The island of Tasmania is the smallest state of Australia. It is located in a zone of subtropical climate in the north, and temperate in the south. Therefore, by nature, the island is closer to New Zealand than to the green continent (which is more red than green). Tasmania is unique in its nature, namely, the fact that evergreen fern forests are preserved here – the same ones that you saw in dinosaur movies. This made me go to Tasmania, although Sydney was the alternative. I love green, forests, reserves and national parks. I could not miss the unique opportunity to migrate a few million years ago briefly.
In this short route, calculated for 5 days (4 nights), we collected the best of what this amazing reserved area has to offer. Walk along the Cataract Gorge in the center of Launceston, immerse yourself in history on the cobbled streets of the Hobart embankment and have a cup of coffee under the umbrella at Salamanca Square, admire your reflection in the mirror waters of Dove Lake and learn about the lives of prisoners of the mid-19th century , visiting the ruins of Port Arthur Historic Site on Tasman Peninsula. All this – only the main attractions that this small island is famous for, and the proposed route will allow you to see them.
National parks occupy 21% of the territory of Tasmania, most of the representatives of the local animal and vegetable worlds can be found only in this part of the world. Nevertheless, on arrival at the airport in the state capital, Hobart, I did not notice any particular signs of environmental control, except that the signs hung around the circle with crossed out images of seeds, fruits, food and dirty shoes.
Perhaps there was no control because most border guards and military men were engaged in extinguishing forest fires, which, due to the anomalous forty-degree heat, spread in the southern part of the island, where I kept my way. The cleanest air on the planet was diluted with fire and smoke, and the bright sky was painted in the evening in a gray-yellow-orange color.
From the airport, I drove to Hobart on a shuttle bus for AUD 17. He stayed at the hostel, where for $25 a day for three days he lived in a six-seated room: first in a company of quiet Asians who regularly charged something, occupied all the outlets in the room, and later – in the group of desperate travelers from Germany.
Having made sure that the fires raging around the city – this is not a joke, I decided to go to the tourist center to make a more or less clear route for 5 days, which I had to spend in the wild south. However, given the situation with fires, planning excursions was risky – a list of available, canceled or replaced tours was updated every day.
Public transport and organized tours
Public transport in Tasmania is not developed at all – they are mainly used by schoolchildren to get to study from nearby villages. Therefore, tourists are forced to spend a lot of money for organized tours (an average of 120 Australian dollars) or rent a car – in this case; you need to pay only for entry to national parks, and for water transport services.
Organized tours can be booked directly at the hostel, hotel or tourist office. At the end of the trip, the driver delivers the participants to the right addresses, and can also deliver to the airport, and for free. Given the strange schedule of shuttle buses, this service is particularly enjoyable.
Hobart – a lovely town, after Sydney – the oldest in Australia. Walking around the city on foot is convenient. The most impressive building here is the 1395-meter, five-lane Tasmanian bridge across the Derwent River. For the first time, I saw this bridge when I went to Hobart from the airport and was very happy that I did not settle on the other side. However, to view Tasmania, it takes at least five days.
I started my acquaintance with Hobart from Salamanca Place, part of the old city, where on the day of my arrival the famous Saturday market worked. In the market, I chose my hat for a long time from the sun, but I did not choose anything.
Having eaten on a hot January day, I went to the Royal Botanic Garden of Tasmania. On the way to the garden, I enjoyed the views of the bridge Tasman Bridge, listened to the singing of giant kingfishers, rejoiced in the summer, the smells of grass and flowers. Even here, in Tasmania with its temperate climate, and even in the drought period, there was always something very bright, something always blossoming. Australia is a bright country!
On my first evening in Hobart, I decided to take a boat ride along the funnel-shaped mouth of the Derwent River, which passes first in the Tasman Sea and then into a huge ocean. On the boat, you can dine and taste Australian wine.
Every day I saw that same gray-yellow-orange sky and black smoke in the distance, but if you changed the route a little or looked in the opposite direction – and the eye was again pleased with a pleasant blue. Several times I happened to drive past burned areas of the forest, observe several incinerated houses, but in general, the situation with fires was under control.
