Day 1Arrive, explore Hobart
We’ll meet at high noon in the reception area of our hotel in Hobart and head straight out for lunch at a seafood restaurant overlooking the Salamanca dock area. A maze of bluestone buildings that were once the warehouses of the colony, this area is one of Australia’s most charming, historic shopping areas.
Hobart was founded in 1804 and is one of Australia’s oldest cities. After lunch we’ll wander through historic streets and cobbled passageways that reflect the history of whaling, sheep farming and convicts that the city was founded on. Later we’ll head up Mount Wellington – a mountain rising to 1271 metres straight out of urban Hobart. From its windy top we’ll enjoy 360 degree views – it’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunset before heading back into town for dinner.
- Accommodation: Comfortable downtown hotel, Hobart (L,D)
Day 2Hike Tasman National Park, explore historic Richmond
Today’s a big day, where we’ll get to experience two of Tasmania’s big drawcards: the rugged outdoors of the wild south coast, and the historic charm of arguably Australia’s best-preserved colonial village. Our hike of four hours or so takes us from Fortescue Bay to Cape Huay and back. Though the walking is relatively easy along the cliffline, the scenery of huge rocks, dramatic cliffs and crashing waves is truly breathtaking; it’s some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery, and chances are we’ll have it to ourselves.
In the afternoon we’ll head through to Richmond, a maze of charming cobbled streets, bluestone buildings, and twee bakeries, where we’ll enjoy a well-deserved cake and coffee before a walk – guided or unguided, it’s up to you – through this beautiful, historic taste of another time. Tonight we're holidaying the Australian way in classic caravans at Richmond Park - selected by the Australian television program 'Getaway' as one of Australia's top 5 holiday parks!
- Accommodation: Aussie-style Caravans, Richmond Park (B,L,D)
Day 3Port Arthur and the Freycinet Peninsula
We’ll spend most of today at Port Arthur. The state of Tasmania – then known as Van Diemen’s Land – was founded as a convict colony; that is, a jail. Port Arthur was the jail of the jail - where the most intractable convicts were sent as punishment. The size of a small town, Port Arthur is museum-phobic Katy’s favourite educational attraction in the world. Rolling green lawns surrounded by green bush and blue sea and dotted with gorgeous stone buildings set a deceptively gentle scene, but inside you’re confronted with a history of unimaginable cruelty and violence. A blast from the past in more ways than one, Port Arthur is a day you’ll always remember.
Later we’ll drive to Coles Bay, gateway to the jewel-like Freycinet peninsula, where we’ll spend the night in beachside cabins.
- Accommodation: Comfortable cabins, Coles Bay (B,L,D)
Day 4Hike Wineglass Bay
If you’ve seen any publicity for Tasmania, chances are you’ve seen a photo of Wineglass Bay. White-sanded, prettily-curved tropical-paradise beach with forest-clad mountains in the background – it’s so perfectly beautiful that you have to see it to believe it. And the high possibility of swimming with dolphins here actually makes it seem a bit unfair – couldn’t they have spread the glory around a bit? Never mind, we’ll make the most of it, with a round-trip hike into the Freycinet peninsula that sees us lunch in this glorious spot in between hiking through bush, massive rock formations and coastline. If we’re lucky, we’ll spot wombats and echidnas as well as dolphins. We’re also here at the right time of year to spot migrating Southern Right Whales as they return to their summer feeding grounds.
- Accommodation: Comfortable cabins, Coles Bay (B,L,D)
Day 5To Cradle Mountain
We’ll experience an impressive change in scenery today, as we move from the coast to Tasmania’s rugged, mountainous central plateau. We set off up the warm and sunny east coast, where Mediterranean crops like wine and walnuts grow against a backdrop of rolling green hills and white sandy beaches. We’ll stop for lunch and check out Launceston, Tasmania’s second biggest city, before turning west to head for Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, home to world famous, gobsmackingly spectacular Cradle Mountain.
Tonight’s accommodation is a treat – the rustic Waldheim cabins, magically located within the national park itself. We’ll sleep at the edge of fairytale temperate rainforest, as wallabies and wombats wander around outside our front door. With its stunning forest setting, clean, crisp mountain air, friendly animals, and location miles from any other human habitation, Waldheim is one of the best places in the world to enjoy a good night’s sleep – perfect to prepare for tomorrow’s hike!
- Accommodation: Waldheim Cabins, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National (B,L,D)
Day 6Hike Cradle Mountain
We’ll be up early today ready for a big day’s hiking to the top of Cradle Mountain. We start out walking through bush, passing enchanted, rock-hung waterholes and babbling creeks and waterfalls, before the track opens out to our first spectacular vista, of Cradle Mountain towering 600 metres above us while Dove Lake shimmers below.
Up here on the plateau, distant vistas and stunted alpine flora – including the fascinating and unique Cushion Plant – are the order of the day. When we begin the assault on Cradle Mountain itself, the scene changes again. We’re now well above the treeline, and in an endless field of huge boulders. It’s an interesting and challenging walk/hop to the top, and the effort is definitely worthwhile for the stunning views of mountain ranges as far as the eye can see.
This is perhaps Australia’s premier daywalk, and we guarantee you’ll never forget it!
- Accommodation: Waldheim Cabins, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park (B,L,D)
Day 7Finish in Launceston
This morning we’ll drive you back to Launceston in time for flights departing 2pm or later. If you’re staying on in Tasmania, we’re delighted to help out with suggestions and assistance for the rest of your time here. (B)