It was our voyage on the Spirit of Tasmania on 2 December 2017 that was the true beginning of our wayfaring life. We were fortunate to spend four wonderful months traveling around Tasmania and now a year later we continue to talk about Tasmania with great affection.
There are many things – places, experiences, people and so on – that remain with us. There are things we learned about Tasmania, as people from the big island, we had no clue about prior. Looking back over our first year of full time travel around Australia we had to share the seemingly little but important things we came to learn to about Tasmania.
1. The Sun is Intense
The sun in Tassie has an intensity about it and burns even on the coldest days. Don’t be fooled by the tempered climate. Pack your sunblock and use it everyday.
2. Pack Layers
They joke in Melbourne about having four seasons in one day, in Tasmania they take it seriously. We were is Tasmania for the summer of 2017/18 which was the equal hottest on record with some days reaching high 30s, yet there were days it snowed in December and January. So pack for all seasons. We found the most sensible approach was to have layers of clothing that can be added or removed as required.
3. Small Island / Big Island
In Tasmania when referring to the mainland and Tasmania as separate land masses the accepted terms are Small Island and Big Island or South Island and North Island. It is improper to refer to the rest of Australia as The Mainland or Australia.
4. Distances are Further Than You Think
In Tasmania it always takes longer to drive to places than you expect. Our tip is when calculating how much travel time is needed when driving between places, apply this general rule – double your estimate or double what your navigator tells you. This is especially true when towing a caravan or camper trailer.
But why rush? Take your time, the scenery and wildlife is spectacular and worth slowing down for.
Many like us from the North Island think like we did – a potato is a potato and generally speaking potatoes come in white or pink, washed or unwashed, right? Wrong! Tasmanian’s know a lot about the humble spud and it turns out there is a lot to know. Talk to a local farmer, fresh food market worker or even a local and ask what type of potato to use for mashing, baking, frying – follow their advice and you will never be able to eat just any potato any old way ever again.
6. Fresh Produce
Tasmania seriously has the best fresh produce anywhere in Australia (referring to all Australia here). Buy and eat as much local produce as you can. It is fresh, delicious and you will be supporting local farmers.
7. Natural Habitat Diversity
Tasmania has an amazing amount of diversity in its climates and natural habitats. It is little wonder 51% of the state is has some kind of reservation classification; National Parks manages 42% of Tasmania’s lands. Get out there if you are Tasmania and enjoy as much of it as you can. Get to all or as many corners and edges of the state as you can and venture through and across the middle. As much as possible get out of your car and walk. Walk through the forests, along the beaches, through the towns and cities, every chance you get.
8. Be Flexible and Take Your Time
Tasmania has a huge variety of things to do. By all means have your list of “must dos when in Tasmania” but also be open to doing things and seeing places not on your list just because of a conversation with a local or fellow traveller or for any reason something grabs your interest. Be willing to stay in some places for longer than you planned and accept that unless you are there for an extended period of months, it is not possible to see and do everything.
It is possible to see a lot of Tasmania in a short amount of time but experiencing Tasmania takes time. So our advise is cover less ground and do more of what is in each of the areas you do visit.
9. The Best Beaches
Tasmania has stunning beaches. Beaches so beautiful they could rival any beach on a tropical island. The beaches on the north coast are wild and untamed which with it brings its own kind of beauty. The tourist hot spot of the Bay of Fires on the east coast is also wonderful. Boat Harbour with its white sands, aqua blue water and its sense of being a million miles from anywhere else was our favourite. Don’t go to Tasmania and not enjoy some of its beaches.
Tasmania suffers droughts and turns out Hobart is Australia’s driest capital city. Who knew? Not us. Our images of green rolling hills, green like Ireland where not to be however Tasmania was still more picturesque and beautiful than we imagine. Be aware of any drought conditions and monitor your water needs.
11. March Flies
Tasmania has big-will-bite you march flies. Rotten things. Always carry bug repellent and bug (killing) spray use them sparingly.
Mostly have a wonderful and safe trip visiting what is a most beautiful state with endless amounts of things to do and see. Oh importantly – don’t forget your camera!