The Travelling Fine Art Photographer

How to Discover Tasmania

Travelling Tasmania for three weeks in a Campervan was one of the most amazing highlights of my travelling life. Tasmania is an incredible wonderland that a lot of people miss entirely on their visit to Australia, this is folly! Tasmania has so much to offer, from mountainous landscapes to pristine beaches, and an abundance of fascinating wildlife; the island is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to otherworldly adventures. 

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Tasmania Contents 

  • Bridestowe Lavender Farm
  • Blue Lake
  • Bay of Fires
  • Peron Dunes
  • Bicheno Blowhole
  • Wineglass Bay
  • Hobart
  • Mt Wellington
  • Battery Point
  • Bioluminescence
  • Bruny Island
  • Bruny – White Wallabies
  • Bruny Island Cheese & Oysters
  • Bruny – Fluted Cape Track
  • Hartz Peak
  • Russell & Horseshoe Falls
  • The Needles 
  • Gordon Dam
  • Mt Field West Alpine Track  
  • Nelson Falls
  • Queenstown
  • Rocky Cape National Park
  • Burnie Penguins
  • Cradle Mountain

A handy map of everything on the list and more featured at the bottom of this post.

1. Bridestowe Lavender Farm

December - Bridestowe Lavender Farm was almost reaching the peak of its breathtaking bloom when we arrived. Contrasted against the red sandy soil it grew in. The rows upon rows of flowers looked completely perfect. Lavender is one of my absolute favourite smells. You can imagine the sheer joy my senses were experiencing and an entire meadow full of it. Bridestowe has become quite well known for its instagrammable lavender flavoured ice-cream. We felt it kind of tasted like vanilla, but was delicious all the same, and what a perfect backdrop to enjoy by.

2. Blue Lake

Blue Lake, home to clay balls and green ants. The sound of cicadas erupted as we arrived late evening. The only people for what felt like hundreds of miles. The sun was low, creating a golden haze across the landscape. The wind had dropped. The ambience added to the ominous feeling we had staring at the luminous and still, blue depths. 

The stillness of the lake surface was mesmerising. It didn’t reflect the light into a glossy mirror as most stagnant lakes do. But had a dense opacity that seemed to draw you in deeper with every moment. 

It reminded me of a quote by Nietzsche,

“And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” 

I felt a pleasant emptiness. As though should I stand there long enough to stare, the lake would envelop me. Silently coercing me into its mysterious depths.

3. Bay of Fires 

The Bay of Fires conservation area. Named because of the Tasmanian Aboriginal campfires. That blazed across the coastline when the first European settlers arrived. The Bay is famous for its many beaches littered with huge granite rocks. Each covered in orange lichen. With crystal clear waters stretching along the Eastern Coast. Because there are so many inlets, it’s easy to feel like you have the whole place to yourself. We spent the morning clambering over giant orange rocks. Trying to beat each other across the huge natural formed stepping stones. Like children playing in a giants courtyard. Crabs scurried away from our footsteps. Fish darting i every direction when a misplaced step smashed into the water. 

Our prize destination was Binalong Bay, a spectacular stretch of beach to the South. We could not believe the beauty of this place when it came into view as we drove along the road, right by the beach side. The air was crisp and the sun shining bright, so we decided it was the perfect time for a dip. Travelling in a van means you don’t get to shower all that often, so any opportunity for it and I’m there. It took us less than a second to realise we had underestimated the waters invite. It was freezing! We stood there, the water lapping out our thighs, daring each other to go for it and dive in.

My Favourite Hiking Boots – Danner Women’s Mountain

4. Peron Dunes

Peron dunes are like a scene from a doomsday movie. We were two figures lost in a vast desert of sand that stretches as far as the eye can see. It would almost feel like being smack in the middle of the Sahara. If it wasn’t for the ever-tumbling ocean waves crashing and frothing in the distance. I’ve been to the desert in Egypt once. But there are no camels here, no quad bikes. Simply you, the sand, the wind and your dreams. 

