Walks & Wildlife tour with a Wisdom of Wombats

Wonderful Walks & Wildlife with a Wisdom of Wombats

Singaporean family, Eugene & Zhi, and children Bryan & Alicia, had a great time exploring many different landscapes on an extended Walks & Wildlife tour with Tasmania i-Drive. The tour commenced with a short orientation tour of Hobart followed by a drive to the summit of Mt Wellington. Low cloud was hampering visibility but the kids loved their first experience with snow! We drove past the historic Cascade Brewery on our way to their accommodation for the night.

Day 1 – Huon Valley

Our first full day together and it was an early start at the Salamanca Market. The family had almost 2 hours exploring the many stalls and came away with a carved wooden wombat. This was the beginning of a love affair with our closest relative to the Koala. We then set off for the Huon Valley and our first stop, Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. A tour of the onsite museum gave an insight into Tasmania’s past description as the “Apple Isle”. We continued through the townships of Huonville and Franklin and stopped briefly at Shipwright’s Point for some photos of the Huon River. We called in at Geeveston to attempt to find the elusive platypus in the Kermandie River, without success. We continued on through Dover to our ultimate destination, Hastings Caves. Following lunch at the café we joined the 2.00pm guided tour of Newdegate Cave. The tour of the largest dolomite cave, open to the public, in Australia, was very informative. It was then back to Hobart to their accommodation at the RACV Hotel.

Day 2 – Richmond and Tasman Peninsula

Day two of our tour and our first stop was the historic township of Richmond and the iconic Richmond Bridge. Following ample photos we set-off for the Port Arthur Historic Site. Along the way we visited the Pirates Bay Lookout, Tessellated Pavement, Devil’s Kitchen and Tasman Arch. We also managed a chocolate tasting at the Tasmanian Chocolate Foundry at Taranna. This was a very popular stop for the entire family! After lunch at the PAHS we joined the 1.30pm introductory walking tour before we took a stroll through the Separate Prison and the church ruins. We boarded the 3.00pm cruise to learn some more of the convict history of the area and pass by the Isle of the Dead. It was then time for the return journey to Hobart with a quick stop at the Lavender Farm on the way.

Day 3 – Heading North

On day three we headed out of Hobart on the midland highway heading north, with our first stop for the day at the historic township of Ross. A look through the museum at the Tasmanian Wool Centre was very interesting followed by a visit to the Ross Bridge, built in 1836. The water level was very high but the ornate carving on the bridge could still be seen. We then took a secondary road at Campbell Town bypassing both Woolmers and Brickendon Estates on our way to Deloraine via Longford. At Deloraine we turned off and headed to Mole Creek for lunch at the Wandering Trout Taphouse. We were not drinking but the food was absolutely delicious! Our next stop was the Melita Honey Farm, at Chudleigh, for a tasting and ice-cream followed by the highlight for the day, Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary. The family thoroughly enjoyed the close encounters with the wombat and Tasmanian devil. We hand fed the eastern grey kangaroos and saw many other native birds and animals. We still had time for a walk out to the Alum Cliffs Lookout before driving to Sheffield for the night.

Day 4 – Cradle Mountain National Park

Day four commenced with a stroll around the many outdoor artworks on display in Sheffield’s Mural Park. A couple of snaps of Mt Roland on the way out of town and we headed for Cradle Mountain National Park. We hopped on the first shuttle bus we could as the weather looked a little better than it had on our way there. A light drizzle greeted us as we made our way to the iconic boat shed. Photos taken and it straight on the shuttle back to the visitor centre. We then headed for the Interpretation Centre for a look around before doing the short Pencil Pine Falls walk. We were heading back to Sheffield for lunch when the day went pear-shaped!

