Launceston and Bicheno

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January 24th 2017
Published: October 23rd 2017
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The flight from Melbourne to Launceston was very quick, only around 55 minutes. I was very thankful for this as the small child sitting behind me spent the duration of the flight kicking the back of my seat. We took the airport shuttle bus into Launceston. Since our bus to Bicheno wasn't leaving until the afternoon, we had a few hours to walk around and take a look at Launceston. We were able to leave our bags at the transit centre with the bus company that we would be using to get to Bicheno. It was a gorgeous day as we set out for a stroll. I decided that I would definitely need a hat for our trip, especially when we would be hiking the Three Capes later in the trip. We came across the Boag's Brewery. We had been thinking about doing a brewery tour, but it was too early for us and we thought we may do it later when we returned to Launceston. We headed more into the city centre. Launceston is pretty small. We passed some gorgeous looking buildings. We took a look around the shops, not fining anything suitable. We did make an epic discovery though. We were getting hungry so wandered the streets looking for somewhere to have lunch. We came across a few restaurants but nothing looked too appealing or that budget friendly. Then we found Banjo's Bakery. This place was busy! There was a massive queue, which is a good sign. We ordered some baked goods and sandwiches. Everything was really delicious. We vowed to try and return here on our return to Launceston. After our food, we headed back to the bus station to wait for our bus to Bicheno. I think we left mid to late afternoon and the journey took a few hours. It was nice to drive through the countryside and small towns and see some more of Tasmania. The scenery was really beautiful. Our coach was too big to take us all the way to Bicheno, and it was heading on to another town, so we transferred to a smaller van. We were the only people on it, score! The roads were a lot smaller and more windy, so although the journey wasn't too far kilometre wise, it was slow going. We also had to do some freight deliveries.

The bus dropped us on the main road right near to where we were staying. It was a two minute walk up a small street. We made it just before the reception closed, not that it mattered as the receptionist informed us that she had already charged my card for the night. We got our key and headed to the room. We would be in a dorm room that night. It wasn't too big, only eight beds, however there were only a couple of outlets all taken by some of the others to charge their devices. Australian hostels could learn from the hostels I stayed in, in Thailand and Malaysia, they were a lot more modern. The receptionist had told us that there were limited food options available and since we didn't buy any groceries earlier, we legged it to the local chippy. We made it before the place shut and ordered burger and chips. I have eaten so much crap on this trip so far, but we will be starting to cook soon to help our budget. We sat outside the chippy and ate our food, as it was nicer than taking it back to the hostel to eat there.

Since we only had the evening in Bicheno, we had looked online to see if there was anything we could do to make the most of our time there. We totally lucked out. The number one activity/thing to do on tripadvisor was the 'Devils in the Dark' tour. The tour doesn't run everyday, but it was on the evening we were there, so we booked it immediately. We had some free time before our tour, so we took a walk around Bicheno. We had a look around the town, all the shops were shut. We passed the war memorial. We headed down to the water and took along the small, rocky beach. The small beach town vibe of the place reminded me of Kaikoura in New Zealand. The sun was starting to set and the sky was turning a pretty shade of pink. After the sun set, we headed to the meeting point for our trip. The small coach was already there and after checking-in, we got on. It was a short drive out of the main township area to where the hides were located. The guides told us lots of interesting information about the Tasmanian Devils and they conservation work they do, they also told us to keep a look out on the drive for other animals that we may be able to spot. The Devils in the Dark is connected to the nature park, so we walked through their grounds, spotting some wallabies to reach the hide. The people running the tours aren't 'professionals' in the tourist industry, but researchers studying the Tasmanian Devils. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for the animals and what they do, totally shines through and I was really engaged in what they said, I normally zone out a lot of the time when tour guides are talking, but I listened intently to these guys. They were humble, too, shocked that their idea to make some money to fund their conservation work actually took off.

Once settled our seats in the hide, and the Huntsman spider that somebody spotted was removed, we were given a glass of wine and a plate of cheese and crackers, very civilised. We were told some dos and don'ts. I was surprised that photography is allowed and was a bit gutted that I had left my proper camera at the hostel. The lights were turned off in the hide and the curtains were raised so that we could see the Devils, when they appear. There was an animal carcass out there for them to find and devour. In order for the Tasmanian Devils not to become dependent on the conservationists/researchers, they have several hides and use different ones so that the Devils still have to 'search' for their food. They also do not do the tours everyday so that the Devils do not get accustomed to finding food more easily everyday. We din't have to wait too long for some Tasmanian Devils to show up. The outside area s well lit so that we could see the Devils well. We watched them come and eat the carcass. It was really interesting to watch them fight over it. Once one Devil had it, they wanted to protect it and keep the food for itself. The guides were able to tell us who all the Devils were that we saw. They had so much knowledge, not just about Tasmanian Devils in general, but also each individual Devil we saw. They knew their habits and personalities. After a couple of hours it was time to leave. I had really enjoyed the evening and learnt a lot. I didn't really expect to see any Tasmanian Devils on our trip as we were more concerned with hiking, but I am glad we did.

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