When we tell people we went to Tasmania for our honeymoon, it’s almost always the same reaction. Two kiwi’s choosing Australia’s answer to NZ’s South Island may seem odd – but for us it was perfection.
Bruny Island: 1 night
Hobart: 3 nights
Bicheno: 1 night
Tamar Valley: 2 nights
Cradle Mountain: 2 nights
Hobart: 1 night
Tip: You will need to purchase a pass if you’re visiting any of the national parks in Tasmania. If you’re planning on visiting a few, you may be best to purchase an extended car pass like we did, which covered our trip to both Freycinet National Park, and Cradle Mountain.
After a quick trip into Hobart, we headed to Bruny Island.
Bruny Island is awesome. It hasn’t been hit by the tourist surge yet – probably because it’s just a little bit out of the way. It’s sleepy, and beautiful – and so reminded me of our camping spots as a kid.
On our way in, we stopped at Get Shucked. I’ve never been a fan of oysters before, but this place awakened something in me and I became obsessed. They are seriously fresh – and you can wash them down with a glass of local Janz bubbles.
We stayed in a cabin at 43 Degrees in Adventure Bay. It was such a beautiful spot – the beach is picturesque. They were awesome little cottages right across the road from the beach. If it had been warm enough for a swim I don’t think I ever would have left.
That night, after a delicious dinner at the local Hotel Bruny Bistro we went to The Neck in search for fairy penguins. These shy little guys come in from the sea just after sun set – so we went and settled in for a long wait. And so we waited. And waited. And waited some more… And we had no luck. The mosquitos did find me though – and the next day I had over 20 bites to prove it!
Before heading back to the mainland the next day, we visited South Bruny National Park and walked through some very stunning tropical rainforest. We didn’t see a single soul the whole time – but we did meet a wallaby along the way, and an echidna as we were leaving!
We tried to find the mystical white wallabies – but had no success. If you’re interested, they’re supposedly found along Lockleys Road.
After another stop at Get Shucked on our way back up the island, we were back on the ferry and headed for the mainland.
Stay: Adventure Bay.
Eat: Get Shucked & Hotel Bruny Bistro.
Explore: Adventure Bay, The Neck & South Bruny National Park.
Hobart & Port Arthur
As soon as we arrived we knew we were in for a treat. We were greeted by a bright blue sky and crisp clean air – perfection.
We stayed in an Airbnb in West Hobart – it was great spot, close enough to everything, but it felt like a world away. It helped that we had a magical view – and were woke each day to a spectacular sunrise.
Hobart is like a mini Melbourne, without the pretentious hipsters. Every single meal we had was AMAZING – and the shops were full of local artisan work.
We ventured up Mount Wellington to watch the sunset the day we arrived. WOW. Make sure you bring your jacket, scarf and gloves because it’s about to get very windy and very cold!
I truly felt like I was in the middle of a desert – it’s so stark and windswept. If we’d had more time I would love to explored more of the walks up the top. As it was, we watched the sun set over a magnificent view.
As we were leaving the cloud began to roll in, which was just magic.
Our first morning in Hobart we made the trip to MONA, and decided to make a day of it. We chose to take the Ferry, and splurged a little for ‘Posh Pit’ tickets – I can definitely recommend it. The Posh Pit is basically a ‘posh’ section within the ferry, and you’re treated to wine (or beer) and a share plate each way. On our way there we were given a delicious charcuterie platter – and petite fours on the way back. And of course a couple of glasses of bubbles each way too!
MONA has to be the most unique gallery I’ve ever been to. There’s something for everyone – from modern short films, to traditional indigenous art – and ofcourse the poop machine – everyone will fall in love with this moody gallery.
And of course you can make a pit stop at the bar on your way in, if your Posh Pit wine hasn’t quite done the trick.
They also have their own cellar door – but it closes early so don’t leave it too late like we did!
Make sure you’re in Hobart on a Saturday morning, so you can visit Salamanca Markets. The best part about it was the atmosphere. In terms of what’s on offer – we found the shops in the area better, but the area was buzzing on the Saturday. We bought some local berries and went on our way.
