Helen is one of our regular tour leaders, who particularly enjoys leading some of our more active walking and cycling tours. While we are unable to take our travellers to exciting destinations overseas, she is keen to take advantage of our expanding “bubble” and share some of her favourite walks in Tasmania, which she knows well.
The trip is intended for travellers with a good level of fitness and an interest in walking. The focus is on short walks which give access to highlight features of each area. Some of the walks will include hills and/or steps. All are on good paths, and almost all are around an hour or less. If you find you have had enough on any of the days, all have the option of allowing you to stay with the bus to meet the group at the end of the walk, or have a more leisurely start on some days. Depending on such variables as weather and interests of the group, some of the walks included in the itinerary may vary.
$8,250 per person, share twin
$2,200 single supplement
25 November – 9 December, 2021
Able to walk 1 -2 hours
All paths are well-made
Max Group Size: 18
• All airfares and taxes from Auckland to Hobart
• Accommodation in 3-star, 4-star & 5-star hotels and lodges
• 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 8 dinners
• Touring by modern air-conditioned coach
• Services of Tours Direct’s tour leader Helen Tait
• Domestic airfares
• Travel insurance
This morning we depart Auckland International Airport at 9.00am and fly Air New Zealand (NZ197) on a direct flight to Hobart, Tasmania.
We will be met at Hobart Airport and enjoy an introduction to Tasmania’s capital city on a scenic drive to experience spectacular views from Mt Wellington (weather dependent). The view from the summit stretches over Hobart and much of the state’s south, and the slopes are laced with walking trails.
In the afternoon we discover Hobart by foot and hear the fascinating stories of how Tasmania’s capital city was established and how it grew to become the vibrant waterfront city you see today. Our local Tasmanian Historic Tours guide will identify the heritage-listed buildings of Hobart while telling the stories of the hardened characters and issues that were major influences in the early days of Hobart. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel.
Today is all about spectacular coastlines, fascinating geological features and World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site. We enjoy a scenic drive to the rugged Tasman Peninsula via Eaglehawk Neck, a thin isthmus once guarded by dogs to prevent convicts escaping. The coastal environment is home to the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere and unique rock formations, which we can appreciate during several short walks.
The Tessellated Pavement, a natural wonder, is named for the tiled-like appearance of the rocks along the water. The rocks can be seen after a short walk from the car park, but it is well worth a trip down several sets of steps for a closer look, and we will also have a loop walk for a close-up view of Tasman Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen, before our walk around Port Arthur Historic Site, a special place of vivid history, cultural heritage and compelling convict stories.
We start with a morning at leisure exploring the vibrant Salamanca precinct – close to Hobart’s waterfront and dock area it is famous for its artist studios, restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. Nearby is historical Battery Point with its little laneways, old seafarers’ cottages, colonial architecture, and historical ambiance. A great place to find some interesting lunch options.
In the afternoon, we embark on the high-speed catamaran on the river Derwent to MONA, the popular Museum of Old & New Art, with Australia’s largest privately owned art gallery. This evening we can choose from Hobart’s great range of restaurants.
Today we depart into Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness and the rugged West Coast. We visit the Wall in the Wilderness, a unique art project where a 100-metre-long wall of wooden relief sculpture depicts Tasmania’s stories. Stop at Lake St Clair – Australia’s deepest freshwater lake – and breathe in Tasmania’s World Heritage wilderness as we traverse the Watersmeet Loop Track, and experience something of Aboriginal cultural heritage on the Larmairremener Tabelti Walk.
Further along the road, we arrive at Queenstown, the gateway to the West Coast with a rugged mining history, a unique “moonscape” and loads of wild west appeal. Before reaching the village of Strahan on the West Coast, we stop at Franklin River and the stunning Nelson Waterfalls.
We cruise across Macquarie Harbour to the tranquil reaches of the Gordon River. This experience is sure to be one of the highlights of our Tasmanian sojourn. First stop is Heritage Landing in the rainforest, where we will take a walk among ancient temperate rainforest trees, many of them Gondwanan relicts. We learn about the historic importance of this area including a walk on Sarah Island and enjoy lunch onboard.
In the afternoon we will explore Strahan and have a bush walk to Hogarth Falls, and in the early evening see “The Ship That Never Was”, Australia’s longest running play; a live interactive theatre performance telling the story of an amazing convict escape from nearby Sarah Island.
We travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Wilderness of Cradle Mountain National Park, where we can unwind to the harmonic sounds found only in this true wilderness. We will have a short walk at Dove Lake, a glacial lake located in a spectacular setting beneath the craggy peaks of Cradle Mountain and experience the mysterious looking bush as we follow the Enchanted Walk and King Billy Track.
