After 29 hours of travel over 3 flights, getting into my first left-hand drive car and rolling up Tasmania’s twisting East Coast was probably not the best plan. It sure was fun.
Original plan was to drive up to Freycinet National Park for the hike to Wineglass Bay, a beach frequently mentioned on world’s top beach lists. Far too cold and windy to swim this time of year so the view is the point. Traffic on Tasmania’s roads is very slow, easy to identify the impatient tourists, much is on narrow, twisting two-lane roads with few chances to pass. The drive up to Wineglass Bay is along A3 and is great variety of coast and countryside, for safety reasons with few turn-offs I did not take pictures of the ride, but it is a gem.
I made it from Hobart Airport (HBA) in 2.5 hours with a brief lunch stop in Swansea at ultra-organic/sustainable The Ugly Duck Out for award-winning fish and chips, smoothie and sparkling elderberry sparkling soda. The fish was sustainable Australian salmon and the batter the best I have ever sampled. The chips were local potatoes. Even the cup and straw for the smoothie to-go were biodegradable.
Wineglass Bay is breathtaking. The hike to the lookout is easy, down to the beach requires a medium level of fitness. I spent about two hours combined with plenty of time staring at a wallaby in the parking lot.
The original, overambitious plan was to then cross west to Lake St. Clair for a peak at Cradle Mountain. Ranger Rachel disabused me of this notion, there were would be no views of the mountain from Lake St. Clair, too far south in the park, and snow was blocking some roads. With the slow traffic I had already all but given up that plan anyway.
And I was really tired. I drove half an hour, pulled off the road at a lookout and slept for 30 minutes. Drove another hour in the now dark, following a car ahead and then took an hour nap. It took a long time to get back to Hobart this way but safety was paramount. I tried very hard to look for wildlife and not speed at night, on one dark stretch there was suddenly a small lump in the middle of the road that popped up, I swerved to the middle but clipped the poor animal. This is the first time I have hit something and feel terrible.
I rolled into Hobart about 21:30, spent some time on the one-ways and restricted streets to find my hotel and just as I pulled up two busloads from a canceled JetStar flight disgorged their frustrated masses and clogged the lobby. I abandoned check-in and went in search for dinner, not easy at 10 pm, each place I tried was closed or turned over to thumping bar, except Salamanca Bakery, and I did not want pies. Back to the hotel and one of their restaurants had reopened for those stranded so I find a bite to eat, and finally checked in at 11.