- Type: roadtrip
- Length: one week
- Transport: 4-person hi-top van
- Accomodation: 4-person hi-top van
- Distance driven: approx. 2000km
- Highlights: Cradle Mountain, Jacob’s ladder, Wineglass Bay, Cape Hauy, and simply looking out the van window and watching as the landscape changed so dramatically around every corner
- Total cost: approx $600
- Costs include: van rental, national park passes, and food and drinks. (We didn’t pay for any campsites, but rather just found a safe spot to park the van overnight, and charged all our batteries at café’s during the day).
I had only been to Tasmania once previously, but long before I started taking photography seriously, so when I was invited to go on a short trip with two Instagrammers, Mario (@borneon.lad) and Nick (@nickinthewild), I was really excited and jumped at the opportunity.
We rented a 4-person hi-top van through Cruisin Motorhome and began to plan our one-week long roadtrip. We started by writing a list of everything we wanted to see and photograph, and then mapped out a rough route, leaving enough room for some flexibility as we went. This is what our week looked like:
- Mount Wellington
- Distance from Hobart: 30 minutes
- Highlights: views of Hobart, snow (we got lucky!)
We had originally planned to drive up to the summit of Mount Wellington at the end of our week, but after hearing there was a chance of snowfall on the mountain (in the middle of summer), we couldn’t resist changing our plans and headed straight for the summit.
Coming straight from a week of high-30s to low-40s heat in Sydney, the 0 degree temperature and high wind was a bit of a shock to say the least, but seeing snowfall in the middle of summer was something to behold.
Unfortunately we couldn’t catch much of a glimpse of Hobart due to the cloud cover, but the conditions still made for some cool photos and every now and then the clouds would clear up just enough to get a peek down onto the capital city below us.
As our plans had now already changed after the first afternoon, it took some discussion to decide on our next stop, but we eventually settled on Gordon Dam and started making our way there as the sun set. At least we didn’t have to decide where to stay as our accommodation came along with us in the form of the van.
- Gordon Dam
- Distance from Hobart: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Walk: you can either admire the dam from the car park, or walk down about 100 stairs to the dam wall
- Russell and Horseshoe Falls
- Distance from Hobart: 1 hour
- Walk: easy, some stairs, 30 minutes return
We got up nice and early and were awe-struck by the enormity of Gordon Dam. It’s one of those things where a photo never really shows how big something is, or conveys the feeling you get when you’re standing there looking at it. Standing at 172m, it’s taller than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
If you’re up for it, you can even abseil down the dam wall. We weren’t on this particular occasion, but were happy to watch someone else do it, and this really showed off the sheer size of the wall.
After a coffee and some breakfast we headed east back towards Mount Field National Park. After seeing countless photos of Russel and Horseshoe Falls on Instagram we had to check them out for ourselves.
The walk to both falls was short and easy (about half an hour return), but the scenery was amazing. Thick, lush and green foliage with large ferns made us feel like we were walking through Jurassic Park.
We then made our way to Cradle Mountain, and watched as the winding roads through thick, green landscape changed to long straights through wide open, golden brown farms.
- Cradle Mountain
- Distance from Hobart: 4 hours, 30 minutes
- Walk: easy boardwalk, 90 minute loop around lake, or you can opt for the 6 hour return walk to the summit if you're up for it (we didn't have time unfortunately)
- Jacob’s ladder
- Distance from Hobart: 3 hours 15 minutes
- No walk, you can park right next to the viewing platform
We spent the night in our van just outside the Dove Lake parking area, and then got up for sunrise once again, needing many layers of clothes to brave the cold, then parked our van next to the lake for the morning.
Unfortunately the cloudy conditions meant not much sun poked through, however some fog rolling across the summit looked amazing.
After stopping in launcestion for a bite to eat and to charge all of our batteries we made our way to Jacob’s ladder in Ben Lomond National Park. I had never heard of this place before but Nick had seen some photos and was really keen to check it out. Driving into the National Park, once again the scenery changed and all of a sudden we felt like we were on another planet.
We were the only ones there and the views were breathtaking.
