Watch out for those DEADLY snakes....

Trip Start Jun 17, 2010
Trip End Jun 12, 2011

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Where I stayed
in my car!!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I had not planned to explore Taz (I left all my walking gear in Sydney) and also having my cuz "Tasmania" in the room, who said that it is not worth the bother, its boring, I had decided against it.  But alot of travelers I was speaking to were going, so I decided to have a look in the lonely planet, to see if it's something that I want to spend money on right now.  I took one look at a pic of Wineglass bay - and decided I was going! I then promptly told Tasmania off for telling me there is not much there! People say if you like NZ then you will like Tasmania! - ha ha I have been longing to go back to NZ since I got here! Woooo!
After being driven to the airport by Francessco, tizano, and shark-cessco with lots of hugs and my wise words for the young Italian to behave himself, I jet set off to a new adventure in Tasmania.
Day 1...
As usual I had done my routine thing of getting the cheapest price possible for my car hire, and settled on one company, I did try and find others to travel with, but didn't in the end, its a shame Francessco and Alice could not come this week, (they are going next week) we would have such fun together, but I may see them as our dates cross over.  Anyway I think its high time for another adventure on my own - to seek solitude - to explore the little bits maybe no one else has - to stop drinking so much!  
Again, I find that my only plan in the 7 days is to see Wine glass bay and cradle mountain - so I drive straight to the Launceston I site, and pic up a tree's worth of leaflets.  I find Coles and  a K-Mart where I find a gas stove for $15 - bargain - why do I need a gas stove? Well, I'm camping out in my car!! its bigger than I thought it was, so I should be ok.... for the next week I will be eating vegemite sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, and pasta with cheap tomato sauce for dinner - its a backpackers life!
I head to Cataract Gorge which is right in the CBD, I'm pleased with myself when I avoid paying the car park and park up the road for free!  The Gorge was touristy, but very nice.  The first basin was big with a small waterfall, a suspension swing bridge was over the top of the  waterfall from one side to the other, and also a cable car type thing going over the basin.  I walked around and up to the bridge, which did swing a bit when you walked on it.  I got some great photos, and it was really sunny.  I did not fancy a dip in the pools, so I got back in my car and drove North out of the city to Low Head.  I drove up to the lighthouse and took a walk around the coast, the scenery was lovely and reminded me being back in NZ.  
First attempt to cook on my state of the art stove - uh, the automatic lighter doesn't seem to be working - crap, why didn't I have matches with me, just in case?!  So vegemite sandwiches it is again....! I go back to the lighthouse to watch the sunset, have seen quite a few of these now! and wait for a penguin tour to begin at 20.45 - seeing as it didn't happen on Phillip Island.  And it was cheaper! It was sooo cold that night, and I didn't have any jumpers, or jackets with me (all in Sydney again) so I put a little cardie on and then used my shawl, I put socks on and thankfully had my linen trousers, so I was about halfway dressed for the weather!  I paid my $16 and waited, there was about 20 people in the group.  We got taken down to the beach by 2 guides and were told the penguins could come when they like - sometimes in 2 hours! But after a cuddle with a stuffed penguin and a chat about the breeding and territory habits of them, they started appearing! They were very small, and quite cute waddling up the beach - they were off to feed their babies, we followed them around, they didn't mind us being there.  We saw the mummy and daddy penguins feed the baby penguins, and saw the babies running around trying to get food.  It was cool seeing them, these penguins are native to Australia and New Zealand only.  After about an hour an half I get back to the car and drive back to a spot I saw earlier that I could park up.  It was at the back of an information site, I got my PJ's on, had my silk sleep sheet, my new self inflating pillow and my head torch - ready for sleep. After a few hours, its a bit uncomfortable, legs all bent, really wanted to straighten them! I change positions a few times, but I slept ok.  The car is smaller than I thought!
Day 2.....
The alarm goes off at 9 - and I set off to the North Eastern region of Tas - again, not really sure where I'm going, just to the coast!  I stop along the way, and buy some matches!  I stop at St Columba falls - at 90m high.  I take the short rainforest walk to them, they were nice enough, but thought the falls in Litchfield NP were much more breathtaking.  However I did see a Tiger snake sunbathing on the rocks about 2m below me! woooo my first snake - finally! (the one I ran over doesn't really count!) and what a snake he is - I thought that they were poisonous but I later learn that they are in fact deadly! - I copied this from Wiki....
 " Tiger snakes possess a potentt neurotoxin (notexin), coagulantshaemolysins and myotoxins, and rank amongst the deadliest snakes in the world[ based on tests done on mice]. Symptoms of a bite include  localized pain in the foot and neck region, tingling, numbness, and sweating, followed by a fairly rapid onset of breathing difficulties and paralysis. While antivenom is effective, mortality rate for this species is over 60% if not treated."
 I maybe would have ran now knowing this.... anyway I get a good picture, and continue to tell everybody going to the falls on my return where he is!  I drive a bit more and see a turn off for Halls Falls - so I swoop in, I do like my waterfalls.  The bush walk is only 1000m or so, I walk along mind out for the one thing I don't want to see, and see another Tiger snake, about 2m in front of me! aghhh - much longer than the other one, and on my level! I turn to walk away, but I see him slither off into the bush, heart is beating a bit faster, but I continue to the falls stamping my feet as I go, as a lady up on the West coast told me to do!  These ones were much smaller, but within nice surrounds and a nice rain forest.  I make the return journey and see another bloody Tiger snake (things in 3's eh?!) I think he waited for me to come back! This time I stop and watch him, and he soon slithers off into the bush - they move very quickly - another couple headed towards me, and I told them they just missed a tiger snake, the guy seemed disappointed - I make haste back to the safe confounds of my car!
I finally reach the East coast - nothing in KM's compared to the West coast on the mainland!  I stop at view points and gaze over bushy mountains and stunning coastal lines with white sands... this is what I came for.  I go to the Bay of Fires where I walk on pure white sands and watch the pure blue water crashing onto the shore, the sun is shining, but the wind is cold, otherwise I would have stayed and sunbathed.  I know there is better to come as I head down the coast.  I cant wait!

