Kim & Rod Prestedge were born in Hobart and grew up around the area until they moved to Brisbane in 1988. They travel back to Tassie at least once a year as they both still have family and friends who live in Hobart. They’ve done quite a bit of sight-seeing on their return trips, but mainly around Hobart, Launceston and the East Coast. They have kindly offered to share details of their most recent campervan holiday with Think Tasmania.
On this recent trip we travelled with friends; two other couples who had never been to Tasmania before. Our trip started on 6th October 2012. Each couple hired a six-berth campervan and we cruised around for 16 days. We could not have ordered better weather for the 16 days. We had one day of light showers and a day of intermittent rain; but both of those were during organised tours at Strahan, so it didn’t really matter too much.
We started our holiday in Hobart, and we stayed the first night at the Richmond Caravan Park. We then traveled down to Port Arthur where we stayed at the Port Arthur Caravan Park for the next two nights. This would have to be the best caravan park in Tasmania. While on the Tasman Peninsula we went to the Port Arthur Historic Site. We did a ghost tour the first night; Isle of the dead, Point Puer and the rest of the site the next day.
The short walk around the foreshore to the convict settlement from the caravan park is well worth the effort also. While on the Tasman Peninsula we also saw the Tessellated Pavement, Remarkable Cave (awesome coastline down in that area), and the Coal Mines Historic site. We stopped in at the Blowhole, Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen etc. on our way to Coles Bay the next morning.
We stayed at the Coles Bay Caravan Park that night. The next morning was a little overcast but that didn’t stop us from walking to the Wineglass Bay lookout. By the time we got to the lookout the sun was just breaking through the clouds.
Our next stop was St Helens for the night. We traveled up the east coast, stopping here and there along the way. We had to stop at Elephant Pass Pancakes! When we were checking in to the caravan park, a fellow traveller said he had seen a whale and its calf off Binalong Bay, so we quickly piled into one campervan and went in search. After about an hour we found the whale and watched it for quite a while.
The next morning we were bound for Launceston. We made a quick detour to Pyengana Dairy for a coffee and some cheese tasting. While there, we also went on to St Columba Falls. While in Launceston we visited Cataract Gorge, Launceston City Park, The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania and did a bit of shopping in the Mall. We then drove to George Town and Low Head via the Batman Bridge. We left Launceston for Devonport in the early afternoon and arrived in time to watch the Spirit of Tasmania leave that night.
Our next night was spent in Stanley. We were very fortunate to see the tulips in bloom at Table Cape on the way. Myself and one of the other couples decided we would go to the top of The Nut. From the caravan park we could see the chairlift was running, so off we went. By the time we arrived at the chair lift station, it was closed. So we walked up the zig zag track. It was fairly exhausting, but again we thought it was well worth the effort (once we’d recovered). We would never have guessed, but there is also a little sheltered valley where a community of pademelons (I think, or maybe small wallabies) live.
Early the next morning we were on our way to Cradle Mountain National Park. We arrived around 1pm, parked our Campervans and headed for Dove Lake aboard one of the shuttle buses. I can only describe the view of Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain as spectacular. There was not a cloud in the sky! Cradle Mountain had a little bit of snow left on it and the lake was like a mill pond. It was one of the holiday highlights for me.
The caravan park at Cradle Mountain is wonderful… almost as good as the one at Port Arthur. We left Cradle Mountain the next morning after the best of the weather had passed. The day was a bit foggy and there was low-lying cloud. Our next stop was Strahan, but before parking our campervans we headed out to Ocean Beach for a look. Again, another beautiful spot.
We had three nights in Strahan as we had booked tours on both the West Coast Wilderness Railway and the Gordon River Cruise. These tours are a must do. We paid the extra money for the Premium Carriage on the railway and also the Captains Upper Deck on the boat cruise. In my opinion, that’s the only way to go. It’s worth every cent and just makes the tours much more enjoyable.
We were very fortunate on the Gordon River Cruise as there were only 16 people in the Upper Deck. Eight of which were our own party, as we met up with two more friends from Hobart for our time in Strahan. We were looked after extremely well. Myself and two others also were lucky enough to steer the Lady Jane Franklin while in the Gordon River while the Captain had a short break. That’s not something you can do every day. I have so many pictures of these tours and it’s hard to pick the best ones.
Mt Field National Park and Hobart
From Strahan we drove the campervans to Mt Field National Park for the night. We stopped en route at the Wall in the Wilderness in Derwent Bridge. Fantastic! We took many pictures of Russell and Horseshoe Falls while at Mt Field. From there we headed into Hobart after feeding the trout at the Salmon Ponds.
We stayed at the Barilla Caravan Park at Cambridge for our last two nights. We visited Salamanca Markets, Mount Wellington, the Cascade Brewery and the Female Factory. We also went to the Cadbury chocolate factory, which was probably the most disappointing attraction for our first-time Tasmania visitors. I actually remember taking a tour of the Cadbury factory while still at school and it was a proper tour then, not just a “DVD tour”. Things change I guess.
We all had a great time driving a campervan around Tasmania. Our travelling friends didn’t get to see probably a quarter of what there is in Tassie, but they got a good taste and I think they will be back. I hope this is of some help to Think Tasmania readers.
Kim and Rod Prestedge have been great supporters of Think Tasmania, often sending in photos to share with other readers via our “Fans of Tasmania” album. On Facebook, we recently mentioned the Coal Mines Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula, and they offered to share their photos. That evolved into this campervan article, with the couple keen to assist others planning a holiday. We are so blessed by the generosity of the people in our network. Thank you Kim and Rod, this is bound to help many future travellers plan their own itinerary for a Tasmanian trip.