Charmaine & Tony, married last December, and Charmaine’s best friend Elise, and husband Sam, married mid-March, and all from Hong Kong, enjoyed a 10-night private tour of Tasmania with Tasmania i-Drive.
It was straight to Barilla Bay Oysters for lunch from Hobart airport before some time spent exploring historic Richmond. Once in Hobart it was apparent that Mount Wellington would not offer any outlook due to being enveloped in cloud. We drove to the Mount Nelson Signal Station lookout instead and were rewarded with expansive views across the city.
Day two began with a good look around Salamanca Market with shopping opportunities taken advantage of throughout the morning. We then headed for Port Arthur with a stop at Dunalley for fresh fish & chips. The afternoon was spent at the Historic Site with stops at Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen on our way to Eaglehawk Neck for the night at Lufra Hotel & Apartments.
The third day was an early start driving direct to Triabunna to board the ferry for Maria Island. We all enjoyed the walk to the Painted Cliffs, via the old Oast House, with many sightings of wombats and wallabies along the way. On returning from the island we headed for Bicheno for our night’s accommodation. The little penguins were not playing the game with none sighted but the night sky made up for the lack of birdlife offering fabulous views of the Milky Way.
Day four saw us heading up the Wineglass Bay Lookout track early in the morning. It was windy and the going a little tricky but we were rewarded with great views of Wineglass Bay once there. We then visited Cape Tourville before lunch at Freycinet Marine Farm. The afternoon took an unexpected turn with the road north of Bicheno closed to all traffic due to a fatal road accident. This meant a considerable detour of about 3-hours drive via Royal George, Avoca, Fingal and St Marys! We had dinner at St Helens and shopped for supplies for our two night’s ahead at a sheep farm. We arrived at our destination at 9:30pm, very tired.
This morning we explored Mt William National Park including a walk to the summit for views over the Furneaux Group of islands. We saw wallabies and Forester kangaroos off in the distance. We then visited the Musselroe wind farm before lunch back at Gladstone. We spent the afternoon at the northern end of the Bay of Fires at Eddystone Point. The cameras sure did get a workout! Highlight of the day, if I say so myself, was the evening meal prepared by me in the Icena Farm kitchen. Pork steaks, potato in their jackets with sour cream and spring onion, and sweet corn for five.
Our sixth day saw us at Derby for morning coffee after a quick stop at Little Blue Lake on the way. Our next stop was Bridestowe Lavender Farm with Bobbie the bear a big hit. Once across the Batman Bridge we headed for Exeter and lunch at the Burt Munro Café. We then learnt some interesting facts about bees at the Exeter Beehive before venturing to the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. After enjoying the interactive exhibits on display we travelled to our last attraction for the day, Seahorse World, at Beauty Point. We all enjoyed visiting the variety of underwater characters before the group spent a restful night at Beauty Point Cottages.
Day seven started with a drive around Clarence Point for a photo opportunity before visiting Platypus House to learn about our two species of monotreme in Tasmania, the platypus and the short-beaked echidna. Our next stop was Narawntapu National Park where we saw many Forester kangaroos from a short distance. Latrobe was our destination for lunch and a chocolate tasting at the House of Anvers. We stopped at the arboretum at Eugenana to see Tasmania’s most unique tree, the Huon pine, and take a peek at a platypus in the wild. We ten stopped at Penguin for a photo with the Big Penguin on our way to Stanley for the night.
Morning eight and we climbed the steep track up The Nut and walked the 2-kilometre track around the summit of this ancient rock. We took the easy way down with a chairlift ride before driving over to Highfield for photos of the rock from a good vantage point. We took a short detour to Dip Falls on our way through to Burnie. We enjoyed a great seafood lunch at Burnie followed by a short stop at Hellyers Road Distillery for a whisky tasting. We then set off for Cradle Mountain arriving late afternoon with cloud covering the iconic mountain and a chance for a relaxing end to the day.
The morning brought temperatures of around 2 degrees centigrade but with the wind-chill factor it felt more like minus six at Dove Lake. We had a short break in the weather and the sun shone long enough for some good photos before the decision was taken not to do any walking in the bleak conditions. We spent time at the Interpretation Centre and stopped to try some Tasmanian pepper-berries after leaving the National Park. We stopped at Moina for lunch followed by a visit to Lake Barrington and a short walk on a long-disused forest track near the lake. Sheffield provided ample opportunity for some great photos with the many murals and trees heading into autumn colours. The local Chinese Restaurant served up a tasty meal and I managed to get by only using chopsticks!
Our last full day together saw us walking the Allum Cliffs 90-minute return walk at Mole Creek before arriving at Trowunna Wildlife Park for the 11:00am guided tour. The group thoroughly enjoyed meeting the wombats, quolls and devils, and especially enjoyed being able to hand-feed the Forester kangaroos. We visited 41 Degrees South Salmon & Ginseng Farm for a tasting and a bite to eat before driving to Ashgrove Cheese for another tasting. Then it was off to the Llama Farma at Christmas Hill for a meet and greet with the llamas and alpacas. The animals were quite happy to pose for photos provided there were treats on hand. Our final destination for the night was the beautiful town of Evandale.
Day eleven, and our last day together, saw us drive through Relbia on our way to Cataract Gorge in Launceston. The group enjoyed a leisurely walk including crossing the suspension bridge and a ride on the chairlift. Next it was off to City Park to view the Macaque monkeys and take photos around the many flowers in the park. We finished the tour with our final meal together at Seaport, next to the Tamar river, before the drive to Launceston airport for the afternoon flight out.
Everyone got on fabulously and it was a joy to work with two couples very much in love and enjoying their honeymoons.