Our time in northern Tasmania came to an end and we had a long road trip back to Hobart ahead of us. We booked a cottage outside of the capitol, on a little farm in a town called Lucaston (about 30km from Hobart). Since we tried to see as much as possible on this beautiful island, we decided to take the scenic route through several towns and along the east coast. First, we drove to Launceston, about 2.5 hours from Burnie. We bought lunch, found a local park with a playground where Leo and Mila could stretch their bones and enjoyed some beautiful weather and views of the city. Next, we drove due east and followed the famous Great Eastern Drive down the coast. It was absolutely beautiful. Spectacular beaches, wild cliffs, dry rugged inland mountains and perfect driving conditions. We were amazed by the amount of undeveloped land stretching along the beaches - I even mentioned to Rick that if you were a celebrity, this would be a perfect place to get some peace and quite, and escape the business of Hollywood.
Our next stop was Freycient National Park, 3 hours from Launceston and let me tell you, this park was a true gem. There are some many amazing walks and hikes, you could honestly spend a week there. Since we were short on time, we chose to do the Wineglass Bay lookout hike, which was only 3 km hike and it ended with a gorgeous view of the bay. It was a bit crowded for our liking but we still enjoyed gorgeous scenery. Leo even spotted a wallaby with a baby hiding right under one of the boulders. He is so observant, I love it! Since the weather was perfect, sunny and in low 80’s, we took a short drive to one of the local beaches, Richardson Beach, and set down our blanket and relaxed for a bit. Leo and Mila kept busy by collecting rocks and seashells (of course Mila was eating them). Hanging out on the beach made us a little nostalgic about Florida. We really lived in paradise and who knows, maybe we will come back there after this trip is over. After 45 minutes of natural bliss, we continued our road trip to Hobart, another 3.5 hours away. I have to mention that the soundtrack from the movie “Trolls” has been carrying us through the majority of our road trips. Leo and Mila absolutely love it and keep singing along. Even Rick and I know every word to each song, hahaha! We arrived at our destination about 8:30pm. We were super tired and after dinner and showers, we all went to bed.
The next morning, right after breakfast, we decided to take a short drive and hike Mt. Wellington. From the summit, you can see beautiful panoramic views of Hobart and its surroundings. We were all a bit tired from the long travel day, but nevertheless, we did not want to waste any time in this region of Tasmania. As we learned during this hike, sometimes it is better to take a step back and not force anything. One hour into our hike, we all started to complain. Mila was throwing the tantrum of her life, Leo did not want to hike, and Rick and I were arguing. As a result, we quit half way through. We turned around and went back home. I felt like the lowest point of our trip, we all lost our cool. One thing is certain, it did not feel good. We were super disappointed in ourselves…we do not consider ourselves quitters but that day, we just gave up. Maybe a moment like that was needed to make us realize that we can’t do it all, I really don't know. It’s funny because the first thing that came to my mind were the words of princess Poppy from the “Trolls” who, in a moment of a doubt, said, “Maybe life isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows”. For those who have seen that movie, the end result is super positive so I like to think that this moment of doubt and defeat will pass with time…
We both decided we needed some down time away from each other. I gave Rick the next morning to go on a solo hike. He happened to have the only rainy day we had during our two weeks but nonetheless, he hiked to the summit of Mt Hartz in fog, rain, and 50 mph windy conditions. Upon his arrival home, you could feel more positive air in our household. You could tell he felt really good completing a Grade 5 hike in very difficult conditions. His accomplishment helped all of us get out of our “funk”.
The next day was my favorite day in Hobart. In the morning, right after breakfast we drove downtown to witness their annual Christmas Parade! Whether it was the spirit of Christmas decor, the beautiful warm and sunny day, or maybe the fact, that the four of us were super pumped for this event, we felt very happy and alive. We got very good seats along the main route of the parade and were anxiously awaiting for the festivities to begin. This parade was fun even though it did not compare to anything we have seen in the USA. Peppa Pig riding the bus opened the show, followed by different organizations and characters, with Santa Clause closing this event. I think it put all of us in the Christmas spirit! It was very lovely to see Leo and Mila so excited ( although Mila cried for a bit since she was scared of all of the noises - so funny to see her like that since normally she acts like a boss). The streets were packed with families and it was good to see so many people coming together and getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year.
