Tasmania Day 1 – Launceston Airport to Hobart

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Day 1 in Tasmania started with two primary goals:

1 – See a Tasmanian Devil
2 – Make it from the Airport in Launceston to my first nights hotel in Hobart

Everything else didn’t matter so long as it did not stop me from either of these two goals. Leaving the Airport I picked up my rental car for the 5 days, some how my intermediate Toyota Corolla or similar turned into a Nissan X-Trail for the same price. I wasn’t complaining and after a few minutes of getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road (actually the driving is easy, what gets you is when you go to pull out (and there is no other traffic around to guide you) and your instinct pulls you to the right. After a few minutes, I was cruising at comfortable 110 KM/H down the highway to complete a total of 340 KM for the day.

Knowing goal 1 was to see a Tasmanian Devil, the logical choice was to head towards the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park on the Tasman Peninsula. The park and peninsula is the last isolated area of Tasmania that does not have the devil facial tumour disease, which has caused the Devil to now be classified as Endangered.

The trip took me south down HWY 1, the closest thing Tasmania has to a freeway, a highway with the occasional turnout lane or passing zone. The first quick stop was in Campbell Town to stretch my legs, buy a bottle of water, and find a restroom. One thing I learned through-out the trip was most towns, even the little ones, have nice public parks off the hwy/road with restrooms and are a great spot to stop and stretch, and walk around. Having stopped for a few minutes it was back on the HWY until the little town of Ross. Located a couple KM off the main drag, this was a little historic town boasting a historic stone bridge (one of a few I saw that day) and was a great spot to pull out the camera and make sure it actually still worked.

Oatlands was the next stop, another historic little town right off the HWY featured Callington Mill, a still functioning (although guessing somewhat restored) windmill. On the grounds were also a great little orchard and a handful of historic buildings.

Down the 1 I continued until B31, at this point it was the logical road to take me towards the Tasman Peninsula so off the HWY I turned. After a few minutes I was thinking in my mind, wow this sure does remind me of the southern Willamette Valley wine country and in many ways just like taking a drive down Territorial from Veneta to Lorraine. Just triple distance, hills, and curves in the road (especially the curves). One thing to note about Tasmania, aside from HWY 1, the secondary B-designated HWYs aren’t much more than rural paved roads and in most cases needing the same care and patching as many of ours back home.

While this was more direct it was more time consuming than staying on the major highway and driving the extra distance at the southern end of the island and then to go east. So down B31 I continued until Richmond, where I drove my first C-designated HWY, C351, which by no means should be considered a HWY. A peaceful drive through the country, yes. This stretch took me through a series of beautiful hills and winding road which actually proved the X-Trail handled pretty well under the conditions. I later realized that for most of this stretch I had been speeding as rural roads were 80 KM unless otherwise marked, and when not marked you assume it was the same as the last road you were on 😉

Once in Sorell, I took the A9 (which was the same speed as the B, but then later the speed of the C) down to Tasman Peninsula and the Devil Conservation Park.

Upon pulling up I really had to wonder if I was sucked into a tourist trap. Once in the park ($32 AUD per Adult.. damn-it I was determined to see a Devil), it turned out to be worth it. The facility was very well maintained, had a handful of critters from Tasmania other than just the 4 Devil habitats. I got there just in time for the Kangaroo feeding. I was thinking to myself, what do they just through out a bale of straw for them? That isn’t going to be that interesting. As I got down to the habitat, I realized that that these were pretty tame Kangaroos and you could walk in and actually feed them from your hand. A few of them a little pushy, mostly the males, but over all you didn’t have to worry about being attacked. You will note from the photos that the Roo’s on Tasmania are small compared to the varieties on the mainland. One of the larger males was about 4.5 ft tall, he had some amazing claws on him (see the pics) and I think you would not want to get in a fight with one.

Shortly after the Kangaroo feeding was a scheduled feeding of a group of the Tasmanian Devils, now this I was interested in. I made my way over to habitat 3, to find four devils, three of which were quite playful chasing each other around and showing off for the people (they did not do this in any of the other areas). Turns out the three are about 9 months old and about to be separated from there mother as it was time to live there own lives. The feeding was entertaining, especially when two of them decided to fight over a chunk of flesh. It was a good tug of war and I was actually in a good place to get photos.

While I still think the Tasmanian Devil is a cute little critter and I would love to figure out a way to bring a couple of them home, I don’t know if I really would want to deal with one that is pissed off. They can be quite aggressive and do have some great teeth that could easily do some damage. Although it would be way better than owning a cat.

Day 1 concluded with the remaining drive into Hobart and finding my Hotel, Rydges North Hobart. Having lived in the Rydges North Sydney when I got to Australia I was able to make use of my Priority Club Membership.

I made my way down to the waterfront in Hobart for dinner after a discussion with the girl at reception and a recommendation to go to the Drunken Admin for some great seafood (why eat at the Hotel when you have local options). Dinner was great, fresh Salmon, salad, etc. Oh, I did order the stuffed peppers for an appetizer, looking very much like stuffed Jalapeno’s “peppers stuffed with a cheese blend, tempura fried with a blackberry sauce” I do not know what these were. What I do know is that they almost kicked my ass. My waitress at one point, said they were ordered the day before by a “guy who likes hot” and he ended up crying through the last one. Well I made it without crying, but it was hard as my mouth was on fire. I will say the blackberry sauce they were served on would be a great accompaniment for normal jalapeno poppers.

After dinner a walk around the waterfront and historic downtown Hobart rounded out the evening before returning to the hotel. Not thinking I didn’t take my camera with me, but did get one decent picture with my phone.

Well that in a nutshell was day 1. Looking back it would have been awesome to have had a camera mounted in the car recording the drive, especially on day 3. But it has planted the idea for future trips, maybe into the Outback.
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One Response

  1. Sue Armand

    You’re having too much fun over there! Good for you!