A scenic road trip
21.05.2015 - 21.05.2015 10 °C
I’d always been told that Tassie has amazing scenery, great outdoors and amazing food, and that I would ‘love it’. Being an avid traveler born and bred in Melbourne, people were usually a bit taken aback when I’d confess that I’d never been to Tasmania. I’d always wanted to go, but traveling to destinations farther from home always sounded so much more appealing and adventurous.
My cousin Wendy travels a lot and is always ‘in-the-know’ with sales on domestic flights. After a week of being at the hospital with Grandma, we were exhausted, drained and was in desperate need of something positive. She was browsing on Jetstar’s website, a budget airline in Australia, and found that they had one of their big sales on. We started browsing and dreaming of all wonderful places we could go – a great escapism from the reality that was in front of us. I didn’t have enough annual leave accumulated for an overseas trip, so I started dreaming of all the places I’ve wanted to visit in Australia – Uluru, Blue Mountains, Western Australia, South Australia, and then I remembered – Tassie. My friend Flo (Florence) and I had spoken of traveling to Tassie together, so I sent her the link to the crazy cheap $78 return flights. I wasn’t really serious, as I usually plan my trips at least a few months in advance (I’m a bit of a planner and like to make sure I have my annual leave approved before I book any flights). Plus, I’d recently booked a spontaneous trip to Port Douglas and had a trip to Darwin planned for quite soon after that. But to my surprise, Flo was keen to go for 5 days, and I was in a “there’s more to life than work” mood, so before I knew it, the flights were booked. I knew that I would need to get away for after Grandma… and this seemed to be the perfect trip for it.
We left for Tassie 4 days after I got back from Port Douglas, so I was going from the warmest place on the east coast to the coldest. I had resigned from my job and was working in the notice period, so I was super keen for the get-away. It was the first time Flo and I were traveling together, and I was really excited, but a bit apprehensive because I generally prefer to travel alone for anything longer than a weekend. We checked the weather forecast, and it was going to be a few degrees colder than Melbourne – not that much colder, right?
We arrived in Hobart at around 9:30am and we set off on the drive to Cradle Mountain as soon as we got the car. Despite given a teeny tiny lipstick red Hyundai i20, I was super excited to be driving a manual again. We relied on the GPS on my phone for directions, blindly following the instructions the Google lady barked at us. Immediately I was blown away by the openness and the crisp fresh air. There were mountains and blue skies, farmland scattered with cute little sheep. There were rolling hills and windy roads. It reminded me of a mix between country Victoria and what I imagine New Zealand to be like. Flo found the fun fact that Tasmania has the freshest air in the world, and I believed that.
We stopped at Campbell Town for lunch, about 1.5 hour drive from Hobart. We went for a walk along the main street to stretch our legs, wandering in an antique shop and a cute homewares/gift shop. It’s a quaint little town, with a petrol stop, an IGA, an op shop and lots of little cafes and restaurants. It felt colder than Hobart, so after a quick walk we decided to have lunch at Zeps Café. It had a fireplace! And the best vegetarian focaccia I’ve ever had.
We hopped back into the car and after a bit of a mishap with the gear shifting (I didn’t realize the car had 6 gears as I’ve only driven cars with 5, so I was trying to reverse in the 6th gear – doh!), we were on our way again. The scenery seemed to be similar, with some small changes – more tree lined streets and more rolling hills. There were many times that we’d turn a corner and one of us would gasp “Oh wow…” in awe at the view. It seemed we were both in need of some time out of the city. We continued chatting the whole way, having D&Ms (deep and meaningful conversations) through each of the small towns that we’d pass. I think it was after making a turn out of Sheffield that we first saw Cradle Mountain. The view was amazing and got us excited about visiting the National Park.
First glimpse of Cradle Mountain
From there, the terrain became more shady and dense with trees, and the windy roads now climbing uphill. We stopped by a lookout and soaked in some beautiful views.
View of Cradle Mountain from lookout
More views from lookout
Excited by the views
We soon arrived at our cabin at Discovery Parks and we felt like we were really ‘in’ the park, being surrounded by trees and hearing nothing but birds. Our cabin was basic, with a bunk bed, a double bed, a small heater and desk and chair. It reminded me of the KOA Kabins I’d stayed at in the US. We were told that the information centre was closed (open 8:30am-5pm) so we went for a quick walk and then headed to Cradle Mountain Lodge for dinner. There was an amazing fireplace at the lodge, so we stayed for a drink and chatted to some ladies from South Australia.
Hot drinks by the fireplace
Flo the fireplace expert
After returning to our cabin, we had a few glasses of wine before heading to bed, excited for the day ahead.
Nothing better than a fireplace in a cabin on a cold night