After visiting Port Arthur in the morning, Sara and I drove our campervan to Freycinet National Park. On the way, we picked up supplies, including Tasmanian salmon, Tasmanian wallaby mince, and a bottle of Tasmanian Sauvignon Blanc (clearly after local flavours) and stopped for a delicious scallop pie from a small coffee shop for lunch.
We also stopped in Swansea to hike part of the Loontitetermairrelehoiner trail. I have no idea how to pronounce the trail name or what it means but it was a nice break from driving.
We then drove to Friendly Beaches, within Freycinet National Park, to see the views and hopefully find a camping spot. Although there are basic free camping facilities available, it was quite crowded so we continued on to the visitor center which has sites for $16 per night. The visitor center was closed when we arrived but there were unpowered campsites available so we set-up our camper and enjoyed the sunset and a wonderful Salmon dinner. The campground is in a fantastic location and I understand that in the summer it get so busy they have to operate a ballot system to award sites. The next morning, we went and paid the $16 for our site and received the code to get in the coin operated shower building which was perfect for after our morning hike.
Our main reason for visiting Freycinet National park was Wineglass Bay, one of Tasmania’s most celebrated locations, so after packing up our campervan we drove to the trail head. As we drove into the parking lot we saw a number of wallabies in the road and got out to take photos. Unfortunately, the wallabies actually jumped towards us (rather than the natural instinct to get away and hide) which showed me they had been domesticated by too many visitors feeding them. It’s a shame because one day I imagine those wallabies will get hit by a car and die thanks to those who fed them. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE!!!
The Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit is an 11km hike that took us 4.5 hours. There is also a shorter Wineglass Bay Lookout hike that only takes around an hour. It was a very nice hike but due to the clouds in the sky the views over Wineglass Bay weren’t as spectacular as I had hoped. The highlight for me was seeing a pod of dolphins chase a fishing boat through Great Oyster Bay.
After the hike, Sara and I drove to the nearby Honeymoon Bay Day use area and cooked up our wallaby mince on the free public BBQs. We then returned to the campground and made use of our shower access code for a nice refreshing post-hike shower. I had seen an advertisement for the Ironhouse Brewery which is up the East Coast at Ironhouse Point. Although it was a bit out of the way, we figured we had enough time to sample some beers and drove up Tasmania’s East coast, stopping in Bicheno on the way.
The Ironhouse brewery is located in a resort complex and its restaurant area felt like the resort clubhouse. The restaurant area featured lots of windows and light and we enjoyed sampling our way through a beer paddle. Once again, we had no idea where to camp that evening so we could not relax for too long. Instead, I bought a 6-pack mix of our favourite sampled beers that I figured we could enjoy once we knew where we would rest our heads. We planned to be in Launceston the next evening so we drove as far as we could before the sky turned to dusk and we had to find a free campground. Conveniently, we drove through St. Mary’s which is a quaint town that offers free camping out by its horse track. Even better, St. Mary’s had free WiFi so after a week of blissful campervan travel we could check-in with the real world.
The next morning we drove into Launceston and set out to explore. The main thing I wanted to do was visit the Boag’s Brewery to sample their beers. We chose to skip the brewery tour and instead just enjoy a beer paddle and cheese plate pairing. My favourite beer was definitely the Wizard Smith Ale, an English Pale Ale. Unfortunately, as with everywhere else in Australia, it was served a bit too cold to be properly enjoyed but thanks to the beautiful sunshine it soon warmed up to the right tasting temperature. On the upper floors of the Boag’s Brewery serving room there are several museum displays so we also took a few minute to wander around them.
We then drove to Tamar Island, 10 minutes outside of Launceston, to walk the boardwalk through the wetlands. We paid the admission fee and were rewarded with seeing swans, snakes, and a variety of other birds. It was a nice walk but given the cost, not as worthwhile as many other walks and hikes in Tasmania.
To end our day we went to Launceston’s Cataract Gorge, a beautiful park area featuring restaurants, walks, bridges, and canyons. It was a beautiful spot in the city and I can definitely imagine spending a day enjoying a picnic in the area.
We ended our trip back in the Longford Campground, right back where we started. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Tasmania and am very happy we had a campervan.Sstaying in the wild and making the most of Tasmania’s hikes and short walks is definitely the thing to do if you visit. We had unfortunate luck with the weather but we still found amazing views and food and saw lots of wildlife. Tasmania is definitely different than mainland Australia and I would encourage anyone with the time to make a visit.