Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tasmania North Coast and Launcestion

Taking a short 4 day break down to Tasmania we were lucky to come across cheap airfares into Launceston for $19 each way. Deciding to book this trip in November when the weather is a little warmer. We booked a hire car for $189 for the 4 days, with Avis car hire.
Our flight arrived early in the morning so we had a full day to explore, heading from Launceston to Burnie for a quick lunch and to visit family, during the drive to Burnie we stopped at a couple of unique little stores for local produce, cheese, chocolate, antiques and a few farming markets.

Arriving in Burnie for lunch, we stopped there for a while then we spent the afternoon driving along the north coast to Stanly, which is a small coastal fishing town with the main landmark being "The Nut" which is a huge volcanic plug, with a flat top, set on the ocean front, the height is approx 143mtrs. As we set off we made a few stops along the way first being Table-cape, this beautiful place has an old lighthouse a short walk between a lookout and the light house, driving off the main highway towards Table-cape there are fields of colored Iris and rows of multi coloured flowers which looks amazing. Also along the way we stopped at port Latta Jetty which is approx 2km long heading out bass strait.

 Arriving at Stanly we spent a few hours looking around, it was really windy the chair lift was closed, it is possible to climb the Nut but it was freezing and windy so we decided to just look around as it was getting late. The town of Stanly is a cute coastal town, lots of small gift shops and cafes to relax.
Heading back to Burnie we spent the night at a waterfront cottage enjoying the local beer.

The next day after a late start we headed over to Cradle Mountain with so many walks available (long challenging, and short easy) we decided to walk around Dove Lake, St Claire,(approx 6km) which took about 4 hours, at a nice easy pace stopping along the way for lots of pictures, this walk is easy but a slight hill at end got the heart rate up. We suggest starting from the right hand side, from the carpark. A great walk with a beautiful view of cradle mountain and the surrounding lake. There is an admission fee into park for the day, and a shuttle which takes you down to all the walking tracks. Self drive is also easy as long as parking is available.

From here we headed to our accommodation which we had booked prior to leaving home "Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge" Loongana, which is situated approx 20km from cradle mountain (if you could go in a straight line) but driving took 1h.45 min by road as you drive around all the mountains, at this point you realize how isolated Tasmania can be as there were no petrol stations or food outlets for the whole trip from cradle mountain to Lodge.
Arriving late afternoon at Lodge we checked in and were advised of the activity's that were available. We headed straight down to the river to observe the platypus. Later that night the owners come around to our rooms and tired raw meat to logs outside ready for the Tasmanian Devils and the Spotted Quolls, we had the log fire burning , snacks ready and got comfy in front of the open glass doors/windows to view the nocturnal activity's, around 9pm the action started  we saw many spotted quolls and devils on a feeding frenzy.

Many of the devils unfortunately suffer from the cancer growth that is plaguing them, we watched them feeding for hours, it was an amazing sight watching these creatures in the wild.
The following morning we decided to go view the glow worms in an underground cave on the property, this trip ended up being the highlight of our trip as there were only the two of us and the owner Len, we ventured down into a cavern of an underground cave, we saw a few glow worms and some huge ancient spiders. As we were keen and totally interested in this hidden cave, Len took us further through than he would usually go into cave, crawling through muddy water on our hands and knees we came to an opening of a beautiful cathedral of sandstone, it was awesome. Spending a couple more hours walking around the property learning about the history and hearing stories from Len. This was a beautiful place and we experienced a real connection with nature and its amazing beauty.

We then headed back to Launceston for the night, we stayed in a Best Western Hotel, which was in a the main center of town, close to most attractions and restaurants, we wandered around that evening exploring  the town.
The next morning our final few hours in Launceston we headed over to Cataract Gouge, a beautiful area and an easy walk around the Gorge then taking the chair lift over the gorge, which was an experience worth doing. There were many wild life animals wandering the area also, Peacocks, variety of birds, Tasmanian Pademelon this was another amazing day and the end of our time in Tasmania.

We drove back to the airport were we left the hire car, boarded the plane back to busy Sydney airport.
Looking forward to returning to Tasmania and exploring other areas of this unique land.

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