Tasmania – a winter wonderland

Tasmania is often described as a mini New Zealand – beautiful mountains, crystal clear lakes, and roads that disappear into a horizon of rolling hills and beautiful countryside.  We’ve been lucky enough to visit both Tasmania and New Zealand, and whilst they’re both stunning destinations, there’s something very special about Tasmania which will grab you and make you never want to go home.

We ended up doing 777km exactly, in just four days, and whilst we’d love to have had longer to explore everything Tasmania has to offer, you can definitely get a fantastic taste for the place over a long weekend.

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Stunning raw and rugged scenes hug the coastline as you make your way down from Freycinit to Hobart

We started our Tasmanian adventure at Launceston.  Get out of there as soon as you can and head for the mountains – Cradle Mountain to be exact.  We braved the mountain in the winter, which we were initially a bit wary about, but now we’d highly recommend this time of year for your Tassie trip.  We stayed at Cradle Mountain Highlanders – a real gem tucked away in the mountains.  We absolutely loved our private wooden cabin with a roaring log fire to greet us.

The highlight of our trip was waking up in our cosy cabin to find that we were surrounded by thick white snow.  Like a kid on Christmas morning, we leapt out of bed with pure excitement.  We wrapped up warm and headed out to take in the winter wonderland views of where we were staying.

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Winter wonderland

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Despite our initial disappointment of the national park being closed off because of the heavy snow, we soon discovered equally beautiful areas surrounding the park to explore.  We felt so lucky to adventure around the mountain region admiring the stunning snow capped trees and mountain views, stopping off at Cradle Mountain Lodge to warm up by their roaring open fire, and heading back out again to explore further deep into the Tasmanian mountain countryside.

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Follow the route from Cradle Mountain Lodge into the woods

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Go the whole way around and discover beautiful little bridges like this one

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The drive out of Cradle Mountain was a little bit hairy in the heavy snow, but once you’re over that sit back and enjoy the beautiful winding roads of Tasmania.  We headed off to Freycinit National Park from Cradle Mountain – a 3 and a half hour drive through the centre of Tasmania.  The 110km per hour speed limit will be a joy for those who enjoy high speed panoramic views of the Tasmanian countryside.  Make the most of stopping off at random little cafes en route to stretch the legs and tasting some Tassie coffee.

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One of the many rustic little spots to take a break at en route

As you’re approaching Freycinit National Park be sure to stop at Hazards Vineyard – the first lookout point across the park and it’s a stunner not to be missed.

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The view from Hazard’s Vineyard

We arrived at our accomodation (Big 4 Iluka) as sunset was nearing, so we whizzed straight off to the national park car park and marched straight up to the top of Wineglass Bay look out.  If you get a chance to do this definitely do, it’s amazing to see this iconic view as the sun hits the mountain tops as well as in it’s full glory in the midday sun.

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Sunset at wineglass bay

As you head back down you’ll get more stunning sunset scenes across the national park – wrap up warm as you’ll notice the temperature dramatically falls as the sun disappears.

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The next morning we headed straight back to the national park to do the full circuit – a must do – don’t be tempted to only do half of it, it’s well worth getting the full way round and visiting the very special Hazards Beach.  After walking down through Wineglass Bay and through the park, you’ll pass beautiful lakes with stunning reflections like this one below.

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The walk down to Hazards Beach is a real delight – you’ll be struck by the crystal clear turquoise waters and the contrasting red rocks – a really special sight.  A tad too cold to swim in the winter, but I imagine this would be a lovely spot to spend a warm summer’s day.

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The rustic walkway down to Hazards Beach

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Contrasting red rocks against the glistening turquoise ocean

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Take in the mountain views at the south end of the beach

Carry on with the circuit around and you’ll be greeted by panoramic views of Freycinit on your return to the start point, and some friendly wallabies to welcome you back.

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The views on the latter half of the circuit back

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A warm welcome back to the start point from this fellow

Our trip to Tasmania drew to an end, much sooner than we would’ve liked, but we made the most of the drive back from Freycinit to Hobart stopping off at Swansea en route.  Check out Artifakt Gallery & Cafe for a cuppa and local art.

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Swansea views

Get back on the main road, put your foot down and pump out the tunes for a whistle stop tour of some of the loveliest Tasmanian sights you’ll see.  Be sure to stop off wherever you like the look of – we discovered some of our favourite spots doing this, like these ones below.

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We were sad to leave Tasmania, it really struck a chord with us.  If you love getting out into rugged countryside and exploring what nature has to offer, Tasmania is definitely for you.  We can’t wait to get back and continue our Tassie adventures.

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