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Tips for travel in Tassie
and Spirit of Tasmania

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#1 YouAreBeautiful

Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:11 PM

Hoping you lovely Tasmanian people could give me any advice for travelling in Tassie?

We are travelling over with our car on the Spirit in early May and staying for 18 days in the following places...

Devenport 1 night
Mole Creek 2 nights
Stanley 2 nights
Strahan 2 nights
Hobart 5 nights
Coles Bay 2 nights
St Helens 1 night
Launceston 2 nights

We have accomodation booked and are travelling with our 19 mth old DD... We plan to visit Port Arthur and the Salamanca Markets but apart from that we have no plans.

Can anyone recommend anything fun to see or do that our toddler might also enjoy? We like fishing, history, wildlife parks and good scenery thats not hard to get to.

Also whats your experience with the Spirit of Tasmania?? We have a cabin. Shouldwe pack sea sick tablets??

Would we be in for snow in early May at all??

I appriciate any info you can give us... I know I can read books but I think word of mouth is the best way to get recommendations on things. Thanks heaps original.gif

#2 FionaBeagle

Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:24 AM

Definitely pack travel sickness tablets for the Spirit.  DH brought the car down on the Spirit and had a lovely smooth trip, but I get sea sick so flew.  DH had one horror trip on the Spirit, due to high waves and the resultant sea sickness.  The doctor on board was treating the really bad cases of sea sickness.  DH has been very pleased with the accommodation and food.

Hold onto your toddler tightly at Salamanca Market on Saturday morning as it is so crowded that it's easy to become separated.  Whenever I'm in Hobart, we always make a point of going to Salamanca on a Saturday and buying some Hunza pies (with the great tomato chutney) from a stall at the silo end of the market, up near the Ball and Chain restaurant.  The pies are great but are very popular, so get there early to get the best choice.

Snow?  There was a light dusting on the top of Mt Wellington yesterday (bit of a cold snap.)

You must see MONA.  Shield the toddlers eyes from the more "adult" art. www.mona.net.au/

After visiting Salamanca, take a stroll around Battery Point. www.batterypoint.net/

If you enjoy history, Richmond, Ross and Campbell Town are great for a visit.

Edited by FionaBeagle, 24 March 2012 - 05:26 AM.

#3 intd242

Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:38 AM

My advice, don't leave the main road unless you can already see the attraction! Signage is very poor once you get off the main road and leaving it to see something that is 5kms away could take you an entire afternoon ... Well, that was my experience anyway. They also have quirky road signs that tell you it isn't a certain speed any more, but don't mention what the new speed is. Have to be seen to be believed! original.gif

Depending on your phone carrier, you probably won't have coverage most of the time, and be aware that most petrol stations seemed to close at 5pm which was a bit of a trap for us as we're used to 24/7 petrol access. If you're planning on self catering in cabins, might be worth buying a basic stash in Hobart/launceston as we were surprised many years ago that there wasnt much to buy in cradle mountain to self cater with.

It is beautiful though and there is a lot to love. original.gif eat lots of fish and chips too, great seafood here, you'll be spoilt for choice! original.gif

#4 Mrs Bunny

Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:02 AM

Be aware that there are motels at Cradle Mountain and other places like Freycinet (I may have spelt that incorrectly) that do not have TVs in the rooms. Sounds fine until you're actually there! I would only make a day trip to Cradle Mts, not stay there. Lovely bushwalks that are like scenes out of The Lord of The Rings.

The tourist information people in Hobart are brilliant.

Take rain coats (not brollies), especially to Salamanca markets because there's not one large canopy (like at The Rocks Markets) - every stall holder has a p*ssy little individual canopy and you will get soaked...

There's a skywalk through the rainforest in  a logging area to the south of Hobart - can't rememer what it's called, but it was one of the highlights of our spring trip.

Go to the top of Mt Wellington, but be aware that the road up is a bit scary! Also, it's one of the few free things for tourists.

