For those who don’t know, Tasmania is an island off of mainland Australia. As mentioned in my Melbourne entry, my friend works as Communications Director at MONA in Hobart, Tasmania so she is constantly back and forth between the two places. She suggested we visit and spend a few days together here while I was visiting her and her partner in Melbourne so we booked flights on the Australia version of Southwest called JetStar. Tasmania is a hidden treasure. I met numerous homegrown Australians in my Melbourne adventuring who had never even been there. It’s the southern-most state of the country- any further and you’d be cold-chilling with penguins in Antarctica. We spent time in Hobart and also did a Thelma and Louise road-trip up the east coast of the state, to a magical, oyster dreamland in Freycinet. My list below is a combination of the two, but marked appropriately.
The drive up the eastern coast is spectacular. It’s inland country road and them BAM, you hit the most gorgeous beach head on. We stopped right when we saw it- the inviting crystal blue water at some empty beach in Orford. We pulled over, took our shoes off, snapped some pics and carried on our merry way.
- Aplite House– In oyster country this would be one of the most amazing AirBnB’s I’ve ever stayed in. My friend found it. A two km drive off the main road (it has it’s own sign), this house is perfection.
- Kate’s Berry Farm– In Swansea, stop by and taste their jams and berries. A fun quick stop along your drive for a treat and a souvenir for someone.
- Melshell Oysters– Best oyster place in Freycinet. Be sneaky and BYO wine from somewhere up the street. Then meet the darling woman in the TRAILER you see upon entering, listen to her family’s story, grab some oysters and sit on the water slupring them down with a nice local Pinot Gris.
- Freycinet Marine Farm– Beyond just straight up oysters, they are great for different mignonettes, cooked items, etc. They are not on the water but such a great experience.
- Room For a Pony– In Hobart, a darling breakfast and coffee spot. Breakfast ramen sounds good on the menu but be warned that if you don’t like aggressively large mushrooms, don’t get it.
- Franklin– In Hobart a very aesthetically pleasing joint. Concrete, sharp, barren. Good food, great aesthetic, notoriously poor service (just prepare yourself).
- Milton Winery– In Swansea on the way to Freycincet, great wines, great spot to stop.
- Gala Winery– Also technically in Swansea, looks like a beat up barn, from the outside but is darling inside. Worth a pop by.
- Pilgrim Coffee– A lovely spot in Hobart. Although it says coffee in the name, it serves food, too. If you need a morning or afternoon pick me up, stop by Pilgrim. Yummy coffee, good parfait and good looking people to people watch.
- MONA during the day- Located in Hobart, David Walsh (museum owner) is a psycho and his experience is worth every penny. Buy a ferry ticket (that’s how you get there, even though the museum is attached to the mainland and driveable). The ferry itself is an art piece so shut up and just do it. And go to the museum right at opening. It’s dark, it’s weird, and the only thing guiding you is the “O” (a glorified iPhone dangling around your neck explaining pieces to you because the owner refuses to include write-ups near the art pieces so as not to distract from lesser know artists). David (the owner of the museum) lives IN the museum. If you are reading this remotely close to 2015, look up when at the snake exhibit- you’ll catch a glimpse of a tiny spot of light shining through is living quarters.
- MONA at night- At sunset (and sunrise if you are feeling wild and/or coming from a music festival nearby) the James Turrell begins. And boy o boy. Arrive early to get a glass of wine from the wine bar on the property and then park it. If you’ve seen Turrell you know what to expect- the sequence here is pre-programmed and changes depending on the day, time of year, etc. and it’s just wonderful.
- Hike Wineglass Bay– In Freycinet National Park there are a zillion hikes you can do depending on how you feel that day. We were hungoverish so we picked the Wineglass Bay hike, which is still no small feat. You hike to the top of a mountain range and look onto a bay that I think is supposed to resemble a wine glass (stemless my friend and I presumed, as it really just looks like a giant bowl). There is one hike that takes you all the way down to the beach but that felt….aggressive. Watch out- wallabys everywhere you look! Keep a sharp eye.
- Bring many things- If you fly JetStar there they literally have a scale nest to the podium where they scan your boarding pass to weigh your purse, carry-on, whatever. They are one second away from charging you for oxygen on the flight so travel light to avoid fees!
- Add to the roadkill: There are torn open wallabies and wombats every 2 feet in Tasmania. They are large and medium cute and you will feel horrible and probably screw up your car nicely if you don’t watch where you are going.