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Travelling West From Hobart

 

Tasmania packs a lot in a small area. The route from Hobart to Tasmania’s west coast features towns, farmland, mountains, forests, and more in what could be a day’s travel, but there are plenty of spots to stop in your Goldstream RV.

 

New Norfolk

 

A pleasant 40 minute drive along the Derwent River from Hobart, New Norfolk is a good place to stock up on supplies. There are small shops and cafes between there and Queenstown, but no large stores.

 

Mountains, forests and mining towns

 

Mt Field National Park has a lovely camping area by the Tyenna River. Unhitch your Goldstream RV there for a day trip up to the alpine areas of the park.

Head north to the West Coast Highway to travel through sheep-grazing countryside and the towns of Hamilton and Ouse. After Ouse, the road winds back through forests and mountains. Lake St Claire National Park is an obvious stopping place, with plenty to see and do, but it’s not the only option. The old hydro-electric towns of Wyantinah and Tarraleah have attractive camping spots. Lake Burbury has toilets, plenty of scenery, water and often no-one else. Take a fishing rod, a small boat and food.

The steep and winding road down to Queenstown passes through landscape denuded of vegetation due to old mining practices. Queenstown, while not beautiful, has a lot to offer a traveller.

 

The west coast

 

There are two good routes to the coast west of Queenstown.

Most people head out to Strahan, a base to explore Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon and Franklin Rivers. Head out towards Hell’s Gates, the mouth of Macquarie Harbour. There are extensive areas to park your Goldstream RV, though it’s probably best to avoid the area during the peak season from Christmas until the end of January. Most places are sheltered by bushes and low trees. Walk through sand dunes to the beaches from many places.

Alternatively, take the road north from Queenstown to Zeehan. It’s worth exploring the railway museum and pottering around the town and its surrounds. A gravel road goes from just north of Zeehan to Trial Harbour. Take all supplies as there are no shops in this largely abandoned town. There’s a lovely small camping area on the northern side looking west over the ocean and a nearby sandy beach. It is exposed to Tasmania’s prevailing westerly wind, but in settled weather, it is a beautiful spot.

Tasmania is full of wonders for caravanners, so be sure to add it as a destination for a future family holiday.

 

Travelling to Bruny Island

 

Edged with white sandy beaches, world-class surf and views in every direction, Bruny Island is one of the jewels of Tasmania.

 

Many visit the island on a day trip from Hobart, and it’s certainly doable, but day trippers don’t experience what Bruny Island is all about. With your Goldstream RV, you can take time to wander the beaches, revel in the stillness, and enjoy the local specialty foods.

 

Getting there

 

Try to take the ferry across from Kettering on an afternoon and return on a morning to avoid queuing with the day trippers. There is usually a ferry every half hour during summer, and every hour the rest of the year.

 

North and South Bruny

 

Bruny is divided in to north and south. Most camping spots are past the “Neck”, or the isthmus dividing north and south Bruny. If you’re completely self-contained, there are some small spots in the north. The gravel road circuit around the north is about an hour’s drive, with views across the Channel and Storm Bay.

 

It’s worth stopping for the lookout at the Neck. Look for little penguins and shearwaters just after dark in summer.

 

The public camp ground at the southern end of the Neck is not too far away. It can be noisy on weekends, but is sheltered from sand and surf by bushes. Further south are commercial campgrounds at Adventure Bay and Cloudy Bay. There is another public campground at Jetty Beach, near the lighthouse. Jetty Beach is great for small kids who could be overwhelmed by the surf at other beaches, as it is shallow and sheltered. It’s also perfect for kayaking.

 

Walks

 

Bruny Island has plenty of long and short walking tracks. There’s a day walk from Jetty Beach around the Labillardier Peninsula. An easier trip from the end of Adventure Bay follows the coast past old whaling stations. At the north of the Neck, the track to Cape Queen Elizabeth is suitable for bikes until the coast.

