Sparky Travels

October 18, 2010


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No sooner had we arrived in Launceston than we were in the a big gang of drinking Tasmanians. After an hour long flight from Melbourne we’d dumped our bags and hire car in the rather twee guest house in the centre of town and headed out for a quick drink before dinner.Almost instantly we got chatting to a bunch of fishermen and as the Tassie beer flowed, dinner was forgotten about. An ‘Irish’ band started up and the Friday night punters filled the Royal Oak Hotel. As soon as one group disappeared another would strike up conversation with an increasingly drunk Helen and I and we’d made many new friends by the end of the night.

We managed to get up in time for check out and cleared our heads with a walk to nearby Cataract Gorge. The jewel in Launceston’s crown, Cataract Gorge is situated a short walk from the town centre but feels like a different world. The steep sides of the gorge lead into what feels like a a mountain forest crossed with a botanic gardens.


It had walking tracks, a suspension bridge, cafes lining the river and bold peacocks which run the place. In a cafe there we had some of the greatest pies we’d tasted in Australia along with some of the most luminous milkshakes ever created.IMG_4338

After lunch we hit the road to begin seeing the sights of the east coast of Tasmania, t’was a long and winding road reminiscent of the highlands. The first stop was the Bay of Fires, famed as one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world. It didn’t quite live up to the billing, partly due to the weather, but the sand was supremely white and the rocks a shocking orange colour (apparently the name “bay of fires” was due to the rows of Aboriginal campfires that were seen when the bay was first ‘discovered).



That evening we reached Bicheno, a seaside village famous for its colony of blue penguins. We went on a tour at dusk and got to see them hopping up the rugged shore towards their nests. We also got to look inside some nesting boxes and see the furry beggars sitting on their eggs and tending their chicks. They were very cute and even the adult ones were tiny. Dinner in Bicheno was some of the tastiest fish I’ve had in a long time.

On Sunday morning we continued down the coast towards Freycinet National Park, stopping off at a blow hole and meeting a wallaby with joey in the car park. The main drawcard of Freycinet is Wineglass bay, another beach reputed to be the most beautiful in the world. The steep trek down to the bay was worth it but again it wasn’t the greatest beach I’ve ever seen (I guess the weather has a large effect. A beach without sun is always missing an important element).

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That evening we arrived in the capital of Tasmania, Hobart.Our Quality Inn there was top quality as were the oysters we had in a harbourside bar. Dinner was fish and chips as we continued our seafood culinary adventure. We didn’t have much time to enjoy Hobart as we wanted to see Port Arthur on Monday, our last day in Tasmania.

On the way to Port Arthur we stopped off at a number of interesting sights including the tessellated pavement (slabs that have been moulded by the sea), the Devils Kitchen an arch and blowhole.

Port Arthur is the home of the famous convict prison during the 1800s. Now a museum, it is also the site of a horrific massacre when a lone gunman went on a rampage in 1996, killing 35 tourists and staff. As a visitor attraction I found it to be quite expensive with not quite enough to see. The boat trip around the Port was good but it was a bit off having to pay extra to see the two most interesting parts (we didn’t).


It was interesting to hear about the lives of convicts there but it pales into comparison compared to the genocide of the entire aboriginal population of Tasmania by the immigrants.We raced back towards Hobart and got to the airport just in time to find our flight was delayed. Finally we got home to Melbourne but could have happily spent another week exploring beautiful Tassie.

1 Comment »

  1. where’s all the flattering comments about your fabulous Coles workmates, ye specky wee gadge, ye!

    Comment by Rhonda — December 13, 2010 @ 10:05 am

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