I stayed at Lagoons beach campsite, right on the beach, had good facilities, and was a free site.  I managed to find another way to sleep in my car, the seats recline fully, so I slept in the front.  Was an ok night, I didn't really like my feet dangling down on the floor, but I cant complain I'm saving around $27 a night on a hostel.  
Day 3.....
I get up again at about 8.00, eat a vegemite sandwich and set off.  I head to Douglas-Aspley National Park and took a short walk to see a waterfall.  I carry on my journey down to Freycinet National Park, where I will find yet another paradise beach.  The drive down is amazing, mountains, alpine hills and lake everywhere, more than a few times I stop to take a scenic pic.  I get to my destination,  I park up and get greeted by a wallaroo, I opened my boot to make a sandwich for lunch and he all but jumped in my boot! He was not shy, and defiantly wanted what ever I was making! - a few cars stopped and took photos, I was going about my business (I saw soooo many on the West coast, that they aren't a novelty anymore!) I let him sniff the vegemite jar, and I think he would have had it!  One lady said to me, she thought it was my dog until she took a closer look! ha ha.  The car park was full - I paid my $60 in national park fees to let me access them all.  The weather was ok, and it drizzled a little later.  The walk was well paved, as its one of Tasmania's biggest attractions, there were a few steps, first was Wineglass Bay lookout point, it did look just like the pictures I have seen (except for the lovely bright blue sky) I only stayed a short while, I wanted to get on the beach, and it was a very steep long stepped path down - I will worry about coming back up later on.  I eventually get there, to more pure white sands and blue water, and an alpine backdrop, it was beautiful, but it was cold, I had it in my head to go for a swim in the paradise, but it was cold, I didn't bother, I took a walk around, put my MP3 on, got some random girls to take a pic of me there, and had some lunch.  Thoughts of the climb back up entered into my head, I guess I should go.  I pick an appropriate album on my MP3 - Lord of the Rings - the two towers, I thought it may help me through.  I also then thought if I did the Tongariro Alpine crossing which had the "devils staircase", I can take on a few steps.  I set off, oooo not too bad.  As people came towards me in the opposite direction, you could see the "good luck" look in their eyes - yes thank you, you will be doing the same soon I thought!  
I realize a tough bit was coming up, lots of steps with no flat walking areas, just as I started the ascent, the music appropriately crescendos to when the fellowship were hiking over the snowy mountains (you will know the bit I mean if your a fan!) I laughed to myself and carried on.  Before I knew it I was at the top, not bad at all.  I drive to a couple of other lookout points and look out at views over the ocean and rugged coastline, now reminding me of Ireland. 
I decided that I needed a hostel for this night, my camera battery was almost dead, I needed a shower, and it would be nice to lay down fully flat!  I find a bed at a dive center in Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula who lets out theirs beds if they don't have many divers staying there. I take full advantage of the en-suite.  
Day 4....
I get up early again, and decided not to head to Port Arthur due to time - there was only a museum there, and one of the lads in the hostel said there was a huge massacre there back in 2001/2002 where a load of backpackers were shot! - well that has settled that one, on I go!  I do visit the Tessellated pavements which is where the salt water has cracked open the ground to for a pavement like formation, I went to see the Tasman blowhole, which didn't blow at all and I saw the Tasman Arch which was pretty cool, a big arch in the ocean basically, I have seen a few of them now, but you could get quite close to this one.  I also saw the devils kitchen - which I didn't see the fascination with, I don't think I bothered to take a pic, which is unlike me, I take pics of everything - my computer's memory hates me!  
It was my daddy's 60th birthday today - Happy birthday dad!  I was really annoyed as where I was staying was out of signal, like most of Tasmania, so I drove to a town where I knew I could get signal and managed to wish him a happy birthday at 23.00 - it still counts!  I think actually going to the Tasman Peninsula was a waste of time, I should have left it out.