 

Supplies

 

It’s best to stock up before you get on the island. Fruit and vegetable markets between Kingston and Kettering sell just about all you could need. There are small shops at the Dennes Point café, Adventure Bay, Alonnah and a general store at Great Bay. Adventure Bay is the only place to get fuel.

 

Get Shucked Oysters and Bruny Island Cheese Company at Great Bay have great local food. During December and January, you can buy local cherries and pies near the ferry terminal.

 

 

Adventures with Geocaching

 

Geocaching is a treasure hunt, where you aim to find “caches” using a mobile device or a GPS. It’s a perfect hobby when travelling with your Goldstream RV. Uncover hidden gems most people wouldn’t find otherwise. Both kids and adults love the adventure. Worldwide there are millions of geocaches, with thousands in Australia. There are bound to be some just about wherever your travels take you.

What are geocaches?

 

Some caches are tiny, with just a logbook. Others are a larger container with items to swap. Take along items, such as small plastic toys or stickers to swap, but not food, sweets, or anything likely to corrode.

 

Some geocaches are right next to roads. Others need a short or a long trek. There are some that involve tree or rock climbing or a boat. Others include a puzzle and some are a series of caches linked in a trial. Choose the ones that suit you. Online descriptions and coordinates give an idea of the effort involved in getting to the geocache.

Finding geocaches

 

To find geocaches near you, go to geocaching.com.au or download the mobile app linked from the site. Create an account and choose a geocaching name used to log your adventures.

 

Locate the geocaches nearby using the map, the nearest postcode or the location name. Use your mobile device or GPS to navigate close to the site. When you are in the right location, the online cache information usually gives hints on where to look. Kids love this bit of the adventure. Fill in the log book and fossick through any items to swap. Then return the cache to the spot you found it. Try not to be seen by “muggles”, or people who don’t geocache.

 

When heading to an area out of mobile reception, save information on geocaches to search for while off-line.

Sharing hidden gems

 

If you like, log your find online later, rate it and make comments on it. Comments and ratings from others can help you choose ones that look most enjoyable.

 

People hide geocaches in interesting places. Locals often use them to lead others to special spots or hidden attractions. You can create geocaches too, but it needs to be in a place that you can easily visit to make sure the cache remains intact and findable.

 

Geocaching can become addictive as it’s so much fun.

Preserving Your Holiday Memories

 

One of the best things about taking the kids on holidays, apart from the actual holiday itself, is preserving the memories so that you can look back on them in years to come. With the many options available today, the ways of capturing these are nearly as varied as the places you choose to explore. Which method you choose will depend on your own personal preferences and those of your family, how much access you have to technology on your trip and how creative you want to get.

Blog

Blogs have a few advantages over paper and pen in that you can upload photos as you go and record your travels online, allowing others (if you want) to see where you are and what you’re up to as you undertake your adventure. There are many places online that offer free blog spaces complete with templates to make the process really easy, even if you’ve never blogged before. It’s possible for each member of the family to have one if they wish!

Journal

These have the advantage of being more portable than a blog because you don’t need any equipment other than a pen and paper. There’s not need to rely on internet access and things can be scribbled on a paper napkin if necessary and posted into an actual journal later. Of course, just like blogs, each person can keep their own journal, personalising it to their tastes. Scrapbooking is another option.

Photos and Video

If you’re more of a visual family, you might prefer the photographic approach. Digital cameras have made photography cheaper than it’s ever been before and most phones today also have built in cameras and even the capacity to record videos. This saves on the need for bulky equipment and means that you can capture special moments as they happen. Ensure you remember so that you don’t have a flat battery when that once in a lifetime picture opportunity presents itself.

Capturing your memories while on holiday and preserving them is one of the highlights of families exploring together. The method you choose to use is completely up to you, but the most important thing is to ensure it’s done.

To free you from needing to focus on the more mundane aspects of maintaining a home away from home, a Goldstream caravan or camper is the ideal choice, allowing you more time to do the fun stuff so that you can capture those precious memories to share in years to come.

The freedom of a Goldstream RV

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