Monday, May 11, 2015

Tassie in 3 days - Part 1

Three days in Tassie? Is that even enough to see one part of Tasmania? Due to time constraints, we did not have much of a choice was either 3 days or no days. So here's a glimpse of places to visit and things to do in 3 days.

Day 1 - Tessallated Pavement, Tasman Peninsula Eco-Cruise & Port Arthur Historic Sites

What we could have done: Hobart > Tessellated Pavement > Tasman Peninsula Eco-Cruise > Port Arthur Historic Site. Overnight in Port Arthur.

What we did: Hobart > Tessellated Pavement > Tasman Peninsula Eco-Cruise > Port Arthur Historic Site > Hobart. Overnight in Hobart.

Departing Sydney at 6:15am, we were in Hobart by 8:10am. The plan was to visit Cadbury Factory which is an hour's drive away before heading towards Port Arthur to board our eco-cruise. However after reading the latest reviews on Tripadvisor, we veto-ed the chocolate factory and spent sometime getting acquainted with Hobart before heading for our eco-cruise.

Our drive to Port Arthur took led us to Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site. While we had no prior knowledge of this site, we knew it there would be several places of interest since it was marked with brown signage. One of them was Tessellated Pavement.

Tessellated Pavement
This was our second stop after we got off the main road. I do not remember much about our first stop except for the beautiful views you get from an elevated level (no pictures to share either). Back to our stop, be sure to step out and take the short path down to the beach after you have parked your car. Standing at parking lot level allows you to only view the beach and the horizon. Hardly any views of this special pavement.
Follow the brown signs, it will get you there.
These steps lead you straight to the pavement. It would take you about 10-15 minutes (depending on your pace) to get here from the parking lot.
Probably not accessible at high tide.
I am not sure why but I recall the term "bread loaf" tessellations was also used to describe this rock surface Maybe it looks like loaves of bread when partly submerge by sea waters.
It was January 2015, supposedly summer. Neverthless the weather was much colder than I had expected it to be and was glad I brought along a jacket. If you are not pressed for time, I would recommend you to dine at the hotel opposite the parking lot. Food prices are reasonable and tasty too. In fact, this hotel could be a potential spot for you to spend the night.
Grilled fish, chips and salad.
Bruschetta and mushrooms.

Tasman Peninsula Eco-Cruise
Our next activity was Tasman Peninsula Eco-Cruise. This activity came highly recommended by Oma (aka Mrs Ripke). Although can be a bit pricey if you are on a tight budget ($125 per person for a 3 hour wilderness cruise), it was worth the price. Mr H and I booked ourselves via Tasman Island Cruises.

Departure time was 2pm and we were required to check-in by 1:15pm at the the tour operator's office. After a short briefing on what to expect, we boarded the bus and made our way to the jetty located 30min away. 

Note: If you were heading straight back to Hobart after the cruise, you might want take the option of driving yourself to the jetty (follow the bus). The jetty is much closer to Hobart than the office (which is actually the opposite direction).

Once you board the boat, there is a second briefing. This time, the focus is preventing seasickness! The captain and co-captain kept us entertained during this briefing. Their comical presentation certainly kept us in stitches. First, we were provided with ginger pills that could help alleviate seasickness. Since this is a preventative measure, you should take it BEFORE you start feeling sick and not when you start feeling sick. The second tip was to make sure you're not overly clothed. At the first briefing (back at the office), we were warned how cold it could get. This would lead to some to don layers of clothing to help them through the cruise. Unfortunately too much clothing makes you hot and you will start to feel sick. When this happens, start peeling your layers off one by one. You will feel much better.

If the pill and removing layers of clothing does not work, there's one final option for you - make your way right to the back of the boat. Hang out at the back of the boat with the captain. The view is just as great while the ride is not as bumpy.

With the briefing done, we were off. Since the trip took place nearly 4 months ago, I do not remember the names of most of sights we visited. Neither did I take notes considering we were on a boat and I was afraid my notebook would get splashed by huge waves. I do remember the beauty of it all and thankfully managed to capture some pictures when it was deemed safe. So I will share some pictures taken instead.

Overalls are provided on the boat - it is thick, heavy and does provide some warmth. Putting this on onto your already layered clothing could make you seasick. If you do start feeling sick, remove your inner layer but keep this overall on. Don a beanie if you have one - keeps your hair in place.
Front row seats - not for you if you are prone to seasickness.
No entry for us. Ok for scuba divers!
Lovely green (or is it aquamarine) waters. You can scuba dive within these waters too. No jet-skiing though. Once a guy attempted too and his jet-ski crashed. He survived while his jet-ski sank and now lies somewhere at the bottom.
Lucky us it rained a few days before. On most days, waterfall is out of service.
Lovely weather for sun-baking. Even the seals agree.
Candlestick - popular among rock climbers. To climb this, one person from the team will need to swim over to anchor the rope. Definitely a cold start to the climb!
I had wanted to share a picture of the Tasman Lighthouse, unfortunately I cannot seem to find one from my personal collection. It is one of the most isolated lighthouse I have ever known and access to there is treacherous. In those days, people and goods were transported to the lighthouse using a conveyor belt which resembled something like a flying fox) from the boat. It could get dangerous depending on the weather. We were told that nobody lives in the lighthouse anymore and access to the area is via helicopter. Even so, you will need to make a generous donation to get a place since it is part of a fund raising campaign.

As our final stop before heading back to shore, our captain took us out to sea so we can get a postcard perfect picture of the view.
Panoramic view of Tasman Peninsula before we head back to shore.
Throughout the cruise, keep an eye out for albatross, dolphins and whales. Unfortunately for us, no dolphins or whales were sighted. We did see albatross, seals and a few rock climbers scaling the Candlestick (one of them even "moon-ed" us). 

Once at shore, we boarded the bus and made our back to our cars. From here, you have the option to return back to Hobart or carry on to Port Arthur Historic Site which is about 100m away.

To be continued.. 

Click on the quick links to read about the other places we covered on our 3 day Tassie adventure: Day 1 - Part 1 & part 2Day 2 - Part 3 & part 4Day 3 - Part 5 & final

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