ONE LAST WALK // Launceston, Australia

At last, these Tasmania pictures come to an end! And with a back log of other adventures to come.

These final snaps are from our half day in Launceston before we flew back home to Melbourne. Launceston itself was far smaller (and admittedly, far more underwhelming) then we imagined, so we went out for more hiking and nature.

Cataract Gorge is a river gorge located in the middle of Launceston, and was easily accessible as we were still in our hire car. It was hard to believe that we were still in the middle of the city! We took a hike along the river, before looping back to the gardens and chairlift.

The gorge seemed to be a popular place for locals to hike and run! We were definitely feeling incredibly unfit after a few days of wine, cheese and bread.

A chairlift runs over the gorge, providing what I am sure would be amazing views. However, the chairlift looked at least 100 years old and very rickety, so we steered clear and stayed on the ground.

A random friend we encountered on our walk!

The walk along the gorge was a lovely way to end our whirlwind road trip around Tasmania. Five days felt like just enough time to get a feel for the island state, but we definitely could have extended it to a week. We saw such diverse landscapes, went on some amazing hikes, and encountered all types of weather.

We will be back, Tassie!

– Reanna

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PICTURE PERFECT // Freycinet National Park, Australia

There were so many highlights from our little road trip of Tasmania that it is hard to pick just one as the stand out. However, looking back at these photos from Freycinet National Park, I think it would be hard to argue against this day being number one.

Freycinet National Park was just short of an hour away from Swansea. Most people who visit the park stay in Coles Bay, but accommodation was dire there (like, $60+ for a capsule hostel), hence our opt for Swansea. We stopped by the visitor centre to grab a map, before heading to the main carpark. As per usual I had over researched and pre selected our hike for the day – the 13km Wineglass Bay to Hazards Beach circuit.

After a short uphill hike we made it to our first stop – the famed viewing point of Wineglass Bay. The view speaks for itself.

This little guy had taken up residence at the viewing point and seemed totally at ease with being pet by a small child.

After bashing through tourists to get the best shot of Wineglass Bay, we hiked downhill to the beach itself. The sand was just as white as it had looked from the distance.

Another little friend! This wallaby snuck up behind us as we were sitting on the beach eating apples. As much as I am against feeding native wildlife, I did sneak a pat of this guy, it was too close an encounter not to!

Yes, I am this white all year round.

After soaking up the sun on the beach of Wineglass Bay we hiked inland for a few kilometres before arriving the Hazards Beach. The trails further away from Wineglass Bay were far less busy, and this beach was almost empty apart from one other couple.

The trail eventually left the beach and took us along the coast, offering stunning views towards Swansea.

The visitor centre map advised that the 13km hike would take 5 hours, but we finished it in just over 3 hours, including stops for snacks, lunch and photos.

Freycinet 100% exceeded all my expectations. Such wonderful views, and an amazing hike. Plus, the picture perfect weather helped!

I am almost at the end of all my Tasmania photos. It seems I was a bit too snap happy despite only being there a short period of time!

– Reanna

PEDALS, PINOT & PUPPIES // Swansea, Australia

After rain, snow, hail and the occasional glimpse of sunshine, we were treated to a picture perfect blue sky when we arrived in Swansea, on Tasmania’s east coast.

The small coastal town offers views across the blue bay to the acclaimed Freycinet National Park. We briefly wandered the beach, taking in the sunshine and the blue skies.

Our main agenda for Swansea was to explore the wine region just out of town. Through the help of google I came across Swansea Cycle Tours, a small local company owned by the loveliest lady who was incredibly flexible and adjusted the tour to meet our needs. The bike tours are typically guided, but we enjoy the flexibility of going at our own pace, but the owner was more than happy to organise a self guided tour for us, which included bike hire, helmets, water, and being driven out to the nearby wine area.

We were dropped off near a country road about 15kms out of Swansea, and after a quick briefing we were pedaling down a dirt road towards our first stop – Craige Knowe Vineyard. Chris made some off hand comment about how we might see some cute dogs at the wineries, and then we arrived to this – a fluffy, adorable, tiny 12 week old puppy.

LOOK at this cutie. Many cuddles and pats were had.

The sweet views, delicious wine and local food platter for lunch also helped set up an excellent start to our wine trip.

Our next stop was a short ride up the road to Gala Estate, one of the oldest wineries in the area.

The best part about Gala was the cellar door, which was located in an eccentric old house that was, until recently, the home a farm hand who worked on the estate. The resident was using the above stove right up until he had to move out a few years ago!