My drone offered an even more interesting perspective of the winding road
After the sun set we made our way to Mt Paris Dam wall. The other guys hadn’t heard of this spot but I had seen a photo of it on Instagram and it looked like a really unique place, and the guys were keen to check it out. We arrived after dark and weren’t quite sure we were in the right place, so Mario and I ventured along a track into the darkness, and to our relief found the wall. I quickly snapped this photo of Mario before quickly getting back to the warmth of the van and getting some sleep.
- Mt Paris Dam Wall
- Distance from Hobart: 4 hours
- Walk: easy 5 minute walk from the road
- Binalong Bay
- Distance from Hobart: 3 hours, 30 minutes
- Although this area offers coastal walks, we opted to just quickly check out the area before moving on
After intending to quickly snap only a few photos of this spot before moving on, we ended up spending a couple of hours here. The flora coupled with the large concrete dam wall made this place really unique, reminding us all of something out of Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones.
Our next planned stop was Wineglass Bay, but since it was pretty much on the way, we decided to stop at Binnalong Bay, one part of the Bay of Fires, to check out the famous red rocks, white sand and blue water.
After a quick stop we headed down to Freycinet National Park, and caught the sunset hitting the mountains as we headed in.
Our plan was to get an early night in preparation for a sunrise hike the next morning, but the stars were out and Mario and I couldn’t resist getting a few shots of the stars, sitting above Mt Amos, the peak were we planning to reach before sunrise the next morning.
- Mt Amos/Wineglass Bay
- Distance from Hobart: 3 hours, 45 minutes
- Hike: hard, 3 hours return
- Remarkable Cave
- Distance from Hobart: 1 hour, 30 minutes
We woke at 4am and starting making our way up the mountain. I had heard it wouldn’t be an easy hike, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for how steep it would be, or the fact that most of the way up there isn’t a path, but rather you’re just walking up steep rock faces. It was definitely tiring but once you get to the top and see the view you immediately forget about how tired you are, and just take it all in.
We were the only ones at the top of the mountain when the sun came up, making it an unreal experience. It was one of those time that when you weren’t taking photos, you could just sit in awe and marvel at the view.
Our next planned stop was Cape Huay, but we decided to check out Remarkable Cave, as it wasn’t too far out of the way. A pretty cool little spot to stop and take some photos.
On our way to Cape Huay we spotted this pirate-looking ship sitting out the bay, and just had to stop and take a photo.
- Cape Hauy
- Distance from Hobart: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Walk: medium, 3 and a half hours return
- Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary
- Distance from Hobart: 30 minutes
For the second day in a row we woke up at about 4am and began the walk out to Cape Huay.
Whilst not as difficult as the Mt Amos walk, this track was still quite tough, with lots of stairs, going up and down along the track. Although I’m sure if we weren’t racing to catch the sunrise it would have been easier.
The scenery was breathtaking, with sheer rock faces going straight down into the ocean, and the rising sun made it even better
After taking some time to recover from the early morning walk, we headed to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, just outside of Hobart, and were lucky enough to stay after close when all the other guests had left and get up close and personal with the wildlife. Huge thanks to Tourism Australia and Bonorong for organising this for us.
All the animals at the sanctuary are either orphans or have been injured, and are being cared for until they’re fit to be released back into the wild. It was awesome to see the passion that Greg, the owner, has for all of these animals.
- Three Capes Heli Tour
- Distance from Hobart: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Cost: $375pp for 30 minute flight
Our last morning was probably one of the best. Before the trip I had connected with Leezair, a travel app, and they hooked us up with a helicopter ride, over the "three capes", an area near Port Arthur.
Watching the sun rise from high up above the ocean was an unreal experience. The tour lasted for half an hour and took us over Tasman Island and Cape Hauy, the area we had walked to for sunrise the previous morning.
Huge thanks again to Leezair for organising this for us! Here's what the experience looked like from our point of view:
Overall the trip was an amazing experience. Tasmania has so much to offer. We managed to pack so much into our week, but there's still so much more I'd love to see.
If you'd like to know more about my trip, or are thinking about going yourself, and would like to ask me something, feel free to contact me!