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Driving holidays – north east coast (Tasmania)

 

The brochure promised pristine beaches, wide open skies and the dream of forgetting civilization for four days – an ideal getaway for two busy mums. In reality, the Bay of Fires Walk in Tasmania ticked all those boxes and more: no meal preparation for four days while exploring one of Tasmania’s remote coastlines, kayaking along beautiful Anson’s River and enjoying gourmet food soon proved why this is one of the world’s most popular holidays.

For us, this was a chance to experience the best of both worlds. Firstly, a beautiful drive in one of Australia’s best states for breathtaking views for a couple of days, and, secondly, to experience one of the world’s great walks.

Our week started the moment we landed at Launceston airport. After a swift collection of cases sans little folk, we hopped in our Hyundai Getz thanks to DriveNow with Avis offering the best deal this time around.

Some great short drives

As a precursor to our walking adventure, we decided to spend a couple of days relaxing at historic Ashton Gate with a couple of short drives out of Launceston for some R&R before our hard work by foot. An easy drive south of Launceston led us into the heart of the northern Midlands where the first settlers built their country residences and nurtured wonderful plants, hedges and farmed the land. Next day another short drive took us to Devil’s Heaven Wildlife Park home to native and exotic animals including, Tassie Devils, wombats, eagles, alpacas, roos and emus.

A walk to remember

Day 1 of the Bay of Fires Walk was part preparation of our gear and backpacks and then travelling by mini bus to our starting point at Stumpy’s Bay. The adventure started off with a relatively easy four hour walk along Cod Bay and around the coves off George’s Rocks to the Forester Beach camp for the first night’s accommodation in twin share floored tents. The camp was clean, well organized and environmentally sound: clever Australian made-composting toilets by Clivus Multrum, rainwater tanks and carrying out any rubbish means minimal impact on local ecosystems. Day 2 started early and was the hiking highlight of the trip – with a mix of rocky headlands, ridge lines and sand dunes the day’s sightseeing was diverse and a joy. After seven hours we arrived at the Bay of Fires Lodge. The warm shower on arrival was heavenly and the three course meal prepared by our guides was welcomed with open arms… and mighty apetites! Day 3 started with a sumptuous hot breakfast before hiking out to a collection point for a day of kayaking along Anson’s River. The day was capped off with a leisurely walk back to the lodge from the South along Abbotsbury Peninsula before enjoying another beautiful meal at the lodge. Day 4 commenced with a gentle walk away from the Lodge through a gorgeous forest of Peppermint Eucalypts before enjoying our last picnic lunch before returning to Launceston.

Returning to civilization

After unpacking at the Bay of Fires Walk base at Quamby Estate and sharing a bottle of bubbly with our guides and the rest of our group, we hopped back on the mini bus to return to Launceston and this time put ourselves up at Kurrajong House. Hosts Julie and Graeme showed us to our room and suggested some local eateries – well aware that we may be seeking some basic fare after our gastronomical adventure.

The choice for eateries in Launceston on a Monday night surprised us. After a bit of a scout around we settled on Toro’s on York – a Spanish restaurant with a beaut offering from tapas to light entrees and more substantial mains. After a good graze and few sangrias we hiked back up York Street to Kurrajong for our last night in Tassie. After returning our DriveNow hire car back to Avis at the airport, we hopped on our on-time Virgin Blue flight and were greeted at Tullamarine by two happy husbands and the young ones.

In short, this escape is ideal for busy people. 10 out of 10. Just beautiful.

ROSETTA BAKER

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