Sam and I said goodbye to Mom and Katrina in the airport at Sydney on New Year’s Day and boarded a plane to Hobart, Tasmania, where we picked up our neon green Nissan Micra and drove to Mount Field National Park to camp near some of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen—Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Lady Barron Falls—and some of the tallest angiosperms in the world, the swamp gums. From this starting point, we began our drive around Tasmania, visiting some spectacular national parks along the way.
Our next stop was Lake St. Clair, where I had to sleep in the car instead of camping because the temperature got down to 1 degree Celsius that night—almost freezing. So we decided to stay in a hostel in Queenstown as we drove west and spent the day in Strahan and visiting the Henty Sand Dunes.
With a warm night of sleep behind us, we hiked four kilometers to Montezuma Falls, the tallest in Tasmania, where we had to walk across a narrow suspension bridge to get a view—but oh, was it worth it! We then stopped in Cradle Mountain National Park, which we had the best views from the park shuttle bus and got caught in a hail storm out at Dove Lake and Glacier Rock, trying to get a view of the mountain! Though soaking wet and freezing, we did get to see a wombat on the way back to our car.
We spent that night in Launceston and in the morning walked around Cataract Gorge right outside of town and then headed to the east coast to see the Bay of Fires, named for the fires of Aboriginal people seen along the beach when European settlers arrived, but a fitting name because of the red lichen that grows on the rocks there.
It was another cold, windy night, so I spent two nights in a hostel in Bicheno while Sam camped. On our first day in Bicheno, we walked around the rocky coastline and at dusk watched Little Penguins come out of the ocean and head to their burrows in the sand dunes. It was too dark to take pictures without disturbing them, but it was amazing to watch them. They swam up to the surf in a group of about ten or so and began inching their way up the sand, leaning forward very hesitantly, before all turning around in unison and running back into the water. Together, they inched back toward the sand again and when they deemed it was safe, walked up to the dunes. It was worth waiting in the cold and darkness to see them! The following day, we went to Frecyinet National Park, where we hiked first to the lookout and then to the beach of the famous Wineglass Bay, then to the top of Mt. Amos, one of the mountains in the Hazards, for a panoramic view of the surrounding water. It was a steep climb, but it was the first warm day since I arrived in Tasmania, though I did have to bundle up once I got to the top of the mountain!
We spent our last night together in Tasmania camping at Fortescue Bay in Tasman National Park, stopping at the Tesselated Pavement, Tasman Arch, and Devil’s Kitchen in Eaglehawk Neck and visiting Seven Mile Beach on our way to the airport, where I dropped Sam off for his long journey home to New Jersey/Vermont and took myself to a hostel in Hobart to catch up on some thesis writing (and blog writing, as it were)!