Over 37% of Tasmania is National Parks and World Heritage Sites, so it’s no wonder that Tasmania has the world’s cleanest air! It’s about the size of Ireland and is full of stunning landscapes and rugged and dramatic coastlines.

This was my first visit to Tasmania….in fact my first visit to Australia – after working in an Australian Specialist Travel Agency for so many years, my curiosity was high!

I arrived in the capital Hobart, where I stayed at The Henry Jones Hotel.  I got the opportunity to shake off any weariness from my flight on a Tasman Island Cruise.  An invigorating trip on a jet boat, getting up close to the cliffs to see the caves and coast, and up close too to some Australian wildlife – seals, Albatross, in fact a good variety of seabirds.

With the cobwebs blown away I ventured in a kayak around Hobart harbour weaving among tall ships, working fishing boats, sleek yachts and modern cruisers.

Port Arthur is a “must do” while in Hobart. A Penal Station established in 1830, we went on a walking tour and heard stories that sent shivers down my spine!

Freycinet Lodge, on the East Coast Freycinet Peninsula is a very picturesque site in coastal bushland by the tree fringed shores of Great Oyster Bay. Within walking distance is Wineglass Bay, one of the world’s top 10 beaches. You can stroll along the Wineglass Bay track and explore hidden coves and sheltered inlets. For the more energetic, walk to the lookout (approx 1-1.5hrs) for stunning views, or if you’re less energetic, there’s an Aqua taxi to Hazards Beach, and then just a gentle stroll across to Wineglass Bay.

Leaving Freycinet and en route to Cradle Mountain I stopped at Launceston and had a wonderful fresh fish lunch and a look around this charming seaport. Cradle Mountain was a sight to behold! I was thrilled to stay in a Pencil Pine Cabin set by the side of the lake. Cradle Mountain Lodge is a unique wilderness experience, at the entrance of Tasmania’s spectacular World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain – Lake St. Clair National Park.

The highlight of my stay here was a guided walk around Dove Lake. With Cradle Mountain in all its glory in the background I walked through temperate rainforests and sub alpine plant communities. The guide was able to point out a lot of interesting facts including the story of how Cradle Mountain got its name, and he also provided tea and biscuits at our half way point! (The peak of the mountain has a narrow ridge that resembles a cradle – hence its name!)

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Most of the wildlife in Tasmania is nocturnal, so that evening I went on a tour with a guide and saw countless Wallabies, Possums and even an elusive Tasmanian Devil. The excitement didn’t stop as the evening ended with dinner in front of a roaring fire!

All too soon it was time to leave. As I boarded my flight home I reflected on the many things and places that I had seen during my first visit to Australia. The quiet serene ambiance of Tasmania with my highlight of Cradle Mountain.  I ate excellent food and drank world famous quality wines and saw wonderful wildlife.

A truly memorable trip in which I saw and did a lot in this quiet, beautiful corner of Australia!
If you’d like to know more please email: gill@hallmarktravel.com

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