A quick trip to the only state island of Australia, for a week-end. But now, would like to come back soon to the “garden-state”of Oz 🙂 It is a region full of diversity, from wonderful coasts, similar to Ireland, to historic buildings well conserved such as the penal colony of Port Arthur, where first convicts were brought to. European landscapes in Tasmania. Green, humid, covered with fields and meadows, Tasmania is being discovered quietly, and we don’t have the feeling to be down under, thousand of kms away from Europe.
A bit of history…
Tasmania was discovered by the Dutch explorator Abel Tasman in 1642. It always know a particular history compared to other continental Australian states. It was one of the privileged places for the UK to send the prisoners in XIXth century (as a testimony, the magnificent vestige of Port Arthur), but also the second oldest city of Australia, chosen by free settlers, Hobart. However, dark side of this history obviously come with this compelled colonialism: Aborigines have been killed and slaughtered, as well as decimated by imported diseases (the last one, Trigaini, died beginning of XXth century), and the famous Tasmanian tiger (the thylacine) became officialy extinct in 1936, with the last one dying in Hobart zoo. His cousin, Tasmanian devil is still alive in the Tasmanian countryside, even if the species has to face a big problem now: a contagious cancer-face problem, killing massively the population, almost endangering the species now! Tasmania, a cursed isolated place at the other side of the world?
Launceston and the Cradle Mountain
I arrived a Friday night in Launceston (second city of Tasmania, but a quite small city actually) from Melbourne. At nightime, the city is very quiet, not much parties happening 🙂 The next morning, I reach the cataract gorges, very near from the center. Here you will have the feeling you are quite away from everything. Some wallabies can be seen early seen near the river, where this is a beautiful garden. This relaxing morning is a good and easy way to discover the island of Tasmania.
Tasmania, nature with a big N!
Then you drive along and head to Cradle Mountain! Very spectacular, lot of wombats everywhere in the surroundings. Wear warm clothes, good walking shoes and go and explore the Dove Lake, A full day is necessary to give a closer and deeper look to get familiar with the area and feel the immensity of it. So, if you don’t have time to do the famous walk of Overland track (several days of walk throughout countryside of Tasmania). A short walk near the mountain is actually an excellent overview. Please note the region is quite windy and cold, and look like New-Zealand in some way.
Apart the many wild wombats walking around the Dove Lake, easy to spot, maybe you will be able to see a thylacine? Also called Tasmanian Tiger, the species is officially extinct since 1936 but many local testimonies put this statement in doubt…why not a good surprise soon?
Anyway you will be able to do beautiful walks around the area and relaxing in the countryside. Even if the weather can be very cold, the mountain is very spectacular. But don’t try swim in the extremely cold waters of the lake!
Discovering Hobart, south of Tasmania, facing the Arctic. The weather and the architecture make you feel you are in a beautiful small English town, very European style. Among the unmissable things, the harbour where scientific boats are leaving to the Arctic but also local fishing boats going back regularly with the fresh salmon they recently got. Also, the historic and residential suburbs of Battery Point as well as the Salamanca market (during the week-end) are highlights of your trip to Hobart. You can find very typical and special things at this market actually, you can be surprised!
Hobart, a peaceful provincial town
Hobart is a small calm town, where celebrities were born, like Errol Flynn, unforgettable Robin Hood from the golden age of Hollywood
Going up to mount Wellington is also interesting to have a panoramic view of the island and the Hobart bay. Getting there with your car or a minibus, it is even possible to see snow up there so get your warm clothes! Like Sydney, Hobart is an old town and the privileged location near a bay is very important, and that’s what the free colons like and chose to establish the capital of Tasmania in this natural landscape
The movie Lion, which won Oscars and that we were lucky enough to watch with Nicole Kidman and Dave Patel presenting the movies, tell the true story of a young Indian boy being adopted by a couple of Tasmanian people, then going to discover his biological family in India thanks to new technologies.
So, even if my trip to Tasmania was extremely quick, it was good to discover the island, very different compared to what you can see in Northern Territory or Queensland for example, other parts of Australia. Although the flight tickets may be a bit expensive to get there, even if it is not too far away. Still lot of things to see (Port Arthur, Wineglass Bay, wildlife parks to meet with the Tasmanian devils, the d’Entrecastaux islands off Hobart…), need to get back to this island!