Tasmania Travel Blog...the prologue


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March 8th 2021
Published: March 8th 2021
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May as well be here we are as where we are ~ Aboriginal Australian Proverb



Hello people!

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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9th March 2021

Back on the road
I'm looking forward to reading about your travels in this beautiful part of the world.
9th March 2021

Re: Back on the road
Thank you!! We are quite excited to finally start our series of road trips. Hope you are safe and well wherever in the world you are right now :)
10th March 2021

Looking Forward to Future Adventures
RENanDrew, I enjoyed reading about your tentative travel plans for this year in Tasmania! It seems you have a lot to look forward to seeing places and enjoying life on the road in your "own backyard." There's many places we have yet to explore in our home state too. So wonderful that you are considering taking the Kelpies and Mia with you too! Let the adventures begin!!
11th March 2021

Re: Looking Forward to Future Adventures
Thanks Sylvia! Tasmania offers a lot for a small island, and we are lucky to have the time to do some trips right now. The kelpies will love the adventures, but not so sure about Mia though...will have to experiment closer to home first I think :)
11th March 2021

"May as well be here we are as where we are"
This quote is most apt for the times we find ourselves in. Best wishes and safe travels.
11th March 2021

Re: "May as well be here we are as where we are"
Thanks Chris. Yes, this quote resonated with us too. Hope you are well :)
14th March 2021

Local travel
We loved our short time in Tasmania and hope to return one day. We will be eager to read about these travels and are happy you are mapping out these great plans. We will do some domestic travel this year. It is with great excitement we think about future possibilities.
15th March 2021

Re: Local travel
Hi Merry Jo, it's so nice to be finally starting our local travels! It's also exciting to know we have the luxury of the whole year ahead of us to do specific trips that suit a particular season. I'm sure you are enjoying planning your local trips too :)
14th March 2021

I am so looking forward to your blogs from Tasmania
I was in Australia 25 years ago. I then spent about a week in Tasmania. Add to it that I went there vitually with no plan and did all my transport using buses and hitchhiking. Predictable I didn't see much. Some of the little I saw I by a funny coincidence published in a blog entry earlier today. Well, I am eagerly looking forward to reading about everything you see (and that I wish I had seen when I was there....) Btw, since you go by car I recommend that you bring a tent. If you have a chance to use it, it saves a lot of money. /Ake
15th March 2021

Re: I am so looking forward to your blogs from Tasmania
Hi Ake. In an odd coincidence, I did a trip to Tasmania in the late '90s that involved buses and hitchhiking too - and saw very little of what I really wanted to see! I will read your blog when we return. Camping in on the cards for a couple of trips later in the year :)
15th March 2021

Fantastic Local Travel
Those local trips all sound fantastic Ren! I'm looking forward to reading about them. Tasmania sounds like a varied and interesting place to visit (especially the wineries and cheeseries!). Ella would definitely not be interested in joining us in a backpack pet carrier!
15th March 2021

Re: Fantastic Local Travel
Thanks Lori! For a relatively small place (especially by Australian standards), Tasmania has so many captivating points of interest. Mia loves following us around the property and also shows a lot of interest in joining us on walks... so we’re guessing that she might like hiking with us and her furry siblings :)

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