I almost didn’t make it to Tasmania.
I’m sure when most people plan a trip to Australia, they give the small island a miss. After all, it requires more time and money to venture off the mainland and explore Australia’s “natural state”. Before I arrived last year, however, I promised myself that I would visit every state/territory.
Despite my best intentions, the 2-week trip I just enjoyed in Tasmania was almost called “the trip that wasn’t.” I spent 1.5 month’s budget on my share of purchasing and fixing Paul Heinz. After delaying the trip on a couple of occasions, Adam and I finally left Sydney for Melbourne. Eight hours into the trip, I awoke from a power nap to find Adam whipping the van off of the interstate. Was the smoke we saw and smelled coming from Paul Heinz or another car?!
We jumped out of the van in a state of semi-panic. Two visual inspections and a heck of a lot of speculation later, we determined that the replacement engine we’d just purchased wasn’t playing nice with other bits of the car. Did we have a new part to fix or was the motor we’d just bought a lemon?!
Thankfully the auto center that had replaced the engine was open for another 10-15 minutes. With one short phone call, Adam was given the green light to continue the drive to Melbourne. We topped up the car with water, as the coolant had boiled over and evaporated when the it overheated. I suggested we turn on the heater to draw heat away from the motor (thank you driver’s ed!). And between the water and running the heater, we oh-so-slowly but surely made it to Melbourne. We managed to find a place to camp for the night. We woke up early the next morning to pick up Nicole and hop on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. After a 9-hour trip across the Bass Strait, we made it to Devonport, Tasmania where we found a 3-person room above an Irish pub to sleep. The next morning, we got up at the crack of dawn to drive to Launceston where we left Paul Heinz at an auto shop while we took on the city on foot. By the afternoon, we had the van back in our possession — fixed once again.
A few days later, Paul Heinz decides to tease us again!
Despite all the dramas and stress with Paul Heinz, I MADE IT TO TASMANIA! When I close my eyes and think about the trip, I’m left with views of gently rolling hills; crazy, winding roads; rain, rain, and more rain; and skies filled with beautiful, puffy clouds. And I was rewarded with some tasty eats, beautiful national parks, butt-kicking hikes, and fun tourist attractions.
Once in Tasmania, we quickly realized that 2 weeks wasn’t nearly enough to enjoy all the state had to offer. Thankfully I found this great Australia road trips site that provided a 5-7 day itinerary for both the east and west coasts. We didn’t follow it closely but it gave us a great starting point. I highly recommend it for road trips across the country!
I saw my first echidna in the wild. And a wombat. And a BABY WOMBAT.
I got into the spirit of camping by wearing my brand new, long-sleeved Lululemon running shirt for six days in a row. It was the only long-sleeved shirt I brought on the trip, and Tasmania was crazy cold! Thankfully for me and my two travel partners the shirt is made with a material that neutralizes odors, making me a bit more bearable to be around. Lululemon, you saved the
While I was saving laundry money by wearing the same outfit for days on end, I also saved big money on accommodation. Of 13 nights, I only paid to camp for 7 — and of those 7, 3 cost only $6.65. Tasmania has more RV friendly towns than I’ve ever seen, and quite a few towns provided a field where folks could camp for free — just be ready to pee in the bush at night if you’re not in a proper motor home or campervan with its own toilet. O:-) More freebies came when we found a few budget backpackers setting up shop at a beach or parking lots that didn’t prohibit camping. Why not join them?! Safety in numbers.
Our first night camping for free in Launceston
There’s heaps more to share about the two weeks we spent in Tasmania. My HOT or NOT evaluation of Tassie eats, national parks and hikes, and tourist attractions is on the way.