After visiting the markets in the morning, we jumped in the car an headed to Port Arthur. I’ve got to be honest – unless you’re really into history, or you have more than 3 days in Hobart – I probably wouldn’t recommend taking the time to go all the way there. Though in saying that – the drive is beautiful, and we stopped at a delicious winery on the way – Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed – and had some more oysters.
Port Arthur is interesting – make sure you wear your walking shoes, and you allow at least 4 hours to get around the whole site. We joined the walking tour which was great – and the ferry ride around Isle of the Dead was cool.
I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t like Port Arthur. It might have something to do with the cruise ship load of tourists that were there while we were. It might have been the quiet, slightly menacing atmosphere. I really don’t know – but you should still check it out for yourself and make your own mind up. Interestingly enough, they don’t talk about the shooting that took place.
Shop: Hobart Bookshop, Spacebar Gallery – both in Salamanca
Eat: Blue Eye, Salamanca (more detail at the end of the blog)
Drink: Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed
Stay: Airbnb for peaceful relaxation a little out of town. If you want something central – the Henry Jones Art Hotel has to be your pick!
Visit: Mount Wellington for sunset, MONA (take the ferry both ways, and splurge for the Posh Pit), Salamanca markets and surrounds, Battery Point for old architecture.
Freycinet National Park & Bicheno
What a place. After some quick research in the car on the way from Hobart, we decided to do the Wineglass Bay walk. We parked the car, and made our way up the hill. Now this comes with a warning – this involves A LOT of stairs. But oh man it’s worth it when we got to the viewing platform overlooking the world famous Wineglass Bay.
Surprisingly enough we were still feeling a little energetic, so we decided to make our way back down the other side so the beach itself, and I’m so glad we did. Talk about a pretty spot. We sat and simply enjoyed the view.
We also got our first taste of the quintessential burnt orange rocks that the area is known for (but are nothing compared to those in Bay of Fires).
After an interesting run in with a group of obnoxious tourists (involving the new husband asking them to pick up the cigarette butt they’d just littered), we headed back over the hill. The way back was a lot easier – so if you’re up to it, you should do it!
We stopped at nearby Honeymoon Bay on the way out of Freycinet (because we had to), which is a very pretty spot and worth a stop. It would be a nice swimming spot too if it was a little warmer.
Rather than staying in nearby Coles Bay – we opted for a small cabin on the outskirts of Bicheno which we found on Airbnb. It came with a stunning view overlooking the water.
The owners let us know where we could go for dinner – Pasini’s (we had the seafood broth which was amazing) – and where we could try and catch the fairy penguins, though we were a little late in the season. So off we went – this time armed with warm clothes and mosquito repellent!
The Blowhole is the spot – and we were lucky enough to see a few little guys coming in! You hear them before you see them. Our best look though, was on our way back – and one little dude crossed the road in front of our car (luckily we’d been warned of this regular occurrence and were driving really slow).
Visit: Bicheno Blowhole at dusk for Fairy Penguins
Eat: Pasini’s, Bicheno
Explore: Wineglass Bay & Honeymoon Bay
Bay of Fires
We took a decent detour between Bicheno and Launceston to visit Bay of Fires. It was so stunning – think bright blue skies against contrasting burnt orange lichen covered boulders. We climbed our way across the boulders at Binalong Bay to get a great look back to the beach.
We kept heading north along Gardens Road before stopping for lunch at a small beach near Sloop Lagoon. We had the whole little bay to ourselves, and I was brave enough to go for my one and only swim in the sea. The husband was not so brave.
If we’d had more time – I would have loved to keep going north.
Quick fact: Contrary to popular belief, the Bay of Fires is not named so after the orange boulders it’s come to be known for. It was named after the indigenous fires viewed along the coast when Captain Tobias Furneaux sailed along it.
Launceston & Tamar Valley
Did we like Launceston? Not really.
Did we like Tamar Valley? Not really.
