it and they were right. When you get on the boat the first thing they do is hand around the seasick tablets.

 

    We left Bruny and drove to Dover for our next stop (Nice CV Park). From here we visited the Tahune Walkway and did the coastal drive back to Dover. We had our most miserable weather here but only lost about half a day through rain. We drove down to Cockle Creek (population 4) and did the five hour return walk to South Cape Bay. It was a cloudy day but no rain.

 

    From Dover we headed north and decided not to go to the Tasman Peninsula as we all had been there before previously and we were starting to run out of time. We travelled via Sorell & Orford to Triabunna. Not a bad CV Park. The next day we caught the ferry to Maria Island and spent the day there. We walked to the Painted Cliffs and the Fossil Cliffs. Di Smith and a film crew from "The Great Outdoors" was on our trip so we may get on TV.

 

    We continued on to Bicheno for our next stopover. Did a town walk to Whalers Lookout. The next day we drove back to Swansea and a Berry Farm. Then drove west to Ross/ Campbell Town & Lake Leake. The next day we visited Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park. We did the walk to Wineglass Bay Lookout/ Wineglass Bay/Hazards Beach & return. It started off as a cloudy day but cleared up beautifully.

 

    We moved on north to St Helens, firstly driving out to St Helens Point (Most Easterly point on Tasmania). We did not stay in St Helens but out at Dora Point Nature Reserve near Binalong Bay. No power and used our own shower. We stayed here for four nights for some fishing etc. drove up to The Gardens in the Bay of Fires area. The next day we did a long drive, mostly on gravel roads up to Ansons Bay/ Eddystone Pt Gladstone/Weldborough/Pyengana(Cheese Factory)/ St Columba Falls(Walk)/ Ralphs Falls(Walk) & Return to St Helens.

 

    Then moved onto Bridport via Derby & Scottsdale. This road between St Helens & Derby was probably one of the most hilly and windiest roads over  which to take the caravans that is besides dodging the log trucks. A very scenic route. Drove to George Town/ Low Head/ Mt Direction/ Lilydale/ Bridestowe Lavender Farm & back to Bridport.

 

    From Bridport we moved on to Longford (near Launceston). From here we visited Launceston(Cataract Gorge[walk], Motor Museum, town walk). Also Evandale markets and Ben Lomond National Park. It was sunny on the drive up but once at the top of Jacobs Ladder it was windy and wet from the low clouds but still enjoyable.

 

    We decided that we had a couple of days up our sleeve before heading back to Devonport, so we headed south to Arthurs Lake. It was a good pull up onto the Central Conservation Area with the vans on the back but we managed OK. We stayed at a small camping area at Pumphouse Bay on Arthurs Lake. This spot was recommended by a local when we were at Waratah some weeks ago. It is a beautiful little camp ground run by the National Parks with all amenities (donkey boiler for the hot water tended by a caretaker). We toured around this area for a day to Flintstone on Arthurs Lake and down to the Hydro Power Station Museum at Waddamana. Both us men were interested in Power Stations as we had worked in the industry for many years.

 

    We then moved up to Deloraine via the A5 (gravel around Great Lake). This was a very foggy morning which shrouded the lakes until we got to the lookout above great lake. By then the fog had cleared. From Deloraine we visited Mole Creek/ The Wildlife Park & the Alum Cliffs(walk). We spent a day washing cloths and cleaning the van and car for the trip home.

 

     Up to Devonport (Mersey Bluff) for our last night before the trip back to the mainland on 29thMarch 03.

 

+ We had near perfect weather for both crossings of Bass Straight (daytime crossings).

 

+ Favourite places in Tasmania. Wynyard/Boat Harbour Beach area. Dover area. St Helens. Loved the North West area. Liked Strahan but a bit commercialized for me personally.

 

+ According to the locals we had a dream run with the weather whilst in the western areas.

 

+ TT Lines have copped a lot of criticism on lack of enough seating out of the weather for the daylight crossings but it was apparent from our return trip that they were trying to overcome this problem by commencing to enclose some of the outside decks. Our ferry back was approx. three hours late leaving Devonport but it did not worry us.

 

+ We all loved Tasmania and could come back tomorrow but we met some strange people who were not satisfied with the caravan parks and roads.

 

+ As you can see from this note, we covered just about everything we wanted to see but we still were a bit rushed with not much time to have rest days etc. The ladies had a bit of trouble fitting wash days in and the men did not have enough fishing time. Both men took pushbikes but for this trip it was a waste of time & space taking them as we did not have much time to go riding. Before we left home people were saying that seven weeks would give us enough time to go twice around Tasmania but we had done our homework and knew what was available to see.

 

+ Walks. We completed more than half of the Sixty Short Walks in the book put out by the National Parks. We also did a lot of walks that are not in this book. 

 

Anne & Rod

 

    PS Just to top it off we did a 22km walk in the NSW snowfields on the way home to keep our hand in.