Move over Melbourne and Sydney, Tasmania is the new hip state. It has hikes, it has oceans, it has islands upon islands, a fancy museum, a very rich gambler turned philanthropist pouring money into the state’s coffers and amazing food scene. If you are one of the few hip people that haven’t been to Tasmania yet, I am here to say – believe the hype! There is so much to do in East Coast Tasmania, I’m just going to give you a breakdown of some of what I enjoyed doing over two trips.
Is Freycinet National Park the most beautiful place in the world? Perhaps, it is full of natural wonder and delicious local produce. My favourite part of Freycinet is how you can rough it and live it up at EXACTLY the same time. If you go in early spring you should be able to secure one of the many camp spots within the park. We roughed it (mainly because we were fairly unprepared campers) on site for three nights and it was cheap as chips – allowing us to EAT ALL THE OYSTERS. The gorgeous beach front spaces give you near private access to your own little slice of land and we would stroll up and down the beach each morning and evening. The water was a bit fresh but we did go knee deep where we could! I would recommend staying at least two full days during which you should:
- Do the Wine Glass Bay to Hazards Beach circuit. The hike is listed takes between 4-8 hours return, we (me of moderate fitness and small legs) did it in just over 4 hours. TAKE PLENTY OF WATER – it gets surprisingly warm and sweaty out there in the bush. Tip for young players – head to the lookout first then just keep walking around and you can avoid walking *up* all the stairs. I would recommend taking your swimmers even if it is a bit fresh because it is GORGEOUS.2. Fake the highlife with a trip to the Devil’s Corner for oysters and sparkling wine. We opted for pizza because on the particular day we rocked up the oyster place was cash only and we were camping #classic.
3. Fish and chips on the beach – Head into Coles Bay – take a wander around the first place to ban plastic bags in Australia and into the very quiet ghost like fish and chips shop. Don’t be afraid this place is delightful! Grab your box of fish and chips, some rose and enjoy your private beach at sunset. It is truly unforgettable*Pop into the fish shack for a stack of mussels and fresh oysters. Did I say oysters? I hope you like oysters? Because Freycinet is ALLLLL about oysters. Also #YOLO so eat as much delicious, fresh and affordable seafood as you can while you’re in the Apple Isle!
Freycinet has some pretty specky places you can stay that were quite frankly out of my budget but have a freezing cold shower, pop on some jeans and tell no one that you actually are staying at the best place for only $13 a night, it can be our little secret.
Inspired by the mind blowing tectonic plates at Eaglehawk Neck, the Eastern Peninsula was the inspiration (#inspo) to go the Tasmania in the first place. Turned out that as well as having amazing natural history, Port Arthur the historic convict community is also situated at the mouth of the Peninsula and should you walk to the end you are treated to some amazing and breathtaking hikes (literally – pack heaps of water!).
Other than the tectonic plates the other thing that drew us to Eastern Peninsula was the Three Capes – I couldn’t book it fast enough to get in at peak time, but you can do parts of the walk outside of the tour, including what is probably the most spectacular part of the walk I haven’t done – Cape Raul. So my memories of Cape Raul are … tinged with the unfortunate fact that I became severely dehydrated, but from photos and compartmentalising memories I can assure you it is STUNNING! You walk through lush greenery, a mars like plateau with a dried like and right at the end you reach the cape and look out into the great abyss – maybe you see Antarctica?!**
We stopped for sandwiches and obviously a couple of selfies and headed back down. Straight after this we head to Port Arthur to get our two-day park pass and book in for a included tours the next day. I knew nothing of Port Arthur’s history (other than its modern history) and it would love to go back to try some of their other tours.
What I think made the Eastern Peninsula most special was the small community cafes and eateries we stopped in at during out stay, including a community café run by volunteers that has a daily menu change depending on seasonality and probably my favourite coffee spot ever Cube coffee van – LOOK AT THE VIEW!
So I know it is about to seem like I’m an avid camper, I am not. But you HAVE to go to Maria Island it is AMAZING! Also if you don’t want to camp you can book some of their lodgings. Maria island is a sanctuary, literally. The island is a national park with UNESCO heritage listed buildings that is also engaged in a number of wildlife regeneration programs including the Tassie Devil!
When you arrive there is an information centre that will tell you even more about the wild life before you literally stumble upon it on your walk to the main campsite. There are three sites on the island but we stayed on the main site and travelled around by bike (that you can also hire on the island). There is a communal kitchen that has some power and stoves as well as, and this will be very important because Maria Island has Antarctic breezes, sanctioned fire places. There is no refrigeration so you have to bring your own food, but you’ll survive.
The Island has so many amazing things to squeeze into your time there, and it’s hard not to just be distracted by the gorgeous baby wombats or pre-historic looking geese that are around the campsites. Biking is the most efficient transport and there are trails set up for you to make your way across the island. As a commuter biker this was the first time I went mountain biking and it was both terrifying and amazing, also gave me a new appreciation for bike gears. Once you’ve had a look at the island on your wheels, head to the Painted cliffs to marvel at nature, or the Fossil cliffs to do it again. Set one half day aside to do the Bishops and Clerk hike and have a lunch on top of the world!*** At night if you are quiet and not entirely freaked out you may even have a close encounter with a Tasmanian Devil.
Also has anyone seen Paint Your Wagon – there is an epic song in it called “They Call the Wind Maria” which seemed apt (see below)… I sang it the entire time but no one else on the island was a 75-year-old American Man so just me… #feelthevibez.
At every stop in Tasmania be sure to take a moment for a happy hour with local cheese, wine, beer, or sparkling water to appreciate the wonders of the little Apple Isle. I have no doubt you’ll be planning your next visit or to move there in no time! The obvious next trip for us will involve a winter hike up Cradle Mountain and followed by fire side wine.
If you want more details or photos check out my Instagram or contact me below.
* TAKE ALL YOUR RUBBISH WITH YOU. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. Many of our evening walks involved delicately holding somebody else’s discarded waste like sand logged plastic bottles or poppers – GROSS GUYS!
** you won’t, but you can pretend like I did.
*** this hike is very hard but the risk reward ratio and how well you sleep afterwards make it worth it.