It was all planned. We had four days ahead of us kid-free to enjoy seeing the sights of Tasmania and enjoying a fun road trip. And just like most plans go… they didn’t quite start the way we wanted…
We woke up excited and ready to go at 4.30am on the day of our flight. Unfortunately for us, we were supposed to get up at 3.30am. Not sure what we were thinking when we programmed our alarm. Our flight left at 6am and being that we lived an hour and half from the airport (without peak hour traffic) we were never going to make it.
Being people that never say die, we did everything in hyper speed anyway and attempted to make the flight. The Sydney traffic, however, conspired against us and we did not make our flight. With tears in our eyes we mourned the extra hours of freedom in Tasmania.
We bravely fought on and booked ourselves the next flight and then tried to find some things to occupy ourselves while we waited for the next plane. Jonathon considered singing in the airport for some extra money but we thought the sweet sound of his monotone voice might just make everyone jealous. I considered giving families practical travel advice from my expanse of knowledge, but it turns out people don’t like to be told that their children are behaving worse than monkeys on fermented berries. In the end we succumbed to just wandering around the shopping centre nearby and pretending we had enough money to buy anything we wanted.
Finally the time came to board our flight to Tassie. It was a peaceful 2 hour flight. Kid-free, I relaxed, read, snacked and savoured the experience of not having to get up every 5.2 minutes to take someone to the bathroom.
We arrived in Launceston late afternoon, grabbed our rental car and headed for St Helen’s where our first night of accommodation was booked. Apart from seeing the occasional state’s wildlife (usually less alive than I would have liked) the drive was fairly uneventful. We checked in to Sweetwater Villas and got settled into our room. After dinner and a short stroll, we decided to settle in for the night and indulged briefly with some quality TV (Married at first sight) before getting in some ZZZZ’s.
The next morning we got up early and headed for Bay of Fires, an easy half hour drive. The Bay of Fires is gorgeous; a peaceful beachside area where the rocks are well known for the red tinge along them, attributed to lichen that attaches to the granite rock above the height of the high water mark. The name Bay of Fires comes though, not from the colours of the rocks, but from Captain Tobias Furneaux back in 1773 when he saw the fires burning from the Aboriginal people in the bay (just in case you felt like a history lesson).
The fresh sea air at the Bay of Fires made us hungry, so upon seeing a sign sharing the good news of pancakes, we decided to follow our stomachs and headed to Mount Elephant Pancakes. It was delicious but then as a busy mum, I enjoy almost anything that is placed in front of me with no effort whatsoever.
The trip continued directly south as we meandered down to Wineglass Bay. The drive took around 2 hours and we whiled away the time playing “20 questions” and “direct the blind driver”, a really fun game where the driver is blindfolded and the passenger has to direct them. Yeah, just kidding, but hey, if you are up for an adrenaline ride!
Wineglass Bay is picture perfect! Feeling a bit outdoorsy, we took on the challenge to hike from the parking area down to the beach and back. It was a really nice hike. Tiring at times but nothing most people couldn’t manage. I can’t remember how long it took us but it was a really fun experience through bush and the views of the Bay from up high were breathtaking. The beach itself was gorgeous and white and made the hike so worthwhile.
After returning to our car, we headed toward Bicheno where we had booked accommodation for the night. Freycinet is another great area to stay in but for the budget conscious like us, Bicheno is a lot cheaper and not much further out than Freycinet. We prefer to save our coins where we can and pool them for other adventures rather than using them up more quickly on more expensive accommodation.
Our accommodation in Bicheno greeted us rather warmly at a home with added on lodging facilities. Built on a hill overlooking the ocean, this quiet little place was great value for money. We had a room with small kitchen, dining and bathroom area and the hosts were quite friendly.
A walk down the hill before dinner allowed us to expand our lungs with fresh air, get a bit closer to the crashing waves and gave us good dose of adrenaline as we nearly got run over by a passing motorist.
Day three got off to a great start after a lovely uninterrupted night’s sleep (a night without kids will do that for you). We headed further south to the Historic Port Arthur site (about a three hour drive) and spent some time wandering the area and exploring the old homes and antique paraphernalia. A harbour cruise completed our time there as we relaxed for a guided ocean tour of the surrounding headlands and a history lesson. Even for someone as terrible at history as I am, I quite enjoyed the stories. I would love to recount them for you but as I said…. Terrible at history, and remembering history…. Or anything to do with history. So just take my word for it that it was good. Or don’t.
Our Tasmanian road trip continued as we headed back north towards Launceston. Unfortunately I was still unable to see a Tasmanian devil and tick that off my Tasmanian bucket list, but I did get to see some penguins during the trip, so that’s kind of cool.
That night my princess side was indulged as we checked in to our last night in Tasmania at the Hotel Grand Chancellor. There is something about a king size bed and a huge bathtub that just makes me feel like I’m on a proper holiday. The service was really good and once again I got an amazing night sleep.
Sadly, day four was suddenly upon us. With a flight not until evening, we put back on our tourist boots and drove along east side of the Tamar River and down the west side. Embracing our travel roots, we visited a little Swiss Town called Grindelwald. It was sweet and quaint and I felt the need to buy some clogs, put my hair in plaits and see a windmill. Alas the time was ticking away and we headed to Cataract Gorge after passing over the Batman Bridge. In case you were wondering, the Batman Bridge did not include any fun Bat signals, black capes, or signed autographs from George Clooney or Christian Bale. Yes, kind of a letdown.
Cataract Gorge on the other hand was really beautiful. Here you can see the landscaped gardens, do some hikes through nature or join the birds via a ride on the chair lift. Being that Jonathon has a thing about cables, he watched me safely from the ground as I glided gracefully across the sky like an angel overhead. I’m sure seeing me in this fashion just made him fall in love with me all over again. After he regained his composure, we went on a hike around the basin and clocked up some steps on our pedometers, basically just so we could brag about how awesome the number was later on. I really enjoyed the hike and promised myself that I would do lots more of it (still yet to make good on that promise).
The trip ended all too soon with a quick exciting visit to AVIS to return our car (fortunately in the same condition as we borrowed it) and we boarded our flight (on time, yay!) back to Sydney.
Landing safely in Sydney, we added to our adventures with a tire puncture on the way home and spent hours on the side of the M7 waiting for help. Fortunately a kind motorist helped us out and we made it home in the wee hours of the morning, managing to smuggle a couple of hours of sleep in before life as a parent resumed in full force.