“Tasmania was gouged from the planet, against its will, by endless glaciers. As a result, it’s brutally beautiful.”
Arriving in Tasmania, off the southern coast of Australia, the first surprise can often be that it’s cold. In fact, outside of summer it can be really cold, when it wants to.
Surrounded by sea with plenty of rain, mountans and forests, the place doesn’t feel too disimilar from Scotland, though the trees and animals here leave you in no doubt you’re in the southern hemisphere.
It’s rugged, it’s beautiful and it’s well worth a couple of weeks of your life.
Here are one or two tips to make things easier and a few places we recommend you check out.
First, a quick word on food. It’s simple, but it’s good. In fact, it’s worth coming here just for the seafood and wood-baked pizzas.
Rent a motor, pure and simple. You won’t get around this island on public transport; it’s not built that way.
You can rent a car and stay at some of the beautiful B and Bs looking out over the sea, but I recommend a renting a motor home. Usually, I hate the things, but in Taz, the only time you’re not driving up a mountain is when you’re driving down one, so you’re not really holding up much traffic.
There are plenty of campsites where you can plug in and use the toilets and showers on site if you don’t fancy getting intimate with the plumbing in your motor home and you can rent some pretty small, user friendly vehicles. We took what was basically a pickup truck with an accomodation unit on the back and got about without any hastle.
Wood is what has made this island what it is.
You’ll find Tasmania to be full of the most magnificent wooden objects from tables to trinkets, all screaming out for you to touch them.
The forests of towering Huon pine that most of these objects are made of take their name form the Huon river and, if you want a gentle but beautiful walk in the woods before attacking the hikes for real, you can take to the rooftops at the Tahune Air Walk, a steel walkway strung up in the treetops.
I have to admit to being disapointed that the air walk wasn’t higher, longer and tougher, but I guess you have to realise that it’s not there as an extreme sports activity.
It’s a great way to get a panoramic view of the area and excite your adventure buds, before you jump head first into the aromatic wilderness of Taz.
Some landscapes have been laid with care upon the Earth, others seem to have been carved by an artizan.
Tasmania was gouged from the planet, against its will, by endless glaciers. As a result, it’s brutally beautiful.
Hartz Peak is the highest part of the Hartz mountains in the south of Tasmania. At 1255m, it’s not the highest mountain you will ever climb, but the wind is just as alive across the summit and the views across the mountains are a pleasure to behold.
You can easily do this as a day trip, or as part of a longer hike from the forests below.
These babies are 600,000,000 years old. They haven’t been fully explored yet and so far no one knows how far they go.
Sadly, that doesn’t mean they’ll let you explore them yourself – not unattended at least – but it’s definitely worth spending a relaxing morning wandering around down there.
Tasmania has a double-humped crick in its back and it makes for a great climb.
This is the big boy that people come to Taz for. You can still do it in a day, but set out early; it’s a five hour climb.
We travelled from nearby Sheffield, which is no distance on the map, but it took us two hours to get to Cradle Mountain along the second gear mountain roads.
Also, check the weather and plan when to go. The clouds can come in fast here and it can turn from clear to downpour in mintes.
If you do get rained off, there’s a beautiful two hour walk around the tarn lake at the foot of the peak, but let’s be honest, who wants to walk beneath the peak of a mountain like this?
Stanley on the North coast is a beautiful seaside town and worth a visit no matter what.
But it’s also home to one of those curious looking geographical features that make you wrinkle your nose as you try to figure them out.
Right on the edge of the sea – in fact, jutting out sightly into the sea, is a volcanic plug. It’s a 143m (470ft) chunk of steep sided rock with a completely flat top. Walk the trail to the top and let your face be the first thing the ocean wind touches.