Port Arthur is breathtakingly beautiful.

If you like oysters, there's an excellent oyster farm near Hobart Airport.

We enjoyed the Tamar River Cruise and a walk to the Cataract Gorge reserve - there are peacocks and pretty gardens and a cafe. If you have a little one, take the sealed track (on the low side of the gorge) not the mountain goat track.

#5 laridae

Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:39 AM

There is a cool little shop called Reliquaire in Latrobe (near Devonport) - well worth a visit.  Also Anvers chocolate factory.

There are murals in Sheffield (also near Devonport).

Dismal Swamp has a big slide through the forest. (I've not been there but I've heard it's good)

Tasmazia - a big maze complex is quite fun.

I think there is a wildlife park in Mole Creek.  And caves also.

Hastings Caves & hot pool south of Hobart.

The Salmon Ponds near Hobart - you can feed the fish.

Walk to Wineglass Bay (near Coles Bay).  Though you'll probably have to carry your toddler most of the way, it is a fair walk up a mountain & down again.

You'll probably see plenty of signs for things on the way as you drive between places.

#6 CFMummy

Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:00 AM

The wildlife park in mole creeks foccus is breeding tassie devils but out the back of Ulverstone there is one called wings wildlife park has a petting area and the full wildlife park. http://www.wingswildlife.com.au/
there is also tasmania zoo near launceston

#7 FionaBeagle

Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:43 AM

What intd242 says about most petrol stations appearing to close at 5pm is just plain wrong.  Certainly there are some stations in isolated areas which may have limited opening hours, but there are plenty of stations open at all hours.  There can be quite a distance between stations, when travelling in country/off the beaten track areas, so do be aware of that and try to keep a full tank.

Not sure where intd242 was, but again, certain isolated areas do have dodgy mobile phone coverage, but for the most part, phone coverage is fine.

#8 laridae

Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:57 AM

QUOTE (intd242 @ 24/03/2012, 06:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They also have quirky road signs that tell you it isn't a certain speed any more, but don't mention what the new speed is. Have to be seen to be believed! original.gif

You mean the end speed limit signs?  They are actually part of the national standard road rules, not "quirky".
They just mean you can go at the maximum rural limit - which is 100, except in Kingborough and a few other council areas where it is 90 (but it will be signposted on entering the council boundaries if its 90).

Also - Telstra coverage is very good, unless you are in a very remote area.  Optus is getting better but not as good.

#9 ally0812

Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:57 AM

richmond has a lollie shop for the little kids, adults love it too! also there are ducks to feed, visit to the old gaol, richmond bridge, a pancake house and a maze in richmond.

bonorong wildlife park- just out of brighton- kids can pat koala-wombat feed roos see echidnas, native birds, emu, tassie devils(no touching)

hastings caves, couldnt tell you how to get there myself but dolomite? cave systems can do tours and i think its near the hot springs..?

port arthur is good but not a lot for kids IMO..

tasmania zoo, just out of launceston, has a fantastic dinosaur display up, real life size and interactive!!

#10 intd242

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:03 AM

QUOTE (laridae @ 24/03/2012, 08:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You mean the end speed limit signs?  They are actually part of the national standard road rules, not "quirky".
They just mean you can go at the maximum rural limit - which is 100, except in Kingborough and a few other council areas where it is 90 (but it will be signposted on entering the council boundaries if its 90).

Also - Telstra coverage is very good, unless you are in a very remote area.  Optus is getting better but not as good.

Sorry, didn't mean to offend the locals! original.gif but as a tourist it would be more meaningful to know what the speed limit is at that point in time, rather than what it is not.

Yes, my petrol station comment was from doing a similar round tas trip a number of years ago, but as a pp has said, it is best to keep a full tank which I'd completely agree with.

#11 YouAreBeautiful

Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:43 PM

Oh my golly gosh!!!!!! Thank you all so very much and please keep the tips coming. I am writing everything down and working on my itinery and appriciate all this info that I havent found in a book so far. Unbelieveable guys thanks ddance.gif Can't wait to go!!

