Friday, March 14, 2014

Long Weekend in Tasmania - Day 1

With only a handful of long weekends on the calendar and too much to see in Australia, I set out for 4 days in Tasmania.

I definitely suggest the following itinerary for a weekend jam-packed with trekking, seafood, art and wine.
Day1: Tasman National Park
Day 2: Maria Island
Day 3: MONA in Hobart
Day 4: Wineglass Bay/Coles Bay

Stu and I arrived in Hobart's tiny airport early Friday morning. It's quite easy to navigate - there are only two gates and one strip of car rental booths. We hired our car and headed south to the Tasman Peninsula.

Definitely suggest printing and storing an itinerary with you when visiting Tasmania - there's absolutely no cell service outside of Hobart. You're completely off the grid (which is a good thing!)

Day 1: Tasman Peninsula - Shipstern's Bluff & Tunnel Bay

Our first destination was the far southwest corner of the Tasman peninsula to see Shipstern's Bluff and Tunnel Bay. The starting point is a dirt parking lot on a private property. The owner has built a compostable toilet for all the adventure seekers - so last chance to use a facility before your walk.

Starting the walk. 
It's an 1.5hr bushwalk downhill to reach an isolated small bay. We didn't pass a single person during our hike, but did encounter a few animals. I saw two passing pademelons, an echidna (who hid from us by hiding it's head in a bush), and a big Tiger snake on the trail!

Tunnel Bay, Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania
The bay is named after the rock formation on the north end where the water has cut away a tall hole in the cliff. There's an open bit of field with old whale bones, remnants of a campfire, and some washed up buoys. We had our picnic lunch on the shelf between the bay and tunnel before meandering up and then down to Shipstern's Bluff.

The tunnel.
Shipstern's Bluff is a world-renowned surf break. When conditions are right, it can pump out 15ft waves - unfortunately, there wasn't much action happening that day and the point was pretty flat, but the elevated views were still worthwhile and it's a great hike to rev up your endurance for the next days' adventures.

Looking out at Shipstern's Bluff.
We ended the day driving north on a dirt road through the Wielangta Forest Reserve to a small fishing town called Triabunna. Not much to see in Triabunna, but there is a reliable little fish & chips shack by the port where the ferry takes travelers to Maria Island. We stayed two nights in an old cottage - accommodation was comfortable besides a terrifying yet brief encounter with a giant Huntsman spider. We spent nights with the fire going, resting our muscles, and watching House of Cards.

Day 2: Maria Island...

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