by Juliet Rogers
Over the September / October school holidays we went for a week away as a family (me, husband Rich, Emily (nearly 6) and Stan (nearly 4) to explore an island we hadn’t visited previously but was firmly on our holiday bucket list.
We decided to try a more sightseeing holiday with the kids – we’d previously just stayed in one place and headed out daily on shortish day trips. Given the size of Tasmania we felt we could occupy them whilst driving a bit further and staying in different places. It largely worked (with the assistance of regular stops, their tablets and a few new toys) although Stan got car sick twice and the first three nights they both messed around at bedtime…..
We flew into Hobart (under two hours from Sydney) and hired a car. We had two nights in a hotel in Hobart before driving up the eastern side of the island to Coles Bay, staying in a holiday cottage. From there we travelled to Launceston for another two nights in a holiday home before heading back to Hobart for our final night in a hotel.
Some of the highlights of our holiday were:
Salamanca Market – on every Saturday morning from 8.30am – 3pm. http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Hobart/Salamanca_Market
Waterfront / quay – plenty of boats to look at and lots of restaurants to select your fish and chips from!
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens – smaller than our Sydney gardens but perfect for the shorter strides! Plenty of smaller themed garden areas. Has a kiosk, restaurant and shop but also an ideal picnic location. http://gardens.rtbg.tas.gov.au/
Mount Wellington – a spectacular 30-45 minute drive west of Hobart to experience 360 degree views (cloudless days best and remember it’s about ten degrees colder up there!
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary – plenty of native wildlife here including Tasmanian devils, wombats, kangaroos, various birds and echidna. We saw the devils being fed and fed the kangaroos ourselves. I also got to fulfil a dream of stroking a baby wombat. I really liked this place as they were actively reintroducing the animals into the wild (often orphaned as a result of being hit by a car). http://bonorong.com.au/
Freycinet National Park
Wineglass Bay lookout – 4.8km round walking trip (both kids managed it with a few tantrums) to view something pretty special!
Cape Tourville Lighthouse – north east of Coles Bay, again with plenty of views.
Bicheno – larger and more active small town than Coles Bay so would probably stay here if we ever came back. Has a blowhole, interesting coastal walk (where we saw a wild echidna) and glass bottom boat trips from the small harbour.
Cataract Gorge – interesting area with a suspension bridge, basin walks, chair lift and funicular lift. http://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/
Tasting trail – travel westward along the coast from Launceston on the tasting trail. So many different foods to try (walnuts, raspberries, chocolate, pickled onions, cherries, cheese, salmon, olives, hazelnuts plus of course wine). You’ll probably need a couple of days to do it all but we managed the chocolate factory, cheese factory, raspberry farm and hazelnut farm in a few hours). http://tasmaniasnorthwest.com.au/explore/cradle-to-coast-tasting-trail/
Don Valley Railway – located in Don, a must stop for any Thomas enthusiast! The original station has a shop and small museum, plus you can wander around the shunting yard, into the signal box and through to the workshop. Followed up with a 30 minute ride on a train it was excellent value for money. http://www.donriverrailway.com.au/
Penguin – home to the big penguin as well as Little (Fairy) Penguins (best seen at dusk).
Launceston – Hobart Heritage Highway http://www.discovertasmania.com.au/what-to-do/self-drive/heritagehighway
Ross – home to the curried scallop pie and convict built bridge.
Oatlands – picturesque sandstone village with a hand carved bridge and Callington Mill (windmill).
We then diverted off the highway to head to Richmond to visit the old gaol. http://richmondgaol.com.au/ followed by a stop at ye olde sweet shop.
We would have also stopped at the model village but unfortunately the rain was just too heavy for it to be enjoyable. http://www.oldhobarttown.com/
The above is just a small taste of what Tasmania has to offer – there was so much more we could have done; we either didn’t have enough time or it wasn’t quite suitable for the age of our kids.
Overall a great place to visit as a change from a beach based holiday, a slower pace of life and copious amounts of fresh food!
Have you been on holiday recently? Perhaps you’d like to share your highlights with the RDMs? If so, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org