The next winery, Springvale, was a slightly less leisurely ride down a major highway, but as per usual we were treated with stunning views and sunshine (and wine)

Our final stop was Milton Winery, which was a perfect place to unwind from our bike ride… well, the 5kms we probably covered anyway. It was easy riding!

It was such a wonderful day in the sunshine, exploring a beautiful slice of Tasmania. Even though we didn’t cover much distance on the bikes it was a convenient way to get around between the wineries at our own pace, though there are tours available.

– Reanna

OUR LUCK CONTINUES // Lake St Clair & Central Highlands, Australia

After a number of hours driving in the rain, our expectations were extremely low when we pulled into the car park at Lake St Clair. After spending a few minutes huddled my the fire in the visitor centre, we decided that we would venture out to the main viewing point.

It was eerie and somewhat beautiful seeing the lake covered with mist, though of course it was nothing like the picture perfect blue skies we had seen in the brochures. The rain was only light, so continued on for a small hike – at least we could stretch our legs!

As we were crossing a bridge we were suddenly hit by sunlight and blue sky began to emerge. I still cannot believe our luck with weather throughout this holiday – the rain always cleared exactly when we needed it too!

A bit further along the track we were able to see out over the lake from a platypus viewing area (sadly, not one platypus was seen!).

Five minutes further down the track and we popped out onto a quiet beach along the lake shore – it was a completely different day! Albeit only briefly, the rain returned as soon as started walking back to the car park.

It was sunny enough for me to snap approximately 200 photos, and enjoy the stunning views. Lake St Clair is at the south end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and is the finishing point of the Overland Track. I couldn’t think of more beautiful places to start and finish such a walk!

We spent the night in a nearby town, if you can really call it that. Bronte Park seemed to be a ‘trailer town’ in the middle of the Central Highlands. The pub we stayed at was ‘quaint’ and ‘characteristic’ at best… let’s just say we had parmas for dinner and we in bed watching Harry Potter by 7:30pm.

The next morning we were up and out relatively early to hit the road for the East Coast. After spending 15 minutes removing ice from our car, we were treated to another day of amazing driving through the highlands.

Tasmania really is ridiculous.

– Reanna

BEACH TO BAY TO BUSH // Strahan & surrounds, Australia

Our time in Strahan was short and defined by the continually changing weather we experience in Tasmania. Strahan (pronounced “straw-n” not “stra-han”, as my Dad corrected me – whoops!) is a small town on the western coast of the island state, and is primarily known for being a gateway to the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

We arrived in Strahan in the late afternoon, and after driving in snow, sleet and rain we were finally treated to a glimpse of sunshine. After checking into our super dodgy accommodation, we made the most of the clear skies and walked along the bay into town for dinner.

Admittedly another reason we chose Strahan as a destination for our trip was the local Beach to Bay fun run. I am sure most normal people would consider entering any type of sporting event on their holiday to be ridiculous, and I am not quite sure what compelled us to enter! I was certainly questioning our decision to run 9kms when we woke to pouring rain in the morning. But as luck would have it, by the time we arrived to start the race the skies had cleared!

The run ended up being beautiful (and hard – I must admit I hate running!) as we ran along the bay, and over a hill to spectacular views of the wilderness down south. Chris of course beat me by about 20 minutes, and we were treated to a “healthy” BBQ of local salmon at the finish line, before hitting the road.

Our plan was to drive through the centre of the state, to Lake St Clair for another walk. The roads were windy and slow going, but it meant we were able to admire the amazing views of the surrounding wilderness.

I was constantly in awe of the changing landscape. One moment we were driving high in the mountains, surrounded by forest, and then next we were in the dry, brown highlands, before turning another corner and seeing snow capped mountains.

The second hour of our drive to Lake St Clair was met with pouring rain and winding roads, so our view was limited to a few hundred metres ahead. But as seemed to the running theme of our trip, the weather was always in our favour…

– Reanna

SNOW DAY // Cradle Mountain, Australia

Another public holiday for a sporting event, another excuse to get away for a few days! Well, this is the attitude Chris and I have adopted, and rather than partake in the Spring Racing fever surrounding the Melbourne Cup public holiday at home, we planned yet another weekend getaway. I think we are finally settling into this work-life balance!

With a bit of planning we managed to extend our weekend out to a five day break, giving us a bit more time away and the added bonus of two short work weeks. After hours of scouring Skyscanner we settled on Launceston, the second biggest city in Tasmania. We had previously been to Hobart, so Launceston felt like a good base for a short road trip around the island state.

After a quick night in Launceston, we hit the road early in the morning to reach our first destination – Cradle Mountain. The national park is known for being the starting point of the famed Overland Track, but it also a features a number of short walks and some amazing views.

