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Old 27th October 2019, 12:39   #1
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Default 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

If you like driving on superb roads, with beautiful scenery, lovely weather, awesome sights and great hospitality, Tasmania is the place. Some glimpses….

A Typical Road
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-typical-road.jpg

Views over the vineyards
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-views-over-vineyards-freycinet.jpg

Tulip Fields
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-tulip-fields-wynyard.jpg

Turquoise colors of Binalong Bay
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-turquoise-colors-binalong-bay.jpg

Nelson Falls
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-nelson-falls.jpg

Here is a pic of me and my wife – senior citizens, love driving in scenic countries

Benu and Jan
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-benu-jan.jpg
And our car, Mitsubishi ASX 4 cyl 2 liter 6 speed auto, rented from Hertz.

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-mitsubishi-asx.jpg

Classified as a mid-sized SUV, it lacked 4WD, reactive cruise control, side lane intrusion warning etc. However, the engine was peppy, and the gears could be changed manually, very nice on hill roads. Quite roomy, too.

“Kitna deti hai” did you ask? 14.5 KMPL

Tasmania driving route
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-tassie-driving-route-map.jpg

Tasmania is an island, small in comparison to mainland Australia, but all of 65,000 sq KM, close to that of Assam, with just 5 lakh people (are there more people in Andheri?) and lots and lots of sheep and cows.

September/October is Spring in Tasmania (Southern hemisphere, remember?). Flowers were in bloom and there was a little nip in the air. The weather was just right for us – highs of 11-17 centigrade, lows of 5-7 (at night), mostly sunshine with some cloud cover, occasionally a bit of rain. Light jackets were enough unless it was very windy. Rooms were always heated, and electric blankets provided (we didn’t like them).

We did a near complete round of the island, starting from, and ending at, Launceston where we flew from/to Melbourne. Apart from the main route shown in the map, there were innumerable side trips to various places, including some remote spots which people rarely get to. We drove an average of 200+ KM a day, but the drives were actually great sight-seeing, too.

Along our route we found every possible kind of road, from flat motorways to multi hairpin hill roads with no side barriers (you are not supposed to honk at blind turns). On day 2 of our trip, from Wynyard to Cradle Mountains, we were on a long stretch of hill road with innumerable twists and turns. If you want to see a waterfall, expect to find a nice stretch of curvy road with plenty of climbs and descents. For a driving nut like me, the drive was even better than the waterfall sometimes!

The roads, ahhh, the roads…………

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-img_1510.jpg

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-img_1547.jpg

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-img_1561.jpg

There are several types of roads in Tasmania :

M roads Motorways connecting the large towns. Four lanes in a few stretches, but mostly two lanes, with overtaking lanes at frequent intervals. M roads do have surrounding scenery, but when you are pelting along at 110 KMPH you cannot really see the view!

A roads These are high speed (100+) roads, always 2 lanes with a dividing line. In places they can be quite narrow and twisty, and the speed limit is reduced accordingly.

B roads My favourites! Country roads with very little traffic, but speeds up to 90. You can amble along at 55 and enjoy the view (nice views guaranteed all around), or take on the challenge of driving at the legal speed limit on the many twisty sections.

C roads are usually narrow, undivided country lanes, often with speeds up to 60, quite difficult to maintain in a SUV. Very scenic, always.

Unsealed roads meaning gravel, no tarmac. Hertz doesn’t let you drive on these.

Roads in built-up areas - The full Monty – 50 KMPH speed limit, traffic signals, warnings galore.

None of the roads in Tasmania, even the C roads, have bumps, potholes or blemishes. In fact, the (very) few stretches sign-posted “rough surface” will put most Indian roads to shame. Immaculate dividing lines, ample signage, very little traffic, and enough twists and turns to keep you busy – that is a typical “Tassy” road.

Warning – speed limits are very tightly monitored and controlled, and fines are heavy. Seat belts are a must, even in the back seat.

Huge “road trains” roar at the top of the speed limit on highways and can loom up behind you in a jiffy. We preferred to avoid the highways and stick to the B and C roads as far as possible. Traffic is generally sparse, even on the Motorways, and you can amble along in peace, taking in the scenery without anyone bothering you, or drive at the speed limit (can be challenging!). I used the cruise control a lot – it is very useful.

