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etelka610 Launceston - A travel report by Aimee
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Launceston,  Australia - flag Australia -  Tasmania
1558 readers

etelka610's travel reports

A natural wonder with a brutal history

  14 votes
Ok, it's no Brazil but imagine this, 1.38 million hectares of mostly untouched wilderness (classified as a world heritage area), more than 2000kms of walking tracks and 18 national parks. This place is pretty spectacular.


To drive on a direct route from any side of Tasmania to the furthest point on the other side of the island will not take you any more the 3 hours. Thats a LOT of wilderness in a bloody small area of land. The state of Tasmania is the southern most point of Australia, being the furthest place from the equator it also experiences some of the coldest weather in the country so it is best to travel late spring to early autumn. Being such such a small island and with such a small population - approximately 48,000 (of which almost 50% live in Hobart), you definitely wont encounter any traffic problems. I can not recommend strongly enough to hire a car, there is no better way to do it, unless you're super fit I could give you a few alternatives. I have only so far seen the western side of the island so this is the area I am going to base my report on. There are direct flights from most Australian cities to both Hobart and Launceston but you can not beat the overnight ferry ride that has services from both Melbourne and Sydney to Devonport several times a week. This is no average ferry ride as they have a variety of room types from your standard share cabins with shared facilities right through to luxurious private cabins. Breakfast and dinner are included in the cost and the food is amazing, they like to prepare you for what's to be expected on arrival in Tasmania. The ferry from Sydney is a particuarly nice journey as you pass along the eastern coastline of Australia while dusk settles before hitting Bass Straight the following morning, this stretch of water separates Tasmania from mainland Australia. This stretch has been know to be rather treacherous as it encounters some large seas, but hey, this just adds to the fun. You can take cars on the Spirit of Tasmania ferries so check prices out, it may be well worth hiring a car on the mainland and taking it with you rather than paying the high costs of renting a vehicle when you arrive in Tasmania.

Favourite spots:
The west coast of Tasmania is known as the 'Gateway to Tasmania's wilderness'. Probably the most famous landmark in Tasmania is Cradle Mountain, located in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Claire National Park, upon the arrival at Dove Lake, Cradle mountain sets a spectacular back drop, rising to a dramatic peak that is more often than not hidden by cloud cover, so you have to be very lucky to see it in its full glory. There are numerous walking trails, depending on the time you have and your fitness level. To walk up the mountain and back itself takes 8 hours. Heading further south down the island you travel through very small rural towns with small houses who's yards are quite amusingly filled with beat up old datsuns, and other very out dated vehicles. Passing through Queenstown and Zeehan, both mining towns you will eventually arrive into Strahan. This is a gorgeous little village located on the pituresque Maquarie Harbour.

What's really great:
Macquarie Harbour is fantastic for its fishing and is the home of some world class salmon and trout farms, Tasmania has some of the freshest salmon in the world. There are a couple of cruises that can be taken out into the Harbour, theses stop off at Sarah Island where you can take a walking tour around this former penal colony settlement (between the years 1822-33) and hear about the lives of these convicts and soldiers lives, this particular colony had the reputation to be one of the most brutal and bloodiest. Getting back on board you cruise along the beautiful Gordon river where the composition of the water creates a mirror effect with the above landscape and makes it hard to define where the water meets the land. Your next port of call is in the rainforest which dates back to the end of the last great Ice Age.

Sights:
Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River, the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a journey between Strahan and Queenstown that takes you across 40 bridges and through a mountain range surrounded by rugged forests.

Accommodations:
A popular option is chain hotel/motel passes where you can purchase however many nights you require and stop wherever the urge takes you. There are many chains that operate and offer theses passes in Tasmania and the have properties all over the island. They range from 5 star down to budget motels and cabins. Alternatively hire a motorhome or better still get yourself a tent.

Nightlife:
You dont really travel to Tasmania to go clubbing but you will find an assortment in Hobart and a couple in Launceston

Hangouts:
Most major towns, if thats what you want to call them will have a watering hole.

Restaurants:
Tasmania has some fantastic food, therefore restaurants. Stop in at some of the local wineries and they will often have their own restaurant offering fine dining and the opportunity to sample their wines. The restaurant in the Franklin Manor in Strahan is worth a visit, offering a degustation menu of a variety of fresh Seafood and other unusual Australian delicacies.

Other recommendations:
The best thing I did was head across to Ocean Beach, at 33 kilometres, this is Tasmania's longest beach and is also in direct line of the 'roaring forties', an affectionate? term used for the strong westerly winds, often gale force that frequently hit the western coastline from the Atlantic ocean. This can cause some huge surf! From here, crossing the atlantic ocean you wouldnt come accross another land shore before Patagonia....that is a loooong way! On Ocean Beach you can go horse riding or better still, head to Henty sand dunes, the largest moving sand dune system in Tasmania where you can take 4 wheel motor bike tour.... fantastic!

Published on Thursday November 10th, 2005


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Thu, Dec 29 2005 - 09:36 PM rating by jarome

Hi Aimee, well written report. The ferry trip from Sydney if most definetly the way to go.
jas

Tue, Nov 15 2005 - 11:06 AM rating by gloriajames

Hiya Aimee
Thanks for the tazzy report... my bf and i have been planning to go there and will get a chance after xmas. Its a pity that you have not uploaded any pics.. Hope u will do that sometime soon!
Cheers
GJ

Mon, Nov 14 2005 - 03:22 PM rating by toribio

I LIKE A LOT VERY MUCH

Thu, Nov 10 2005 - 03:01 PM rating by nedkelly

Aimee thats just downright anti-social, I thought I had my Oz trip all sorted out........ but now I have to make more time to visit this place..maybe I could get an Aussie to guide me ;) !!!!!!!
Great report Aimee, or maybe I am a little biased................

Thu, Nov 10 2005 - 02:41 PM rating by davidx

You really make me want to see it - the lack of heat being a bonus for me.
Most interesting.

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