One week in Eastern Tasmania
Tasmania differs from the Australian mainland both in terms of environment and culture. The weather is much more temperate, and in winter can plunge to freezing temperatures. The people are more laid back than mainland Australians, particularly more than those based in Sydney or Melbourne.
As with all Australians in rural areas, everyone is almost universally friendly and you will often be met by a "g'day" while wandering around. A smile and a "hello" back costs nothing, and can make you feel a lot more comfortable in what may be strange surroundings.
Although not as arduous as trip in the Outback, a good map is required before starting the journey if you are self driving. If you rent a car, then you are likely to be able borrow a decent one.
Although not having accomodation booked in advance gives flexibility, contact numbers for the Australian Youth Hostel Association can be useful, if you are a member of either it or Hostelling International. Additionally, most Tourist Information centres can book accomodation for you on your arrival. It can be pot-luck regarding the quality of the rooms though. Finally, a decent website such as Hostel World has places from as low as $20 (Australian Dollars) per night.
This itinerary is intended to start in Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania.
A cruise service runs from Melbourne, arriving at Devonport. The service, known as the Spirit of Tasmania also has tariffs for taking cars and motorbikes, should you already have one and do not wish to hire one in Tasmania.
Cheap car hire deals can normally be found pretty easily either on the Internet (before departure) or on arrival at Hobart. It is recommended that self-drive is taken for this itinerary.
Day one - Hobart: Depending on what time you arrive in Hobart, your activities can be limited to exploring the town centre and its museums, climbing to the top of Mount Wellington that the overlooks Tasmania or exploring the sea port.
Day two - Launceston: Drive to Launceston, stopping off on the way at the Lake for a spot of fishing. While in Launceston, the nearby (about ten minutes drive)Cataract Gorgeoffers some spectacular views of the Tamar River.
Day three - winery tour: For those that are fond of the odd glass of wine, the Northern Eastern corner of Tasmania has a number of wineries such as the commercially renowned Bay of Fires winery, to smaller boutique vineyards such as Stoney Rise. It is recommended that an organised wine tour is used to ensure that everyone gets an equal tasting!
Day four - waterfall watching:
Day five - Bichenot and the Eastern coast:
Day six - Port Arthur penal settlement:
Day seven - Return to Hobart
Tasmania has few of the dangerous creatures normally associated with Australia, the temperature is too cold for them. Nevertheless, caution must be exercised on self-drive excursions that cross through the countryside, especially at night. The amount of roadkill that can be found on the roads is evidence to how easy it is to hit them. Although a wombat may look cuddly, they can do a lot of damage to the average car!
As always, the application of common sense can prevent other dangerous situations from occurring. Don't wander down deserted streets at night if you're by yourself, etc. Australia maintains reciprocal arrangements with most country regarding medical treatment, but if you wander off the beaten track then it may be a bit of a challenge getting to a hospital for treatment. An additional risk is that mobile (cellular) phone coverage in Tasmania can be very patchy.
If time permits, spending time on the western side of Tasmania is very rewarding as it's much more rural than the Eastern side. It can also be argued that a trip to Tasmania is incomplete without a trip up the Cradle Mountain. Strong walking shoes are recommended.