#12 twinmumplus1

Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

Petrol stations noawdays tend to shut more at 8 - 10pm, but a lot of places have 24 hours.  Not so much the little towns - but I'm sure thats the same as anywhere happy.gif

Sign wise - if you see a speed sign, that has no speed its 100 (or 110 on the main highway betwen Launceston and Hobart.  If its meant to be a different speed, it will certainly tell you (sometimes to excess!)

As for phone coverage, I am yet to find an area in Tassie that I don't have at least one bar (telstra)  I've been all over the place, including a 3 hour 4wd into the remote west coast, and still managed to have contact.  Optus from all reports are pretty good - you may have some issues on the West Coast (strahan etc) and Mole Creek.  Vodaphone etal - well they believe and I quote we are 'Rural'.  I couldn't get phone coverage at my house at times.  But from all reports they have improved.  I'd say with those, that you won't have a huge amount of coverage out of the cities (Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, Hobart.)

Check out Tahune airwalk - past Hobart, through the Huon Valley (http://adventurefore...id=25&Itemid=22)
This is good, as they drive you up to the walk with the little one - my three used to like that just as much as the walk!  Lots of things to see here on the way - cheap apples on the way that are just divine.

If you can - here:  http://www.tasmazia.com.au/  (its just out of Sheffield)

http://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/ for Launceston.  http://www.launceston.tas.gov.au/lcc/?c=189 for your little one - a cute little playground and monkey's to watch.

Shall keep thinking, and feel free to give me a yell if you have any questions original.gif

#13 babybeli

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

Loved Tasmania such a lovely state.

Salamanca Markets were good and I also did a walking tour around Hobart and battery point with a little map thing that took you to a lot of old buildings and other sites.

A trip up Mount Wellington is worth it with great views.

Wineglass bay was absolutely beautiful.  We went in on a boat and then hiked back out up the mountain to the lookout and down the other side.  Magnificent.

I to visited the lolly shop in Richmond as well as the old gaol and the bridge where you can take a shot from a certain angle that will have the church inside the arch of the bridge and I think their was a little miniature town thing their.

Port Arthur is a fantastic historic site that has a very haunting atmosphere.

Also stayed in a little seaside town called Bicheno.  I remember a spiky bridge somewhere along the way as well.

Oh and I ate lots of yummy seafood and cheese.  

I traveled with a whole heap of guide leaders on a tour bus and we cabin camped our way up the east coast.

#14 babybeli

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:05 PM

Sorry forgot to say that if you are worried about seasickness get some of the wrist bands from the chemist and take some travel calm before you get on the boat.  Better to be safe then sorry I say.  Last year we sailed around the whitsundays for 14 days and mostly just used the wrist bands and the odd travel calm when needed.

#15 Overtherainbow

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:21 PM

Kids loved zoo doo in Richmond and I loved their shops.  

Mobile reception is dificult to pick up.  When roads say windy - they mean it.

The train and river trip in Strahan are expensive as a family but worth it.

I loved the Salamanca restaurant strip.  The pizza was delicious and the little Italian restaurant in the square had the most delicious risotto.  I want to go back tomorrow.

There was a yummy choc. shop on the way out to Port Arthur that we all enjoyed.

Take umbrellas and raincoats.  You will probably need them.  We got drenched at Port Arthur.  We only gave ourselves one afternoon and would have liked longer.  We found they had really planned it well as a tourist attraction that catered for the whole family.  The kids have a much better understanding of history/convicts after it.  They found the separate prison hard and needed to get out but the rest was ok.

There is a great book available in Hobart called walk through Hobart (or similar) and another drive through Tasmania and Walk through Launceston from the tourist bureau.  We found them brilliant.  We did the walk through Hobart and it showed us many of the attractions.  We also used it to help guide our drive.  It focuses on the history which interests me.