After the parade, we walked down to the waterfront and hit the famous Salamanca market. Yes, by now you know that we are suckers for local markets and this one definitely did not disappoint. The location was perfect, right by the pier, tons of stands with anything from arts, crafts, local produce and drinks. We strolled up and down for a while and since it was quite hot, found a shaded spot under a tree. We set our blanket down, kids were running around, and we enjoyed our delicious treasures found at the market; fresh fruit, chips and salsa, organic ice-cream and mini pancakes with cream and raspberry sauce, a true bliss! This market happens every Saturday and draws thousands of people from the area. The city of Hobart has a very cool vibe - it’s a place full of trendy hippies, very organic and nature minded folks, and a beautiful waterfront (it reminds us a bit of Asheville, NC).
The next stop for us was the Tasman Peninsula. After stuffing our faces with delicious goodies found at the market, we drove one hour to the most southern point of the island and visited Waterfall Bay. We did a short walk to the top of the cliff along the coast (about 1 mile each way) where we could see some spectacular scenery. Huge cliffs stretching for miles, there were many different caves and hidden holes in the rocks. The water had a turquoise color and the intense waves kept crashing into the cliffs. We absolutely love the landscape of Tasmania. Quite interesting because by now, we have seen the most western (Edge of the World), northern (The Nut), eastern (Wineglass Bay) and southern (Waterfall Bay) points of the whole island. Tasmania is absolutely gorgeous and anyone who is a nature fanatic (and foodie) should visit this amazing place.
We finished this fun day by visiting Willies Smith Apple Cider Shed, conveniently located 10 minutes away from our farm house. We have heard about this place from many people and everyone was bragging about it, and now we know why. This wonderful place is situated about 20 minutes outside of Hobart with an amazing view of the mountains and orchid fields. The decor was absolutely fantastic, all of the fences were made out of the apple bins, they had live jazz music, a kids corner, amazing food and delicious apple cider, in other words, little Tasmanian heaven!!! We got there around 6:30pm and it was packed! Mostly young people and families enjoying a gorgeous evening. We ordered two rounds of cider, apple juice for kids, lamb burgers and corn on the cob. The atmosphere was super relaxed and if we did not have our kids with us, we could have stayed there until midnight, haha! We simply needed a day like that to get our spirit back and continue our once in a lifetime journey.
Since we have not seen any waterfalls on this side of the world, we decided to take a 1.5 hr drive to Mt Field National Park. Apparently it’s a very popular spot for the nature lovers so naturally, we had to see it. The drive there was pretty sweet, mountains, valleys and gorgeous green scenery. This park has many great walks. We chose a 4.5 mile trek through one of the oldest eucalyptus forests in the world. Along the way, you pass 3 waterfalls. It was fairly easy walk since there were not too many hills, just a few staircases leading you up to the top of the waterfall.
Our last day in Tasmania, we spent preparing for our upcoming flight back to the mainland Australia. We have a 6am flight to Cairns with a stop in Melbourne. It’ll be another full day of travel to go from the far South of Aussie back to the tropics and Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. We absolutely loved Tasmania. It is a beautiful island with gorgeous terrain and super friendly people. We felt as though we covered the whole island, we drove 2,600 km but there is still so much to see. We feel like we’ve become the ultimate outdoor family, bouncing from beaches to mountains to waterfalls and deserts. WE really feel like we can adapt to any situation or any landscape. It’s funny because now each time we leave the house, Leo asks which shoes he should wear, tennis shoes, hiking boots, or sandals. It’s so special to see him grow and become a nature lover. He constantly gets admiration from passerbys during our hikes. They are always amazed by his endurance and ability to finish challenging hikes. Since we have been driving a lot, we also have been listening to different movie soundtracks. Both Leo and Mila love all the songs from “Trolls” and during long road trip, they keep singing along, so cute, hahaha!! Even before bed time Mila asks me to sing to her “True Colors” instead of lullabies (please believe me, I am one of the worst singers in the world). And on that note, I am going to try my best to sing “True Colors” to my kids and hopefully they fall asleep without having nightmares…