After packing up my room in Brisbane and saying goodbye to friends, I was off to Tasmania! My friends at work threw me a going away party and I had a wonderful last shift at work full of TimTam cookies, pancakes,and many laughs. It was tough saying goodbye to my coworkers and roommates however I was excited for the next chapter of my travel adventures. My final night in Brisbane was spent going to dinner and walking around the city with my good friend Maria from work.

Our Africa travel friends Peter and Beverley said their goodbyes at the airport where I had a few small glitches. My once 20 kg luggage was now over 30 kg and a nail file in my purse had security guards pulling me aside. But despite the obstacles, I made it on to the just less than 3 hour flight to Hobart. I will miss Peter and Beverley, as well as Euan and Marleine, two couples who were very kind to me during my Brisbane stay.

Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is where I based my travels for the first three days. I spent my first evening walking through the city and around the waterfront full of ships docked on the shore. Dinner was by the water with a few hungry seagulls that unfortunately for them didn’t get any of my food. From here, I had a fantastic view of Hobart’s famous Mt Wellington Mountain. I was able to make it back to my bright green colored hostel that night before a storm hit the city. I spent the night packing and watching television with other backpackers at the hostel.

The next morning was the start of my 7 day bus trip with Jump Tours. Our bus was full of 14 backpackers from Germany, the United States, Taiwan, Canada, Belgium and Denmark and our tour guide Isaac. We took a short 20 minute ferry ride to Bruny Island. We spent the day driving around the island stopping at several lookouts giving views of mainland Tasmania and surrounding beaches. We had cheese tasting at the famous Bruny Island Cheese, learning about the aging process and preparation of cheese. The cheese here is so famous that they have a members club which ships cheese to its members all over the world!  The highlight of the day was a 2 hour round trip hike up to Fluted Cape Walk Lookout providing spectacular views of Fluted Cape and the more distant Tasman Peninsula. The hike route passed by a spot on the beach covered with hundreds of rock cairns made by tourists passing by. Cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world and vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills. I and the other tour members each made our own cairn rock stack.  My three rock formation blended in with all the other rock cairns along the hiking trail. On our hike we also spotted one of Bruny’s famous white wallabies which are native to the island. According to our tour leader, seeing one of these wallabies is very rare; he had been giving tours around the island for almost a year and this was his first time spotting one. How lucky for me! After dinner we caught the ferry back to mainland Hobart where we spent the night at the hostel.

The next day was January 26th – Australia Day! Today, our tour visited Port Arthur, roughly
2 hours outside of Hobart. Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula. From 1833 until 1853, Port Arthur was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment. In addition Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system. Our day involved waking through remnants of the prison cells, officers’ houses, prison hospital, and learning about the prisoners who stayed here. Once back in Hobart a few of us from the tour headed to the waterfront and a local pub to celebrate Australia Day.

The next day we departed Hobart to travel up the west coast of Tasmania. The west coast tour consisted of many walks with beautiful scenery – Russell Falls, lunch at Lake St Clair, a 9.6 km hike to Montezuma Falls, the largest waterfall in Tasmania, and visiting the small town of Strahan where the long awaited rain arrived. The locals were excited as the rain was much needed with the current wild fires throughout the west coast of the state. We couldn’t have planned the weather better with the rain clearing just before we arrived at the Henty Sand Dunes one afternoon. Here we spent time jumping and running through the yellow sand dunes. There were even other travelers using snow boards and toboggans down the dunes. Our afternoon and evening were spent swimming at Rosebery Lake and socializing at the local pub in Tallah where the population is only 80 people.

Our fifth day started out rainy once again. Luckily again, Mother Nature was on our side, stopping the rain just in time for our hike at the famous Cradle Mountain. We completed the 2 hour Dove Lake Circuit hike around the base of the mountain as the trails up the mountain were closed due to wild fires in the area. The 6 km walk around Dove Lake was absolutely beautiful, surrounded by crystal clear water and tree covered hills. Unfortunately the main star, Cradle Mountain was only partially visible due to the rainy and smoke covered sky. Nonetheless it was a great experience.

