Well, for all the hype, Tasmania is NOT a little New Zealand. Maybe we went with too high expectations.
I can definitely appreciate that to Aussie-holiday-goers the landscape of this Island is something unique: with it's lush farmland, deep valleys and rugged coastline. But it just doesn't have the tourist infrastructure, of say New Zealand, to really compete in my mind.
When you consider that they limit the daily numbers for their Overland Trek* -- and even then you're not guaranteed a bed in the huts, so you're forced to carry a tent anyway** -- that there is practically no wifi available***, their food isn't as good as on the mainland, and what they do have in the way of tourist-friendly attractions are overpriced, it's hardly surprising this is Australia's poorest state. And they think their going to be to live up to the Liberal vision to grow their tourism industry to 1.5 million visitors per year by 2020!
David and I were just aching to consult for their Board of Tourism. Because they do have some great attractions, like Hobart's Salamanca Market, the Cadbury factory**** or MONA*****, as well as spots of stunning natural beauty******.
Wine Glass Bay, in the Freycinet National Park, was definitely one of our favourites. It's a beautiful walk up to the viewpoint over the wine-glass shaped cove, and if you have more time you can hike down to the beach and camp overnight. We wished we'd spent more time trekking around that area.
And of course, the highlight of our trip: the Cradle Mountain Summit trek. But you'll have to wait for our next blog to find out more.
* The Overland Track is marketed as Australia’s iconic ‘must-do’ long-distance bushwalk. It’s a 65 km, six-day trek through the heart of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
** that's why we chose not to do the multi-day trek; opting for the 8-hr Cradle Mountain Summit trek instead.
*** bear in mind, everywhere -- every guesthouse, every cafe -- in south east Asia offered free wifi.
**** we found it rather ironic that we've never visited the Cadbury factory in Birmingham but we were extremely overexcited to find one in Hobart (the other side of the world) ...and the one that makes the Australian Caramello Koalas!!
***** this controversial new museum -- and brainchild of a pro gambler with a unique sense of humour -- is Australia's largest privately funded museum, now one of Tasmanias biggest tourist attraction. Be warned it's not for the faint hearted. It's exhibits are confrontational to say the least. You'll definitely need a beer when you come out... Oh, and how convenient, the owner has his own brewery on site. One could almost see a cunning ploy at work here.
****** but we'd highly recommend not bothering with the tourist drive route. You'll end up doing a lot of driving, for not much reward. Just base yourselves in Hobart and hit the major attractions from there.
N.B. my apologies: I have pulled a complete David and gone a little overboard with my use of footnotes. ....does this count as a footnote?