Visit Tasmania? Sure, Why Not!

by Brian Carroll on May 23, 2012

Post image for Visit Tasmania?  Sure, Why Not! Next on my destination list: Hobart, Tasmania.  Now to be honest, when I was planning this trip, Tasmania wasn't a place I had atop my itinerary, but between hearing good things about the island, watching Looney Tunes growing up and finding a cheap flight, I thought why not?  So I packed my bags, crossed my fingers that the weather was not going to be too cold and hopped on a plane where I figured out my trip details from 35,000 feet in the air. From my on-flight reading, I put together a rough itinerary that focused on points-of-interest on the east coast: most notably the capital city of Hobart, Cataract Gorge, the Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay and Port Arthur.  Since Tasmania is not densely populated (~500k people in all), transportation around the island is limited.  One's best bet to seeing the sites is renting a car, which is what I ended up doing. 1) Hobart:  While the city itself is nothing that remarkable, one of the things it is most famous for is its Salamanca Place market, which is held every Saturday and brings together an eclectic mix of Tasmanian-made goods.  This was pretty cool to check out and I was happy to pick up a couple gifts, as well as enjoy some local Tasman food. 2) Cataract Gorge:  This is basically a tourist point that provides some hiking trails that meander throughout a canyon, finishing in an open area with a nice lawn and gondola ride to give you a view from above.  Nice, but not a must-see by any means.

Did you know Penguins sunbathe?

3) The Bay of Fires: Known for its picturesque scenery, the Bay of Fires is aptly named due to orange lichen that covers many of the rocks along the coast (see picture above).  The combination of white sand beaches, turquoise waters and orange colored rocks makes this as picturesque a locale as any.  While this in itself made for a pleasant day, as I was the sole person wandering down an isolated beach in the area, I stumbled upon a chubby little blue penguin sunbathing on the beach.  At first I wasn't sure if it was even alive as it laid motionless on its belly, but pretty quickly I realized he was just here to relax as well and was not bothered by my presence.  So for the next 20 minutes it was just me and this little penguin hanging out on this deserted beach which was pretty cool.

A rainbow in the distance

4) Wineglass Bay:  Wineglass Bay is one of the most photographed lookout points in all of Tasmania, providing a couple vantage points of the Tasman Sea.  Within this national park, there were additional trails to hike (I did one) and it was here that I had my first encounter with a Wallaby (as well as my second, which was me narrowly avoiding hitting one as it hopped on to the road). 4) Port Arthur:  Sitting toward the southernmost point of Tasmania is Port Arthur, one of Australia's most historically recognized sites.  Port Arthur was essentially a convict colony where prisoners were housed and put to work and was actively used until the mid 1900s.  The grounds essentially made up an entire city with a church, post office, soldier quarters, convict quarters and more.  It was here that many prisoners were sent to work and quite often never left.  I ended up checking out this area with a girl from Austria and we both found it to be much better of a site than we initially expected.  It somewhat reminded me of the experience of touring Alcatraz in San Francisco. Up Next: Melbourne

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