Monday, March 16, 2009

10 days Melbourne and Tasmania Experience

I had a hard time looking for sample itinerary when I started planning for my Tasmania Trip since early January. I like to share my experience so that someone can benefit from the hours that I’d spent planning especially for the Tassie Trip. We’d chosen this period to Australia because of the cooling weather and the long daylight hours as well as the Moomba Festival in Melbourne over that weekend. Melbourne is also the place where both my wife and I studied but never met there. We were there to rekindle our memories and we to bring each other to the places we used to go.

6th March 09 (Friday)
We took the SQ flight from Singapore to Melbourne on 5th March 11:40pm. The flight took around 7hrs 15 mins and we reached Melbourne at 10am. Paid $26 each for the Skybus at Tulmarine Airport and alight at the Southern Cross Station. We then had a early check-in at Ibis Hotel along Little Bourke Street. We chose this hotel because it is within walking distance to the Southern Cross Station.

We went sample the Vietnamese Beef Vermicelli at Russell Street and Swanston Street (An argument we had for years of which taste better). We concluded that the one in Russell Street to be better. We then took bus no. 350 to visit Latrobe University. My wife simply can’t stop telling me all the stories about her campus life throughout the walk. We then took the tram to Dockland and Lygon street for some shopping and dinner and not forgetting the famous Galati Ice-cream along Lygon Street (Argle Street Junction). That’s one of the best Ice-cream I ever had.

7th March 09 (Saturday)
We took Tram 86 to St Kildas Beach in the early morning for our breakfast. There are several bakeries that serve good pastries. We visited the Farmer’s Market where the locals sell their fresh produces and took a cooling stroll along the beach. We did not forget to take a picture at Luna Park before we left.

Took the tram back to the city and had our lunch at Sharkfin House at Chinatown area. We’d arranged to meet our Melbourne Friends there. The place serves very good Dim Sum and you should not miss it. The rest of the day was spent shopping in the city, Victoria Market and enjoying ourselves at the Moomba Festival and the Crown Casino.

Trust me, the fireworks at the Moomba are very different from what we used to see in Singapore. The fireworks are so near that we can hear the music that goes with the fireworks and feel the heat from the fireworks pyrotechnic platform. The fireworks also stretched across the Yarra River that make it so beautiful.

8th March 2009 (Sunday)
We check-out our hotel at 5am and walked to the Southern Cross Station for the Skybus back to Airport. We were on our way to Launceston via a domestic flight. We reached Launceston at 9am and collect our red Mitsubishi Lancer at the Airport. It is recommended to book your car in advance just in case there are no cars of your choice when you reach the place.

Our First stop is at Cataract Gorge where we sat on the longest Chairlift in Southern Atmosphere and have a nice view from the top. We than took a nice walk across Alexandra bridge before we had our late breakfast at the park. We then drove to Gridelwald (The Swiss Village) and Port Sorell to view the beautiful long and clean beach of Northern Tasmania.
We proceed down to Penguin to visit the Penguin Sunday’s Market and shopping for our dinner before driving to Stanley and checking at Ellie’s Studio Apartment.

Right after checking in, we proceeded to Highfield Historic Site and climbing up the Nut to view the lovely Sunset. We then had a nice BBQ dinner at the courtyard of Ellie’s Studio that night too.

9th March 2009 (Monday)
We left Stanley and visited Rocky Cape and Table Cape. The Tulip Farm at the Table Cape will not in season until November. We stocked up our supplies at Wynyard for our Cradle Mountain night. Along the long journey, we stopped at Hellyer Gorge for our prepared sandwiches and snacks. We then proceeded to Waratah Fall to view the peaceful town and the unique little waterfall there. We finally reached Cradle Mountain Discovery Caravan Park at 4:30pm. (Caravan Parks was chosen because cooking facilities are normally found there).

We walked along the Dove Lake before going up to Marion Lookout where we can have a beautiful view of Cradle Mountain and the Lakes below. The climb took us nearly 2hrs return trip with occasional stops. I really loved the air and the view up there. If you are still young and active, it’s a must to take this track to see the beauty of God’s creation.
We finished our walk at nearly 7:30pm(sun not set yet) and back to our Caravan Park to cook our own dinner. (Mushrooms and Sausages were real cheap there)

10th March 2009 (Tuesday)
Left Cradle Mountain early in the morning and proceeded to Sheffield to see the so called Mural. There were plenty of wall paintings in the town and we took a lot of pictures there. Along the way, we stopped by several “Look-out” points to enjoy more mountain views as well as stopping our car to pose picture with the sheep and cows. We went to Christmas Hill near Elizabeth Town for our Rasberry lunch and to purchase plenty of Rasberry Jams and Syrups for our friends and colleagues.
We then drove to Perth to buy honeys before going to Campbell town and Ross to snap more pictures of the Churches and Bridges. We purchased the Scallop Pies and plenty of bread from Ross well known bakery before going to Bicheno. We checked in another Caravan Park that night and had our dinner before going for the Penguin Watch. We’d booked this Penguin Tour via internet 2 weeks in advance.
The Penguin Watch was lovely, we were actually so close to these little creatures during the guided tour. There weren’t a lot of them as compared to what we seen in Melbourne but the experience was certainly different as they were actually so close to us.