Lunch was spent exploring the small town of Sheffield, known as the town of murals. There were murals painted on the sides of most buildings and they even had an outdoor art gallery displaying large paintings by local artists. The small town had a general store, similar to Town’s in Douro, with an alpaca that was a “pet” to a well known local gentleman who sat outside the store. While briefly talking to the man about his pet, several individuals walking by said hi to the man and stopped to pet the alpaca that didn’t seem to mind all the attention. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any photos. We arrived in Launceston in the evening where we spent the night. Despite the rain a few of our tour group went to a popular local pub where a live band was playing.

The morning of our 6th day we departed Launceston for a day traveling through the rainy east coast. Lucky for us, roads that had been closed due to flooding the night before had re-opened today. This morning we visited St Columba Falls. The enormous (90m) waterfall was pouring over water from the previous day’s rainfall. Tourists including myself were soaked after standing at the base of the falls but I enjoyed every minute of it. We then went on to taste some local cheese at Holy Cow cheese making store. Here, we learned about the preparation process of various cheeses and got to see the dairy cows who roamed the green fields behind the store. The highlight for me today was spending time walking along the water at Binalong Beach, the southernmost beach in the Bay of Fires. The turquoise water was surrounded by the famous red stained rocks.  After settling into our hostel in Bicheno we went to the Bicheno beach to watch the Bicheno penguins who each night make their way from the ocean to land. We saw three of the penguins climb out of the water, shake dry, and waddle up the beach and rocks to the land for the night.

Another rainy day for my final day in Tasmania. First stop this morning was at the Bicheno blowhole, a natural hole in the rocks along the shore which made massive spray as waves came crashing in. The stormy weather today made the blowhole sprays larger than average. Next we visited the Nature World Zoo where we were greeted by 35 kangaroos who roamed freely around the zoo property. The kangaroos were not shy and would hop right over to us, knowing we had feed to give them. As it was early in the morning the kangaroos were extra hungry and would try to grab my bag of food to eat the feed inside. After spending some time with the kangaroos, I ventured through the rest of the zoo learning about the Tasmanian Devils. Tasmanian Devils are the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. They have a thick-set, squat build, with a relatively large, broad head and short, thick tail. We watched a feeding of animal carcass to one of the Devils; we also saw some babies who were only 2 months old. The devil’s powerful jaws and teeth enable it to completely devour its prey- bones, fur and all. The devil is nocturnal (active after dark). During the day it usually hides in a den, or dense bush. They roam considerable distances (up to 16 km) along well-defined trails in search of food. Other highlights at the zoo was seeing a baby wombat and finding a cheeky kangaroo in the women’s bathroom. After lunch we arrived in Coles Bay and hiked up to the Wineglass Bay lookout in Freycinet National Park. Wineglass Bay is named after its shape and is famous for its blue shades of water. Unfortunately for us the rain and waves made the water colour a dark grey colour however the view remained breathtaking. After our hike we completed the Cape Tourville lighthouse walk, giving once again amazing views of cliffs and the ocean. Our afternoon was spent driving over 3 hours back to Hobart where I caught my flight to Melbourne. Melbourne will be my home for the next 5 months as I start a new full time position at the Royal Children’s Hospital. I’m looking forward to more adventures and to exploring even more of Australia.



Bruny Island Lookout
Famous Bruny Island White Wallaby


Our Jump Tour Bus
Lake St Clair


My 3 rock creation (bottom middle)
Happy Australia Day!
Taking in the scenery at Wineglass Bay
Bicheno Blowhole


Having fun at Henty Sand Dunes


Port Arthur


Memorial for the Anzac Soldiers
Cheese Tasting at “Holy Cow”
Red Rocks at Bay of Fires


Binalong Beach, Bay of Fires


Tasmanian Devel
Baby Wombat


Talking to my new friends


Hobart Waterfront



























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