To be fair – we were there on Sunday and Monday. It’s a hospitality region, so we should have thought it through – but unfortunately we struggled to find anything open.
We stayed in Tamar Valley, which made it a little harder – and we possibly would have been fine if we’d stayed in Launceston itself. As it was – we ended up having a gourmet KFC dinner on our first night in lieu of any other option.
The Tamar Valley wetlands are worth a visit – just be sure to bring a bottle of water and a sun hat! It gave the husband some good bird watching time, and I got to play with our new camera.
We stayed in Tamar Ridge cottages which is set on the Tamar Ridge winery – just 20 metres from the cellar door. This was awesome on the second night, after a day exploring the area we came back for a wine tasting, and cheese platter – then wandered back to our cottage.
Nearby Grindelwald is worth a visit if you really have nothing better to do, and you’re up for a 90’s flashback.
Visit: Tamar Vallet Wetlands
Drink: Velo Wines
If ever I’ve visited somewhere that felt too good to be true – this is the place. After a long, but interesting drive – we arrived at Cradle Mountain.
We stopped off at Cradle Mountain Lodge just before the entrance to the park – and walked the quick loop track in the hope of seeing a wombat. Unfortunately we had no luck, but it was still worth it.
We went down to Ronny Creek and took a quick walk down the start of the track, but still had no luck.
Off we went to our accommodation – The Love Shack. Nestled amongst native bushland, and free from all mobile and tv reception – this is a spot to really embrace the area. The owners home is nearby, and so are the abundant wallabies and pademelons which come out at dinner time! What a sight – these are feisty little brats!
After some takeaway pizza from a nearby restaurant, and Harry Potter on VHS, we bunkered down for an early night – ready to explore the next day!
We got up nice and early and made our way back to the national park. After another quick loop of the track next to Cradle Mountain Lodge (with no luck again), we headed for Dove Lake.
We parked the car at Ronny Creek and waited for the bus into Dove Lake. While we were waiting, we saw a wombat grazing a little way up the hill which was pretty awesome. Our first wombat siting in the wild!
Dove Lake is seriously pretty. It was so quiet and peaceful – and the track is nice and easy, but varied enough with some little pit stops to the waters edge along the way. At the far end of the circuit, we watched some kayakers making their way through the shallows – I would definitely look into that for next time. At the end of the circuit – we took our obligatory shot of the boat shed (cliché but beautiful all the same), and veered left back towards Ronny Creek.
This section was possible my favourite part – it was so open and remote. We stopped along the way for a packed late lunch, just a little off the track by a cute little stream. The whole time I was searching for Wombats. All I wanted was ONE a little closer – please!
After our lunch we were off again. I seriously was getting obsessed with Wombat poop – and checking if there was any sign of a fresh one (and yes it is true, it is little cubes). We were almost back to the car when we realised there was a wombat right next to the track – like seriously close. I could have reached out and touched it if I wasn’t too worried that I would either lose a finger, or hurt it.
We stood there for about 20 minutes, just watching him chomping noisily on his grass. He certainly wasn’t worried about us at all.
Eventually we realised we couldn’t take him home, so we’d have to leave him.
Overall – it was probably the best day of our whole trip.
Hobart take II
After taking the long way back from Cradle Mountain via the West Coast, and the Tall Trees Walk, we arrived for our last night in Hobart.
We splurged a little and stayed in the Henry Jones Art Hotel which is right at Franklin Wharf. It’s probably one of the nicest places we’ve stayed – and we would stay again if we went back to Hobart.
A highlight for our last night was also our last delicious dinner at Blue Eye. We knew we wanted a seafood dinner send off, and this place really delivered. We went for the Seafood platter, which is served over three courses (because, why not) – and it was so delicious I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Think oysters, prawns, paua, seafood chowder and more – all fresh and very delicious.
Overall, Tasmania was a perfect honeymoon spot – and a lovely holiday destination for forced relaxation. It’s definitely on my list of return destinations – especially after writing this blog!