Just under 200 miles south of the Australian mainland, the country’s only island state - nicknamed “Tassie” - has a unique and compelling history. My visit to the island of Tasmania included Freycinet National Park, a hike up to the Wineglass Bay overlook and two nights in the charming town of Hobart. For a one-day trip, I really had two options: the Port Arthur Historic site where I could delve into Tassie’s troubled history or Freycinet National Park, one of the island’s most spectacular natural wonders. Deciding I wanted my brief visit to focus on the natural scenic beauty of Tasmania more than its history, I opted for the park. The peninsula is home to abundant wildlife including road-crossing marsupials and a large variety of birds. In addition to numerous camp sites, there are dozens of hikes available ranging from short 10-minute walks to a lookout point to full day or overnight hikes with camping. One of the most popular hikes is up to the lookout point for the perfect arc of white sand known as Wineglass Bay. I thoroughly enjoyed my 24 hours in Tasmania and I can definitely see why it’s been referred to as “Dazzlin’ Tassie.” There’s plenty to do here to fill an entire week and I’d love to return someday and see more of the eastern coastline and especially to explore the convict trail and Port Arthur. So much history amongst all that natural beauty.
Hellyers Road Distillery
Make sure you detour to the Hellyers Road Distillery for some whisky tasting. They’ll show you around the whole place, teach you about their history, explain the brewing process and let you taste lots and lots of delicious whiskys. They also make some very interesting flavored vodkas.
Customs House Hotel
The best bet was the shuttle at $25.00 per person with a return. It was sitting outside the door, there were only 8 others and Hobart is supposed to be small, so did not take too long for us to be dropped off at Customs House Hotel. Coincidentally, it is also a pub hotel, which we did not have a clue about. We had to check in at the pub, reception was closed by our arrival at 7:30 pm. The bar staff was pleasant and quickly got us settled.
We visited Tasmania's east coast village- Coles Bay, during the same trip to Australia. While we visited the world famous Winegalss Bay, the most beautiful and probably one of the most unheard of places was "The Hazards" and the Freycinet Park. What we saw here was one of the most interesting experience into wilderness, for we saw red granite cliffs tumbling their ways into the cold ocean, surrounded by the park and its most unusual animals, ranging from the white-breasted sea eagles and red-neck wallabies to the Tasmanian pademelons. What's more is the abseiling, boating and fishing, snorkeling, coastal wine tasting and scenic flights that were just the perfect ways to experience the essence of Coles Bay. The entire experience truly makes up for the most marvellous coastline I have ever travelled! HOW TO GET THERE: Coles Bay is about 45 minutes' drive from Swansea and around 30 minutes' drive from Bicheno, both on the east coast of Tasmania.
Freycinet National Park
Places have a way of changing history. 200 years ago, the chalice-shaped inlet of Wineglass Bay oozed with the blood of butchered whales, turning the peaceful waters into a glass of Merlot and invoking its descriptive name. But today, as tourism draws ever-increasing numbers to Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park, this gruesome truth has been swapped with a more romantic story. Modern visitors are awed by the view from Wineglass Lookout, and assured that the pristine stretch of shoreline is merely titled after its elegant, natural shape. But today, as tourism draws ever-increasing numbers to Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park, this gruesome truth has been swapped with a more romantic story. Modern visitors are awed by the view from Wineglass Lookout, and assured that the pristine stretch of shoreline is merely titled after its elegant, natural shape. Declared a national park in 1916, Freycinet is one of the first federally-protected wildlife regions in Tasmania. Australia’s endemic creatures haunt its underbrush: wallabies, striped skinks and venomous tiger snakes, rosellas and oystercatchers and kookaburras. Dolphins and tentative Humpbacks ride the waves. Perhaps they remember Wineglass’ past better than we do?
Bay of Fires
Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires lie just north of here. Here, I found my heavenly kingdom. I drove, sat, explored, swam and navigated the northeastern bit of Tasmania with nothing but a smile on my face. Even as a kid I never played on a jungle gym quite like this. And neither will you. If there’s one place to see in Tasmania–this is it. Give yourself at least half a day to get lost and hang out in the sun, water and on the sand.
From there, head towards Cradle Mountain. There are a few different hikes you can take, depending on your level of fitness and the amount of time you’re able to commit. If you’ve got a full day, hike to the summit. You’d better be pretty limber and prepared to climb vertical rock walls. If it’s cloudy at the beginning of the hike, no worries. Expect the clouds to hover at eye-level and lift by the time you reach the summit.