5. Bicheno Blowhole

Bicheno Blowhole, a large hole in the rock that blasts out in a spray of sea water. When the sea is feeling most ferocious. Even on a calmer day, it’s still quite the spectacle. A wonderful place to bring the family and hang out watching the seas spray. Or catching crabs among the many rock pools created in the inlet. We spent countless hours trying to catch crabs on our journey. Here was a man snapping them up with such ease and precision. Showing the children and explaining all about their anatomy. We had another go, but the crabs were crafty little critters and always slipped our grip. They knew who the novices were, so we left it to the expert and his gathering of eager kids. it was time for a spot of dinner.

6. Wineglass Bay

Wineglass Bay is the main beach in the Freycinet Peninsula on the East Coast of Tasmania. The regular view is from a platform halfway up the mountain. But there’s a much more incredible view from the summit of Mount Amos. Although this hike isn’t so much a hike but a climb. We started the day with at the easy trek up the path to the Wineglass Bay lookout. After being in Tasmania for a few days and feeling almost completely isolated. It was strange to see so many people gathering and taking selfies with the view. We took the long road down to the beach afterwards to splash around in the blissful turquoise waves.

7.1 Hobart

The delightful city of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is a chance to regroup and regain a sense of city life. We spent a calming afternoon wandering up and down the street in Battery Point. Admiring the houses and the well-kept lawns. My favourites kept renewing as we passed one delightful front door after another. Spring was arriving, and the blooms and bees were out in full fury. Gardens bursting with tulips and hydrangeas and lavender bushes crowded with summer bees. We recommend a stay in one of the lovely Battery Point cottages in Hobart halfway through your trip. For a little refresher and a taste of their unique History.

Click here for £35 off AirBnB

7. 2 Mount Wellington

The majesty of Mount Wellington has to be seen to be believed. Bringing the best of both worlds to the city of Hobart. An enormous slice of nature right on the doorstep. Mount Wellington was where we hit our first snag of the trip and almost got stuck on the mountain!

Our Travel Disaster on the Mountain HERE

8. Bioluminescence 

We had heard there was a chance to catch a sight of bioluminescence in Tasmania. The first spot we went to was Kingston Beach. A couple of other cars were already parked and a photographer was setting up his tripod. We hoped for the best. As the lights dimmed and the stars started to twinkle. We mooched up and down the pebbly beach looking for signs of the pink cloudy water. 

We waited and waited, but nothing was showing up. I threw a rock into the watery depths and it sank down into blackness, we were out of luck. We headed back to the van and drove to get some signal so I could check for any sightings on Facebook. We were in luck! Someone had spotted something on a dog beach a little North of where we were. When we arrived, our dreams came true, we started to swish the water around and there it was!

As I strut my stuff, kicking and running around in the water, the algae dazzled like diamonds in the rough. I’d long given up on trying to keep my shoes dry. I rolled up my jeans to my knees so I could enjoy the spectacle, I’d rather be shiny! The cascading lights chased away from my footsteps. Like like a dazzling electric current. Each step a neurone firing off into a million sparks of wonder. The fish joined in this merry dance making circular ripples across the surface. It was completely magical. It’s hard to capture bioluminescence on film and I didn’t have the correct equipment. But it was spectacular to enjoy it in the moment and was a once in a lifetime experience.
We spent three weeks travelling Tasmania by campervan. Exploring the vast wilderness, breathtaking coastlines and magnificent mountainscapes. If you haven’t read Part 1 & 2 of our incredible Tasmania adventure, catch up HERE and HERE

9. Bruny Island

Bruny Island lies off the South West Coast of Tasmania and can be reached by ferry. The ferry itself is super fun. You drive straight on in your vehicle but can alight and walk around to enjoy the view once you move. At the centre of Bruny Island is the neck. A peninsula of beach that connects the North of the island to the South. 

10. White Wallabies

A spectacle unique to Bruny Island is the rare, and uber-cute albino wallaby. They’re easily found around the Adventure Bay area on the South side of the Island. Although are quite elusive and much less tame than regular wallabies. They are so incredibly beautiful, and even a glimpse of one is enough. There are other species of the albino nature to keep a beady eye out for. One of those curious and fascinating aspects of the joy of Bruny. 

