Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One week walkabout in Tasmania

The island state of Tasmania is a place of wild beauty. There are dense rainforests, dramatic mountain peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, wild rivers, rugged coastline, and scenic farmland.

Historic convict-built buildings are common in Tasmania, while the wildlife is often easier to spot than elsewhere particularly in the evening, when the marsupials come out to play.

Tasmanians are friendly and welcoming, and the state has a reputation for producing some of Australia’s finest food.

You can cover quite a lot of territory in a week, but it calls out for a longer stay too.

Day 1
Tasmania’s state capital is Hobart. It’s a cosy, attractive town set on the Derwent River estuary.

Head first to Salamanca Place, Hobart’s cultural hub. Here you’ll find historic sandstone buildings featuring a range of art and craft stores, galleries, cafes and bars.

Each Saturday, Salamanca Place hosts the bustling weekly market, where stallholders sell fresh, locally grown produce, and handmade crafts.

From here it’s a short stroll to Battery Point, an area of pretty colonial cottages and more imposing historic buildings. Stop in at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and learn about early explorers, the local whaling history, shipwrecks, and Aboriginal bark canoes.

After a wander around the calm, yacht-filled waterfront and the compact town centre, make your way to Mount Wellington, which stands on Hobart’s doorstep. On a clear day you can see one third of the island from its summit.

Day 2
From Hobart travel inland to Mount Field National Park for a short walk through a temperate rainforest to the scenic Russell Falls. Look out for beautiful tree ferns and towering swamp gums, the tallest flowering plant on Earth.

Head slowly across country to the picturesque fishing village of Strahan, on the island’s far west coast. Along the way is the mining town of Queenstown, which is surrounded by colourful, moon-like hills.

In Strahan hop aboard a steam train and take a ride back to Queenstown on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. This spectacular 35-kilometre (22 mile) rail journey takes in massive hand-hewed rock cuttings, ancient rainforests, and plunging gorges. A coach returns you to Strahan.

Day 3
You can get an idea of the size and beauty of the World Heritage-listed wilderness around here by flying over it in a seaplane. You can immerse yourself in the beauty and peacefulness of the pristine Gordon River by exploring by kayak. You can take a boat cruise into the wilderness too.

Day 4
Next stop is Cradle Mountain, where you could stay the night in a first class lodge. This spectacular area consists of button grass plains, alpine forests and dozens of lakes. Take a stroll around Dove Lake, formed by glaciation in this region over 10,000 years ago.

In the evening, go on a guided wildlife tour to see nocturnal animals, including Tasmanian devils, wombats, wallabies, and marsupial ‘cats’ called quolls.

Day 5
You won’t be in a hurry to leave the natural world of beautiful of Cradle Mountain, and if you had around six more days to spare you could hike Australia’s best-known walking trail, the Overland Track.

Still, you can trek to the summit of Cradle Mountain, and get close to Tasmanian Devils. This sanctuary is working hard to help conserve this iconic meat-eating marsupial through a breeding program.

Day 6
Start early today and drive to the other side of the island. Pass through the historic city of Launceston, and head towards Freycinet National Park. This stunning area features craggy pink peaks, coastal dunes, heathland and chalk-white beaches.

In the afternoon you could take a dolphin cruise, enjoy local delicacies at an oyster farm, or paddle a sea kayak along the sheltered coastline.

Day 7
Start off with a short uphill walk to the Wineglass Bay Lookout for breathtaking views. You can continue hiking for hours if you wish, along beaches and past shell middens – seashell refuse heaps. These grew up over thousands of years ago, thanks to the local Aborigines.

A pleasant drive along the east coast eventually brings you back to Hobart, just in time for a seafood meal overlooking the harbour.

Courtesy Tourism Australia



More Information:
Tourism Australia Media Centre - One week walkabout in Tasmania
Rainbow Tourism - Hobart
Rainbow Tourism - Tasmania overview

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