The weather today is shit.  I done alot of driving today - I went through Hobart, and went down to another National Park called the Hartz Mountains.  It took me ages to get there, and the I had to go up an unsealed dirt road to the top of the mountain, with pot holes and mud everywhere (my car is white!) I just ignored the the thoughts in my head telling me that my insurance would not cover me here!  As I got higher and higher, so much so my ears were popping several times the weather closed in, very cloudy, raining and basically shit.  Sounds like another time I tried to walk on a mountain in NZ.  I would have done the walks, but firstly I would not have seen anything - in the lonely planet this area has been described as "God's country" and secondly, I had no coat, or proper walking boots, or anything warm at all - its all in Sydney.  So me and my filthy car trundle back down the mountain thinking what a waste of 200km that was...
I get back to Hobart, I was going to go to a museum someone in the hostel told me about where this guy put all his money into this place and it has the most random things, for example, a machine that he feeds food every day at 17.00 - then at 15.00 the next day it shits! like properly, with smell and all! ha ha sounds funny - but I was too late to attend the bowel movement, so I decided to drive up to another mountain! (it had stopped raining, and was not as high as the other mountain) Mt Wellington was very near to the CBD - the views on the way up were amazing, had views of the whole city and more, at the top however you could not see anything, just clouds and man it was freezing up there!!  I got some good pics though.  I didn't bother exploring Hobart, its just another city, so out I drive West this time - into the Wilderness.  I stay at a really nice rest area at Hamilton.
Day 5......
The sleeping in the car thing is getting quite boring now - I don't like it! - it was soooo cold last night, I kept switching from the back seat to the front seat to the back - my feet were freezing!  I get up at 8.00 again, and head to Mount Field National Park - with the heating full whack - it was not until 15.00 that I actually warmed up!  I really liked Mt Field, there was alot to see and the walk was really nice.  I was walking through a proper rainforest, it was beautiful, I saw 3 waterfalls which were equally as nice, Russell falls, Lady Barron Falls and Horse shoe falls, it took about an hour and half round trip, I saw black cockatoos making alot of racket, and no snakes this time.  After the walk I drive up to the Ski field (yes Tassie has a ski season!!!!) area where Lake Dobson sits.  I do the short 30 min walk around the lake, and get some good pics - I was completely alone up here!  After I drive into Cradle Mountain and Franklin-Gordon Wild rivers national park area (all of the South West area of Tassie is just National Park - some places no one has ever been!) I am sticking to the paths! I get to Derwent Bridge where lake St Clair sits, and I do another Forrest/lake walk, the lake here is stunning, and very peaceful - I now feel like I am at Kellermans lodge from Dirty Dancing! ha ha - with all the Alpine hills around and the peaceful lake - it was so nice to walk around - I can imagine when there is snowfall, it would be even more beautiful.  I take some really nice pics here.  I stay at Lake Burbury where I bump into a few motorbike riders touring the West Coast.  I'm really layering on the clothing now! And have just had my brilliant idea of turning on the engine and using my heater for half an hour, I drift off to sleep again - time for a lay in, I know the weather is crap, so I get up at half 9 - yay! 
Day 6.....
I sluggishly set off around the winding Queenstown mountains, It is very tempting to imagine your on a Rally driving track, but its raining, and I don't want to go off the side of any mountain!  There is a restored old steam train that runs through 30km or so to the coast, running uphill taking in all the lovely scenery - for $120 (75) Its out of my budget, but I bet its amazing.  The weather is crap, but rumour has it, that it will clear this afternoon, so I take a drive up to Cradle Mountain Lake Sinclair National Park.  The Dove Lake walk around Cradle Mountain is a "must do" for any visitor traveling to Tasmania (I sound like a Tasmanian travel guide!)  It is a 6km circuit walk, and it goes obviously around the lake and underneath the spires of Cradle Mountain.  I read the signs that tell me that snow can fall in any month, and to be prepared for all weather conditions - here I am, with no proper walking boots, no jacket at all, let alone waterproofs, no trousers apart from linen trousers which wouldn't do anyone any good! No hat, gloves (I'm in bloody Australia) The weather still looks crap - Cant even see the mountain (flashbacks of New Zealand) so I decided to go see some Tassie Devils, and see what the weather was like after.  I paid $13.50 to enter (quite good I thought) and got to see and stroke one! - I patted him on the bum! he didn't make any noise, and I didn't see his teeth! He actually snuggled into the guides arms like a dog would!  Quite cute really! 

