The intrepid explorers have returned from their circumnavigation of our little southern state, travel-weary but also travel-happy. My trip = 1 plane flight to Melbourne + 1 night sail to Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania + 8 days spent driving clockwise around the island + 4 nights of camping + 4 nights of plush hotel accommodation + 1 return night sail back to Melbourne + 3 days driving from Melbourne through the Snowy Mountains to Canberra to Sydney to Brisbane with 1 night in a country pub, 1 night driving/sleeping in the car, and 1 night camping at Woody Head, totalling 5000 kilometres and 12 days on the road.
Happy to show you through the travel snaps (with accompanying stories taken from my travel journal), I've collected some of the best of the photos we captured on the trip together in a digital album (located in the right-hand sidebar), but here's a sneak preview:
So in retrospect, here's a quick run-down of the trip's most memorable moments and places:
Best bit: seeing the fairy penguins at the rookery on Bruny Island, just down the road from our campsite. Worst bit: the seasickness in the middle of the night on the ferry on the way to Tasmania. Favourite place: Launceston for its ample photo opportunities, and Cradle Mountain/Dove Lake for its stunning beauty. Best eating experience: Plate of freshly shucked oysters with fresh-sqeezed lemon (following the hike to Wineglass Bay) at Freycinet Marine Farm. Best meal: Exquisite dinner and wine at the Cradle Mountain Lodge on Valentines Day. Best accommodation: Our night at the Cradle Mountain Chalet in a cedar log cabin with forest views. Favourite camping experience: cooking breakfast one morning overlooking Fortescue Bay (near Port Arthur). Worst camping experience: trying to set up camp at Coles Bay in torrential rain, freezing arctic wind, and fading daylight. Coldest location: Lake St Clair...a night so frosty we had to stay at the Derwent Hotel (because it had a log fire) rather than freeze to death camping. Favourite out-of-city experience: Hiking around Dove Lake/Cradle Mountain in the late afternoon in perfect weather. Favourite detail: all the fruit stalls along the country roads, especially the ones selling fresh berries! Favourite cafe moment: A close tie between the Groovy Penguin Cafe in the little town of Penguin, and the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet - both great locations for writing in the travel journal while sipping hot chocolate :) Best retail experience: Rummaging through a huge second-hand store in Hobart + finding lots of arty goodies. Best sweet experience: Sharing a Caramel Sundae with DD at a cafe in Hobart called 'Sticky Fingers'. Favourite book store: the NGV bookstore in Federation Square, which has the best range of design books. Hidden treasure: the Elephant Pass Pancake House up in the mountains near St Marys. Best drive: Through the rugged terrain from Lake St Clair to Cradle Mountain, singing along to the Beatles and Van Morrison (how wonderfully daggy!). Biggest, happiest surprise: Discovering Cataract Gorge in Launceston...fish + chips by the water, evening walk around the Gorge (daylight until 9pm!), and walking back into the city via an old residential part of town, as night began to descend. Most likely place I'd revisit: Hobart. Just didn't get enough time to see Hobart. Actually, 8 days was never going to be enough to see as much of Tasmania as we wanted to, but it gave us a very satisfying taste-test. You guys were right when you told me that it was "all just beautiful"!! Tasmania's stunning!
And now...to sort through these 2300 photos that we took, and start putting this digital album together...Stay tuned.