On April 4, James and I landed in Hobart, Tasmania to begin our last adventures in Australia before our journey to Southeast Asia. On the plane over, I was more focused on the adventures ahead me, rather than the adventures is Brisbane and Queensland I was leaving behind. Of course I felt a bit of nostalgia knowing I wouldn’t be going back to Brisbane any time soon, but I was distracted from a lot of those feelings thinking of all I was about to explore.
Every bit of Tasmania was stunning. From the view from the top of a mountain to the landscape along the interstate into a main city, it had a unique feeling about it and had endless scenery to enjoy.
Our first day in Hobart turned out to be the most adventurous as we didn’t have a place to stay booked for the night and figured we would “wing it” when we got there and were able to evaluate our options a bit better. We wanted to camp and explore a remote national park outside of Hobart, which prompted the decision to not book a place for the first couple nights, but of course there was no guarantee of what would actually end up happening.
After catching a shuttle bus into the city and talking to a nice young lady at the hostel we had booked in a couple days, we decided to stock up on food and head to Mt. Wellington, the mountain overlooking Hobart, to start hiking toward a camping spot for the night. A bus driver dropped us off at the closest point to Mt. Wellington he could and then we began walking up the mountain from there, lugging huge backpacks and all. I guess I had never really stopped to think about what we were actually getting ourselves into – climbing up a mountain with huge backpacks and no tent to find a place to sleep for the night – before we went for it because all of sudden, right after we started the walk up, I thought “Oh shoot, this is gonna be tough.” But alas, we climbed on!
We found a relatively flat, open area eventually and set up our camp there – which consisted of an eno in replacement of a tent. Yes, Tasmania is cold and yes it was not the smartest decision to camp on a mountain in Tassie without a tent but because we’re on a traveler’s budget, we sucked it up and went for it. Thankfully, James has a really warm sleeping bag we were both able to squeeze into and plenty of clothes with us to layer. We both survived the night, not without some discomfort and shivering, but we did survive.
The next morning we packed up our camp and walked up the last, and hardest stretch, of the mountain track to the top of Mt. Wellington. Not going to lie, there was a moment I wanted to cry because of the steepness of the track combined with the weight of my huge backpack but once we made it up, I was so thankful we had made the journey. The view was incredible and the accomplished feeling after all our hard work over the past 24 hours was extremely rewarding. After we cooked some food and took some pictures, we caught a ride down the mountain to hopefully book another night at the hostel- one night of cold, tent-less camping was enough for us.
Top of Mt. Wellington
We had success booking another night at the hostel so after cleaning up and relaxing a bit, we went for a walk around Hobart and were able to catch some amazing views during sunset. The sky was lit up in pastel colors, with pinks and purples above the blue water.
The next day we took the ferry to the world-renowned MONA, Museum of Old and New Art. Owned and designed by billionaire David Walsh, the building is a work of art itself and features some of the most unique exhibits I have ever experienced. The museum is laid out almost like cave, with all the floors of art underground, making your brain work a little harder just to navigate through it. It features very bold artwork and has very suggestive meanings towards all its pieces. What I thought was interesting about it is that there are no descriptions by any of the pieces- the only way to know who the artist behind a piece is or what the meaning behind it is, is to read the summary or listen to the audio with headphones on the iPhone they give each person when they enter. This makes for a very futuristic, exotic experience when combined with all of the interactive and bold works of art it has to offer. Definitely a must-do if you find yourself in Hobart.
We topped off that day with a lovely visit with a girl named Grace who Leslie and I had met during one of our first weekends in Australia at Surfer’s Paradise. She was taking a random holiday in Hobart for the week so we decided to meet up at one of Hobart’s iconic pubs, called The Republic, and have a drink. She has been working and traveling all over the East Coast of Australia since we met her so it was fun to catch up and share a drink together after so much time had passed.
Our first day with the campervan was exciting and freeing- we were so ready to get out of the city and start seeing the wild side of Tasmania. The campervan was the perfect size and had everything we needed to do loads of sightseeing, sleep comfortably, and cook up some pasta and tuna meals.
On day one we made our way to the Tasman Peninsula, only about an hour from Hobart, making plenty of stops along the road to snap pictures and admire the views. A few of the places we stopped at were Pirate’s Bay, the Tasman Arch and the Port Arthur Historic Site. Contrary to our belief that Port Arthur was a some kind of cute coastal town, it was just the historic site itself which costs more than a traveler’s budget amount to get into so we moved on from there straight to Fortescue Bay in Tasman National Park.
Fortescue Bay required us to drive down a long, narrow sandy road for about 30 mins., with our fingers crossed that it would be worth it. It was in the end and we found ourselves with a lovely spot to camp at, with several cool walking tracks going from the campsite. The walk we did that afternoon went along the bay and up the headlands to another bay, giving us some gorgeous views and a closer look at Tasmanian vegetation and landscape features. We finished it off with a gorgeous sunset by the water, again filled with pink and purple hues that lit up the sky and blended in beautifully with the soft, teal-colored water.
Canoe Bay Track at Fortescue Bay
Day two brought us to the start of the Great Eastern Drive, leading us to some incredible coastal views along the way. We eventually reached Kate’s Berry Farm, where we pulled over the campervan and enjoyed some amazing tasting lavender ice cream with a view of the coast. What a treat.
Lavender ice cream at Kate’s Berry Farm
Next stop was Freycinet Marine Farm because everyone told us Tasmania has amazing seafood so we splurged on an arrangement of oysters and grilled salmon- expensive but worth it. I’ve never had fresher oysters in my life.
Finally we made it to Freycinet National Park, one of Tasmania’s most famous trademarks. Driving in we were blown away by the beauty of the huge rock formations and several bays, each with a unique and incredible view. Here we did the Wineglass Bay walk, taking us to the lookout as well as Wineglass Beach. The lookout was tourist infested but the beach was much more peaceful and was a great place to admire the beauty of Freycinet from. We sat there and enjoyed our surroundings before eventually mustering up the courage to make the climb back up.
Freycinet National Park
Afterwards, we stopped at Honeymoon Bay on the way to find a campsite because we noticed the sun setting directly over the water. What an insane sunset. The sky was lit up in all kinds of color and the lighting from the setting of the bright sun made for some unbelievable photos. I was in complete awe of the beauty of Freycinet as the sun was setting and we were driving away. The pictures will never do it justice but I’ll always remember it as one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen.
We began our last day with the campervan by driving up to the Cape Tourville Lighthouse in Freycinet. We took in our last views of the national park from there, and then took off from there. It was a rainy and dreary day, mostly consisting of driving north to catch the ferry . The highlight was when we stopped in the coastal town, Bicheno, and backed the campervan into a spot facing the water to cook and eat lunch. It was a lovely little town- one of those you picture when reading a story about an old fisherman and his boat.
That evening we eventually arrived in Devonport to catch the Spirit of Tasmania ferry over to Melbourne with the campervan. It was exciting for both of us as we had never taken a vehicle on a ferry before. We each got our own key for the recliner lounge, where we were to sleep and had access to several different lounges, bars and gaming rooms that passengers were able to enjoy before heading to sleep. I enjoyed a beer and James had a pizza on the top deck as the ferry left Tasmania before heading to the lounge. It wasn’t an easy sleep since there was a storm creating huge swells and a rocky ride but it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. Before we knew it we were driving the campervan off the ferry and onto the mainland again…
I’m so thankful that I got the chance to explore such a beautiful, remote land, literally at the end of the world. It was so untouched compared to anywhere else I’ve been so to see such open landscape and striking features on one island was truly remarkable and something I won’t forget.