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Published: March 8th 2021
May as well be here we are as where we are ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb
Between COVID issues sidelining most of the world last year and us being unpredictably crazy busy for 12 straight months, we’ve only just started thinking about travel again. When we returned from our overseas trip at the end of January 2020 (at the start of the coronavirus pandemic), we decided pretty much straight away that 2021 would be the year we focus on travelling locally in Tasmania – the little heart shaped island State at the bottom of Australia.
Obviously no one could have possibly foreseen the chaos that has been unleashed on the planet over the last 15 or so months. However, we generally tend to err on the side caution when making travel plans, because careful scheduling is required with finding time between our short and long-term work projects. Even though we had previously planned to be in Colombia this month, we decided to postpone those plans until more was known about the pandemic. As much as Colombia would have been a great trip, we are more than happy to be safe and sound in Australia right now.
When we travel for pleasure in Australia, our trips are usually determined by seeing
family and friends, or visiting a specific city or town, or exploring a certain National Park, or staying in a particular hotel or lodge, or eating and drinking at a special restaurant or winery. We’ve never looked at Australia in the way we look at visiting an overseas destination – as a total experience.
It’s been extremely interesting planning our travels around Tasmania. It’s where Andrew was born and brought up, and where Ren’s lived since she moved here from Melbourne in 2006. Andrew has criss-crossed most of the State and knows it quite well, but Ren’s travel encounters mainly relate to the major attractions and National Parks… so this will be our first concentrated effort to design and execute an overall travel plan that covers everything we want to experience. 😊
We’ve divided the State into sections and hope to spend a week or so in each area over this year. While discussions are still ongoing about how many trips will cover each section and the boundaries for each, these are our overall broad divisions:
1) Hobart (the capital city) and surrounds
2) Midlands and the Coal River Valley (where we live, famous for its cheeseries and
cool climate wines)
3) Central Highlands and lake country
4) Launceston and the Tamar Valley in the north (also famous for its wines)
5) North-west (where Andrew lived until he moved to Hobart for uni)
6) West with its wild coastlines, rugged rainforests and national parks
7) Derwent Valley and the remote wilderness in the south-west
8) The far south and Huon Valley in the south-east (the fruit bowl of Tasmania)
9) Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur (site of a former convict settlement)
10) East coast and the north-east which contain some of the best coastlines in the world.
A few of the areas may end up being reconfigured, depending on time constraints and the fact that we have already explored many of them.
Even though Tasmania is a relatively small island, the very diverse geography and geology has created quite distinct regional qualities. The differences in regional cultures may be very subtle to outsiders, but they definitely exist and we’d like to explore and understand them better.
Tasmania is particularly renowned for quite a few things – stunning rugged coastlines and coastal walks, extraordinary national parks with magnificent landscapes, unique wildlife, fertile agricultural land, a wealth
of picturesque colonial architecture, a rich but sad indigenous history, and excellent local produce. We’d be attempting to explore as much of these elements as possible, as well as the many cities, regional towns, villages and little hamlets! We hope to indulge in farmers markets, local galleries, antique shops, bakeries, small takeaways, roadside local produce stalls, country pubs, renowned restaurants, bars, cider houses and wineries.
We’ll mostly be driving our own car and staying at hotels or B&Bs (bed and breakfasts). But depending on the region and weather, we may also consider bush cabins, tent camping, hiring a camper van or doing farm stays. We’ll also be bushwalking quite a bit, catching the odd boat and ferry, and using the national park shuttle buses. Unfortunately, Tasmania doesn’t have a passenger rail system (but we won’t get started on that absolutely wasted opportunity!).
We’d also love to take our two kelpie dogs (Jasper and Oliver) on a few day trips. However, it would have to be trips that didn’t involve National Parks. There’s also been talk of buying a backpack pet carrier with mesh panels so that our cat Mia can join us as well… negotiations are ongoing. 😄
Planning this trip has made us look at this beautiful island with new eyes. We already loved it very much, but we’ve developed a whole new appreciation for it while planning our travels… and we haven’t even started our trips yet!
We’ve organised our National Park passes, written long lists of ‘must try’ country eateries, compiled our road trip music playlist and hung out the metaphoric ‘Gone Walkabout’ sign.
We’re absolutely ready to experience more of this amazing island! 😊
Ren and Andrew Travel viewing that will set the scene for this trip... Manganinnie
, directed by John Honey (1980); The Sound of One Hand Clapping
, directed by Richard Flanagan (1998); The Hunter
, directed by Daniel Nettheim (2011); Lion
, directed by Garth Davis (2016); The Light between Oceans
, directed by Derek Cianfrance (2016); The Kettering Incident
, Mini-Series (2016); The Nightingale
, directed by Jennifer Kent (2018). Travel reading for this trip... Lonely Planet Guide Tasmania
; Lonely Planet Guide Tasmania Road Trips
; Tasmania’s National Parks and Reserves 60 Great Short walks
; A Fringe of Leaves
by Patrick White. The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan; When the Night Comes
by Favel Parrett; Flames
by Robbie Arnott.
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