After travelling inland from the east coast for several hours, we arrived into Launceston, the island’s second largest city. We began our visit at the city’s most well known attraction, Cataract Gorge. Just a short distance from the city centre, the vast river gorge is home to a chairlift, a suspension bridge and a swimming pool, all of which is surrounded by Victorian gardens.
We took the chairlift across the gorge, admiring the panoramic views around us, before enjoying a relaxing stroll around the beautiful gardens. We followed the path as it descended, taking in several viewpoints before crossing the suspension bridge, arriving back at the entrance and shop, where we treated ourselves to an ice cream.
We didn’t stay much longer in Launceston, before heading out of town, travelling north along the banks of the impressive Tamar River and into one of Tasmania’s wine regions. With both of us tired after another busy day of travelling, we decided to stop at the Tamar Ridge cellar door where we relaxed in the sun, enjoying the view almost as much as the excellent Riesling!
The following day started with a short drive to Davenport, a busy coastal city, and the southern terminus of the Spirit of Tasmania passenger ferries, providing one of the island’s key links to the mainland. After arriving into the city, we had a great brunch at Laneway Cafe, before visiting Mersey Bluff Lighthouse.
It was very blustery as we walked around the headland, with the exposed lighthouse looking out directly across the Bass Straight, but the clear blue sky and amazing views more than made up for it!
Our journey continued along the north coast, where we picked up the Cradle to Coast tasting trail, designed to showcase the best of the regions food and wine producers. We of course got stuck in, trying as much of the local produce as we could. Our highlights included a delicious cream tea from Turners Beach Berry Patch, and best of all, a whisky tasting board from Hellyers Distillery.
With Rachael now taking over the driving, we continued along the coast towards the small historic town of Stanley. As we got closer we could clearly see in the distance the rocky outcrop that the town is famous for – the Nut.
While you can climb the 143m to the summit of the Nut, we decided to take the easy option for once, and instead opted for the chairlift. After a short but very steep journey to the top, we began the circular walk around the summit, taking in the breathtaking views of the town below, and the Rocky Cape National Park stretching well into the distance.
After a very enjoyable walk, we began our journey inland and towards our final destination of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park. The route took us through a remote part of the island, with the van struggling with some of the narrow, winding country roads. As we got closer, the imposing mountain range began to dominate the horizon, with this building our excitement for the following days challenge.
After a long day of driving, we were relieved to arrive at our campsite just before dark. With the temperature having dropped considerably, we made our way to the impressive camp kitchen, where we found a spot beside the roaring fire before enjoying a sophisticated hotdog dinner.