11. Cheese & Oysters

Bruny is famous for its cheese and oysters. Caloo calay we’ll eat today, like cabbages and kings. I’ve never tried an oyster before so this was a first, and boy was it a good first time. First course, possibly the finest oysters in the world from Get Shucked. Delicate yet creamy; they went down a treat dressed with a squeeze of lemon and Asian dressing. The second course was a display of delectable fresh OTO cheese. Wrapped in prosciutto and oven baked to perfection. We passed the early afternoon watching the fairy wrens and feeling divine in the courtyard at the Bruny Island Cheese Company. Full of delicious cheeses, fine wines and fresh molluscs. Sometimes, food really is happiness. 

12. Fluted Cape Track

There are a few hikes on the Island that enjoy high cliff coastal views and inland sea crags. We chose the Fluted Cape track, and it turned out to be a perfect choice! As well as another white wallaby spotting, and a breathtaking view across the ocean. We stumbled across a scene I could hardly believe. 

13. Hartz Peak

A half day hike in the Hartz Mountains is the summit of Hartz Peak. If we felt alone in civilisation on Bruny amidst epic beauty, it was nothing to what we were about to see. Hartz Peak is a backbone of dolerite stretching the entire length of the park. The weather in this part of the land can change at any moment. You can experience four seasons in one day, and we were ready for the throngs. We had no expectations of the walk, only that it was a 4-hour return. Double if you stop as often as I do to take pictures of rocks. 

Hartz Peak summit track was a delight from the get-go. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather. The sun was low in the sky and the air still and calm. We began the trail along an intricate wooden path. That hovered above the undergrowth like the journey towards the Emerald Castle. When you reach the summit, serenity surrounds you. The view opens up below us to reveal a mesmerising haze of sun mixing with the evening mist. Bathing Lake Esperance and the wild track below in the most incredible evening light. Your head bobs above the clouds, in this magnificent place. 

14. Rusell & Horseshoe Falls

Mt Field National Park has a plethora of hikes. This particular National Park has a lot to offer. One of them is a mini hike to three beautiful waterfalls: Russell, Horseshoe and Lady Barron Falls. All on a 2-hour return track, easy peasy. It’s a very mild walk through a dense forest full of beautiful curling ferns. Thick and gloriously green vegetation, and some of the tallest trees imaginable. Even here the wildlife surprised us. As we turned a corner we saw an echidna. Casually nosing through the undergrowth looking for grubs. He cared nothing for our presence and just carried on his day. They only trying moment was a set of steep stairs winding their way up the track. But at the end of each effort was a rewarding waterfall more spectacular than the last. The track is a loop. Which meant that as we decided we’d had our fill of the Lady Barron, it was only twenty minutes back to the carpark.

15. The Needles

The Needles are a group of Dolerite rocks that jut out towards the sky against the craggy landscape. The entrance to the track is a little deceiving. A mile or so after a small signpost stating, ‘the needles.’ A gravel bay just off the road is considered the car park for the Needles and Mt Mueller range. On the left of the road, just before the cliffside seems to engulf you in a blanket of trees. There is a small cairn left by other hikers to mark the entrance. The ground rises dramatically. At first but once you break out from the tight undergrowth. The peaks display around you in all their majesty. it’s a great spot for a bit of bouldering. 

16. Gordon Dam

Gordon Dam is one of the single most beautiful places I have ever seen. It feels like you’re standing at the very precipice of the end of the world with nothing beyond but beauty. Gordon Dam lies at the end of Gordon River Road. There is nowhere to go from here. Only your eyes can follow the swallows as they swoop and swing across the open space. Into the distant void beyond Lake Gordon Reservoir. I don’t remember the wind. I don’t remember the sounds. Only a peaceful enveloping of pure innocence, with a side order of pure adrenaline. Down below, people were abseiling from the top of the dam and down into the abyss. The dam is a massive 140 metres high, and one of the Top 10 adrenaline activities in the world. You can organise an abseiling adventure here.