Hobart is at the foot of Mount Wellington, – Tasmania, in general, is the most mountainous state in Australia. To the top of the mountain, I got on a special tourist bus, and back down on foot, enjoying the forest and the views opening from the mountain. I drank water from springs, threw stones at the gorge, followed the change in the natural world as the altitude fell.
To get to the city center, at the foot of the mountain it was necessary to find a bus stop. The bus, which in Hobart for some reason called the metro, was late for 45 minutes. The Germans who rode with me were perplexed. I was prepared beforehand and knew what public transport in Tasmania is.
The most exciting thing in Tasmania is to stop on the way to farms and try local fruits, berries, cheese, wine and then on the list. Everything is delicious. Apples – as from grandmother’s garden, fragrant, juicy, – such not to be found in supermarkets. It is even more interesting to stay in such places for the night.
The owner of Brockley Estate came from Tasmania, but lived more than ten years in London, and then returned. According to him, those who return, after the hustle and bustle of the big city begin to appreciate their native places more. The estate belongs to his uncle, who also lives in London, but sends here the antique furniture remaining after the demolition of old mansions. Therefore, the house, which itself was not reconstructed since the 19th century, and inside is furnished with antique furniture, carries its guests to a couple of centuries ago. Everything is very stylish and harmonious, with a friendly and individual attitude to the guests: we, who arrived late and did not have time for dinner, were fed home.
Freycinet is a fairly large national park in the top attractions of Tasmania. On it you can walk for more than a day, so we covered only a small part of the park. Again pedestrian trails, from which, even if they are moderate levels, the next day the legs hurt. On the way, you can go deep into the bush and watch the local wildlife in the form of cute volleyball. And after an hour’s climb-descent through the mountain – bathing in the rayon Wineglass Bay – this is a real cherry on the cake, as the locals say, that is an excellent end to the walk, after which, however, it is necessary to go back as much again.
Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania (less than 100,000 inhabitants), and the only one that is on the river. The river is big, with a beautiful promenade, in one of the many restaurants where you can have a great dinner. We stopped near the town, in the town of Exeter, in the wooden, in Finnish style, cottage Hazel Creek. Another beautiful place, with a charming hostess and three friendly labradors. We, as usual, drove up at night. Leaving the car and looking up, we were still, looking at the starry sky. In general, the stars are visible in Melbourne, and a lot, but there were a lot of them, along the Milky Way, and their slow movement could be watched endlessly.
Finally, we stopped in the gorge of Cataract, number one in the list of attractions in this region. If you ignore the paid cable car and the swimming pool for tourists and go deep into the pedestrian path to the old hydropower station, you get an excellent couple-hour walk. And in the photo below Hazel Creek and the bridge in the gorge.
A day later I went to meet the largest predator of Australia – the Tasmanian devil. Now, this is my favorite beast, who took the place of the taper. Poor devils are now on the verge of extinction: for unknown reasons marsupial devils massively get cancer of the face, and this disease has already destroyed about 70% of the population of unfortunate animals.
Tasmania is an Australian state in which there are no aborigines left. Everyone either was exterminated, or they died themselves because of the lack of immunity against European diseases.
Although fires raged on Tasmania, although the air temperature in Hobart rose above forty degrees in the day, nowhere else did I feel such cold as here, four and a half thousand kilometers from Antarctica …
On the island of Bruni (named so in honor of the French explorer Joseph Antoine de Bruny D’Entrecasteaux) it seemed to me that the Antarctic is located not thousands of kilometers to the south, but somewhere behind the turn. And let after a trip on a motor boat jumping on the waves of the Tasmanian Sea, I got a terrible backache, let it freeze and get wet – I was pleased that I decided to spend another 200 dollars and go to the real expedition! Sea lions, penguins and dolphins! The power of the sea and the power of the ocean! Incredible rocks and muddy-green algae. Could I expect that having gone to hot Australia, I will be practically in Antarctica?
Also, I visited Cockle Creek, a small settlement where the southernmost road ends in Australia, and further on to the south, you can only walk. This is the most distant place I’ve ever been.
Tasmania is a fantastic island, not like the rest of Australia. I want to go back to the end of the world again. To understand who I am and where my place is. To enjoy this untouched nature, with its whims and quirks. To once again feel the taste of that soft cold water, see the Tasmanian devil and breathe still the cleanest air on the planet.