The weather forecast was looking pretty grim, so we rugged up in our thermals and beanies before arriving at Dove Lake. I was worried we would have nothing to look at due to the clouds, but we were treated to a stunning view across the lake to Cradle Mountain itself.

After a few happy snaps we hit the trails for the 6km Dove Lake circuit. Everything was fine and dandy for the first 15 minutes, and then it began to snow!

Admittedly the weather forecast had suggested the possibility of snow showers, however I had been skeptical (it is nearly Summer, after all!). Chris and I couldn’t believe it when it started snowing, and continued exclaiming to each other how amazing it was every 30 seconds.

We thought it would pass, but it continued to set in for the next hour as we hiked around the lake. By the time we were nearing the end point, the snow was beginning to stay on the ground, as we could hardly see the other side of the lake. It was such a surreal and beautiful experience! Oh, and it was bloody freezing.

We did get one five minute break of sunshine when we reached the boat hut!

By the time we reached the starting point we were thoroughly covered in snow and ready for a hot drink, but we had to fight it out with the hundred other tourists waiting for the shuttle bus. Luckily the waiting area was sheltered, and we were treated to some lovely views of the snow covered landscape.

All in all, the hike was an amazing experience. Growing up in Victoria I hardly ever saw snow, let alone had the opportunity to be outside during a snow shower!

After refueling with cover and heating, we hit the road again to Strahan, our destination for the night. But more on that later!

– Reanna

ADVENTURE TIME? // Hobart, Australia

The second item on our itinerary for our weekend in Hobart was to head up to Mount Wellington – the mountain that I took a million photos of over the weekend as you could see it from basically everywhere in Hobart.

After some online research and asking our Airbnb host for advice, we decided to catch a local bus (one of what seemed to be about 5 bus lines in Hobart, that ran 4 times on Sunday!) to Fern Tree. From there, the plan was to hike the 5-6kms to the top. My naive look at google maps had suggested this might take a bit over an hour.

The first part of our walk was relatively easy, and took us past Silver Falls. It was absolutely freezing, so we were both rugged up. Once we hit the falls, the tracked became much narrower and steeper, and not to mention extremely muddy. Before long we were both sweating and pulling off all our winter layers.

From afar, the summit was clouded over, however they quickly lifted as we made our way further up.

There only appeared to be a little bit of snow on the summit from a distance, but an hour into our walk patches began to appear around the track. I was terribly excited, but the novelty soon wore off as the track became increasingly covered in snow. Our pace became even slower, as we were only wearing runners and the snow was incredibly slippery!

Despite being incredibly difficult hiking up a steep track covered in snow, it was absolutely beautiful and the views were stunning. It made the frequent stops to catch our breath all the more worth it.

The final hundred metres to the summit seemed to do on forever, as the steps were buried under snow and Chris and I were both absolutely exhausted after what ended up being a solid two hour uphill hike. Once we finally arrived at the summit, we were instantly battered with strong winds and a 10 degree temperature drop. I had never been so thankful for an enclosed viewing platform!

We caught our breath indoors and enjoyed the views (from sitting/collapsing on the benches). No sooner has we arrived did the weather turn and it began snowing!

Our plans to hike down has long since disappeared, but as luck would have it a mini bus running from the information centre in Hobart arrived at the right time, and the driver was happy to take us back down to the city (for a $10 – I think it was this tour company). Chris and I could not have been more relieved for the ride. The driver informed us that the outside temperature was 0 degree celcius, and the wind chill factor made it feel like -9 degrees!

We were dropped back in the CBD, and our first mission was to hunt down ramen to nourish our souls.

The next hour or so we spend wondering around the city, as we had yet to actually check it out properly in daylight. We didn’t venture far, eventually defrosting again with coffee at the IXL Factory.

As we walked past the docks, Chris pointed out a giant orange ship marked the ‘Aurora Australis’. I had completely missed it yesterday, but it is Australia’s icebreaker for Antarctic missions!

Both of us were on the verge of falling over to sleep, so we made our way back to our accommodation in South Hobart (we were staying right next to the Rivulet, which you can see above!). Our host had been so kind as to allow us a late check out due to a late flight, so we made the most of the in house Netflix and had a wild afternoon of watching Harry Potter.

Despite being freezing cold, it was a perfect little last minute weekend away in Hobart! I am so grateful that Chris and I have these opportunities to travel, and every time we do it inspires me to make the effort to see even more of this world. Though realistically, I should probably be bunkering down to finish my honours degree by October. One needs regular breaks though, right?

– Reanna