Stunning nature, vibrant night skies and an affinity with the universe. These are just some of the things you’ll experience if you embark on the Great Eastern Road Trip in Tasmania.
After our short stay in Hobart, we embarked on a road trip up the east coast of Tasmania to Freycinet National Park. It was the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to as I had been desperate to escape the big city hustle and be back in and amongst the natural world.
Orford / Raspins Beach
Our road trip began from Hobart along the Tasman Highway. We crossed several bodies of water and I had moment where I imagined I was driving along the Atlantic Road in Norway (something that’s still on my bucket list). The drive to Freycinet National Park takes about two and a half hours. We made a pit stop about an hour in and found ourselves in a small suburban village called Orford.
We parked at a rest stop and got out of our Kia Rio rental, making our way through the shrubs that separated the road from the bank of Prosser River. We snacked on some dried fruit and soaked up the sun, watching the rays illuminate the gentle ripples of the river.
We then drove up several kilometres more and reached Raspsins Beach. The sand was beautiful and white, the air fresh and salty. In the distance were a few mountains, faded blue like an illusion. A bikie gang joined us for a moment (though we minded our own business) before we continued our drive up the coast.
Edge of The Bay Resort, Coles Bay
Along the highway, we found ourselves witnesses to roadkill after roadkill. The guts of defenceless wallabies and possums strewn and splattered against the black tar. I screamed every time. My heart ached every time.
Just a little note for anyone who might accidentally hit an animal when driving: Please always get out of the car to make sure the animal is okay. Sometimes they don’t die on impact and can be seriously injured, making them die a slow and painful death. Call for assistance and try to get them to the nearest animal hospital or vet. Take the animal with you, keep them warm. Avoid driving between dusk to dawn. If you do, drive slower.
Aside from the splattered innards of Australian wildlife, the view of nature was breath taking. It felt extremely liberating driving through the countryside. The dried yellow grass of farmland and the flock of grazing sheep made me feel like Mattias and I were the only observers for a distance. Well, until speeding vehicles caught up behind us.
After another hour and a half of driving through the country and along the magnificent coast, we reached our accommodation for the night. We stayed at Edge of the Bay Resort and had a small and minimalistic ocean view suite that cost us $400 for a single night. When you see the view, you can understand why the price. They overlook the pink granite of the Hazards Mountains.
The resort is hidden in bushland, so glimpses of wild wallabies was not a rare occurrence. The isolation of the place also means that we could see the stars so clear and vivid when the sun set.
After checking-in to our suite, we had lunch at Iluka Tavern (which wasn’t that great so I’ll skip the description… let’s just say it’s hard to find a place to eat on a Sunday afternoon) and made our way to our first stop at Freycinet National Park: Honeymoon Bay. The emerald green and sapphire blue fusion of the water was mesmerising. We sat on the burnt rocks and watched the seagulls dip in and out of the lapping water.
Unfortunately, our peace and quiet was disturbed when a group of tourists showed up. So off we went to our next nature hideout.
Aside from Mount Wellington, Sleepy Bay was probably my favourite place on our Tasmania trip. To get to this crisp orange bay required a short five-minute hike. It’s a hidden gem and when I sat upon the rocky shoreline, I found myself at peace. I observed the rugged texture of the cliffs overhead and the way the water found its way into little crevices between the rock formations. The rock formations were so unique in shape and texture. It’s amazing to think what nature has done and can do.
Cape Tourville Lighthouse
After Sleepy Bay, we drove further up to Cape Tourville Lighthouse. The view at the top was phenomenal and the perfect place to take a panorama. From the top, you can get a glimpse of Wineglass Bay – one of the more popular tourist destinations in Freycinet National Park. Again, I think I was more taken by the plateau rather than the view. Who knew I was a fan of rocks?
Once we were satisfied from admiring the view, we went back to our resort for dinner (which again, wasn’t that good. This area isn’t particularly wow when it comes to food). We called it a night after a spot of stargazing from the back porch of our suite.
Early the next morning, we made our way to Wineglass Bay. The hike to the bay takes about three hours return so we went prepared with a few snacks and bottles of water. Here’s something about hiking in Australia – if you stop to look wherever you are on the trail, you’ll notice spider webs glistening against the sunlight. It’s a sure thing to find.
About thirty minutes into the hike, we made it to the lookout point which was littered with a throng of tourists. There was a wallaby making the rounds, pushing it’s snout into people’s hands and backpacks for food. It made me sad that people were feeding him (but more about that later). After we took in the magnificent view of Wineglass Bay from the lookout, it was time to conquer the rest of the hike down. The hike itself is quite easy except for some sections that are rockier and steeper.
Eventually we made our way to the shore. We stripped off our footwear and sank our toes into the rocky sand. We stayed there for a few hours, watching people eat their packed sandwiches while we nibbled on our sad bag of dried fruit. Then, we went back up.
I just wanted to talk about this because it’s something that I’m passionate about. When we went back up to the lookout, I sat down to eat my dried mangoes. A wallaby approached me, he managed to sniff out that I had food. I didn’t feed him because I believe that we should never introduce foreign food to local wildlife. I felt disgusted when I saw a man throw his banana peel at the wallaby. Bananas don’t grow locally in Tasmania. I then saw a woman and her partner get out her bag of nuts (!!!) and started feeding them to the wallaby in order to get a close-up photo with him! I wish I had the courage to go up and tell them that what they were doing was not right. The wallaby would have posed for a photo with them without the need to feed him foreign food.
You might think it’s harmless. You might think that you’re doing the animal a favour by quenching his hunger. But in reality, you’re changing their immune system. You could be introducing foreign bacteria to them that they have no immunity for. You can make them sick.
If you feel the urge to feed a wild animal, be sure to do your research beforehand to know what food they can eat instead of pulling out whatever snack you so happen to have and feeding that to them.
Moral of the story: don’t feed wild animals.
Anyway, that was our little road trip up to Freycinet National Park. It was my favourite part of our trip and a much-needed nature escape. In the last post, I said that travel makes it on the list of things that make me happy. I’m going to add nature to that list.
Stay tuned for the next blog where you can expect shucked oysters and a ferry trip to a small island down the south.
Over and almost-out,
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