As mentioned in my previous post, I celebrated my birthday by spending a weekend in Tasmania. Initially, I intended on renting a van and driving around Tasmania for 3 days, unfortunately, I found that most rental companies allowed renting for a minimum of 5 days. Fortunately, a savvy Scottish friend of mine, Kelly, had recently travelled around Australia and recommended to me a website called One Stop Adventures. Through the One Stop Adventures website, I found a 2.5-day tour through a company called Jump Tours. The tour was commencing on the evening of my birthday and was going to places in Tasmania that I was keen to see – perfect! So, I booked myself into the tour and arranged my flights.
My trip started with a bus ride into the darkness from Hobart to Launceston. It was a strange but exhilarating experience for me, I felt foreign, in the best possible way. When I arrived in my hostel and got to my room, it was dark. “You can turn the light on if you like”, said the voice of a lovely German girl, Kati who quickly became my friend minutes later. Not long after, I was introduced to our other roommates and quickly discovered we were all on the same tour together! I ate some pizza, chatted with Kati more, skyped someone special and went to bed. I felt as though my trip had started on a great footing.
In the morning, we met our friendly, experienced tour guide John who was extremely knowledgeable about Tasmania. Our first stop was the lookout which I have shared in the first two images. I will now share with you the highlights of the tour, otherwise, I will end up writing a novella.
The Bay of Fires
The Bay of Fires was named the hottest destination by Lonely Planet in 2009. The stunning vivid, natural colours of the beaches in this area are simply breathtaking. This place is something you have to see for yourself to believe.
Bicheno Blow Hole & Walking Trail
There was an option to go to an animal park/zoo as part of the tour or to go to Bicheno for a stroll. I opted to do the walking trail as I have seen plenty of Australian animals in my time. I found this very enjoyable as I loved looking at the different coloured rocks against the ocean as the sunset slowly came upon us.
Penguin Watching in Bicheno
This was a huge highlight for me which comes with a funny tale… John showed us the beach where we could spot penguins from and told us when to go. A small group of us then waited on the beach as it grew dark. Kati and I were intent on spotting some penguins, so while the rest of the group left we waited and waited.
Kati had said something along the lines of “maybe the penguins are avoiding us and won’t come onto the beach”. And she guessed right! We could hear strange noises coming from the bushes and we were confused. Were the noises coming from penguins?? Or some other animals? How did they get to the bushes without us noticing? Eventually, it got so dark, the tide was coming in and we made our way off the beach. It was a challenge to get off the beach as we were avoiding using a phone torch as the shock from light flashes (especially on cameras) can harm penguins – so we just avoided all bright lights. So using the dull light of Kati’s phone we found a pathway which was FULL OF PENGUINS! There were penguins everywhere. On the path, in the bushes, under small bridges. Making strange noises. Some stood dead still when they saw us, others scurried away. We walked past them slowly and at times we stood still watching them as we didn’t want to scare the adorable little creatures. I have never seen so many penguins in my life and it was a very special moment finding them with Kati.
Wine Glass Bay
Wine Glass Bay is another incredibly beautiful place that must go on your ‘to-see’ list when you are visiting Tasmania. There are three main options for you if you wish to see it – either way, you must be prepared to hike a little bit to view this place. The easiest option is just to walk from the carpark to the main lookout which takes a bit longer than 30 minutes. After viewing Wine Glass Bay from the lookout you can then continue on and hike down to the beach – this hike is of medium difficulty and is challenging if you are out of practice like I was haha. In my opinion, you have to at least go to the lookout AND the beach – it is worth it for the full experience! If you really like a challenge you can view it from the top of Mt. Amos – which I have heard is a very challenging hike but you are rewarded with a spectacular view!
Would I recommend the tour? I would 110% recommend the tour that I did. For such a low price (I paid $335AUD) you can see quite a lot in a short amount of time with a great tour guide so it is excellent value! If you can get cheap flights, you could easily do this tour and spend $600AUD or less on this trip.
Who would I recommend this specific tour to?
-Someone who has a limited amount of time to see Tasmania.
-Someone who would like to do a road trip in Tasmania but is not able to drive or not comfortable driving somewhere foreign. Driving in itself can sometimes be a stressful thing, so it is quite relaxing when someone else can do that while you enjoy the views or have a little cat nap between stops.
-For a solo traveller like myself who would like to enjoy these places with other like-minded people!
-Someone who wants an adventure packed short holiday where they don’t have to plan anything!
*** If you are interested in doing a tour in Tasmania, please check out the One Stop Adventure Website. Jump Tours have longer tours and also tours that go to different parts of Tasmania. I would highly recommend doing a tour in Tasmania especially with Jump Tours.***
My Tips & Other Factors to Consider
–If you are doing a big trip around Australia: If you love nature but prefer it without huge crowds of people, Tasmania is for you! I would even go as far as saying skip Victoria or spend less time there in order to visit Tasmania. In recent months, I have visited the Great Ocean Road and Wilson’s Promontory – beautiful parts of Victoria, yes but the most famous sites are also super crowded with tourists and that for me severely detracted from my experience.
–I must warn that Tasmania is deceivingly big, so to get to these sites there is quite a lot of driving involved (this is important to know regardless of whether you do a tour or not). Due to the amount of driving involved, if you are on a tour you will only have limited time to stop at your destinations. If you have the time and money, I would also recommend bringing your car (especially if you are Victorian!) or renting a van and spending a week or two exploring Tasmania (that is actually still a dream of mine…).
–Bring hiking shoes: Some parts of Tasmania have quite rocky terrains that are challenging to hike on. I was so glad to have my new Merrell hiking shoes as I clambered over the rocks at Bay of Fires – they made me feel a lot more confident. It really makes hiking a whole lot easier when you have the right shoes.
-If you visit the East Coast: Bring swimwear regardless of the temperature and a micro fibre towel to dry yourself off! I didn’t bring either and I would’ve definitely gone for a swim regardless of the weather if I had them.
–It can be significantly warmer in the East Coast in comparison to other parts of Tasmania and as a result, you may find yourself getting hot in your clothes that were suitable in Hobart. If you do a hike at either Bay of Fires or Wineglass Bay, wear layers that are easy to take off and a backpack to carry them in.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found it informative. I really loved doing this tour, it was an amazing way to celebrate my 25th birthday. Special thanks to my friend, Kati, for taking some of these amazing pictures for me! If Jump Tours or any of my friends from the tour reads this – thank you for giving me such an amazing time, I will treasure the memories!