Interestingly enough, Bruny Island Cheese Company is the reason Tasmania found its way on our itinerary. Sam saw a photo of theirs on Instagram, thought their food looked good, and decided to do some more research into Tasmania. Turns out, Tasmania is amazing! We decided to do a bit of a road trip up the east coast, spending about 4 nights in Hobart (with a stop at Bruny Island), 2 nights in Bicheno, and 1 night in Launceston.We ended up staying there for 7 days total, and felt like we barely scratched the surface.
Our first stop was the capital city in the south, called Hobart. Bruny Island is just off the coast, so we ended up doing a day trip over there via the ferry. This was also our (Joseph’s) first time driving (and Sam’s first time navigating) on the left side of the road. It took a bit of getting used to, but we eventually got the hang of it!
Our first full day in Hobart, we went on a Sea Kayaking (the Tasman Peninsula trip) excursion with a company called Roaring 40s Kayaking. Our guides Dan and Tori were very knowledgable, and we eventually got the hang of paddling together! We asked Tori if she knew any pirate rowing songs that could help us get a good paddling rhythm down. She couldn’t think of any, but suggested “Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive” from the old Bee Gees song. It may not have been what the pirates used back in the day, but it worked!!
After punching through some big waves and spotting a resident White Bellied Sea Eagle, we headed to Bivouac Bay for a picnic style lunch with the rest of the kayak group. It was a beautiful sunny day with a tail wind. We then explored an old shipwreck in Canoe bay, and surf landed back on the beach. It was a lot of fun, and we highly recommend them!
Bruny Island Cheese Co.
On our second day in Hobart, we took a ferry over to Bruny Island, and after a 15 or so minute drive Bruny Island Cheese Co. was our first stop. This was the place that initially piqued our interest in Tasmania – it absolutely lived up to our expectations, and then some! As soon as we got up to the counter, we were offered a few samples of their handcrafted ales (all delicious!). For food, we ordered The Otto, which is prosciutto wrapped cheese, that is then baked and paired with their homemade wood fired sourdough bread. It was incredibly tasty, and more than enough food for 2 people.
Once we finished our meal, we tasted a few of their other cheeses which were all very unique. We also got a wildlife spotting tip from one of the guys who works there! He told us about a little family of Quolls that has a burrow near the entrance to the island. We were able to stop on our way back and get a few pictures! Quolls are cute little carnivorous marsupials. You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but they are apparently quite vicious.
The Neck, Adventure Bay, and Cloudy Bay
Bruny island is divided into North and South sections by a “neck” of land. We did quite a bit of driving around on the South part of the island, and came across some breathtaking views. We also spotted our first little kangaroo while driving! Highly recommend checking out Cloudy Bay if you drive down to the South area. It was amazing, and there’s a little walking path you can take to get a better view.
We skipped The Neck as a first stop, and doubled back while we were leaving the island. It seemed to work well, since most of the ferry traffic stopped there first.
When we checked the forecast, it looked like it was going to be windy. Apparently that meant “oh my gosh, oh my gosh my house is going to blow down!!!” windy. Walking up the 200 some stairs to the top of the neck lookout was… a bit breezy to say the least. Luckily there was a sturdy railing!
Mount Field National Park
We were going back and forth deciding between Mount Wellington or Mount Field, and eventually chose Mount Field because it has some awesome waterfalls and massive Swamp Gum trees that were easy to get to.
The Falls & The Trees
Our first stop on the hike was Russell falls, a tiered cascading waterfall that only took about 30 minutes of hiking to get to. It was a cool morning with intermittent rain, but we didn’t even notice the rain when we got to the falls.
The aptly named horseshoe Falls was our next stop, and it was just a bit farther up the trail. Also pretty stunning.
To get to Lady Barron Falls, it’s about a 50 minute hike from horseshoe falls. To save time, we walked back to our car, then drove up the road a bit and parked in the Lady Barron Falls lot.
On the way back to the car, we stopped to do part of the Tall Trees walk. It’s one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks and is full of Swamp Gums (eucalyptus regans), which are some of the tallest trees in Australia. The hike is a 1 km circuit, and some of the big trees date back to the early 1800s or earlier. They were as big as some of the red woods we’ve seen, and were absolutely incredible! Sam & Joseph for scale…
Fees and Park Entry
Since it’s one of their national parks, there is an entry fee. You can pay once the visitor center opens (9 a.m.), or they have a handy envelope system where you can leave your payment in a dropbox, and display your receipt on the car windshield. They have daily options, or holiday passes (good if you’re planning on visiting multiple parks). They have information about all of the fees and parks on their website. We got there a little after 8:00 a.m., so there weren’t many crowds. A few tour buses and vans had pulled up by the time we left, so if you’re not into crowds get there early!