We used Google map to get by, of course, but there was a hitch – no mobile coverage in many areas, particularly the mountains. In hindsight we should have used SIMs from two different telecom companies for our two iPhones, so that one or the other would give coverage. We had large scale maps as back-up, too.

Where to stay?

Of course, there are hotels, motels etc, but we preferred B&Bs in little remote villages, where we usually found a log fire in the lounge, and very friendly landladies who gave us sumptuous breakfasts.

Our rural B & B
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-_dsc4775.jpg

We stayed at this B&B (only 2 suites) at a remote village, and the landlady gave us a grand dinner, too. It was a charming place, actually a small farm with ducks and chickens, dogs and cats, a lama or two, and even a family of platypus, or is it platipi?

A bit about the food. Tasmanian fare is very similar to what one gets in England or Scotland, including typical pub menus. Most towns have Indian, Thai or Chinese restaurants.

B&Bs provide a Continental breakfast as standard, consisting of juice, cereals, fruits and toast. A “hot” breakfast adds eggs, bacon, sausages and hash browns (sometimes), but it costs extra. If you are an omnivore, you can eat enough at breakfast to avoid spending time (and money) on a full lunch, but not so easy to do for vegetarians.

B&Bs don’t provide dinner, barring exceptions, and we had to eat out. Be warned - most eating places close early (by 6.30 pm), and only Asian restaurants and fast-food joints are open up to 9 pm.

More sights …….

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-_dsc4949.jpg

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-peacock-near-cataract-gorge-launceston.jpg

A Wallaby on the roadside
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-wallaby-roadside.jpg

Portsea lookout
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-portsea-lookout.jpg

Bay of fires
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-bay-fires.jpg

Binalong Bay
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-binalong-bay.jpg

Cataract gorge
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-cataract-gorge.jpg

Coles Bay
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-coles-bay.jpg

Colors of the sea
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-colors-sea-portsea.jpg

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-img_1362.jpg

8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-img_4970.jpg

Iron Blow lookout
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-iron-blow-lookout-near-queenstown.jpg

Landscape colors
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-landscape-colors-wynyard.jpg

Peaceful lake
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-peaceful-lake.jpg

Russell falls
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-russell-falls.jpg

St Columba falls
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-st-columba-falls.jpg

Streams in rainforests
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-streams-rainforests.jpg

Yellow canola fields
8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-yellow-canola-fields-add-colorful-landscape.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 29th October 2019 at 09:33. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 27th October 2019, 12:56   #2
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Default re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Beautiful travelogue Sir.



I enjoyed a lot reading it and good to see the spirit of driving, is still burning hard in you at this age.


The first thing came to my mind was my childhood favorite toon.



8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania-1.png



Looks cute in real life too.
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Old 27th October 2019, 13:00   #3
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Default re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Nice travelogue sir. Thanks for providing the link to your blog as well. Have bookmarked the link and will certainly read all of them as well. Hats off to your passion about travelling - it is inspiring to others.
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Old 27th October 2019, 18:10   #4
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Default re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Tempting and more so, with the beautifully illustrated and written travelogue @Benu9714. Seems to be so far away from the usual concretised urban lives that most of us lead.
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Old 27th October 2019, 21:34   #5
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Default re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

An amazing travelogue sir!
Normally with age, the enthusiasm fades away, but the fact that you are a true petrol-head testifies when you preferred country-side roads over motorways
The pictures and the way you have described them are really tempting and in many ways, I think I would prefer Tasmania over mainland Australia.

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Old 27th October 2019, 22:45   #6
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Default re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Thanks Abhinav

In my case, the enthusiasm is peaking because in less than 2 years (if still alive) I will be 70, at which age it is hard to get travel insurance and rental cars. Hence next year my wife and I plan to drive somewhere in UK, perhaps Scotland for the 4th time, and a Tasmania/NZ-South Island combo.

