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

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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

ACROSS THE DITCH // Hobart, Australia

In what could possibly be one of our more last minute endeavours, Chris and I have just returned from a wonderful little weekend away in Hobart, Tasmania. Slightly over a week ago Chris suggested we go away somewhere as he was planning on taking the Friday off work. 48 hours of googling, checking skyscanner, and organising our schedules later, we had booked ourselves flights to Hobart!

The flight itself takes around an hour, so it is the perfect distance for a whirlwind weekend trip (though we have previously squeezed in Perth, which is a four hour flight!). We headed off on Friday afternoon, and arrived with enough time to check in to our Airbnb and wander back into the CBD for dinner.

After breakfast on Saturday we wandered back into the city to have a quick look at Salamanca Market. However, we didn’t have much time as our main plan for Saturday was to check out MONA, the famed Museum of Old and New Art. Whilst accessible by bus or car, the most popular way to the Museum is by the Mona Roma ferry, which can be caught near the Salamanca precinct of the city.

The ferry (the interior of which you can see above!) takes just under half an hour, and turned out to be a fantastic way to see the beautiful surrounds of Hobart. We were treated to beautiful blue skies, so I occupied myself running around taking photos for most of the journey.

I love how everywhere you are in Hobart you can catch a glimpse of Mt Wellington.

I had forgotten how beautiful Hobart is as a city, if you can call it that. With a population of somewhere over 200,000 it feels a bit like a large country town after living in Melbourne!

We had caught the earliest ferry, so were some of the first people to enter MONA for the day when we arrived. I had no idea what to expect from the museum, other than Chris mentioning he had read somewhere online that we were in for a lot of sex, blood and penises. Whilst MONA certainly lived up to Chris’ warning, the museum utterly exceeded my expectations. Sure, I am not much of an art afficianado, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and walking around the building itself was half of the fun. The interactivity of the ipods visitors are given (as an alternative to information posters beside each piece of art) was a fantastic initiative.

We emerged from the basements of MONA after a couple of hours, and enjoyed basking in the sunshine and taking in some fantastic views of Hobart.

We had lunch at the onsite winebar, before heading to the cellar door to sample beer from an onsite brewery.

Don’t let the blue skies deceive you, it was actually freezing cold! I spent most of the weekend rugged up in a beanie and gloves. It certainly took me back to winter gear being an everyday occurrence in European winter!

The ferry was a return ticket, so we enjoyed another scenic trip back along the Derwent River to the CBD. The remainder of our afternoon was blissfully chilled out, as we hung around our wonderful little Airbnb flat. Having wonderful accommodation meant we didn’t feel as inclined to run around seeing sights, as the place was just as lovely.

Anyone else a fan of Airbnb? I have had quite a few experiences now, and some of them have been absolutely fantastic.

– Reanna