We were stopped just before reaching Moina with power lines fallen across the road due to the high winds in the area. Tas Networks advised that the road was closed and we needed to make a detour. Our destination for the night was Bicheno – what a detour! We had to go back past the turnoff to Cradle Mountain National Park and then to the Murchison Highway where we turned north. We then turned onto the Ridgley Highway through to Hampshire where we turned off to Upper Natone. We eventually reached Penguin before stopping for a break and a photo with the big penguin. We continued along the coast through to Ulverstone where we re-joined Highway 1. We drove past Devonport and Latrobe before quick stops at both Ashgrove Cheese and Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. A short break for an early dinner at Deloraine’s Subway restaurant and it was back on the road. We turned off at Campbell Town and took the Lake Leake Highway through to Swansea. We then headed north to our final destination for the day, Bicheno. A grand total of around 480 kilometres travelled during the day! Eugene assisted with ongoing route changes to make best use of the time available. Everyone on board was very patient which made the arduous journey much easier on the driver. The family were checked-in to their accommodation with time to spare before joining a Penguin Tour booked for 8.15pm.

Day 5 – East Coast

Our fifth day together began with a visit to the Bicheno Blowhole and it didn’t disappoint. The recent high winds had the blowhole really pumping! A quick walk around the dockside area at The Gulch and we headed for Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. We took our time reaching the Wineglass Bay Lookout and were greeted by a lovely view of the pristine beach. Following our descent, we visited the Cape Tourville Lookout. Several photos and another short walk later and we were at the Freycinet Marine Farm for lunch. After a very nice seafood lunch we visited Friendly Beaches for another great view from the lookout and where the kids enjoyed a walk on the beach. We then left the National Park heading south to Swansea. We stopped on the way at Me & Mum’s Coffee Shop, at Little Swanport, for drinks and ice-creams. Further south and our last stop for the day was Spring Beach at another beautiful, white, sandy beach before finding the accommodation fir the night on the Prosser Riverfront at Orford.

Day 6 – Maria Island

Day six began with a delicious breakfast at Wattlebanks Coastal Café. They also packed us lunch to take on our journey to Maria Island. We boarded the 10.00am ferry at Triabunna for a promised close encounter with the kids favourite animal in Tasmania, the wombat. Just as we arrived a light drizzle, which had not been forecast, began to fall. We took the chance to explore the historic buildings in Darlington and learn a little of the history of this amazing island before it became a National Park. The weather improved as we set-off along the Oast House track with our destination being the Painted Cliffs. Along the way we saw an eastern grey kangaroo in the distance before coming upon a couple of wombats near the Oast House. One showed Alicia just how fast it could run! We also saw Bennett’s wallabies and pademelons before reaching the Painted Cliffs. The tide was still too high to make it a safe walk around, so Eugene photographed the main feature for the others. On our way back to Darlington we saw several more wombats and pademelons which made the wildlife experience well worth the journey over. Following the ferry ride back we set-off for Bothwell.Along the way we stopped briefly at the Buckland Church to view the fourteenth century stained glass window. We drove through Campania and Colebrook before reaching Bothwell. This is the township of my forebears, so I was keen to show some of the old buildings in the town that were part of my family’s past. Our accommodation for the night was Ratho Farm. During a sumptuous dinner, where we shared a large communal table with other guests, we were enlightened by our host of the history of the Ratho homestead. The following morning, we ate a hearty breakfast before beginning our final day of touring.

Day 7 – Mt Field National Park

We drove from Bothwell through to Hamilton and then across Meadowbank Lake to Westerway and finally, Mt Field National Park. Russell Falls did not disappoint with plenty of water gushing over the precipice. We also walked the Tall Trees loop, to view the giant swamp gums, before leaving the park headed for Lake Pedder. Along the way we stopped in at my favourite very short walk, crawl really, at the Creepy Crawly Trail. We warmed up with lunch at the Lake Pedder Lodge before venturing along the walkway atop the tallest dam in Tasmania, Gordon Dam. The rain stayed away which made the climb down the stairs to the dam, and up on the return, much easier. On our return to Hobart, we stopped at Maydena to complete the Junee Cave Walk, our last for the trip. This was a fitting end to what had been a journey experiencing a good taste of what Tasmania has to offer. The next morning was an early morning pick-up for the airport transfer and goodbye to my family from Singapore.