1st and 2nd November
After a wild Halloween we decided to cure our hangovers with a visit to Cataract Gorge. The sun was coming out so we sunned ourselves by the lake watching small children feed beetles and worms to the ducklings reminiscing about our own childhoods.
Cataract Gorge was lovely and well worth the visit. Free apart from the parking and with its own outdoor swimming pool and BBQs, this would a lovely place to spend a summers day. There was also a tiny chairlift taking people up to the top of the surrounding hills. This was not free and on a backpackers budget we gave this a miss.
We then tackled the short walk up to the bridge and round back to the car. Spectacular bridge, John would have been impressed.
We dedicated the afternoon to walking around Launceston seeing what it had to offer. Sunday. Of course everything was closed. For Tasmania’s second largest city it still didn’t have the buzz of somewhere like London or Birmingham but who knows maybe it is transformed when shops are actually open.
The next day we were heading to Hobart via Cradle Mountain. Now, if you’ve ever seen a map of Tasmania you’ll see that Cradle Mountain is hardly on the way, but we had heard that it is a definite must see, therefore we had to pay it a visit and hope it was with the 4 1/2 hour detour.
On the drive from Launceston to Cradle Mountain we stopped at Trowunna Wildlife Park. The girls at the Bicheno hostel had told us that this is where you can play with Tasmanian Devils, feed wallabies, and cuddle wombats. We could not miss this (we have slowly developed an obsession with wombats).
Walking in the first thing we saw was Sandra and Anna, our German friends from Bicheno. Tasmania really is a small place.
I, like many of the small children around me, was so absorbed in feeding the wallabies and kangaroos that I barely noticed the Tasmanian Devil have his lunch, destroying what I assume was a kangaroo leg in record breaking time. The park was home to wallabies, roos, echinidas (we’re still not entirely sure how to pronounce this one), quolls Tasmanian devils, owls, a blind kookaburra, many many geese, and most importantly our beloved wombats.
After much tempting Flo finally got the money shot, the baby kangaroo in its mothers pouch. After many shots of a single clawed foot sticking out this was considered a big win.
Turns out we had just missed the wombat cuddles so we somehow had to spend an hour lingering and shivering in the ‘balmy’ Tasmanian spring until the next one.
It was worth it. We’d already been stroking HB (Honey Boo) the wombat over the fence of her enclosure before noticing the big sign telling us not to do exactly that. Oops. Oh well HB and we now bonded. She ran over desperate for attention and we couldn’t refuse that little face. She did genuinely seem to enjoy her cuddles or I would have felt bad about passing the poor thing from person to person.
Having achieved our wombat goals we headed to Cradle Mountain a little later than planned.
The views up to the mountain were spectacular. A popular biking route we realised after passing motorbike after motorbike.
Winding one way lanes and we finally reached Dove Lake, the beginning of the many trails around the area. Unfortunately because we had to get to Hobart which was a further 4 1/2 hours away we didn’t have the time to do any of the walks. So instead we admired he mountain from the lakeside then trudged back to the car for the next part of the journey.
The drive to Hobart was long. Long and nondescript. Not even a Disney soundtrack could help pass the time. A quick stop for fuel in the tiniest of towns pretty much summed up the quiet of Tasmania for us; a woman emerged from the shop to fill up our car for us asking what we were doing out so late. It was 5pm…
Eventually we reached Hobart but finding our hostel was not going to be that easy. Despite the realatively small size of the city they had introduced a one way system that made absolutely no sense to us.
Long story short, we found Transit Backpackers. Nowhere to park and freezing cold. We did, however, have an entire 10 man dorm to ourselves. Although by this point our room was colder than outside so some extra body heat would have been appreciated. Oh well, we have 7 spare duvets at our disposal. Cup of tea and doubled up duvets to end what felt like days of driving.