THE INCREDIBLE APPLE ISLE – TASMANIA


Full of National Parks and fascinating attractions, Tasmania’s South Coast is a free camper’s dream!

WORDS BY TONY SUMNER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUDY AND TONY SUMNER

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We’ve travelled to Tasmania three times, each time we visit we spend atleast two months travelling around and having a wonderful time. Some people think that when you revisit a place, you end up seeing the same things, but we always find new things to see and do – it’s also great to revisit our favourite haunts.

THE FREYCINET PENINSULA22
The Freycinet Peninsular is a must do and should probably be one of your first ports of call. We stayed at River and Rocks Camping Reserve, located on an estuary that feeds the Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve. This beautiful place is a destination for migratory birds, as well as being home for home a huge variety of water fowl and wetland birds. Even though River and Rocks is managed by National Parks, it’s still considered a reserve, so your pets are welcome and camping is free! There’s a pit toilet but no showers and camp fires are allowed, but please bring in your own firewood. It’s also within easy travelling distance to Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. A visit to the Tourville Lighthouse in the Freycinet National Park is well worth it, with some spectacular views from the boardwalk that leads to the lighthouse. It’s an easy 10 minute walk from the car park and wheelchair friendly. We always love taking a walk to the Wine Glass Bay lookout, there are no boardwalks here, so it’s a little more strenuous but again well worth the extra effort. Depending on your level of fitness it’s about an hour’s walk to the lookout. It’s best to wear some decent walking shoes and bring some water and some snacks to keep the energy up! The most important item to have on your little trek is, of course, a camera. The scenery is spectacular and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t bring one. After a few nights at River and Rocks we called in at the Freycinet Marine Farm on our way South. The Marine Farm is located on the Coles Bay Rd. only a few kilometres from River and Rocks, and sells a range of fresh fish from the humble Mussel to some of the best Crayfish available anywhere. Our budget didn’t quite stretch to crayfish, but a dozen Oysters Kilpatrick for $20 satisfied our taste buds as an appetiser at ‘Happy Hour’ that evening.

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MARIA ISLAND
Next stop was Triabunna, which is the jumping off point for Maria Island. The only access is via a 40 minute ferry ride, as the island is pedestrian and bike only. You can take your own bicycles ($10 per bike), or hire them from the ferry operators. Hire charges are $25 each per day plus your ferry ticket, which is $35 each for return, or you can do a Cruise and Walk for $90 each. This is a great way to explore, as the cruise takes you around the island followed by free time for a little exploring on foot. You will also need to take your own food, as there are no shops, so make sure you have prepared a lunch or ordered a lunch pack with the ferry company. Back at Triabunna there is a caravan park that offers all the usual benefits of a caravan park, but if you’re set up for free camping, a small donation at the Spring Bay Hotel will get you an excellent spot at the free camp behind the local hotel. Centrally located near the public toilets and the Triabunna Visitor Centre, The Spring Bay Hotel free camp is spacious and green and
pets are welcome. After setting up your camp behind the pub, pop round to the front and you will find The Fish Van, which serves, in our opinion, the best fish and chips in the state, maybe even Australia.

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DUNALLEY TO SORELL
Leaving Triabunna it was south again, stopping for a couple of nights next to the Dunalley Hotel up on the hill. Next to the pub there’s approximately two acres and again for a small donation you can camp there and use Dunalley as your base. It’s an easy drive down the Tasman Peninsular from here and a whole lot more of exploring, it’s also an excellent place for resupply. We topped up with food and fuel, as we often do in small communities, as a way of repaying their hospitality. In January 2013 Dunalley suffered badly with bush fires losing 65 buildings in the town. However, the damage is hardly evident now except for the obvious new growth in the surrounding country. From Dunalley it’s an easy drive up to Sorell and our next base for a day or two. Our camp site this time was a council maintained camping area with water available and a dump point, but no power. We were under the impression that we needed to be self-contained, but a check with the visiting council staff said it was ok to collect the grey water and dispose of it at the dump point also on site. From here we visited the Bonorong Wildlife Centre where a guided tour, for $22.50, filled in a few of the blanks on some of our native wildlife, namely the Wombat, Tassie Devil, Kangaroos and Wallabies.

