An easy, breezy self-drive trip in Tasmania

Cradle Mountain and Lake Dove, a place to immerse oneself in Mother Nature’s beauty.

Tasmania is an island state in Australia, about 240km to the south of the Australian mainland, and separated from it by the Bass Strait.

The flight from Melbourne to Launceston in Tasmania took about an hour; we arrived at around 7am, rented a car and immediately began our six-day self-drive vacation.

The first destination was the Cataract Gorge Reserve. It is an ancient geological formation surrounded by native bushland. This is a true wilderness area.

We took our time hiking the trails and enjoyed the excellent views of the South Esk River. Crossing the Alexander Suspension Bridge was fun and exciting. At the other side of the river was a beautiful garden with colourful blooming flowers. Peacocks fearlessly roamed the area and were showing off their beautiful feathers in front of the tourists.

On the second day, we went to Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Australia’s oldest and largest lavender farm. It is also one of Tasmania’s iconic tourism spots, located in the north east.

As lavender blooming season is in the middle of December, we didn’t get the chance to enjoy the beautiful and romantic lavender farms. However, we did get to savour some sweet and authentic lavender-flavoured ice creams and other treats.

A view of South Esk River at Cataract Gorge Reserve, an ancient geological formation surrounded by native bushland and wilderness. — Photos: EE FUI MEIA view of South Esk River at Cataract Gorge Reserve, an ancient geological formation surrounded by native bushland and wilderness. — Photos: EE FUI MEI

We went to Tamar Island Wetland, located on the outskirts of Launceston, which is a 65ha area of mudflats, lakes, lagoons, and also a haven for wildlife. Due to the flooding season, we were only allowed to spend a short time at the front of the wetlands.

We had a panoramic view of the pristine and beautiful Tamar Valley from the Brady Lookout. Along the way to Low Head Light House, we passed by the “Batman Bridge”.

On the third day of our self-drive trip, we set off early and had a delectable breakfast at Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm. It opens as early as 7am, has a cosy ambience with good food and service.

We also went to the House of Anvers Chocolate, located in a property formerly known as the “Wyndarra Lodge”, a stylish 1931 bungalow with mature trees and plants. At the shop, you can get some samples of house-made premium chocolates, including the Fortunato No.4, the world’s rarest chocolate. Anvers Chocolate has viewing windows for tourists who want to see how the chocolatiers make the snacks.

After that, we headed to another “foodie” destination, the Ashgrove Cheese Dairy Door, a farming legacy spanning over 100 years and owned by the Tassie family. The company produces a range of award- winning cheeses, milk, butter and cream.

Loads of chubby and adorable wombats could be seen around the Overland Track area, fearless of tourists.Loads of chubby and adorable wombats could be seen around the Overland Track area, fearless of tourists.

The cows graze on natural ryegrass in the farms.

Before heading to the Country Club Resort where we stayed that night, we took a break at the Van Diemens Land Creamery located in the picturesque Meander Valley region. A variety of ice cream was available for visitors to try.

On our fourth self-drive journey, we checked out Cradle Mountain, one of the most visited and must-do natural attractions in Tasmania. We went on a two-hour bushwalking tour to the Lake Dove circuit. It was such a wonderful exploration and experience, one where we got to be in the rugged wilderness and enjoy incredible views.

I was gobsmacked by how pretty and tranquil the Cradle Mountain and Lake Dove were.

Later, we went to the Glass Manifesto, an internationally renowned studio and gallery in Launceston, Tasmania, on the bank of Tamar River. The studio is owned by partners Peter Bowled and Anne Clifton.

Anne welcomed us with a big smile and talked about the process of making glass. The gallery has a range of beautiful products and artworks that you can buy as souvenirs.

The Overland Track is a 65km-long bushwalking track in Tasmania.The Overland Track is a 65km-long bushwalking track in Tasmania.

A stone’s throw away from there is the seaport of Launceston, a place where you can find good food.

On our last day, we drove to Launceston City Park, a park established in the 1820s. It looked like a tranquil oasis of European buildings and native trees. An antique-looking Victorian fountain, a conservatory and a playground here make this park a great place to idle the evenings away.

While strolling in the park, I found a place called Design Tasmania, a place where Tasmania’s enterprising artisans make and sell their wares. What a find!

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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