Into the Wild of TasmaniaMonday, June 03, 2013
Are you the type of traveler who wants to go to places where few have been? It's really tempting to travel to remote locations, isn't it? Our newest Sole Sister contributor Lauren of The Wandering Orange recently went on a journey to the edge of the world- Tasmania! Here's her story:
Checking into the Sydney Airport at 5am, sleep still in my eyes and ticket grasped tightly in hand, I feel that old familiar rush of excitement and wonder at the journey ahead. What new adventures will I find lying before me at the end of this flight? The weeks of poring over guide books and research have almost prepared me for what will become one of the best trips of my life. Although I know that in Travel, as in Life, nothing goes as planned.
The only thing to expect is the unexpected.
My heart skips a beat as our plane touches ground, and I find myself in Abel Tasman’s “Van Dieman’s Land”, better known today as Tasmania.
Ever since I was a small child, Tasmania has intrigued me with an exotic sense of wonder and adventure, and I could not resist! Its geographic and genetic isolation would allow me to see some of the world’s most unspoiled and unique wildlife, including the infamous and endangered Tasmanian devil… in the Wild!
As soon as we arrived at Hobart airport, my boyfriend, Taylor, and I decided to explore some of the city’s historical sites and museums before starting our trip up the East Coast. We strolled around Battery Point, walked up Kelly’s Steps, checked out the shops of Salamanca Place, and the explored the National Museum.
We left the museum deciding that we would be the ones to find the Tasmanian Tiger!
Our first stop was a beautiful campground at Fortescue Bay in the Tasman Peninsula. We hopped on a Tassielink bus to just outside the Tasman National Park, put on our 20 kilo packs full of all the essentials for camping in the wild of Tasmania, and started our 12K hike into the campground. Luckily for us, some friendly campers picked us up for the last 2K and dropped us off at the Rangers office. We paid 13 AUD camping fee, set up our tent, ate a quick light meal of tuna wraps and fell fast asleep. I was sleeping peacefully when suddenly I awoke to a large creature growling and ripping through our tent right at my feet!
It was a bush tail possum! Unfortunately, it smelled our dinner and wanted a bite!
Once known for its prisons rather than its tranquility, Tasmania was home to over 75,000 of Britain’s convicts. Being sent to Port Arthur was considered worse than death, famous for its severe, brutally inhumane conditions, including solitary confinement in the dark… for over 30 days! Mostly victims of the Industrial Revolution, their crimes to survive the rough life in Britain ranged from forgery to stealing a crust of bread. A “natural penitentiary”, Port Arthur was considered a perfect setting for a prison with its high cliffs, surrounding Tasman Sea, and, of course, sharks.
From Prison to Paradise; Maria Island
We hitched a ride to Maria Island, a pretty island off the Southeast coast of Tasmania free of cars, electricity and distractions. We booked a ferry with Maria Island Ferry in Orford for 35 AUD round trip. After a breathtaking view of the harbor and the trip across from the mainland to the island, we arrived! We followed a trail past old convict ruins to the campground and set up camp for the night. I quickly spotted my first wombat and ran to take a photo with it! To my surprise, they were all over! Everywhere I looked, there were fat, stodgy little wombats roaming around!
The entire island was teeming with wildlife!
That night, we laid beneath a brilliant, midnight sky, stars ablaze in all their luminescent glory. Without the pollution of cars and electricity, I was able to see more stars that night than I’ve ever seen before. Looking up into that vast, starry sky, I felt like we were the only two people on earth. It was more than just breathtaking- it was surreal.
Take yourself to the Edge and Beyond!
When we awoke the next morning, we ate a quick breakfast of cowboy coffee and hotcross buns before heading up to Fossil Cliffs. On our walk, we were greeted by a little family of kangaroos! They hopped ahead of us on the trail, pausing every now and again to wait for us, as if to show us the way!
Back on the mainland, we hitched a ride from a friendly German named Yori. We swapped travel advice and funny stories as we drove past beautiful vineyards and rugged countryside, even stopping to explore the refreshingly deserted Nine Mile Beach!
We hiked 45 minutes up to the Wineglass Bay viewpoint, snapping a few quick touristy shots before heading down to the perfectly curved beach below. We strolled happily along the pure white sand, looking for seashells and splashing around in the freezing cold, turquoise water. We had made it! We decided to hike along the 8KM trail to Hazard’s Beach and back down the mountainside. At our campsite, we watched the sunset, sipping locally brewed Hazards Ale and taking in the breathtakingly serene landscape for one last time.
Our trip finally at its end, we headed over to the city of Launceston to catch our flight home and reflect. My time spent exploring the raw, wild beauty in Tasmania is one that I will dream about for the rest of my life. But like many wanderers, I find myself already planning the next adventure. For that is my sole purpose in this life.
How to make this trip happen:
-Airfare from Sydney to Hobart with Jetstar is around 80 AUD one way. The trick is to fly into Hobart, rent a car (about 90 AUD a day for a small car) and drive up the east coast and fly out of Lanceston at the top of Tasmania.
-Want to avoid driving? You can use Tassielink bus services, although they are a bit more expensive.
-If you really want to rough it out and take the cheapest transport possible, hitchhike! Locals are super friendly and you won't wait longer than ten minutes for your next ride!
-Most travelers bring a tent and camp at any of the national parks for about 13 AUD per night. Although Wineglass Bay added on another one time camping fee of 12 aud per person! But the view and the spectacular beach is well worth it!
-If you're camping, do some grocery shopping and just use the camp barbecues for free! We didn't spend more than 100 AUD on food and made some tasty dishes while meeting fellow campers!
Until the next offbeat adventure,
Sole Sis Lauren aka Orange
Lauren grew up in rural Oregon, where she spent most of her time swimming in local rivers and waterfalls, hiking nearby forest trails and searching for hidden faerie homes in fallen tree trunks. For over three years, she has been traveling and drawing comic books about her adventures throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, the UK and Australia. She is currently learning how to surf and painting surfboards for locals in Sydney. Get your dose of humor and wanderlust when you check out her travel comic, The Wandering Orange.
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