van Tasmania Trip March 2009







  familytravels
map1
Click on map to see our route
We had a week in Tasmania from 25th February to 4th March 2009
Cheap airfares and campervan rental allowed us to pursue a dream of touring the East coast of Tassie, we have seen the West coast on previous trips.
0n arrival at the Hobert International Airport (as the big sign says) ,the shuttle bus will take you to any hotel.
The first night was spent at the Brunswick Hotel in Hobart.

Their website does not quote a star rating because it would be lucky to rate 1.5. It has an identity crisis because the original name OLD HOBART HOTEL is overpainted
in the same garish yellow as the building, however it is clean, cheap and right in the centre of the city.

A search of the web had indicated that Aussie Dollar Campervans were among the cheapest
that had one available. Their depot is out near the airport but they had told us about the 10 Buck Bus
which took us there after dropping pasengers at the airport.
Day 1 
The trip up the east coast via Orford,Swansea and Bicheno is very pleasant but we did not see as
much of the ocean as we expected. The Caravan Park at St Helens was our
first overnight stop in the van
Day 2
The highlights of the trip from St Helens to Bridport were the ferns in the rainforest and the town of Derby.

Derby
Old mining town notable for its excellent Tin Mine Centre museum .
Located 103 km north east of Launceston on the banks of the Ringarooma River,
Derby is an interesting little town which wanders along the hillside beside the river.
The original miners cottages on the steep hillside look out of place in the dense forest.
The quaint coffee shop lady makes delicious scones !
Day 3

The Brideport caravan park nestles among tea tree on the beachfront, just a short walk into town.
It is a popular holiday spot for Tasmanians who have a different perspective of distances.
The couple in a big van next to us had started to pack up on Friday
because they had a big 250 km trip home to Hobart on Sunday !

 

Day 4

Perhaps the most interesting day travelling .
A visit to George Town and Low Head is a must for any visitors
George Town sits on the eastern banks of the Tamar River about 40 minutes's drive
(50 kilometres/32 miles) north of Launceston. It is the third oldest European settlement
in Australia after Sydney and Hobart.
Low Head is a small hamlet located on a peninsula 5 km north-west of
George Town, A signal station was set up at Low Head in 1805. It is Australia's
oldest continuously used pilot station, established in 1833, was Australia's third and Tasmania's second.
Batman Bridge just South of George town is the only bridge that crosses the Tamar river .
The East side scenic river drive from the bridge via Deviot to Launceston is Hhighly reccomended.
We took the short detour to Beaconsfield. The famous mine site had a mining museum there
before the rescue incident and has incorparated a display of the methods used. (See pictures below)


Day 5

 

Launceston caravan park is close to town, on the side of a hill so make sure you get a flat site.
It has a lot of trees for shade in the summer ,
Three compulory tourist things in "Lonnie" (as the locals call it ) are,
Cataract Gorge cruise, the chair lift and the casino., we manged to do them all, (See photos)
Day 6 and 7

Leaving Launceston, one could spend 3 to 4 days exploring the quaint historic towns of Evendale, Ross, Oatlands and Richmond but we had to make do with a quick glance on our way to Hobart.
The Seven Mile Beach caravan park is conveniently close to the airport and to where we were to return the van.
We found it strange that whenever we got lost in Hobart the van took us to the Casino !
Sitting out on the first floor patio having a drink and dinner from the bar snack menu will be one of my strongest memories.
We met a family at the park here who declared they could not live in Tasmania because it was a bit backward.
We thought this was a bit rich since they were New Zealanders !!!
Only because we had orders from our children, we visited the Cadbury chocolate factory. Of course we were too polite to refuse the free samples offered.!
A visit to the Salmon Ponds trout museum provided me the biggesr surprise of the trip. On a previous trip the town of New Norfolk, on the way there,was almost a ghost town, Every second shop in the main street was closed and it had an air of despondency. Now it is a bright, vibrant tidy town of antique and fashion shops. But still only one outdoor coffee shop.

I must congratulate Virgin airline for the great service they provided. My (unused) fly fishing rod did not arrive in Melbourne with the rest of our luggage. I spent 30 minutes with a very sympathetic lady who asked for the aircraft and luggage area to be searched . This was unsucessfull but to cut a long story short, it was delivered to my home in Geelong at 9.30 the next morning. !!

OUR PHOTOS

Chief cook and bottle washer hard at work.


Launceston Casino -Any NSW RSL club would be bigger !

The key rack where the rescued miners signed out after being rescued

Navigator outside mine museum
Beaconsfield mine museum exhibits
Tamar river cruise boat.
Boys jumping from cliffs in Cataract gorge

Bridges over the North Esk river (Cataract Gorge)

Cataract Gorge chairlift - The attendant on the far side was feeding wallabies.
Salmon Ponds Trout Hatchery and Museum

Summary
This was a try-out-a-campervan trip for us, we enjoyed it very much, we left the bed down all the time, luckily the weather was fine so we did not need much space inside. I found it fun to drive even while using the gears extensively in the hilly areas. It was fitted with fridge, gas stove and microwave oven but as we had planned to eat out most of the time Kaye did not do much cooking in it.
Our previous experience of van beds had not been good but we found the converted seats in this one OK for the short time we had it.
Given that it is both transport and accomodation we thought it was a very cheap holiday. Not sure how you would be if it was raining , a bit squashy and uncomfortable I suspect.
If the low fares last we will go again.

In fact the next trip on the Web site should be that of one I had with a mate on a fishing trip in a similar van.


 
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