There is a wonderul museum in Hobart in one of the old homes on the south side.  I can't remember it's name, hopefully someone here can help.  You can walk through the entire home, the currator is chatty and helpful and the kids could really understand the past.  We found it much better than the Hobart Museum which our kids were bored in (unusual as they love the maritime and Perth museum and go every holidays).

Tasmania is beautiful.  I loved the nature and I loved the relaxed feel.  We will definitely go back again and again.  There were many areas we missed and others we'd like to spend more time at.

If you are going to be staying at caravan parks, many showers are timed and require a gold coin to work them.  We found all the amenities clean though.

#16 Peanut

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:36 PM

Sneaking in here as I'm not a local, but after a visit in 2010 I fell in love with all things Tasmania!  We travelled around Tassie for 3 weeks in a campervan with our 3 and 5 year olds.  

There is so much that the locals will be able to tell you, so rather than double up on that information, I thought I'd let you know of a little gem we came across.   While in Strahan the friendly people at the Information Centre advised us that the famous Queenstown train trip would probably be too long for our kids.  So we did the cruise instead which was perfect.  (We'll come back for the train ride when our kids are a little older).  We still wanted to do a train trip and came across this place which is south of Hobart.  


The drive down to Ida Bay is very pretty and the train ride itself was great fun for us and the kids.

Enjoy your visit, you'll love it I'm sure!

#17 ~Jodama_Feral~

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:48 PM

Lots to do in Tassie. The Tahune Airwalk is fantastic, as is Richmond and Port Arthur. We love to visit Tasmazia and the pancake palour outside of Sheffield. Sometimes it is just fun to drive and see what you come across.

On the West Coast there is a of Museum in Zeehan all about the history of the West Coast and mining. We have taken our kids 4 or 5 times and they always have a ball.

I would go on this boat if you plan to in Strahan. It is owned by a local family and they provide a fantastic day out and the buffet lunch is awesome. http://www.worldheritagecruises.com.au/

We had a fantastic day out on the train.

A visit to Ocean Beach while in Strahan is a must. Very windy but fantastic view.

I have never had a phone coverage issue in town on the West Coast on the road to and from the coverage is limited.

Petrol is easy to get and a lot of the tourist towns have installed Eftpos machines you can use when they are shut.

#18 Chelli

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:49 PM

In May it might be wet so please don't under-estimate how dangerous the roads can be, especially if it has been dry before hand. When you are in Stanley, you're not far from the Tarkine Forest Adventure which my kids absolutely loved. There is a walking track at the bottom of the forest which is full of things to find. There is also a huge slide if you're game!
Travel sickness medication may also be useful for the trip to Strahan as the roads can be quite windy, especially if you choose to travel through the Hellyer Gorge. It's beautiful but definitely not for those prone to get car sick.

Also, Dip Falls which is on the way to Stanley if you are traveling east to west is well worth a look. If you think you are on the wrong road, keep going as the signage isn't brilliant. There is also one of the biggest trees in Australia located in the rainforest there. The views from the top of Stanley Nut are gorgeous, and it's a real sense of achievement to climb it rather than take the chairlift original.gif.

Have a great trip original.gif

#19 Peanut

Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:02 PM

QUOTE (kriattica @ 24/03/2012, 10:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would go on this boat if you plan to in Strahan. It is owned by a local family and they provide a fantastic day out and the buffet lunch is awesome. http://www.worldheritagecruises.com.au/

I totally agree, we went on our cruise on this ship and it was FANTASTIC.  (It also has a playroom for the little ones).   original.gif

#20 YouAreBeautiful

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:59 PM

Thanks guys for all this info I am writing notes as we speak original.gif

A couple of questions I do have if anyone can help....

In Port Arthur is their a specific route you follow that they tell you or do you just walk in and have to try to figure it out? I am imagining its quite big and perhaps a little overwhelming and we will have a full day if that helps? Is their best bits to see or should we easily be able to see everything in that time?

