Our Top 10 tips for seeing Tasmania in two weeks
Disclaimer: We are two recently retired teachers who have been to Tasmania several times but we still have lots to see and do. These are our thoughts made from our notes and discussions as we travelled around. We wished someone had paid for our trip but sadly that didn’t happen!
The Top 10 list was compiled after our recent 2 week trip in late May – early June 2017. We travelled in our own car, with our two pushbikes, on the Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Devonport. After attending a family wedding we headed off on our adventure. We stayed in a variety of accommodation from houses, cottages, cabins, B&B and even a jail cell. We had nothing pre-booked, we just decided on the day which direction we were heading and made plans on the run. It was good to be out of season and we managed to get some great specials along the way.
- Pack for all weather contingencies – layers are best. Remember that Tasmania is quite south and therefore the weather is getting cool by this time of year. I have also travelled in summer and been caught out with a cold snap, it’s very changeable. I took jeans, active-wear, thermal singlets, long sleeved tops, vests, jumpers, lightweight coats and a waterproof coat. Shoes included walking boots, running shoes and casual ankle boots. Beanie, gloves, scarves and an umbrella. As we were hoping to ride our bikes I also took some specific riding gear but ended up wearing normal active-wear. My husband spent a lot of time in his long shorts. We were lucky to have the car so we didn’t have a weight limit 🙂 If travelling in summer this list would have to be revised to include sunscreen, swimmers, shorts, t shirts etc. As I showed in this post, I’m not the world’s best packer.
- Phone reception – a lot of people don’t realise that phone reception in Tasmania is mostly provided by the Telstra network and as such Optus, Vodaphone and others may not work at all. We now understand why we were given a Telstra SIM card in the Welcome to Tasmania pack, as we left the boat in Devonport. A very thoughtful gesture, not to mention practical, from the kind tourism people. We had patchy reception and were caught out at various times. The worst time was a case of bad timing as it was our daughter’s birthday in UK and we couldn’t ring her until the next day – she wasn’t very understanding! WiFi was offered at several of our accommodation stops but was generally not much use. There are several places in major Tasmanian towns/cities where WiFi is offered throughout the town area. I learnt to manage without it mostly) and saved notes for my blog updates at a later date. It’s nice sometimes to be off the grid!
- Don’t rush – it may be a small island but there’s a lot of ground to cover and many things to see. One visit can’t do it justice. We already have places on our list for next time. Travelling times aren’t always fast and roads signs were helpful in giving estimate driving times between major places. We were pleased to have set a minimum of two night stays whenever we could. The days are shorter too at this time of the year and the sun was setting quite early (like 4.30pm) We always tried to be settled into accommodation for the night by 3pm so that we weren’t driving around in the dark looking.
- Shopping bags – in case you didn’t know most of Tasmania is plastic bag free which means you either provide your own or you pay for bags. If you have your own vehicle it might be a good idea to put in a few shopping bags for any shopping you may need to do. Good on you Tasmania!!
- Purchase a National Parks Pass beforehand. We bought ours on the boat on the way over and it was well used. You would often need to display the card on your dashboard when in a National Park. We also took a photo of the card on our phone in case we were asked for it while away from the vehicle. It cost $60 and was valid for 2 months. Well worth the money!
- Get off the beaten track but make sure you have some cash. We came across a ferry in the middle of nowhere, and knew there’d be a charge, but not how much. It was $25 and thankfully we had cash on hand, as I don’t think card facilities were an option. There are many roads off the beaten track, it’s fun taking the road less travelled.
- Breathe deeply and relax – apparently the air in Tasmania is so good for you, every breath adds 10 seconds to your life! It’s also good for your complexion!
- Be prepared to change your plans. We took our bikes with us intending to ride rail trails and anywhere there was a shared walking path. We had a good first week of riding but the second week the weather wasn’t as conducive to riding, we even had a day of driving through snow! So although we had plans to ride it wasn’t always possible and we had to look around for alternatives. We also noticed that towards the end of our two weeks, into early June, many places were closing for the season and activities were limited so we had to be flexible.
- It was good to have a bag with basic food supplies and a thermos – I now sound like my grandmother – we were often caught out in isolated places without cafes or shops, so our bag of goodies was very useful. We always had teabags, cups, plates, cutlery, crackers, vegemite, breakfast cereals, meusli bars and snacks on hand which not only was convenient, it saved us some money too. I’m a frugal retiree now 🙂
- Enjoy yourself – this is not hard to do. The people, the scenery, the history – it’s all amazing! Talk to locals, ask questions, get guidance on where to go and what to do.
- Take plenty of photos – even if it’s only on your phone. The shots are useful for when you write up your Travel Blog or make your photo book when you return home. The light in Tasmania is beautiful and soft at this time of year and I am thrilled with my iPhone pics. The immediacy of the internet, assuming you can get reception, is good for sharing your best shots of the day. Try to find and use appropriate hashtags such as #DicoverTasmania #visitTasmania on Instagram or Twitter (if that’s what you’re into).
I’ve had a great time with my series of Tour de Tassie travel blog posts highlighting our recent travels and still have a few stories to update. If you like reading about travelling or Tasmania, you may be interested in what I’ve written so far:
Can you relate to this list, are there any other tips you’d add?
Until next time!
Note: I hope you appreciated the alliteration in the title! It doesn’t take much to amuse me.
All photos are mine unless stated and were taken with my trusty iPhone!
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