Two friends, one campervan, a ton of open road and the Jason Mraz cd – what more could one want, except maybe a second cd.
Our journey has taken us around three coasts of that little blob below the Australian mainland, Tasmania. Departing out of Hobart towards the West coast before heading Northerly then back down the East. It is a tiny little state, hence why we have covered so much of it, yet Tasmania has an incredible about of variance in its landscapes. We’ve had open mountainous terrain, grazing fields, vineyards, forests, rocky shores and white sand beaches – the majority of it seen without another soul in sight. Tasmania has a tiny population and as we are coming to the end of its tourist season the island felt almost like an undiscovered one at times.
The roads we have been zooming along are similar to English country roads, those two lane roads that sometimes feel a bit more like a lane and a half. They have been great fun to drive along, even in our cumbersome van ‘Torris’. We had just the one cd, the Jason Mraz debut (does he have another?), and the questionable radio signals throughout our journey, but Mr. Mraz was a fairly fitting soundtrack to the journey.
We had one hairy moment with Torris whilst attempting to drive out to some waterfalls. Unfortunately the road had also turned into a mini waterfall and on one corner the grip eluded him and we were spent spinning about 120 degrees across the narrow road. I’d like to say my pro driving skills controlled it into a perfect drift, but if anything all I had time to process was that I should hit the brakes so that we didn’t drive off into the ditch. In the instant that it happened, it wasn’t my life that flashed before my eyes, but the $5000 excess on our insurance which terrified me. I guess if we had gone into the ditch, my travelling life would be over so I guess it’s kind of similar. Luckily the van was completely ok and I returned it this morning in one piece.
We’ve been fairly lucky with the weather, apart from the rain on day two we’ve generally had sunny days. Warm enough to head into the ocean for a swim/wash, and nice evenings for our cooking out on the gas stoves. Tasmania is an island where free camping is still around, so as long as there isn’t a sign saying no overnight stopping and you are off the road its fine to just pull and sleep there. This means that we haven’t stayed in any camp sites and have been waking up to views overlooking the sea or national parks – we even awoke to dolphins playing in the bay one morning. Views that would normally set you back five star hotel rates.
Our highlights have included walking around Cradle mountain – we couldn’t go to the summit as that was the bad weather day, but we headed around the lake and also up to a pretty good viewpoint and of courses the beaches. It’s unsurprising that two of the beaches we visited – The Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay – have both won beach of the year from the lonely planet. Stopping by the Bay of Fires was incredible, the sand was glaringly white and the waves were crashing down.
Sarah left me on Wednesday evening to head back to Sydney so I had two nights alone in the van, a slightly more daunting experience than when you have company and trying to navigate through an unknown city, whilst driving, in a van isn’t. I made the most of them spending my first night out in a forest before heading up Mt. Wellington for the view overlooking Hobart then heading down to properly explore the city centre. I found a fantastic spot to spend my last night along 7 Mile Beach, with the deserted sand just by my door for a great sunset then some coffee as the day awoke. Today I got up fairly early to make sure I had chance to return the van cleaned and now I have a day to kill in the happening place of Hobart airport. Naturally the budget flight of the day is the one that leaves in the evening, but at least I have a power socket!