11th March 2009 (Wednesday)
We went around Bicheno in the morning before leaving for Freycinet National Park. It is a 30 minutes drive and we visited Cape Touville and Wineglass Bay. Same as Cradle Mountain, we need to pay $22 for our Car Pass to enter the National Park. If you need to enter any National Parks for more than 3 days, then it is recommended to get the multiple day pass which cost $56. The climb took us around 1 hour return trip. We should have visit Wineglass Bay first before Cape Touville because there was quite a large crowd by 10:30am and it is hard to take a nice picture with so many people around.

We left the place and proceeded towards Swansea for Lunch. It is known to have fine seafood there but due to time and budget constraints, we just had chicken wraps. We stayed for a while to enjoy the nice seaview before going to Buckland to see the famous stained glass of the St John’s Baptist Church.

We rested in Buckland for a while after the long drive before heading southwards to Port Arthur to check in our accommodation at Rocking Horse Cottage. This Rocking Horse Cottage is the best place I ever stayed. There are plenty of apple trees, the host was so friendly that we played with the dog, cat and the horses. We were even given such crunchy and sweet apples called Nubeena. We visited the Remarkable Cave before heading back to the beach outside our cottage for a small romantic picnic. It was also the night when the full moon rose from the eastern mountains. Such scene was indeed unforgettable.

12th March 2009 (Thursday)
We then visit Port Arthur Historic Site in the morning. We took the Bronze Pass where we enjoyed a guided tour as well as a river cruise. The place is very unique and picturesque. Every angle seems so nice for a photo shot.

We left Port Arthur in the early afternoon and went to Sorell Fruit Farm to experience fruit pickings. As most fruits are not in season, we only picked apples, pears and plenty of strawberries. Fresh picked strawberries are indeed very juicy. Remember that there are many varieties of strawberries and you must ask which plot of land gives you the best ones. The amazing thing is that it only cost us $4.50 each to pick all these strawberries into box big enough to cost at least $20 in Singapore.

Our next Destination is Richmond Bridge which is the oldest Bridge in Tasmania and was built by convicts. It’s a very lovely place where we relaxed for nearly an hour, eating the strawberries that we picked from Sorell.
After the strawberry feast in Richmond, we went Barilla Bay to savor some of the best oysters in Aussie. However, we were too early and the restaurant was not opened, we can only pack the oysters in the takeaway stall and head towards Geeveston for our night stay. Along the way, we also visited the Apple Museum.

We went all the way to Geeveston, not for the Tahune Airwalk or the Hasting Caves but for the special accommodation which we see on the internet. It’s a Bed and Breakfast apartment with the concept of Teddy Bears. This place is really so charming and sweet that I’m not able to describe here. (Do note that B&B sometimes don’t allow you to cook your own food)

13th March 2009 (Friday)
We slept soundly in the beautiful Teddy Bear apartment till 9am and we left for Mount Wellington after the breakfast. From Mount Wellington, we can see the whole city of Hobart and the view was just marvellous. We stayed for nearly an hour before heading to Bonorong Wildlife Park.
At Bonorong, we were allowed to hand feed the Wallabies and Kangaroos as well as posing pictures with the Wombat, Tasmania Devil and best of all, the chubby and cute Koala. The Koala is simply so lovable. We enjoyed the whole of 1.5hours in the park before driving south to Hobart. We stayed at Wrest Point Casino Hotel.

After checking-in the hotel, we walked to Battery Point and Sullivan Cove as wells as to Castray Esplanade to experience the night life of Hobart.

14th March 2009 (Saturday)
We reached the Saturday Salamanca Market as early as 8:30am to ensure we have parking lot near the market place. It was not too crowded in the morning and we took a lot of pictures there. We had a nice 1.5hrs walk before going to Hobart Airport to catch our Domestic Flight to Melbourne and the connecting flight to Singapore. We reached Singapore at 10pm that night.

A big mistake we made in this trip was our decision to carry our jams fearing that they would break in the check-in luggages. We forgotten that they were not allowed to board the plane as they are more than 100ml. All our Jams purchased from the Christmas Hill were thrown away right in front of us. I was very upset over it but if we put this aside, I think this is the best holiday I ever had.

Thank God for the safety on the roads, the nice weather and all the beautiful sights we saw along the way. The self drive trip was memorable yet not too expensive. We spent ~$4,600 for the whole trip inclusive of all the gifts for friends and family. I strongly recommend the next couple who see this to try it plan for your own holiday... (Okay. I got to start working hard again from today onwards.....)


Anonymous said...

This 100ml ruling is a silly one. As if they cannot tell the difference between jam and explosive liquid. I had my aromatherapy oil and massage oil and nice bath oil taken away too. I always wondered whether they will take home to use once we have got on the plane.
This is the reason why I hesitate to take a plane nowadays. It does not make sense to me to be paying surcharges and tax to fund these people who cannot tell the difference between a bomb and a bottle of jam or massage oil and have them not add value to the happiness of my trip.

dsea said...

wow....painful to see the jam being confiscated....

hope you feel refreshed