Im a little concerned with driving, I've not experienced snow in my adult life and neither has DH so would snow be likely in May on the roads?? We have all terrain tyres and a 4wd so do we need Chains or anything??

Are the walks at Cradle Mountain/Mt Wellington/Cataract Gorge etc accessable with a pram? Not a huge distance?? We don't mind a walk but thinking of pushing our toddler for multiple km's up steep hills might be an issue.

I see alot of people have mentioned the cruise in Strahan is this very worthwhile??

In terms of petrol should we cart jerry cans or will a full tank suffice??

Thanks so much guys for all your help. Very much appriciated original.gif

#21 FionaBeagle

Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:03 AM

Port Arthur does offer guided tours, or you can choose to wander around at your own pace.  You will be provided with a map, so it's possible to find your way around, but the guided tours offer commentary and stories of former inmates.  Also, any questions you may have will be answered.

Your entrance fee also gives you a ferry ride around the harbour, with commentary, and, depending on how much you paid (entrance fees vary), you may get to have a stroll around the Isle of the Dead where a lot of inmates, free settlers and officers (one of my relatives) are buried.

Port Arthur will take a full day to really get around and experience all that it has to offer.

The Mt Wellington walks are not really pram friendly (from memory.)  Can't comment on Cradle Mountain as the last time I walked around Dove Lake I was a teenager and wasn't thinking of prams and babies!

As for snow in May, yes, it is possible.  I remember driving from Launceston to Hobart many years ago in October and getting caught at Oatlands in a sudden snow storm.  I took a back road and my poor car couldn't handle the snow and broke down.  Luckily, and a bit freakily, I broke down right outside the only house I'd seen in around 20kms and the owner, who was at home, was a mechanic.  Got me back on the road, but the experience did scare me (I was alone at the time.)  It really can be four seasons in one day, so certainly be prepared for anything.  Not sure about chains as that one time is the only time I've driven in snow, but I'm sure someone else will be able to give you some advice.

#22 2bundles

Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:29 AM

I will be extremely surprised if you encounter snow on the roads.  I lived on Mt Wellington for 13yrs and we never owned chains or a 4wd. There was maybe 1-2 days a year where we couldn't drive.   No need for Jerry Cans either. Just be conscious of your tank if you have long distances to travel. Esp on the east and west coasts. Mostly you will see signs telling you it is the last fuel for xhrs or xklms.

If you are with Voda then buy a prepaid Telstra sim before you go. Voda will unlock your phone for free if you tell them you are going to Tassie. They basically only cover Hobart and Launceston.

Port Arthur you can either wander around yourself or take a guided tour. The interpretive centre is great. There are lots of wide open spaces for a toddler to run.

At Cradle Mountain, you can do the 2hr Dove Lake walk (flat)with a pram. It is a great walk.  Cataract Gorge is totally fine for prams.

Edited by 2bundles, 25 March 2012 - 06:33 AM.

#23 YouAreBeautiful

Posted 25 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

Great thankyou that answers some questions original.gif This is great, feel free to add any other tips or sights if you think of them, really big thank you to all of you.

#24 Chelli

Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:03 AM

There is a gorgeous little enchanted forest walk in Cradle Mountain that is designed for chidren and would be accessible by pram. It's located around the Cradle Mountain Lodge. If there is heavy snow at Cradle Mountain, there will be signage at the turnoff from the highway. The road will only be open to 4WD's and a snow plough will be working to clear the road. I go there every year and last year is the first time I've been there when it was like that.  Other times there is snow at the mountain itself but not too much on the roads.

Hard to say if there will be snow in May or not, but there was a couple of days ago and I think there was a road on the West Coast closed because of snow.

#25 intd242

Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:02 PM

QUOTE (steffijade81 @ 25/03/2012, 12:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In terms of petrol should we cart jerry cans or will a full tank suffice??

I wouldn't take a jerry can ... seems like from comments made recently that you should be fine just filling up when you have the chance.

Have a great trip! original.gif

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