Tasmania – wild paradise at the end of the world

April 4, 2014 in Australia, Tasmania, On the road

Dangerous wildlife in TasmaniaA wild island, far in the south, on the other side of the world, known for its rough climate, as penal colony, and because of the famous Tasman devil – that was basically everything we knew about Tasmania. And it was also the reason why we wanted to go there – it sounded like adventure! We found beautiful nature and spectacular landscapes; we had some great encounters with the friendly people, and all this together made our trip through Tasmania a fantastic experience.

But before we could start exploring the island, we first had to take the ferry from Melbourne. The crossing of the Bass Strait took us eleven hours, and we were relieved when it was finally over. We had actually looked forward to the ferry ride, mainly because we were going to meet our Swiss overlanding-friends Peter and Susanna with the expedition-vehicle “Brech” on board. However, during the crossing the rough sea soon turned our excitement about the reunion and the chatting into the guzzling of tablets against motion sickness, and a strained staring out of the window on the huge waves and the spray that went higher than the top deck of the vessel… it was most probably not the best to catch the ferry to Tasmania.

Rough sea on the way to Tasmania Finally, arriving in Devonport - and no more waves....

But we met Peter and Susanna a few more times while we were in Tasmania: we were camping (by coincidence) together (by coincidence – so funny!) at the shore of one of the many beautiful lakes, or we met them again in Queenstown, together with another couple from Switzerland (also overland travellers) – good times full of stories about traveling and the vehicles. We had met Peter and Susanne for the first time in Cambodia and then our paths had crossed again in in Laos, in Thailand, in Bali – and now in Tasmania… who knows, where we are going to meet them next time?

Camping with Peter and Susanna Overlander cafe in Queenstown

But now back to Tasmania! We were expecting a lot from the island, and also the rather expensive costs for the ferry couldn’t discourage us. After the long, hot, dusty, straight, and boring roads through the endless flat landscape on the big “island” of Australia, we were now desperately looking forward to curves, mountains, and the cooler climate….

And we got exactly what we were looking for: mountains, forests, lakes, and free camping almost everywhere – a paradise for us. We especially liked the west-coast and the mountain ranges there, as well as the central part of the island, where we spent most of our time, jetting up and down the twisty roads, exploring the off-road tracks, and enjoying the camping in the wonderful nature. Even the weather was on our side, and we were treated with mostly clear skies and pleasant temperatures. But before we continue to rave about it, just let the pictures speak….

2ltd_tasmania016 2ltd_tasmania0152ltd_tasmania013  2ltd_tasmania017 2ltd_tasmania019 home sweet home

One of our highlights was the crossing of a densely forested area in the north-western part of Tasmania. One of the roads there was closed, and so we tried to get through on small 4×4 and foresting tracks. Giant fern trees, deep mud, plenty of birds and insects, mosses and beard lichen made the area look like a scene from Jurassic Park – after every corner we expected to find us eye in eye with a snarling dinosaur… we definitely had some fun there!

Through the mud.... ... and into Jurassic Park

And we had some more off-road-adventures: one was a little “shortcut” through the mountains, not far from the capital Hobart. We had to fight our way through some really long and deep mud holes, over rocks, through deep ravines, and down steep slopes…. Sounds more like a nightmare? No, we loved it – but it was strenuous…

Oups... mud games

We explored not only the mountains; we also went to visit the beautiful east-coast, with lonely beaches and spectacular cliffs. On Bruny Island we watched the penguins that nest there everywhere in the sand dunes. In the evening they come back from a day out in the ocean hunting for fish, and start feeding their hungry begging chicks. It was fantastic to observe it!

Tasman Peninsula Bruni Island

And the place that we found for camping high on the cliffs there was hard to beat…

Camping Bruni Island

Another highlight for us was the time that we spent with Stefan, a German guy that loves surfing, and whom we met in front of a small post office on the Tasman Peninsula. He lives there since a few years on a beautiful site on a hill and with a stunning view over the ocean. He has built his own little paradise on this hill, which we were allowed to share with him for a few days.

Tasman Peninsula Stefan showing us aroundBreakfast with a view

The most north-eastern part of the island we had to skip in the end, since we didn’t have any time left. After three weeks in Tasmania, we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland. However, we still hadn’t seen the famous Cradle Mountain, one of the most popular tourist attractions – and so this was our last stop.

Cradle Mountain Cradle Mountain

We quite liked the scenery; however our favourite spots in Tasmania were never those that were full of Tourists. The true fascination of Tasmania doesn’t lie where the busses unload their Asian groups or European trekking tourists. We rather enjoyed the places without people, off the beaten tourist paths, alone in the fantastic nature, which luckily still exists in Tasmania.

Echidna - Schnabeligel just another beautiful camping spot

Oh, yes – the Tasmanian Devil! We almost forgot to mention him, even though we received a lot of questions, whether we’ve seen him. Well, yes – and no. We saw the little marsupial predator, which can be quite aggressive – but unfortunately only as road kill, and sometimes we discovered its tracks around our campsites in the morning. And of course, we met him in many variations in the souvenir shops, on shirts, as toys, ….

Tasmanian Devil

So, that was our Tasmanian Adventure…. in our next blog post we will end our trip through Australia, after we have crossed the Snowy- and Blue Mountains. And after that we finally move on to New Zealand….

Cooking over the fire and in the nature - Tasmania!