17. Mount Field West

Mount Field has a campsite right on the doorstep to the base hikes. It’s one of the few paid sites in Tasmania, but at $22 it is definitely worth it. They have powered and unpowered sites so you can choose what you need. We were promised a diverse experience when it came to the joys of Mount Field West. High altitude ridges that see a plethora of seasonal change, sometimes all in one day. The track sees a unique alpine species of the beautiful Pandani. They look sort of like a giant pineapple head, and even the chances of a platypus sighting. Diversity is certainly what we got, though not quite as we’d hoped. We were rained on, hailed on, whipped around in the rain and were almost blown off a cliff. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

18. Nelson Falls

Nelson Falls is an easy pitstop as it’s only 5 minutes back from the road. The falls were pretty light as it was coming into summer. But the rains were coming down heavy as we danced forlornly by the waterfall. An oppressive sky lay overhead and only increased as we would our way along the road to Queenstown. The clouds cast a moody shadow across the mountains. A dense mist obscured their summits from view.

19. Queenstown

Queenstown gave me a strange vibe. An old mining town at the bottom of a valley surrounded by its own deforested mountains. I almost felt like we had driven into the set of a fallout movie. Or Centralia, the strange town from Silent Hill. Still burning from the fires of a time long forgotten.

20. Rocky Cape National Park

The Northwest coast of Tasmania is quite quaint. A farming town, it reminded me a lot of South coastal English towns such as Dorset and Cornwall. A relaxed little place with heaps of farmland. Complete with more cows than you can shake a stick at. Although you wouldn’t spot a wallaby casually nuzzling down beside a cow in a field in England! The place had a relaxing vibe, even the bunnies didn’t seem to have anywhere particular to be. 

A few cute lighthouses litter the coastal tracks. Once the sole communication towers for the aboriginal people. Living in beachside caves long ago. Their heritage is still rich here and protected lovingly in Rocky Cape National Park. Everything we experienced on this corner of the Island was a new surprise. We couldn’t leave the area without a quick pit stop to see The Nut in Stanley. On our way back West, we happened across a small beach corner that had an entire world of tiny shells! I had some fun there for a while making shell gardens and avoiding seagulls. 

21. Burnie Penguins

As darkness fell we made our way to the viewing platform at the Little Penguin Observation Centre. Volunteers turn up every night in the season. To educate the spectators about the adorable little fairy penguins that call their corner of the world home. We were so lucky to witness a couple of penguin chicks as they waited for supper. It took a good long hour of patient waiting, but finally, the adults began to materialise. 

They popped their heads out of the water and scurrying through the shadows on the beach to their nests. Each penguin knows the call of its children, and they were all hopping up to shore to feed their young. It was a delightful show, some of the parent penguins even tried their best to hide and sneak up on the kids. So they could have a moment to relax on the rocks after their long journey before the feeding frenzy began.
Watching baby penguins feed is an incredible, and also quite violent experience. Since the parents regurgitate the food straight from their own stomachs. Then babies clamber all over them to get at it, but it is also ridiculously endearing. The volunteer guides are all very helpful and knowledgeable. It’s a real treat to meet people who care so much about their environment and cherish its natural wonders. Watching the penguins completely in their natural environment was an experience of a lifetime. So much more rewarding.

22. Cradle Mountain

Cradle Mountain is one of the most popular spots in Tasmania. It looks incredible in any season. Is part of the famed Overland Track. And the majesty of the mountain rising formidably behind Dove Lake is incredible. Unfortunately this time we never saw her reveal her pretty head. As she spent the whole time clasped in a cloudy marshmallow mountain. 

We sat in the van marvelling at the view of the mountain as parts of it occasionally peeked through the clouds. We waited for the showers to pass. Listening to Desert Island Discs Podcast and questioning people’s choice of footwear. I’m almost certain I saw someone in a pair of slippers. She walked down to the edge of the road, took a selfie with the cloud bank behind her, and returned to the car park to leave. 
The sun kept poking through the clouds for a fleeting second. We managed a short walk in one of the upper regions around the beautiful Rainforest Walk. Then retreated back to the dryness of our Murphy van to watch the rain. It floated by in sheets creating a haze across the mountain. The mist completely obscuring Cradle from view.
Thanks for reading!

B x

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