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The next day we decided a visit to Richmond was in order, it’s the home of Australia’s oldest bridge having been constructed in 1823. Then there’s the Richmond Historic Gaol, thought to be Australia’s best preserved and oldest existing prison. Constructed between 1825 and 1840 making a construction time of 15 years. The gaol is open daily and offers self-guided tours.

HOBART
Getting close to the big smoke’ now with Hobart just around the corner,and as luck would have it we were there at the time of The Wooden Boat Festival, held every two years. The next will be held in February 2017. Despite several caravan parks to choose from, we decided on the show grounds and at $25 per night for a powered site we booked in for a couple of days. The showgrounds are located close to the bus stop, but the drive to Hobart is only 15minutes, so we chose to drive in. Now if you’re into boats of any description, then this is a festival you must visit. It has everything, from a hand crafted Huon Pine Tender to luxury yachts or power boats, all on display and although many are Tasmanian, there are boats from all around Australia. Aside from display boats, you’ll also catch craftsmen exhibiting their skills, or you can purchase your own timber to start a project of your own. Of course at a festival devoted to water crafts you would expect there to be excellent seafood, and there was!

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THE HARTZ MOUNTAIN
After our trip to Hobart, we continued further South to Franklin, camping along the Huon River. Stopping at Franklin for a few days, we decided to take a day trip to Hartz Mountain National Park, as it was only an hour’s drive away. The walk to the glacial lakes is easy and you’ll love the scenery. If you feel like venturing further, you can continue onto Hartz Peak. The most vital piece of equipment for this little adventure is your lunch and a light jumper. So there you are, so much to do, although Tassie is our smallest state and one fifth of it is covered by National Parks or Wilderness areas, it’s really impossible to cover everything as thoroughly as it deserves but we hope that you will at least get an itch in your feet that only a visit to Tasmania will cure!

HOW TO GET THERE

From Freycinet to Dunalley – Travel along the Tasman Hwy for 31km, then turn right onto the Tasman Hwy/A3 and follow for 109km and continue into Cole st for another 30km.

From Dunalley to Hobart – Follow the A9 and the A3 to Brisbane St for 55km. This will lead you into Hobart.

From Hobart to Hartz Mountain – Follow Southern Outlet for 9km, then take the exit onto the Huon Hwy and travel for 48km. Take a right onto Arve Rd for 13km, then take a left onto Hartz Rd for another 13km.

DON’T MISS

• Hop on the ferry at Triabunna and Visit Maria Island for a day, or stay longer if you can, there’s plenty to see.
• Allow plenty of time for Saturday’s Salamanca Markets in Hobart not to mention the views from Mt Wellington.
• While based at Dunalley, take a drive down the Tasman Peninsular, or better still spend a few days exploring Port Arthur and the Tasman National Park.

CAMPGROUNDS
48: Sorell RV Stop
Camp spot at Sorell. Montagu St. Self-contained vehicles only. Permit available from council office. Honesty box on site. Max stay seven days. $7 per night.
Facilities: Pet friendly, fee, BBQ, mobile reception, self contained only, big rig suitable, dump spot, picnic tables

75: Hobart Showgrounds Camp area
2 Howard st, Glenorchy. $20 for two people, unpowered. $5 extra for power. Laundry available for small fee. Closed during October for the show.
Facilities: Power, toilets, disabled access, showers, fee, bins, picnic tables, pet friendly, dump spot, big rig suitable, mobile reception, laundry

127: Lake Rosebery Foreshore Parking area
12km E of Rosebery or 3km S of Tullah. Turn W 50m N of Murchison Bridge. Limited space.
Facilities: NO fee, mobile reception, shade, open fire pits