Taking your car to Tassie makes perfect sense….. There’s so much to see!
The first thing I notice as we drive up the ferry ramp is the number plate on the car in front of us. “Tasmania – Explore the possibilities” it reads. The slogan seems fitting as that’s exactly what we intend to do!
With stunning alpine forests, rugged coastlines, interesting history and tasty local produce there’s no doubt that Tassie is best explored on wheels. Hence, why we are embarking the Spirit of Tasmania ferry with our vehicle for the overnight journey from Melbourne to Devonport. It seems too simple: just drive on, have a nap and drive off in the morning. Perfect!
However, once on board with my wife and kids, we discover that there’s plenty to do. The TMK restaurant offers Tassie-inspired dishes and there’s also a variety of bars to enjoy a drink. At the Tourism Information Centre you can speak to staff If you need any assistance with travel plans or you can pick up some brochures to discover where to go and what to do. You can catch a movie at one of the two refurbished cinemas and there’s also a kids play area, Xbox Gaming Station and arcade style game area. After a nice meal and with the kids tucked in bed I make my way to the Terrace Bar. I enjoy a couple Tassie beers and listen to some acoustic music before retiring to our porthole cabin.
The wake up call starts at 5.45am and the vehicles commence disembarkment at 6.30am. From Devonport we tour along the north west coastline stopping at Penguin, Burnie and Boat Harbour before reaching our base at Stanley.
Considered one of the island’s most attractive coastal towns, the historic settlement rests at the base of the striking land formation commonly known as ‘The Nut’. This solidified lava lake of a long extinct volcano has steep sides and rises 143m with a flat top. The Nut was sighted by Bass and Flinders on their momentous circumnavigation of Tasmania in 1798.
The first thing I do is climb the steep track to the summit and complete the 2km circuit trail around the Nut plateau. The walk takes in stunning 360 degree views of the township, pier, Bass Strait and Rocky Cape National Park and has several viewing platforms from which to enjoy the panoramic views.
A chairlift can also be taken to the top of the Nut summit. The chairlift was designed and manufactured in Austria. It traverses a distance of 250 metres and rises 95 metres above the ground. A café also sits at the base of the mountain.
The first Europeans arrived in ‘Circular Head’ in 1826. The village was later renamed after Lord ‘Stanley’ in 1842. In the main street, the two storey Georgian hotel was first licenced to John Whitbread in 1847. Today, you can browse through the Hotel’s original cellar with narrow archways and bluestone lined walls. There’s also a number of historic photos on the wall.