Incidentally, just before Tasmania we drove for 17 days in South-east Australia. Hope to post a write-up soon.
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Old 29th October 2019, 18:23   #7
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Default Re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Quote:
Originally Posted by benu9714 View Post
If you like driving on superb roads, with beautiful scenery, lovely weather, awesome sights and great hospitality, Tasmania is the place.
Beautiful pictures and narration of a beautiful island that has been on our cards for some time. Thanks for sharing the travelogue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by benu9714 View Post
A bit about the food. Tasmanian fare is very similar to what one gets in England or Scotland, including typical pub menus. Most towns have Indian, Thai or Chinese restaurants.
Food always interests us, and I'd look forward to a greater description of your experiences in Tasmania & SE Australia. Here's our experience... (Journeying across Australia with food on our mind)
Quote:
Originally Posted by benu9714 View Post
Incidentally, just before Tasmania we drove for 17 days in South-east Australia. Hope to post a write-up soon.
Look forward to that travelogue soon as well.
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Old 29th October 2019, 19:28   #8
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Default Re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post

I'd look forward to a greater description of your (food) experiences in Tasmania & SE Australia.
Wow ! From your description you are a great foodie. Must confess my wife and I are not!!

Well, in Tasmania we enjoyed the local salmon, excellent taste. Very good fish and chips, with shark as a special delicacy. High quality beef, too, we are told.

Cheese is great in Tasmania, many varieties, made in small dairies. We visited one. One interesting thing we saw was a back scratcher for the cows. It is a rotating brush on a swing arm, which allows the cow to get under it and move around to scratch whichever portion of its back it prefers. If one cow takes too long, another comes and bumps it away to get her turn.

Tasmanian honey and jams are wonderful, too.

Overall, very wholesome fare. We are doubtful about ham. bacon, sausages etc in Kolkata, so we had a lot of it at breakfast daily.

Food is not our highlight, but who can say no to an attractive and tasty meal !!
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Old 30th October 2019, 06:23   #9
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Default Re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Excellent travelogue Benu sir.

The pictures were mesmerising and wonder how you managed to drive through without stopping every minute or two or perhaps your companion riding shotgun took charge of the camera .

Tell us more about the driving license requirements for hiring a car in Tas and whether they accepted your Indian one easily.

Did you book accommodation in advance when you planned the trip or otherwise. What was your overall experience with the car rental company and whether you would recommend Hertz from your experience.

Sorry for such a lot of questions and look forward to read about your aussie and Scotland adventures soon

Cheers
Rahul
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Old 30th October 2019, 08:07   #10
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Default Re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

Thanks Rahul

Almost all the pictures were taken by my wife with her iPhone 6S and Sony Alpha 6000 mirror-less camera, some of them while driving. Our main purpose was to admire nature, so wherever we saw a beautiful scenery we stopped, and usually clicked. Our eventual problem was to choose just 30 photos, which is all that one can insert in a single post.

You can rent a car in Australia, and every other country I have visited, with just your Indian licence (and Indian Rupee credit card) provided you are above 25. International driving licence is NOT required anywhere. Please do not waste time and money getting one.

My wife did a lot of research before the trip to :
- identify places we would like to see
- plot a route
- decide where we would spend nights depending on distances and travel time
- book accommodation (most places don't charge your credit card right away, and lets you cancel with no charge upto a day or two before the booking date).

I have been renting cars from Hertz for over 20 years when travelling abroad, and every time I have been very happy. Australia was no exception. Yes, I would recommend Hertz, but I daresay that other international companies, such as Avis, Budget, Europcar etc will also give satisfaction. One thing - I always take the maximum insurance cover available, though it generally costs as much as the daily car rental, and I have never claimed beyond a damaged tire, but it gives me comfort.

Please feel free to message me if you want more info. Regards
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Old 1st November 2019, 06:25   #11
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Default Re: 8 days & 1700 km in Tasmania

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Originally Posted by xsrahul View Post
Tell us more about the driving license requirements for hiring a car in Tas and whether they accepted your Indian one easily.
Visitors and tourists are allowed to drive in Australia on their foreign licence, so yes the Indian licence is accepted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xsrahul View Post
Did you book accommodation in advance when you planned the trip or otherwise.
Websites such as booking.com allow you to book accommodation and pay when you check-in, or else closer to your travel date. This usually depends on the demand at the destination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xsrahul View Post
What was your overall experience with the car rental company and whether you would recommend Hertz from your experience.
We used Hertz in Canberra for a trip, and just like most international rental agencies, they were professional and cars were well maintained. Do remember to return the car with a full tank of fuel though.
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