I have always wanted to visit the Australian island of Tasmania. In my mind it was a dark, windswept rocky island, located at the bottom of the world. Recently it has seemed to gain traction as the new trendy hotspot for foodie travel. When I told my friends I was planning I trip, my intentions were met with;
‘oh you must visit MONA!’
‘the sparkling pinots are sensational’
‘the produce is amazing! Such delicious grass fed beef blah blah blah’
Well I didn’t really know who Mona was but I knew I loved eating my way around a Farmer’s market and of course, drinking wine. In line with my original thinking about Tasmania being a dark, windswept place, we planned to visit at the end of summer, in mid February. I had a week to play with and turned to the following resources to create an itinerary
- Travel blogger, Where’s Sharon has comprehnsive resources on Tasmania
- Tripadvisor Tasmania forum
- Self drive itinerary from Discover Tasmania
Getting to Tasmania
There is no direct flight from Singapore to Tasmania so my choices routed me through the mainland of Australia. In the end, the cheapest flight was with Qantas, via Melbourne and I have to say, I was very impressed with their Economy product
Do I need a VISA?
If you are from the UK, you’ll need to get an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) in advance of your trip (v. straightforward).
How did I plan my route?
I wanted to make the most of our trip to Tasmania as the likelihood is, we won’t return for many years. After much dithering, I decided to skip Cradle Mountain as we just didn’t have the time. In the end, I was very pleased with how my itinerary worked out. The only change that would have made things easier would be if we had flown into Hobart and out of Launceston. However, the way our international ticket worked, that option was more expensive.
What did I plan in advance?
Jetlag & Mayhem readers will know I am a MEGA TRAVEL NERD. I have a spreadsheet where I detail all the addresses, driving distances, recommended restaurants and attractions (including opening hours). You may think I’m bonkers but I find that when traveling with kids, it’s easier to have a plan. I’m still scarred from the time we rocked up to San Diego SeaWorld only to find out it was closed!
Check out local ‘what’s on’ guides to see if anything special is happening. I knew that the famous Salamanca Market was Saturday only so I made sure to make a beeline there after our arrival on Saturday morning.
Which leads me to my next point – If you’re flying longhaul before the start of your roadtrip, try not to achieve too much on your first day. We went straight from Hobart Airport to blearily wander around Salamanca Market after a long flight from Singapore, then Melbourne. We fuelled up on coffee and delicious food, happy to have a place to hang out, as our airbnb check-in wasn’t until 2pm. As we roadtrip a lot, we are used to this kind of pace but you might just want to find somewhere relaxing to flop.
Where did we stay?
I used to love staying in hotels and beautiful B&Bs. Then kids and airbnb happened and I haven’t looked back. If I’m paying the same price for the run of a house as I am for a hotel room, why would I cram into one room? The only time I make an exception is if I want the facilities e.g. swimming pool.
We stayed in 4 different spots; a gorgeous airbnb in Hobart with its own cat, a motel in Bicheno, a stylish airbnb in Launceston and the last night, in the Hobart Airport Travelodge.
My husband doesn’t normally get to do much when it comes to the holiday planning (I am a bit of a control freak) but he does choose the car. This time we used a helpful car hire aggregator to search for the best price.
We ended up booking through Europcar. There was a pretty long line at the car hire at Hobart Airport (don’t get me started on disrupting the car hire industry). So if you are traveling with young kids, come armed with snacks, drinks and activities!
We visited Tasmania at the tail end of summer. Expect four seasons in one day. We pretty much spent our days peeling and unpeeling layers.
Tasmania can be pricey. Although we are used to expensive supermarket shopping in Hong Kong and Singapore. We would breakfast in our rental accommodation and then usually plan to have lunch out. For dinner we would sometimes eat out and other times, buy some goodies from Woolworth or Coles.
Attractions can add up so keep your eyes peeled for discounts in local tourist leaflets or online.
Our Tasmania trip was magical. Rather than being dark and windswept, it was wild, vivid in colour and full of things for the family traveller. In fact, this island state of Australia reminded me more of parts of New Zealand, especially Dunedin.
The food and drink is indeed spectacular. Mona turned out to be not a lady but the best art museum I have ever been to. Best of all, the people are friendly and welcoming. Tasmania is indeed another place to add to your ever-growing bucket list!