Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tassie in 3 days - Final

Cataract Gorge
We arrived in Launceston late evening. It was 6:30pm and we had checked in to the hotel. I persuaded Mr. H to drive to Cataract Gorge as I was hopeful that the attraction would remain open til late since it was summer (our visit was in January 2015). It was also a 10 minute drive from our hotel which made it worth a try. 

Fortunately for us, the grounds were indeed open! There were a couple of adults reading a book by the picnic bench while their kids splashed about in the pool. The last basin chairlift ride took place at 6:00pm. We missed that but we did get to walk around for at least 45 minutes before we left. Even then, a family arrived just as we were leaving. I have no idea what time the place officially close.

We took a lot of pictures during our time there. Here's some to share.
Built in 1972, this chairlift ride is the world's longest single-span chairlift. We did not get to ride since last take off was at 6:00pm (we arrived closed to 7:00pm).
Alexandra Suspension Bridge - first built in 1904. It is quite sturdy and does not swing easily.
It is so peaceful and quiet here.. at that time at least.
Cataract Gorge from the other side (not the entrance side).
We did a short loop to soak in as much as we could and spotted a wallaby. After looking at us curiously, he hopped away into the trees.
I do not know if the place would be this peaceful at other times. Since we arrived an hour after closing time, we sort of had the place to ourselves.
Panoramic view of Cataract Gorge.
Ducks probably thought we were gonna feed them. They quickly swam close to the edge as we walked by. Alexandra Suspension Bridge in the background.
This swimming pool is open to the public. There were a couple of parents reading while their kids splashed away in the pool.

With this last entry, we have come to the end of my Tassie in 3 days series. Overall, it was a wonderful trip but seriously, 3 days is just not enough to absorb the real Tasmania. We definitely would like to go back and hopefully, we can stay on for about a month or so. Hahahaha.. 

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

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tassie in 3 days - Part 5

Summary of Day 3 (Clockwise): Spikey Bridge,
Fresh oysters at Frecinet, Cataract Gorge &
Coles Bay.
On our final full day in Tasmania, we drove from Hobart to Launceston via Freycinet. Ninety minutes into the drive, we realised that the distance was longer than what we expected (see what happens when not proper planning is done?). We decided it was best to lower our expectations by reducing the number of sights to visit. This way we could enjoy the little that we could instead of trying to squeeze in everything and enjoy nothing.

Spiky Bridge
Approximately 2 hours from Hobart, we arrived at Spiky Bridge. It was drizzling, so we decided to appreciate this historical bridge from the comfort of our car! Hahaha.. Two other groups thought and did the same too. Fortunately, it was an attraction that did not require much effort from a visitor. 

The highlight of this bridge would be the architecture - stones are placed in vertical positions resulting in a spiky look (hence the name). Not much to do here except take pictures. If it was not raining, I would have probably walked across the bridge for a photo or two. There is a board with some historical information about the bridge for your reading pleasure  (it is clearly readable from inside your car, no need to step out).

If you are not in a hurry, you could stop at Great Oyster Bay which is located opposite the bridge. Nice spot for pictures too.

Spiky Bridge - built by convicts in 1843.
From Spiky Bridge, we drove towards Freycinet. With no definite plan, we were happy to see a signboard directing us to the visitor information center. Throughout our trips in Australia, we often depended on recommendations from friendly staff manning the visitor information center and have not been disappointed once. This time was no different and we eagerly drove towards the center to listen to what they have in store for us. Upon reaching the center, I cannot help but laugh and realised that this time we were on our own.

Visitor Information Center - was just a shed.
We were not the only ones who needed help. Anonther couple were already going through the recommendations that were displayed at the shed. Despite being unmanned, it was quite informative and gave us an idea or two on what to do. Once done with taking notes, we drove on to Freycinet National Park.

Wineglass Bay is one of the popular attractions in Freycinet National Park. To actually stand on the beach there, one would need to trek for at least 2 hours (4 hours return) and it is not something that can be done ad-hoc. Due to the difficulty level of the trail, this trek is best planned in advance. Since we made no planning whatsoever, getting to Wineglass Bay was not an option for us. 

After a quick stop at the Visitor Center (this one was manned with friendly staff),  we were presented with several doable options. One was to drive to Cape Tourville and walk along the boardwalk to the light house. The route was along the cliffline and we managed to catch a tiny glimpse of Wineglass Bay from here. This was the closest we got to the famous bay. Hahaha
No matter how hard you squint, you won't be able to see Wineglass Bay in this picture (it is the thin line of white located on the right side of this picture towards the back.. in between the two "mountains").
Lighthouse at end of Cape Tourville's boardwalk.
There was nothing much to do at the lighthouse and we made our way back to the car. We then walked towards Sleepy Bay (approx 10 minutes) and Little Gravelly Beach (approx 30 minutes). The walk was not difficult but extra care was required at  certain areas - steep and slippery. While I managed well with my walking shoes, proper shoes with good grip are definitely recommended. 
Part of the trail leading down to Little Gravelly Beach. This is the not slippery part.
At the bottom is a quiet cove with big rock boulders. This spot is much quieter than the lighthouse. You could swim here if you wanted to, although there were no takers when I was there. We took pictures and made our way back to the car.
Quiet cove with big rock boulders.
Looks like I am about to be swallowed by a giant worm.
No swimmers that day. Not as windy at the cove compared to the lighthouse too.
There were quite a number of activities one could do here at Freycinet. Unfortunately these were the only areas we got to cover. To maximise your visit and planning, I recommend you to read up all the activities you can do here at http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=3371. This was something I should have done prior to the trip.. but it's OK, we learn from our experiences right?

Lunch was at Freycinet Marine Farm after reading good reviews from Tripadvisor.com. I thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered - oysters & mussels. Not exactly the cheapest but not expensive either.
Fresh oysters
Only shells left - mussels and oysters.
With a full tummy, we said our goodbyes to Freycinet and drove on to Launceston. I had to snap this signboard. What do you think does it mean? 
Beware of
a. hitting a kangaroo or
b. kangaroo lifting your car?
Oooo.. we stopped at Bicheno Blowhole too since we were in the area. Personally I was not impressed at all after getting "baptised" by Kiama Blowhole. Here's a video of Bicheno taken in January 2015.

video

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