The Murals of Sheffield

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A large mural in the town of Sheffield, Tasmania

After Launceston I took a roundabout drive through the mountains and stopped by a few waterfalls on the way to Sheffield. The small town is known for its murals that illustrate the history of Tasmania, as well as an annual mural competition.

Common themes are aboriginal history and relations with European settlers, Tasmanian wildlife, and historical figures from the region. The visitor’s office has maps to assist in touring the town, and it’s well worth an hour or two to stroll around.

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Cataract Gorge and Tamar Island

A black snake on Tamar Island

A black snake on Tamar Island

I got to Launceston in time for Festivale, where I got to sample local wines and watch some great street performers and musical acts. I hadn’t heard of the event in advance, so it was a nice surprise and a welcome break from the hiking and sightseeing I’d been doing.

Upon leaving Tasmania’s second largest city I stopped by two local natural wonders – the Cataract Gorge and Tamar Island. Like everywhere else in Tasmania, the sights are well set up for visitors with clear and safe walking tracks loaded with wildlife. There is also a lot of historical elements to these sights and you can learn about the lives of early Tasmanian settlers.

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Bay of Fires

The spectacular view from the Bay of Fires beach

The spectacular view from the Bay of Fires beach

Following my day on the Tasman Peninsula I made a stop at Triabunna, hoping to make it to Maria Island. I didn’t realize I was meant to book the ferry to the island in advance, so I wasn’t able to go. However, I did meet some hilarious and hospitable fisherman in the tiny town and I spent a day playing pool and hanging out on their fishing boat. It’s cliche, but that’s the best thing about travel… you never know who you’ll meet or where the road will take you.

After spending some time in Triabunna, I made my way further north to the Bay of Fires, which is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world. It’s a quiet place with free camping spots and nearly endless walking opportunities. There are fairy penguins and wallabies and loads of other creatures to see, in addition to the striking red rocks along the beach. Contrary to common assumption, the bay is not actually named for these red rocks but for the fires that the European settlers saw the aboriginals making along the coastline.

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The Tasman Peninsula

A view of Wineglass Bay from the lookout

A view of Wineglass Bay from the lookout on Tasman Peninsula

After finished up my teaching contract in Darwin I headed to Tasmania for a 17 day road trip. It was an absolutely stunning state and I met the kindest people, ate the most delicious local food (oysters, cheese, beer and wine, chocolate, salmon, beef…), and saw an abundance of animals. There are dozens of short hiking trails which I used as the foundation to plan my trip. I flew into Hobart and essentially made a big counter-clockwise circle, making my first major stop the Tasman Peninsula.

Most famous for Port Arthur (which I didn’t have time to see), the peninsula is also home to amazing cliffscapes and the postcard-worthy Wineglass Bay.

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