Tasmania: Part 1

Hobart was a fantastic start to the trip. With a hire car in hand we decided to beetle up the East coast. Our goal, to circumnavigate the island.

Maria Island off the East Coast.

We’d been lucky with our hire car; no white SUV, or miniature Toyota / Hyundai. Instead Avis gifted us a Holden SV6 Estate for the tour around Tassie.

The Beast.

Our first port of call was Freycinet National Park home to Wineglass Bay.

Perusing through some beach debris.
Clam shell you later.

On route to the national park we did a quick emergency stop after seeing a sign for Spiky Bridge. Built by convicts back in 1843, the bridge was originally put together without mortar. A giant drystone bridge… with a spiky topping.

H. interacting with Spiky Bridge.
Our first glimpse of Freycinet National Park
Wineglass Bay was, unfortunately, on the other side of this mountain.

After parking up the car, we begun the ascent. A well touristed park, possibly because of its proximity to Hobart, we found the track busy… but not busy enough as to slow our pace.

A view of the peak.
This bit was quiet!
Stage 1, the viewing point at the ridge, gave a satisfying view of the curved bay.
Down on the beach!

Earlier I failed to mention the detail of the route down to the beach. Some, “1000, rough, uneven steps”. We didn’t count them… but needless to say, we were glad to see the top!

Some of the steps were timber.
Others were stone.
All in all, not too taxing. The sign made it sound worse than it was!
Fossilised footprints? Possibly.

Back at the car we did some serious stretching as we already felt a little tight after the walk up the river yesterday.

H. stretching by the car.

Pleased with our activity levels, we treated ourselves to a (fish and) chip shop dinner by the beach in Bicheno. Possibly also one of the only options for dinner in Bicheno, but we’ll glaze over that.

The seaside venue.

After dinner we took a stroll down to the local ‘blowhole’, a rock formation that accents the waves with an impressive water jet!

We have some slow motion clips too…!

The above map shows the route we took between Hobart and Bicheno… we hugged the coastline as much as possible to get the best of both. Land and sea.

The next day we had one thing in mind, seeing a lighthouse in as remote a location as we could find. This was of course not our intention, but bizarrely did become our reality. First stop was the Bay of Fires. Known for the brilliantly bright orange algae that grows on the rock formations that fringe the coastline.

Great for rock hopping!
H. exploring the outcrop.
King of the hill.
The landscape (which you will certainly see more of!) looks distinctly Scottish.
No sooner than I mention it, up pops a thistle!
A closeup of the algae.
The waterline was distinctly visible!

Although we initially thought that the bay was named after the orange algae blooms, it was given its name after Western settlers saw the coastline ablaze; Aboriginal people kept nature at bay with controlled burns.

Instead of heading directly to our next resting stop, we took the scenic route up the coast. Some 60km of gravel road later, we arrived at a nice (v. quiet) coastal village for lunch. We drove up to the pier in Ansons Bay and took in the scenery.

A pelican greeted us enthusiastically…
Lunch on the pier!

Next stop, Scottsdale, or so we thought…

Area prone to lightning strikes? Sheep. #scottishvibes

We were a mere stones throw into our drive to Scottsdale when we saw a sign for a lighthouse… after quickly reading a few reviews… and discovering that it was the most Eastern point in Tasmania… there was no debate. Lighthouse was penciled into our ever changing itinerary!

Eddystone Point Lighthouse.

What a lighthouse it was! “One of the best I’ve seen in Tasmania”, noted the only other person we saw out there… clearly a lighthouse enthusiast.

A smaller beacon sat close to the foot of the lighthouse. I noted these brass hinges. Clearly a hinge enthusiast…
Pretending to climb the lighthouse. Pretending.

Its all in the perspective. Good job Hatti!

A nice little bothy sat near the carpark. Possibly the old keep for the lighthouse keeper.
We finally made it to the B&B in Scottsdale.

We finished the day with a spot of pizza. Cooking was not on the agenda after the long drive! Below is day 2 in map form. If you like the maps let us know… we have everyday since we set of in August mapped… for future reference!

Approaching Scottsdale we noticed that there was many a mountain nearby. We had high hopes for a hike the next day… and after a quick chat with the B&B proprietor we narrowed down the selection to one. Mt. Stronach. Her husband had helped carve the route through the bush… so we felt inclined to check out his labours!

There were a series of 4×4 tracks that weaved through the undergrowth. We took the humble footpath… and used our legs.
Spot the orange triangle. We did our best throughout the hike… we almost took a few alternative routes!
Eucalyptus trees are prone to have their cores burnt out.
A fire had ripped through the area, but the undergrowth was bouncing back!
Our version of snow this winter!
The forest was incredible, as we climbed higher the canopy opened out… we could sense a view!
The track at the top was formed on solid rock.
Boom!
As per previous summits, we set up the camera… and jumped with joy!
A tree we spotted on our decent, incredible gnarly bark!

After our walk we hit the road again this time on route to Launceston, one of Australia’s oldest cities!

A popular tourist attraction near Scottsdale is Bridestowe Lavender Estate, acre upon acre of deep purple… or so we thought! As it turns out we had unfortunately missed the flowering, the crop had been brutally harvested within a couple days of our arrival! The fields did however still look pretty cool, and the aroma did stick around a little too!

Deep green.
Haircut for the mint.

After the former lavender fields we took a pause directly on route to our destination, for a change, at Lilydale Falls. As we were walking to the two waterfalls, that were a quick walk from the road, we took the photograph below of some abandoned rail lines. Pretty atmospheric!

Follow the rails.

The waterfalls were quite quiet at this time of the year, but it didn’t stop us trekking to one of Tasmania’s largest falls later in the trip!

Waterfall no. 2

Not quite drained of energy for the day we embarked on a further 7.6km walk around Launceston on arrival. The nice lady that checked us into our motel recommended Cataract Gorge, and with a pretty full schedule planned for the next day we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see (or not see) CATARACT Gorge.

The gorge in all of its glory!
The gorge opens out to a valley, complete with chairlift!
The bridge that spans across the gorge!
This Irish bar offered the service of, ‘ Drinking Consultants’. We passed on this occasion.

After a quick reboot we were back to fighting strength. After checking out of the motel we wandered through Launceston to the University of Tasmania campus. Specifically to the School of Architecture and Design. We had arranged to meet the deputy head of the school, Ceridwen, who had kindly agreed to show us around. Not only was the tour magnificent, but it was fantastic to hear about all of the public engagement projects that the school was working on. Notably the Castle project which deploys well designed micro dwellings to help youths that are at risk of homelessness and other great causes.

We popped into the city park on route, home to this great conservatory!
This fork lift had a parking lot to itself!
Cook with gas, sure, the lettering was formed with air gaps in the brickwork!
The School of Architecture & Design had taken over an old industrial building, many features were preserved!

The scale of the spaces within the school was impressive, I’ve never seen a triple height workshop before!

Break out studio space to the front, workshop to the rear!

The extension to the rear was equally impressive. The shot below shows the structural glulam beams which glide through the workshop space!

A dream junction.

We finished the tour on the upper levels, beautifully lit by natural light gifted by the school’s saw tooth roof. We can’t thank Ceridwen enough for giving us her time, and showing us around the spectacular building.

The skylights in the sawtooth roof.
As we left the campus, we followed another relic of its industrial past!

Stay tuned for more Tasmania!

James

2 Responses to “Tasmania: Part 1”

  1. What fun to be greeted by a Pelican in the wild and makes me think of Disney films! The School of Architecture in Launceston is magnificent ! What an amazing island.

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