Next stop on our tour around Tasmania was Launceston, the island’s second-biggest city (read here part I).
On the way, we stopped at the small town of Ross to visit the historic Wool Centre (guess whose idea it was) and town museum. A nice stop for a relaxed lunch as well.
We couldn’t find a campground in town and so we stayed about ten minutes outside of the city in Longford. A good choice as it turned out. The little campground was nicely located next to a river in a lush green setting.
The next day we headed into the city to explore the Caratct Gorge. An elevated pathway led us into the gorge and to an old power station.
After exploring the other arm of the river the weather started to turn grey and we escaped to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. The museum and art gallery are in two locations and so we started with the museum.
Besides a nice showcase of native animals, the fine museum had some rare stuffed Tasmanian Tigers on display (which you surely know have been extinct for about a hundred years).
The next day we continued our cultural tour and visited the art gallery which hosted an excellent exhibition of local artists.
Later on, we spent the sunny afternoon at Stonesthrow Launceston which came with a petting zoo and some very greedy alpacas and sheep.
Beautiful Cradle Mountain
The next day we were off to Cradle Mountain – another big-ticket item. And indeed we were not disappointed. The landscape is out of this world and we truly enjoyed our hike around Dove Lake and down to Ronny Creek.
An additional highlight was the three wombats we saw grazing including a mother with her young (I have forgotten to mention the echidna we spotted earlier on). Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a Platypus – but to be fair these are very hard to spot.
Our home for the night was in Penguin at the north coast and you can guess where the town has its name from. And indeed we saw two young Penguins at night at our campground. Truly a fantastic day.
Wild and Lonely West
The next two days we spent in the northwestern part of Tasmania which is even less densely populated than the rest.
Our first stop was at a beachside flee market in Wynyard (great hot dogs) before stopping at Stanley where Kevin climbed the Nut for some spectacular views (a short but very steep ascend was just the workout he needed).
We spent a rainy night at Arthur River before continuing on the Tarkine Drive the next day. The first lookout was called the Edge of the World and overlooked the wild coast – impressive.
We continued deeper into the tempered rainforest with its impressive ferns and lush greenery. Our stops included the Sumac Lookout, a stroll along Julius River, beautiful Lake Chisholm and a sinkhole turned lake.
We spent the night again at the north coast in Burnie which has a volunteer-run penguin station. They set up some nesting spots where young penguins hide during the day and are waiting for their parents to return with food (it’s always food, isn’t it). Again we were lucky and saw quite a few of the little cute fellows.
Our last stop before Hobart was Queenstown about 2 hours south of Burnie. Once again it was mountain territory and very curvy.
Queenstown is a mining town and its ups and downs are strongly linked to boom and bust cycles of (mainly copper) mining in the region.
Our first stop at the Kop Lookout offered a great view of the small town surrounded by mountains. Iron Blow and Horsetail Lookout were two more spots with a fantastic view (as always hard to capture in a picture).