Weather had cleared up nicely! bonus! - So off I set in shoes that I had brought to do my nursing in, some water and a sun hat (not for the sun, to keep my head warm!!!) and a couple of cardigans that I have been sleeping in!   The walk is beautiful (note to self - must learn some more descriptive words...) I took around 100 pics! ha ha - but I wanted to see the mountains at every angle!! I take a few "I was here" pictures and complete the walk in just over an hour and half - easy - and actually it warmed up a bit! It is tempting to do another walk, but I had blisters and it was getting on for 17.00 - so maybe not - Don't want to be out there in the wild after dark.....  I stay at Gowrie Park, with a nice view of the surrounding mountains - the sunset was sweet.  I continue my movie night with Die hard.... 1, 2, 3 and  4 (not all same night!)
Day 7.....

 I have another lay in because I wanted to, but its a lovely day - typical, I didn't really have anything planned, just heading back to Launceston to fly out tomorrow morning.  But I do Find Paradise! I drive through "Paradise" - they could have at least used the name for somewhere that is actually like Paradise - not some random village!  I drive to Mole Creek, and try and find something outdoors to do - I have now had enough of walking! So I find a garden maze! - I have always wanted to do one of those!  It was fun, I done it in about 20 minutes, I found the middle, and the way out again!  I drive on to Launceston and have a look about the town, not alot happening! So I settle down for the night in Evandale, about 5 mins drive to airport.  I spend my night talking to a family from Western Oz, exchanging stories and travel tips - they have been traveling with children for 4 years! - what a life! - I give them all of my camping equipment (stove etc) as I don't think Jet star would let me carry on board a gas burner!  They didn't want it, but said they would drop it at the salvos.  I finish the night off with the last of Die hard - and find no need to switch on the heater early - it was not too cold! 

1 week for Tas is not enough - I could have spent at least a month having a look around, walking in all the national parks - but I had a good look around - and think I may come back when there is snowfall! I will be prepared next time - thank god I don't have to sleep in my car anymore.....
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