In the afternoon we continue to Corinna – the heart of the Tarkine. The Tarkine contains the largest temperate myrtle-beech rainforest in Australia. Immediately north of Corinna is the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, containing significant aboriginal cultural heritage, highly diverse ecosystems, spectacular coastal landscapes and breathtaking wilderness areas. We can round off the day with a short walk on the Huon Pine Trail.
This morning, we embark on the Pieman River Cruise. The Arcadia II is a magnificent 17m craft built of huon pine in 1939, the only huon pine river cruiser still operating in the world. The skipper provides commentary on the unique history, flora and fauna, and takes the Arcadia close enough to the banks for guests to actually touch the ancient rainforest, including many specimens of huon pine. On the journey, it is not uncommon to see platypus and sea eagles, and always possible to see the rare and endangered slender tree fern.
In the afternoon we travel to Smithton.
Today we travel to the township of Stanley, where the remains of an ancient volcanic plug “The Nut” offers 360° views from the top. Our walk up takes us to 150 metres above the sea where we can marvel at Tasmania’s beautiful and rugged northwest coastline as we follow a circuit walk around the flat top of the Nut. Or those wanting an easy option can opt to take the chairlift (additional cost). Be sure to look below for sea lions basking in the sun and tiny Penguins coming back from a day’s hunt out in the Bass Strait.
We will dine at the historic Stanley Hotel, before heading back to our lodge accommodation.
This morning we depart the north-west to travel to Tasmania’s second largest city, Launceston. The Bass Highway runs along the north coast allowing access to plenty of places along the way.
We will walk to the caves at Rocky Cape National Park, and stop at Table Cape Lighthouse, for a short walk which has magnificent views of the surrounding area.
From here we head south towards Sheffield, where we will walk around this “Town of Murals”, due to its many murals telling the area’s history.
We will find a great selection of restaurants to choose from in Launceston.
Launceston is Tasmania’s second largest city and a vibrant hub for food and wine, culture and nature. The whole region is packed with city and country charm, gorgeous old towns, excellent food and wine and beautiful scenery. The city is one of Australia’s oldest cities and offers one of the best-preserved early cityscapes in Australia with its elegant Colonial and Victorian architecture and century-old parks. It is a great place for us to explore on foot.
This morning we will explore Cataract Gorge a slice of wilderness right in the heart of town and Launceston’s natural attraction, via the zig zag track, which links Kings Bridge and First Basin.
Then we head out to explore the Tamar Valley Wine Region, starting with lunch and a tasting of the region’s famous wines. Fed by the fresh, flushing waters of the North and South Esk Rivers, the Tamar has created a glorious fertile valley of high-yielding vineyards, famous for chardonnays, sparkling wines, the aromatic whites and pinot noir.
Before our drive to St Helens on Tasmania’s sunny East Coast we will head out for a walk through the Tamar Island Wetlands Centre. On the outskirts of Launceston is a unique estuarine wetland ecosystem of mudflats, lagoons and islands. Abundant with plant and animal life, the Tamar Island Wetlands are a magnificent Tasmanian landscape and a haven for various birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs, fish and invertebrates. Enjoy beautiful views of the Tamar Valley and towards the peaks of Ben Lomond.
We spend the day exploring St Helens and the Bay of Fires area. St Helens is an old whaling town and is now Tasmania’s largest fishing port. We will choose from the many trails in the Binalong Bay area, and stop for short exploration walks near St Helens at The Gardens and Skeleton Bay.
We travel along the Surf Coast to Coles Bay and the Freycinet National Park. Along the way we stop in the coastal town of Bicheno and browse Bicheno’s galleries and shops and spend time walking along the foreshore trails.
Upon arrival on the Freycinet Peninsula we enjoy the walk to the Wineglass Bay Lookout, discover stupendous coastal views from Cape Tourville Lighthouse and explore the pristine scenery and sand of beaches, such as Honeymoon Bay, close to our accommodation.
After a morning at leisure and a chance to explore some of the many beautiful beaches, including Muir’s and Richardson’s Beach, we travel via the historic village of Richmond, nestled in the Coal River Valley wine region; here we can enjoy another walk back into the pages of Tasmania’s history, before heading back to Hobart.
Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning we transfer to Hobart airport and bid farewell to beautiful Tasmania.
We depart at 12.30pm (NZ198) and fly directly to Auckland.
Helen lives in Christchurch and is a keen skier, cyclist and walker. She has led tours for Tours Direct for over 10 years, and loves sharing her enthusiasm for a wide range of places and cultures. She specially likes to share walking and cycling tours, at a relaxed pace suited to travellers for whom this might be a first.