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Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

Dallas, Texas
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Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

We are planning a trip late June/early-mid July 2013, and have 4 or 5 nights dedicated to Tasmania. It's not long enough, I know, but we do want to see other parts of Australia, including Cairns/GBR, Brisbane/Fraser Island and Kakadu. In Taz, we are interested most in seeing the World Heritage wildnerness area, but this area seems the most problematic due to winter weather. Everything I've found says weather is completely unpredictable, which makes planning difficult. We will likely fly into/out of Hobart and rent a car (do we need 4WD?). Will definitely be watching weather to see if Mt. Field, Lake St. Clair and Cradle Mtn are possible destinations. Don't know what to expect for driving conditions. Will roads be open? Is it a good plan to visit this area in winter? Can we at least stay at a cabin, get out and do some short walks, see wildlife?

The more I look at what Taz has to offer, the more intrigued I am, and it has been a challenge to choose just a few major areas. We like Bay of Fires/Mt. William NP, Freycinet NP, Tasman NP, and Bruny Island (boat excursion to see seals). We are interested in seeing as much wildlife as possible. We tend to favor short hikes, and trying to cover as much territory by car as we can (also keeping in mind we need to "stop and smell the roses"). We are not R&R people. We prefer nature/wildlife to cities. (Though I would love to shop the Saturday Salamanca market in Hobart!). Based on the allotted amount of time and the time of year, what is your advice on which areas to cover?

South Pacific
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1. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

Cradle Mountain is probably the most scenic and comes closest to your description (cabin, wildlife, short walks), but it's about 5 hours drive from Hobart (one-way) - so it'd take nearly a day to get there and a day to get back from Hobart. It's up to you whether that fits in your short itinerary.

Otherwise, Mount Field is much closer to Hobart, but you'd probably need to stay in a nearby B&B to get the bush experience.

From Hobart, you could also do a day trip to the Tasman Peninsula or to Bruny. There are a couple of trips commencing Hobart that include the fast boat trip around the coastline. Personally, I think the Tasman Peninsula is more scenic and i don't think you have time for both. Take a look at one or other of the Tasman Peninsula day tours that combine Port Arthur with the fast boat trip. Links here: tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g255097-c141895/Ho…

It's a 5 hour round trip from Hobart to Freycinet, so it's doable in a long day.

Or - rather than doing day trips from Hobart - you could do a small circle from Hobart to Port Arthur, to Freycinet, to Cradle Mountain and out via Launceston (which is much closer to Cradle Mountain) in your 5 days. The key in this plan would be to make sure that your first day was a Saturday so you could catch Salamanca market. It's possible to do the markets in the morning and get to the Tasman Peninsula in the afternoon for a late tour.

IMO, it is unlikely that snow would prevent you getting to Cradle Mountain in June or early July, but - as you say - the weather is unpredictable in winter. :)

Luigi

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2. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

And you don't need a 4WD.

Cradle...
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3. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

Hi Gt,

As you have already stated, no you really don't have enough time to do and see what you want. Tasmania is a very intriguing place, full of fantastic vistas, wildlife and food. The problem is although a small island it takes much longer to travel from one destination to another. And the places you want to see are at all points of the compass. Your day light hours will be short so viewing and driving times are short.

Normally with 4 to 5 days my advice would be to stay either in the south or north, and I would advise you stay 5 days. Also a good option is an early flight to Hobart and a late flight out of Launceston to do a Hobart to Launceston drive. Have a look at the fly in and out scenario, or think about basing yourself either in the north or south.

Thankfully we don’t have the weather (snow) the northern hemisphere has, so our road closures are more from flooding roads than snow closures. We do get roads closed from snow but they are infrequent and if closed they are not for long. For the Cradle Mountain area read the article at the link below –

tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g504288-c177668/Cr…

I would also look at the itinerary Luigi mentions above, Hobart, Tasman Peninsula, Freycinet, Campbell Town, Cradle Mountain then on to Launceston. A bit of driving but worth it all the same. I also agree for cruises, wait until Tasman Peninsula, you will see some dramatic coastline scenery and plenty of seals.

Snow chains are only needed in certain areas, I.e. Ben Lomond. And yes you don’t need a 4 x 4, well normally you don’t.

Safe travels - robert

Dallas, Texas
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4. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

Thanks Luigi and Rob for your responses! Following your advice, our itinerary will look like this:

Day 1 - fly into Launceston, rent car, drive to Cradle Mtn. Overnight Cradle Mtn.

Day 2 - explore Cradle Mtn. area; overnight Cradle Mtn.

Day 3 - make way early AM to Hobart, possibly via Strahan/Franklin Gordon Rivers, Huon Pines, whatever we have time to see/do. Overnight in Hobart.

Day 4 - Saturday AM Salamanca market; PM Tasman Island boat excursion (Thanks for this tip, as the only reason for Bruny Island was to see seals. The scenery is more spectacular around Tasman Island, and we'll get to see seals (and other wildlife), too). Overnight in Hobart.

Day 5 - last day of our trip exploring Freycinet NP, Bicheno (penguins). Overnight Hobart.

If the weather happens to be bad at Cradle Mtn. when we arrive at Launceston, our Plan B will be to hit the Mt. William NP/Bay of Fires area instead, and eventually make our way down to Hobart to tackle the 2nd part of the itinerary.

Again, thanks ever so much for your input! We are looking forward to a fabulous trip!

South Pacific
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for Hobart, Tasmania
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5. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

that looks like a good plan, although the drive on Day 3 is very long (7 hours). It would be a bit shorter (6 hours) if you skipped Strahan and went via Queenstown instead. The shortest route from Cradle Mountain to Hobart is via the Bass and Midland Highways down the center of the island. And that's still about a 5 hour drive.

Anyway, you'll enjoy your trip. :)

6. Re: Tasmania itinerary help - winter travel

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